Lizzie Churchill | Fashion & Wedding phototgrapher

Ester & Jack

So excited to share this Blog with you as I can’t tell you how great it’s been meeting these two, discussing plans and capturing their super fun Wedding day in Devon. I met Jack & Ester in St Ives earlier in the year while they were visiting to chat about timings, locations and how their wedding was going to almost be split into two halves; like a Skype interview I suppose - formal on top, anything goes below. This is exactly what their wedding day would be like. The formal ceremony, traditional group shots and couple portraits then as we entered the reception it became a summer garden party complete with stone baked pizza, gin and pool WITH inflatables!

Due to the delights of social media, I actually knew of Jack and his beautiful images as a fellow photographer, so when I got the email asking me to shoot his wedding I was a tad shocked, super excited and I’ll admit, a little nervous. Nothing like the pressure of ‘performing’ for another creative, hey! Aha Having met both him and Ester in St Ives however the nerves seemed to melt somewhat as I felt like I was sitting with two friends I’d not seen for years! I love when you all just ‘get’ each other, and can talk so easily with like minded thoughts and shared excitement. So you can imagine how I felt when I was told there would be a pool…..and a giant unicorn…..and a giant rainbow. I couldn’t WAIT for June to come round and be reunited with Ester & Jack to celebrate their day!

Something else I’d discussed with Jack, as a fan of slr photography, was that he wanted me to shoot some rolls of 35mm throughout the day as well as my usual shots; this way they would have both digital and FILM images to look back from their day! Despite shooting film for myself and my fashion and bridal photography I’d not yet captured any from my wedding’s, so with a roll in my Pentax, a roll in my Olympus AND my Canon in hand I was all set. (I’ve included both below, with some comparisons!)

Driving up from Cornwall to Devon I arrived at Dartington Hall to sliiiightly drizzly conditions which meant the ceremony would be held inside instead of in front of the gardens but with the Grand Hall looking as it did I was super happy either way. So with guests finding their seats, J & E’s frenchie Beets sporting his bow-tie and all-round high spirits, the only thing left was the arrival of Ester with her beautiful bridal party and adorable daughter who did everybody proud and stayed firmly attached to Jack & Ester throughout their family based ceremony, with lovely words from Esters Brother & Mum.

Post ceremony and drinks Ester, Jack and I took a small wonder around the grounds so that they could not only get their couple portraits but enjoy some time to themselves before we headed to the pool party. As well as slight direction and location suggestions I like to stand back and let them wander/stand/chat alone for a bit as it can be quite a busy day with a LOT of family and friends to catch up with.

Back at Ester’s Mums it was super lovely to see everyone making the most of the grounds which had been decorated with amazing pompoms, festoon lights and fresh flowers with a well stocked gin bar, beautiful spread of salts, cheese, bread and tapas, pizza’s being prepped and the hot tub ready and waiting. It didn’t take long before two of the youngest guests were in the pool too and jumping off the diving-board!

One of the things I find so special about being a wedding photographer is being invited into a pretty intimate day; hearing stories about Jack & Ester, their relationship, beautiful daughter and memories from growing up you get such a sense of how strong and loving they are as a couple and family. I can’t thank them enough for sharing it with me. I also can’t thank Ester enough for JUMPING ON THE UNICORN in the pool! We joked about it at our meeting and she was super keen on the idea but I wasn’t sure if it was warm enough to go for it on the day, but she did it! She actually did it, and what a moment! Best day and WHAT a Bride.

Thank you so so much again for letting me join you, I can’t wait see you all in St Ives when you’re next down! :) Thank you also for my lovely card which arrived in the post today! x



Travel Diary: Croatia

Having visited the smallest of the Balkans back in April as a test pilot for WeSUP Montenegro I was fortunate enough to be heading back, this time, to Croatia to Celebrate the wedding of Tom & Lauren - my cousin and his now WIFE! The Wedding location was right on the tip of Porec in the old town so we set about looking at places to stay around the area that would allow us to move about and explore as much of Istria as we could. 

