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.

A recent wedding at Walworth Castle Hotel, Darlington, County Durham by Simon Cardwell

This week I would like to share with you a wedding from a few weeks ago at a venue I work at quite regularly. Walworth Castle is only a few miles outside of my hometown of Darlington & is somewhere I have been going since I was a child.

This is the room where the ceremony takes place, when I was younger I think this room was a bar:

Walworth Castle Hotel Darlington

When a picture like this presents itself you have to be quick to grab it:

pageboy at a wedding at Walworth Castle Hotel Darlington

I didn’t photograph the full getting ready on this occasion so we are onto the ceremony quicker than usual:

Walworth Castle Hotel Darlington
Walworth Castle Hotel Darlington
Walthamstow Wedding Photographer
bridesmaid during a wedding ceremony
Walthamstow Wedding Photographer
Walthamstow wedding photography
London Wedding Photographer
East London wedding photographer

This completely unexpected photo turned out to be my favourite of 2019 so far & one I plan to enter into the Wedding Photojournalist Association monthly photo contests:

children riding an ice cream cart at a wedding
Walsthamstow Wedding Photographer

It was an extremely windy day so the bride & groom portraits mostly took place indoors. Luckily there are enough places at Walworth Castle to do a full shoot:

Walthamstow Wedding Photographer

Although I did persuade the couple to nip outside for a couple of shots:

Walworth Castle Hotel Darlington

East London Wedding Photography

I thought long & hard about photoshopping out that Fire Exit sign. Ultimately I decided to leave it as it was, because that was how it looked on the day:

East London wedding photographer
Lorraine & Paul, Walworth Castle, 8_3_19_300.jpg
bridesmaid at a wedding at Walworth Castle Hotel
East London Wedding Photographer
East London wedding photographer
children playing at a wedding in London

Please take a look at my main gallery to see more of my photographs.

Photo of the Week 8 by Simon Cardwell

This week’s photo comes from the pier at Saltburn. The seaside is something I like to capture in my work where possible. On this occasion the wedding was taking place at the Spa Hotel in Saltburn so it provided us with the perfect opportunity to explore the sea front.

London Walthamstow Wedding Photographer

Please have a look at more of my photographs here.

Wedding Photography at Walworth Castle, near Darlington by Simon Cardwell

Just a short selection for you today from a recent wedding at Walworth Castle near Darlington.

I didn’t shoot a lot of the bridal preparations on this occasion but I didn't manage to grab a couple when I first arrived:

Walworth Castle, near Darlington
Wedding Photography Walworth Castle

I have worked at Walworth many times over the years & It is a beautiful ceremony room with lots of natural light.

Here are a few highlights from the ceremony:

Wedding Photography Walworth Castle
Simon Cardwell Wedding Photographer
Wedding Photographer Walworth Castle
Walworth Castle wedding
Wedding Photography Walworth Castle
Wedding Photography Walworth Castle Darlington

I’m going to leave you with this shot today, mainly because the boy in the photograph is playing with an X Wing Fighter from Star Wars:

Star Wars Wedding Photography

Are you getting married at Walworth Castle? Please contact me today to discuss your wedding photography.

Photo Friday 10 - The Blackwell Grange, Darlington by Simon Cardwell

Sometimes a posed photograph happens naturally when you initially set out to take a natural & unposed shot. The photo almost always comes out well as the people have posed for you without being asked, and are therefore invested in the picture being taken: 

Blackwell Grange Hotel Darlington

Please click through to my website to see more of my wedding photography. 

Photo Friday 3 by Simon Cardwell

Another throwback photo, this week to September 2014 - this wedding took place on a farm near Darlington. 

A farm isn't a setting that crops up often for a wedding, so in this case I took the opportunity, to use some different backgrounds & colours to what you would find at a typical wedding venue. A barn door worked well for a different bridesmaid group shot: 

Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire

Is there a venue or area you would like to see featured on Photo Friday? Contact me today & I will see what I can do. 

Wedding Photography - Headlam Hall, Darlington by Simon Cardwell

This was one of my last weddings before the dark nights & cold weather kicks in, so I was hoping to make the most of the beautiful grounds at Headlam Hall. Sadly it rained most of the day, so we had to take the majority of the photos indoors. 

We did manage to get outside for some group photos & a few of the couple. Other than that I worked indoors, & was asked to take mostly natural photographs with minimal posing.

Are you getting married at Headlam Hall? Contact me today to discuss your wedding photography. 

Wedding Photography at Preston Park Museum, Eaglescliffe by Simon Cardwell

So I'm experimenting with the automatic gallery of photos rather than how I usually do it with all the photos underneath each other in the blog - let me know which you prefer. 

