Casual Captures: Blog en-us (C) (Casual Captures) Thu, 20 Aug 2020 11:24:00 GMT Thu, 20 Aug 2020 11:24:00 GMT Casual Captures: Blog 120 80 Phoebe's Christening Love a good christening....bringing a little one under the wing of God and God Parents.  Albeit, they are oblivious of what is going on, they always enjoy the cake at the party!  

I am starting to do more and more Christenings around County Durham and Teesside and please check your date with me at your earliest opportunity.  

]]> (Casual Captures) baptism blessing captures casual christening photography service Thu, 20 Aug 2020 11:23:40 GMT
Going Digital Close Up and Macro Photography Course Some of you may know that I not only photograph weddings but I also teach photography with Going Digital. 

This weekend I took a number of students to Northumberland Country Zoo to get very close to a number of critters!  No bars, no cages and no glass enabling us to get very close with our cameras to get some amazing photographs.

We spent the morning in the new Indoor Flying Centre, which I have to say is a superb resource to the zoo.  Dan and Georgia ensured that we had enough subjects to photograph and helped out with creating much more of a natural setting for them rather than bland backgrounds.

For me the star of the show was the Chameleon!  I have never seen anything quite as colourful as this and he certainly made a stunning photograph.

If you would like to join me on Sunday April 4th 2020 to get some impressive photos of smaller animals, then take a look at my Going Digital website.


]]> (Casual Captures) camera close up course courses going digital learn macro morpeth northumberland zoo photography workshop Mon, 20 Jan 2020 16:03:56 GMT
Newcastle Bridges and Light Trails

I was always conscious that I lived close to Newcastle Upon Tyne, one of the most iconic cities in the UK, with its multiple bridges and all within walking distance of each other.  It was this that, that took me to the Newcastle Quayside one cold January afternoon to watch the sun go down and then to meander around the bridges looking for that position to enable me to get stunning photos of the bridges.

Hats and gloves were the order of the day as that typical North East wind was blowing up the river directly at me! However the river was fairly calm and the reflections from the multiple light sources reflected all around me to help create an amazing cityscape begging to be photographed.

Walking underneath the Tyne Bridge gave me a very different perspective of a bridge I had travelled over many times.  Being underneath allowed me to see the cold steel work, the rivets and more lights and their reflections.  I headed up towards the Keep to take up a position at the High Level Bridge.  My thoughts here was a long exposure photograph with a double decker bus entering the bridge.  Exposure time was critical as was my timing to hit the shutter button! 

Moving to the centre of the bridge, I overlooked the River Tyne and three of the best bridges in the world… IMHO!!  I went for various photos from this position with my main thinking being to change the composition to give different perspectives of the bridges.  By chance as I went for long exposure again, I was also able to add more light trails to the photo for added interest.  

If you would like to join me on this photography walk around the bridges at Newcastle... give me a shout 

]]> (Casual Captures) bridge bridges high level light trails lighttrails millennium newcastle night photography photo photowalk quayside swing tyne tyneside Wed, 15 Jan 2020 18:39:26 GMT
Wedfest at Northside Farm Early July saw myself photographing the wedding of Lora and Dave at Northside Farm, Wylam, near Newcastle Upon Tyne.  The atmosphere from the beginning was chilled and relaxed that helped me slip into the "music festival" style of photography.  

Lora and Dave had already briefed me that they wanted many more natural unposed photos than the formal line ups.....perfect that's exactly what I love doing!  

One wedding, two bands and a fish & chip supper saw me immerse myself into the music festival scene.

It was a fab day attended by around 200+ guests that all enjoyed themselves....even the dance floor was full at 4pm!!  


]]> (Casual Captures) captures casual countryside david farm lora newcastle Northside tyneside venue wedding Fri, 19 Jul 2019 23:41:47 GMT
Teaching Photography - The Farne Islands Despite living and working in the North East of England, I had never visited The Farne Islands.  I now realise what I have missed!  Myself and the students were immersed into the world of birds and seals. It's their world and we respected that by following all the rules laid down by The National Trust who manage the Islands.  

When I first arrived, I really didn't know which way to point my lens!  There was photographic opportunities everywhere!  I followed a bit of advice though and went much deeper into the island and then worked back towards the landing point.  We had two hours on Staple Island and two hours on Inner Farne Island.  Ample time to get the wonderful photos that the location demanded.  From sitting Shags and Razorbills to the flying delights of Puffins. 

If you would like to visit The Farne Islands with a professional photographer at hand to help you get some great photos, then take a look at the Going Digital North East website for up and coming courses.  This course is usually held in June of each year as this is the main breeding season for the Puffins.

]]> (Casual Captures) birds british common courses digital farne going islands northumberland photo photography puffin puffins shag shags tern uk Sat, 22 Jun 2019 17:48:36 GMT
Teaching photography - Alnwick Gardens I also have a real passion for teaching, well teaching photography to be specific!  I work for Going Digital as well as doing weddings etc etc.  Last weekend saw myself and some students visit Alnwick Gardens in Northumberland to do Close up and Macro Photography.

the gardens were looking beautiful albeit, they weren't quite in full bloom and the Cherry blossom had passed.  But there was still lots of photo opportunities and with a bunch of enthusiastic students we set off around the gardens.

