Tag Archives: photography

Interview with a Photographer

Last week, I told you about a photoshoot that I had been a part of, and how much it made me appreciate the incredibly difficult job that wedding photographers have in trying to get hundreds of beautiful photos without impacting too much on the couple’s day.  When planning my own wedding, we came across an advert for a photographer looking for experience of wedding photography.  Lionel agreed to photograph our wedding for us for free to add to his portfolio, and I think we were really lucky to catch him at this point in his career.  Here he tells us about how he got into wedding photography.

How did you get into photography, and when and how did your turn your hobby into a business?

I used to be in a band and we used to tour a lot round the UK and Europe, I only had a point and shoot camera then but tried to document my trips as much as possible. It wasn’t until a few years after the band finished, when I started shooting a few local gigs that I realised I wanted to take it more seriously. I started shooting for local venues and local publications and started to photograph more and more bands. I have been to many festivals and photographed some amazing musicians over my time.
What made you decide to start doing wedding photography?
I never considered doing weddings as I didn’t think I would enjoy it or be any good at it, so it wasn’t until a friend asked me to help out assisting on a wedding, and experiencing it first hand that I realised it wasn’t too dissimilar to photographing bands. Shooting bands live I tried to translate the intensity into each photo, and it’s the same with weddings, the intensity is capturing the crucial moments and documenting the energy emotions of the day.
How did you get started photographing weddings?
I tried to contact a few professional wedding photographers regarding assisting wedding with little success. Before I could take my wedding business off the ground I needed to build a strong portfolio. I couldn’t justify charging with my lack of experience so I decided to put an advert out offering my services for free in exchange for photos for my portfolio. Due to offering something for free, I in return wanted some special unique weddings that would look great in my portfolio.
Congratulations on your recent wedding!  Do you think that having had a wedding will affect your wedding photography at all?
Having a wedding definitely gives you first hand experience (and stresses) of the business. The moment you mention the word ‘weddings’ prices seem to inflate substantially. Some things more justified than others. We were lucky enough to source out the things for our wedding within our budget, it’s so easy to go overboard though.
I do more than ever think that wedding photos are really important not only from photographer’s view but from a groom’s point of view too, as they are probably one of the few things after the wedding you will still hold on to. Another thing I learnt from my own wedding is to make sure you make a list of shots you want such as family portraits. You don’t want to look back and think you have missed anyone from your photos.
How do you market your business?
The world of wedding photography is a huge minefield and getting your name out there is probably the hardest part of the job. Social media is a major marketing tool nowadays and I usually spend a lot of my time networking on Facebook, twitter, wedding sites, forums and anywhere else I think a bride will be looking. In the age we live in to succeed you have to embrace things like twitter and Facebook.
My initial price structure also dictated my marketing, I first started to offer my services for free to build up my portfolio, I now start from a reasonably low price. We all have to start from somewhere and at this point in time I can’t justify charging huge amounts as I have only been in the wedding business for under a year. The one thing starting in the budget end is sometimes potential clients pick you solely on price and not on your work which can demoralising. I don’t think it will be very long though as my experience in the wedding business is quickly growing and soon enough I will have to raise my prices to what I’m actually worth.
What has been the hardest thing so far about working for yourself?
Learning how to run a business, I would say 70% of my time now is now devoted to the business side, such as marketing, networking, bookkeeping and most importantly disciplining myself to actually sit down and work. Also being self employed you have to factor in the long hours without getting anything like sick or holiday pay.
What is the best thing about your job?
Getting to go to travel to different places (I recently went to Italy to shoot a wedding), meeting new people, photographing weddings which in themselves are amazing events, and doing something that I love.
What are your plans for the future?
More weddings! Carry on expanding and exploring through my wedding business. Hopefully meet some awesome people on the way.
Check out Lionel’s work on his website: www.stealthestagephotography.com

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A while ago, I was given the opportunity to go on a photoshoot for Pip’s Garden.  Pip’s Garden sell high quality, personalised gifts – bedding, towels, dressing gowns, and children’s clothing.  The photoshoot was held at the Fisherton Farm in North Devon.  Fisherton Farm has three beautifully restored caravans, and you can hire out the whole beautiful secluded meadow for a Glamping weekend with up to twelve people.  It was the perfect setting for a photoshoot with a difference.  Photographer Simon Gilbert, from Gilbert and Evans, was able to turn what was in fact a drizzly, dark, cold evening into a beautiful set of sunny photographs.  This was amazing to see first hand, looking at the photos you would have no idea that it was so cold!!  Pip actually commented on the day, “this is why the models always look cold in their sunny bikini shots”.  Carmen Croxall from The Very Vintage Hire Company provided some props for the shoot, and modelled in it too.  It was really interesting to see just how much work goes into getting one perfect photograph, and it highlighted for me just how hard wedding photography must be!


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Interview with a local artist

Catt Kinsey is an artist who is just starting her degree.  After two failed attempts at college, she thought her life in education was over, but now she is embarking on her degree and even plans to go into further education and possibly teaching later on.

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Catt, I’m 20 years old and currently living just outside of Exeter. I am studying an Access course in Art at Exeter College and will be moving on to Study at degree level in Bath in September.  I applied to do A Levels when I first left secondary and wasn’t very prepared, at this point being in education just wasn’t where I wanted to be and soon dropped out. The following year I went back to college and tried again but unfortunately due to personal reasons I left after the first year. After the second failed attempt at A Levels I didn’t think much about education as at the time I didn’t realise it would be possible to get back in to it or reach a point where university was possible.  I focused on working and gaining my own independence but then I met someone who informed me about Access courses. My life ambitions had taken a back seat but this one year course for over 19 year olds gave me a lot of hope. Everything happened very quickly from then on really. I applied, had an interview, was given a place and made the move up from Plymouth. The support given here was fantastic, not just with the application process but with financial help as well. It completely changed my life direction and I haven’t looked back since.

What inspires your designs?

At the moment my work is very broad, including paintings, photography and 3D pieces. I’m currently working on my final major project based around the human emotion of fear, which I’m finding really interesting.  I love looking at other Artists and being inspired by their work, especially in local galleries. It’s wonderful how much the area has to offer with its galleries like the Spacex and Exeter Phoenix, showing their great exhibitions for free most of the time.

Where would you like to be in 5 years time?

In 5 years time I would have looked to finished my degree, whilst studying I’m hoping to start selling some of my pieces or making greeting cards out of more illustrative work. I’m not certain on what I want to do when I finish my degree but I expect it will involve further education, either specialising in a certain area or to enable me to teach.

Is there any advice you would give to other young people who are struggling to find work or career goals?

I think people are often expected to know exactly what they want to do and how they are going to achieve it but the reality is that people change and ideas grow. Sometimes it isn’t about focusing on one plan or one direction but being more open as a lot of the time you’ll find other ways of success. Don’t let small problems get in the way. If you enjoy something, or are passionate about something then go for it, often with enough effort any obstacles can be overcome and you’ll be amazed at the amount of help and options there are available.

You can find out more about Catt and see some of her work on her website.

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