Creative contemporary wedding photography at Weston Hall in Stafford by Stafford Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Black + White Wedding Photography

I have long been a fan of Black and White Wedding Photography, from the days when I was shooting on Fuji colour film and Kodak Black and White film, through to today, I always think there is a special mystique to Black and White wedding photography, and my wedding coverages often contain over sixty percent of the final story being in black and white.

Here are some of my favourites from the year, and some of the reasons why.

Wedding Sparklers

For the exit of the Bride and Groom from their Muncaster Castle Wedding in December, all of the guests lined up outside with a sparkler guard of honour for the beautiful couple to exit through. Such a beautiful way to conclude their wedding coverage.

Storytelling real wedding moments in reportage style at Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass by Documentary Wedding Photographer Stuart JamesBeautifu wedding photographs at Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass by Documentary Wedding Photographer Stuart JamesBeautiful wedding photographs at Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass by Documentary Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Documenting morning preparations – Bridal Makeup

I love documenting the morning preparations of a wedding, from the hair and makeup artists working their magic, through to witnessing the emotions and relationships at play, and of course hearing the wonderful stories of the wedding preparations that have come together.
I always like to work on different angles throughout a morning, working with surfaces to add depth to an image, or working from an angle you wouldn’t expect, like this image of Bec applying her Makeup at The Moat House, where placing myself close up against the mirror, allowed a totally different viewpoint.

Relaxed and beautiful wedding photography by Stafford Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Documenting morning preparations – The Boys Morning

Whilst my wedding morning are usually spent with the Bride and Bridesmaids, whenever logistics and timings allow, I always like to pay a visit to the Groom and Groomsmen whilst they’re getting ready on the wedding morning, and on Aimi + Ian’s wedding day before heading to Alrewas Hayes to re-join the girls, I was able to drop in to see Ian and the boys. There is something about the simple symmetry I love of this photograph of Ian tying his cravat, and sat really well in the story of the boys preparations in the wedding album.

Candid photos of groomsmen's preparations ahead of wedding at Alrewas Hayes in Burton by Documentary Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Emotion

There is always a considerable amount of emotion around on a wedding day, from proud parents to happy friends and of course the wonderful bond being shown between two people as they start their journey of married life together. But there is something extra special to witness when a Groom cannot contain his emotions when first seeing his beautiful bride enter the wedding ceremony, as was the case for me this year with both Ian when he saw Aimi, and Sean when he saw Lucy at Somerford Hall too.

Reportage creative photography capturing emotion and romance of wedding ceremony at Alrewas Hayes in Staffordshire by Candid Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Little Details

A great deal of my time on a wedding day is spent looking at the little details and touches that add something to wedding photography coverage, and occasionally the little details that draw a smileand when I saw Lauren’s bridesmaid browsing through Wedding Ideas magazine, it was something that just had to be captured.

Natural photographs of morning preparations at home before wedding at St Lukes Church in Cannock by Reportage Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Single photos that tell a complete story

There is something about combining wide angle and detail photographs throughout the wedding day, with the two formats coming together to show the complete wedding story. And when I was presented with this photograph as Lauren descended the stairs in her stunning Bridal gown, complete with the Bridesmaids all eagerly waiting in the doorway to see her, for me it says everything about a wedding morning…

Relaxed morning at home getting ready for wedding at St Lukes Church in Cannock by Documentary Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Observing the wedding from a different viewpoint

Everyone has seen photographs of the Bride and Groom from the back of the church during the wedding ceremony, but when presented with Suzanne + Andrew’s gorgeous Sandon wedding at All Saints Church Sandon, I had to take advantage of the balcony in the church, not only for a stunning photograph at the high altar, but also looking down upon Suzanne and Andrew in this photograph below. There’s something I love about the details you notice in this photograph, and it’s a nice contrast to the typical church wedding photographs

Reportage timeless photographs of wedding ceremony at All Saints Church in Sandon by Staffordshire Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Wedding speech photography

When it comes to the speeches, it really is always a highlight of the wedding day – both for the guests and for me!
Capturing the reactions and stories, candid photographs of the guests and of course the bride and groom, especially when you get such great stories as came out during Suzanne and Andrew’s wedding at Sandon Hall.

