So pleased to have a studio

We had a short spell of cold winter weather recently in Chester but only a smattering of snow and that did not last long. We are now back to damp and cool. Feeling for those expecting a blizzard and deep snow in the USA.

Great song 'The sound of silence' by Simon and Garfunkel

‘I turn my collar to the cold and damp’

Doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside I have a very well set up and warm studio to photograph people. These times in the studio are often engagement portraits but I do a lot of other kinds of portrait work too.

Bokeh I think is a Japanese word for the out of focus element of a picture

Like many I like those out of focus shots


Who loves you?! great when clients like Charlotte wanted a different pose

Who loves you?! Charlotte wanted a different kind of pose with Mike

The centrally heated studio and office gives me somewhere to work with clients and then process the pictures. I can even show the clients previews on the computer screen if we have the time. Regardless I always get the proofs in to a private password protected gallery on my website at within a few days.

Birthday present shoots before a party

‘Mirror, Mirror’. Great to do a birthday present shoots for people

Quite looking forward to some heavier frost and some proper snow, and those crisp clear blue days when visibility is so very good. Still, until those days arrive I am going to enjoy taking pictures where I can completely control the light.

In the studio engaged couples can get to know their photographer during a shoot

Engaged couples can get to know their photographer during a shoot


I enjoyed taking pictures of Oona (, a wonderful harpist and my wife. She loves to dress appropriately for weddings and has been asked to do more and more Bollywood music as part of her repertoire.

Wonderful to get such dramatic colours in the studio

Oona Linnett harpist (listen to clips at

Oona and I enjoyed a sari buying trip with friends in Manchester and I then did some promotional images for her.

I enjoy it when children, like Darcie, love to play in the studio

Kids, like Darcie, love to play in the studio

Children and pets also walk through the door to the studio, and in the case of babies carried! Again, I ensure the studio is warm and cosy for these smaller visitors with extra heating should they need it.

The dogs relax and the owners can enjoy a 'family' picture

Jane and Sam and the three amigos!


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Posted in Children, pet photographic portraits, Portrait photography

Valentine’s Day approaches!

The first meeting - first date

Romantic moments

Every year I post about Valentine’s Day. It is a date I never miss in my own relationship with my own partner of 25 years married. Every relationship that  will stand the test of time has involved both people living in the moment, something outside of time and not corrupted by time. Photographs are there to record some of those moments. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to reflect upon this.


Discussing the future

I see only good in celebrating this out of time relationship with someone who we believe is our soul mate. This, of course, can be done at any time, and should be, whenever partners are together. Valentine’s day can obviously be one such moment in the year when we can do this despite the sometimes flippant worldly view of this day.

Engagement portrait on the Wirral coast

Walking together by the sea

As a photographer I enjoy being on the edge of such moments out of time whether it is an engagement shoot, wedding or a portrait sitting of people in love.

Celebration portrait

50 years together

This applies to all ages, and you are never too old, and all kinds of relationships regardless of gender. The daughter of Betty and Cyril thought it would be great to get the family together and celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They were clearly relaxed and very happy in the moment with each other.

So just as there is a better Christmas to be had where real feeling is felt, there is also a better Valentine’s Day to be enjoyed when we are in the moment, and really do touch souls.



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Posted in Portrait photography, Wedding photography

Winter fairy tale wedding in a North Wales Chateau

Chateau Plas Rhianfa, a place for a fairytale wedding

Jo and Paul married at fairy tale Chateau Plas Rhianfa

This was a fairy tale wedding for Jo and Paul at the wonderful Chateau Plas Rhianfa on the beautiful island of Anglesey. The Chateau overlooks the Menai Straits with a view towards Snowdonia. It was not the warmest day and bridesmaids wrapped up in furs and we were also able to get out into the grounds and down to the waters edge.

Furs always look 'cool' at a winter wedding

Bridesmaids wrap up well in furs – beautiful rings  – flowers with seasonal trim – personalized confetti

With the castle and the beautiful Menai Straits and North Wales in the background people enjoyed a very atmospheric wedding. Made even more so by Oona’s playing (Oona Linnett – harpist) as the guests wait for the bride, the brides entrance, for the signing of the register and for the Newlyweds exit.

Register signing

Signing the register in a place you love gives the moment that extra sense of occasion – exceptional views from the Chateau windows

Lots of candle light in this season add to a magical atmosphere despite the weather, and the Chateau made sure these were added to all the rooms. Lanterns protected guests and those walking down the aisle during the ceremony.


Candlers in lanterns create that special atmosphere many people are looking for in their wedding ceremony


Beautiful ceremony with Paul and Jo being played for by Oona

After the group shots were taken we walked down to the Straits and found this mini-tractor on the way – had to be photographed!

Chateau Plas Rhianfa garden pictures with Newlyweds

Newlywed fun in the garden at Chateau Plas Rhianfa

Back to romance on the shores of the Menai Straits with Bangor and the pier in the background. Weather also getting a bit ‘atmospheric’ as the clouds role in.


