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Monday, 20 December 2010

Thame Out Spread of Notley Abbey Shoot

In November I blogged about the wedding shoot I did at Notley Abbey and how incredible the autumn colours were. When we showed the results to the local magazine Thame Out they decided to put us on the front cover and we ran a lovely double page spread shown below:

For more information on the team I worked with look back at the previous blog post here: http://blog.katehopewellsmith.com/2010/11/wedding-shoot-at-notley-abbey.html

Natural horsemanship at work

When two passions come together it's a really, really good day.

A few months ago I first met Laira Gold socially and was fascinated to discover that she is a 'horse whisperer' or practices 'natural horsemanship'. I've owned, evented and generally been obsessed by these incredible creatures in my time but wasn't familiar with this method of working with horses. Over the last few months I have advised Laira on her brand and slowly began to learn more about how she worked and was delighted to be asked to help her bring what she does alive through imagery.

As soon as the shoot began and I was able to witness her methods it all just fell into place - it simply makes sense and is a fascinating and thought provoking way of working with horses. Thought provoking for me as a parent - I recognised many of the issues that we struggle with - boundaries, respect, authority and it really got me thinking about lots of different things.

Last night I was walking past the TV when I noticed that a horse whisperer was on BBC 2's Edwardian Farm practicing join up and generally interacting with a wild dartmoor pony for the first time. I called my husband in who knows Laira and has no real interest in horses. But he was blown away by it - 'moved' he said.

Anyway - point being not only did I love the shoot for obvious reasons but it also introduced me to something new and interesting. Yeay.

Laira also runs Human Through Horses - providing Psychotherapy and Learning for humans assisted by horses.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Boudoir Chez Moi and the new Chaise

After spending a day with the Yerburys I came home convinced that the right thing to do was start shooting Boudoir at my home. Until now I have been shooting ladies in their homes or hotel rooms and I'm still quite happy to do that but it has proved a wise move to offer the chance to come to me.

It was also the perfect excuse to stock up on lingerie, jewellery, stockings, fascinators etc. Just in case... And then there was the new chaise. I spent a long time choosing something that complimented lingerie and added form and elegance to the mix.

Here are a few shots - I've got loads more but most reveal who the lovely ladies are and the pics are for Christmas pressies....

Here are some of the latest comments following boudoir sessions:

"OMG. What an incredible shoot that every woman should do. Utterly liberating"

"I feel more confident, sexy and capable"

"Every time I need cheering up I look at my pics"

"Hurray, I love them and am feeling rather good about myself"

And my husband is still loving the shoot I had done for him ;)

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Gift Vouchers - Framing Life

The eternal quest for the perfect present....ends here.

Due to popular demand I now have bespoke gift vouchers that make unique presents - a boudoir shoot for her or indeed to give to him, a family shoot for your parents or for new parents.

You can contribute as much as you want towards the present - paying just for a shoot or including framed prints or products as well.

And remember that "Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again" ~Henri Cartier-Bresson

and sadly "memory demands an image" ~ Bertrand Arthur William Russell

Finally I hope you choose to let me capture your memories because you like my work, the way I see. From experience I can tell you that the results are about the combination of you and me:

"It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter" ~ Alfred Eisenstaedt

Please be aware:

Vouchers are valid for 6 months from the date of issue on the voucher itself and may only be exchanged for photography services and products offered by me at the current list price at the time of redemption.

WIN - The Ultimate Boudoir Experience

The Prize includes:

• Overnight accommodation at the Spread Eagle in Thame, three course dinner for two in the restaurant and a full English breakfast the following day: www.spreadeaglethame.co.uk

• A Kate Hopewell-Smith Boudoir shoot during your stay at the Spread Eagle and a 10" x 7" album of your favourite images:

• Lingerie and a personal fitting from Elegance:

• An item of jewellery from Euphoria Couture: www.euphoriacouture.co.uk

• Hair and make up for the shoot by Catherine Fransham: www.makeupforbrides.co.uk

Thame Out is delighted to offer one reader the chance to win the ultimate boudoir experience. You and a guest can enjoy an overnight stay in one of the Spread Eagle's recently refurbished garden rooms (see below), a three course dinner for two in the restaurant and breakfast the following morning. During your stay you will be personally fitted for a set of stunning lingerie by Trish of Elegance (her lingerie shown above) and able to choose a piece of jewellery from Euphoria Couture (also shown above) to complement your shoot. After having your hair and make up session with Cat Fransham you will be ready for your boudoir shoot with me. Once the photos are ready you'll be given a stunning silk album with a collection of your favourite images.

