Rioja Wine Scenery Photography - Late autumn in La Rioja, Spain

Rioja Wine Scenery Photography - Late autumn in La Rioja, Spain

Baking hot in summer and freezing cold in winter, the Rioja weather can batter the senses throughout the year. It’s a climate of contrasts over the seasons, months and sometimes even over a few hours. Very chilly mornings can turn into beautifully pleasant days. Beautifully pleasant mornings can turn into brutally hot afternoons. And so on and so forth.

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Ribera del Duero Wine photography - Bodegas Viña Mayor, Valladolid

Ribera del Duero Wine photography - Bodegas Viña Mayor, Valladolid

Viña Mayor winery asked me to make some portraits of its recently arrived winemaker, Almudena Alberca. The brief was for elegant, reasonably minimalist images that showed Almudena at work in the Quintanilla de Onésimo (Valladolid) winery in the heart of Ribera del Duero. It also wanted portraits of Almudena at itand also its Rueda winery - Caserío de Duero - an hour away in Villaverde de Medina (Valladolid).

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San Sebastian wedding photography: Lianna & Salvador

San Sebastian wedding photography: Lianna & Salvador

Some weddings are intensely private affairs conducted in front of a select few people - I shot one this year where only the couple, the judge and me were present. Others, meanwhile, take place in full public view. Lianna and Salvador’s wedding in San Sebastian was certainly in the latter camp - it was right on Zurriola beach in the height of summer.

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Toledo wedding photography: Brenda & Alberto, Hotel Valdepalacios, Torrico

Toledo wedding photography: Brenda & Alberto, Hotel Valdepalacios, Torrico

With so many cameras at a typical wedding it’s so important that my photographs are different from the others - otherwise what’s the point of hiring a professional photographer?

So, like at Brenda & Alberto’s beautiful wedding at Hotel Valdepalacios, Torrico (Toledo), I’m constantly looking for unique ways of showing what’s going on. I want images that no one else will have. And a simple way of getting them is to put my camera in places other people don’t.

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Commercial photography in northern Spain: Mantas Ezcaray, La Rioja

Commercial photography in northern Spain: Mantas Ezcaray, La Rioja

A first encounter with a Mantas Ezcaray blanket is very much a sensory experience: the wool is so soft it could be silk, the colours are bright and appealing but not garish and your hand practically disappears into the thick fibres. There’s an overwhelming desire just to wrap yourself up in it.

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Publicity and website photography in La Rioja and across Spain

Publicity and website photography in La Rioja and across Spain

One of the first and best things I did when I moved to La Rioja six years ago was to invest time and money in building a decent website. One that was simple but elegant and showed off my photography at its best. It was a shrewd investment for my website has brought in tons of work ever since.

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Wedding photography at Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

Wedding photography at Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

Frank Gehry’s spellbinding design attracts couples from all over the world to get married at Hotel Marqués de Riscal in the relatively small Basque village of Elciego, known until recently more for its wine than architecture.

With destination wedding photography, it’s important not only to show the personality of the couple but also of the location. So whereas with local weddings I’m always looking to show the relationship between the place and the couple, with destination weddings I’m looking to explain to viewers why Emma and Gareth chose this location above any other in the world to celebrate their marriage.

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Basque Country professional photography: Basque Cooking at Bodegas Valdemar, Oyón, Alava

Basque Country professional photography: Basque Cooking at Bodegas Valdemar, Oyón, Alava

Pedro Subijana, Martín Berasategui and Juan Mari Arzak are legendary Basque Country chefs that helped raise the region’s gastronomic profile to the stratosphere. In recent years they’ve been followed by a younger generation including Andoni Luis Aduriz and Elena Arzak. But who will be next?

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London wedding photographer: Emma & Gareth, Welsh Chapel, Borough, London

London wedding photographer: Emma & Gareth, Welsh Chapel, Borough, London

Emma and Gareth had already booked me for their major wedding celebration in Spain but they also needed a London wedding photographer to cover a private ceremony in the days beforehand.

Generally speaking I’m game for whatever fancy my couples have! By being flexible and able to tailor my offering to my clients’ needs I find myself in all sorts of interesting places. And that inspires me to really push myself and my photography.

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Same-sex wedding at Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

Same-sex wedding at Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego, Alava, Basque Country, Spain

Chen and Tony’s same sex wedding at Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Spain’s Basque Country was, simply put, a blast! So much thought and planning went in that on one level you thought nothing could go wrong. 

However, Chen’s family are from Malaysia while Tony’s from Ontario in Canada. And they had never met before! So that meant there was a special impossible-to-predict element that had everyone on tenterhooks in the days running up the the marriage.