Istria makes up the most northern, largest peninsula of Croatia and is renowned for its lagoons, vast pebbled beaches along the coastal old towns, it’s national parks, vibrant cities and incredible architecture. It’s hard to imagine that it was in armed intermittent conflict until 1995 after declaring independence from Yugislavia in 1991 on the same day as Slovenia. With economic difficulties and divides between rich and poor, Croatia has certainly been in a long recovery but the country hides this incredibly well. The landscape is so stunning, untouched and rich in history and culture; the water a colour you can’t imagine and Italian history reflected in every town you visit on this amazing coastal stretch sat on the Adriatic Ocean. It’s low coastal towns, luscious forests and mountainous ranges provide vast geographical locational that allow for hot summers, ski seasons and a mixed, humid climate as you head into the hills - so expect some rain and electrical storms. With major towns and cities including Pula, Porec, Rovinj, Vrsar and Novigrad as well as copious Islands and local tours it would prove hard to fit everything in to one week. I can honestly see why so may people chose to road-trip or Island-hop around Croatia and I can 100% say I’ll be back to see more! As a rough guide though, I’ve compiled my top 5 places to go things to see if you find yourselves traveling north Croatia.


1. Porec & Euphrasian Basilica.

The stunning seaside town of Porec (pronounced Porech) - made famous by the world heritage listed complex of the Euphrasian Basilica is a must visit! Built across the 4th and 5th century’s, it’s one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture and art in the world AND is believed to be one of the founding places of Christianity that started with Bishop Eufrasiana’s house and expanded to include the atrium, baptistery, basilica and memorial palace with some integral parts being almost completely preserved. The stupid amount of steps up to the bell tower are totally worth it when your rewarded with the views across the town. Even if not everyone was happy about the dark, ancient staircase.

The restaurants, streets and hidden courtyards surrounding the Basilica and old town have so much charm and beauty to them, I’d suggest you have a good walk round before you decide where to eat. The harbour front provides even more options and places to stay as well as boat trips across to the islands and one of the Valamar resorts that are dotted around Porec. Walking into the town we obviously made a b-line to the first ice-cream shop that greeted us upon entry….we also happened to pass another as we left - I mean, it’d be rude not to.

When you get given a cape to cover your shoulders.

Having got our bearings and wandered the beautiful old town, it also gave us a chance to find the location for Saturdays wedding; held at the sister building to the Valamar grouping in this incredible Manor that was exclusive to us for the entire day. What more can you want from your day than views across the bay, sheltered under the trees, in your own private estate that houses a beautiful building and celebrations that go on while the sun sets in front of us surrounded by amazing friends and families. There’s literally nothing more, right?

2. Motovun

The Italian roots of Croatia were certainly evident in the incredible medieval town of Motovun as you wander up the cobbles streets, winding your way into the hills with views overlooking the vast vineyards and truffle forests, which alone, make it a definite visit. The wine, oil and truffles are certainly enough to rival that of the Italians so while we were there I didn’t hesitate to sample what I could and come home with a bottle at the best price you’ll be able to find it. The calmness, serenity and still of being this far into the mountains was probably what stuck out to me. That and the feeling of stepping back in time when the pace is slower, the environment older and the views……..well……I think someone had more unspoiled views than we did and I’d definitely be keen to follow suit.

3. Novigrad

We visited Novigrad one sweaty afternoon post Aquapark visit to see what it had to offer and it really didn’t disappoint. I only wished we had longer so I could jump in off the platforms and dine along the harbour front. 

I like their sense of humour and obviously waited.

4. Lim Fjord & Rovinj

Boat trip & Rovinj were on my itinerary/to-do list and so we combined the two and headed south to the source of Lim Fjord and hopped on a boat (with some mild bartering, betrayal and switching captains)  toward the coast passed the mussel and fish farms and famous pirate cave. 

Rovinj itself immediately fell into top spot as far as my favourite towns went and as we looked for a spot to eat, again the restaurant became my favourite also as we sat with the view of the town ahead of us, local beer in hand and a plate of the best pasta I’ve ever eaten (And I love pasta). We did a loop of the whole town following the marina around, heading up through the main street and joining back at the square and I fell more in love around every corner. Each ally between building held it’s own spectacular view of the bay and as I stepped down one to a low bustling sound and music I found a platform carved into the rocks with colourful small chairs, tables and cushions were locals and tourists alike were sat basking in the sun with drinks and tapas. The same happened again down the next path with more locals spread further along more platforms where bathers were set up for the day and supplied with steps into the ocean to cool off. Now, anywhere hot enough to require steps into the sea to cool of with a drink is okay with me. Which is why I would highly recommend at least a full 24 hours in Rovinj to benefit from this novelty - so it’s on my list for when I return; towel in hand, bikini ready and stomach lined. 