Many beautiful photographic opportunities as we spent time finding the perfect flowers for close up and macro photography.



]]> (Casual Captures) alnwick digital east gardens going north northumberland photo photography Sat, 22 Jun 2019 17:22:50 GMT
All in a weekend.... This weekend saw me photograph a wedding, a corporate presentation night and a christening! 

The Wedding - Friday
So the wedding was at Preston Park Hall near Stockton in Teesside, UK.  The sun shone but the wind blew very hard!  Had to take care of my bride to ensure she got some great photos but not with messy hair...easier said than done!  In the end it all worked out perfectly as the wind dropped just enough to allow some outdoor photos.  I was putting my new Canon 5D4 through its paces and it didn't let me down.  It eased into all the challenges of the day, low light, shade, bright sunshine and wind.


The Corporate Presentation Night - Saturday
Darlington Building Society held their annual presentation evening at Hardwick Hall.  The room was themed as Alice In Wonderland and looked fab!  The staff all seemed to enjoy themselves and there were many well deserved presentations giving our during the evening.

The Christening - Sunday
Young George was christening at St Aidens church in Chilton and then a party was held at Chilton Sports and Social Club 


]]> (Casual Captures) aidens captures casual chilton christening church corporate darlington hall hardwick park party photography preston st wedding Mon, 18 Mar 2019 00:04:27 GMT
Engagement Party for Paul and Johnathan So honoured to be able to photograph the engagement party for Paul and Johnathan in March 2019 and held at Stockton Cricket Club.  Met them both a few years ago when I photographed a friends of theirs wedding.  Since then I have also photographed Pauls 30th birthday party and now their engagement.

One of the challenges of the night was to get a photo of everyone at the party in one big group!  I gathered everyone on the dance floor with the help of Darren from Darren Brown's Disco.  Always get help with bigger makes life a little easier!  So the challenge here was to ensure the light was good and that everyone is in focus.  I was using a Canon 5D4 with a 24-70mm f2.8 lens.  I was shooting in Manual with ISO400, 1/200sec and f11.  I bounced my flash off the ceiling and increased the power of the flash to +3.  I did a few test photos and they looked good.  Now to get many many people to look at the camera at the sametime and to smile as well is a challenge in itself!  But I'm proud to say that I nailed it.  

Paul and Johnathan, all the very best to you both for the future. <3

]]> (Casual Captures) Casual Captures County Durham Darlington engagement photography same sex wedding Sat, 09 Mar 2019 00:49:42 GMT
Fireworks We're heading towards November 5th and the night all photographers dream about getting those amazing rocket photos. So let me help you a little.....

I took these whilst at Disneyland Paris last October. I stood my ground for over two hours to ensure that I had the best possible place to get me the best possible photo. 

I used a simple lightweight tripod and of course a tripod is essential for this type of photo.  I used a Canon 5D MKIII with the 24-105mm f4 L series lens. 

I put my camera into Bulb mode and used a release cable to the shutter.  My ISO was 100 as I wanted the best quality I could get and my aperture was set at f11.  I used a remote to trigger the shutter to ensure I didn't get any camera shake and I anticipated the rockets going up.

For most of my photos I opened the shutter for about a count of 15 seconds, which I counted in my head!  So using the remote, I pressed the shutter open prior to any rockets going up and once they had fully exploded (about 10-15 seconds) I released the button to close the shutter.

The following photos are the result of using the above settings. Quite happy to answer any questions regarding long exposure or getting top quality firework photos.  

I hope this inspires you to get out there to get some awesome firework photos this year...please comment with a link to your photos... (y)

]]> (Casual Captures) captures casual county darlington disneyland durham exposure fireworks long paris rockets Tue, 14 Aug 2018 22:30:39 GMT
New challenges....always welcome! So I was photographing a wedding reception when the groom requested a special shot of hs car positioned outside the front of the hotel. tripod and a main road to contend with!  So they got the car in the right position and I got the bride and groom to stand either side of it.  They added that the hotel sign must be in the photo.   So over the road I went to get a wider angle.....lSO was at 400 from memory, in manual with my aperture wide open at f2.8 and a shutter speed at 1/125sec. With a little post wedding editing I reckon it's a pretty good shot.  B&G are happy and that's what matters. 

]]> (Casual Captures) canon captures casual county croft darlington durham hotel light low photo photography reception wedding Tue, 14 Aug 2018 20:54:38 GMT
Working with another photograper So I had the great pleasure to work with Chris from Christography at The Croft Hotel near Darlington, UK.  Chris covered the daytime photography with me taking over with my unique evening package at 7pm.  Chris has this amazing first dance pre-photo where a confetti cannon is fired over the bride and groom.  

The effect is a stunning photo that I'm sure will create an amazing memory for the bride and groom forever <3

]]> (Casual Captures) casual captures croft darlington hotel reception wedding Mon, 06 Aug 2018 23:49:25 GMT
New venues this week So this weekend saw me photograph two weddings at venues I've never been to before. Firstly Whitworth Hall Hotel near Spennymoor, County Durham 

Whitworth Hall Hotel

And secondly a small quirky but great place in Jesmond, Newcastle called As You Like It.

As You Like It



]]> (Casual Captures) As You like It Casual Captures County Durham Darlington photography wedding Whitworth Hall Mon, 30 Jul 2018 22:27:57 GMT
Where and how to market my website....and me!  

I have long struggled to understand why I need to market my website. I'm contacted by various people every week that promise to increase traffic to my site, up my Google ranking.  I could of course spend many many £££ on this which as a small independent business I am reluctant to do so.  Mainly because I'm not a professional in how the Internet works and you hear of people spending thousands....for what?  

The results made by spending on SEO or marketing campaigns are very difficult to quantify / measure.  My only measure is how many bookings has that money generated...period!  

So I try to list my website on Facebook as it's free unless you want to boost various posts of course.  I also make sure this blog is linked to my Google page as Google like changes and uniqueness to a website.  There are also a number of free sites that list your business in the hope that you upgrade your listing to a premium one which of course you pay for!

My latest contact has been from a site called and like all of these sites they do offer premium packages.  However, I will start with the basic free listing and see how I get on.  

All I have to do is to embed a bit of code for the free listing.....not an easy thing to do if your not website savvy!  But here goes and I'll update the blog with any results or not!  



]]> (Casual Captures) designers seo url website Wed, 23 Nov 2016 21:21:28 GMT
Super Moon 14th November 2016, Darlington, UK Much has been made about the Super Moon on 14th November 2016 and so I took up the challenge of getting a good shot of it.  After reading many many articles about how to photograph the moon with many of them suggesting using a tripod!  I couldn't quite get my head around that as the moon is really brightly lit and so by using Spot Metering, the camera is only measuring the light reflected from the moon.  As a consequence, both these images have been taken by hand-holding the camera.

These are my settings and my images.  Judge for yourselves if the settings are right or wrong.  

Canon 70D 100-400mm @400mm ISO100, 1/800sec, Spot Metering and hand-held.....

Cropped in version......

Anyone spot the Clangers or the Soup Dragon?....LOL



]]> (Casual Captures) 14th 2016 Captures Casual Darlington November Super moon Mon, 14 Nov 2016 21:38:29 GMT
To Photoshop or not? I am often faced with the dilemma as to whether to Photoshop a picture or not.  I'm actually very much against "photoshopping" an image as I think it's important for the final photograph to reflect as much detail of the original image as possible.  For example if I had an image of a person with a wart on their nose, would I "shop" it I wouldn't!  There was once a professional wedding photographer who "shopped" his images and the bride and groom sued him because he had changed the images.  

So do I change my images?  Sort of, I will always edit them or crop them to improve on the original image but that only involves exposure, shadow and colour saturation settings within the image.  I think this is what the client is after, as good a image as possible without changing the image......does that make sense? Of course it does, it's all about enhancement rather than change.  

Whilst I always give the bride and groom the edited, enhanced images, I also love to play around in Photoshop with my images....a sort of hobby after the event.  If I do this, I always send a copy to the bride and groom to get their thoughts on it and with their permission, I may publish it, like the one below which I have added a bit of poster art!

And how about adding a frame around the image and maybe a drop shadow to give it a 3D look?  This is recent image of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side...a much prettier side IMHO!

Photoshop or not........over to you.



]]> (Casual Captures) Casual Captures County Durham darlington enhanced image photography photoshop wedding Thu, 10 Nov 2016 23:48:45 GMT
Log Cabins Today has been a real challenge for me as I completed a photoshoot of a mobile log cabin!  The company builds luxury log cabins here in Darlington and sells them across the UK.  Biggest challenge was the lack of light due to all the images being taken indoors.  So with the 5D on a tripod, I racked the up aperture to f22 to ensure everything was in focus to ensure a longer shutter speed due to the lower light levels.

Quite pleased with the results and the client had a quick preview of the images and they seemed happy as well......winner!




]]> (Casual Captures) Casual Captures County Durham darlington internal log cabin mobile home Wed, 09 Nov 2016 15:00:00 GMT
The Wedding Industry Awards 2017 So very pleased to be recognised by The Wedding Industry Awards 2017 by making it through to the Regional Finals on Monday 7th November 2016 at Rockcliffe Hall in the category of North East Wedding Photographer of the Year.  I'm up against some amazing other photographers and it'll be great to get through to the next round and to be able to head to London in Jan.

So I'll have to dust off my suit and grab a tie and take a seat to watch many many smaller wedding industry business get the recognition and awards that they deserve.

The winners of the Regional Finals then go through to the National Finals in London in January 2017.

Fingers crossed all the way......


]]> (Casual Captures) Casual Captures County Durham Darlington Durham event photography photography reception wedding wedding photography Fri, 04 Nov 2016 19:12:19 GMT