Lizzie Churchill | Fashion & Wedding phototgrapher

2018: Round Up

I can’t describe how grateful I am for the year of work, travel, weddings, trips and friendships that manifested across 2018; it’s slightly overwhelming as I sit here and reminisce on the last 12 months. I’ve actually been SO busy, it’s taken me an extra month or so to get this post written and published for you all, but in all honesty, that’s a good thing and I’m thankful to be kept this busy. 


Entering the beginning of the year as a freelance photographer,  wedding bookings are usually the only ‘certain’ I have ahead of me and aside from them, everything else is just an unknown. My relationships with clients I’ve built over the years tend to bring in repeat work and bookings as I shot blog content, campaigns and look books; welcoming the excitement and anticipation of new relationships too, helping business build their brand image and identity as well as working with new models, stylists and fellow creatives to further push my own images, experience and knowledge, which this year, I certainly have done.


I feel like the body of work I’ve produced this year has been some of my best to date and I’m super excited and thankful to have worked and collaborated with the calibre of like minded people that make ‘work’ as exciting and inspiring as it is. Establishing a style and aesthetic for Ann’s Cottage and Sadie jewellery for a second year has been so rewarding and it’s incredible to hear that because of this, Ann’s Cottage have now approved another 6 shoots with me this year instead of the usual 2 so that we can really grow their imagery and presence. Working on my own shoots and projects has been a great benefit too, providing me with an outlet to test and experiment with new models as well as enable me to attract the right brand and clients to work with in the future.

W e d d i n g s

I’ve had a wonderful year of Weddings and engagement shoots that have seen me capturing beautiful couples all over Cornwall and into Devon too. The locations, decor, styling and weather have had an incredible impact on what I’ve produced so I’m super thankful to each couple for welcoming me in to share their intimate days with them and for having such great taste. It’s always amazing that as well as the fashion side of my photography, I’m able to work with the same like minded clients and direction within the wedding industry too; sharing my excitement with each couple over table decorations, florists I’d recommend and their love of the ocean and countryside that often brings so many people to Cornwall. It’s great to see the industry thriving down here and know that there are so many options available. 


As most of you will know, or at least be aware of, I also work alongside bloggers and other small business’s to create content for the ever competitive realm of social media - where to be noticed you require fresh imagery to share as you update your following daily; whether equine blogger, Cornish wellness brand, Ethical blogger or local beer and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with exactly these markets, producing headshots, product shots and promotional material for their sponsors or affiliates and it’s been so educational! The lifestyle photography element of my work also saw me on a yoga & swim retreat back in September where I attended and documented the retreat along with providing imagery of the swimsuits each guest was gifted with.

T r a v e l

As well as attending workshops and shooting all over Cornwall in the summer, certain brands have required me to head a little further afield. Working with my paddle-boarding club Wesup as we build their brand and image I was incredibly fortunate enough to travel with them to Montenegro as well as their centres in both Falmouth and Southampton. I also formed a very exciting new relationship with Venture sail this summer that had me living onboard Tall ship Johanna Lucretia in the Isles of Scilly AND getting flown out to the Canary Islands, sailing between Tenerife and La Gomera, to capture and document 36 meter Twister, sharing the lifestyle and routines on board as I travelled.


I’m so happy to be in the position I currently am within my job and the wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. As you can tell, I spend a lot of time outside working with fantastic creatives, all from within Cornwall which I guess will come as a surprise to many because…well “nothing happens in Cornwall’ ;)


So if you’d like to start up a conversation about how I can help with your business, whether you’d be looking to test with me, or discuss your wedding day, do please contact me here.


Lizzie 

x


Travel Diary: Isla Canarias


As most of you will have already seen, I’ve just spent the most incredible week sailing the Canary Islands with Venture Sail and my god, what an unforgettable experience it was.   


With a fleet of 10 ships covering the seas of the South West, Isles of Scilly, Caribbean, Canaries, Baltic’s,  France and  Faroe’s as well as the Arctic and Atlantic, Venture Sail really do offer an enviable amount of sailing expeditions for anyone interested in testing their sea legs. Having previously sailed and worked with Venture Sail back in August onboard Johanna Lucretia in the Isles of Scilly, I was fortunate enough to be invited back to tick off my second ship in their ever growing list to begin an adventure of a lifetime. So with 24 hours pirating experience in the bag, it was time to level-up, grab my passport and head off to the Canaries!


Here, I was glad to step into the 25ºc heat and head to Marina San Miguel to meet Twister the captain and crew and become familiarised with the area and ship. 


