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Last week I headed deep into North Yorkshire to join Annie & Jason for their pre-wedding practice shoot at the beautiful Fountain’s Abbey

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Fountain’s Abbey is a seriously cool place. In my opinion, the most impressive of England’s derelict Abbey’s by a long shot, and I’ve been lucky enough to photograph a whole bunch of weddings up here.

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And here are the subjects of my focus, Jason & Annie!

After a quick catch up on their day’s logistics at the Visitor’s Centre (where they’ll be hosting the evening celebrations), we took a turn into the beautiful Abbey grounds.

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Today wasn’t just about Annie & Jason, as they’d brought their little pooch Leo along for the ride!

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Check Leonidas out!  What a dude!  I’d follow him into Spartan battle any day of the week.

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The Cellarium is my favourite area of the Abbey.  Very occasionally this room is flooded and provides an amazing reflection!

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I find these practice shoots so useful for many reasons.  Like a great deal of the couples I photograph, Annie & Jason admitted that they don’t really like to be photographed, but like the relaxed style of the portraits I shoot and the fact that my photography is more about telling a story of their day than about the posey posey portraits.

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One of the reasons I feel the wedding portraits I capture appear relaxed is because a) I’m cracking wise through the shoot and trying to capture reactions to both me and each other, and b) because on their big day, the couple are practiced in what I’m looking for.  They know that instead of awkwardly contrived posing, all they’ve basically got to do is spend 15>20 minutes doing a relaxed cuddle-up-and-and-have-a-bit-of-a-laugh-in-front-of-a-bunch-of-backgrounds routine, then they can get back to the wedding party, fizz and canapés!

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I try to show them at the pre-wed that the process is quite fun and that they’ll look great, so they start to believe in the fact that maybe they shouldn’t hate being papped!

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Leo keeping guard while Jason bullied Annie into doing some load bearing tests on an ancient arch!

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On all my adventures to Fountains Abbey, I’ve never walked round the adjoining Studley Royal Water Gardens, mainly because they’re a bit of a trek.

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But we decided to go take a nosey and the views back towards the Abbey are pretty amazing

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There was a brilliant scent of Wild Garlic in the air.

(I picked a bunch while out with my dog later and added it to most of the meals last week!)

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I think the reasons people think they hate having their photograph taken, or think they always look bad in photographs, is because they’ve never been photographed by a pro.

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Studley Royal’s early 18th-century Georgian Water Garden are pretty impressive!

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And then after a most pleasant sunny afternoon turn around the grounds, we headed back to the visitors centre with one tired Leo.

It was great to revisit and find new spots around Fountain’s Abbey and I’m really looking forward to joining these kids in a couple of weeks!

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