I photographed a wedding at Preston Park Museum a few weeks ago, my last wedding of the busy summer season.

The ceremony took place in the conservatory, which was different as when I've been here previously it has always taken place in the main room.

Here are a few of them to have a look at:

You can see more of my work here. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your wedding photography. 

Wedding Photography at Hardwick Hall, County Durham by Simon Cardwell

Here are a few from a wedding I shot at Hardwick Hall in County Durham back on October 10th 2015. 

This is a local venue for me (10-15 minutes from my front door) yet it's not one I've photographed at that often over the years, hopefully that will change & I will be back more regularly. 

Offley Place Hertfordshire
Hardwick Hall weddings
Offley Place Hertfordshire

I don't like to pose people too much on the day, so I look for more natural moments to document the day:

darlington wedding photographer

and it's nice when a sequence of photos develops naturally with no prompting: 

Hitchin Priory photography
Offley Place Hertfordshire
The Tipi at Beaumont Hall Hertfordshire

The speeches always provide good photographs, as no one is paying any attention to me:

The Tipi at Beaumont Hall Hertfordshire
St Alban’s Museum and Gallery Hertfordshire
The Letchworth Centre Hertfordshire
Laura Ashley The Manor Hertfordshire

A nice unguarded moment towards the end of the day: 

Sopwell House weddings

Selfies, SLR's, Smartphones, iPads, Compacts - what is a wedding photographer to do... by Simon Cardwell

Everyone has a camera nowadays. With smartphones, iPads, SLRs, point & shoots & everything else in between it's no use pretending otherwise, I will never be the only person photographing on a wedding day. 

Instead of fighting it or making matters difficult, I embrace it completely. Getting on with the guests on the day is a key part of working as a wedding photographer, over the years I have seen some very good photographers struggle to take photos at a wedding (some make the mistake of thinking it is easy) & conversely I've seen a few pretty poor photographers who consistently got work, partly on account of their personality & etiquette on the day. 

It's a huge part of the chemistry you need to get good wedding photographs, my advice is always to book a photographer you like, that you get on with & that you can see fitting in on the day.  

I encourage selfies & any other forms of photography people enjoy:

North Mimms Park photography
North Mimms Park photos

For this photograph I deliberately invited each of the bridesmaids (who already had their cameras & phones at the ready) to join me to make a unique picture:

Beales Hotel wedding photos

In my years of photographing weddings, I can honestly say I have only ever encountered a small handful of genuinely rude guests who got in my way in order to get their own pictures.

This is sometimes done by accident although there are exceptions (one incident involved a best man who turned up with more camera gear than me, & tried to take over the photography aspect of the day, much to the bride's chagrin). My rule is when I am attending a wedding as a guest, I don't carry a camera other than the one on my phone, it is unfair to whoever is working that day. 

This group really did love a selfie: 

Beales Hotel weddings
hitching priory photos
Hatfield House Hertfordshire

I try & steal as many photographs as I can throughout the day & if a camera gets in the way, I just try & make it part of the composition of the picture: 

Micklefield Hall Hertfordshire

It brings an interactive element to photography & allows me to engage positively with wedding guests, and it can make for some unique photographs: 

Lodge Farm House Hertfordshire

If you would like to ask me anything about this post or check if I am free for your wedding date, please contact me today

Wedding Photography at the Sporting Lodge, Middlesbrough (Teesside) by Simon Cardwell

What sort of wedding photos do you want? have you even thought about the kind of photographs you like? Some people I meet with know what they are looking for straight already, others aren't sure & I have to explain my style & way of working to them. 

Ponsbourne Park Hertfordshire

I favour a natural approach, so the majority of the photographs on the day are unplanned & not posed. In my experience most people don't enjoy having photographs taken, so rather than spend the whole day being asked for photographs every 2 minutes, using a natural approach leaves you with one less thing to get stressed about & free to enjoy your wedding day:

Simon Cardwell Photography
Simon did a brilliant job for us, worked really quickly and got all the photos we’d asked for. Love them. Just hard picking out our favourites now!
Pendley Manor Hotel Hertfordshire
Lodge Farm House Hertfordshire
Burloes Hall Hertfordshire
Ashridge House Hertfordshire

This was my third time photographing at the Sporting Lodge in Middlesbrough in the last year, in this case the bride was from Teesside while the groom grew up in London (where they live with their daughter), and friends & family had travelled from far & wide to attend their wedding. 