Sunday; we left San Miguel for our first day sailing and ended up setting the bar pretty high for the rest of the trip - all within 24 hours! 


Having only sailed once before I was excited to see Twister at full sail and encounter the speeds she was so well known for. What’s funny now is that what I’d deemed ‘tippy’ on this particular day was absolutely nothing compared to what we experienced on the Wednesday, but non-the-less we sailed 6 miles off coast and back with water coming in at the sides and a ‘heel’ that kicked our sea-legs into action whilst learning the ropes, and testing our sailing skills. It was then, just as I was discussing how tippy the ship was, Captain Yp suggested I harness up, climb the jib-boom-net and capture the ship ‘in action’ from the very very front. So of course, I did! - much to the concern of Anna below who also shared my concern for how ‘tippy’ our current situation was! It was great fun though and an amazing way to see the ship at full sail! Returning towards Los Cristianos we followed the magic 1,000 meter depth mark notoriously known for spotting whales as they feed and sailed right into a pod of seven Pilot whales! At this point I could barely believe what was happening having just had a tonne of ‘firsts’ thrown at me before this incredible moment then topped it all off. In hope to then see them a little closer AND capture some shots from the water, 3 of us then hopped into the ships dingy with first mate Julian (or Thor to Anna and I) and did a few laps of Twister to get those hero shots in full sun before all climbing back on board and taking the most refreshing dip in the sea. I mean, could this day seriously get any better? It turned out…YES. 


Mored off San Juan we all dried off, changed then had our first group outing to the nearest bar on the beach, watched the sun go down and sipped on the strongest cocktails known to man whilst further discussing the day. Back on board after dinner our conversation had turned to the ocean phosphorescence that commonly occurred in these waters; knowing they were present along the Helford in Cornwall, I was aware of the phenomenon but hadn’t actually seen it in person, and so with that I launched myself to the side of the ship only to be greeted with, I kid you not, glowing and flashing specs in the water below! As you can imagine it took all of 2.8 seconds before we’d all returned to swimwear and were diving in, disturbing and further illuminating the florescence around us under the clearest, most star filled sky I’d ever seen. 


The most unforgettable moment. I only wish I could have captured it but alas, it will have to remain a team Twister memory.

Monday - Wednesday we sailed to Valle Gran Rey, La Gomera, and stayed for two nights so that we had  full 24 hours on the Island before sailing further round to Playa Da Santiago for one last night pre Tenerife Crossing. It was another insane few days where the people, places and lifestyle continued to make a mark on me as I realised just how fortunate I was to be sailing in such a beautiful part of the world, surrounded by water and good souls. The rugged, raw and unforgiving landscaped of La Gomera fascinated me along with the lifestyles they had on an Island that felt like no where else I’d ever been; Its beauty was incredible — the colours, light, communities and entire environment just so unique and I was so glad to be experiencing it with the people I had surrounding me. People often say it’s like living in a bubble when you feel so cut off and secluded from the Norm, but it was much more than this to me, it was the best form of escapism I wasn’t aware existed.  In a situation where you send literally the entire waking day in the company of the same, like minded people it’s no doubt great relationships will be formed but having only spent two days together these people became like family. The ship became like a home and as a team we continually worked together sharing chores and duties as a community of our own. 


I was also surrounded by the sea, constantly. From 8:30am where we sat for breakfast each morning until we rolled into our beds at night, we were outside. ALL day. Fresh air and the sea; a fail-safe recipe for happiness right? My ‘blue mind’ was thoroughly nourished and bursting at the seams. 


My curiosity and adventure had also been nourished with a full day to explore the Island of La Gomera. We walked the town, hopped on a bus to The National Park, took in some INCREDIBLE views, lost sight of the horizon as the clouds came in level with us and managed to jump in (get rescued) by our hero blondes to explore San Sebastian after too. 


So Wednesday, we went in search for wind in what turned out to be the tippiest day of my LIFE and what an experience it was sailing along, up and down some pretty epic swell; I think we’d clocked 11 knots at one point before we reaaallllyyyy began to heel. It was during this ‘trip’ that Anna and I had decided our state of ‘panic’ whilst sailing would be determined by the actions of our extremely experienced and unflappable crew. It’s hard no to worry a little when your sailing experience is rock-bottom, water is rushing in, we’re sat at a comfortable 30-45º and traveling at 9 knots but when Nicole is sat READING, Julian is out on his chair and Benjamin’s flicking through a magazine on an unsupported bench we couldn’t have been in too much trouble and was certain we were all safe. When Julian put his chair away however, coffee mugs are flying, the boat was under water, the waves are devouring the ship and Nicole looks up to take photos and videos I had a feeling this was a little more extreme than we were hoping for. Having heard about their crossing to Tenerife from Amsterdam, I had 100% faith in the crew’s competence so continued to document and laugh in shock as we ploughed on through the infamous accelerated wind zone of the Canaries!


