This weekend the summer arrived in Derby! Across the UK millions of pale and pasty people momentarily glanced away from their smart phones and blinked in the unfamiliar glow of the sun. Thank heaven for anti-glare coatings eh?

Shorts and tan lines weren’t the only things that saw the light of day this weekend. Walking around the streets near our house you couldn’t miss the unmistakable aroma of burnt sausages. Yep, BBQ season is with us! Facebook was full of photos of the results of people’s al fresco cooking. We were certainly not immune from the barbeque bug.

The problem was that we didn’t have a charcoal barbie. We had a gas BBQ, and when it comes to the full outdoor dining experience, gas just doesn’t cut it for Anna. “It doesn’t taste right. It’s like grilling it. But outside.” It’s hard to argue with that logic. So, before we could have our first barbeque we had to go shopping.

First BBQ

Anna, her parents who were up for the day and Ellie headed out and returned mere hours later with a new barbeque! Anna and her dad put it together, and then I had it lit and cooking. There was never any question of anyone else cooking, obviously. Anna and I share the indoor cooking fairly equally. But when it comes to combining meat and fire there’s only one man for the job.

You can’t beat a sunny afternoon with a BBQ – it’s just such a happy feeling.

Before all of this, back on Friday evening, Mel and I met up with Ella and James for their pre-wedding shoot. It’s not long until their wedding – three weeks in fact! Their previous wedding photographer had unfortunately had to cancel on them, five weeks before the big day. Happily though I was available on their wedding date and very pleased to be able to help out.

We had a lot of laughs – particularly when Ella misinterpreted my instruction for a ‘T’ pose. But I’ll save all that for the pre-wedding shoot blog post!

The night was pretty much perfect for photography, ending with a beautiful sunset:

Derby pre-wedding shootGetting a shot like this requires a little bit of off-camera lighting magic. In this case I used a Westcott Rapidbox and a Canon 600ex-rt Speedlite controlled by a second unit on my camera. The softbox had to be held up at a slight angle to stop the light spilling too far forward and thus lighting more of the grass than I would like. Handily I’d brought an especially adaptable light stand with me. Here’s a pull-back shot of the setup, light stand included.

Behind the scenes on a pre-wedding shoot

The rest of the weekend was a mixture of family time, the French-Open (well done Stan!) and editing some engagement shoots, family shoots and a newborn shoot.

Derby engagement shootComing up on the blog this week I’m looking forward to sharing Kate and Jon’s engagement shoot at Allestree Park in Derby tomorrow (that’s them on the right here), a really special Photofilm from a wedding in Nottingham, some tips on how to take great photos of a wedding cake and then we’ll finish the week with a gorgeous wedding at Makeney Hall!

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