New studio space for Kim Hawkins Photography

After two and a half years in business, I decided that it was time I had a comfortable and friendly space to meet with couples when they contacted me about their wedding photography. It also needed to be used as a viewing studio, both for that initial consulatation and for couples post-wedding, viewing their images and choosing albums. There needed to be room for my sample albums to be on show and I needed a small kitchen area for making drinks.

Being just a few minutes drive from my home town, Stanstead Abbotts was where I looked. It’s a fairly small and picturesque village in Hertfordshire. The Greenwich meridian passes through the centre of the village, which is recorded by marker posts. The village was recorded in history when Queen Elizabeth I passed through on her way to London, from her father’s (Henry VIII)  hunting lodge in the adjoining village of Hunsdon. The River Lea flows alongside the village on its way to the east end of London, there is a towpath to Ware and Hertford in one direction and Hoddesdon and Broxbourne in the other. Either route will take you through rural landscapes with the opportunity to observe a variety of wildlife, especially birds.

The local industry has always been malt production. Many years ago, it was found that the fertile soil in Hertfordshire produced huge quantities of high quality barley that could be turned into the finest malt. The Hertfordshire grain was sold at a premium at market. Packhorses were used for moving the grain from the farmland to the malting towns of Hertford, Ware and Stanstead Abbotts sited along the River Lea. Their strategic location between the fertile growing areas and London, combined with the benefit of a waterway directly into London led to a flourishing local malting industry. The malting industry sadly has declined over a long period until today just the one malting of French & Jupps remains in Stanstead Abbotts. Although many of the maltings have been demolished, some of the malting buildings still exist and are now divided into units. They are used to provide accommodation for small businesses - and it’s within The Maltings building itself where you will find my studio! After looking at a few of the available spaces, I chose the one with a beautiful vaulted ceiling, skylight window and oak beams around the room. I’ve made a few alterations to the original space (new floor, decorating) and it now looks exactly as I had envisioned it.

Here are some images finally, for those of you who’ve been asking to see it…

Abbie and Matt - Pre-wedding shoot in Leamington Spa

Having never visited Leamington Spa (the closest I’d got was going to the classic MG sportscar show in Coventry) when Abbie and Matt visited my new studio and booked me for their wedding at Tuddenham Mill, they asked if their pre-wedding shoot could take place in the Georgian city where they live…I said yes, why not? What a fantastic place - I was bowled over by the beautiful architecture and open spaces and with the autumnal colours, we were on to a winner!

Abbie and Matt are, quite frankly, totally mad and I was laughing so much at times it was hard to hold the camera - especially when we came to do the leapfrog shots! I’m so looking forwad to their wedding in December, not least because they’ve booked the photobooth too, which will be hilarious to witness, I’m sure! Here are some of the best images from our day out in Royal Leamington Spa…

Ashley and Ray - pre-wedding shoot in Southend

Ashley and Ray celebrate their civil partnership in January at the prestigious Mayfair Hotel in Piccadilly, London. In the meantime a couple of weekends ago,I met up with them in their hometown of Southend-on-Sea to get some rockin’ pre-wedding images. They had some locations in mind and also brought along some props - including an accordian, a mandolin, a ukelele and….a painting. You’ll understand when you see the photos!

After loads of shots on the beach, we made our way to their local pub, where I did some off-camera flash shots, which, with the decor of the pub and what the girls were wearing, makes the resulting images look almost Victorian! Love it!