I do

When I first started studying photography 5 years ago I never dreamt I would eventually build a business and end up in wedding photography. As my skills and knowledge increased my business developed organically with more and more couples asking me to capture the memories of their special day. After enjoying the Royal Wedding today I was inspired to look through my personal top ten wedding photos I have taken in the last 4 years.

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My first experience of wedding photography was at my brother’s wedding. Seeing him marry the love of his life was one of the happiest moments of my life, and being able to capture all the memories of the day made it even more special. I love this photo because it sums up the joy and humour of the day, everybody had a whale of a time! After being photographer, bridesmaid and mother to a 2 year old at the time I decided I could take on any challenge after this!

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I’ve chosen this photo from Victoria and Chris’s wedding celebration at Alnwick Treehouse because it’s so magical. The lighting is amazing and it’s almost as if they are suspended in mid-air on the rope bridge. It really is a stunning wedding venue.

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This photo from Marc and Carys’s wedding really stands out for me because it’s so striking, I’ve never seen one like it. As the speeches were taking place in the Winter Gardens of Beamish Hall I noticed the lighting backdrop behind the DJ, quickly changed my settings and captured this amazing silhouette. I think Carys looks like a Disney princess on this one!

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As well as the usual ‘posed’ photos, one of my favourite things about wedding photography is capturing unscripted moments like this. These kind of ‘behind the scenes shots’ are what most of the guests don’t get to see. This shot is from Samantha and Scott’s wedding at Walworth Hall and the snow certainly created a really stunning backdrop, and the little bridesmaids coped with it admirably!

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I have covered several weddings at Beamish Hall, and this is one of my favourite photos with this gorgeous building as a backdrop. Helen and Craig had an intimate ceremony which I felt very privileged to be part of. The couple didn’t need any direction or posing, it’s clear to see they are very much in love. This was one bride who literally didn’t stop smiling all day!

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With all the preparations and work that go into organising a wedding, its sometimes easy to forget the real reason for the ceremony – uniting two people in love. This is one of my favourite wedding photos because it captures the raw emotion of the moment. It’s not about being perfectly posed or stood on ceremony. It was a real pleasure to be part of Paul and Bev’s unusual and quirky day, and Durham Masonic Hall is a photographer’s dream.

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A lot of couples like to include ‘getting ready’ shots in their wedding package, and they really add another dimension to the photography. It’s lovely to be part of all the excitement as everyone is making their last minute changes and it’s nice that the groom will get to see all the things that went on as the bride was getting ready. I love this shot from Chanelle and James’s wedding as the bride was helping her son get into his waistcoat. The sense of anticipation and excitement is there and the touching moment between mother and son is lovely to see.

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To be fair it was difficult to take a bad photo of Amy and James! The bride and groom were happy and relaxed all day and the backdrop at The Black Horse at Beamish was fantastic. Everything about the day was classy yet also chilled out.

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You can’t beat the moment when the bride and groom see each other for the first time. I was so happy with this shot as it’s clear how happy Gary and Natasha are, and it was great to see her being given away by her son. Linden Hall is a spectacular wedding venue and they sure know how to throw a reception party there!

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Beverly and Joel were the first couple to ask me to be their wedding photographer, and in a way are responsible for setting me off on this journey! Bev had seen some of my work while I was studying at Newcastle College and although I had no proper experience of weddings at the time she was brave enough to trust me with the responsibility of documenting her big day. I researched the venue well in advance and as a great coincidence, Alnwick Garden had been decorated in a fairy tale theme. This ornate gate matches Bev’s dress perfectly.

What I have learnt in my 4 years of wedding photography is that no two ceremonies are the same. I am always on the look out for what makes a great shot, and make sure I cover all the activity that’s going on. The day goes by in a whirlwind for the bride and groom and I love the fact that my photos give them a lasting memory of everything that went on – even the stuff they were too busy to see!

If you are interested in my wedding photography packages you can contact me at helentaylorphotos@gmail.com

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Linden Loves

I’m using today’s snow day to get back on track with my wedding blogs. Gary and Natasha’s ceremony took place in November last year at the beautiful Northumberland venue of Linden Hall. As usual, I had visited the venue several weeks prior in order to get the lay of the land and scope out the photo opportunities. I was also able to have a very useful chat with the on site wedding co-ordinator.

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The ceremony took place in an attic room which had lovely period features like beams and original windows, the red carpet gave a spectacular entrance too.

