I’ve been desperate to share the photos since the day of the shoot, but didn’t want to spoil the surprise for when my book came out. So it gives me great pleasure to show you now, here is a guided tour of the photo shoot from behind the scenes.

Once upon a time

When the day of the photo shoot came round we couldn’t believe our luck, the weather was STUNNING! In fact the biggest concern was that our model would overheat, or have to be slathered in suntan lotion, not the look for a demure bride.

We started bright and early to get the most out of our day. Shooting three entire looks with just one makeup artist/hairstylist was going to be a big ask so Jen had already begun with the curlers before I had even thought about getting my camera out.

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We were really lucky to have such a fantastic location right in the heart of town, the publishers offices are in a townhouse in the centre of Lewes, and the gardens are nestled beneath Lewes castle, the three connecting gardens each have their own personality so were perfect for the three dresses. We set up camp in the flat at the top of the building which had stunning views out to the South Downs. The room I was given for the dresses was honestly bigger than my entire house (and possibly my garden too).

Gilda showing Ivana the mood board and explaining what look we were after for the first dress ‘Celeste’.

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Having never worked with professional models before I was REALLY impressed with natural Ivana was in front of the camera.

I’ve been on shoots before with trainee models and have had to arrange limbs and strut about making a prat of myself to illustrate how they need to pose, I don’t think I can ever go back.

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We were so lucky with the fit of the dresses, I was told to make them for a standard size 8-10 as we didn’t know until the day the actual model who would be sent for the shoot. We had a pile of bulldog clips, double sided tape and safety pins on hand but were fortunate not to need them.

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I got a bit carried away with taking pictures, but with with a model as gorgeous as this it’s hard not to.

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Jade was on an extended work experience with me on the week of the shoot so was there on set to lend a hand (not to mention running up and down the multiple flights of stairs with cups of tea and extra accessories).

Here she is catching some rays in a pair of lace shorts that she’d made in a workshop a few days earlier.

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A quick touch up, makeup was starting to melt in the heat.

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There was never just one camera on set!

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I think someone is enjoying themselves!

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We broke for lunch, and began setting up for our second scene. Ivana went went back into makeup and Jade and I prepared ‘Florence’ the second dress and all the accessories needed for the pictures.

A quick glance over Chris’s shoulder, work it baby…

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I was so happy to be able to use the mirror from my Grandmother’s vanity set in the shoot, it was the one item I asked for when she passed away and looked so perfect with the style of ‘Florence’, the most romantic of all the dresses from the book. I love that there will be a little reminder of her in my work forever.

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Just beautiful.

You’d never guess she’d just eaten a kebab for lunch (a girl after my own heart).

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The idea of a confetti shot seemed like a great idea, but was harder to achieve than we’d expected as in the enclosed space of the garden there wasn’t enough breeze to carry the petals into shot without getting stray limbs in the frame.

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At four o’clock Ivana was back in makeup for a retro eyes and low up-do for our third dress ‘Amelie’, whilst we set up the tea-party scene in the garden.

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Unfortunately time was against us by the third dress as the sun was getting a bit low and the shadows deeper, but with the help of a couple of tripods, grips and a bed sheet the light was angled back into the scene.

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That pile of treats was beginning to look very appealing…

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We had a great day, so lucky with the weather and such a fantastic team.

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And we got to eat the party rings!

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