north yorkshire

The Swinton Estate in North Yorkshire by Simon Cardwell

This week I am dipping into my archive to show you a wedding from back in 2014. While I like to share my most recent work with you I like to look back occasionally & show you something from my 12 year career.

In that time I have seen it all from the large to the small, from the lavish to the personal. Ultimately the people that are there on the day is what matters & endures, not how expensive the chair covers were.

With that in mind, I consider the photography to be the most important element of the wedding day, interns of it being the lasting document of the day. The food, clothes, drinks & most of the other stuff is gone once the day is over. But the photographs are your keepsake to show future generations.

With that in mind lets start with the bridal preparations:

Swinton Park Estate North Yorkshire
Swinton Park Estate North Yorkshire

Its a beautiful room at Swinton Park, with lots of natural light. Something I am always on the lookout for:

Walthamstow Wedding Photographer
bride and groom at a wedding
bride and groom walking down the aisle

I usually encourage passers by to walk through my picture & I keep shooting while they do. Sometimes it comes to nothing, but occasionally it creates a unique image.

On this occasion the elements all combined beautifully to create a memorable photograph:

Walthamstow Wedding Photographer
Walthamstow Wedding Photographer
Walthamstow Wedding Photographer

Unusually the cake was made of cheese & the cutting took place much earlier in the day. Usually this part of the day takes place in the evening, but on this occasion it was in the late afternoon.

I often suggest to people to not feel bound by convention when planning their wedding. If you don’t want to do a first dance, don’t do one. If you’d rather not throw confetti, don’t throw it. Don’t feel like you have to do something simply because you have seen it at other weddings you have attended. Often the personal touches go a long way & make a wedding unique, not the conventions.

Walthamstow Wedding Photographer
East London Wedding Photographer

I really like this room at the Swinton Estate, for the beautiful natural light & how guests can gather around the table & on a staircase, creating a different feel to this stage of the day.

East London Wedding Photographer
East London Wedding Photographer

Onto the speeches:

East London Wedding Photographer
speeches at a wedding at the Swinton Estate North Yorkshire
East London Wedding Photographer

Walthamstow Wedding Photographer
first dance at Swinton Estate North Yorkshire
Essex Wedding Photographer

If you would like to discuss your wedding photography with me in more detail, please contact me today.

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.

Wedding Photography at the Swinton Estate, North Yorkshire by Simon Cardwell

Today I would like to share with you a few pictures from a wedding at Swinton Park in North Yorkshire.

It is a beautiful venue not far from Northallerton, not far from where I grew up in Darlington.

As usual I started with the bridal preparations:

Swinton Park North Yorkshire
Fanhams Hall Hertfordshire

Then onto the wedding ceremony:

Fanhams Hall Hertfordshire
Fanhams Hall Hertfordshire
Hitchin Priory Hertfordshire

I was really pleased with some of the bride & groom portraits. Sometimes passers by can create a great photo, I always encourage interaction & hope that a great photo happens naturally:

bride and groom Swinton Park Northallerton
Hitchin Priory Hertfordshire
Hitchin Priory Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Hitchin Priory Hertfordshire
Simon Cardwell Wedding Photographer Essex
Simon Cardwell Wedding Photographer Essex
Simon Cardwell Wedding Photographer London

The speeches always provide excellent photos, especially if there is beautiful natural light coming into the room:

Wedding Photographer London
Wedding Photographer London
Wedding Photographer London

On this occasion there was still daylight during the first dance, which meant I could use it again without having to use a flash:

Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire

On this occasion we went outside again on the evening for some more pictures before it got dark:

Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire
Wedding Photographer Hertfordshire

Are you getting married? Please take a look at more of my work 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.

Photo Friday 14 - The Blackwell Grange in Darlington by Simon Cardwell

This weeks photograph comes from a winter wedding at the Blackwell Grange in Darlington. 

This venue is very close to my house & it is also somewhere I visited regularly as a child, so I love going back here for weddings. 

Blackwell Grange Wedding

Please visit the main gallery to see lots more wedding photographs. 

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 the Morritt Arms, County Durham by Simon Cardwell

This was a very enjoyable wedding - full of happy people & just generally a pleasure to be there. Taking place at the Morritt Arms, which is a lovely venue at Gretna Bridge, near Barnard Castle here in County Durham.

I have worked at The Morritt in the past but this was my first visit since moving back to the north east earlier this year. It's a lovely presented & nicely sized venue, which means less grounds & corridors to walk down & more time to take photographs. 

