central london

Photo of the Week 11 by Simon Cardwell

This week I would like to share with you a photograph taken at the Hall Garth Hotel in Darlington.

Unusually for a wedding taking place in the north east of England it featured a red London bus, an original routemaster.

For years I wanted to photograph a London Bus at a wedding, & they always eluded me. In the last year I have shot 2 of them, so true to life, no buses then two come along at the same time:

red london routemaster bus

Please click through to my main gallery to view more of my work.

Photo Of The Week 1 by Simon Cardwell

Hello & welcome to a new regular feature here on my blog. I thought it would be nice to share with you 1 photograph per week, every Friday, from my archive.

It gives me a chance to showcase the breadth of what i have stored up on hard drives from the last 12 years.

In that time I have shot hundreds of weddings & attended every sort of occasion you could imagine.


With that in mind I am going to take you back to 2011 & to a very special job I was very lucky to get. This wedding took place at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

From memory, the brie & groom told me if you are an OBE, MBE or a CBE your children are entitled to get married at St. Paul’s Cathedral. In this instance the groom’s father was a decorated member of the navy, so he took up the option of using this magnificent building for his wedding day.

I haven’t met another photographer that has shot in there up to now, which should give you an idea what a unique opportunity this was:

Kate & Dave_252.jpg

Stay tuned for the next photo in this new series next Friday, & each week after that. In the meantime you can have a look at more of my photos here.

Finally - a Red London Routemaster Bus to photograph by Simon Cardwell

I've always wanted to photograph a red London Routemaster Bus. 

I lived & worked in London for 12 years & never had a wedding job that included one. In my early years in the capital these original buses were still in use & I would regularly clamber up the stairs to the upper deck (not an easy feat for someone 6' 4" tall). 

Ironically the bus number 73 (on this bus) was one of the routes I regularly used for years, which was a nice personal touch. 

So with all that in mind I was surprised to find one at a wedding in Newton Aycliffe (not far from where I now live in my hometown of Darlington). The couple had not mentioned it in advance so it was a great surprise. 

I tried to get as many different photographs with the bus as I could. Some inside, some outside, some with the bridal party & some with just the bride & groom. 

Here they are I hope you like them:  

Are you getting married? Please contact us today to discuss your wedding photography. 

Wedding Photography - The Speeches by Simon Cardwell

As I have mentioned on the blog many time before, the speeches are one of my favourite parts of the wedding. 

It is an unguarded moment for most of the guests & allows me to get natural photographs that aren't always possible at other stages of the wedding: 

Essex Wedding Photographer
Hertfordshire Wedding Photographer
Simon Cardwell
Wedding Photographer London
Essex Wedding Photographer

If you are looking for a photographer with a natural & unobtrusive style, please contact me today to discuss your wedding. 

Wedding Photography at the Quality Hotel, Boldon by Simon Cardwell

This week I want to share with you some pictures from a recent wedding at the Quality Hotel in Boldon.

It is a venue I find myself working at several times a year, it is close to where my grandmother lived when I was growing up, so it's an area I like to return to whenever I can. 

Newcastle Wedding Photographer
Newcastle Wedding Photographer
Simon Cardwell wedding photographer
Newcastle Wedding Photographer

Please contact me today to discuss your wedding photography. 

what makes a good wedding speech? by Simon Cardwell

Have you ever given a speech at a wedding? Or do you have to give one at an upcoming wedding? For some this aspect of the day is very nerve wracking & can cause all kinds of anxiety in the build up to the day. 

Over the years I have seen every kind of speech from the brilliant, to the funny, awkward & slightly embarrassing. 

My advice is don't go too long or too short (10 minutes or so is probably about right) & don't load it up with jokes you found online. If you're making a speech you should know either the bride or groom very well, so you can't fail to be sincere, which is all you need to do. 


It is one of the key times of the wedding day for me as it allows me to get lots of good photographs of guests & family, with no one paying attention to me. So if the speeches are either very short or not very good, I end up with less photographs from that part of the day. 

Luckily at this wedding the speeches were firstly good, and secondly long enough to allow me to get a great range of photos of guests:

Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire
Simon Cardwell Photographer
Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire
Wedding Photographer Essex
Essex Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire
Wedding Photography Stevenage
Wedding Photography Stevenage
Wedding Photographer Hitchin
Wedding Photographer Hitchin Priory Hertfordshire
London Wedding Photography
Wedding Photographer Hitchin Priory Hertfordshire

If you are looking for a photographer for your wedding & would like to consider me, please contact me today to discuss further. 

