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. Marianne really is a genius! Not saying you’d be hard to photograph (!) but she brings a sweetness and tenderness to photos without ever being sentimental. Just lovely.

  2. These are so beautiful – I actually welled up! It’s wonderfully refreshing to see real emotions!!! You are both one hot couple! x

  3. Lauren

    You can without doubt, see the emotion, love, happiness and passion pouring through this shoot yet still capturing the intimacy of a personal moment with Kat and Gareth. Love it! Great work Marianne.

  4. Toatlly gorgeous and it means so much when you read what you did and not just look at the photos. the Beloved techique sounds brilliant! what a great idea and some very honest and beautiful images xxxx

  5. Shawna

    The emotion Marianne captured is amazing! Love ’em! You’re right, this type of photo session would be perfect for anniversary shoots.

    On a side note, I’ve never had a cake pop or a pie pop. 🙁 I must go find some…now.

  6. Leila

    Amma, you’re not the only one who got teary eyed! LOVE the B&W one of you both curled up on the rug… a stunning shoot xx

  7. These are gorgeous images Kat and Marianne.
    I really enjoyed interviewing Jesh (The Photography Parlour), and am looking forward to learning more at his workshop in April.

  8. Jayne Sacco

    Love makes the world go round and Marianne has captured the love between husband and wife beautifully. Gorgeous couple and gorgeous photography!

  9. Post author

    Thanks for all your lovely comments guys.these really are photos that we will treasure forever.aww shell and amma how cute are you!?

  10. LOVE the concept behind these and you look so natural….would love this for Dom and I as we too have been together for 9 yrs, I was really disappointed with our wedding photos and we have been consumed in children/business scince so this would be perfect for a couple like us!! You look so happy and in.love. xxx

  11. Lizzy

    Oh my 🙂 These photos are simply STUNNING! And what a wonderful technique! I personally love photographs where you can really see a couples true love for one another!

  12. Awww this is sooooo cool! Genuine emotion not awkward poses…just LOVE it! You both look so in love with each other and not at all self-conscious. You really do have some amazing photos to treasure.

    Helen – you and Dom should totally do it!!!

    Oh and I got a bit teary-eyed too…I am such a crybaby 😛


  13. AS a man am i supposed to admit I had a lump in my throat looking at these images, who cares, I did cos they are wonderful and emotional

  14. Bran

    Oh blummin’ eck – you can’t get much more loved up than this can you – makes a girl weep it does! Beautiful photos of beautiful people! xx

  15. awwww love you guys!!! You can so see how much you are still madly in love! Gorgeous pics, I love the big Pash shoot, scrummy! x

  16. These photos are wow!! Amazing techniques to get some photos where you really see the relationship, they are beautiful. Love the colour your hair adds to the pics!

  17. Post author

    hah chanelle! do it. seriously it was an amazing experience. i think the photos speak for themselves!

  18. Littlepickle

    Wow these are simply stunning – your love truely does shine through! Made me feel warm and fuzzy 🙂

  19. laura

    you guys look amazingggggggg! they are perfect photos and REAL—everything today is so photoshop-ed it’s refreshing to see REAL! 🙂

  20. These oooooze with love! You guys have never looked better (and that’s saying a lot, since y’all are so dang photogenic!) So natural. You can just *see* how much you guys are meant to be together. Such a special way to do a shoot, right?! Nicole Polk is a “beloved” movement photog too and she gave us some techniques and prompts just like the ones your photog gave you. It was seriously such a beautiful experience. And fun too! She made it feel like it was just Mike and I running around downtown being cute, whispering shit in each other’s ears, etc. Every couple should do a beloved shoot. did you see this beloved session nicole did recently: http://nicolepolkphotography.com/2011/02/amy-chris-beloved/ —holy crap it’s amazing.
    You should blog beloved sessions too!!

    And PS– I didn’t realize you and Gareth had been together for 9 years! Mike and I will celebrate 8 years together in April. Yay for longtime lovers!

  21. totally.beautiful.
    there is true emotion in these photographs, especially love 46 and 50, seem to have just captured a true moment in time. l-l-l-love them!!!!


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