2021 was a mixed year in the world but in the world of weddings it was a time that I saw families come together again, love and emotion bounce back and a year when my photography meant more to me than ever before.

Below are 33 photos – in no particular order or rank – that shaped my year, my style and memory. This also contains the images that saw me nominated for Photographer of the Year which I’m super chuffed with.

Thanks go to ALL my couples – I wish I could show all of everyones!

Amongst the buzz of shooting an array of portraits on a rock in Wastwater against the backdrop of Great Gable – seeing these guys just let rip with the wellies we needed to wade to this spot was a high this year.

bride wears wellies on rock in middle of wastwater with groom

They say never work with children and animals. I think the opposite can be true. Letting this guy do his thing in the midst of a huge group shot – letting the story play out – was a complete buzz.

I not sure I’d want to say that there was a pinnacle moment for the year. Otherwise it infers all moments after do not reach that high. But to shoot a sunset with a beautiful couple in the landscape of my home town was special.

Many, maybe too many, accents are put onto brides crying with happiness. These guys were brim full of bravado. Anthony’s reaction to Gemma in church was as unexpected as it was refreshingly beautiful.

Groom cries when he sees the bride after walking down the church aisle

What was he thinking? What was the reaction to? I’ve no recollection. All around find it funny as well as I do now. Wedding days are brilliant. I hunt for these moments always yet rarely are they found…

wedding guest pulls a funny expression with bride outside of the church

Most of my portraiture style leaves couples to be themselves – a voyeur that is there..but not there. This intensely beautiful eye contact between Carly and Aaron seemed to play out its very own narrative.

bride and groom look romantically into one anothers eyes at crow wood

I love the outdoor and the Dales. I asked Danielle and Pete to walk across a hilltop; to enjoy a moment and to capture that in the context of such a beautiful space. I can re-live this time after time as I hope they do

bride and groom walk across a hill near Falcon Manor in the dales

I love being around other people on the day. I chatted to the grandad of the bride about photos at length. What a guy! Not sure if he was showing off but what a character.

quirky wedding photo of old man taking photo of bride at abbey house hotel

As well as the natural style portraits I want to create special, bespoke images for my couples. This took five mins with Hannah & Jason plus a little help.. but represents a doorway to more possibilities.

creative bride and groom portrait at stirk house

Angles and compositions that frame a moment can alter the tension. I just keep feeling the world out of the doorway to the left who are about to see both bride and father of the bride as they turn the corner.

Shot above of Bride and father of the bride walking down the stairs at Eaves Hall

This was my first wedding back after lockdown. I loved it and much that I love about what I do is noticing detail. Above the wedding shoes a little finch was humming and buzzing about on this beautiful spring morning – just like everyone preparing for Hannah & Luke’s day.

goldfinch flies away of out of focus wedding shoes

One of those moments that just comes together. After setting them in the light I watched as dad got son ready for the big day. So many genuine moments and then…puff! A final spray brought alive by the light.

back lit photo of page boy having after shave sprayed on him at crow wood

On such a heartfelt day in my home town of Todmorden I photographed two people that felt on top of the world. It is a staged shot but one that provided them with a platform to have fun and feel that way.

bride and groom dance on top of the rocks at sunset in todmorden

Such a memorable day and none more so due to how much these guys seemed to be so much as one. They even shed a few tears simultaneously during their vows, their own tissue each. Beautiful. 

bride and groom cry in the ceremony at falcon manor

Just expected the unexpected. These guys were really into that time they had on their own – no direction needed. But who knew Carden Park would have a few art sculptures to play with. We just had some fun.

creative bride and groom couple shot into an art sculpture at Carden Park Hotel

Sometimes its not idyllic! But then real moments do not follow an idyll. Most kids are unaware of the camera, so I just kept shooting for the moment to play itself out. She was fine after a cuddle from mum.

