Crikey! What an incredible year 2018 was.
I’ve driven from the banks of Loch Ness, to the wilds of Somerset, and everywhere inbetween. I’ve journeyed across the water, met some amazing new friends and hung out with some pretty cool old ones too. It has, without a shadow of a doubt, been an epic journey and masses of fun.
I’ve danced with some pretty nifty bridesmaids, drunk beer with excellent on form groomsmen and hugged mums, dads and aunties aplenty. I have adorned stick on tattoos, seen more private body parts then I care to remember, and have laughed my way through countless best men’s speeches.
I met my new favourite vicar (Dave) at Lou’s wedding at Yorebridge House, breathed a sigh of relief as Wharfedale Grange finally opened its’ doors, shot more family and maternity stuff than I’ve ever done, made more wedding films than ever and finally got round to launching my branding and commercial site, F-Stop Brand Photography. I also had the opportunity to shoot an intimate wedding for a gorgeous couple and their family at St Gemma’s Hospice which will stay with me forever.
I’ve hung out with DJ GQ til 4am, meeting Trevor Nelson (who never gets any older) in the green room of the Apollo. And I swapped all my Nikon, Fuji and Canon gear to switch to Sony. The future is here.
I made a fool of myself (along with my buddy Vics) on the Wedding Vibe, and watched as many of my old couples had babies and embraced their new life as parents.
I also dragged the Tea-Boy (aka Ian Wallace) on his first big adventure on a long haul flight to China to shoot the beautiful Yiren and Sean’s wedding at the Shanghai Yacht Club. Yes he brought wine gums. He pointed out there was a distinct lack of Yorkshire Tea with milk.
I wrote a contentious article for photographers that went viral (never have so many loved and hated me in the same breath), and engaged lots of photographers who trusted me to mentor them and their businesses. I actually love helping people forge their own path and I hope I can continue to inspire them to go the extra mile.
A huge thank you to all of my incredible clients and their wonderful friends and families who put their trust in me to capture some amazing memories for them. I feel truly blessed to have such an incredible, whirlwind, creative job that has me travelling hundreds of miles around the British Isles and Europe for a living. It never ceases to amaze me that this is my actual job. And thank god, cos I’m not sure I could do anything else.
A big shout out to Vics who puts up with my snoring on our trips, and lets me know when I’m being too ridiculous or loud. High fives to Lee Allen and the Tea Boy for capturing video with me this year, and ARJ who lets me know when I’m being a massive lunatic. To all my adopted family and friends who feed me, ply me with booze, look after the fluffy boy and deal with my tearaway teenager when I’m working – you are a pretty amazing bunch and I have no idea what I’d do without you all.
So 2018… you were a goddamn livewire and I would not have it any other way. Roll on 2019!
Here’s just a few of my favourite shots from the year. Or hit play at the top of the post to watch me in action!
UK wedding photographer, by Shelly Mantovani at Toast of Leeds. If you’re having a wedding in the future in the UK or elsewhere in the world, get in touch by visiting my photography website at www.toastofleeds.co.uk or you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. I photograph weddings across the UK in tipis, barns, country houses , iconic hotels, Industrial warehouses, town halls and cool city boozers . For more information and to check availability, contact me now.