Epic Guide To Stirk House Wedding Photography
A detailed 2017 guide for Stirk House wedding photography. Useful for couples but also contains some tips for fellow wedding photographers.
I have been doing Stirk House wedding photography for as long as I have been a wedding photographer. One of my very first weddings was here at Stirk. Over the years I have developed an excellent reputation with the team, so much so that you will see my work regularly on their website and social media pages. When there is wedding open days I am likely to be there so you can also meet me should you wish to. Big shout out to Amanda, Danielle, Chelsea, Lucy plus everyone from Stirk House! Everyone knows just how much I love it there, even more so now that the main man Mr Dave is the master of ceremonies!
Here is a brief outline of what I am going to talk about in this detailed guide:
- The venue location
- Bridal suite and other rooms
- Ceremony room
- Your drinks reception
- Group photos
- Couple portraits
- Night time portraits
- That tree!
- Wedding breakfast
- After the speeches
- First dance & party time
- Bonus – tips for fellow wedding photographers shooting at Stirk House
Whilst this may sound silly the venue location plays an important part to a successful overall wedding. It is really easy to get to just off the A59. From my point of view it is close to where I am based in Skipton and it is a very easy drive to get there too. Some wedding venues are off the beaten track and can be hard to get to. Stirk is just off the main road, but you can never hear the main road anyway! Don’t worry about the roads not being gritted because it is a main transport route between Lancashire and Yorkshire. Stirk House has 22 acres of grounds for you to have a play in. Personally, I would love it if couples went all around the venue on a couples shoot with me but this doesn’t happen. Mainly because you have a fantastic bit of greenery just a stones throw from the front door. From a photographers point of view it is an easy venue to work within.
Bridal suite and other rooms:
The bridal suite is amazing. Really it is. Bonus tip: get this request booked in asap as the bridal suite gets booked up quick. If you can’t get in until after the last bride has checked out do let them know that you want to move into the bridal suite to finish getting ready and to put your dress on. This normally does happen anyway but it is worthwhile asking. The team are amazing and are super accommodating. The bridal suite has it’s very own dress hanger on the wall. Whilst this may sound odd there is not many venues that do this. There is even spaces on the wall for a couple of bridesmaids or flower girl dresses. I find it is a great place to get shots of your shoes too. When you open the doors you have your very own lounge area with a sofa and wall mounted TV. Step into the bedroom and there is a gorgeous bed with cracking views and a large en suite. It’s something else!
This particular post won’t have too many photos attached to it, as I have plenty of Stirk House wedding photography blog posts showing these off. However, this is more of a guide to help you out. The rest of the rooms where you can get ready in are all amazing too! Some of them are historical parts of the building and they have been tastefully decorated throughout. 2017 is also going to be the year that some of the rooms are getting an additional upgrade too. Yet, the rooms they have now are great for getting ready in! This really is a popular wedding venue and they are investing back into the venue even more.
When I shot my first wedding in this room I was blown away by how light and airy it is. Personally I think this is perfect. Imagine this, you walk down your stairs to the bar area and turn into the conservatory. The light from the windows guides you past the greenery and within a few moments you are due to make your entrance. As you walk down your aisle you see your guests faces beaming at you. There is candles on the floor, a lovely light cream carpet, maybe even fairy lights to help guide you. Then, there is your partner who turns around to greet you. It really is something else! From a photographers perspective it really is a dream because the light in that room is very good. Even in winter it bounces about lovely, sometimes giving off a warm glow if you have used the fairy lights.
Your drinks reception:
Cue Dave to hand over your first drink as a married couple. From here you are free to go either to the bar and lounge area (which is just being decorated) and fingers crossed you can get outside. It’s perfect outside because for the obligatory cold person (you know who this is) they can always huddle up under the heaters, if they ask nicely of course. From a photography point of view this is a great opportunity for me to get photos of your guests enjoying themselves. I’ll likely be asked to get some nice photos of small groups of friends, couples or families. Great! I love it when people want their photo taken like this. I have a little spot just 10 metres from where you will be having your drinks to take people. Even if someone is wearing heels this is easy peasy for them. Like I said earlier Stirk House wedding photography is a godsend for photographers.
If you know anything about me, have met me or even seen me at a wedding you will know that I can take charge during the group photos and get them done so efficiently that your guests aren’t stood about bored. There is also some fun to had to and I always say something along the lines of “if I take too long feel free to give me a slap” only one Nanna did once. It was hilarious. The group photos can put people off but not if you have a bit of fun with it. I have a really wide angle lens which I can get you a lovely group photo of everyone. From there it is simply a case of me directing who I need and where. We would work together before the wedding on this and I am likely to get names of the key people. Now, once the groups are done and we have your couple portraits in the bag we can always get some more if you want at some point later. As long as we have the time let’s do it. It’s your wedding day afterall!