To Enter: Tell us in 100 words or less why you think this prize is perfect for you?

Entries by Feb 14th 2011 to: Ultimate Boudoir, Thame Out, PO Box 181, Thame OX9 0BA or send an email to julian@red-l.co.uk with your name, address, DOB and telephone number.

Please state if you do not wish to be contacted by participating companies regarding future promotions.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Interview with Photographers-Boutique

I was interviewed this week by a photography blog called the Photographers-Boutique. As quite a few students contact me you might find a few of your questions answered here:

If not, I'm quite happy for you to get in touch. Kate x

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Pre-Wedding Shoot in Richmond Park

Jon and Sarah decided to have their pre-wedding shoot in Richmond Park - because they love it there and the dogs could join in!

It was a very autumnal day but we had a fun walk through the woods and finally struck jackpot when we found a herd of the deer that roam the parkland.

As is often the case it was a really useful opportunity to talk about plans for the wedding day on January 2nd. They have chosen the fabulous venue Hedsor House for the reception and I'm really looking forward to it. Especially to seeing her dress which has been designed just for Sarah.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Trading Places - My Boudoir Shoot

So today was the day I traded places and put myself in the hands of another photographer. Much easier written then done.

I have been wonderfully surprised by how much I have enjoyed shooting boudoir and have found a style that suits me and how I think boudoir should be shot.

Little did I realise the enormous trust your client places in your hands. But I now know because today I did the same with Lou. It is a very strange experience to be aware of a photographer working but having no idea of exactly what they are capturing - that's trust between 2 craftsmen.

Then there is the trust between 2 women. We are complicated creatures who are full of insecurities fuelled by our media obsessed world. Our own worst enemies we invariably focus on, and worry about, our 'flaws'. Boudoir on the other hand is all about celebrating what's fabulous.

I certainly hope the results make me see myself from a different perspective. I guess from my husbands' perspective. In many ways I wish I had done this just before my wedding in 2002. I was without a doubt the slimmest I have ever been, the most body confident. As 2010 draws to a close I am a 35 yr old mother of 2 who gets practically no 'me' time. I have far more respect for my body now - for the babies it has created and nurtured - but it's a more practical relationship today. The shoot has made me think about my daughter, how she is yet to develop into a women. I think I did it partly for her, to be shared in the future, during those years of angst that lie ahead.

I have purposefully posted this tonight having not seen a single shot. I wanted to reflect on how the shoot alone made me feel. Who knows how I'll feel when I see the pictures!

2 Weeks Later

If the shoot is an interesting experience then seeing the results for the first time is truly something to remember. It's a shock - seeing yourself from all angles. I have repeatedly heard clients say 'I can't believe it's me, is that really me' etc. I was heard uttering the same.

Having chosen my favourites I created a DVD for my husband set to the dulcet tones of the sublime Melody Gardot. It was his 9th wedding anniversary present. I'm delighted to say it blew him away. Not that I ever doubted the power of boudoir but now I really, really get it.

For obvious reasons I'm not sharing...

Monday, 8 November 2010

Wedding Shoot at Notley Abbey

When I'm asked which is my favourite season I say Autumn. Not for the weather, obviously. For the colour. I've spent the last 2 weeks driving around in awe of nature. And when I arrived at Notley Abbey for a shoot last week I stopped my car at the top of the drive and literally gasped at the tree lined drive ahead of me. Bright yellow, just beautiful.

For our Christmas themed shoot we had planned to mainly work indoors but that would have been crazy - around every corner was a new blaze of colour and we were also blessed with a strong wind that I was loving despite being a little tricky to work with...

The shoot brought together a bunch of like minded wedding suppliers - and you are lucky if you choose any of them to be part of your big day:

Jo at Notley Abbey. This venue is quite simply spectacular. A medieval abbey with a modern and elegant interior. Couples book the venue for exclusive use and there are a number of gorgeous bedrooms too.

Anna McDonald Bridal Gallery. Anna owns an exclusive dress shop in Thame. She has fabulous taste and works hard to find dresses that are just a little bit different.

Sarah from Euphoria Couture. I wish I had known about Euphoria when I got married. Just the most beautiful creations. My faves are the more vintage inspired pieces but I challenge any bride to leave her empty handed.

