Hi! I’m Hannah – I’m a wedding and family photographer with a relaxed, natural style that focuses on capturing emotions and telling the story of your day. I live in London, have a base in Northumberland and travel across the UK and overseas photographing weddings from intimate elopements to multi day celebrations with hundreds of guests.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
I first got a camera when I was 7 years old to show my mum (who is housebound) the things I was seeing and share my experiences with her. I really fell in love with photography travelling the world from the Arctic to the Antarctic and lots in between. I trained as a psychologist and got married in multi-cultural ceremonies in the UK and Malaysia – together these things made me really pay attention to emotions and connections in photos.
I started to photograph families and newborns (which I still love to do) and 6 years ago started to capture the emotions and connections in wedding stories too. The first wedding I photographed, I stepped in 2 days before when the couple’s photographer unexpectedly pulled out. The couple were friends of a friend, who had suggested me based on my travel and family photography. I made it clear I’d never photographed a wedding before and strongly advised them to hire an experienced wedding photographer – even sending them details of photographers I knew. However, from speaking to me they decided it was me that they wanted to capture their day. It turned out their initial photographer hadn’t met them, hadn’t spoken to them, hadn’t asked them what they were most excited about, hadn’t talked to them about how the day might look or what was important to them. For me, those things just seemed natural and so despite my lack of a wedding portfolio, the couple could tell that I genuinely cared about their wedding which made them feel comfortable and trust me to be their photographer.
I loved photographing that first wedding and I knew I’d found what I wanted to do. I’ve now been photographing weddings for over six years – photographing weddings from intimate elopements for two, to huge Indian weddings with hundreds of guests, from registry offices to manor houses, outdoor ceremonies to religious weddings, festival-style parties to family focused events. I’ve felt honoured to be trusted to photograph weddings across the UK & overseas and my work has been featured in magazines, books and blogs.
HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
I have three different sorts of typical day:
1) Wedding days are always slightly different depending on where I’m travelling to and what the couple have planned, but they generally follow this type of pattern: up early double checking all my kit, getting to you with lots of time before the ceremony to capture all the little details, your venue & guests arriving, moving silently like a ninja around the garden/woodland/registry office/bandstand/manor house/glasshouse to catch the emotional moments as you say your vows, coordinating any group shots you’d like, stealing you away from your guests for 20 minutes or so of relaxed and natural portraits, then back to taking candid photos of your friends and family having fun, a quick stop while you eat, then photographing speeches and your guests reactions, popping out for some golden hour sunset portraits before catching some of the dancing, then heading home and backing up all the images multiple times before I go to sleep.
2) Other days are a lovely mix of chatting with my couples about their plans, photographing newborns and families, engagement shoots, researching venues, creating timelines and shot lists, charging and checking all my equipment, editing images, creating slideshows, designing albums, networking with other wedding suppliers, plus all the admin that comes with running a business – planning social media, writing blog posts, booking trains and hotels, managing my accounts and working on my website. I love the freedom of these days to wake naturally and work from wherever I want, which lets me travel more.
3) Alongside my photography, I also spend time each week supporting children in foster care – these days can sometimes be demanding and stressful, but are hugely rewarding.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
I feel very lucky to love my job – and that other people love my photos. There are so many wonderful things being a wedding photographer – having pretty things to photograph, getting to explore different places in the UK & overseas, being able to work with such talented suppliers – but the best part is getting to know my couples.
I take on only a small number of weddings each year and dedicate time to get to know my couples, talking about their plans and understanding what’s important to them. I care about connecting with my couples, helping them feel confident so I can capture relaxed, natural and emotional images they can treasure forever. By getting to know them, spending time with them so they feel comfortable with me, I’m able to create photos that truly reflect them. As a wedding photographer and psychologist I’ve got a unique perspective to help you feel relaxed and let the emotions you’re feeling shine in your wedding photos.
I love getting to understand my couples, finding out what matters to them, what makes them tick and creating a visual story of their wedding. I care about getting to know my clients and feel lucky that many have become my friends.
My approach takes more time before your wedding than photographers who just turn up, meet you and go – but I think it makes a big difference to both the experience and the images. Some of my favourite bits of feedback focus on this too:
“During the wedding we developed a very good friendship, which is reflected in the images she has captured… She is very passionate about capturing a couple’s happiness on their special day… On the day of the wedding, her amazing personality helped us to relax during the more tense times of the day” Meera & Raj
I think it’s worth the time beforehand for us to get to know each other, if it means you feel more relaxed and at ease with me on your wedding day – which in turn means you’ll have more natural images.
AND WHAT IS THE WORST PART?
