Victorian Themed SteamPunk Wedding at Wentbridge House

When Yvonne and Sean initially told me they were having a Steam Punk themed wedding I didn’t know what to expect so we sat down and went through the look and feel that they wanted from their wedding photographs. We got it right, and I’m writing this post while I wait for a sixty page Italian Story Book to be delivered. A wonderful slightly different wedding with a really fun couple at the totally fantastic Wentbridge House Hotel!

 

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Wentbridge House Wedding Photographer

I spend a lot of time at Wentbridge House, in fact I’ve shot twelve weddings here during 2015. I married my wife here over ten years ago and it’s always a pleasure to come back here and photograph two peoples special day, even more so that I’m recommended here. Today was no exception, wonderful weather, a big emphasis was the floral display and ‘natural’ style photographs. I’m pleased to say Mags and Robs were over the moon with their album!

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Bagden Hall Wedding Photographer

It’s been a few months since we last posted any blogs, but as the main wedding season is now behind us it’s time to catch up on a few wonderful weddings. Bagden Hall was the venue back in June this year for Zoe and Andy. Another fantastic wedding and a big thanks to Chris for his help second shooting on the day!

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Waterton Park Wedding Photography

We are well into our 2015 wedding season now and a regular venue for us this year is Waterton Park. Stunning views, great service and a wonderful bride and groom for us today. The wedding wasn’t until 3pm which did mean we had to pack quite a lot of phtoography into a short space of time. Chris my second shooter was with me today helping out with the candids. A great Beatles theme for the wedding too and a great help today from Sam Frost MUA (see our main website for her contact details)

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Rogerthorpe Manor Wedding Photographer

It’s been such a long time since I did any blog posts. Mainly due to being extremely busy with weddings but also with moving house and getting the new studio up and running. It’s also been far too long since I last visited Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel and also far too long since we had weather this good over Easter for the first of two back to back weddings with Keely and Daniel. I absolutely love the bridesmaids colours!

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Wentbridge House Wedding Photographer

I love Wentbridge House. The whole place has a wonderful buzz about it. I suppose for me this started nearly ten years ago when Tracy and I married and we held our reception there. The service, staff, food, hotel and grounds were fantastic then. Nothing was ever too much trouble and we were made to feel the most special people in the world. Roll forward ten years and the same still holds true. Only now I’m a recommended photographer at Wentbridge House Hotel helping to capture those special memories for other couples.

It’s always interesting to see if my views are shared with others and after last Fridays wedding with Catherine and Davie I had a telephone conversation with the brides mum. She’d called to thank me for my services and support on the day and we got talking about the venue. Interestingly she had also got married at Wentbridge House too and it was great to share both our views of which were exactly the same!

Another wonderful wedding at my favourite place.

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Monk Fryston Hall Wedding Photography

It seems a long time ago since I did a blog post update – far too long in fact, mainly due to being exceptionally busy shooting weddings. So what better than a fabulous wedding I shot with Chris (my second shooter) at Monk Fryston Hall in July last year. What made this wedding extra special for me was Vikki and Dave wer previous portrait clients of mine and so asked me to photograph their wedding for them. What a fabulous day and a wonderful fun couple!

 

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Ripley Castle Wedding Photographer

One of the most stunning venues in North Yorkshire the fabulous Ripley Castle was the setting for Rebecca and Simons wedding and what a day it was. For a Leeds Wedding Photographer it was the busiest weekend of the year with three back to back weddings over one weekend.

As a standard we offer full day coverage which is essential to capture every detail of the bride and grooms special day and today was no exception and on all three weddings this weekend I was joined by Chris my second shooter who handled the candid photographs and the ‘off camera’ antics as they happened during the day!

 

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Oulton Hall Wedding Photography – Leeds Wedding Photographer

I met Charlotte and Allan three times before their wedding as they were quite specific on the type of photographs they wanted. Moving away from traditional and wanting a more artistic approach to the photography. For a wedding photographer in Leeds that’s music to their ears. Certainly mine and so we planned the day and the locations carefully to ensure we could get everything that the happy couple wanted. Charlotte and Allan requested a second photographer for the day which is a great idea as it gives a greater perspective and different angle to the days proceedings.

