Quintessential couple portraits - getting past the awkward

Saudade - nostalgia; the love that remains; a desire to be near someone or something distant....

DSC_1084_harrogate wedding images.jpg

I have photographed quite a few couples now, often in wedding attire and high on life and love. What fascinates me most, however, is the first ten minutes of the shoot. Without exception, both parties are feeling self-conscious, looking awkward and generally asking 'what do you want me to do with my hands?'

To be fair, that's a great question. There's nothing worse than a dangly arm or spatula fingers, yet a couple who are thrust in front of the lens for the first time often suddenly lose the ability to snuggle, or even walk. Exit gorgeously relaxed couple, enter Pinnochio and friend.  


I find that couples who are attracted to my photographs are looking for (and I quote) 'natural shots'. They want their images to reflect the beauty of their romance but they don't want to be 'posed' or have to gaze into each others' eyes in front of 200 wedding guests and the passing postman.

_DSC6666_harrogate family portraits.jpg

Let me tell you a story - it relates to my own wedding day and, rather embarrassingly, the making of the very mistake I am now advising against. It was a very informal wedding and even more embarrassingly, it was not my first. (I should emphasise that the shame relates NOT to the fact that I've been married more than once, but to the multiple opportunities I have had to get wedding photos wrong). Our reception party and back garden were littered with close family and friends, where folk mingled and kids played. I asked our photographer for 'natural stuff'. Candid shots of the fun, the chatter, the love, and the sunshine, please. Ask and ye shall receive. All very sound until I received the digital files and realised that my husband and I had spent the entire day separately - wandering, networking and satisfying our guests, resulting in not a single photograph of the two of us together. D'oh.

I can also tell you that (sshh, it's a secret), if you come to me for couple, engagement or wedding photos then you WILL be posed. You WILL be directed and I WILL ask you to gaze occasionally. Creating romantic, organic images of love takes work and orchestration. If I were to pass the buck and leave you to it, we would probably end up with a hot mess of awkward stances and grooms holding brides in half-Nelson headlocks. 

I rest my case.... (click on the photo for a full dose of these fabulous deliberately awkward engagement pics)

I rest my case.... (click on the photo for a full dose of these fabulous deliberately awkward engagement pics)


So, think again as you browse those Pinterest boards filled with elegant, atmospheric, love-filled couplegraphs. It is highly unlikely that they were achieved by a photographer who was lucky enough to be recruited by a couple so confident and skilled in front of the camera that they were able to drug, take a day off and let them loose with a command of "just smoulder for me". 

DSC_1008_harrogate wedding images.jpg

Once the lens cap comes off and the moment arrives, my advice is simple - take a few deep breaths, look your baby deeply in the eyes, remember how you love him/her, pull them close and follow your photographer's lead. If you got this far because you are a fan of their work, the chances are you are already in very safe hands. Embrace your SAUDADE!

Engagement and couple shoots can be booked independently, or as part of a wedding package. We can shoot pretty much anywhere, but I highly recommend reconnecting with a place that has special meaning for you; it will make all the difference. 

Please get in touch by phone, via email at eyesomephoto@gmail.com or via my social media pages.

Helen x

Inner City Pretty

If you're into alternative and atmospheric wedding imagery, then this one is for you.


Last week was my birthday. Some people might treat themselves to a new frock on such an occasion, or a pair of shoes. I took a slightly alternative route and spent my birthday money on a full day's photo shoot with Photography Farm. This is my personal idea of fun. Me time. Utter selfishness. A day with myself, my camera and a delightful bunch of strangers in the inner city of Sheffield.

harrogate wedding images

Our venue was a the Abbeydale Picture House, 100 year old semi-derelict cinema. Magnificent in its shabby condition, the peeling walls were nothing if not an asset for the photographer's eye. We were spoiled by the addition of two professional (and totally sublime) bridal models from J'Adore Models and the experienced and thoughtful styling of Erica at Mr & Mrs Unique.


