• Heather Butterworth

What I've learned about taking photos of people, by Leeds Wedding Photographer Heather Butterworth

Updated: Jul 24, 2020


family portrait of a father and son with a rainbow background

Being a wedding and family photographer in Leeds has given me lots of experience with people in front of the camera. I thought I'd blog this week about the five things that have really helped me develop my style and get the shots I want.


  1. Do your homework

Plan where you are going to take your photos and make sure that all your equipment is tested and ready. This includes having back ups and spare batteries etc. Find someone to do test shots with and make sure you’re happy with the lighting situation before your subject even arrives. When this isn’t possible it’s amazing what you can find out online. The last thing you need is a background location that ruins your photo and all the hard work you've put into the shoot so it's really important to plan well.


Bride on her wedding day

bride and groom in a church at their wedding ceremony

bride and bridesmaids over looking lake windermere uk

bride and groom after their wedding ceremony at leeds town hall

bridesmaid outside church

bride and groom after their wedding ceremony at leeds town hall

bride on her way to her wedding

bride on her way to her wedding

bride in a church in leeds uk

bride and groom leaving a church

bride and groom during their ceremony

2. Use the light

Light is a photographers best friend. Think about where the light is coming from - is your subject front lit facing into the sun or side or back lit? I like to use natural light where possible but if that's not an option then you can always use lovely warm light from lamps or even flashes to create dramatic effects.


family at home with their baby

family at home with their baby

toddler stood in a window after getting wet in the rain


family at home with their baby

baby with blue eyes

family at home with their baby


family at home with their baby

bride and grooms first dance

bride with her baby daughter


bride and groom in adel church leeds

bride and grooms first dance

3. Be natural!


I prefer real moments to staged ones: I try and blend into the background as much as possible when I'm working so that clients often barely know I'm there. It's super important that the people in front of the camera are relaxed around it, so I'm always keen for meet-ups with new clients and the camera before my shoots.


mother and daughter in the park

mother and daughter in the park

father and son in the park in leeds

boy in the park in leeds

boy in the park in leeds

boy playing at home in leeds uk

boy playing at home in leeds uk

boy playing at home in leeds uk

boy playing at home in leeds uk

boy and dog playing at home in leeds uk

4. Keep moving


The best photos are the ones where you capture a special moment or a reaction. Some people tense up as soon as a camera is pointed at them, which can make for some interesting expressions. However, if you ask your subject to move around, it means that they have something to focus on and it’s in the off-beats that you often get the really good stuff.


girl playing in garden

boy playing in garden

couple in their bakery in rippondon Yorkshire UK

little girl with fingers in her mouth eating cake

toddler excited about eating her birthday cake in leeds uk

mum playing with her toddler daughter on her birthday

toddler plating on a swing

girl playing with a balloon in leeds garden in UK

girl bouncing on a trampoline

girls hair flying in the wind as she jumps

5. Breathe and stay calm...


Easier said than done sometimes but it's important to remember that things don't always go exactly according to plan, however much you prepare. I take some deep breaths, clear my mind and figure out the solution - there always is one and sometimes a curveball can be a blessing!


See you all next week - I've some exciting new material coming up!


Heather Xx


toddlers eyelash

confetti thrown by brides friends at the bride at her wedding at the woodman inn in Yorkshire UK

bride and grooms first dance at the woodman in in Yorkshire UK

bride laughing during speeches

silhouette of a bride and groom

bride and groom walking down the road at the woodman inn in Yorkshire in December 2019

bride and groom kissing after their wedding in skiathos town Greece in June 2019

bride and groom holding hands on the beech in skiathos in June 2019

bridesmaid having her shoulder kissed in skiathos town in June 2019

bridesmaids in skiathos town in June 2019

bride and groom kissing in skiathos town at their wedding in June 2019

For my other blogs, portrait photography in Leeds, wedding photography in Leeds and wedding photography in Yorkshire, (and anywhere else for that matter) head over to my website: https://www.heatherbutterworthphotography.com/blog .

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