There is a trend within the wedding photography community at the moment where people say on their website things like “I won’t dictate your day and that’s why I only take UP TO 5 group shots….” Oh….kayyyyy…. No photographer dictates your wedding day so that’s an odd comment. If you have the time then we can get a good amount of group shots in and likely what will happen is there will be extra ones decided on the day. Wedding photographers (not me!) do tend to have a whinge in the private facebook groups about doing group shots. I just don’t get it. They “can” be a stress. But that all depends on how you the photographer handles it. Me? I’m easy going and have a wicked personality. Have you met Dave yet? Well a lot of photographers ask him to gather people up for group photos. Not me.
Spoilt for choice! It is likely that we will walk down to the tree but just before there is a long distant view which will be used in the couple portraits. The tree makes for some great photos and so does the front of the main entrance. All of this is just a short walk from where you have been having your drinks and canopes. It’s such a great wedding venue for couples portraits. If the skies opened up then it really doesn’t take much to get back inside and try again later, as I have done numerous times.
Night time portraits:
Don’t even get me started on how amazing the night time portraits are at Stirk House. You will love them! At the front of the reception is the main entrance. Here is a great opportunity to get a shot of you both in the doorway lit up from behind. It’s a cool look and you will love it. Who would like me to do this with a really wide angle lens on a starry night? I’d love to do that, just need a starry night now! Also, don’t underestimate a sunset photo. The amount of times I have grabbed a sunset shot here has been remarkable. One of my favourite sunset shots was literally minutes after I finished the bride and groom portraits. I had Leonie and Danny just turn around and greatfully they hung on for a few minutes. We could see it forming and I got out my go to light and went for it. I had to get down and mucky as this amazing sunset overlooked the cark park of all places. It was hilarious and we were all thrilled with how it came out.
Stirk House has a tree that is something else and it is quickly becoming a favourite place for many couples to have a photo at night. One of the things I like to do for you is light you up under the tree and get the sparkles of the lights. I’ll have to put some examples below because not all photographers can do what I can do. When I learnt how to use off camera flash I obsessed over it, learnt as much as I could and the results are something which get me many bookings and referrals.
If you have gone into the main room and looked up you will see the abundance of light that room has to offer. Any Stirk House wedding photographer would love it in this room and I do too. If it does go dark outside in the winter months then all it needs is a pop of light. Personally I prefer to use off camera flash and it is a skill which not everyone can do well. Sometimes I use it just enough to lift the falling light levels. It really helps with this room being a big open space with white walls. Who is styling your room? Have a chat with Creative Events, they tend to style most of the weddings I shoot at Stirk House. Here you will have your speeches and cake cutting.
After the speeches:
Once the “formalities” are over it’s time to get the party started. Depending on what time of the year it is you can either go back outside or mingle in the bar and lounge area. Don’t be surprised if some of your wedding guests go to freshen up or have a power nap, this is normal at any wedding. If the light levels are still good then we could be looking at some golden hour photos and I may request a few minutes with you both if I think they will be worth it. Should the light levels be flat or the same as before then you just enjoy yourselves!
First dance and party time:
Back to the main room for your cake cut, first dance and party. There is a decent stage area for bands or DJ’s. I’ve also seen local DJ Rick Cropper set up in the corner of the room as the stage area was draped in fairy lights. It really is a versatile room! Hopefully that crazy aunt we all have would have been on the pop and ready to hit the dancefloor hard. As will be your friends and family as they dance the night away. With me being based in Skipton it isn’t a problem with me staying back to capture the dancefloor madness and the crazier the dancing the better. Selfies with myself are mandatory at this point. Weddings are about love and a right good knees up!
Bonus: tips for wedding photographers
Some couples might be reading this thinking “why is Paul giving out tips to his competition?” Well I truly believe that other photographers are colleagues and not competition. Personally I wish that this industry would be regulated too, but that is for a whole other blog post. If this is your first time doing Stirk House wedding photography then I’ve got some general tips for you below. There won’t be anything to do with camera settings in this part and if you are looking for tips on camera settings then please reconsider shooting someones wedding.
- In some of the rooms when getting ready there is a lot of backlight. Flash off camera helps here but do expect window blow out.
- You can get a yellow cast from the fairy lights so watch out for this on skin tones and look to correct this in post.
- Looking to get a big group shot of everyone? Get a really wide angle lens like 14mm to 20mm focal length.
- In the bar area it is a good tip to shoot with primes if you are not skilled in off camera flash. It is likely you will be shooting close to wide open with a high ISO due to the light positions.
- The shots of the tree at night. Use off camera flash. You can do a shot with high ISO but the tree comes out brighter than you may like. Combine a slow shutter with a short beam of light. Or a higher shutter to kill the ambient and keep the lights just as bokeh balls.
That really is it. As a regular Stirk House wedding photographer I can honestly say it is an easy venue to work in if you know your craft.
Couples, please do consider me to be your Stirk House wedding photographer. Thanks for reading this detailed guide.