5. Our location 

So with my favourite towns covered I want to talk a little about where we stayed for the week, because anywhere that sits ON a vineyard above the cellar their wine is produced and bottled from, is worth talking about. 20 minutes from Porec into Vineyard country, lays the small town of Ferenci where the Deklic wine business continues to grow and when you stay in their beautiful house ON site, you are of course welcome to tour their wine cellar and sample their produce whilst learning about their 4 generation strong family run business. I even helped stick some of the labels onto their 2017 batch. With 14 hectares of land, 6 different grapes, an incredibly limited run of sparkling wine and a Sauvignon Blanc currently establishing its vine in the fields behind, we sat on our last night under the stars with a huge appreciation for the family who have worked from the ground up to create some of the best wines’s we’ve tasted. We also sat trying to work out how to bring a crate or 6 back home with us! 

So with a pool to ourselves, outdoor pizza oven and the cutest, super quiet neighbourhood around us with a restaurant at the top and bottom of our drive, our location really was the perfect base between days out. It was even the most amazing spot to storm watch from and we were treated to a real show on our last night as we watched the storm role in in front of us with lightning forks level with us in the distance!

Thank you so so much again to Tom & Lauren for inviting us, to our wonderful Deklic family for having us and to all the incredible locals who made the trip so memorable, fun, and a well and truly unforgettable experience. Please do ask if theres’s anything else you’d like to know, or if you’re planning a trip and want some advice. 

Lizzie

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Philly & Alan

Philly & Alan’s love story is a special one and I’m super happy to have been able to capture it for them as they celebrated their one year Wedding anniversary.

I’ve known Philly for about 4 years now having attended her very first yoga classes in Falmouth! We’ve shot for Billabong, for her yoga and their sponsor Animal but I hadn’t yet captured this beautiful couple together for the sake of just…capturing. This shoot was about exactly that though, and I LOVED it. Nothing fussy, nothing staged, no brief, just them. So with Philly’s beautiful styling, the incredible Bedruthen Steps as our playground and a cooler of prosecco we headed of to shoot as the sun went down around us. Again, Philly’s planning - an evening shoot, empty beach and husband. 

Engagement shoots, couple shoots and wedding portraits can vary hugely depending on the client and what sort of images they’re after but I think stripping it right back to the couple is the most comfortable and natural way to do it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll suggest a few things here and there, ask to turn a certain way or head in a particular direction or spot but inevitably it’s about being comfortable and…well, being you; weather that’s on a beach, in a field, along a coastal path or at home!

Professional surfer, photographer, yoga teacher, retreat hosts AND models, Philly & Alan have a fair amount of accolades under their belts and experience in front the camera which meant not only were they relaxed but aware of the shots they wanted and how they’d look which was amazing! It was so so lovely to watch them through my lens and capture them so naturally together. 

As a wedding, couple and elopement photographer my aim is always to keep it as natural and as comfortable for you, the couple so there’s no pressure or worry about being in front of the lens. Last year I shot the beautiful Felicity & Luke down at Kynance Cove on one of the busiest summer days and they too wanted a natural, informal shoot like this which is exactly what we captured. They’re some of my all time favourite images! Check them out here.

I’ll be sharing more of these over on my instagram as I love them so much but they’re also all here for you to feast your eyes on.

Thank you so so much again to Philly and Alan for being the best and for having my capture some amazing memories!

Lizzie

x


Travel Diary: Montenegro

Smallest of the Balkans, Montenegro sits on the east of the adriatic sea neighbouring Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Albania boasting a mediteranian climate on the coast and alpine conditions in the mountains - which, by the way look spectacular! With mountainous ranges and rivers flowing through to the coast there’s vast geological scope and plenty to visit between the coast, country and small idyllic old towns. Not surprisingly, Montenegro is full of Italian charm as at various times, it’s been part of the Venetian republic, the napoleonic empire and both the ottomans and Austro-Hungarians held these lands. Budva’s Old Town was ruled by the Venetians for nearly 400 years and also built the walls which lend it the feel of a mini Dubrovnik. However, the jewel in Montenegro’s crown and a town I was super excited to visit is Kotor; a stunning walled old town with history stretching back to the Roman times. Our home for the week was a 10 minute drive from the airport in the village of Djurasivici; a tranquil spot up in the hills that looks over the rooftops and up into the mountains, between the bay and the ocean. 