I always seem to get great weather at Oulton Hall (near Rothwell), even so, it’s great to spend some time inside on the stairs, corridors etc as its one venue that you could possibly spend a whole day shooting in and not shoot the same thing twice.

 

 

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Chevin Country Park Hotel Wedding Photography Leeds

You can never tell at this time of year if it’s going to throw it down, be fantastic and sunny or just grey and slightly miserable. But as a wedding photographer in Leeds we are ready to cope with just about anything that can be thrown at us. So armed with brollys and raincoats just in case we set off to the Chevin Country Park Hotel (north of Leeds and Bradford) for Jay and Sarahs wedding.

We were providing full day coverage with Sarah and Jay requesting an additional second photographer to capture the day from a different perspective. One thing I won’t do as a wedding photographer in Leeds is just use ‘anyone’ to shoot second for me. Any second photographer I use must know how I shoot at wedding, must shoot in a similar style to me. They must understand more than just the basics about wedding photography. In fact, they must be a professional wedding photographer themselves.

The great thing about the Chevin Country Park Hotel is where it is situated right on the top of the valley looking towards Otley. What this means for us is that we can get an amazing array of different shots in different locations to give the bride and groom lots of images to choose from for their wedding album.

We had an amazing day with Sarah and Jay and we wish them a fantastic life together with daisy (the dog).

Oh and it didn’t rain :)

 

 

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Ladies Lunch at Wentbridge House

Martin Hillary Photography are recommended photographers at Wentbridge House and when they got in touch with us and asked if we wanted to give a talk on photography at an up and coming Ladies Lunch we were delighted. The date is the 6th March, the time is 12:00pm. The menu looks mouth watering to say the least and anyone who attends is sure to be in for a fantastic time with good service, good food and of course some interesting conversation! This is going to sell out fast so in order to secure your place please follow this link:

http://www.wentbridgehouse.co.uk/events/view/ladies-lunch-photography/

We hope to see you on the 6th March and if you have any questions you would like answering regarding your photography  then please feel free to ask!

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Selby and York Wedding Photographer at Hazlewood Castle

I love Hazlewood Castle, it has got everything you need for your wedding be it civil ceremony or church wedding. It’s got fabulous views, amazing interiors and service to match. What’s more as a Wakefield Wedding Photographer it isn’t too far to travel!

Todays wedding was a little different to normal, having teamed up with professional wedding co-ordinator Penny Jackson (www.penelopej.co.uk) as recommended photographer for all her clients we had planned the day with the bride and groom well in advance. What that means is that they can enjoy the day without being worried about any of the timings, being rushed around or indeed not having enough time to spend with their guests.

Bridal preparations started our day and following this it was time for a few photographs with the guys before the family only civil ceremony. Family groups followed and then a church blessing in the chapel on Hazlewood Castle grounds. Father Ian is fabulous and allowed us to get some superb photographs for Joanne and Adam to remember the day by. A cold January day meant that we were limited by how much daylight we had and as such we split the bride and groom photographs into a couple of smaller sessions. The first outside in the cold January sun (yes we had sun for some of the time) and then a later session indoors to show off some of the fabulous decor of the hotel.

 

 

 

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Wedding Photographer Rogerthorpe Manor – A Rainy Day Wedding!

Rain, yup – plenty of it. But as a Rogerthorpe Manor Wedding Photographer I always have a plan ‘B’ up my sleeve as lets face it, living in Yorkshire and as fab as our stunning county is, rain is a fact of life. Today started with bridal preparations and I met Veronica and all the bridesmaids in mid flow of hair, make up and general laughter! Veronica had chosen a fabulous purple colour scheme for her wedding (the same colour that Tracy and I had on ours) and I must say she had really planned everything in amazing detail! Her dress was absolutely stunning and really fitted the theme of her day well.