Joanna Carter Flowers. Her work is elegant and beautifully crafted and she cares deeply about good service.

Cat Fransham is a hair and make up artist. It's a big thing to put yourself in someone else's hands on your wedding day but Cat is lovey to be around and created flawless skin and a vast array of fab hair designs.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Paolo and Rebecca's Wedding Photography - First Look

This weekend I got to shoot a friend getting married. Rebecca and I first met at the end of 2009 through our businesses. She is a local and very talented florist. The day that we met I told her that I needed to photograph her - pale skin, red hair and striking blue eyes. Over the months we've done a few shoots so I was really looking forward to the day.

Paolo is Sicilian and a sharp dresser. When I arrived at the house where he was getting ready I fell in love with his shoes! Most of the guys at the wedding were very well dressed - SO nice to be around men who really care.

I started the day very early as I had to give ample time to photograph the flowers! She had the most stunning bouquet I have ever seen - simple, beautiful and elegant.

We managed to fit a quick session in with just the two of them and Rebecca was very brave as it was pretty nippy. I haven't had a chance to go through all of the images yet but, as always, it's nice to give them a few to keep them going until the viewing. I wonder if these will make it into the Queensberry?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Chris & Laura at One Great George Street

On Saturday it was the wedding of Chris and Laura at One Great George Street in London.

I remember when I got married that I was desperate to see my photos so it's always nice to be able to give the couple a tiny taster before the big viewing.

It really was a wonderful day. Through doing the pre-wedding shoot and chatting to Laura about her plans I felt a great connection with them and was really looking forward to the wedding. I had such a great morning with Laura and her bridesmaids. A brilliant bunch of ladies who kept us laughing during the hair and make up session.

As a photographer you can't ask for any more - Laura has exquisite taste - and telling her story through imagery was a pleasure. My friend and fellow photographer, Glen Mitchell, ensured that Chris' journey to the venue was also documented.

The venue - One Great George Street - off Parliament Square is a very special place with a fabulous lady called Aoife who runs the day.

The happy couple are off on a mini honeymoon tomorrow and I'm very much looking forward to seeing them both again soon - so that they can relive their big day and see the bits they missed.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Ollie & Sophie at Dulwich Picture Gallery

In the middle of September it was Ollie and Sophie's wedding - at their local church in London followed by a reception at Dulwich Picture Gallery.

When I first talked to them about photographing their wedding it was clear that they wanted the day to be happy and this to be reflected in the photos. My job as storyteller is to capture the feelings as well as the chronology of the day. Just as they had wanted there were big smiles and lots of laughter.

It was a pleasure to be part of the day and having a backdrop of Old Masters was surreal but a wonderful trip down memory lane for this Art History Grad!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Jade's fabulous boudoir shoot

Through networking I have been lucky enough to meet Jade - a talented graphic designer and great fun with it. She mentioned to me that a few years previously she had a studio boudoir shoot done. We had a look at the images together and I felt that the results, all direct flash lighting, didn't do her justice. However, that was just my opinion.

Happily a few weeks later she decided she wanted me to shoot her and that she was going to use her hair and make up contacts to help her look and feel fantastic. Sam and Donna, who work at Arthur's Radio in Buckingham, got creative with Jade's hair and Clare from the Beauty Therapy Centre completed the look with make up and semi-permanent lashes. The resulting vintage movie star 'look' suited my style perfectly.

The shoot was a lot of fun and very creative. We used a variety of light sources - mainly natural but added a bit of flash for drama at one stage. She also has incredible lights in her office so we took the shoot there too. That's the way I work - I arrive, see where the best light is and then use it to make the woman look her best.

I am really enjoying shooting Boudoir - whether for brides or just for fun and a confidence boost. So much so that a very talented photographer friend of mine has persuaded me to be the other side of the lens...

Inspiring Shoot for Brides

Over the past few months I have met some fabulous businesses that help brides to create their perfect day. It really is fantastic to meet like-minded suppliers - with the same vision and high standards. Anna McDonald, owner of the bridal dress boutique in Thame, suggested organising a shoot to celebrate her new dress collection. She introduced me to Sarah of Euphoria Couture (exquisite and unique tiaras and accessories) and make up artist Lucy Ronaldson. We were very fortunate to be offered Nether Winchendon House as the location - as a stunning wedding venue it was the perfect choice.

