Monday, 26 September 2016

My First Wedding Fair Exhibition

I sat down a year ago and made my "Five Year Plan" as to how I foresaw my photography career and portfolio developing. Loosely, I thought I'd like to think about how I would brand myself and get a webfolio set up after one year, exhibit at a wedding fair after three years, and perhaps be taking regular bookings after five. 

Thanks to the opportunities given to me by Hannah and Liam King, newlywed owners of Herons Park Venue in Kent, I have now already officially exhibited at my first Wedding Fair, at the end of year one. You may have noticed some changes to the blog here, and it has all been a slow but steady work in progress towards building my brand "Sophie De-Roe Photography" and you can now find all my professional work over on the wedding portfolio site here.

The fair was successful on many levels for me; I allowed my physical portfolio to brave the scrutiny of half a dozen brides-to-be who were yet to find a photographer for their special day, I got to meet and chat to local suppliers and continue to build relationships at Herons Park.

Above: Feeling proud of my very first stand

Above: Molly Dollys Bridal Gowns

Above: Blossom Bakers (afternoon tea caterer, vintage crockery and cakes)

Above/Below: Peaches and Pearls (Sashes, table runners, table centre pieces, step ladder, starlit backdrop, post box pictured below)

Above: Gift bags provided by Herons Park for all the lucky engaged couples

Above four photos: All me :)

Above: Page & Sons Wine Merchants
Just something to add about this one- This company will allow the couple to design their own custom labels for their wine, which will be printed, attached and delivered at no extra cost. And the minimum order? Six bottles. I'll definitely be remembering that...

Above five photos: Bethany-Grace Designs

Above four photos: The "Indoor" ceremony option

Above four photos: Debs Sweet Delights (sweet cart and ferris wheel)

Watch this space for up and coming news about Herons Park and all the local suppliers.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

So I really should have posted this about two months ago, when the event actually happened, but life kind of got in the way as usual and I totally forgot. Back in November I wrote about the launch of the new wedding venue at Herons Park. This has now seen it's very first wedding - of course it had to be the faces behind the project - Hannah & Liam King themselves - and I had the very great honour of being the one to shoot it.

So minus a few equipment technicalities and a strong but steady wind, the day was beautiful. Having known Liam since I was twelve years old I was so happy to stand there with him at the alter and snap the photos of his blushing bride walking down the aisle. 

One thing Hannah said to me back in January when we originally met for the brief was that she is obsessed and in love with her beloved Sky, a gorgeous Golden Retriever, who she would very much like featured in one way or another in one of the photos. Cue me, laying down on the floor with my assistant whistling for Sky to come away from Hannah and sit nicely in the foreground for me when what happens? Literally, the best thing ever. She snatched Hannah's bouquet in her mouth and ran off with her prize towards my assistant in an excited blur and the result? Well, I think Hannah got exactly what she wanted.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

This is Important

So a little while back you may remember I wrote about my new Happiness Planner. And while that's all well and good for us girls (like many I am a fan of anything pink and gold, pretty stationery and paperclips) what about the guys? While girls have never seemed to have a problem adhering to the 1960's gender stereotypes of writing a "Dear Diary" entry with their hair up in rollers and reading Jackie magazine, historically for guys it has been a different story. Which is why this is so important.

I am of the opinion that guys struggle to talk about their "feelings" and many actively avoid doing it in any way shape or form like the plague. But as mental health awareness grows it has brought to the forefront of the public's attention that men too suffer with depression, anxiety and, believe it or not, the same mental health problems that women face. Crazy right?! Hardly. 

Ollie Aplin, the man behind Mind Journal believed that men needed an outlay for their thoughts just as much as women do. And why not? As life has got increasingly hectic, working days have got longer and the rat race goes on, there are more and more reasons why people feel stressed, anxious and yes, at some point in their lives, depressed. The charity Mind says that 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer with a mental health problem every single year ranging from obsessive compulsive disorder to anorexia, and statistics from the Men's Health Forum show that just over 3 out of 4 suicides are by men (76%). 12.5% of men in the UK are believed to be suffering from a common mental health disorder and men are three times more likely than women to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. Pretty shocking stuff.