Leaving Veronica I headed up to Rogerthorpe Manor to meet the guys and my second photographer Paul who was meeting me at the venue. Having planned the day in advance with Veronica and Alex we knew the timings we were working to and after some fun photographs of the guys it was time for the ceremony itself. An emotional ceremony later and just as the newly weds walked back down the aisle the rain started. So we delayed the customary big group shot until later in the day and instead took Veronica and Alex around Rogerthorpe Manor and the bridal suite for some fabulous bridal photographs before daring to go outside between the showers for the group shots.

Another fabulous wedding which our typically British weather couldn’t spoil. Thank you Veronica and Alex for letting us spend the day with you!

 

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Wedding Galleries – Real or Fake?

As a Wakefield Wedding Photographer nothing upsets me more with so called ‘professional wedding photographers’ when they mislead the public or even worse potential brides and grooms and in this economic climate it seems to be happening more and more.

What I’m talking about is the use of portfolio or training images to try and sell the services of a new photographer or someone who has suddenly decided they are able to photograph weddings!

Let me clarify that a little further. We all need to start somewhere and if you’ve never shot a wedding before you need to be able to demonstrate you can  compose, expose and pose before taking a risk on a bride and groom who are spending money and putting trust in you to shoot their wedding. It’s not the £500 that they are paying the photographer that they can potentially loose, that goes without saying but the £20000 plus they are spending on the entire day when they won’t get a decent record of the events.

In the last few months I’ve seen several websites that all display similar images using the same ‘bride’. Wow, you may think, she’s got married several times! Unfortunately, it’s more than likely that the photographer has been on a course to learn the basics of wedding photography and used these training day images to put on their website to be able to sell their services. Now before I get inundated with emails let me state that I do not have a problem with portfolio images being used on websites. There is no such thing as the perfect photograph, we can all learn from others with portfolio / training days being ideal for this and although I shoot over 35 weddings a year I still have a budget for training to keep my skills and ideas up to date.

What I have a problem with is photographers passing these images off as photographs from a real wedding. If a photographer states these are images that are not shot at a real wedding then I’d firstly say great for being honest and then ask to see some real wedding photographs. Don’t do this and you are potentially setting yourself up for big disappointment when you see your own wedding images. If they aren’t showing real wedding photographs you should be asking yourself WHY they aren’t showing real wedding photographs.

Photographing a model who can pose, with time to set up reflectors, lighting is all very well and good when you have time to do so but ask ANY professional wedding photographer and he / she will tell you during a wedding your time with the bride and groom is limited and unless you’ve got people to help set all this up you won’t get results close to what you see on some of these portfolio shots.

If someone who charges you £500 to shoot your wedding shows images that look too good to be true, well you can guess what I’m going to say!  Yes, it probably is too good to be true. Good quality professional photographers who CAN shoot a wedding do charge a higher fee, after all, they have a living to make, up keep of equipment, insurance, advertising, premises, taxes etc.

On the other side of the coin, there are some extremely good photography trainers out there who will give a novice a good grounding and a seasoned pro new ideas. What they won’t do is provide the novice with experience on how to handle the unexpected. How to handle rain. How to pose a bride and groom who are vastly different sizes. Hopefully you get the picture!

Photographing weddings isn’t easy money like some would suggest and a number of professional wedding photographers I know have actually given up shooting weddings all together due to the stress involved. So, next time you see what look like amazing images, ASK the photographer where they were taken and ask to see some real images taken at a real wedding! Don’t gamble your wedding day and the only memories you will have of it on someone who can’t prove they can do they job you employed them to do.

I’m passionate about the wedding and photography industry and I like the majority of true professional photographers want to stop the standards in the industry slipping.  Several times this year I’ve been approached by newly married couples who want me to try and ‘fix’ their wedding photographs and sadly there isn’t much you can do after the day itself. Unfortunately though, you won’t know until after your wedding if you have hired the right person or not but there are things you can do. See previous work, ask for testimonials, check they carry professional insurance. If you are in any doubt – walk away!

I pride myself in showing only images from real weddings on my galleries so if you like my style of shooting you know you can expect this level of quality at your wedding!