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Elena & Matt: Destination wedding photography in Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain

Elena & Matt: Destination wedding photography in Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain

I’ve shot more destination weddings in La Rioja’s Echaurren Restaurant than anywhere else but this was the first one that I’ve done where the couple met in the building! Chefs Elena & Matt spent a number of months working in the kitchen of the 2 Michelin star restaurant and it was there that love blossomed. Perhaps it was something in the food?

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Wine photography: Grape harvest in Ribera del Duero, Toro & Rioja Alavesa, Spain

Wine photography: Grape harvest in Ribera del Duero, Toro & Rioja Alavesa, Spain

It’s human nature to prefer to buy something from someone you know rather than a complete stranger. That’s why Barceló, owners of Viña Mayor and Palacio wine brands, asked me to photograph the grape harvest in its Ribero del Duero, Toro and Rioja vineyards.

The brief was to capture images that show emotion, passion and sacrifice, amongst other things. They wanted to show something of the daily lives of those who work in the vineyards and the wineries.

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Begoña & Javier: Engagement photography in Portugalete, Bilbao, Basque Country

Begoña & Javier: Engagement photography in Portugalete, Bilbao, Basque Country

I like to arrange engagement photography sessions somewhere that’s special for the couple, not for me. Beautiful locations help to make beautiful photos, but I really won’t suggest a session in a cornfield unless at least one of the couple happens to be a farmer. Or at the Guggenheim museum unless they’re modern architects.

For me, engagement photography has to be about both the relationship between the couple and also with the location. Otherwise it makes no sense.

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Press Photographer La Rioja: The Wine Battle, Haro, La Rioja, Spain

Press Photographer La Rioja: The Wine Battle, Haro, La Rioja, Spain

Like last year, I started this press photography in La Rioja assignment by wondering whether it was a waste of wine but once again I found it hard not to be swept up by the spirit of the annual St Peter’s Day wine battle in Haro, La Rioja.

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Destination wedding: Vero & Carlos, Vil.la Sabat, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Destination wedding: Vero & Carlos, Vil.la Sabat, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

I’m not sure if this was a wedding or a party! Vero & Carlos had already got married the weekend before in a small family ceremony in Bodegas Tondonia, Haro, La Rioja. However since they live in Barcelona they wanted to hold a bash for their best friends in the beautiful gardens of nearby Vil.la Sabat, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Catalonia.

The key to good destination wedding photography is good planning. I find out all I can about a venue before leaving home and try to get there at least a day early.

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Wedding photography in San Sebastian: Spring photos on La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain

Wedding photography in San Sebastian: Spring photos on La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain

Street photography is an important way for me to keep my eye in as we head into the season of wedding photography in San Sebastian and La Concha beach is a brilliant place to do it. Though it wasn’t exactly beach weather, there’re always activities going on along this famous strip of sand… dog walking, surfing and some intrepid bathing.

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Food photography in Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja

Food photography in Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja

Food photography in Spain is one of the great perks of working in this country. There are 15 new dishes this year at Ezcaray’s two-Michelin star restaurant El Portal del Echaurren, and I’ve had the pleasure to photograph and then sample them! Chef Francis Paniego has continued with his theme of using out-of-fashion animal cuts in surprising and original ways. For example, the “razor clams” are actually pigs’ tendons.

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Commercial photography in Bilbao: Portraits of designer Alvaro Sordo at Restaurante Mina, Bilbao

Commercial photography in Bilbao: Portraits of designer Alvaro Sordo at Restaurante Mina, Bilbao

The brief for this commercial photography in Bilbao assignment immediately had me hooked! Alvaro Sordo is a top interior designer based in Galdakao, Bizkaia, Basque Country, just outside Bilbao. However, instead of asking me to produce images of commercial interiors and family homes he’s worked on, he wanted portraits that showed his professional approach with his clients. Portraits that transmit his philosophy of close working relationships, collaboration, communication, his personal integrity and sensitivity. Like me Alvaro knows that an excellent client relationship leads to fantastic results.

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Wedding photography in Haro, La Rioja: Bodegas Tondonia is a well-kept secret place to get married

Wedding photography in Haro, La Rioja: Bodegas Tondonia is a well-kept secret place to get married

Bodegas Tondonia produces some of Rioja's most prized wines. Last year, when Falstaff magazine sent me to photograph Restaurante Can Roca, Tondonia was among the wines they served at lunch afterwards. And here's the secret: its also a very special place for a destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja. You just have to ask nicely.

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Commercial photography La Rioja: Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain

Commercial photography La Rioja: Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain

The Echaurren gastronomic hotel in Ezcaray, La Rioja, has been in the same family for five generations, gradually building up a reputation as a very special place to eat and stay in northern Spain. But that doesn’t mean it rests on its laurels, as I found out on this commercial photography shoot.

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