Enter Ollie, and his slick new journal designed and made exclusively for men. The Mind Journal has arrived. And every last detail has been planned, designed and delivered with men in mind. 

Discrete, compact and concealable inside the tri-fold case, the Mind Journal is designed to help men express what's going on up there by asking insightful questions that actually encourage them to think about the way they feel and put it down on paper. As a diary keeper myself I know that this can sometimes take practice. Writing is an art form and it doesn't always come naturally to people. That's why the first half the book is committed to helping the user get into the mind-set of writing with small activities and prompts to help the thought process flow. The second half of the book is where the user has free reign to actually start keeping a journal, after a baptism into the world of writing throughout the first half. 

This isn't just another exercise in navel-gazing. One of my biggest bugbears is when people say things like; "All you ever think about is your mental illness" or "It's all in your head". Cos, yeah, it's almost like it's a mental illness isn't it? And in my opinion if having a medium to get those things out of your head and somewhere tangible where you can make sense of them helps, then crack on and do it.

Ollie himself had a difficult time growing up. Losing his mum to suicide, Ollie struggled for a long time with anxiety, panic attacks and eventually a break down. He says that the two things that helped him through it all was being able to ask for help, and writing in a journal. A study in the late 1980's by Psychologist James Pennebaker showed that those who wrote down their thoughts and feelings were more able to handle emotionally stressful situations and cope with past traumas better than those who didn't. In layman's terms, regardless of gender, age, and whether or not you actually suffer with some kind of mental ill health, writing things down is good for you.

The way I see it, in the name of equality, the stigma surrounding men with mental health problems needs to be lifted. Men need to ask for help. They need to write things down. They need to let go of their burdens. Ollie has made a groundbreaking move to achieve this end with the Mind Journal. Personally I couldn't wait to get my mitts on this to share it with you. I cannot bang the drum enough when it comes to encouraging men to speak out and seek help as many women do. It's not weak, and it's not new either. This gap in the market has been there since the dawn of time. We were just a little slow on the uptake. 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

How To Be Posh When You're Poor

I've been on maternity leave for a whopping seven months now. Time really does fly when you're having fun. And changing nappies. Personally I have loved being a "stay at home mum"; of all the jobs I have ever had this is by far my favourite.

The downside? The hours are quite long and the pay leaves a lot to be desired. However, not one to let money be a deciding factor in my happiness or general plans, I decided to host "Afternoon Tea" with two of my old work colleagues on Tuesday of this week and I was pretty darned pleased with the result.

Not working forty hours a week (plus the inevitable ten hours worth of rush hour traffic) opens up the door to a whole new world I never knew existed - mainly hanging out with other stay at home mums and talking about things I never knew would make good conversation (normally sleep, baby poo and the pains of labour and childbirth), but also learning to appreciate life on a budget. Afternoon Tea with two friends a year ago at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne? £32 a head. Afternoon Tea at Casa di Sophie with two friends (and two little people)? £6.50 per head.

Here's what it looked like:

Saucer Crackers - The pièce de résistance. Because if this doesn't scream sophistication and high class then what on earth does?

As my friends were driving anyway, we pretended with champagne flutes of my fave sparkling soft drink. That went down a treat after the copious amounts of Illy & hot chocolate.

After it was over and everyone had gone home, I tidied up and sat down and eyed up the bottle of Prosecco Ann had brought with her to congratulate me on having pushed a baby out into the world. I caved in without too much persuasion and sat down with a glass and listened to my raison d'être- Ole Blue Eyes. I watched the sun set over the park from my first floor window view. This really was a very good, very daydreamy-New York apartment-posh day.