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Woodlands Hotel Wedding Photographer – Leeds Wedding Photographer

How about a wedding in a fabulous boutique hotel with wonderful grounds and brilliant staff? Well as a Leeds Wedding Photographer that’s just what I photographed last weekend at Amy and Matthews wedding even if the weather gave us a bit of a roller coaster ride. It was fine during the bridal preps but once we got to church the heavens opened and it poured down – just when I started to photograph the guys. We all know you can’t tell what the weather is going to do so we always think up a plan ‘B’ just in case we don’t get outside and today it was using the conservatory area at Woodlands Hotel should we need to use it!

Luckily with the weather as it was no one waited outside the church prior to the ceremony which was just as well as Amy turned up early! After a quick walk from the car, it was time for the ceremony to begin. As is customary for me when I’m working with a second photographer (my good friend and Shropshire based professional wedding photographer Kim Shaw) the second photographer remains at the rear of the church whilst I photograph from the front providing two very different view points during the ceremony. Our minister today was fab! No other word for it and as far as wedding photography was concerned he was more than happy for me to stand where ever I needed to!

Ceremony over and a couple of quick bride and groom shots later it was time to go to Woodlands Hotel in Leeds and the sun shone! First off as is traditional for us is a big group shot with the whole of the wedding party before we work to ever smaller groups before finally spending some time with the bride and groom. Today we had two additional sessions with them. The first on the hotel staircase (as part of our signature bridal portrait images) and second a late night mini session outside the front of the hotel capturing a little late night romance.

I’d personally like to thank the staff of Woodlands Hotel as not only did they make the bride and groom feel welcome, they also made the photographers feel very at home too!

 

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Nikon D800 for Wedding Photography

It’s the most anticipated camera for Nikon users since the D700, it’s finally here, I’ve got my hands on one and now I’ve had it a while I thought it was about time to let you know if it is the holy grail of cameras for the wedding photographer. First off and lets get this out of the way, the image files it produces are large, no scrap that, they are huge. I shoot raw all the time (as most wedding photographers) and even compressed raw files come in at a staggering 45mb, so on an 8gb card you’re looking at around 100 shots! So if you are messing around with 2gb memory cards and small hard disk on your laptop or editing computer I would suggest you factor this into your costs as it will frustrate and annoy you from the word go. Not only that, if you are still using Lightroom 3 you will need to upgrade, so factor in another £65 for the upgrade to Lightroom 4. Oh and while you are at it those huge file sizes use a lot of processing power and are quite memory hungry. So, time for an upgrade to your editing machine?

Let’s just say my iMac using an i5 processor and 8gb of ram isn’t quick and whilst I was more than happy with my D700 and D3S files working at a reasonable speed I feel like I’m working in treacle at the moment, but that could in some respect be down to Lightroom 4 and look forward to a few interim releases to make it workable (hopefully before the wedding season is over). From what I am led to believe a new beta of Lightroom 4 shows significant speed increases, but I ain’t using any beta software on my live editing machine until it’s been proved and is in general release.

So why did I purchase one? Well to be honest it wasn’t for the megapixels and I do feel there could be a few too many for most wedding photographers for general shooting. After all do you really want to shoot 100 speeches photographs at 36 megapixels? On the other hand, you can seriously crop with this camera and still have more than enough pixels to play with. The negative effect unfortunately is that I do see the less advanced photographer scatter gun shooting and cropping later rather than getting it right in the camera! Shoot crap and sort it in Photoshop mentality! If however you were wanting to produce some stunning portraiture with a huge amount of detail and stick a six foot print on your wall then you can’t really go wrong. For someone moving to full frame from a DX camera, you can stick a DX lens on the front and still get 16 megapixels which is still a phenomenal amount to play with. Just make sure you are using quality glass!

The two images on this page were taken at a recent wedding. Shot at ISO 500 using a 70-200mm at 250th second to ensure the shutter speed was fast enough for the focal length it shows a huge amount of detail. The second image is a 100% crop from the original image and although it isn’t pin sharp we were shooting at ISO 500 so can be forgiven for a small amount of noise with that pixel count.

