london

Photo of the Week 10 by Simon Cardwell

As a lifelong Star Wars enthusiast, this week’s photo of the week is of particular interest to me.

2 Star Wars themed art prints, which were mounted & displayed on easels inside the marquee where the wedding took place at Middleton Lodge in North Yorkshire.

One features Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) & says “I love you” the other of course is Han Solo (Harrison Ford) responding “I know”. It is a nice callback to the unforgettable scene in The Empire Strikes Back:

star wars wedding

Are you having a Star Wars themed wedding? If you are I would love to photograph it for you.

a wedding at Hackney Town Hall in East London by Simon Cardwell

Today I would like to share with you a photograph from my archive, the reason for me choosing this wedding is because one of the bridesmaids has recently booked me to shoot her wedding this summer at the University of Nottingham.

It is a great tribute when guests, friends or anyone who has attended a wedding I have shot then books me to photograph their wedding. Especially one from a few years ago (this wedding took place back in 2013).

The day started at Threadneedles hotel near Bank Station in the city of London:

Wedding Photographer London

As I have mentioned before, I love a ‘bride in a lift’ photo when such a photo presents itself:

Wedding Photographer London

The ceremony took place at Hackney Town Hall in East London:

Wedding Photographer London
Hackney Wedding Photographer
Hackney Wedding Photographer
Hackney Town Hall Wedding
Hackney Town Hall Wedding

Hackney Town Hall is a beautiful building & makes for a lovely backdrop:

Hackney Town Hall Wedding

The reception venue was close to Liverpool Street Station, & I persuaded the bride & groom to walk down to the back of the station for a quick picture:

Liverpool Street Station London Wedding

I never tire seeing passers by react to a bride and groom passing them in the street. If the wedding is taking place in Central London or any other city centre I always suggest we venture out onto the streets.

In this case tourists with luggage makes a great juxtaposition with the bride and groom:

Liverpool Street Station London

The bride & groom entering the room for the wedding breakfast is always one of my favourite moments:

Liverpool Street Station London

Onto the speeches:

speeches at a wedding in London
best man speech at a wedding in London
bridesmaid watching speeches at a wedding in London

A lively evening reception always presents some good photographs:

dance floor at a wedding in London
dance floor at a wedding in London
first dance at a wedding in East London

Are you getting married in London? or somewhere else? (I travel worldwide), please contact me today to tell me all about your wedding plans.

Photo Of The Week 4 by Simon Cardwell

This is a photograph from my archive taken on Portobello Road in Notting Hill, West London.

If the wedding is taking place in or close to Central London, I always suggest we venture onto the streets & interact with the city & the people on the streets. It invariably leads to some unique pictures.

The reaction of a passer by can be priceless:

portobello road london wedding photography

Please head to my main gallery to view more of my work.

Wedding Photography in Whitby by Simon Cardwell

Whitby is not a place I often photograph in, but I jumped at the chance to travel there for a wedding when given the chance.

The home of Dracula, Whitby is somewhere I visited a child many times & I found many of those memories came flooding back throughout the day.

As usual I started during the bridal preparations, which on this occasion took place in a nearby hotel:

Hatfield House Hertfordshire
bride portrait whitby

I’ve mentioned this before, but a selfie can often create a good photograph for me as well as those in the selfie itself:

wedding selfie whitby

After the ceremony we walked around Whitby for a while:

Hatfield House Hertfordshire
whitby wedding photography

Once we reached the reception venue it was onto the speeches, which on this occasion was a fish and chip restaurant (which I was pretty happy about I must admit):

whitby wedding photography
London Wedding Photography
Simon Cardwell Wedding Photographer
Wivenhoe House Essex
Wivenhoe House Essex
Wivenhoe House Essex

We went back into Whitby after the meal, as it was a bit quieter & the sun was down, giving us the chance to get some more photographs:

Orsett Hall Hotel Essex

We got up to the top of the hill, I have happy memories of counting the steps to the top as a child. So it was great to get back here for a wedding:

Orsett Hall Hotel Essex
Orsett Hall Hotel Essex

We passed by the water on our way back down:

Gaynes Park Essex

The first dance came near the beginning of the evening reception:

first dance wedding whitby
Gaynes Park Essex
Simon Cardwell wedding photographer

If you would like to see more of my work, please head to the gallery section of the site today.

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.