Reactions to the bestmens speech brought great candid photographs at Sandon Hall in Stafford by Staffordshire Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Morning preparations at brides home

Before the wedding really got underway at Somerford Hall, Lucy + Sean’s wedding started for me at Lucy’s parents house for the morning preparations.
Having plenty of time in the morning with so much going on allowed for so many great photos, as you can see in their full blog post here and really set the tone for a great day. There are so many photos I love from the morning at Lucy’s parents house, but this one of Sean’s sister framed in the middle of the doorway is one of my favourites.

Bridal makeup and preparations ahead of her Somerford Hall wedding in Brewood by Documentary Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Bridal dress photography

Another of my favourites from Lucy + Sean‘s wedding morning is this frame of Lucy putting her dress on helped by her sister and best friends.
Working wide again here brought so much into the photograph, and was again another of my favourites from a beautiful wedding.

Relaxed morning preparations ahead of wedding at Somerford Hall in Brewood by Reportage Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Speech reaction candid photographs

So again it’s back to Lucy + Sean’s wedding for another of my favourites, and purely for the great reactions of everyone during the fabulous speeches during the wedding breakfast. There is just so much going on in this photos – and being black and white you see every little bit of it.

The groom certainly performs for the party at Somerford Hall in Brewood by Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Wedding morning photography

The end of July really was one of my favourite weekends ever as a wedding photographer, as after Lucy + Sean’s wedding I had the pleasure of documenting Hayley + Karl’s wedding at Weston Park, one of my all time favourite wedding venues. Hayley + Karl’s wedding day was absolutely amazing from start to end, from the morning preparations in Wolverhampton through to one of my favourite colour photographs in the rain to conclude the coverage.
There are a couple of photographs from Hayley + Karl’s wedding that I absolutely love, and this image of Hayley putting the finishing touches to her hair, with her mom looking on is one of my favourites.

Relaxed photos of Bride and Bridesmaids on morning of wedding at home before wedding at Weston Park in Staffordshire by Documentary Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Wedding morning photos

Whether it was the combination of space, combined with amazing light, along with so much going on on the morning of Hayley + Karl’s wedding day, or just a simply wonderful wedding with great people, there are so many photos I love from the wedding day in July. This capture with depth and space again is one of my favourite images from 2013.

Capturing the atmosphere of a wedding morning during bridal preparations at home before wedding at Weston Park in Staffordshire by Reportage Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Wedding ceremony photography

St Andrews Church in the grounds of Weston Park is a gorgeous little church to photograph weddings in, and when presented with a Bride and Groom who simply spend all day long smiling lovingly at each other, it’s impossible to not create great photographs. This capture of Hayley + Karl stealing a glance during the wedding ceremony is again one of my highlights from the year – and I think it’s easy to see why!

Unobtrusive natural wedding photography at St Andrews Church, Weston Park in Staffordshire by Reportage Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Wedding hair dressers photography

The morning of Jo + David‘s wedding started at Koo Hair in Stafford where the girls were having their hair styled, and with the salon completely to themselves, it was a fabulous space to create a story within. This image of Jo having the finishing touches put to her hair design is definitely one of my favourites of the morning.

Candid reportage wedding photography at Weston Hall in Stafford by Staffordshire Wedding Photojournalist Stuart James

Groom morning photography

After starting the morning with Jo and the girls at Koo Hair, I then had time to meet up with David and the boys at his parents house.
From capturing the best man discussing the football fixtures for the day, to photos of the cutest of flower girls, this photo of David taking a minute alone to reflect on the amazing change that was about to happen later that day. Absolutely one of my highlights of the year!

Creative contemporary wedding photography at Weston Hall in Stafford by Stafford Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Wedding toast

Occasionally it’s the simplest of things that make me love a photograph, and here during David’s speech, with all the glasses coming in to toast a very happy bride, this says so much about weddings for me.

