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Where to visit around West Sussex in the Autumn

Where to visit around West Sussex in the Autumn

Autumn Photography Sessions in Horsham

Can you believe the summer is over and its only 11 weeks today until Christmas!

BUT… between now and then is my favourite time.. Autumn.   Autumn photography sessions are one of my favourite family sessions because this season is just gorgeous. The light at this time of year is just stunning and it is the perfect backdrop for your family.

Autumn Photography sessions Horsham

Around Horsham and Crawley there are some lovely places to spend a glorious autumn day with your family or dog. I thought I would share a few of my favourites, plus a few of my dedicated followers have given me their ideas too.

For more information on Family Sessions please click here

My favourite places to visit:

Tilgate Park, Crawley, is my absolute favourite park! No matter where I have lived no park has ever been as good as Tilgate.
Autumn Photography sessions Horsham

Not only is it absolutely stunning but there is so much to do.  Whether it is building dens and climbing the trees in the woods, walking round the lake and having a picnic or visiting the nature reserve. Other things to do here include Go Ape, play park, rowing boats, Smith and Western. It is so easy to spend the day here and is a wonderful place to tire out the children without spending a fortune. Parking is £1 per hour but all proceeds do go back into the park and for the nature centre it is only £4 for an adult and £3 for age 3-16yr olds.

Buchan Park is a place where I spend many days during my childhood climbing trees and having picnics.
Autumn Photography sessions Horsham

This is definitely a back to nature kind of place. There is ample free parking and its only a short walk to a beautiful lake and the perfect paths for kicking leaves or walking the dog.

Autumn Photography sessions Horsham
Sheffield Park this National Park is absolutely stunning in the autumn.

Family Photography Sheffield ParkThe colours around the lake are like no other. There is no tree climbing in the actual gardens but they do put on events for children to do throughout the year. However, there is a natural play area a short walk away and this includes a den area and soon to be replaced huge swing!

Southwater Country Park is another great park in the area.

The lake provides a great place for swimming and water sports during the summer and then year round is the Dinosaur Park. A great place to spend the afternoon with lots to entertain the children. In the summer it gets extremely busy with families picnicking either around the lake or in the dinosaur park but as the nights close in and days get cooler it definitely gets much quieter.Autumn Photography sessions Southwater Country Park

Petworth Park is another National Trust place which is home to hundreds of deer.

There is a paying car park (free for NT) which provides easy access to the park. It’s a beautiful place to sit and watch the deer or wander along the many paths around the park.

Wey and Arun Canal is not a park but it is a beautiful place to go for a walk

It’s lovely to see the canal boats and at Christmas you can even go one to meet Father Christmas. Canal boat River Arun

All of the above places are dog friendly, although most of them do require your dog to be on the lead.

I hope you like my list and feel free to message me with your favourite place

I will be running autumn mini sessions in various locations over the next few weeks so feel free to get in touch or like my Facebook page Claire Wilders Photography

“The Wedding” what happened next? A photographers first wedding!

“The Wedding” what happened next? A photographers first wedding!

Photographing my first wedding at Leonardslee Garden, West Sussex

They say never mix business with friendships but I have to say this is the best thing I have done and I don’t regret it for a minute.

For more details on me photographing your wedding please head over to my wedding page

The background story

Holly asked me if I would photograph her wedding to Shiraz. Even though, she knew I wasn’t a wedding photographer. I had taken lots of photos of her daughter at school sports events and I also did her new daughters newborn photo session.  So, she knew what my photos were like and believed in me!.

Holly made it clear that she wanted to document the day and NOT spend all day posing for photos.  Everything would be very relaxed.  My first thought was “well that’s great but what does Shiraz want?”Maybe, he will hate my photos and will want everything.

The second panic came when they told me who some of their guests were and where the wedding was to be held.  Jason Roberts, the professional footballer, was best man and had flown in just for the wedding and Shiraz’s family had flown in from all over the world.  The venue was the absolutely stunning Leonardslee Gardens The low key garden party wedding was no longer low key!

 

 

However, they are the most relaxed couple I think I’ve ever met!!! Photographing their wedding was so relaxing! First of all, they’re both gorgeous so taking photos of them was easy and they were just so relaxed with each other that natural photos were just free flowing! Although their wedding was absolutely stunning and in such a lavish place, it really was just like a garden party!

The whole day was just relaxed from start to finish and everyone had a brilliant best time!!

 

Pre Wedding

Prior to the wedding Holly hung out with her bridesmaids, while Shiraz chatted to arriving guests and enjoyed the sunshine (in what had been a week of rain).

 

Children were able to run around on the lawn and guests relaxed on the patio.

The ceremony

The actual ceremony was gorgeous because Leonardslee Gardens has a beautiful little entrance hall where the ceremony can take place. With some seated guests and the rest looking down from the balcony.

 

As a guest, I was told to relax during the ceremony and watch the special moment. Although I still couldn’t help capturing a few photos.

Celebrating

The rest of the afternoon was about enjoying the day and helping the happy couple celebrate.

 

 

True to her word Holly only wanted a few official photos.   A short time was spent capturing the family together plus the obligatory confetti shot before heading off for some fun… In the way of a golf buggy!

 

Leonardslee Gardens is just stunning for the couples photos and it was great fun driving through the grounds on the golf buggy..(they even grabbed one of me en route)

 

Hollys priority for the day was spending time with the guests, so we only spent 15 minutes by the lake capturing some relaxed photos of the newley weds before heading back to the house for dinner.

 

 

After a bumpy, slightly worrying drive back up the hill, wondering if the golf buggies/drivers AKA Holly ( would make it) we were greeted by some very excited children.

Holy and Shiraz wanted speeches before food, which was a great idea because it meant everyone could relax.

It was then time for the group photo before heading off for an extremely delicious dinner!!

 

After catching up with friends over dinner the final photo of the day was to capture was the first dance.

My job was then finished and it was time to enjoy the rest of the evening.

 

I want to say a HUGE thank you to Holly and Shiraz for believing in me and allowing me to attend their wedding as both guest and photographer. It was an absolute pleasure!

What did Holly and Shiraz think…

“Claire is an incredible patient talented photographer.

We are honoured to have had her Photograph her first ever Wedding.

Claire you are a star and we can’t thank you enough for your photos which will last a lifetime of memories for us.

5 ⭐️”

So my verdict… would I recommend doing a friends wedding and how did it feeling photographing my first wedding?

Absolutely!!

Should you follow the advice of everyone else that says don’t do it?

NO! If you feel you’re ready go for it.

Do you need a second camera?

It would be handy to save swapping lenses but I made it work. I also had a back up card in my camera but if the camera went wrong I was stuffed. If I do weddings in the future I will definitely have another camera.

What would my tips be for photographing your first wedding?

Be clear on the expectations of both yourself and bridal party.

Follow your gut feeling.

Doing the wedding was terrifying but I am so glad I did it.

Research the venue.

Read up.

Have a list of photos you’d like. I was lucky with my bride and groom as they were so chilled and were happy with whatever I took.

Think about where you need to stand for the photos you want.

GOOD LUCK!

Photographing your first wedding!

Photographing your first wedding!

PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR FIRST WEDDING!

 

I constantly get asked…

“Do you photograph weddings?”

And my answer has always been…

“No, that’s WAY too much pressure! Imagine photographing the wedding and messing it up? That’s the brides day ruined…no memories…I couldn’t take that kind of pressure.

Then there is the other side from “Wedding Photographers” who will tell you…

“Don’t do it unless you are totally ready!!”

“Everyone thinks they can be a photographer but it’s way harder to be a wedding photographer!”

“Never photograph a friends wedding, that’s just asking for trouble!!”

“You need to get training before you even attempt it!”

“Being a guest and a photographer at the wedding never works”

So, I never did…

Until now!

Why did I photograph my first wedding?

A wonderful friend of mine was getting married and asked ME to be her photographer! Of course I said no. Was she crazy… I couldn’t do that! But she insisted…

“It’s a relaxed affair, think of it as a garden party! I just want to capture something from the day and have some memories of my friends and family coming together to help me celebrate.”

Ok, I could photograph a party, that’s ok! So we agreed, I would attend the wedding as a friend but also take my camera (let’s be honest, we ALL take our camera to the wedding anyway!)

And that was it.

I was going to photograph their wedding at Leonardslee Gardens in Horsham, West Sussex!! I had already done their baby photos and that went like a dream, so I knew Holly was just as relaxed as they came!

Holly never changed! She was absolutely wonderful and put ME at ease! I was so nervous before the day but that was all me, nothing but calm came from my wonderful bride to be!

So what happened next….. You’ll have to wait until the next blog to find out what it’s like photographing your first wedding!  Wish me luck!

If you would like to visit my wedding page please click HERE

 

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