With our last full day and the realisation of heading back to ‘civilisation’ hanging heavy over me, I took every opportunity to absorb as much sea-life as possible and went for a post-breakfast dip before we set sail one last time. I wasn’t so sure I was ready for land again. With another 34 mile crossing and some decent wind half way between the Islands we had some great sailing again that kept the crew on their toes as well as some calm seas that meant Anna and I could climb one last time onto the boom-net, keep an eye out for dolphins and generally take in the sights and serenity as we hung above the ocean.


Once again we’d had another beautiful lunch prepared for us by the super talented (and funny) Chef René and if that wasn’t enough, he’d also been baking a farewell cake AND prepping for the Captains dinner; a beautiful ship-side bbq and spread crafted by past and current Twister Chefs - and it was perfect.


I honestly can’t describe how much fun I had this week, the amount of belly laughing that took place, the humour, jokes, stories and memories made were some pretty special moments and It wouldn’t have been the same had it not been for the team on Twister. It was an escape like no other that I didn’t realise I’d needed so much until I was there living it. Thanks to Jo for inviting me, Yp who made it all happen and ‘got it right’ so very often, Anna for being my roomie, side-kick and all round partner-in-crime, Julian & Marloes for being the best blonde rescue team and crew, Ben & Gawel for your many funny conversations and help and of course to our ship love-birds Nicole and Andreas who taught me so much.

So if anyone is looking for a sailing holiday, look no further. I myself will certainly be after another ‘fix’.


Yp, Anna, Julian, Marloes, Rene, Benjamin, Gawel, Andreas, Nicole, Nigel and Jan I can’t thank you all enough for being the best family of shipmates and for well and truly making Twister feel like home for the week. 


Lizzie


x


Yoga & wild swim retreat

As a fan of yoga, swimming and the beach it didn’t take me long to make a decision about joining Lauren on her Yoga & Wild Swim retreat (in partnership with MYMARINI) in September as a guest and photographer but I honestly wasn’t prepared for just how in love with all three I was. With an itinerary that would have us in the sea for 8am, morning and evening yoga practice, insane meals cooked for us three times a day and a group of the most wonderful ladies, it was a slight shock re-adjusting myself to my ‘normal’ routine after a few days and I only live 10 minutes from the retreat house! However, it wasn’t just the secluded location that took me away from the norm, it was the people I was around, the conversations we had, private shoreline to swim from, the quaint beaches we visited, the calm of our routine and above all our decision to be mindful. During our daily practice Lauren asked us to focus our energy and thoughts towards ‘looking after ourselves’, ‘balance’ and being ‘brave’. Not only did these three elements resonate with me on the retreat as we threw ourselves into the water each day,  nurturing our minds and bodies but they’ve become practices that have well and truly stuck with me since leaving. I often now remind myself these focus points and believe if we all consciously weave these thoughts into our daily routines we can only benefit from them.

So why a Yoga & Swim retreat? Well, I cannot think of a better way to promote and demonstrate improved wellbeing than to surround yourself with good company, wild swimming, a healthy diet and mindful yoga. I often speak about my love of the sea and how being in, on, or by the sea is like an escape and I’d never really thought about why that was. I guess I didn’t really think I needed a reason, it just always had been and always will be how I feel but during our retreat Lauren recommended a book that has well and truly amazed me; Blue Mind is an incredible body of scientific research that proves our mental and physical health is directly effected by the water.

“Water can give us energy, whether it’s hydraulic, hydration, the tonic effect of cold water splashed on the face, or the mental refreshment that comes from the gentle rhythmic sensation of hearing waves lapping a shore. We know instinctively that being by the water makes us healthier, happier, reduces stress and brings us peace.” - Wallace J. Nichols

Submerging myself into the sea at any given opportunity during this retreat, absorbing as much water therapy that I could I can genuinely say it was easier than I thought to jump in and embrace the cold - and my goodness it really does leave you feeling incredible after. On my first day with the retreat team we sat with chai tea and bliss ball post-afternoon swim and took the time to reflect on how it made us feel. ‘Invigorating’ was an immediate thought as well as ‘clear’ and ‘refreshed’.

