Sunday, 27 December 2009

Emma and Chris become Mr and Mrs at Matfen Hall

Matfen Hall is a fantastic place for a wedding...expecially winter weddings due to the space your guests have indoors to mingle...and the HUGE Christmas Tree! Also if the weather is mild, like it was on Emma and Chris's big day, you dont need to venture too far outside to get some awesome photos.

I was accompanied by the lovely and talented Julie Tinton and we had a great time. We started in the room where the wedding breakfast was to be held. Matfen Hall are so organised and had the tables all set well in advance which gave us a headstart photographing the details.

Emma had chosen a tightly packed red rose and berry bouquet. Perfect for a Christmas wedding don't you think? The Wedding Co-ordinator told us that Emma loves all the sparkle so I made sure the Christmas Tree made an appearance on this shot.

Next it was off to find the Groom and his Best Men. Having 2 best men is becoming popular and Chris chose his brother and his best friend to stand next to him on this important day. They were very relaxed and lots of fun and, even though it was December, the weather was really mild and we got some really great outdoor shots of boys being boys!

We then ventured inside to be told that the cake had arrived...ooooh yum yum! Emma and Chris had designed the cake themselves to fit in with the winter theme and I thought it was really pretty.

It was then time to find the Bride in the Bridal Suite. Now, another reason Matfen Hall is a wonderful place is the Bridal Suite. It's large, very comfortable but but above all else the light is amazing. More about this later....for now let me introduce the dress!

And the bridesmaids who wore the most stunning dark green dresses.

And finally the beautuful Bride with a very helpful, attentive Mum who was at hand to keep Emma calm and make sure she looked at her best.

We had a moment to capture Emma with her Bridesmaids

and her Dad.

The next thing we knew Emma and Chris were saying their vows. The Registrars don't usually allow photographers to use flash so it was assuring to know my Nikon professional kit can cope very easily in these dark conditions. I captured some lovely moments between these two lovebirds and their family and friends were so excited to welcome the new Mr and Mrs Donnelly.

I then whisked the couple off for some lovely romantic portraits outside, on the magificent staircase and then back to the Bridal Suite. The sun was setting and a lovely golden light was flooding their room and it was perfect for indoor portraits.

We ended their session with a beautiful portrait of Emma at the window.

Then it was outside into the gorgeous sunset for some 'fun' formal shots.

The light faded so it was back indoors for some serious mingling...and drinking of course! I put the long lens on, stepped back and caught some lovely candid shots of the guests. Everyone was having such a good time and before we knew it dinner was being called and the receiving line was well and truly underway and then one of my favourite parts of the day....the speeches. All three speeches were very funny and full of emotion. I usually shed a tear at this part so it's a good job I have a huge camera in front of my face!

And there endeth 2009 for me. It's been a truly unbelievable year and I can honestly say I've loved every single wedding and I've been booked by the nicest couples a photographer could wish for.

I would like to wish everyone I've met this year a happy 2010. May you acheive all you strive for and receive all the happiness in the world. And thank you x

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Courtney's Mum wanted some photos for Xmas pressies and unfortunately the first time we tried to shoot this lovely, happy little girl the heavens literally opened! However we still got some great stuff and then I finished off the following week.

Courtney loves The Wizards of Waverley Plave and hates spiders!

Kay and Rick

Kay and Rick chose Backworth Hall as the spot to celebrate their wedding and it turned out to be perfect for them! It was a chilly but very bright winters day and Kay looked every inch the Ice Princess in white with a furry bolero. Guests has travelled from far and wide for this beautiful Christmas wedding and it was very clear they were all having a great time!

I just loved their choice of wedding transport - a VW Campervan! It's always lovely when couples choose something a little out of the ordinary to personalise their wedding day. Just wait until you see the button bouquet one of my 2011 brides is planning! That will be a first!

Here is a selection from Kay and Rick's day. They are currently on a fantastic honeymoon in Goa and I am only a little envious!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

15 Top Tips for Brides (and Grooms of course!)

Here are some of my top tips for getting the best out of your wedding photography.