Candid reportage wedding photography at Weston Hall in Stafford by Staffordshire Wedding Photojournalist Stuart James

Wedding transport

After Jo + David’s wedding, I was back in Lichfield to capture the story of Sue + Paul‘s wedding. Travelling from the Lion Hotel in Brewood, on fantastic traditional transport – a London Routemaster Bus – it was a brilliant start to the day. And this photograph of Paul entering the bus is still one of my favourites from their wedding day.

Documentary reportage wedding photography at Lion Hotel Brewood and Lichfield City Centre by Lichfield Wedding Photojournalist Stuart James

Wedding portraits

Although a documentary wedding photographer, it is always important to create stunning Bride + Groom portraits on the wedding day, and despite the cold on Sally + Jared‘s wedding afternoon, we persevered and created some beautiful portraits of both Bride + Groom. This one of Jared is one of my all time favourite Groom portraits, and the photograph of Sally in the colour section is quite probably my all time number one Bridal portrait. Such an amazing Packington Moor Wedding to photograph.

Documentary story telling wedding photographs at Packington Moor Wedding Venue in Staffordshire by Lichfield Reportage Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Pets are part of the family

I got to know Bonnie on Becky + Paul’s engagement shoot in Liverpool ahead of their wedding at Chillington Hall in December, and knowing how much a part of the family the little one is, I absolutely loved this photograph whilst Becky was having her makeup done.

Photographs of bride during morning preparations at home before heading to her wedding at Chillington Hall in Brewood by Stafford Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Father sees daughter as Bride for first time

One of the most privileged moments I get to capture on most weddings, is the first time the Bride’s father sees his princess dressed in her stunning gown, and whether it’s a moment for tears or a quiet moment together, it’s one of my favourite moments to capture. When it came to waiting for Becky to come out of the bedroom to see her father on the wedding morning, the photograph I’d had in mind changed somewhat with the invasion of the flower girl…but for me it totally made the image!

Candid photographs of bridal preparations before wedding day at Chillington Hall in Brewood by Cannock Reportage Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Church arrivals

Another of my favourite images from Becky + Paul‘s wedding came when capturing Becky’s entrance to St Marys Church.
There is so much going on in the photograph, yet being so simple with all the negative space…again sometimes the simplest ideas as the best.

Reportage photographs during ceremony at family church St Marys Church in Brewood captured by Stafford Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Best mans speech

So again it’s back to the speeches section of the wedding, and back to Sam + Sam‘s wedding from December in Ravensglass at Muncaster Caster Cumbria.
The speeches were a great highlight of the evening, and I just love Sam’s brothers reaction here during his speech, and in the album it complemented so well with the emotional reaction later on from the Groom and the Guests.

Winter wedding photography at Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass by Documentary Wedding Photographer Stuart JamesBeautifu wedding photographs at Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass by Documentary Wedding Photographer Stuart JamesCandid wedding photography at Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass by Cumbria Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Bridal hair

The final wedding of the year saw me again at Sandon Hall, to document the wedding of Lizzi and Darren.
There are so many images from their wedding that stand out to me, but choosing just two firstly brings us to the morning preparations when the finishing touches were being applied to Lizzi’s hair by Natalie. Timing this photograph to get the separation of the hand from the hair added so much to this photograph for me, and added in with the intensity of Lizzi’s eyes, there is so much going on in such a simple moment.

Reportage photographs of Bridal Hair and getting into wedding dress at Sandon Hall in Stafford | Stafford Wedding Photographer Stuart James

Wedding portraits

Creating intimate, relaxed portraits during the couples shoot is so important to me on a wedding, rather than overly elaborate photographs, with props and complexities, for me I would rather create a photograph that captures a couple deeply in love, enjoying the most precious day of their lives together.
This frame of Lizzi + Darren in beautiful window light at Sandon Hall is one of my favourites from their afternoon session, and says so much for me as to how they are as a couple together.

Close intimate couple portraits in Library at Sandon Hall in Staffordshire | Contemporary Wedding Photographer Stuart James

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Hey there! Just to let you know, we're away from the office over the easter break so it may take me a little longer to get back to you :) Please bear with me! Happy Easter!!