A beautiful Norfolk Medieval May wedding at Hales Hall

I just love these kinds of days. Friends and family think it must be horrible spending the amount of time I do on the road, especially when you tell them that there would be around nine to ten hours driving. However, I really like this aspect of the my work.  I get time to think through new ideas, listen to music while sat on my behind and ultimately spend the day travelling somewhere beautiful and new.

Leaving Leeds at about 5am with a car full of coffee, snacks, CD’s, a nice 1930s three piece suit to change into and my camera gear I set off on my long journey to Norfolk. I adore this part of the world deeply especially south-east of Norwich towards Beccles so it was a joy to visit again.

From the first time I saw Hales Hall online it had stunned me with it’s beauty. I’d kept checking back – seeing other pictures taken there and finding out about it’s history. It’s typical old and established Norfolk fair really – the site has had a house on it for over 1000 years. It has been lived in by the Attorney General to King Henry VII and the barn is medieval and just happens to be the largest brick built one in Britain. I knew it would make a stunning location and a great place to get some fantastic pictures.

Arriving first at Rachael’s parents house on the outskirts of Norwich I got to actually meet my bride. This was an example where we couldn’t meet before the wedding due to the couple living in London and me in Leeds. Rachael’s family looked after me very well. With unlimited tea I got pretty caffinated and I could start snapping away with no worries, capturing lots of little details and the happy atmsophere of all in the house.

The colour theme at this wedding was really nice. Light blue and white was the order of the day. All bridesmaids dresses were vintage style 1950s baby blue polka dot dresses, the flowers matched and even the wedding VW camper van matched too!

Arriving at the venue which was about 30 minutes away I was struck by it’s beauty. Very quickly I met Pete, his ushers and his best man and could start snapping various details and guests arriving. This wedding was such a breeze from my point of view as every single person was in the such high spirits and were clearly behind the couple 100%.

The day passed by wonderfully. The brides arrival was perfectly timed. The service was true and heartfelt and clearly was the coming together of two people so deeply in love. I could get lovely pictures of people having drinks on the lawn. The few group shots went well and I could do a first set of bride and groom portraits all before the meal and speeches at around 5pm.

It was time for a well earned relax. I hadn’t really stopped since 5am so I could sit down with a meal and have 15 minutes relaxing myself before having a flick through what I’d taken so far.

Once the speeches started at about 6.30pm I was on the go again, capturing what were some of the funniest and most eloborate speeches I’ve heard. The chaps had arranged a sound track to be used and had some specially created props. The guests really were cracking up over this.

It was then time for another set of portraits as the sun was setting. This is always a favourite with my brides, when you can backlight them and surround them in that lovely pinky glow of the evening which is especially beautiful in May.

The evening passed into the night time reception. This entailed a great 1950s and 60s styled rock and roll band that had everyone dancing. I got some cracking pictures of all the guests and also some pretty wild dancing. It was around 9pm that I climbed into my car for the drive back to Leeds. A couple of strong coffees on the A1 on the way back I in bed by about 1.30am. Very tired but very pleased with how the day went.

I sent Rachael and pete the CD’s when they were back from their honeymoon and received the lovely message back .

Hi Martyn,

The photos are great, really pleased with them – thank you.

Rachael & Peter- 4th May 2013

What a lovely couple and what a pleasure to capture such a lovely day with them and their families and freinds. I wish them all the best.




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Rob and Kerry’s Tuesday Wortley Hall Wedding

Not for the first time I met a wedding couple in The Head of Steam Pub which joins onto Huddersfield Railway Station.

I’m not superstitious but it has to be noted that I have met many Huddersfield based couples here and I have always got the job as wedding photographer when the meeting was held there so this is where I met this couple back in October.

After chatting about Rob & Kerry’s ideas and agreeing on ways for me to fit in and achieve the kinds of results that they wanted we also agreed on a combined deal for me (with The Old Time String Band) to play some music at various times during the day.