Bridal Preparations - St. Michael le Belfrey, York by Simon Cardwell

One thing I like about the bridal preparations is the trust you can build with your subjects. I will have met the bride & groom beforehand but usually the rest of the guests & family members I meet for the first time on the day.

Therefore arriving a few hours early & growing into the day allows you to build up their trust. What I am looking for is for them to forget about me & not notice the camera, this is something I have honed & got better at over the years.

I am trying to get to those unguarded & honest moments, & you can’t do that if the subject doesn’t trust you.

York Wedding Photographer
York Wedding Photography
Hertfordshire Wedding Photographer
Hertfordshire Wedding Photographer

This wedding took in the St. Michael le Belfrey in York, next door to York Minster. But today I am going to focus exclusively on the bridal preparations before the ceremony.

London Wedding Photographer

Parents are a key part of any wedding day & I always look for interaction between them & the couple:

Simon Cardwell Wedding Photography
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire

Once I have been there a while I start to blend in & no one even notices I am there:

Aldwark Manor York Wedding Photography
Aldwark Manor York Wedding Photography
Merchant Taylor's Hall York Wedding

I usually leave the room while the dresses go on & then come back in:

Bridesmaids getting ready in York
Aldwark Manor York Wedding Photography
Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire

While I work mostly in a documentary fashion with minimal posing, I always try to take a handful of posed photographs.

A simple posed picture will be well received by relatives & friends, & is quick & easy to do.

This is always a good time to grab a few, when everyone is ready before leaving for the ceremony:

London Wedding Photographer
The Parsonage York

Are you getting married in York? Or somewhere else? Please have a look at my gallery today to view more of my work.

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. 

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. 

Photographing Children 2 - The Quality Hotel, Boldon by Simon Cardwell

Following on from a recent blog about photographing children, I thought I would share another selection of photographs of kids from a wedding at the Quality Hotel, Boldon. 

Quality Hotel Boldon
Wedding Photographer Hitchin Priory Hertfordshire

It's nice when a sequence of photos naturally develops:

Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Quality Hotel, Boldon

My style is to stand off & observe what is happening around me, without interfering or trying to interact with people directly. I find this approach can give you an unguarded moment that would never happen in front of a camera otherwise: 

Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire

Selfies & people taking photos on their phones & cameras has become so prevalent, there is no point trying to discourage or stop it. I encourage it, happy guests make for happy photos: 

Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Simon Cardwell photography
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Simon Cardwell wedding photographer
Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire
Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire
Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire
Simon Cardwell weddings
Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire
Wedding Photographer Buckinghamshire
Wedding Photographer Essex
Wedding Photographer Essex
pirate fancy dress
Wedding Photographer Essex
piggy back

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

Wedding Photography at Bede Tower, Sunderland by Simon Cardwell

Here are some photos from a wedding at Bede Tower in Sunderland (my hometown). 

I am just showing the photographs of the getting ready & ceremony on this post, as I feel like there are sometimes too many images in each post to look at properly, so the others will follow later in the week. 

I hope you like them: 

Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer St Albans
Wedding Photographer Hitchin
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Stevenage
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Simon Cardwell Photographer
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Central London weddings
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Essex
Wedding Photographer Kent

You can contact me here if you wish to discuss your wedding photography. 

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. 

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

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. 

Solberge Hall Wedding Photography by Simon Cardwell

Here are some photographs from a wedding at Solberge Hall, near Northallerton. 

I started at the bride's parents house as I usually do: 

Solberge Hall North Yorkshire

The ceremony then took place at a church in Darlington (round the corner from where I grew up as it turned out):

Solberge Hall wedding photography
Simon Cardwell wedding photography
Solberge Hall North Yorkshire
Darlington wedding photographer
Solberge Hall North Yorkshire
Solberge Hall wedding
Solberge Hall North Yorkshire

Everything after that was at Solberge Hall, which is near Northallerton. This was my first time at the venue, but I was very impressed with it:

Solberge Hall weddings
Solberge Hall North Yorkshire
darlington wedding photographer
north yorkshire wedding photographer
Solberge Hall North Yorkshire
weddings Solberge Hall
Solberge Hall North Yorkshire

I had a few friends attending this wedding so I stayed for the entire evening reception. 

Usually I leave shortly after the first dance, so it was good to get some different photographs as the party got going: 

Solberge Hall wedding
simon cardwell wedding photography
Solberge Hall North Yorkshire
Solberge Hall North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire weddings
Solberge Hall North Yorkshire
Solberge Hall wedding
drunk bride and groom