We had an incredible day and the some of the images are currently in Thame Out Magazine:

I've added a few more here - because we all loved the results and I want brides to be able to see more of the dresses, venue and accessories.

Anna, Sarah and I had a working lunch this week so watch this space for more collaborations…

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Chris & Laura Pre-Wedding Shoot

On Sunday I met up with Chris, Laura and the gorgeous Lottie for a pre-wedding shoot in Battersea Park. The park is a much loved location for family time and will always be precious as the place where Chris proposed.

As it was the weekend the park was busy but Chris and Laura gamely took my direction and we had fun for an hour by the river. We will be crossing the water for the big day in October and will hopefully get some fab shots with Westminster and St James' Park as the backdrop.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Ollie & Sophie Pre-Wedding Shoot

On Saturday I met up with Ollie and Sophie at the church where they will be getting married in September.

Afterwards we took the opportunity to take some pre-wedding photos and talk in more detail about the kind of shots they want on their wedding day. It is such a great opportunity to get to know each other better and for a bride and groom to understand how you work.

It's always nice when the location means something to the couple - Ollie and Sophie were really keen to get some images with Battersea Power Station in the background as they can see it from their apartment.

I'm looking forward to their wedding and taking some pics at the Dulwich Picture Gallery during their reception.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Family Love

As a photographer I am lucky enough to be asked to try and capture the fabulous thing that is family love.

I've not posted much lately as I have been super busy and trying to juggle everything around the summer hols. My family took off to the South Coast last week for some well deserved quality time together.

One evening, whilst the 4 of us watched sunset on the beach together, my husband told me he'd left me something he had found by my camera bag...

Friday, 16 July 2010

Stork Gifts - real life inspiration

At the beginning of June I had the pleasure to be asked to work with a company based in Lymington, Hampshire called Stork Gifts. Natasha is the incredible force behind the beautiful shop and successful website - and all whilst being mother to these 5 children.

Natasha wanted me to help her visualise a campaign that was based on real life and the power of imagination. Working with her amazing family and fabulous range of products, toys and clothes we spent a whole day shooting in parks, woods and on the beach. The images were not 'directed' and the children were left to play and use their imagination.

The ads are now beginning to be published and I wanted to share some of them. The words that accompany the images are written by the children who appear in them.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

The original and best inspiration

My daughter. Trying to capture her beauty, innocence, laughter etc was the beginning of the journey to my own photography business. Tonight the light was so beautiful that I put my 'to do' list down and went into the fields with her. This is the light that I miss so much during our long winter months. Enjoy this beautiful weather.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Boudoir. Sexy, Stylish and in demand.

When I started my photography business I didn't really think about offering boudoir imagery. I knew that it was growing in popularity but because none of my closest friends had done a shoot like this it was beyond my personal experience.

In reality, of course, my love of vintage style photography is perfectly suited to glamorous, intimate portraits that celebrate women.

Recently I was contacted about doing a shoot for a client's husband - he was turning 40, she wanted something unique and he happened to have a thing about her legs. We booked the shoot, I explored the creative and artistic potential, we collaborated, dispelled the nerves. And had a lot of fun.

In the boudoir style shoots that I've done since there is a common thread. Nerves, slight disbelief from the client that they are actually doing this. Followed by a growing confidence and a real sense of empowerment. All of them surprised themselves by just how much they enjoyed the shoot. And all of them are DELIGHTED with the results.

And I loved the shoots too. It's a great opportunity to explore the art of boudoir and create something special. There is also a big demand - for wedding boudoir as well as more casual sessions. Women are doing it for themselves as much as for their partners.

I'll keep adding work but here is an initial taster...

Monday, 21 June 2010

Shooting Incognito

On Saturday night I had fun photographing a 21st birthday party - where the theme was Incognito.

The guests made a huge effort with costumes and it was a visual feast for a photographer. The lovely DJ, Tom Baker, of Splendid got things grooving after dinner and I had some fun with slow shutter speeds and funky lighting. Here a just a few of my fave pics from the night.

Thanks to Nell and her family for making me feel so welcome.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

My Signature 'Style'

When I start editing a wedding shoot, like this one of Nick and Rachel, I'm always looking for the image that I will spend a little bit of extra special time on. I don't know what the image will be until I see it - it could be because of beautiful light, an expression or an interesting background.