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I captured some wonderful moments during the ceremony, of the happy couple and their friends and family.

It’s always a real pleasure to be part of such a special day, and to document how happy the bride and groom are.

The weather was fantastic so it was great to be able to get the family group photos done in the grounds of the venue. I am increasingly finding that couples are wanting to move away from the ‘posed’ family shots, but I really think they’re an important part of the day and don’t have to be stuffy or formal. They also make great gifts for your guests!

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Linden Hall makes a stunning backdrop for any wedding photography, and I can’t praise the staff highly enough, it was a smoothly run professional day because of them.

The evening reception continued in spectacular style and Gary and Natasha’s guests were treated to a whole host of entertainment. I’ve never seen a dance floor like this one!

As usual, I am always on the look out for all of the spontaneous moments that make up the magic of a wedding day. It’s probably my favourite aspect of weddings, because the expressions are genuine, and the moments are unscripted.

2018 is already proving to be a busy year of weddings for me, so if you are interested in one of my packages please get in touch. You can contact me at helentaylorphotos@gmail.com or via my Facebook page.

Off Grid

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February might be a strange time of year to go on a countryside break, especially with the current bad weather. But for some reason I decided now was the time to take a few days in a wooden cabin with a log burner, just in time for half term. These little huts at Grantley in Yorkshire were so cute and the setting was extremely peaceful. My son was amazed at how many stars were visible at night too, with the lack of street lighting there.

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The first part of our break was a trip to Brimham Rocks. It’s one of my favourite places in the UK, the landscape is breathtaking, and at times totally surreal. It’s a photographer’s paradise. This rock is named ‘The Dancing Bear’ for obvious reasons.

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Although the weather was a little chilly we still had a good stomp about and it was surprisingly busy. I’ve been here several times but never at winter and it did put a different spin on the environment. As my son declared “One false move and we’re goners!”

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I love the rugged beauty of this site, the rocks have been eroded into fantastic shapes and there are so many to take in.

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The view from the visitor centre is like a real life Jurassic Park, and when the snow descended it looked even more dramatic. If you fancy a trip to Brimham Rocks (and I highly recommend you do, you can find out more at Brimham Rocks

It’s £6 to park but from that point on you’re free to roam around as much as you like, there’s a kiosk for hot drinks and a gift shop for the usual National Trust stuff.

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This was my son’s first trip here and he definitely wants to go back in summer to have a better look around, and apparently he wants a better picnic next time too!

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When the snow really set in it seemed like we’d have to call it a day and head back to our cabin to warm up.

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So we headed back, only for the snow to stop abruptly. So I decided to take a trip to Hackfall Woods, which was also nearby. This is a fab spot, if you want to find out more then check out Hackfall Woods

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This woodland walk was beautiful and there were loads of abandoned follies which were great fun to spot.

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If you’re in this neck of the woods (literally) then it’s a great walk, you can either do the long or short route. Or, if you’re like me, get lost almost immediately and wander around for an hour before ending up in a sheep’s field. It’s not everybody’s idea of a great holiday but it keeps me happy!

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Articles of Brexit

Thought Foundation’s latest exhibition is entitled ‘Articles of Brexit’ and displays a range of creative responses to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. I chose to submit twelve of my double exposure photographs to be part of this exhibition, and I was really happy to see how they have fitted in to the display as a whole.

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Whichever side of the issue you stand on, I think we can all agree that these are uncertain times and the exhibition at the Thought Foundation has been a great opportunity for examining Brexit and it’s impact on the UK.

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It was really encouraging for me to see how my works fitted into a group themed exhibition and I thought the overall look and feel of the exhibition was really effective.

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I created these photographs using a Holga 135BC film camera. It is known as a ‘Toy Camera’’ because it is completely plastic, even the lens is plastic. The double exposures were created completely in camera, with no photoshop editing involved. They say “the camera never lies’, but you can make it bend the truth sometimes. I took these images in my local home and work environment so they have a lot of personal meaning to me.

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Thursday 23rd June 2016 was the day Britain was turned upside down. The result of the Brexit Referendum took many of us by surprise, and meant that nothing would be the same again. The run up to the vote proved to be a divisive and confusing time with a widening split developing. This division spread from a national to local level, even to the point where households were split down the middle by opinion. The campaigns from both sides seemed muddled and unclear on any hard facts. This sense of ambivalence does not seem to have subsided, as Brexit becomes a reality rather than an abstract concept.

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I have chosen these images to represent Britain during Brexit because they reflect our divided nation. But if you look closer at these photographs you will see that it is not a clear split down the middle – the edges are blurred and the two sides are not exact mirror images. It is still unclear what each side really stands for and where they overlap on common ground.

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The exhibition continues to the end of November so if you haven’t been in yet then there’s still time to pay a visit to the Thought Foundation at Birtley. Also, on display are Leanne Pearce Billinghurt’s stunning portraits of the four main political players in the Brexit campaign – these are well worth seeing in person, and don’t forget to get a selfie with Jezza!

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Beautiful Beamish

Beamish Hall is fantastic venue for weddings and I was really glad to return there last month for the wedding of Sarah and Barry. The couple had chosen a full day package which meant I could capture images of the bridal party getting ready on the morning.

 

Having this extra time meant I was also able to pop down to the venue and get shots of the groom and his family awaiting the bride’s arrival. It was great to see and document the excitement and anticipation in both locations.

 

As usual I created a mixture of traditional shots with more documentary style footage. I really like the ‘fly on the wall’ effect and being able to capture memories for my clients. For example, I really like this candid shot of the bridesmaids and mother of the bride having one last check in the mirror before they entered the ceremony. It’s the kind of thing the bride and groom may not see in the whirlwind of the day.

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The ceremony took place in the Shafto room which is a beautiful traditional setting, and the reception venue, the Monboucher Suite, was set out in a very classic way which complemented the colour scheme chosen by the couple.

 

 

Although it was quite a windy day the weather was kind to us so thankfully I could get the formal group shots taken outside the venue. There are some lovely quirky features around Beamish Hall which make wedding photos even more special.

 

It was a real pleasure to be part of these celebrations and I’m looking forward to returning to Beamish Hall next year when I will be covering the wedding of Jessica and Chris.

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I’m taking bookings for 2018 now and the calendar is already beginning to fill up. If you are interested in my wedding photography please get in touch by email helentaylorphotos@gmail.com or via my Facebook page.

Treetop Romance

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Alnwick Garden and Treehouse are such magical locations, so it was a real pleasure to cover the wedding celebrations of Victoria and Chris there over the summer. This is the second time I have documented a wedding at the Treehouse so it was great to return to the venue.

Like many of us, Victoria and Chris didn’t feel comfortable with overly posed or choreographed photos, which is why I opted for a more documentary style with their photography. You need to be super observant and one the ball to keep alert for all of the photo opportunities like these ones above. But I love the challenge of this journalistic style, and I think the results are genuine and give a true reflection of the day.

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My favourite photo is this one above of Victoria showing off her new wedding ring, it’s a very touching moment and something you can’t orchestrate the same way in a posed shot.

That said, the Treehouse is a visually stunning venue and you can’t ignore some of the great features there as amazing backdrops. Victoria and Chris were especially pleased with their photos on the rope bridge, which they couldn’t decide resembled an Ewok village or something from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves!

As usual, I always make sure I capture all of the little details that make up the atmosphere of the day. The wedding cake echoed their ceremony at Disney Land and the lego theme for the table decorations was right up my street!

If you’re interested in booking your wedding photography with me please get in touch, 2018 is already filling up fast! You can contact me at helentaylorphotos@gmail.com or via my Facebook page 🙂

There are always flowers…

…for those who want to see them. So said the artist Henri Matisse. Or, to quote that other great thinker, Ferris Bueller; “life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while you might miss it.”

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Today for me was a day to literally stop and smell the roses. The weather has been glorious today and on a trip to Alnwick Garden, after my son had finished jumping in all the fountains, I had a lovely time just pottering around taking photos of flowers.

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Thankfully the place is chock full of pokestops so Beck didn’t mind being dragged round the ornamental garden, which was in full bloom.

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I go here quite a lot at different times of year and there’s always something new to see.

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One thing I love doing is bee spotting, slightly less glamorous than bird spotting I’ll grant you. I just love how fluffy they are when you see them up close

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I’ve started printmaking recently and I think as I spot natural shapes and lines they will give me a lot of inspiration for designs.

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It was literally a riot of colour today, and a great place to enjoy the sunshine.

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I’ve done several weddings in this venue and it really is a photographer’s paradise with all the quirky features and stunning backdrops.

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