Once familiarised with our surroundings we headed straight to our little launch harbour to complete our advanced SUP session where your ability or experience makes no difference because we’re there to practice and refine our skills together at a  group pace. Throughout the week Sean and WeSUP’s professional instructors were there to help guide, educate and hone our skills through interval training, fitness and a super fun footwork clinic. This will be my third year paddling now and taking part in these activities always helps improve my confidence on the water. One member of the group had never paddled before and to see his confidence throughout the week tackling 15k paddles proves how you really can be any level to participate.

So, what can you expect from a week paddle-boarding with WeSUP? Well, with all abilities considered and previous experience completely un-necessary, our itinerary included a spectacular 15k paddle from our launch site (just 5 minutes from the house!), along the bay, across to the chapel island that houses ‘Monte’ ‘n ‘Egro’ - the resident dogs (I named them), where you can take in 360 degree views of the water before hugging the coast all the way around Tivat to finish up in Porto Montenegro. A shorter river tour to the infamous horse shoe bend on Rijeka Crnojevica where the lily pads take over the water in places as you wind your way around. Another 15k paddle along the whole stretch of the bay passed submarine bunkers, old naval bases, war ships and fields of jellies before finishing in the most adorable town with Croatia just ahead of us! We paddled on our last day from the beaches passed Budva back in to the town around the Island and we also spent a (slightly hungover) day cycling over and around the hills down the BEST road that curved and fell with the land to a quite little fishing village before cycling back up. A day didn’t go by were we weren’t exploring, paddling, or sharing stories and holding group chats where ever we went and I can’t thank everyone enough for what they all gave to that trip.

As well as paddling and cycling we visited Kotor, went for dinner together in Porto Montenegro, alfresco dinned on the beach front of Budva, petted plenty of dogs, stopped to coo over cats, found a litter of puppies, reminisced and planned over dinner, danced to street musicians, stroked more cats, took part in morning rooftop yoga and generally thoroughly enjoyed the constant company of one another. We ate hearty meals each day by our top Chef to keep us fuelled correctly, our guts happy and our energy up with healthy breakfasts, picnic lunches and wholesome evening meals so that during the whole retreat we really were looked after from top to bottom. Expect to take away a full heart, a happy soul, friends for life, a positive mindset and a whole host of unforgettable memories. <3

So HOW can you get yourselves on this incredible trip..?! Head straight to WeSUP Montenegro’s specific site where you can find our trip video, extra information place a deposit and start packing your bags!

I hope you all found this helpful and has inspired you to book a trip as I promise you won’t regret it. It honestly stands as one of my all time favourite holidays, so thank you to everyone who made it the week it was.

Lizzie

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Lucy & Matt

The amount of times in my head I think, “If you’d have told me I’d be shooting X, Y and Z in blah blah blah I wouldn’t believe you” increases by the year, and this was another of those moments. Lucy and I went to school together and spent 5 years in the same tutor group and a fair few lessons. We also went horse riding when we were 11-13 ish so spent many a Saturday in the sand school too; and there’s no way I could have ever imagined that over a decade down the line I’d be shooting her wedding day alongside her family and now son and daughter of her own!

Lucy & Matt, embraced the autumnal month of October styling their wedding with falling leaves, pumpkins, rustic tones, wooden plinths and floral patterns which looked beautiful around the houses and barns of Trevenna and complimented the time of year perfectly! 

We had a misty start to the day but it all cleared off and stayed relatively dry considering which meant although the grass was dewy, we could still all head outside post ceremony to enjoy all the beautiful space around us….until we wanted to shoot on the muddy track. The solution…..? A Duvet. Yup, this Bride was not only up for the shot but was willing to sacrifice a spare duvet from her car so she could stand in her dress MUD-FREE. Just. Yes. I love a couple who are up for problem solving to get the shot! ha I’m probably not the first, nor last wedding photographer to have done similar and I’d love to hear what else others have done to divert from a potential issue mid shoot?!

As in my last Wedding blog, this day was also another day where the whole wedding was ‘on site’ - this meant from Bridal prep to ceremony and evening reception the whole family could remain in one place! With a fair few children attending the wedding and with the space that Trevenna has on offer, Lucy & Matt arranged for a childminding/entertainment company to set up a base for the younger members of the party in one of the houses so that they were constantly amused for the afternoon which I thought was brilliant! Food, games, drinks, films and plenty of laughter was on hand for everyone and so with the speeches done and evening drawing in, I took a few last photos with the festoon bulbs and interior lights illuminated and left them all to it!

Thanks again to Lucy & Matt for having me on your day, Its been great to catch up with you since and I’ll be sure to arrange for another coffee soon!

Lizzie

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