All images throughout this thread are taken from my Autumn/ Winter workshop 2023 season
Keep reading to learn why I chose photography, how the workshops were born, and 3 things I want everyone to know.
In the world of wedding photography, the learning curve never really peaks. Unlike a rollercoaster heading towards The Big One; the climb to the top, the moment of your career when you officially know all the things and can simply sit back, let your career happen to you and enjoy the ride, never actually arrives.
I've always been a multi passionate person and ran a wedding business alongside my teaching career, but weirdly had chosen calligraphy over photography thinking I would have more time with my family. Both teaching and running your own business are so consuming and after several years of working 24/7, missing precious milestones with my son - and a worldwide pandemic making everyone have an existential crisis - I got the confidence to close my successful stationery studio to learn photography while on maternity leave.
I then handed in my notice as Head of languages within 3 months of returning to work. This is a summary of a very challenging time. I was balancing the need for something new and the gratitude of having a stable - albeit difficult - job that I enjoyed; fulfilling my remaining stationery orders and shooting every single thing that I could to gain experience and credibility in a new role.
I just wasn't happy, and knew deep in my gut that leaving teaching, ending wild calligraphy and pursuing photography was the right move.
But I wasn’t about to completely leave teaching behind.
You might think these two worlds couldn't be more different, but I've discovered that they compliment each other so well.. I've come full circle, combining my teaching experience with my photography skills and now, my job is ironically a marriage of my past life and my present.
When running my stationery business, I learned quickly that portfolio is king. People buy into what they see and fall in love with. Talking the talk doesn't translate to clients. You need to back it up.
I tried piggy backing onto shoots using Facebook groups to help me. I worked long into the night creating to market myself. The skill wasn't there... I was learning not just my craft but how to market my business, network with industry peers and all the other hats we wear as business owners.
After multiple failed attempts to join styled shoots (to gain the portfolio > to get the clients > to get the resources to keep growing), I leaned on the wedding suppliers I'd booked for my own wedding to organise my first styled shoot. This was in 2017. I quickly gained a reputation for detail led shoots and my work started to be published widely on wedding blogs. I was even invited to BBC Nottingham multiple times to talk about my business. At my prime, I had over 2 million monthly viewers on Pinterest.
When I pivoted to photography, I used my experience organising shoots to elevate my portfolio and gain those initial paying clients.
Over time, as I've become more established the shoots have organically grown. The result? A safe space not just for photographers and videographers to shoot editorial content, but for suppliers to flex their imaginations and serve incredible creations. The most recent workshops have been published by The Wed, The Lane and La Lista. The viral fabric cake stand was also shared widely by businesses including Elle.
Education should bend to fit into your life, not the other way around
Not all photographers can make an instant leap to full-time photography. So many wedding photographers are people balancing lots of responsibilities.
And so I've designed the photography workshops to be accessible and held primarily on weekends. Weekend photography workshops offer a practical solution for those who seek to enhance their skills while maintaining their weekday commitments. They provide an opportunity to elevate your photography game while respecting your current routine. They’re also a fun, social event that deserves dedicated time in your calendar.
For week day workshops, I'll always give advance notice before the launch so that you can enquire about using holidays. As the workshops are enjoyed by both aspiring and established photographers, it's important to balance both options as to keep it fair for everyone.
Small group workshops are a none negotiable
Photography is a deeply personal and expressive art form. It's not just about learning the technical aspects but finding your place and your people in this industry by doing things your way. That's why small group photography workshops are a much needed innovation within this industry and I strictly limit workshop groups to 4 per person.
I am a people person first and get a lot of joy from helping others.In these intimate settings, I prioritise personal interaction. I create a safe space where everyone is known by name and genuine connections are made.
Where you can feel comfortable asking questions, sharing experiences, and exploring your creativity without inhibition. The magic happens when like-minded individuals come together in a nurturing environment.
You don’t have to be like everyone else and trends serve as creative inspiration, not boundaries
Weddings are multifaceted days and wedding photographers need to balance logistical planning, managing people, technical skill,and much more. When immersed in a wedding environment, our job is to capture the day organically for our clients and maximise any moments we are given for photos, serving our couples with authentic, iconic galleries despite the high pressure environment. Organically, we learn from difficult situations and improve our skills that way, but having a space in a calmer environment is invaluable. What's more, sitting on content and editing in a more considered way leaves space for us to decide what it is that we truly love to shoot.
How many of us have rushed to get content out that we're not obsessed with - just to show that we're busy? Ultimately resulting in more enquiries for that same work that we don't love - and so begins the cycle. It works the other way too. Workshops can also highlight what you don't want to shoot or focus on. Seeing different fashion, looks and details all together triggers an emotional response that will help you align with your goals.
The community element of workshops and togetherness with industry peers will then help you tackle boundaries stopping you from booking your dream work. I shoot alongside you and share how I help people relax and ease into working together, how I approach shoots to maximise marketing potential after the day and serve content I'm obsessed with in collaboration with industry leading suppliers.
My aim is to share my insights with you, empowering you to practise your own approach, refine your vision, define your why and ultimately, make your mark on the wedding industry. You can also lean onto your peers and use their experiences to bridge any gaps in knowledge, ask for advice, and help make sense of any business stalemates.
You’re not just learning from a seasoned wedding photographer. You're learning from someone who's genuinely invested in your growth and passionate about guiding you on your photography journey. Explore my upcoming workshops, join a community of love and photography enthusiasts, and discover some truths for yourself.
Investing in my portfolio and skills continues to be the most impactful thing I do. And I know it can be for you too.