Heather Butterworth Photography
AWARD-WINNING LEEDS AND YORK DOCUMENTARY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
WITH RELAXED AND FUN VIDEOGRAPHY
As featured by
Leeds and York Documentary Wedding Photographer
Proud to be a
Firstly, thank you so much for visiting! If you are looking for totally natural and fun wedding photography then you are in the right place. I am based in Leeds and if you are too you might recognise some of the lovely Leeds Wedding locations above. Use the links below to go straight to my pricing or look at more of my work, or just carry on reading to find out a little bit more about my style and approach.
Leeds and York wedding photography
I won't be spending ages organising you and your guests for staged shots, or endlessly rearranging limbs and looks for posey photos. I'll be quietly floating around looking for the perfect moments to capture. There will be times when I can't avoid being up close with the camera, but as a general rule I'll be as unobtrusive as possible. Depending on your preference I'll also set aside a little time for some creative couple portraits; this could be during the day making use of the sun, or after dark when we can deploy some off-camera flash. This will be the one time that I might need to direct you a little, but that means we can shoot some epic photos as quickly as possible and then get back to the party!
What packages do you offer?
Please visit my wedding packages page for information about pricing. You can book me for 3, 6 or 10 hours cover and for different levels of service ranging from just me to me plus a videographer with a drone. If you don't see exactly what you are looking for then please get in touch anyway - I'll provide you with a tailored quote for exactly what you need, so long as I can provide it.
What is documentary wedding photography?
You may already know the answer to this because you've found me! Documentary or reportage photography differentiates itself from the more traditional wedding photography of yesteryear in that there is less posing and intervention from the photographer. Massive advances in camera technology mean that we can afford to take many more photos and then whittle these down to the moments that really tell the story of your day. I may take several thousand photos of your wedding, although you might find that hard to believe because I'll very rarely use a flash on the camera and my lovely EOS R6 is quiet as a mouse, like me!
Lots of photographers now offer this style of wedding photography, so you may be finding that there are a few of us to choose from. Whilst documentary or reportage is a shared approach to taking photos, different photographers have different styles in terms of their approach to colours, use of light and shooting angles, amongst other things. I love natural light, vibrant glowing colours and good humour. I'm also a big fan of off-camera flash for the odd showstopper once the sun sets - that means positioning flash units to create spectacular silhouettes, fake a golden sunset or make the dance floor really pop.
I take doing the best job with your wedding photography extremely seriously, but myself less so. It's so important for everyone to be relaxed and having fun. I'm certainly no diva behind a camera!
If you are planning a Leeds or York wedding...
Take your time when choosing a Leeds venue as there are so many great ones to consider. If you need any recommendations for florists or hair stylists I've worked with quite a few across Leeds so I'd be happy to help with this too! I'm really looking forward to my 2021/22/23 bookings for Cookridge Hall, Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds Town Hall and Woodlands. Keep scrolling for more info on some of these and other Leeds wedding venues I love.
What to expect before the day itself...
I could easily say a lot more here, but in summary: Ideally I like to meet my couples in person at least once before the big day, as this gives us all a chance to get to know each other a bit, ask questions and do some planning. I'm always amenable to a glass of wine in these situations but that is by no means mandatory. If you've booked a pre-wedding shoot then I'll also be waving my camera at you and we'll be somewhere beautiful of your choosing snapping some lovely shots to set the scene for your wedding to come. Aside from the photos, this is a great way for you to see how I work which should reassure you that your wedding day will be a breeze. If for any reason a face to face meeting isn't possible then we can use Zoom or Skype or a similar tool according to preference.
What to expect on the day...
Obviously this varies depending on your plans and where you want me to be, and I am completely flexible in this regard - don't interpret what I say here as set in stone, its just an example!