Jo and Paul love the view across the Menai Straits

A privileged to photograph people at very close and personal moments. Also a great pleasure to enjoy such lovely places and be in the company of wonderful people. It was brilliant being able to travel to the venue, then work, and then returning home with Oona. I am looking forward to working with Oona on many weddings and other events in the future. Clients benefit to from a discount for booking both of us and love the idea of us being a couple providing the sound and vision for their wedding.

Marrying in a place of exceptional beauty

By the Menai Straits




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Posted in Wedding photography

Moving, poignant & romantic – harp music for your wedding or other event by Oona

Bollywood harpist Oona Linnett
Bollywood harpist Oona Linnett

Oona in one of her beautiful Bollywood outfits

I am so fortunate to have such an extraordinarily talented partner in life who plays the harp so very beautifully. I am also not the only one to appreciate this as Oona has been asked to play by a huge number and variety of people including for weddings, birthday parties, corporate functions, not to mention TV!

Young bride in window light listening to harp music

I really like this window lit picture of the bride enjoying the moment and the music

Feedback and reviews are always positive, reflecting the emotional impact of Oona’s playing, and the significance of Oona’s music in so many people’s lives. I would encourage you to visit Oona’s website at and click on the sound-clips in her sizeable repertoire as you read through this blog.

Oona Linnett harpist playing for ceremony at Peckforton Castle in the Great Hall

Oona in the Great Hall at Peckforton castle preparing for the ceremony (

Wedding days mean we are often fortunate enough to work together, and whenever I am available I will help Oona and take pictures of Oona with her harp in each venue. Oona has a very wide experience now of many places in the north west. Her beautiful music brings a relaxed and soothing ambiance as people approach a very important moment in their lives.

Oona Linnett harpist playing in a Cheshire church

Oona often plays her harp at Church wedding ceremonies

Oona Linnett harpist plays for church wedding ceremonies

Oona plays for the brides entry, signing of the register, hymns and for the exit

This includes castles such as Peckforton, Chirk and Leasowe. Castles give a gothic and often darker background setting for the wedding and harp, and the harp music can add to this and lift the occasion. There is also often some tremendous window light to use in many castles creating some very atmospheric musical and photographic moments. The grounds are often fantastic for amazing backdrops, and given warm dry summer weather, Oona plays while people enjoy the season.

Oona Linnett plays the harp at a drinks reception Iscoyd Park

Surrounded by lavender in the gardens at Iscoyd Park ( Oona is playing her harp for a wedding drinks rception

Country houses such as Knowsley, Rookery, and Wrenbury Halls and Iscoyd Park have their historic atmosphere too, and often on a scale not always possible in a more modern venue. Amplified as needed, Oona’s music drifts through the mansions and across the courtyard or gardens.

Knowlsey Hall is a regular venue for Oona Linnett harpist

Oona often plays Knowsley Hall providing beautiful harp music (

Oona Linnett harpist plays at a wedding at Wrenbury Hall

Oona plays at Wrenbury Hall on a regular bases, on this occasion a wedding last Christmas (

In summer colours Oona entertains at a drinks reception at Soughton Hall

Oona is happy to play outside when the weather permits as she does here at Soughton Hall (

Modern venues have their advantages too, provide a more contemporary feel. Oona’s wide repertoire of modern as well as traditional and classical music fits in just as well, adding very significantly to ceremony, drinks reception or wedding breakfast. Oona can be booked for a variety of levels of service and is happy to include anything from her repertoire which can be found on her website.

Rookery Hall wedding ceremony with Oona linnett, harpist

Oona plays regularly at Rookery Hall for ceremonies, drink receptions and wedding breakfasts (

oona Linnett at the Belle Epoque

Another regular venue is the Belle Epoque ( in Knutsford

Oona has a wide repertoire so always has music to suit the occasion and venue

Wedding music as appropriate and often chosen by the bride and groom

Of course it is not just weddings. People appreciate the sound of the harp at many other occasions including birthday parties. Oona has also played at many funerals and this has been especially poignant when she has played at a previous occasion in the life of the family.

Oona played for parents and officials when the forget Me Not Garden was first dedicated

Oona played at the dedication of the ‘Forget me not’ garden in Lytham St. Anne (

Many companies have also booked Oona to add a relaxed atmosphere to receptions for awards and celebrations of milestones in the life of the corporation.

Oona Linnett harpist plays for a corporate event in St Geaorge's Hall Liverpool

Oona plays for many corporate functions, this one at St. George’s Hall Liverpool (

Oona is in great demand and I would use a cliché and ‘advise you to book early to avoid disappointment’. A year or more in advance is not uncommon. I on the other hand do not need to book to enjoy listening to Oona practise as I sit in my studio editing pictures which are often of Oona.

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Posted in Wedding photography

Big band sound for your wedding!

