This photograph was taken at Elizabeth and Austin’s wedding at Liverpool Town Hall in August 2008. I really enjoyed this wedding and took quite a few photographs which I was particularly proud of, but this one is definitely my favourite.

It was taken in Liverpool Town Hall’s large ballroom during the couple’s first dance.  It is one of those unposed emotional moments that would be almost impossible to set up. Elizabeth and Austin look so happy and everything in the shot, from the emotion of the bride and groom’s faces to the candles in the background, just fell right at that moment.

As well as myself, Elizabeth & Austin also hired a videographer to capture their wedding and whilst I was talking photographs the videographer was also on the dance floor filming.  The videographer was using a video light on his video camera and it is this light which is lighting up Elizabeth’s veil and giving the rim of light around the couple’s faces.  I think this really makes the image and it is an effort I have recreated at many weddings since by using off-camera flash.

To get an unposed photograph as strong as this also requires quite a bit of luck.  For example I wasn’t consciously trying to position myself so that the candles in the background were just in the frame – but I’m thankful they were as they give the image depth and warmth.

This photograph was awarded a Gold Award in the wedding traditional category in the SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers) monthly competition and was also featured in the SWPP’s ‘Annual Collection 2008′ publication which contained the top 3 images per category submitted to the SWPP’s monthly competition in 2008.  To have one of my wedding photographs included in the collection was a real honour.

In my opinion, this is certainly the best first dance shot I have ever taken but I will being doing my very best to beat it in the future!

Favourite Wedding Photography from Liverpool Town Hall-1

Favourite Wedding Photography from Liverpool Town Hall-2


  • November 10, 2009 - 9:01 pm

    Crash Taylor - Well done buddy. Love that image!

  • November 10, 2009 - 9:57 pm

    Donna Chipping - That is one beautiful photo, no wonder you’re so proud. Congratulations :-)

  • November 15, 2009 - 3:20 pm

    Sofie - Lovely image Neil & well done for getting it in the SWPP book!

  • November 16, 2009 - 6:00 pm

    Kevin Mullins - Lovely image Neil – well worth the award and I can see why it is one of your favourites.

This is the first of a new regular series of blog posts in which I will select some of my favourite wedding photographs which I have taken, and explain the reasons why I like them. The photographs I choose may not always be a potential award winning shot, but there will be something about each image which makes that photograph special to me.

The first photograph I have chosen is over a year old now, taken in October 2008 at the Norton Grange Hotel in Rochdale, just outside Manchester. It was taken without flash (the ceiling lights acted as the main light source) in a corridor in the hotel.

It is one of my favourite wedding photographs for a number of reasons.

The main reason is the bride in the photograph is my sister Karen, and I think she looks beautiful! Covering Karen and Gary’s wedding was my present to them and it was a pleasure to cover a wedding where so many of the guests were close family and friends.

I had pre-visualised the shot when I first visited the Norton Grange a couple of weeks before the wedding. Although I always visit the wedding venue beforehand to plan what photographs I would like to take, they don’t always come off exactly as I imagine (sometimes better!), but this one did.

I also like this photograph as it is also creative and contemporary. The majority of my favourite photographs are of a more reportage style, not overly posed and are more about capturing a moment (as is my photographic style), whereas this one is completely the opposite.

I post processed this image quite significantly in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to get the look I wanted, which again is something I try not to overdo usually as I generally prefer photographs to look natural and not overly edited. I think the editing in this photograph works really well though. To compare the finished version with the shot with the original, I have posted both the “straight out of camera” version and the final version.

Finally, a couple of other photographers who have seen this photograph have said it has a similar style to that of Yervant (arguably the best wedding photographer in the world) so for me that is the ultimate compliment!

Straight out of camera

Bride at Norton Grange Manchester Wedding 2

Final version

Bride at Norton Grange Manchester Wedding 1


  • November 6, 2009 - 7:10 pm

    Pete Welsby - Nice idea to post favourites and this one is well worth the accolade!

    I like to prepare some shots on my pre-wedding visit too and have occasionally taken along a ‘crib sheet’ of the rough shots taken at the time. I also try to take a couple of tear sheets from a bridal or fashion mag which I think might work at a particular wedding. I find it really useful as an aide memooire or just to kick-start the creative juices if needed!

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