However it isn’t just the water that can have a positive and healing effect on us which is why this retreat makes so much sense; yoga tied into our daily routine effortlessly too as we focused on ‘self-care’ and ‘balance’. It had been literally months since I’d last done a yoga class so I was really looking forward to checking in with my body and really stretching out (having had problems with my right elbow and wrist due to work (yup!)). This is where yoga became another saving grace for me as we balanced out our bodies working evenly through both sides. Lauren described the left side of our body as Ida nadi - the feminine, calm and lunar side with our right side being Pingala nadi - the masculine energy symbolised with the sun. During our class we attempted to bridge the gap between the two, encouraging both to work  together in harmony; and for myself in particular to give my masculine side a rest as the control, work and stress had cleary been too much. (arm issues on my right side!)

On my last evening I participated in Yoga Nidra, a form of yogic sleep which leaves you drifting just between being awake and well…asleep. A state in which the body is so completely relaxed you almost ‘drop out’ of consciousness as your body becomes so heavy and free you simply slip into the deepest know form of mediation and WHAT a strange sensation it was. I can’t really describe it other than ‘hovering’ above sleep but feeling so utterly relaxed I may as well have been - it’s a complete cleanse of any tension and worry!

With our minds clear and our bodies revitalised it was only fair that our guts were looked after too as our fuel and energy for the week - and boy, it did not disappoint! Joining us we had two top female chefs Jo & Tess who’s nutrition and flavour knowledge is outstanding. Everything was completely handmade from locally sourced, fresh fruit and veg which meant there was a constant mouth watering aroma from the kitchen as they worked throughout the day to provide us with breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as tea for our day trips and coffee on tap. We had soup, kitchari,  porridge, salads, polenta, fruits, fresh bread each morning….I could go on…but luckily I have photos too.

I cannot reccomend a week away like this enough and I genuinely believe everyone neeeeeeds this in their life. Since leaving our bubble (this is now what it’s known as) in the East Wing, I’ve realised how effective just a few days away from ‘life’ was for me. I’ve never felt as detached from everything as I did then which as crazy as that sounds, is true. We stayed in a house tucked away on the Helford, lived in a small group for a week, sat around the table together each day to eat, discuss and plan, travelled to quiet, isolated spots where we barely saw anyone and emerged ourselves in self-care. What’s not to love.

Thanks again SO much to Lauren, Tess, Jo and all of the incredible retreat-ers, I miss you all. x


Venture Sail

With a fleet of 8 ships, covering 11 destinations from Scotland to the Caribbean, incredible crew and the opportunity to book an entire ship, Venture Sail is the number one option for your next Voyage whether it’s on-board a Tall ship or a more modern yacht. A unique sailing holiday I was definitely keen to get involved in! As long as I’m in the water, on the water or can see it, it’s always a yes from me, so I was super excited to be invited to join the team; becoming a member of the crew on a trip around the Isles of Scilly

Tilly and I had an early start, boarding the Scillonian at 8am from Penzance to St Mary’s where we could then join Johanna Lucretia to test our sea legs and pirate skills, and I have to say, it was the most incredible way to tour the islands! Built in Belgium in 1945, this two masted, topsail schooner and has since had two refits and now has the facilities and technology (wifi) to cope with ‘modern life’ and the standards that come with it. Tilly and I experienced boat-life at the highest level (almost) and bunked up with the guys in crew quarters! Now, I’m small so this actually wasn’t too much of  problem and I was ready to embrace pirate life to the full but I have to say it was SMALL. Our shipmates Tay and Josh had top bunks which had actual head room, but on the bottom you could just about lay sideways in the foetal position. Definitely no option to starfish. The other guests had rooms that varied from much bigger bunks to a double room and between us all we shared two toilets/shower rooms on board as well as kitchen and dining table, so all in, we were set!

So what can you expect from a trip to the Islands? Well, once we’d arrived from the mainland, Tilly and I hopped on-board a small ferry to St Agnes for a brief lunch and little explore of the Island before Tay came to collect us on the tender. With life-jackets handed out, bags stowed away and a safety briefing from the captain, we set sail and headed around the Island. I then took the helm and guided us all away from the Island for the full sailing experience then handed back to the much more capable hands of the guys so we could safely moor up off Tresco for the night. Participation is fully encouraged on board so we all took turns in putting the sails up, tying the ropes, reading the charts and checking we were on course. We also enjoyed a few glasses of wine, sat back and enjoyed the view whilst sharing stories on the top deck before we headed below for our freshly prepared dinner and a beautiful guitar solo from Tay.