Me and musical partner Daisy Thurkettle rolled up at Wortley Hall on a bright Tuesday morning and couldn’t believe what a beauty of a building this was and after being there a short while found out the building has a facinating history.

After being rebuilt in the 16th Century and getting used to house soldiers during the civil war and WW2 it had become one of those typical ‘big houses’ that fell into disrepair because the owners couldn’t afford the up keep. In 1950 it was bought by The British Labour Movement and become a base for socialist groups and trade unions as a training, education and holiday camp which it still does to this day.

While musical equipment was being set up I could start taking the photographs. First building shots and interiors and then at the time I was needed I headed to Kerry’s hotel suite to get pictures of the preparations.

There was such a wonderful atmosphere in the room. Children played and Kerry must of been one of the most relaxed and joyous of all the brides I’ve encountered. I enjoy getting pictures at this point of the day. It’s a great chance to get many ‘detail’ shots that often get overlooked and forgotten about but which also bring back many memories later. It’s also a great chance to work with the bride, put her at ease and work out the best way to shoot with her later.

About half an hour after arriving at Kerry’s room I was on my way through the many corridors at Wortley Hall to the room where the ceromony was to be held. By this point there was about 20 minutes until the actual wedding, which is just enough time to get some shots of guests having a jolly time.

Daisy happens to be a fantastic photographer as well as a fantastic jazz singer and violinist and would of being waiting around most of the day with nothing to do. As such I had left her with my 3rd camera (a spare for my spare that I carry to all weddings) and she too had been ‘second shooting’ and had already got some super shots that actually made it into the final set.

The day passed without a single problem and I was lucky to meet many fantastic people. An upside to this career which rarely gets spoken about is the social side. With much time spent in close company of many people I always end up on friendly terms with a few folks  by the end of each wedding. Because Kerry and Rob work respectively as a consultant surgeon and nurse there was many medical chaps and chapesses and while having a coffee in the bar later on in the evening got to hear some hilarious stories about patients in hospital and what caused them to be there.

Having played some background jazz earlier in the day The Old Time String Band played an hours set of out most lively songs that night before the DJ at around 8pm. As is often the case the children ran around the dance floor chasing disco lights and much merriment and food was had by all the guests as the room filled to bursting with the many evening guests that arrived.

Photographs of dancing and guests were taken to finish off the photographic part of the day and at around midnight a very tired me and Daisy packed the last of the music equipment into the car and headed off back to Leeds.

Yorkshire Wedding Photographer

Leeds vintage wedding photographer Martyn Roper.

Yorkshire Wedding Photographer

Leeds vintage wedding photographer Martyn Roper.

Yorkshire Wedding Photographer

Leeds vintage wedding photographer Martyn Roper.

Yorkshire Wedding Photographer

Leeds vintage wedding photographer Martyn Roper.

Yorkshire Wedding Photographer

Leeds vintage wedding photographer Martyn Roper.



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December wedding at Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds.

What winter weddings mean to me as photographer

When speaking to other photographers about photographing weddings in the winter I’ve heard many people suggest different ways how to deal with them.

On a typical November, December, January or February day it’s likely to be cold, dark and probably raining.

These issues can bring up so many problems with people not looking relaxed and also with the limited photo opportunities.

I personally have always enjoyed winter weddings. There are many interesting challenges that are fun to work around and usually that dogged British spirit comes out in the guests when they have to march through rain to get to a venue.

I’ve learnt some of my most valuable lessons from winter weddings in terms of good technique and how to get the best out of the guests so that the photographs capture the warmth that was present on the day even if the guests are shivering and cold.

Meeting in the Cafe at Morrisons supermarket

When Terri called me about shooting her wedding we worked out that she lives pretty near by and the most public place in between our respective houses was Morrisons in the Kirkstall area of Leeds.

If not the most salubrious of venues to meet a client then it still worked perfectly.

We had some coffee and a good chat. We then looked over some example albums and an hour or so later Terri had booked me for her wedding.

After a further half hour or so I was loading my car with bags of shopping which worked out perfectly for me too…

What a useful meeting that was!

