Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2018


The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize is the leading international photographic portrait competition, celebrating and promoting the very best in contemporary portrait photography (their words, not mine!) This year I decided to enter. I had taken photos of my son when he had chickenpox, when I started to edit them I knew they had something special about them. He was itching and really uncomfortable and I think this was possibly his second or third bath of the day. Jacob is really use to me taking photos of him, he is also very natural in front of the camera, and this photo reflects that. It’s a very honest portrait of Jacob and how he was feeling in that moment.

Initially I assumed I hadn’t been successful with my entry, then I checked my spam and found a week old email informing me my image had got through the digital round and I was asked to get a print down to London for the judges to review. This news had me jumping around my garden, 4,462 images were entered into the competition and only 341 images made it to the print judging, mine was one of them.

Then self-doubt and panic snuck in, I needed to get my images printed and taken to London within four days. Luckily I used to work for an Art Publishing company, and one of my colleagues, Dave, set up a print company called Dot to Dot printing. I wanted to give the image the best chance to stand out and I trusted Dave and his team to do the best job. Which they did! Once I saw my image printedbig, I have to confess a little bit of confidence came back in. The print quality of the image was amazing.

It was a couple of weeks later while on holiday with my family, in a wet carpark at the base of Ullswater that I got the news that I had made it into the exhibition. Dancing around the Lake District with my family is one of those moments I will never forget. I am so proud to have my work exhibited in such a prestigious competition, not only that but it was a portrait of my little boy.  My son’s face will be hanging in the National portrait gallery!

The Taylor Wessing Photographic portrait prize will be at the National  Portrait Gallery from  the 18thof October – 29thof Jan 2019.

Faye and Charlie’s Festival Wedding at Hitchin Lavender Fields

Here is a quick look at some of the shots from Faye and Charlie’s super cool wedding at Hitchin Lavender Fields in June. I literally loved every second of it. So much hard work was put into pulling off this amazing day, and they did it with pure style! This wedding was so up my street, festival weddings are one of my favourite types to weddings to shoot. Maybe it takes me back to my Glastonbury days, who knows, Im just a sucker for Hay Bales and festoon lights!

Erica is a fantastic photographer. Beautifully creative shots, all thought through with care and imagination, so that the end result were pictures that really suited us, our personalities and the wedding vibe we were trying to create. A very calming presence in the run up to the day, super enthusiastic and not intrusive at all on our actual wedding day. Erica produced shots that showed everyone having such a great time, in a really natural setting. We’re very lucky to have found her! – Faye and Charlie

Alex and Angelo, Little Offley Wedding

Prepare your eyes for a burst of COLOUR! The Caribbean meets Little Offley in pure style. Yesterdays wedding was all sorts of wonderful. What’s more it had the personal touch of being set at Alex’s parents home. It was clear how hard they had all worked to make the day so special.
Thank you to Jo my second shooter who was fabulous, as always!

Congratulations Alex and Angelo, you lovely couple!

Jessie and Mike – Pies, Pints and Ceilidh Dancing

I can’t tell you how much I love Jessie and Mike. Jessie is my cousin and one of my best friends and I have been excited about her wedding to Mike before they even knew they were getting married. It lived up to my expectation and they pulled off this super cool chilled out wedding day in pure Jessie and Mike style! I love you both so much. xxxx

Daria and Sergey – Offley Place Wedding

What happens when a young beautiful Polish girl marries her handsome Russian mister? I’ll tell you what happens, a whole load of shots and an awesome party. Not every couple have the option to have all their family join them on their big day, and when your roots are international you find your close friends become your family. What was lovely to see at this wedding was how strong the bond was between Daria and Sergey’s friends. They are family and they helped these too celebrate their day in true style. A special shout out to the mums at this wedding, who not only had me smiling most of the day, but the pride and love their children had for them was pretty special!

Joanne and Gavin – De Vere Latimer Estate

I had a blast at Joanne and Gavin’s wedding on Friday. It was so much fun to capture even if it was a tad hot! Take note future couples, if you’re going to take a little trip during your first dance, go big or go home! These two pulled it off like masters from strictly, straight back into their dance, no one really noticed.

The couple in the castle.

I’ll set the scene. I’m on holiday, the first as a family of four. My 4 month old daughter is strapped to the front of me, and I’m walking (ok struggling) up St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall. In the corner of my eye I see a couple, set aside from the rest of the crowd in a secluded corner on the outside of the castle, which overlooks the beautiful Cornish coast. They were having a cuddle, and you could tell just from that cuddle that something pretty special had just happened between them. Now I wasn’t certain at this point that my assumptions were right but the thought that I had just strolled (struggled) passed a couple getting engaged in such a beautiful place did two things to me. Firstly, I went all goosepimpley (this seems to be my default reaction to all things truly wonderful, I often get them at weddings) and secondly I instantly felt a bit gutted. Gutted that in a different ‘sliding doors’ kind of world, I would have been walking 2 mins slower and actually seen this couple getting engaged, and had my hands free and my camera ready to capture the moment. Instead my hands and head were busy in mum mode and I was quickly refocused on my son who kept running off and doing impromptu shows….on the edge of rocks!
The moment passed however, as I crouched down to talk to my son about safety, running off and ‘when is a good time for a show’ I heard my husband mutter ‘congratulations’. I spun around as quick as I could to see it was the couple from the corner and they had asked my husband to take a photo of them on their phone as they HAD just got engaged.
I would not let the moment pass again. I quickly stripped myself of all things ‘baby’ grabbed my camera and rushed to the couple. ‘Please let me take your photo’….
And they did.

Lucy and Evan, Wedding photography at Three Lakes, Ware

This summer has been pretty wet, so as soon as Lucy and Evan told me of their plans to get married outside in September, I crossed my fingers and started praying to the weather gods. I think it did some good as the sun shone brightly on this lovely couple and also gave us a beautiful sun set as a little bonus.

Lucy looked stunning, a real life snow white and Evan couldn’t keep the smile of his face.

Congratulations guys, here are a few shots from the day

Location – Three Lakes, Ware

Alice and Rob, Wrest Park Wedding

What can I say, this wedding was one of my all time favourites. Alice and Rob got married at the beautiful Wrest Park, a venue that made my job effortless (well almost) and a couple that beamed with happiness, the perfect mix! A huge congratulations to you both, sorry you have over 700 images coming your way, I just couldn’t edit them down any more than this!!

Mark and Sarah wedding at Putteridge Bury

Here are some shoots from the lovely Mark and Sarah’s wedding and have a read of these very kind words they had to say about me……”On Saturday 6th August Erica Hawkings captured our special day in the most amazing way. From the early morning stress to the perfect first dance Erica was there making sure we have memories from every moment of our day, Erica is so professional and so friendly, we couldnt of asked for a better photographer or friend to spend the day with. We had a blast and Erica’s photos are so breathe taking, she captured moments we missed, we would highly recommend her to anyone. Mark & Sarah”

Thanks guys!

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