If anyone’s seen 50 first dates, then you’ll know about that end scene on the yacht? That’s exactly how I felt climbing up out of our crew hatch first thing in the morning to the most amazing calm and quiet waters after an…interesting nights sleep. I say interesting, I slept fine, eventually. It’s just the most strange experience hearing water constantly! Ahaha Having asked if it was possible to climb the mast and being told I absolutely could, it was only fair that I followed up on my request in the morning, so got all kitted up in my harness with camera in tow and jumped onto the rigging with Josh just ahead of me. I do actually really love heights but the last time I was up a mast (on the M5) I just sat there, being winched up; this time it required a bit more effort, co-ordination and a lot of attaching and detaching but was worth it for the view! 

Tilly and I then said our goodbyes and thank you’s before departing to Tresco Island then eventually back to Penzance! Our first stop on the island was Tresco Abbey Garden which has the most incredible collection of plants I’ve ever seen. It was just a never ending collection of colour, rare plants, pathways, walled gardens, palms, and stairways which once climbed had breathtaking views back over the gardens and Bay which framed our Tall ship perfectly! Having petted the local cat we found and gazed lovingly at the wild red squirrels that darted about and fed on little platforms we left the gardens and took a long walk round to The Flying Boat Bar & Bistro for some lunch before catching the ferry back to St Mary’s which after only a day of wandering the smaller Islands felt like a bustling city! I think the beauty of these Island and what made me well and truly fall in love was how quiet they were; utterly untouched and tranquil beaches, adorable cottages, palms and agapanthus everywhere and single tracks to guide you around with no cars - just bikes and golf buggies!

I honestly had the best time on the Islands that was only heightened by my experience on board an actual Tall Ship - just and incredible opportunity that I’m so grateful for and would 100% do again. In fact, I’m already looking to book my next trip to the Scilly’s and would jump at the chance to sail again!

Thank you Venture Sail, I hope to see you again soon!

Lizzie

x



Rebecca & Josh

This wedding was the first of a few this year where I get to capture the friends I grew up with and went to school with! Josh however, was not only in my primary school class but went to school camp and was in my secondary school tutor group with the usual suspects who I’ve seen many a times since too! A few years have obviously passed since then but it’s funny how the people you’ve known this long will forever remain as the ones that you always get on with, no matter how much time has passed between. I’ve known Rebecca just as long too - again, same schools and we both took Art together (although Bec’s being slightly younger). We also have the bond of both being twins; there was only three sets of us unique-beings at school and she was one of the others, the remaining pair have also had their weddings captured by me (Kate’s being tomorrow!) so it’s just Adam left now! ;)

As for the Wedding, I’m pretty sure it fell on one of the hottest days we’ve seen this year AND the same day England played the semi-final of the World Cup, so between the heat and the football there was a lot of people taking shade from the sun…..or just to sit and catch the game. We had a super calm morning with the girls before heading to Penryn Town Hall which was the most bright and ‘clean’ space for their ceremony. The incredible vintage busses brought the Bride, her Bridesmaids and Father to the church then took the majority of the Wedding guests to their reception which was held at Chycara. It’s only the second time I’ve shot a wedding here after the gorgeous Cathy and Anthony’s but was surprised to see how much it had changed and developed over the last few years with a bigger venue space, new decking area and a few additions to the garden and pond. With so much space available, Rebecca and Josh really utilised this so their guests could take welcome drinks outside to listen to the gorgeous Billie Alderman who was singing on the decking, as well as setting up multiple garden games in the grounds with ample seating too for those wanting to enjoy the views.

Inside, the Pimms bar and biscuits provided to be popular and can you believe that ALL the flowers were hand grown, picked and arranged by Josh’s super talented Mum! The planters at each end of the top table looked incredible and could at least be kept and continue to grow in the garden. With a colour pallet of white, pastel greens and blue, an amazing copper frame for guests to take album snaps and the most insane cake with macaroons, popcorn and salted caramel, the decorations and styling were definitely a well considered and thought out element of the day.

Post formal and group shots, the garden party style wedding continued as guests were able to line up for Posh Kebabs and personalised ice-cream from the trucks outside before sitting back inside for the speeches. With the sun slowly starting to set, the garden once again filled with everyone playing games, meandering, discussing the England win and participating in the occasional giant jenga session as I took the coupe aside for a few last images. I always think if the time allows for it (and the weather), that sunsets shots are a must-have to add to your wedding album - the light is incredible and it allows you to have more relaxed, informal images AND some time to yourselves again…just for a little while.

I honestly had the best day capturing this beautiful wedding and can’t thank Rebecca & Josh enough for having me; the bridesmaids were so so lovely and helpful, as were the rest of their friends and family and it really did feel like I was part of the entire day with them. I hope you enjoy reminiscing through your special day again and wish you both all the best for your future!

Lizzie

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