As usual the coverage starts during the bridal preparations: 

The Morritt Arms
Morritt Arms weddings

The ceremony took place in a beautifully lit room with natural light coming in, which always makes for nicely lit photographs: 

Darlington wedding photographer
bride walking down aisle
bride laughing wedding
darlington wedding photographer
County Durham wedding
Morritt Arms County Durham
The Morritt Arms
Simon Cardwell wedding photography
North Yorkshire wedding photographer
darlington wedding photographer

The beautiful grounds at The Morritt make an excellent backdrop for the traditional group photographs: 

north yorkshire wedding
wedding group photo
bride and mum
bride and bridesmaids

Couples that book me don't typically want to spend too long posing for photographs on their wedding day, favouring a more natural approach, yet we usually do a handful of posed pictures around the grounds of the venue: 

the morritt arms
morritt arms wedding photos
bride and groom

Fantastic natural light coming in again allowed for beautifully lit photographs during the speeches: 

morritt arms wedding photos
the morritt arms wedding
morritt arms wedding photography
Simon Cardwell photographer
morritt arms wedding photos
North Yorkshire wedding photographer
Fanhams Hall Hertfordshire
Hitchin Priory weddings
Pendley Manor Hotel wedding
London wedding photographer

Children are an important part of most weddings I attend, and are usually much less guarded than adults, which works perfectly with my natural style of photography: 

morritt arms wedding photography
morritt arms wedding photography
the morritt arms
darlington wedding photographer
buckinghamshire wedding photographer

choosing wedding album photos is so hard when you love them all! You haven’t made it easy for us!
The Priory Hertfordshire
The Priory weddings

If you have a wedding booked at The Morritt Arms please contact me today to discuss your wedding photography. 



Grinkle Park, North Yorkshire Wedding Photography by Simon Cardwell

At the beginning of a wedding day, during the bridal preparations, as the photographer it is important to not be invasive & to get the key photographs while not intruding on the moment. At this stage I don't usually take a lot of pictures, it is usually a quiet time & in order to respect that I grab the essential pictures but I'm not snapping incessantly by any means. 

I hear a lot of stories about invasive wedding photographers who have not had the etiquette for the situation or day. Over the years I have heard this from friends, family, clients, vicars, & venue employees. With that in mind I always try & stay aware of the unique nature of a wedding day & conduct myself accordingly. 

grinkle park weddings
grinkle park north yorkshire
Aubrey Park Hotel Hertfordshire
Simon Cardwell weddings

This was my first time photographing a wedding at Grinkle Park in North Yorkshire & I must say I was very impressed with the venue. It is located in between Saltburn & Whitby & is in a beautiful secluded location. 

Grinkle Park photography
grinkle park north yorkshire
Rothamsted Manor Hertfordshire

The conservatory setting for the ceremony gave beautiful natural light (something I always look for): 

Simon Cardwell photography
Coltsfoot Country Retreat Hertfordshire

Formal family photographs are an essential part of any wedding day & are one of the few points of the day where I pose people deliberately. They are important photographs to have as they document who was there for posterity & is a record of your family for future generations. 

I am very fast at taking group photographs & usually have them all done in 15-20 minutes. I try not to make them too rigid & try to make it a fun process: 

Ponsbourne Park Hertfordshire
Micklefield Hall Hertfordshire
Micklefield Hall weddings

Again this wedding was another where the bride & groom did not want to pose for many couple photographs, so I just ensure I have a couple of simple & timeless images & leave them to enjoy their day: 

Micklefield Hall Hertfordshire

If you are planning a wedding at Grinkle Park, or any other venue & would like me to photograph your day, please contact me today to discuss further. 

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

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

Wedding Photography at The Quality Hotel, Boldon by Simon Cardwell

This was my first opportunity to photograph a wedding at The Quality Hotel, in Boldon. 

It is a recently re-opened hotel close to South Shields & I pass it regularly on the way to my Grandmother's house in Cleadon Village. 

The Quality Hotel, Boldon, near South Shields.

The Quality Hotel, Boldon, near South Shields.

The weather on the day was damp & drizzly, in addition neither the bride nor the groom were keen on posing for photographs, so it was decided that we wouldn't venture outside onto the grounds & would do all of the photographs inside. 

 

I began the day in the bride's room, I don't often stage many photographs, so it was a case of photographing people undetected, it's usually easier with children than adults:  

Essex wedding photographer
Buckinghamshire wedding photos
pageboys wedding photos
North Mimms Park Hertfordshire

The room used for the ceremony like several other new hotels in the area, is indoors with minimal natural light, which provides a few technical challenges to a photographer. Luckily the registrars allowed me to use my flash on this occasion (something I avoid at all costs):

walking down the aisle, Quality Hotel, Boldon.

walking down the aisle, Quality Hotel, Boldon.

Shendish Manor Hertfordshire
Fanhams Hall Hertfordshire
Walking up the aisle at the Quality Hotel, Boldon.

Walking up the aisle at the Quality Hotel, Boldon.

There was no first dance & the cake cutting was before the meal, so I rounded off the day with the speeches. Chris's best man was probably the youngest I've seen, not that you could tell by his speech:

Buckinghamshire wedding photographer
groom during speeches
Buckinghamshire wedding photography
Micklefield Hall Hertfordshire

And seeing as I visited her immediately after this wedding & it's round the corner from her house, here is a picture of me & my 86 year old Grandmother:

Micklefield Hall Hertfordshire


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.