Kat & Gareth’s “Beloved” Session with Marianne Taylor

It seems like forever ago now, but last year my friend Marianne Taylor sent me an email to let me know about an amazing and life-changing workshop she’d just completed. Hosted by Canadian photographer Jesh de Rox, the Life {as an artform} workshop had taught her some new techniques that she was desperate to try out and she asked if Gareth & I would model for her. This workshop wasn’t a technical or a ‘how to run your business’ one. It didn’t teach her a new technique with her camera or show her how to be a more successful photographer…it taught her how to use emotional exercises in order to bring the couple together, in the moment, and into a state where they are not afraid to show their true selves and explore the connection they have.

This was to be a completely different style of photo shoot than I’m used to – no make up artist, no hair stylist, no props (well, except for some cake pops – it was hard work and we needed a snack!)…just me + Gareth and our love and emotions laid bare.

Marianne explains, “Since Kat & Gareth have been together for nine years, of which they’ve been married for 3, they were the perfect couple to explore the Beloved experience with. Beloved sessions consist of different exercises, or invites, which have a way of bringing the couple into the present moment and into a state where they are not afraid to show their true selves and explore the connection they have. I’ve used some of the more physical invites in my engagement sessions to break the ice, but this was the first session where it was 99% Beloved techniques as opposed to traditional posing, so it definitely felt like a big step.”

Instead of posing us, Marianne took us through a variety of exercises and asked us to call upon certain emotions in order to interact naturally with each other as she photographed. We actually got into it quite easily really threw ourselves wholeheartedly into simply feeling. Some of the the exercises were sad, some funny and others were tender and loving. A few tears were shed, but I really do think that because of this our emotions come though in a really genuine way.

It was like nothing I’ve ever been a part of before. It was actually really nice to not have to worry about ‘posing’ or thinking “ooh does my nose/chin/arm look weird in this?” and simply focusing on Gareth completely. Even now, looking back at these beautiful and genuine images, I’m ignoring my initial thoughts self deprecation and just remembering the affection for my husband that I was feeling at the time.

These are the photographs we’ll be showing our Grandchildren. It’s kind of magical really.

Words can’t express how grateful I am to Marianne for asking Gareth & I to experience this wonderful day with her. We have always been a bit of a lovey-dovey couple anyway, but since the shoot (and this sounds totally cheesy but I don’t care) I do actually feel like I’ve fallen in love with him all over again. I literally can’t recommend the experience enough, and for an anniversary shoot doing something like this would be perfection.

I really hope you enjoy these photos…be sure to check out the slideshow (turn your speakers on) and Marianne’s blog post for a few extra photos.

If you are a photographer, and you’re interested in the concept of a Beloved shoot and in encouraging genuine emotions and interactions both in your work and in your life, then there are currently still spaces available at the next Life {as an artform}workshop with Marianne and Jesh de Rox in London in April.

You can also learn more about these workshops in Jesh’s recent interview on The Photography Parlour.


  1. Such a lovely shoot, such real emotion beautifully captured by Marianne, you both look so happy and in love. (I’m incredibly jealous now, been with my hubbie for 13 years married for 10 this year, so wish I could persuade him to do a shoot like this…)

  2. OH DAMN girrrrrrl, these are so heartfelt & genuine!!! love all the personality that was captured for you to cherish! you two are just ever so cute together & these images are just as sweet as pie!!! 😉

  3. Wow…I know the post is a few days old now but I still wanted to comment anyway. After reading about the Beloved workshop on your blog this morning I clicked back through to this post to see what it was all about. Sounds great but what’s the outcome?. WELL blow me down with a feather, this is friggin fantastic. You look like two teenagers in love, such beautiful raw emotion. I know if I was looking for engagement/wedding photos this is what I would want, forget your silly props and over-processed images this is truly, truly magical. I think this may be your best shoot yet Kat. And Marianne, what can I say, I NEED a beloved session of me and mine immediately! Brilliant x

  4. Emma

    oh my Kat… I have to say as much as I love and I mean LOVE all your shoots, this has to be my favourite. I have fallen in love with you both and I don’t even know you!! What a fantastic way to truly expose a couple to the camera. You both look so simple and happy. I feel like I should say ‘congratulations’ as though you’ve just got together!!

    My goal in life is to capture photography in an artform, Marianne you are a lucky woman to have been part of what sounds like an amazing workshop! Love it!!

  5. Those pictures are beautiful!!! I feel like I’m somewhere in between knowing you too really well, and feeling like I’ve intruded on a very personal moment. Absolutely lovely!

  6. Bethany h

    Woah simply stunning the pictures and the two of youg. These techniques must be the bomdiggity.


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