Photo Fridays - A new weekly blog by Simon Cardwell

I've decided I will be sharing a photograph from my archive every Friday. 

It will be 1 photo at a time, selected from the hundreds of weddings I have shot over the last 9 years. 


The first photograph I have chosen to share with you is this one of 3 girls on a bouncy castle, it is from a wedding at Bede Tower in my hometown of Sunderland, taken in 2014. 

bouncy castle wedding

Is there a venue or area you would like to see featured on Photo Friday? Contact me today & let me know. 

Contemporary Wedding Photography - A Different Group Photograph by Simon Cardwell

You know how you often see the same group photos at weddings? You've seen them, staged photos with family & friends. I have several ways of trying to lighten up these sorts of photos, but it can get a little tricky sometimes. 

If you have read my blog before, you will know my style of work is largely unrehearsed & natural, however the posed group photos are an expected part of most wedding days. I always encourage the bridge & groom to take as many group photographs as they wish, even if they aren't bothered about them, family members almost always will be. 

At a recent wedding at Preston Park Museum I decided to try something completely different, this backdrop was just begging to be included & I decided to set up a seated group photograph outside:

wedding group photo

It was a small wedding so this was the entire wedding party (they had a larger gathering planned for the evening). 

How do you think it came out? Would you like to try a photo like this at your wedding? 

Preston Park weddings

Please contact me today to discuss your wedding photography. 

Wedding Photography at Chiswick Golf Club, West London by Simon Cardwell

Here is a small selection of photographs I took at a wedding in Chiswick last year. 

I dont shoot as many weddings in London as when I lived there full time, so it's always great get down there for a wedding when I can. 

Central London Weddings
Chiswick wedding photographer
Central London Weddings
Central London Wedding Photography
Chiswick Wedding Photography
Chiswick Wedding Photography
Ealing Wedding Photographer

Please contact me today to discuss your wedding photography. You can view more of my photographs here

Photographing a Wedding Evening Reception by Simon Cardwell

It's not often I stay to photograph the evening reception of a wedding, I typically leave not long after the first dance. So this was a rare opportunity to get some different photographs to what I usually come away with.

I adopt the same approach to an evening reception as I do to the rest of the wedding, I stand off & let people behave naturally & get the photographs that way, I very rarely pose anyone throughout the day. 

Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire
Simon Cardwell Weddings
Hitchin Priory weddings

Occasionally a posed photograph comes together naturally, and they always look a lot better than had I try to awkwardly interact & pose the picture myself: 

The Waterside Wedding Venue Hertfordshire
Stevenage Wedding Photographer

People often let their guard down on the evening (usually in part because the photographer has left): 

Stevenage Wedding Photographer
Ware Priory wedding photography

At this wedding I was there until the end of the evening reception, and a nice sequence of photographs came together for that moment: 

Essex Wedding Photographer
Simon Cardwell Photographer
Stanstead Bury Hertfordshire
Sopwell House Hertfordshire
Sopwell House Hertfordshire

You can view more of my work here & please contact me today if you wish to discuss your wedding photography. 

Mary Ellen Mark, March 20, 1940 - May 25, 2015 by Simon Cardwell

Going slightly off topic today, one of my all time favourite photographers, Mary Ellen Mark died this week in New York at the age of 75. 

I did a workshop with Mary in New York in 2009 & she was very gracious & generous with her time (unlike some other big name photographs I had attended workshops with) & for that I will always be grateful. 

london wedding photographer

She was one of the pillars of documentary photography in the 20th century, and while famous for longer term projects such as Twins or Falkland Road she also photographed on many film sets & shot countless magazine covers over the years. 

Some of her best portraits can be viewed here and in her fantastic book Seen Behind The Scene

central london wedding

She had a unique ability to gain the trust of her subjects very quickly & get intimate work as a result. She took pictures that went straight to your heart. 

simon cardwell photographer
“I don’t like gimmicky pictures; I’ve always hated them,” she told Lens. “I like pictures that are very clear and clean, whether you’re a great street photographer — somebody like Friedlander or Winogrand or Cartier-Bresson — or whether you’re a portraitist, like Irving Penn. Those pictures are very clean and simple. I like things that are real. So I think that some of the best ideas are things that aren’t so complicated.
Hunton Park Hertfordshire

As mentioned above I did a workshop with Mary back in 2009, based around the Halloween parade in Manhattan. It only lasted a few days but my memory of her is how she made time to speak to each attendee & gave her time very graciously, everyone was included equally no matter what their level of ability. I received a lovely letter from her a few weeks later & I have always held very fond memories of the experience.