Christchurch and Crown Inn, Harrogate Wedding Photography - Emily & Simon

Simon and Emily chose the beautiful Christchurch on the Stray to get married, and then onto the Crown Hotel in the evening.  Having worked in the Hotel Industry around Harrogate for a number of years, Simon knew the staff and you could see just how much he appreciated the attention given to weddings at The Crown.  You'd think when planning a wedding for August that you'd be fairly guaranteed a beautiful sunny hot day.  However the British weather has never been predictable, and you cannot presume anything!

The reason I mention the weather is the torrential downpour that happened just as Emily and Simon stepped out of the Church.  I mean I've not seen rain like it!  It absolutely lashed it down for about 20 minutes.  Emily and Simon took it completely in their stride though, took the umbrellas and just stood there smiling.  Guests however scattered far and wide as the rain came bouncing off the headstones surrounding the church, I have to say it was rather amusing to watch as people cowered under shared umbrella.  Having water sealed cameras helps in situations like this I can tell you!  As does having a change of clothes in the car!

I've said this many times about choosing a documentary wedding photographer, but you could see it in Emily and Simon's faces as the rain came pouring down.  No worry about fitting in hundreds of formals, no concern about a 2 hour portrait shoot, just rolling with the day and whatever challenges may come.  They knew that their photographs would reflect the exact experience they had on the day, not a glammed up "cover all blemishes" photographers representation of the day, but something real that would conjure up real memories.  I always love how my couples can just be actually present on their wedding day and not worrying about fitting photographs in.


Reception : Crown Hotel Harrogate

Flowers : Regal Florists

Wedding Dress : Bradgate Brides

Makeup Artist : Bonita B Studios

DJ's : S & S Mobile DJ's

Car Hire : Truly Scrumptious Cars

Our first year with Juliette

"Yep, your waters have definitely broken"

It was those six words; uttered in a waiting room at the hospital on the morning of the 29th December 2013, that finally cemented the realisation that we were going to have a new little life to contend with in the coming hours.

It's a little hard to comprehend at first, but the whirlwind that follows just drags you along with it.  A whirlwind of desperate lows (no sleep for at least 5 weeks) to euphoric highs (first smile and laugh) that continues on a daily basis.  Just when you think you've cracked it there's a new challenge to overcome.

Whilst it is harder than you can ever imagine at the start, I can safely say this year has been the most rewarding of my life. To see both myself and Ruth grow and adapt into parenthood, from questioning and googling every tiny little decision, to eventually just trusting our instincts has been brilliant.

The best thing is just watching in wide eyed wonderment at little Juliette learning and changing right before our eyes.  Safe to say I've taken enough photos to fill hundreds of my wedding albums, but below are some of my favourites.

The images here have been taken with a whole host of different cameras and lenses, but they have all been edited with Kirk Mastin's Ilford B&W Presets for Lightroom

Pure Documentary Approach to Wedding Photography

One of the most difficult and anxious things for anyone in a creative field to do is to specialise.  By planting your flag in a specific genre or style of work and run the risk of narrowing the number of clients that would be seeking their services.  It's why you see so many photographers listing about 50 genres on their website(weddings/portraits/animals/corporate/commercial/editorial/newborn/childrens/party/landscape photographer available to shoot anything you could possibly think of)   You never know who might be looking at your website right?  Hell, I've been guilty of it myself way too many times.  You get one enquiry about shooting dogs, and before you know it you're down a rabbit hole of trying to create a pricing structure and a portfolio for future dogs shoots "just in case".  But that does you and your clients a disservice. 

With my latest rebrand I decided to plant my flag firmly in the documentary approach to wedding photography and hope to transition the other aspects of my business over to this documentary approach in the coming years.  By never specialising in anything, you never become a master in anything.  But by specialising you become the exact thing somebody is looking for and make it an unquestionably easy decision for someone to hire you.  Wouldn't life be much simpler if there was a perfect match for every service we wanted.  No cutting on features, no compromises, just exactly what you wanted when you first started looking.

Wentbridge House Wedding Photography - Sam & Rachel

What this has allowed me to do is concentrate solely on one genre of photography and hone my craft into something that will speak volumes to the right couple.  The best service I give, and when I'm in my element is when a couple truly believes in my approach to documenting their wedding, and just allows me to get on with how I work, no showy portraits, no massive long shot lists, no stress on the couple being dragged from pillar to post for certain signature shots.  I've found this approach frees my couples up on their wedding day (which is stressful enough without a photographer moving you all over the place) to just take it all in as the day goes by.  My love of documentary photography goes right back to when I first picked up a camera, so much so my friends would actively get annoyed when I told them to not look directly at me when I was taking photos.  I wanted to capture the moments, not just a grip and grin facing the camera. 

In my opinion couples should just be able to enjoy their day completely unencumbered by photography.  But whether it's external pressures or being unclear on the variety of photography available, they usually end up compromising on what they want because they feel the "have to" do certain things.  It's my one frustration with weddings in general, there's a lot of junk and custom that comes with a wedding "just because that's how it is" when it really doesn't have to be that way.

Emily & Simon

Don't want any formal photos?  Then don't!  Want to see your husband before the ceremony?  Then do!  Everyone is so wrapped up in the wedding machine, that it becomes a competition to keep up with the Jones and do everything that's expected of you as opposed to what you want deep down.  This mindset comes from my own wedding where I wish we'd had less formal shots and spent more time actually spending time with people.  But you have to have formals right?

As I always try to reinforce when I meet prospective couples; there's a photographer out there for everyone, you just have to know what you want from your photography and go out and find them.  But don't compromise in what you want, don't go with a Jack of all Trades that's just there for a paycheque.  Go for someone that believes in their approach to your wedding and will give you everything you hoped for.

What I can offer is a 100% stress free (from the photographer) experience where you're completely free to enjoy your day without worrying about your photography.  Then the finished images will reflect how wrapped up you were enjoying your day, and less how stressed you were as Uncle Jim was nowhere to be seen during your 34th Family Formal.