The beauty of my job as a portrait and wedding photographer, with the exception of shoot day locations. entitles me to take my work wherever I am in the world, To write, plan and most importantly, to think and mull over new ideas. Anyone who is self employed will concur that this is vital and precious time that has a tendency to fall by the way side during the day to day running of businesses. You could ask, why take your work on holiday when you should be lounging around drinking great wine and spending precious family time – surely this is the time to switch off? Well, firstly, I don’t deem my job as work – after 30 years, I still get the rush of excitement for what is coming next and have learnt that having new plans in place is what keeps me and my work fresh. Secondly, I’m an early riser – we have teenagers and young people who don’t surface until 11am while we’re away. By the time they bring their weary bodies to the kitchen, I’ll have written this piece, sorted my mails and planned my next move. The days of guilt for bringing my work on holiday are long gone, my family understand my juggling act, and it doesn’t infringe on my time with them. And the rest of the days and nights are spent away from my laptop.
Possibly my biggest achievement throughout my career is not creative one, it’s not awards and qualifications (sure they’ve a place in the journey). More its the balance between family and work time, which I know is a pressured issue for many parents. After bringing up my two girls whilst building my business, I can reassure those of you, that it’s mostly about bite size compromise, timing and planning. Thus why I’m up with the lark to write this morning, but having this view as my morning office for the week, is not too challenging.
My instagram stories this week are mostly Italian spam from the hills of Celleno followed by a few days in Rome, but Im very much using the time to crystallise how to tweak my business and keep things fresh. This is a constant, but it is mostly pragmatic about what I can offer my clients – my photography style and approach, particularly wedding photography, adapts only to how I see things on the day. I get an understanding of my clients ideas, a feel for how the day is going to run, any background stories to family and friendships which often are very relevant to how I photograph the day. Relationships and family connections that are sometimes sensitive and either need to be avoided or captured. Then it’s down to me to input the most important element to their photographs. Feeling.
Over the years that I’ve been photographing weddings, I’ve had many previous customers come back to me because they have lost a loved one or a significant life change has happened to them. When this happens, people reach for photographs, that moment in time when they can remember someone on such a happy occasion. Which is why I put an emotional value on each photograph I take, of not just a bride and groom but every guest at their wedding. It’s why there is no template to the way that I work, it’s very much about what is placed in front of me and how I interpret it.
All the technical training, all the style fads n trends that are out there are significant and should be adhered to, but none more so than the feeling that a photographer has for his or her subject – the emotive value of this is priceless.
I photograph a wedding as an observer, preferring natural expression and emotion to create the visual story. Georgina and Marwan came to me last year and asked me to photograph their forthcoming Winchester wedding. With their busy lives, we mostly emailed in the months leading up to the wedding before I met with them earlier this year in Winchester, where they gave me an idea of how the day was to run – starting at Georginas’s family home followed by the ceremony in the beautiful St Peters Church in the heart of Winchester. In contrast to the formal city element, they opted to hold their reception at West Stoke Barn, a working farm which offers parties and receptions in the wonderful natural grounds and timber lined barns. Those who know me, know I do love a barn! The weather was incredible, a truly English summer day which enabled me to steal short moments with Georgina and Marwan and utilise the grounds.
Going back to my thoughts on Feeling being a fundamental element to wedding photography, evident from the start of the day, was the love which was so visible, obviously that between Marwan and Georgina but also from spending time with Georgina amongst her family at their beautiful home in the morning, through to the bond of friendships at the church as guests arrived, the hub of excitement and G & M not having enough time to get around all their guests during the drinks reception. To the stolen moments I had with them, the hilarious, heart felt speeches through to the crazy dancing into the night. When the day is done and the memories are made, I believe that recognising these moments, and documenting them with feeling, create the most important legacies in peoples lives.
Much of Georgina and Marwans suppliers were family and friends with the exception of: