Photography, video and graphic design by Jon Brown.

Based in Nottingham, East Midlands.

See the portfolio and read the latest blog post.

United Kingdom

Welcome to Beard and Bible - the creative hub of Jon Brown.

Looking for a photographer, graphic design or video? You've come to the right place.

I'm Jon, a creative media freelancer based in Nottingham, and it's great to have you here.

Blog - Beard and Bible

Welcome to the Beard and Bible blog - the thoughts and work of Jon Brown.

View latest work, photography tips, beard maintenance advice, thoughts of life, and cute cat videos (ok, maybe not them).

Creative Media Nottingham, East Midlands. Photographer, Designer, Videographer, Blogger.

A Decade Since DTS

Jon Brown

10 years ago today I began one of the most significant adventures of my life.

It was something that shaped who I am, shattered my faith, and set the path for the following years.

18 years old and barely able to grow a beard, I rather nervously flew out to America to spend 5 months with a Christian organisation called YWAM (Youth With A Mission). I joined with 50 other young people from around the world to do a DTS (Discipleship Training School) in the idyllic small town of Lakeside, Montana. After a few months of theological training (and many games of Dutch Blitz, Mafia and Signs) a small group of us went to Thailand. There we taught English, worked with local charities, and helped rebuild houses destroyed by the tsunami.

While I was having the most fun I’ve ever had, underneath it all was an increasing spiritual and psychological turmoil. I began to question to my faith and eventually decided I was pretty sure God didn’t exist.

Through this whole process I had the realisation that when you boil it all down there’s nothing more important than getting the answers to these two questions:

1. What’s the meaning of life? 2. What happens when I die?

I devoted the next year to answering those questions. After wrestling with the issues I came to my conclusion. I still didn’t have all the answers to all my doubts but I knew this much was true: Jesus was God, and that following him was our purpose in life, and way to heaven.

There’s more to the story, and plenty has happened since – if you want to see the video of me explaining it a bit more in depth you can check it out here.

A decade on I want to remember all that’s happened. It’s so easy to forget and take things for granted. I also want to say hi to all those who did the Fall DTS 05 in Montana with me. You guys are amazing and I think of you often.

Sam + Catherine

Jon Brown

Had the real privilege of spending a few hours with Sam and Catherine on their wedding day.

One of the highlights was seeing their young son, who was also best man, doing an amazing job of organising people, helping out, and delivering a hilarious and heartfelt speech. 

Here are a few moments from the special day.

Bromley House Library

Jon Brown

Nottingham is a wonderful city full of lots of attractions, history, shopping, bars and restaurants. But perhaps it's biggest hidden gem is Bromley House

Tucked away in the heart of the city centre, this independent library is spread over three floors of a beautiful Georgian townhouse.

It's such a unique and quirky building and environment. I can genuinely say I have never been anywhere quite like it.

Trying to produce a short promotional video that captured and condensed the heritage, warmth and character of the library certainly wasn't easy but was definitely a lot of fun. 

A big thanks also needs to go to the very talented Hannah Barnett for producing the backing music. 

Sam + Rachel Engagement Shoot

Jon Brown

As a photographer, taking engagements photos are a real highlight. You have the opportunity to get lots of creative, informal, romantic, silly, memorable pictures.  

I had the privilege of doing an engagement shoot with Sam and Rachel last month. The location was Highfields Park, next to the University of Nottingham, where the couple both studied (as did I)!

We walked around the beautiful little lake, and then ventured out on a little row boat for a bit of fun! These guys are such a great couple and were up for having some fun! This was epitomised when Sam did something that I have certainly never seen before (see final photo).

Sam's surname is 'Young'. When he proposed he said to Rachel, 'How do you feel about being Forever Young?".

Decided to take a photo based on this legendary line!

Sam arrived and said to me, "This is an engagement *shoot* right?" [proceeds to pull something out of his bag] "Well I've bought some Nerf guns!"

I decided to get a little creative and make this photo into something that looked it was from a comedy action movie.

Deception Pass, WA

Jon Brown

As often happens at this time of the year, the return of the sunshine has given me itchy feet and reignited my love for travel. The last time I was abroad was when I visited America last summer. I had the privilege of being the best man at my brother's wedding in Seattle, Washington. As part of the trip we visited a place with the rather ominous name, Deception Pass. 

When we arrived it was foggy. The fog was so thick that we couldn't see much of anything at all. But then as the sun rose and the fog cleared the large bridge, swirling waters and blue sky began to appear through the clouds. It was a photographers dream!  


I also made a little video of the trip:

Getting the Shot

Jon Brown

Being a wedding and event photographer is about capturing moments. The first kiss, an uncontrolled laugh, a warm embrace. These moments are powerful - but they're also fleeting. Catching them before it's too late is one of the hardest challenges of photography.

I was able to take one of my favourite ever images a couple weeks ago - but I could easily have lost it. It was during the final moments of the Nottingham Citizens UK General Election Assembly at the Royal Concert Hall.

The organisers had thought up a brilliant idea which involved turning off the lights and asking everyone holding up their phones to represent standing up for issues that were important to them. I knew the moment was coming and so I got into place, sitting on the floor at the back of the large stage. Steve Silvester, vicar at St Nics Church, stepped up and prepared the crowd of over 2,300 people for what was about to happen. As he did so I prepared my camera, framed the shot and waited for the moment which I knew would look incredible, but be over no sooner than it begun. 

At Steve's summon, the lights were suddenly switched off and the huge auditorium went dark. As Steve listed the social issues that we as a city were passionate about, people began to lift their phones. As they did so I began to snap away. At first they photos were too dark - so I changed the exposure. Then there were not centred - so I shifted left slightly. Then I had cropped his shadow - so I reframed. And then I got it. The correctly exposed, well framed, "money-shot". The moment had tried to slip away but I'd captured it in the nick of time. 

I couldn't wait to upload it to my computer and take a look at it on a bigger screen. I imported it to Adobe Lightroom and played around with the colours, deciding to opt for a stark, black and white edit.

I really like this photo, not simply because it was hard work to get, or because it looks like something from a movie. I like it because it represents something. Each dot of light represents a person. Each dot of light represents a group. Each dot of light represents a life-affecting issue.

Steve Silvester proclaimed Jesus's words in Matthew 5.4: "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." This image seemed to paint that picture quite vividly.