Once I had overcome my fear of the dark (not, you understand, because I believe in ghosts, but because I know that to make photographs one requires light), and explored a bit, it became evident that the old picture palace (venue organised by Inner City Weddings and which is, incidentally, available for hire for weddings) was littered with pockets of natural light, eeking in to the building through tiny cracks and pores, and little port-hole windows. Perfection.

DSC_0924 copy.jpg

The shafts of light which pierced the darkness provided just enough drama to prove that you can make a beautiful bridal portrait just about anywhere. In the case of the image below this happened to be on an ill-lit, crumbling stairwell with wonky steps and splintered windows. The ancient walls retained just enough paint to add urban interest, complementing the softness of the incredible bridal gowns provided by the fabulous E&W Couture and Bowen Dryden

harrogate wedding images

The faces of the two beauties in frocks were both naturally magnificent, but were enhanced by the skills of professional Make Up Artist, Jenn Edwards. Further details and embellishments were contributed by Campbells Flowers of Sheffield, Halo & Co (jewellery), and Faber Novella (shoes).


It was our privilege to be led by four aspirational pros for this romp in self-indulgence. It was as fascinating to watch and talk with them as it was to snap away in this masterpiece of a venue, so thanks indeed for the patience and tolerance of the following:-

Lisa Devlin, Jo from Enchanted Brides, Lee Allen and Lisa Jane.


If you are interested in my wedding photography, please get in touch via email or my social media, or by using the contact form

An al-fresco engagement session in the Lake District with John & Sophia

An engagement or pre-wedding shoot poses an interesting dilemma for a lot of couples. On the one hand it has the advantage of familiarising them with their photographer, and also extends the period of anticipation and excitement in the lead up to the big day. On the other hand, it can add a lot of pounds to an already overweight wedding budget.

A quiet cafe corner provides an opportunity for refreshment and a chat for John & Sophia

A relatively new phenomenon from across The Pond, the engagement shoot isn't really what it says, as most couples are engaged well before this event takes place. Rather, it is a 'let's-have-a-practice-before-the-wedding-day' shoot, and this, for me, is the greatest advantage of all. It offers the couple the chance to both 'warm up' in front of the camera, and also to extend their wedding collection with photos that are a little more reflective of how they behave in real life (i.e. not carrying flowers and being followed by a bunch of girls in matching frocks).

One of many kisses exchanged by our engaged duo, a sign of wedded bliss to come

John and Sophia could not have been more cool about being in front of my lens. There were so many kissing stops that I almost called the fire brigade at one point. Man, was it hot out there!

so comfortable in each other's company, our couple get cosy on the log pile

Amongst other 'game' things, John and Sophia thought nothing of walking through the odd cow pat or mud bath to find a decent destination for a portrait. Love is like that.

Tramping through cow pats and mud not a problem when you're in love

We chose several different locations, including the picturesque town of Kirkby Lonsdale, with its cafes and pretty streets. A couple of refreshment breaks provided the perfect opportunity for our couple to catch up over a cappuccino. 

a brief stop for coffee and cuddles at the pub in Kirkby Lonsdale

Rarely more than an inch apart, I was left in little doubt that this couple will have an amazing life together. Their comfort in each other's company was clear for most of the residents of the Lake District to see, and even the passers-by (who were intrigued enough by the public posing to ask whether there was a celebrity in town) commented on how freely John & Sophia gave and received affection with so many eyes upon them.

never more than an inch apart, love was in the air all day long

The long grass (and thistles) is always a great spot for kissing, even if you have to stand up.

love in the long grass, helped by magnificent light
kissing in doorways - a wonderful passtime
public canoodling at the public house

There was public canoodling at the public house, kissing in doorways, snogging against the railings, and I LOVED it!

such closeness was lovely to witness in this awesome couple

Major thanks to the adorable, perfect subjects that are John & Sophia, and here's to many long years of love and lust. Wherever.

more kissing and any opportunity to show their affection on this special engagement

If you like kissing, try more wedding posts!

Thanks are due to Aspire who found John and Sophia and these awesome locations.