I hate having my photo taken

I used to hate having my photo taken – there are probably only about three photos in total of me as a teenager – so I totally sympathise when people tell me they don’t like having their picture taken either.

In fact, it’s probably one of the most common things I hear.

Some people are naturally confident and relaxed, some people get very nervous, but most of us are somewhere inbetween.

Why are we not all super-confident and relaxed in front of the camera? I think there are two main reasons:

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Family photo shoot

I met up with Elinor, her siblings, and their kids at the start of January.

There were seven children and they were full of beans, so it was a lot of fun!

We used the Festri in Llanberis, which I’ve used a few times since it opened a couple of months ago.

Rhian & Chris’ wedding photography in Llanfairfechan

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I had a lot of fun at Rhian & Chris’ wedding at St Mary’s Church in Llanfairfechan and the Split Willow.

As I’d broken my toe a couple of weeks earlier I called in the help of fellow wedding photographer Lee Evans, which allowed us to also film the service.

The ‘getting ready’ took place at Angharad’s house, an old school friend, which was a nice catch up!

St Mary’s church is very picturesque and plenty big enough for any size wedding.

The Split Willow is a friendly and relaxed venue and everyone had a great time!

The rest of the photos can be seen here.

Flashgun speedlite lampshade mod featured on DIY Photographer!

north wales photographer

Edit: Pleased to say this ‘invention’ has been featured on diyphotography.net!

This is not the kind of set-up  I’d use at a wedding – bit rough and ready for that – but my lampshade speedlite mod was ideal for photographing people at a halloween music event.

It couldn’t really be more simple, all I did was tape tin-foil on the inside of the lampshade and a bit of foil on top, and then attach it to my flash.

It acts as an excellent diffuser, and the key advantage it has over an umbrella is it’s much less likely to get blown over and break.

Here are some sample images:

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Busy start to 2016!

chwarel-1It seems like time gets faster and faster – can’t believe it’s already February 2016!

I’ve had a busy start to the year, and although making a living being a photographer can be hard work, the variety of things I’ve done thus far remind me why it’s such a great job!

Although this a quiet time of year for weddings, I’ve booked lots of couples who are getting the year off to an organised start. I always make an effort to visit couples who express an interest in making a booking, and meeting new people is one of my favourite things.

At the start of January I was running animation and light-painting workshops at Venue Cymru. I’m always amazed at the creativity of youngsters, so this was a lot of fun.

I’ve also done a bit of commercial work – photographing stairlifts (!), furniture and kitchens for use on company websites, I’ve photographed a Welsh language conference of loads of head-teachers, an opening of an art gallery, and Wales’ first minister Carwyn Jones paying a visit to Bethesda quarry.

And the next few weeks look set to be even more busy and varied!

I have wedding fayres coming up at the Celtic Royal in Caernarfon this Sunday, then Seiont Manor (Feb 21st) and the George in Llandudno (feb 28th).

I’m doing a fund raiser for Cancer Research where people can make donations in return for studio style photos on Feb 17th at the Anglesey Arms.

I’ve got some Google virtual tour clients booked in. And then I’m photographing museum artefacts for Bangor University.

Writing all this down makes me realise why it seems time is going fast. Time to book a holiday I think.

Claire & Jeff’s Wedding at the George Hotel, Llandudno

I had a great time at Claire and Jeff’s wedding at the George Hotel in Llandudno.

It was a pretty stormy day, but this didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.

We managed to get outside for about 10 minutes, before the wind picked up and threatened to blow us away!

Luckily the George Hotel is large, with different bars, reception rooms etc and everyone had a great time.

More photos.


Siwan & Alex’s Wedding at Tre Ysgawen, Anglesey

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I had a great time at Siwan and Alex’s wedding at Tre Ysgawen Hall.

I met up with them a week or so before the wedding at Llanddwyn Island, where Alex proposed.

It was a beautiful evening and we were lucky enough to see dolphins jumping out of the water as the sun set.

Siwan had seven bridesmaids, so the morning of the wedding it was all hands on deck!

Make up was by Poppy Johnson.

Hair was by …

Flowers by… (please remind me!)

The service was held in the church in Llangefni, before heading over for the reception in Treysgawen.

See the photos here.

Heather & Aidan’s wedding at St George Hotel, Llandudno

Here are some photos from Heather and Aidan’s wedding at Church of the Sacred Heart, Old Colwyn, and the George Hotel, Llandudno.