Knowing how much effort people put into attending a wedding, I like to photograph as many guests as possible, and the speeches are often a great time to do that: 

Shendish Manor Hertfordshire
Central London Weddings
london wedding photography
Shendish Manor weddings
The Grove Hotel Hertfordshire
wedding Hunton Park
Essex wedding photographer
Simon Cardwell weddings

if you are getting married at the Sporting Lodge (or anywhere else) & would like to consider me as your photographer, please contact me today

Wedding Photography at Bannatynes Hotel, Darlington by Simon Cardwell

As you may know, I travel extensively to photograph weddings, and although I work mostly in the North East & London, I've been lucky enough to travel the world doing what I love. Yet Bannatynes Hotel being less than ten minutes walking from my front door certainly appeals to me on several levels. It means no travelling, hotels, parking, traffic jams or road closures to worry about.

Several couples I have worked with at this venue told me they liked it for its location (directly in the town centre) & also its compactness - it has everything you would expect a venue to have but being centrally located it is smaller than some out of town venues. Less distance walking around the venue usually means more time to take photographs, so that works for me. It is a venue people like & one I hope to return to in the future. 


It's important to get some posed photographs throughout the day, even if the bride & groom don't necessarily request them, relatives always like to see them. 

Bannatynes hotel Darlington

The spaces in between the posed photographs also tend to provide some additional moments you can surprise the bride & groom with afterwards: 

bride and bridesmaids


Children play a key role in most weddings, my natural style of photography lends itself well to this & I always make sure I have plenty of photographs of children, especially if they are close relatives or immediate family. 

Bannatynes hotel Darlington weddings
Darlington wedding photography
Bannatyne hotel Darlington
Bannatynes Hotel, Darlington, wedding photos
Bannatynes hotel Darlington
Darlington wedding photography
Bannatynes hotel Darlington


Many couples who book me do not like having their photograph taken & do not want to pose for endless posed photographs. What I do in that situation is I take a few simple & classic posed pictures, this only takes a couple of minutes & ensures there are some photographs on the day where both the bride & groom are looking directly at the camera for me. 

bride and groom bannatynes hotel
bannatynes hotel darlington

Other than that & the group photographs, everything else is unrehearsed & completely natural, leaving you free to enjoy the day & not feel stressed with dozens of photos being requested. 


If you're thinking of getting married at Bannatynes Hotel, or have already booked your wedding venue, please contact me today with any questions or if you would like to discuss me photographing your wedding. 

Wedding Photography at Swinton Park, North Yorkshire by Simon Cardwell

I recently photographed a wedding at Swinton Park in North Yorkshire, below I will share a few of my favourite photographs from the day.  

This wedding was a little different as it was the wedding of a very good longstanding friend & his fiance. I have known the groom over 20 years so this was a day I'd had marked in the calendar for a long time. 

Swinton Park North Yorkshire

As usual I started the day in the bride's room photographing her & the bridesmaids getting ready. 

Darlington wedding photographer

Luckily the ceremony took place in a room with fantastic natural light (the main thing I look for when taking photographs). This ended up being among my favourite pictures from the day as a result:

Swinton Park North Yorkshire
Swinton Park weddings
Swinton Park photography

We headed into the pretty vast grounds of Swinton Park to photograph some portraits of the bride & groom. 

I like it when we bump into passers by when doing this, as it usually provides a good & different  photograph:

bride and groom funny

This was the first time I tried this straight on portrait idea, & I think it definitely worked (it's made the cut for the wedding album). 

I hoped it might make for a slightly different photograph so I was pretty pleased with how it came out (I've used it a few times since too). 

bride and groom
Swinton Park North Yorkshire

Again the light in the room made this picture taken outside the main reception room: 

North Yorkshire wedding photographer

I had contributed a few stories for possible inclusion in the best man's speech in advance so I had a feeling it would be very good. It ended up being one of the best speeches I have seen at a wedding: 

bride speech wedding
Swinton Park North Yorkshire
weddings Swinton Park

The first dance:

Swinton Park North Yorkshire

I stayed at Swinton Park the night of the wedding, so I was able to take pictures of the evening reception too, this was the last photograph I took at the wedding, a nice way to end a great day: 

Swinton Park wedding

Welcome To My Wedding Photography Blog by Simon Cardwell

Hello & welcome to my new blog & website.

simon cardwell wedding photography

Hello, my name is Simon & I am a documentary wedding photographer.

For the last 10 years I have been based in London, these days I'm spending most of my time in the north east (Darlington). I work everywhere & over the next few months will be photographing all over the UK & further afield. 

From now on I will be using this blog to share with you my recent photographs, showcasing some of my work from past weddings & generally doing what I love to do: talking about & looking at photographs. 

I will show you how I work & why, give you FAQ's on what to look for & what to avoid, show you some of the best venues I have worked at, recall incidents (both good & bad) from years of personal experience & also show you some of my non-wedding work along the way. 

So please watch this space for updates.