The aches the day after a wedding! I am a natural light photographer and don’t use huge amounts of equipment, but I always have a backup kit and will often twist into odd positions to get the shot (or make my couples laugh!) and my back and shoulders really complain the day after.
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?
Your wedding should reflect you.
I’ve been lucky to experience many different weddings – and I’ve come to realise that what makes them super special is the personal touches, the thoughtful gestures, the things that are unique, bespoke or quirky and that really reflect the couple themselves.
I think it’s so important not to feel you have to tick off each tradition or think “this is what we’re supposed to do” if it doesn’t feel right for you, while of course feeling able to include any traditions that mean something to you. I think if you’re able to take this approach it removes quite a lot of the wedding planning stress and helps you make decisions about your day.
WHAT WOULD YOU WANT COUPLES TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
I’d love couples to consider that their wedding photographs are one of the few tangible things they have as a keepsake of their wedding. You want them to bring back memories and spark emotions, so you’re filled with happiness and taken right back to that day, every time you look at them. You want to share them with everyone who was there, and everyone who couldn’t be. You want to be smiling at them together when you’re old, grey and wrinkly – a visual story of your wedding to be treasured all your life and for generations to come. I believe your wedding photos should tell the story of your day – let you relive the day, see the emotions of those around you, bring back memories and share moments you missed.
Also, I’d love couples to know that I travel. People often look only at photographers local to their wedding venue, but I (and many other photographers) happily travel across the UK and overseas. So, I’d advise you to find a photographer whose style you love, who you connect with and like, and talk to them about them travelling to you.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR COUPLES PLANNING A WEDDING?
My 5 top tips for planning a wedding are:
1) Do your day your way – if you celebrate the way you want, your day will be full of joy and happiness that will shine out of your photos. So if you want your grandma in your wedding party, your pet as a ring bearer, just the two of you or hundreds of guests – do it. If you want an adventure wedding on safari or a wedding filled with books and board games, a festival-feel silent disco or an elegant afternoon tea – do it.
2) Google the sunset time on your wedding date for your wedding venue to help with planning and so you can visualise your day more clearly. Sunset varies hugely across the UK from 3.20pm to 9.35pm so it’s worth checking!
3) Have a prewed or engagement shoot to get used to being photographed, to feel relaxed in front of the camera and get to know your photographer so your wedding photos are beautifully relaxed and natural.
4) Have a rainy day back up plan. This might be wellies and an umbrella, covered doorways, being flexible with timings so you can dash out to make the most of any breaks in the rain or an indoor alternative for photographs. I think rainy day weddings can still be beautiful and I always encourage my couples to head outside even just for 5 minutes under an umbrella.
5) Breathe and enjoy the day – not only will this help you to cherish every moment, but many people hold their breath in photos and breathing makes you look instantly more relaxed!
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU DIDN’T WORK IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?
I’d work as a travel or wildlife photographer. I do as much travel and wildlife photography as I can fit in to my year – some highlights included a spur of the moment trip to Antarctica, photographing polar bears in the Arctic on my honeymoon, seeing an aye-aye (my favourite animal – a strange nocturnal lemur) in the wild in a remote part of Madagascar and watching thousands of wildebeest crossing the Mara River as part of the Great Migration in Kenya last year.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR TIME OFF?
Apart from travelling, I love to read (all my bookshelves are overflowing) – particularly murder mysteries and fantastical adventures. Recently I’ve loved The Invisible Library, The Bear & The Nightingale and The Rivers of London. I’m also enjoying making art – I’ve taken part in Inktober (a challenge to do an ink drawing each day in October) for several years, I just finished a pottery class and I’ve recently started learning how to use oil paints. I’m a huge animal lover and living in London I’ve had to find creative ways to get close to animals – I’ve discovered puppy yoga, and I’ve been a fan of wild life drawing (life drawing classes but with animal models) for years. I’m also a smitten auntie to my gorgeous niece and nephew and spend as much time with them as possible, baking endless cupcakes, creating cards for everyone we know, playing hide and seek and reading bedtime stories.
Despite not getting on a plane until I was 19 years old, I’ve been lucky to travel to every continent and visit many incredible places. I still have plenty of dream holidays on my list though, including going to see grey whales in Baja California in Mexico, exploring more of Central Asia (trips to Uzbekistan & Kyrgyzstan have given me a taste for this incredible part of the world) and I’d love to visit the gorillas in East Africa one day.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
I feel so lucky that I actually love where I am right now. I love the balance of my work, and if I can still be photographing people in love and celebrating their weddings their way in amazing settings that would be perfect.