I love to take these images and explore their potential. I always say to people that taking the picture is just part of the journey - for me exploring it's digital artistry is just as exciting and rewarding. My editing tablet and pen is just the digital version of my old days with brush and oils.

I have a tendency to be attracted to textures and to take colour out rather than put it in as so many contemporary photographers do. People refer to my signature sytle as vintage, timeless and artistic, other photographers ask me what I do to the images. I take them on a journey and sometimes there's more than one happy destination.

Vintage Inspired Wedding Accessories

Back when I was working in media in London my two daydreams of escape were becoming a photographer or a jewellery designer. I'm delighted to have achieved one of them and am also delighted to share with you some of the people who are out there creating stunning jewellery for weddings and similar:


Launched in 2000 by Marlene Molloy and her Daughter Sarah FitzGerald. In their words:

We have always been mad about jewellery and accessories and wanted to be able to offer very special pieces, which are not mass produced or available on the High Street, and hence Euphoria was born.

Working only with the most original and high quality elements, mainly sourced from vintage c. 1920’s-1950’s jewellery, individual pieces are created which are bold, daring and of exceptional quality and style. All our pieces are made to order so that we can accommodate particular requirements such as altering colour or components – therefore ensuring your piece is just perfect!

Flo and Percy

In her words:

Kirstie Taylor left Art College in 1987, since then she has been designing accessories with particular interest in vintage fashion.

Kirstie has recently refreshed her skills by studying at Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London. She has since designed for many discerning brides and celebrities. Her work is regularly featured in numerous wedding magazines and local and national press.

She continually keeps a close eye on current wedding trends and modern vintage chic.

Magpie Vintage

In their words:

Magpie Vintage was formed by the union of the creative talents of Lisa Harris and Tania Borton.
Contemporary style combined with a love of Victorian opulence and the timeless quality of antique and vintage materials are reworked with silver to form eclectic one off wearable designs. The range caters for all occasions including the decadent bridal collection-the components of which are various hues of white.

Now in our Sixth year, Magpie Vintage are stockist of Phillipa Lepley, Sassy Holford, Caroline Castigliano, Jenny Packham and can be found in prestige boutiques throughout the country.

Jo Barnes

In her words:

My name is Jo and I just adore vintage jewellery and anything that sparkles! I love searching for
beautiful pieces. I started by making my own bridal bouquet which I created from my grandmothers pearl necklaces and brooches from the 1940's.

That's where Jo Barnes began...It is my passion to create new designs, it makes me extremely proud to have brides wear my creations on their special day.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Simply Gorgeous

It's very special when you get different generations coming together to celebrate their family and I really enjoyed today's shoot in London. I will be editing them over the next couple of weeks but just wanted to share a couple with you now.

The flowerbeds in Kensington Palace Gardens were stunning - who could resist this little angel and these incredible flowers? She was as adorable to work with as she looks.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Hey Jude

It's wonderful to be given the opportunity to photograph a woman enjoying her pregnant form like this. But the best bit is to go back and meet the bump in person.

Last week I spent a morning with 5 week old Jude. Capturing his tiny hands and feet, taking beautiful pictures of him with his mum and getting the cutest of pictures like this one.

I'll be adding some more photographs from the newborn shoot to my website soon.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Bluebell Woods and Family Love

The gorgeous Ellis family are soon to move back to South Africa and wanted to take a piece of England home with them. Spring bluebell displays are such a beautiful backdrop for family portrait photography - give me that over a white studio every time.

It was a very relaxed session with time for the kids to play and pick flowers, search for frogs and wood fairies...

Thursday, 6 May 2010


I did some work for Orme Creative yesterday which included photographing their dog, Bertie.

This was such a cute picture of him that I couldn't resist adding a bit of nostalgia...

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The very lovely Rebecca

The first time I met Rebecca I knew instantly that I wanted to photograph her.

We finally made it happen this week and it was a great shoot. She is delighted with the results - and wonderfully surprised about just how incredible she looks. Like most women I meet she didn't relish the thought of having her picture taken. But we had fun, we laughed, we talked. She gamely accepted my direction and suggestions - she was an absolute pleasure to work with.

I want to give this feeling/experience/what ever you want to call it to other women. Give them s
ome fabulous photos to cherish and be proud of. If you think that sounds like something you might like - pick up the phone, give me a call. You won't regret it.

Here are a selection of pictures from the shoot. To gain a better idea of the range of images that I present following a shoot like this please take a look at the AV presentation below the images.


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