Haydock Brass Band member knows how to perform, pose and have fun!
Haydock Brass Band member knows how to perform

Haydock Brass Band member knows how to perform, pose and have fun!

I attended two weddings recently which both had a band playing. They sounded great and in uniform they looked very impressive too. The first wedding was north of St Helens and featured the Hadock Brass Band, whose website can be found at They played for Ruth and Thomas during their wedding Ceremony at Christ Church in Eccleston near St. Helens.

Haydock Band members enjoy their picture being taken

Haydock Band members enjoy their picture being taken at Christ Church in Eccleston

They were clearly enjoying themselves and the comradery of the Band, working together to perform to the very best of their ability and very professionally too.

Band Leader - Haydock Brass Band

Band Leader – Haydock Brass Band playing at Christ Church

The standard is therefore very high and the Band’s Music Director was there to bring everything together.

Haydock Brass Band member

Haydock Brass Band member preparing for the ceremony

Everyone was clearly concentrating hard to do their best and collectively produced a highly polished and professional performance.

The second Band was the Rode Hall Silver Band whose website can be found at They were playing at Laurelle’s and Jon’s wedding at Peckforton Castle (

They began in the Great Hall, a select number of band members playing during the ceremony. They entertained the guests prior to the bride’s arrival. They also played during the signing and when the newlyweds left the Hall for their blessing in the Chapel.

Rode Hall Silver Band in the Great Hall, Peckforton Castle

Rode Hall Silver Band preparing in the Great Hall, Peckforton Castle

Then they played on the grass surrounded by the castle walls duirng the drinks reception and while te group photographs were taken. It is a big space to fill with quality sound and this they did  enterntaining the guest including the peacocks and birds of prey!

Rode Hall Silver Band in front of the Great Hall

Rode Hall Silver Band in front of the Great Hall with Peckforton Castle pea hen marching past!

Jon and Laurelle spent some time listening as they played during the drinks reception and the photographs.

Jon and Lauren with Rode Hall Silver Band

Rode Hall Silver Band at Peckforton Castle

So something to consider if you are looking for live wedding music. As a wedding photographer they provide another interesting element looking great and sounding brilliant.

Instrument stands waiting

As a wedding photographer I try to photograph all the details as well as the events and people



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Dogs are fantastic!


Great sunlight across the River Dee in Chester for this portrait of Henry

Capturing the spirit of your pet is the aim, so to photograph them on their regular walk is often the best place. This also means a variety of shots with your dog having fun including some action shots.


All these pictures required editing of his harness out of the image

Shots out of the studio are fun but it is often a more reportage approach. Finding the right background is often the key. Getting that creamy blur on the background is also good to isolate the subject, made easier of course if the doggy’s colour is a good contrast.


Sam see something -and then he is off!

A dog really is your best friend, he will always make you look good in a photograph. Dogs are like children, they don’t have to work at relaxing, or being over-excited, and just being themselves.

Pet portraits are great fun

Sam the dalmation

The problem is getting them to be themselves in exactly the right place and at the right time. Like children they also get bored so having a few treats handy is a good idea, you can get their attention and they enjoy the picture taking instead of getting tense.

Vouchers for sittings are available at muy website – great for Christmas presents!


Taking a breather for this portrait

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Peckforton Castle kiss

Gates and kissing often go together!

Peckforton Castle Kiss

Gates and kissing often go together!

Gates and kissing often go together!

Laurelle and Jon engaged me as their photographer this time last year for their summer wedding date, booking early is always a good thing and for many reasons. We had a great time in the studio with the engagement shoot and they told me all about their hopes for a fantastic wedding day in a spectacular venue. Booking when they did meant they got the photographer they wanted, who could photograph their wedding day as they wanted, were able to get a book early price, and an offer of a free engagement shoot too!

Bride surrounded by flowers

A beautiful bride surrounded by a beautifuldisplay of flowers.

It is many people’s idea of a fairy tale to be married in a castle and this is one reason Peckforton has become one of the most popular wedding venues in the North West. Many love the romantic atmosphere of high dark stone walls, high window with candle and torch light. This is a great location for flash free photography but also off camera flash use as well.

In the Great Hall at Peckforton

In the Great Hall at Peckforton

The Great Hall is the usual location for a large wedding and this was no exception, also needing to fit in Rode Hall Silver Band! The garland of flowers was spectacular and the flowered candelabra and floating candles adding a special touch.

Beautful bride turns to the camera

Beautful bride turns to the camera

Laurelle was beautiful in her neo-twenties dress which set of her lovely figure. Bridesmaids wore a delicate shade of lilac. Jon in classic morning suit cut a dash too along with the best man and others.

Window light makes for amazing natural light picutres.

Window light makes for amazing natural light picutres.

Yes a romantic setting and a lovely couple who enjoyed their wedding day immensely and said of the photography:

‘Absolutely amazing and stunning pictures. Could not have hoped for a better experience. Would not recommend anyone else for any kind of occasion where a photographer would make the day perfect’.

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Posted in Wedding photography
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