A typical day for a wedding photographer will start with bridal preparations which is always a blast, often punctuated with breakfast fizz and most definitely one of my favourite times to be taking photos, full of excitement and anticipation. Once we're happy with what I've snapped I'll leave you to it and head down to the venue to get set up, test the light and have a chat with the staff and whomever is conducting proceedings. If your other half is to be found lurking in the bar for a loosener and welcoming guests at this point then we may well be able to get some photos there too, dependent on timings and locations. I probably don't need to say too much about the ceremony other than that I'll be capturing all those lovely moments as you tie the knot, not just you but your guests too, of course. I like to be as mobile as possible at all times, ceremony included, but I promise I'll be unobtrusive too. If we are still under Covid restrictions I may be required to sit still in a specific place for the ceremony - if so that limits the angles but I'll still get some beautiful shots.
What happens next varies from couple to couple and depends on whether you are moving between venues. Either way I'll be on hand to document those very first happy moments as a married couple. I'll carry on shooting right up to the Wedding Breakfast, wherever that takes us and whatever is planned. People tend not to want to be photographed with a mouth full of food and I'll be ready for a power up by this point too, so I'll typically disappear until it is time for speeches, but of course if you want me to capture any aspect of the meal, including you guys munching on something delicious, then that is totally fine, I'll be there! For the speeches, as with the ceremony, I'll be moving around, recording tears, laughter and anything in between.
There may have been an opportunity for some group and newlywed shots right after the ceremony, or we may do these after the meal and speeches, depending on what you want. If you are up for it, this may also be the moment to whisk you away for some creative couple shots before, if there is to be dancing, the first dance, cutting of the cake and any other surprises! I'll normally stay long enough to capture the flavour of the party, but then leave you and your guests to it well before time at the bar. If you want me there to the bitter end make sure you give me plenty of warning as my raving days are long gone!
How I became a wedding photographer...
After studying photography at art college (quite a while ago!) and a decade or so working in interior design roles, I had a lucky break (redundancy) that meant I could convert photography from much loved hobby to awesome career! I've done my time in a corporate environment so I know enough to run a business, but more importantly I'm a total romantic and a creative soul through and through, which I think are essential characteristics for a wedding photographer!
Wedding photo stories from Leeds and York
Leeds and York Wedding Venues - some suggestions
For those of you still undecided on your wedding venue, here are a few of my favourites around Leeds and Yorkshire. Some of these I’ve worked at, some I’m booked for and others are just places I like or have been recommended to me. Just as with photography, wedding venues are a personal choice and very often I think it probably comes down to how a place makes you feel when you look round. So have a look at the websites and go visit a few. What better excuse for a trip out somewhere new and a nice lunch on a weekend!
Bagden Hall - Huddersfield
Bagden Hall is set in over 40 acres of wonderful Yorkshire countryside and if you are blessed with good weather you can have your ceremony outside. There is even a folly (a building constructed primarily for decoration – yes I had to look it up too!) by the lake for something that little bit more fairytale.
Chevin Country Park Hotel and Spa - Otley
Set in tranquil countryside in Chevin woodland, close to the market town of Otley, is this popular wedding venue. The Chevin describes itself as Scandinavian / Alpine-style which may well appeal immediately to winter sports enthusiasts out there, but the gorgeous grounds make for a fantastic venue in summer too.
Hazelwood Castle - Near Leeds
Fittingly situated on Paradise Lane, Hazelwood has existed in the Yorkshire woodland for 900 years, and as well as the striking buildings you’ll find landscaped gardens and orchards as well as ponds and fountains to take in. Loads of photo and film opportunities and a real enchanted feel.
Holdsworth House Hotel - Halifax
Holdsworth House’s Jacobean architecture and the beautiful gardens make the perfect backdrop for some stunning scenes. Another building that has been around for centuries, Holdsworth once hosted the Beatles when they performed in nearby Bradford in 1964, on John Lennon’s 24th birthday, no less!
This breath-taking grade two wedding venue is located in Far Headingley in north west Leeds, making it easy to travel from Leeds city centre. It is a wonderful space with high ceilings and stunning gothic architecture - perfect for dramatic wedding photos, particularly when the party gets started.
