I didn’t ever think that I’d become a wedding photojournalist.
Since my teenage years, I’d always dreamed that I would become a feature photojournalist. The kind of photographer that covers confrontations, social injustices, protests or wars for news agencies.
But I never got the breaks.
I’m also a pacifist, and I now have a family to look after. So the safer route for me into documenting real life was weddings.
I love my job.
The challenge of observing people, and recording a wide range of emotions. Then putting those images together to narrate a wedding day. I consider it an honour to be asked to document my couples’ weddings.
Here’s a little background history on how I became a wedding photojournalist.
My first weddings were shot as favours for friends and family back in the days of film in the early ’80s. I even ended up getting paid to shoot one for a girl who lived in my village. It was harrowing stuff for a 14-year-old introvert.
I was my school’s resident photojournalist, carrying my Rangefinder Camera with me everywhere. We had a home darkroom, and I processed all of my work there.
Upon leaving school, several unsuccessful attempts at getting an apprenticeship with local photographic studios followed. So I settled into several run-of-the-mill jobs.
Eventually, I found myself employed as a web designer, repro technician & artworker in the marketing services industry. Then head-hunted by a Leicestershire advertising agency as Head of Creative Services, and promoted to the board as Production Director.
I kept up with my passion by shooting the ad agency’s packshot studio work for print use and websites. Covering location PR shoots for clients was fun, but I didn’t like having to contrive these kinds of pictures.
Asked by a website client to shoot her wedding, I tried to put her off but she wouldn’t have it – eventually, I accepted and lived for a few months in a state of panic until her images were delivered.
She loved her photos! I took more bookings, and I haven’t looked back since.
Wedding Photojournalist Association
I joined the international organisation called The WPJA (Wedding Photojournalist Association) in 2008. And in only my second year as a member, I won the title of “UK Wedding Photojournalist for 2009”. In doing so, I also became the first UK member of the WPJA to finish in the top three of their international competition.
The Wedding Industry Awards
My most recent award was the East Midlands region category for “Best Photographer” in the 2015 UK Wedding Industry Awards and became a national finalist. I also won the same regional award in 2012, and 2014 so gained a hat-trick of regional titles in four years.
I’ve since stopped entering these kinds of awards. The only ones I’m interested in are the beautiful words from my couples when they see their wedding pictures for the first time. That means a lot more to me than someone’s subjective opinion.
I am also a member of the ISPWP (International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers).
Style, Approach & Ethos
I approach weddings with a ‘pure’ documentary style.
There’s NO intervention, contrivance or direction given at all. I can guarantee that. You have my word.
Of course, I’ll provide a little guidance if you want a few group pictures. And I’m happy to take my couples off for 15 minutes worth of lightly directed portraits.
This approach enables my clients and their guests to enjoy their day without worrying about the photography taking over and results in a narrative of natural, emotive and timeless images.
I like to call my approach ‘Photography Without Ego’
I love animals and I’m a raw vegan, but I won’t force my views on anyone. I love peace and quiet, I get that in my office or out on favourite walks in Charnwood Forest, but rarely in my house with two very noisy daughters. Living self-sufficient and totally off grid in a country in the tropics is a dream of mine. I’m happily married to my wife Jo, for 25 years now and we have two daughters, Neve (14) and Maya (11), and two mad cats. The pic below is a few years old…
If I had to describe my personality, the following words would fit the bill. They’re the words used to describe my INFJ or ‘Advocate’ personality type.
Creative, Insightful, Decisive, Passionate, Altruistic, Sensitive, Private, Perfectionist, Honest, Loyal, Open-minded, Fair, Professional, Introverted, Rational, Logical, Independent, Adaptable, Trustworthy.
Take a Myers-Briggs test to find out your personality type!