My main reason for purchase was the second card slot and my nervousness of not having one. As a wedding photographer (and fully insured too) I still do not want to risk my clients photographs by only having one card slot in camera. Prior to the D800 I was shooting with a D3S (with a 70-200mm attached) and a D700 with a 24-70mm attached as my main wedding cameras but increasingly I was finding myself so worried about the potential loss of images that I changed lenses on the D3S rather than use the D700 and it got less and less use. Having a memory card fail on me (not during a wedding I might add) also added to my fears! Not being able to warrant a second D3S, the D800 made an obvious choice.

So out and about in the field how does it perform? Well if you are used to using the D700 you will instantly feel at home with the layout and controls and you should just be able to pick it up and use it and thankfully Nikon haven’t gone down the road of sticking the metering control in the ridiculous place that it is on the D3S which was one of my biggest fears!

The D800 is a fraction lighter than the D700 but I would doubt you would notice the difference in real use. For the chimpers out there the rear display screen is slightly larger and brighter but for those who always shoot on manual – you probably won’t notice the difference. Images produced with the D800 with my 70-200mm are pin sharp and absolutely sublime certainly at lower ISO’s but I did find that my 24-70 didn’t produce as clearer image. A small amount of micro adjustment sorted it out. My ‘spare’ lens that sits in the camera bag is a 24-120 f4 Nikon and I’ve yet to get reasonable results with it. When it’s on a 12 megapixel camera it’s fine! The one thing you most have right is your technique – all them megapixels do show up sloppy camera skills – so beware and it wasn’t until I’d done several trial shoots and really got to grips with it that I used it for paid work.

One of the biggest things for wedding photographers is our ability to shoot in cold damp churches with only a candle for illumination and as such we need good high ISO performance. While the D800 might not be up to the quality of the D3S which lets admit is amazing it more than holds its own with the D700.  Of course, when you export from Lightroom you can also half the size of the D800 image and it will still be massive so any high ISO images looks significantly better anyway. So I’d say anyone worried about the ISO – don’t be. I’d quite happily shoot at 3200 ISO and still get VERY usable images.

So far the camera has performed at two weddings and it did fantastically although I have had it lock up on me twice with SD card errors – and I was using a recommended card from Sandisk. The images show rich detail, skin tones are accurate and colours are rich and vivid. However I would say to anyone getting one of these beasts – learn your technique and practice – lots, before taking it on paid work. The results are fabulous.

I will report back at the end of the season and give you an update on how it’s going. By that point you may be actually able to buy them in the shops!

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Nostell Priory Wedding Photography

Not far from me is one of the nicest venues I’ve had the pleasure to photograph at. A place I used to go to as a boy and now as a Wakefield Wedding Photographer todays venue was the wonderful Nostell Priory on the outskirts of Wakefield.

Before heading off to Nostell Priory I had arranged to meet Danielle at Wentbridge House for her bridal preparations. When I arrived the bubbly and pre-wedding celebrations were in full swing and once Danielle was in her dress we had plenty of time for some fabulous bridal portraits before heading off to meet Gordon and the boys on a very wet Friday lunchtime. Umbrellas at the ready and we still managed to get outside for some rather wet weather shots before Danielle arrived in the wedding car. I’d already spoken to the minister at the church and as there were two of us photographing today (myself and very good friend and professional wedding photographer Kim Shaw) I’d arranged to shoot from the front of the church and Kim remained at the back to shoot the candids and wonderful little expressions and emotions that filled the entire service.

Service finished and so was the rain (for a short time), so after a couple of shots at the church I asked all the guests to make their way up towards the mansion house for a big group shot on the balcony.

For a Nostell Priory Wedding Photographer there are so many places around the venue to take some fantastic photographs you could literally be there all day with the bride and groom and still not run out of things to shoot. However, it was time for the group shots first and once they were done we started the first of three small sessions of private photography time with the bride and groom.

Our last session was a few images for the first of what is going to be our fine art ‘signature’ series of photographs. I will be talking more about this in a future blog post but it’s all about true classical wedding romance – images that really take your breath away!