little girl at wedding bursts into tears during group shot

A portrait but also a truly romantic moment. Add to this the light and this frame is one I really love. I can’t quite remember how it happened. It wasn’t prompted or posed; it just happened unchoreographed. 

back lit photo of couple about to kiss at muncaster castle

Sometimes simple is beautiful. As the sun was setting there was a ridge that rode across the skyline. “Just go for a walk across there – one can lead the other – you choose”. The winter months can give the best light.

creative portrait of bride and groom silhouetted across field at stirk house

“I say, Madame!”…. A wedding – to a degree – is bound by stereotypical attire and characterisation. A bride in white, the groom in a dark suit etc. Step up the grandmother of the bride to dispel any stereotypes! 

older, well dressed lady wedding guest puts two fingers up at the camera

A black and white shot in front of a huge window. Lines as well as light play a great part in composition but I loved it more when I noticed Emily’s foot just off the floor. That’s the moment!

bride walks down steps of town hall

Moments that are framed at the right time tell the best stories – a second either side and the message can be diluted. After the ring went on Bethany’s finger she raised it at it highest possible point to check. There, at that point, the marriage was. Perfect.

bride looks at her wedding ring during the church wedding service

The grandad of the groom, David, had just been mentioned in the speeches. He’d just lost his wife. 75 years of “Love”. He then picked up a small “love” sign from the table. It just seemed like 75 of thought in this pensive moment. 

Grandad of groom looks at love sign during speech

 My approach to portraits is twofold. One is to actively create and the other – the approach I use the most – is to leave a couple be. The platform was the summer house, the time and the light and this moment is purely them.

Silhouetted photo of bride and groom embracing at sunset in summer house at crow wood

 After the groom and best man finished their speeches the emotion poured out. The family almost circled around one another for comfort. The brother – barely visible – seems to be crushed with love. Tears aplenty!

Brother of the groom is embraced after his emotional speech

Kids have a different schedule than adults on the day. They often go unnoticed – just take a look at the best man in the foreground. But they do share the same emotions – as when mum shed a tear in the ceremony.

page boy cries during wedding ceremony at Lindeth Howe

Sometimes pointing the camera at the subject is not the only way of telling a story. The detail around can do that. Loved the way Carly had the tissues waiting as she read a card from Aaron. 

Sometimes the story is not only in the detail but the tiniest of detail. The shot of Pete’s wedding ring has the tiny reflection of Danielle in, so a nice visual metaphor of them as one.

bride and groom cry simultaneously with tissues at wedding ceremony at Falcon Manor

A special shot for me as these are fab friends ‘daan saaf’. A ten min chink of light at The Mount Vineyard was enough for this shot. Part of an epic UK journey of four weddings in a week it has a place for me here.

bride and groom walk down a line of vines at The Mount wedding venue

Emotion and emotional reactions form a big part of my work. Dad seeing his daughter for the first time in her dress is almost always a provider of a reaction. None more so than Issy’s dad here.

father of the bride reacts with shock seeing the bride in her wedding dress

Tucked away in the Lake District is the exclusive Forest Side. I love this shot – not only as Freya and Adam are such a fab couple – but I found this spot tucked away and all the layers just came together for their portrait.

bride and groom in the trees at the forest side hotel

I love to feel very much part of someone’s day and like the other guests after Adam’s speech was pretty much in tears! His mum was up from her seat to embrace and comfort her son. Just a wonderful family moment.

Mother of the groom embraces son after emotional speech

This was my first shoot as weddings went full again. And just the full on happiness that these two shared was the perfect tonic to reintroduce me back to what I had missed for months. Just beautiful.

bride and groom cuddle in the setting sun in the lake district

I talked of pinnacles, of highs but this has something extra. It has an intimacy between them that is undoubted. That we had a chance to chase a sunset and then, near our homes, capture it – and – with an extraordinary amount of luck, capture a frame that has all the impact in needs whenever viewed. 

bride and groom silhouetted romantically in front of the sun at sunset

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