Weddings are always a bit manic in the morning, with all the hullaballoo of getting ready, but Heather  – who is a florist – ramped it up a notch by doing all her own floral work!

Her mum, sisters, bridesmaids, and nieces were all busy with the flowers and even doing last minute alterations to dresses.

Heather arrived at the church in style thanks to the horse drawn carriage provided by Cromlech Carriages.

She and Aidan also used the carriage to travel from Old Colwyn to the George Hotel in Llandudno and I was a bit uncertain how this would affect the timings of the day.

However, I would highly recommend hiring Cromlech Carriages to be part of your wedding.

Their horses are surprisingly nifty, but more importantly it gave Heather & Aidan a bit of time alone after the service. Often weddings can be a bit of a blur, especially of the couple, and the carriage ride allowed them to slow down and enjoy the day.

The George Hotel is one the premier wedding venues in North Wales, and for good reason. It is right beside the sea, which makes a fantastic backdrop.

The hotel is large and exceptionally well run and the reception room looks stunning.

See more photos here.

St George llandudno wedding photography

St George llandudno wedding photography

St George llandudno wedding photography


North Wales Wildlife Trust campaign – kids at Newborough

It’s been a busy few months with lots of weddings, photo shoots, and various projects.

Here are some photos of my kids, which I photographed at Newborough beach for a campaign the North Wales Wildlife Trust is running.

It’s called ‘My Wild Life…’ and aims to show the importance of wildlife and wild place to us all.

Can’t say this felt like hard work, hanging out at the beach as the sun goes down, although the kids were disappointed not to see the dolphins which have been popping up around Anglesey.

North Wales Wildlife Trust newborough

North Wales Wildlife Trust newborough

North Wales Wildlife Trust newborough

Peter & Jill’s wedding at the Royal Oak, Betws y Coed

North wales wedding photographer royal oak betws

Here are some photos from Peter and Jill’s wedding at the Royal Oak in Betws-y-Coed. 

It was a lovely spring afternoon in a really nice location.

Betws is one of North Wales’ best know tourist spots and opposite the hotel is a lawned area next to the river Llugwy.

Regardless of whether couples buy an album through me, or create their own prints, I always advise creating real copies of photographs, be it in book form, album or framed prints.

Images can look great on screen, but nothings beats the appearance, appeal and longevity of photographs that are printed in all their glory.

Peter and Jill ordered a 16×16″ album after their wedding – the largest I do – and were delighted with the results:

“What can we say! Absolutely superb. We are astounded and astonished, it is splendid and “out of this world”.
Thank you very much. You have made two ancient ones exceedingly happy.”

Wedding photography can be a lot of work, but messages like this make it one of the best jobs in the world.

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Pre wedding shoot at Castell Dolbadarn

North wales wedding photographer, castell dolbadarn, gwynedd

Kids can always make a photo shoot more fun – they bring an element of unpredictability to things.

I met up with Nichola, Colin, Alyssa and Oliver at Castell Dolbadarn, a great place for photoshoots.

Not only is it picturesque with the castle, Padarn lake, and the woods, but it also tends to be fairly quiet so there aren’t people getting in the way.

Looking forward to the wedding at Seiont Manor next week!


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Winter wedding tips and special offer


Special Offer: Book any wedding from November to March and get £100 back on any all day package.

Please get in touch for more details.

Christmas tree and log fire at Penmaenuchaf Hall, near Dolgellau

I love a good winter wedding – it’s a magical time of year, especially as it gets closer to Christmas and venues are lit up with fairy lights, Christmas trees and log fires.

Also, far fewer couples get married in winter, which means things can sometimes be cheaper and venues and vendors are more likely to be available.

Christmas mountain bike light painting at Penmaenuchaf Hall, Dolgellau


It’s no wonder that winter weddings are becoming more and more popular!

Winter does have its disadvantages though.

It’s more likely to be cold, windy and rainy, and you’re definitely going to have fewer hours of daylight.

But if you have a warm and cosy venue, being battened down inside might be rather romantic.

In front of the Christmas tree at Seiont Manor

The other thing to consider is that bad weather and darkness make photography more challenging.

On a sunny summer day, your guests will likely get some nice shots. There’s plenty of light and cameras will give good results in automatic mode.

Typically, when it’s darker, cameras in automatic mode will slow the shutter speed down to the point where pictures are blurry.