The whole day was an amazing experience and just seeing how Danielle and Gordon were together as a couple made it all the more special and I would like to thank them for choosing our services when looking for a wedding photographer and for being such great sports in the wet weather.

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Leeds Wedding Photographer – Chevin Country Park Hotel

As a Leeds Wedding Photographer we really do have our ups and downs with the weather and it seems every day I look out of the window it’s wet and every wedding I’ve photographed this year I’ve needed to pack the umbrellas, camera protectors and water proofs! (Not that I get many brides wanting to go splashing in puddles you understand but you never know). I do though seem to have reasonable luck with the weather but on Zoe and Toms wedding I had a feeling it was about to run out :(

Leeds Wedding Photographer

Preps under way at Zoes parents house, hair, makeup, dress, shoes all photographed, a few formals and bridal shots before heading off to the Chevin Country Park Hotel to meet Tom and get some ‘outside’ shots of the boys, which just as I arrived ended up being indoor shots! The rain bucketed down for around half an hour and then as if by magic the sun came out just as Zoe and the girls arrived and…… it stayed that way for the rest of the day!!!

Leeds Wedding Photographer

Following the ceremony we jumped in the car and headed up to ‘Surprise View’ over looking the valley for some arty shots before heading back to the Chevin Country Park Hotel for a few more intimate bride and groom shots near the lake. Whilst the wedding breakfast was taking place I put a quick slideshow together to leave running during the evening so any new guests just arriving could have a good idea of what happened earlier on during the day. I also set up some lighting near the spiral staircase and invited Zoe and Tom for a few more photographs with more of any ‘arty’ feel to them.

First dance photographed it was time to pack up and head home but I’d just like to thank a few people during the day who came up and complimented me on the wedding photography. As much as this is my job, it’s a job I love and only increases my enthusiasm when I see the emotion my work brings to others and the kind words that have been said!

Leeds Wedding Photographer

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Wedding Photographer Pontefract and Wakefield – Kingscroft Hotel

Another fab day, another wedding without rain (which is getting to become a habit that I do like) and and another great couple. Today we were at the Kingscroft Hotel in Pontefract. As a Wakefield Wedding photographer it is a  regular venue for me and one that I’m at around half a dozen times this year alone. Sarah and David had asked me to attend all day and so the proceedings started off with the bridal preps before meeting David and the groomsmen for a few informal photographs. Bridal preps are an especially important part of the day as we capture all the little details such as shoes, jewelry, perfume bottles, dress etc. These are all the little things that get forgotten about over time and although they won’t make a full page in the album, they can be included as small reminders of the most amazing day of the bride and grooms life together. It also helps especially if the bride and groom haven’t booked a pre-wedding shoot to know how I operate behind the camera before the ceremony itself.

Speaking of which….. was a VERY emotional affair which started off with tears from the groom as soon as he turned around and watched Sarah walk down the aisle. Big group shot, formals and dove release all took place following the ceremony and then it was time with the bride and groom for some fab images before the wedding breakfast.

We were hoping for a sunset this evening which always makes a great photograph on the helipad overlooking the valley. Unfortunately we only got grey sky, but at least it didn’t rain!

 

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Wedding Photography York – The Hospitium and Museum Gardens

You wouldn’t expect in the middle of a busy city to find a ruined abbey, superb gardens and a venue just made for wedding photography and as a wedding photographer in Wakefield it’s always a fantastic pleasure to travel a little further north and be a wedding photographer in York for the day.

Jenny and Chris had booked me for the entire day from the bridal preps, ceremony, formals and informal photographs up to and including the first dance. The Hospitium has two floors which makes it easy for the ceremony to be performed downstairs whilst the upstairs is being prepared for the wedding breakfast and as the grounds are open to the public during the day and to ensure Jenny and Chris had some fab photographs we did two photo sessions, the second later on in the day during the ‘golden hour’ when the light was just ‘perfect’.

Wedding Photography YorkWedding Photography YorkWedding Photography HospitiumYork Wedding Photographer

 

 

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