I entered my 39th year today and although I don’t tend to get fussy about age and birthdays (my kids do though) I do tend to get a little reflective. I know photographers who have been shooting for 20-30 years in weddings and still produce some amazing work that makes people want to book them for their wedding. I am also entering my tenth year as a wedding photographer which is a big milestone when you consider how many businesses fail within their first year. Its a big deal I guess and one that makes me consider the type of client that books me to do their weddings as just like dating, everyone has a type.
Looking at the venues that I have shot at over the years and realising that I have very little left to check off in the Lakes and Carlisle or Cumbria for that matter. Very different places to photograph but local for me, but taking everything into account I quite enjoy the switch from Urban to rural, Lakes and mountains.Variety after all and all that.. I still love to shoot at the Crown and Mitre In Carlisle, The Inn on the Lake in Glenridding and Gilsland Spa (now Gilsland hall) in Gilsland as these special places are where I cut my teeth in weddings and always remain special. The venue that really grabs my attention at the moment is Blaithwaite. If you haven’t been already, stop what you are doing and go.
The clients that book me always want something laid back first and foremost. I pride myself on being different to all the other photographers around and refuse to get caught up in the competition for reportage images. Those are something that happens, being ready for them is key and going out to seek them is largely pointless. Everyone asks me on wedding days if I have ever had and bridezillas and the truth is no. Everyone seems resigned to the inevitability of events on a wedding day and although nerves play a key part, its often excitement that shows more than anything. My clients love my work and I love producing it for them and spending time in a very privileged place on their wedding day. I realised this year that my clients aren’t getting younger, I am getting older 🙂
So onto my next love and that is family, as it is them who have given me the pickup i need and the energy boost (there is also red bull) with a call or text on 14 hour day weddings in winter. Rose is now seven and three quarters and Sam just a couple of months of five years old and time is flying and I mean literally flying as they are growing up. Doing a job that is as fulfilling and as rewarding as this one but also leaves me time to see them grow is hugely gratifying. My wife is the other half of me and my constant critic friend and saviour. Me being a better, more organised and well rounded human being is pretty much down to her. Our parents and wider family are always on hand to offer support and occasional childcare (or dogcare) which we are both eternally grateful for.
Lastly there is music. Still my obsession after what seems like forever since I used to go to gigs where everyone stands instead of sitting. Music like in most situations makes a wedding and is more important than 90% of the day. It matters less what people think of your choices on your wedding as long as they are yours. If you want to play a snow patrol (or metallica) album during your reception do it. Treat the rest of your day the same and really put your stamp on things. The more of your personality shines through and the more personal you make the day (or days) the better it will be and the more memorable for those attending. The days of the table names being the theme of the wedding seem to be gone and Grecian, Futuristic, filmic and generally iconic themes seem to be in. like with photography, the more you put in the more you get out of the other side. I have a wedding booked in 2018 which is a two day music festival, the couples vows done standing on a bar, cocktails and bands galore. They are no doubt spending less than average on their big days and really making it theirs. Not one single person attending will forget their day and it hasn’t even happened yet.
So what to focus on going forward? All of the above I guess. I do find more and more meaning from the films that my kids watch though. Here is one rather poignant one to remember from the Book of life:
“The world keeps spinning, and the tales keep turning, and people come and people go, but they’re never forgotten. And the one truth we know, it held true one more time… That love, true love, the really, really good kind of love never dies.”