I've never written a Blog post before. It's been one of those things that has been on my to do list for a while since I got my website redesigned, admittedly one I constantly put off. I'm not great with words, on paper anyway. Get me in person I'm as chatty as they come, but writing really isn't my thing. Until now anyway - I hope!
Last week another photographer who was giving me some wonderful advice said I should think about investment into a photography festival, specifically SNAP Photography Festival. I'd already heard about it and was already convinced how UTTERLY AMAZING it would be to go, but considering I just spent a fair whack on updating my website & branding, a workshop before Christmas and having already put down a deposit on another later this year I absolutely couldn't afford it. GUTTED.
Then I found out that this year they are giving the chance to a certain number of newcomers to the industry to enter a ballot for a discounted ticket. ACE! All you have to do to enter the draw is to write a blog post detailing why you want to go. UH-OH, a blog post, really? I read it again, yep there's no way around it. So here I am. Doing the one thing I dread, here goes. . .
Why do I want to go so much?
I had already been told that 'it's an intense, amazingly supportive community and a real photographic and business hub', and after reading reviews from past attendees about the approach to workshops & talks, it sounds so bloomin' perfect for me. I love learning new ways that I can do my job better, because it makes for better pictures and happier couples.
I recently did a workshop with Alan Law, and I learnt so much in just one day, as well as feeling truly supported in my endeavour in trying to build my business. I came back feeling totally inspired and like I could take on the world. Can you imagine how I'd feel after four whole days?!
The one amazing thing I have discovered since throwing myself 100% into the world of Wedding Photography is how completely and utterly supportive and generally lovely the community of photographers surrounding it is, like seriously, it's something I have never experienced before. SNAP is the perfect example and I want to be part of that too! Can you blame me?
My journey so far?
It's hard to know where to start with this, as it has been rather long, with the odd detour! I have always wanted to be a photographer, just like my Dad. Though I reckon he’d describe himself as a Multi-disciplinary Artist these days, as that is where his path has taken him.
My love for photography probably started aged 5 months, my first selfie.
Skip a few years and I graduated University with a First Class degree in Photography. Whilst at University I started working closely photographing people and communities in the Black Country, where I grew up. It was during this time I undertook a project focusing on people who were taking part in dance activity - from professional performances to social tea dances - and where I found a passion & skill for photographing Dance, Theatre & Arts events as well as an interest in the organisation behind them. I've had some of my work published in magazines, books & exhibited.
When two of my best friends got engaged they asked me to photograph their wedding because they loved my work. I agreed and totally fell in love, but OH BOY did I have a lot to learn, and remember those detours I mentioned?
At this point in my life I was snug in the role as Programme Coordinator for an Arts organisation. I loved it. It was demanding and busy, but I was learning so much and I had an amazing bunch of people I was working with.
Even better, I was still taking on photography commissions and doing my own personal projects. It was then I decided to save up whilst still keeping full time job, learn and grow as a photographer, second shoot weddings and go about it all sensibly. Little did I know members of staff were about to be made redundant, along with me. So while I wasn’t quite ready to launch my photography business full time, it seems fate had decided for me!
So I moved back to my mums, picked my camera back up, and really concentrated on my personal approach to photography. I set up a website, put the word out amongst friends and booked some of my first couples in, who surprisingly were total strangers, at the time anyway (firm friends now of course)!
I also invested in an amazing mentoring session with photographer Claire Penn and it reinforced everything and helped me to push forwards to follow what I want to do as well as giving me such brilliant business advice.
It's sometimes slow going compared to if I'd saved up properly but in a way I am so happy it happened the way it did, because otherwise I wouldn’t have met the amazing couples who were my first shoots, and all the amazing love I’ve got to capture since then!
Why I want to succeed?
When my sister got married I suddenly got it, the whole marriage, wedding & the celebration surrounding it all. I cried for two days (happy tears). There was just something I hadn't understood before that. I knew I wanted to be the person that captures that day in people’s lives, what could be more special?
It honestly makes me SO happy. Every wedding & couple is truly unique, I love photographing people, I always have. There is just something about a wedding I find so utterly amazing and special.
I’ve never felt as passionate about anything as I do with the weddings I shoot. It's challenging, inspiring, exhausting and exhilarating. It's also a lot of fun. I don't just want to take great photographs; I want to be happy doing it. That's what will keep me pushing and being the very best I can for myself and for my couples.
I really like marmite. Just kidding! Well I do really like marmite but what I really want to say is, I come from a different photography background, one where I was a bit of a lone wolf doing my own thing. Until my mentoring session with Claire Penn I had never met another wedding photographer. That's something I'd really like to do, make friends and be part of this amazing community of photographers there is. I want to learn, as well as support others, and to share my own knowledge, it sounds cheesy but I want to grow with others! You never know, I could be one of the people mentoring and supporting other newcomers one day. I'd like that.