Best wedding photography
I don't know why or when this started, but it's kind of an industry trend to do an annual round up of the best wedding photography throughout the year, I guess it's a nice easy way to curate our portfolio for new people getting married in 2018, and also to kind of take stock for ourselves and see what we'd like to develop creatively.
In terms of creative and career development, I've had a golden year. Five of my images received awards from the Wedding Photojournalist Association, and I won Rangefinder magazine's 30 Rising Stars of wedding photography, which is quite a sought after honour in our industry. It's a way of saying, these are the 30 best wedding photographers around the world, these are the ones to watch (who have been working for less than 5 years full time). It was very unexpected as I had a few lovely friends in the running, who are amazing photographers with work I really respect- current winners get to help nominate for future years so fingers crossed for my pals for next year! I also met with the Fujifilm representative at the very end of 2017, and will be a featured photographer on their blog at the start of 2018.
I taught five sell out flash workshops, in 2017, which was a career development I hadn't necessarily planned but ran with. It all started from an FB group I'm in, where people were saying they wanted to learn flash and how much they hated it and had put it off all this time. I said "look, I'm not an expert but I'll teach you everything I know and it'll be enough to get you by". I don't tend to do anything with studio lights, or close up portraiture, but I know how to craft the light for a room or to creatively use flash to add a bit of fun to a couple shot, and most importantly I'm a strong believer in people having the necessary basic skills to shoot their best wedding photography. I feel like every wedding photographer should have the emergency knowledge and the current situation is that many are put off learning about flash for a variety of reasons. There's kind of a stereotype in the industry that women don't know techie things, but from teaching the numerous workshops I found that it's not that they don't understand it, they just aren't interested in having it explained to them in a boring way- if you make it absorbable, everyone and anyone can grasp the theory behind flash and use it to take full control of their creative look! As well as teaching my own workshops, off the back of that and perhaps from the kudos that came with Rangefinder, I was invited to speak at a variety of conferences and workshops, I taught flash at Goaldiggers, and I'm due to teach about mental health and coping strategies at Snap 2018 and branding and marketing at a the Fujifilm X Weddings conference.
Onto the most important achievement of the year- my couples! These are the couples I laughed with, cried with, ran with and drank with! I shot 34 of my own weddings this year, and second shot a little bit more. I like to second shoot in the winter months when I have an available weekend as it gives me the chance to explore new ideas without the necessary pressure to get all the key events when you're a primary shooter. After 2016 I capped my annual primary wedding number at 35, as I had shot about 45 the previous year and found it too draining. It's more important to me to maintain the quality of my work vs. quantity. I was discussing this with my friend who I like to second for, he's very relaxed and reacts to moments (a perfect second shooting job haha!) whereas I find to get my very structured style I need to almost be a little bit on high alert stalk mode throughout the day. I'm in fit shape, being a keen runner in the midst of marathon training, but I do still find that to be constantly searching for the next shot is quite mentally and physically draining. As a result, I find I'm good with shooting a back to back wedding, but I stopped taking on triples a few years ago. Getting this work-life balance right was really crucial to my growth as a photographer, so making the change to cap the number of weddings I shot, I feel I conserved a lot more headspace for both the quality of photography, time for things like teaching and growing my career, and also quality of my own wellbeing!
So that's my annual round up, now onto the fun part, my best wedding photography of 2017! It'll be interesting to compare it to the best wedding photography of my 2016 and 2015!