Leeds Town Hall
You can see why our iconic Town Hall is such a popular option with its imposing architecture and central location, and it is such an inspirational place to work. The Brodrick Suite leads onto the Town Hall steps which is perfect for throwing confetti and making a big entrance to the world as newly weds, complete with dramatic backdrop perfect for 'just married' photographs.
This fabulous boutique hotel is just five minutes from Leeds station, in the heart of Leeds City Centre. With over 100 stylish bedrooms and suites there is plenty of room for all your guests and plenty to see and do in the centre of Leeds, as well as get hitched.
Oulton Hall - Leeds
This beautiful grade 2 listed Georgian hotel started out as a farm. Like many large country houses it was a hospital during the first world war, ending up having to be rescued from ruin in the 1990's to become the luxury hotel, spa and golf course it is today. This is a new one on me, but rumour has it that they even have a snow machine for that true winter feel!
Sandburn Hall - York
Another beautiful woodland setting with beautiful grounds and the stunning Grand Hall full of light and exposed Oak. With Griffon Forest and its woodland lodges nearby Sandburn is a lovely option.
The Barns - East Yorkshire - Howden
This gorgeous location is in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside and offers exclusive hire of the whole site and its many different features and settings. There is accommodation for your guests in the form of cosy cottages, camping or glamping - for something delightfully different take a look!
The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa - Bolton Abbey
The Devonshire has everything that you would expect from a luxury country house hotel including award winning food and cosy log fires, a spa and 40 bedrooms and two cottages to choose from. The Devonshire is surrounded by fantastic scenery including Bolton Abbey itself, the famous stepping stones and the nearby Priests House and Strid Wood.
The Hepworth - Wakefield
The Hepworth was designed by David Chipperfield and is located on the waterfront in Wakefield. The imposing and modern building along with the gardens and River Calder make for a spectacular semi-urban setting and you have numerous options within to choose from for your ceremony.
The Tithe Barn - Bolton Abbey
This is an amazing room – just take a look at the background photo on the website! Holding up to 200 for the ceremony and ‘feast’, and up to 300 for dancing later, this venue can play host to a serious party. For the music heads out there, they even have a Funktion One sound system to keep the bass heads happy!
The mansion is located in lush Roundhay Park just a 10 minute drive from central Leeds. The Greek columns make a fantastic backdrop for your wedding photos in addition to the sweeping grand staircase and glass dome roof with sparkling chandelier. Add to this the beautiful setting in Roundhay Park, with nearby lakes and woodland, this location is full of fantastic photographic opportunities, and the closest you’ll get to a countryside wedding without leaving the city!
The Normans is set on a gorgeous farm mixes stunning design features with rustic charm. As it's an all-year-round venue there are a number of locations that you can choose from for your ceremony including the ceremony barn, courtyard, grain shed and cow stalls. The Normans is famous for its twinkling wall of fairy lights, which makes for some beautiful wedding photos.
If you're looking for something contemporary and a little bit different, The Tetley could be the Leeds wedding venue for you. Just five minutes’ walk from Leeds train station, this art deco building dates back to 1931 and used to be the original Tetley’s Brewery headquarters in Leeds. The building has retained many of its original features including the original wrought iron lift and the historic boardroom.
This stunningly restored boutique hotel is located on the edge of Leeds city centre. Originally built for a Leeds textile mill owner, Woodlands has been lovingly redesigned and modernised into the stylish wedding venue it is today, with an award-winning restaurant and 23 unique bedrooms. The gorgeous landscaped gardens are ideal for photos all year round and the games in the summer package can provide some fantastic scenes to capture on camera.
The Woodman Inn - Near Huddersfield
The cosy Woodman is located within a conservation area in the pretty hamlet of Thunderbridge not far from Huddersfield. This lovely countryside venue offers a snug and welcoming space in winter and excellent outdoor areas in the summer. Something for every season and a real fave of mine.
Wood Hall Hotel and Spa - Wetherby
And lastly, a more traditional country house hotel and spa, with everything you would expect for your wedding day. With beautiful grounds and backdrops full of Yorkshire countryside, and the option to tie the knot outside, Wood Hall is a great option.