Carly and Nick at Notley Tythe Barn, Long Crendon

In the heart of Buckinghamshire lies a tiny little village called Long Crendon. Nestled in the rolling hills is the picturesque Notley Tythe Barn, my wedding photography destination for Carly and Nick’s wedding. Having grown-up in Bucks you’d think I would have had an inkling as to where on earth this village was, alas it is such a hidden gem that I did resort to TomTom to direct me through the winding lanes of deepest rural England to photograph their Buckinghamshire wedding.

To set the scene: an ecstatic Carly who woke up to the sound of dad starting the rustic engine of Carly’s wedding surprise – her wedding carriage – a resplendent baby-blue VW Camper Van. A seriously talented mum who made not one but three impressive wedding cakes.

Baby Blue Wedding Camper Van - Mat Smith Photography

 

I’m such a sucker for the sunset portrait, I cannot resist…

Classic Autumn Sunset Wedding Portrait - Nick and Carly - Notley Tythe Barn Long Crendon - Mat Smith Photography

Mat Smith Photography - Country Lane Wedding Portrait - Nick and Carly - Notley Tythe Barn Long Crendon  Exchanging Of Vows at Notley Tythe Barn Buckinghamshire Wedding Photography - Mat Smith Photography

Within the Sound of the Bow Bells

The wedding of Kathryn and Phil last week was truly within the sound of the Bow Bells. In fact it was deafening, and most certainly a challenge for a photographer trying to gather everyone for the all-important confetti shot outside the church. I’ve never heard bells like them!

Hydrangea Flower Bouquets for Bridesmaids - A City of London Wedding

Ushers at St Mary Le Bow - Mat Smith Photography

I was apparently born within the sound of the Bow Bells which technically makes me cockney. I’ve done my best to lose the accent… #homecountiesupbringing

Mat Smith Photography - Bow Churchyard - Wedding

A Wedding in St Mary Le Bow, London - Bride and Groom - Mat Smith

Lawson Trio Summer 2013

It’s always a funny feeling walking into a concert hall foyer that is familiar to you from years of concert-going (in this case, Wigmore Hall), and unexpectedly spotting one of your own photos.

A funny feeling, but a good one. (That is, if the photo was from a commission. I dread doing this one day to find a pilfered image on display; I guess this is quite uncommon given the nature of this kind of photo. It happens all the time online, but – one hopes – less in the world of print.)

I worked with the Lawson Trio last year, before Clara joined the ensemble. It’s always that photo right at the end of the session, when everyone is freezing, windswept, and tired of lugging bags around, and you probably went on for two hours longer than you planned to – it’s then you finally get the shot:

Mat Smith Photography - BBC Radio 3 - Lawson Trio - Barbican - Urban Chic in London

Anyway not so this year. Like gold-dust, we found a lovely secluded little space outside a property management company right next to Tate Modern that gave us impromptu permission to shoot on their land. So lovely finding “Real Human Beings” from time to time, when London seems so full of officious security guards and companies who are so obsessed with faux health and safety, insurance, PR, and frankly any other reason to not let you shoot anywhere near them.

(Thanks, Neo Bankside – nice people.)

It wasn’t quite without interruption, but mercifully we were left alone after name-dropping the “real human being” who said we could shoot there. Anyway, the result of a little bit of planning, a lot of improvisation, and 2 hours of shooting:

Mat Smith Photography - Lawson Trio outside Tate Modern (or thereabouts!)

Next up, we made use of the fact that photography inside the Tate corridors is permitted, with this great little scene shot across the escalator:

Mat Smith Photography - Artist Concept Shot - BW - Trio laugh - Tate

Finally, onto a favourite location of mine. Millennium Bridge is a footway across the Thames which connects the Tate Modern to St Paul’s Cathedral. Actually many photographers love shooting here, and you often have to fight for the specific spot as we did! This is because it’s such a great place to capture people, movement, old architecture and new.

The really exciting thing for me is that I managed to get my hands on a Microsoft Surface Pro for the best part of a day (colleague of a colleague), so naturally the first thing I did was to install my copy of Lightroom 5 on it, and give it a spin.

It’s very exciting indeed to edit photos directly on a tablet, without the usual restrictions you expect from an iPad. The Microsoft Surface Pro is absolutely superb for Lightroom because it uses a 128GB SSD which makes the process really snappy. Sure, it’s not quite capacious enough for your average working catalog size, but it’s wonderful for throwing into your bag and carrying out some edits over a coffee.

Mat Smith Photography - Microsoft Surface Pro - Lightroom Editing - Wacom

The Microsoft Surface Pro comes with a Wacom digitizer which I didn’t have time to test out fully, but there’s something a little unreal and wonderful about using a pen directly on your photographs in Lightroom without being tethered to a desk and a Wacom off to the side.

Actually I fell head-over-heels with this little computing device, and was surprised that it was even possible to use for serious editing work.

Perhaps I will get my hands on a Surface Pro again to give it a full review here on the blog, but I’ll leave you for now with that edited shot. I brought it back onto my primary editing setup to check contrast and colour, which were both good. I may have gone a little overboard with the blue backdrop masking but it’s quite a fun effect.

So here’s the finished product, an hour of backdrop masking in Lightroom on the Surface Pro!

Mat Smith Photography - Trio Portraits on Bridge over the Thames

Portrait of Antonio Carluccio

As I tweeted the other day,

Anyway wine prejudices aside, I am a huge fan of this man. The first time I tasted his amazing Penne Giardiniera in Ealing I was bowled over, then so glad many years later when the recipe was published and I could make it in my own home. What a recipe.

Anyway, I took a portrait of the great chef in his deli restaurant in Chiswick last year, and realised I never blogged the photo.

I rarely shoot just with natural light, so this was a bit of a stylistic departure for me, but I hope you like it. The shot is lit from the front of the shop, hence the striking (unbalanced?) white balance of the subject vs. the backdrop.

Mat Smith Photography - Antonio Carluccio Chef London