1. Give some thought to who you really want on the group shots. Remember that a long list of group shots can take a long time and you might want to be doing other things instead of posing! Try to choose your immediate family only, the wedding party and maybe a big group shot of everyone. During the day I always try to capture every guest in a more candid style.

2. If you are having group shots at the church, make sure your guests know this and don’t leave for the pub or reception venue! (This is VERY common!)

3. I like to take the Bride and Groom away for some ‘alone time’ after the group shots. This is a special time as it allows you to relax and spend some very romantic time together as husband and wife for the first time. This maybe something simple like sneaking off around the corner or even driving to a location that is special to you both. Please factor at least 45 mins to your day for this session.

4. Keep reapplying your make up during the day to look your best in your photos!

5. During bridal preparations try to limit the number of people in your room to keep things as stress free as possible and have everything arranged ready so you are not looking for items at the last minute. Having all your bits and pieces handy also helps me get some great detail shots.

6. If you would like some bridal portraits then plan to be ready an hour before you are due to leave. This is a lovely time for some photos with your Mum or other special ladies who are helping you get ready.

7. Assign someone to keep your room tidy. When I am shooting the bride getting ready a nice tidy room is so much better. Who wants mess on their wedding photos? Also if you are getting ready in the Bridal Suite it’s a good idea to make sure the venue tidy it ready for your return later.

8. Eat during the morning and have plenty to drink (but not too much champagne!). It’s easy to forget to eat and drink during the excitement in the morning but it’s not uncommon for Brides to feel light headed during the service and, although it makes for a great photo, we don’t want you flaking out!

9. Don’t forget to tell me if there are any special items that you would like me to capture. Are you wearing something that has a family connection? Has your husband to be sent you a gift? Small details make great album images and also great memories for you.

10. Don’t be afraid of being yourself and showing emotion during the speeches or ceremony. Just let the laughter and tears flow freely. I might also be in tears but I will try my best to capture it all for you! This is the same on the dance floor – get that dress swishing about and really go for it - you will love those photos!

11. During your ceremony and first dance try to really look into each others eyes and let me capture the sparks!

12. Try to prepare your guests and tell them not to hide from the camera. I am there to document your day and you don’t want lots of photos of people covering their faces or hiding behind someone else!

13. During the speeches, I might remove tall napkins, table numbers or anything else that obstructs my view. I really want to take the best photos I can and this sometimes requires some slight adjustments.

14. It’s supposed to be lucky if it rains on your wedding day but it can play havoc with plans for photos! So together we will plan a backup if it should rain so all eventualities are covered but don’t forget photos with brollies look really cool!

15. Tell your ushers and bridesmaids beforehand that they will probably be called upon to help arrange some group shots….and find people!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

2010 Update

2010 is shaping up to be a very exiting year.....starting with Luke and Alice's Langley Castle wedding in January followed by my Siren Sessions (which were sold out in days!!!). I am very much looking forward to all my 2010 weddings that will take me to some new venues like Crathorne Hall, Danby Castle and Jesmond Dene House. I also have a wedding in Gretna Green and will make a return to much loved venues like Eslington Villa, Horton Grange and Rushpool Hall .

Later in the year I am going to cook up an amazing Cherish the Dress Special offer which I know 2009 and 2010 brides will be very interested in. There are so many great locations in this corner of the land that are just crying out for a bride....or two!! I am also looking forward to some portrait sessions....maybe baby sessions with 2009 couples?? Come on you lot - get a move on!

All this means that I am now fully booked for weddings right up to October 2010 and currently only taking booking from November 2010. Phew!! So if you are planning a winter wedding next year you need to be talking to me and getting your date secured.

I've revised my prices slightly and made a few small changes to the packages but I think you'll still find that I am excellent value for money.

I am going to post my review of 2009 later this month with some of my favourite images so pop back soon.

Karen x

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


I photographed Erin a few weeks back at her home and there was much bribery going on! She wasn't really in them mood for being photographed but this just added to the challenge and I loved the results as they were so natural and totally unposed.

Roisin's First Christmas

I have photographed Roisin a few times before but this time it was for her very first Christmas card! These photos were taken in Roisin's nursery as I knew the light was great in there and I could use all natural light. We also had some fun with my tutu which quite often makes an appearance at my photos with little ladies!