Getting a feel

One of the things I like to do when meeting prospective clients is get a feel for the kind of wedding they are after.

Terri and Scott wanted an easy and relaxed day to suit their warm easy going personalities. Apart from a few formal group shots they didn’t want much interference from me.

This was duly noted and all I had to do was turn up on the day and follow the action.

A cold and wet day

When I woke up and looked out that morning it was cols and grey with the threat of rain.

As we got to church with Terri to go in the sun came out and as we finished the confetti shots before rushing off to the reception venue at Kirkstall Abbey the rain started.

The timing couldn’t of been better.

The rest of the day was undercover as the rain lashed down so I could grab the shots I needed indoors without dragging people out in the cold.


It’s always nice to get positive feedback from clients and Terri’s feedback has been one of the most positive.

I include it below as it is so lovely.


Hi Martyn,

I have spent all afternoon looking through the photos and absolutely adore them.

You have captured every part of our day in exactly the fun, relaxed way we wanted. Some of the pictures are so touching and I can’t wait to get them printed.

You have done such an amazing job, they are gorgeous and we cannot thank you enough.

Have a wonderful Christmas.

Thank you sooooo much.

Mr & Mrs Mawson! X

Wedding Photography at Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Wedding Photography at Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Wedding Photography at Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds

Wedding Photography at Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds


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A quick stop in Huddersfield Town Hall for Claire and Simon

Getting recommendations

Claire got in touch after I photographed her friends wedding three years ago. It’s interesting how many weddings come through as recommendations and shows that consistantly producing good work is very important.

Huddersfield Town Hall

Being born and bred in Huddersfield I know this venue exceptionally well from the many concerts I’ve attended or played at on stage there. It is a stunning building and the concert hall (which can be hired for receptions) is known as one of the finest sounding halls in all of the UK.

Claire and Simon were going for a very straightforward ceremony so that they could get to the reception venue nearby and celebrate with their many friends as quickly as possible.

Therefore they opted for a quick wedding service and just contracted me to take pictures of the ceremony only and then some group shots straight afterwards to make it all flow quick and easily.

Wedding photographer Huddersfield


Wedding photographer Huddersfield

Wedding photographer Huddersfield



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An autumnal Wentworth Castle wedding with lots of vintage style.


Ryan and Rebecca have a deep love of lots of 1960′s things and had made a fantastic vintage, handmade feel at their wedding.

This handmade feel was mixed with the chaps very much dressed in the Mod style and the wedding car was a Volkswagen Camper Van which all added to make a very individual wedding.

It all fitted together wonderfully and the relaxed feel that Ryan and Rebecca wanted worked perfectly.

Photographing the day

For me the day kicked off at about 11am in Wentworth village getting some pictures of Rebecca getting ready.

There was then a quick dart to Wentworth Castle about 15 minutes away to take pictures of the ceremony.

We did pictures in the courtyard of the castle of the guests and group shots.

It was then another quick dart back to the Rockingham Arms in Wentworth Village where the reception took place where I followed the action all day until after the first dance at about 10pm.

An interesting reception venue

I was very impressed by The Rockingham Arms and thought I would mention it as I know the brides I meet read many blogs including this one to get ideas for their wedding.

This may read like a paid advert for the pub but it really isn’t! I will mention extra special venues that I come across to help share ideas and information.

For a start the village of Wentworth is a very beautiful place and is entirely listed and preserved tastefully with a great antiques centre and shops.

The pub is less than 10 mins from the M1 between Sheffield and Leeds and is very nice with a converted barn out back (with many original stabling features) that houses the reception venue, a secluded garden area and plenty of parking and accommodation.  The staff were lovely and worked very hard to make everything just right.


Wentworth Castle and Rockingham Arms Vintage Wedding

Wentworth Castle and Rockingham Arms Vintage Wedding

Wentworth Castle and Rockingham Arms Vintage Wedding

Wentworth Castle and Rockingham Arms Vintage Wedding

Wentworth Castle and Rockingham Arms Vintage Wedding


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