Using off camera flash at winter wedding at Y Galeri, Caernarfon


This is why I use off-camera flash much more often in winter: gel-warmed and softened light looks beautiful.

It is also harder for a camera to focus when it’s dark – another thing that can cause blurry photos.

Christmas wedding group shots at Penmaenuchaf Hall


A trick I sometimes use is to focus on a light source, such as a mobile phone, although in this set up picture I forgot to ask the groom to put his phone away!

We did a whole series of group shots in almost complete darkness.

tom simone north wales wedding photographer 2

Night time can offer it’s own photographic opportunities, and a technique I sometime use is light-painting.

This involves using a long shutter speed, 30 seconds for example, and then drawing with something like a torch or sparklers while the pictures is being taken.

I also like the bokeh – the out of focus points of light – you get from things like Christmas trees.


If you are thinking about getting married in winter then I’d love to hear from you.


Cassie & Jim’s wedding at Oriel House, St Asaph


I really enjoyed photographing Cassie & Jim’s wedding,  they’re such a nice couple.

Cassie was 7 1/2 months pregnant, but still managed to be cool and relatively relaxed!

I think Jim comes across as a gentleman, and the speeches demonstrated how popular he is, with video messages from people around the world.

They were very excited to be getting married and it was a real fun day.

Good luck with baby next! :-)

It was the first wedding I’ve photographed at Oriel House in St Asaph.

It’s a nice venue, with plenty of space, different rooms and a great garden for photos.

Nina Wren  did Cassie’s hair and make-up – fair to say she’s got some skills, def check her out if you’re looking for one of the best stylists around.

Other people I chatted to were Event Lounge, who do dj-ing, casino tables and photobooths – they’re a slick outfit, can’t go wrong with them.

Marianne & Carl’s Wedding at Seiont Manor


Marianne & Carl came all the way from Bournemouth to get married at Seiont Manor in North Wales.

Like lots of couples they love the mountainous scenery we have here, and the fact that at Seiont Manor – which is set in 150 acres of Welsh countryside, with Snowdon across the way – you can book the hotel for exclusive use.

Hair by Julia Nicholls – http://www.julianicholls.co.uk/

Make-up by Catherine – http://www.catherinewilliamsweddingmakeup.co.uk/

Flowers by Js boquets  – http://js-bouquets.com/

See here for photos.

Pre wedding photography at Nant Ffrancon

north wales wedding photographer tryfan llyn ogwen nant ffrancon

Met up with Jim and Cassie on Sunday for our pre-wedding photo session overlooking the Nant Ffrancon valley.

This spot is only about a 10 minute drive from where I live in Bethesda – pretty stunning, right?

On some pre-wedding shoots I’ve got a bit carried away, and got couples to scramble down to waterfalls or up mountains, but Cassie is 71/2 months pregnant, so we didn’t stray far from the path.

I do pre-wedding shoots with all my weddings because I like to get to know people a bit before their wedding day.

You can meet me at the following wedding fayres –

Feb 22nd – Celtic Royal in Caernarfon,
March 1st – Seiont Manor in Llanrug,
March 8th – George in Llandudno


north wales wedding photographer tryfan llyn ogwen nant ffrancon north wales wedding photographer tryfan llyn ogwen nant ffrancon north wales wedding photographer tryfan llyn ogwen nant ffrancon



This was a great winter wedding down near Dolgellau at Penmaenuchaf Hall.

Hannah & Stephen are both bike nuts, and had chosen to get married in this part of North Wales so as to be able to go for a morning ride at the Coed-y-Brenin mountain biking tracks.

If your into MTB or cycling of any kind you should definitely check out Coed-Y-Brenin.

It was my first visit to Penmaenuchaf Hall, a really stunning family run stately hotel.

Because this was a December wedding, it got dark early, which of course is a factor when taking photos.

We did most of the group shots outside in the dark, and used the light emitted from a mobile phone to aid with focussing. This resulted in a series with Stephen holding his phone up, as I neglected to tell him to put it down after I’d focussed.

I also couldn’t see what poses or facial expressions people were making, which made checking the shots afterwards more interesting!

I tried drawing some hearts with my torch in a light painting photo, but then figured I’d try drawing a bike.

It looks a bit wobbly, but I was pleased it had even a passing resemblance to a bike because light painting is tricky.

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