In 2016 I did a skills swap with my beautician (yes, I really have one): I was going to do her wedding photography and she was going to do my makeup. It didn’t seem like a fair trade.
I had a decent camera and knew how to shoot using manual mode but I’d never shot a wedding and had never even considered it. In fact, at that time I was scared of people and concentrated mostly on landscapes (or my soon to be husband and daughter.)
And as corny as it sounds, the 12th August 2016 changed my life. I just didn’t realise that it would for a few months.
The next wedding I did was for a colleague’s sister. She had arranged for a friend to help them out and take their wedding photographs free; but, he unexpectedly sold his camera equipment and then realised that hiring what he needed would be too expensive to justify. Somehow, I ended up with the job.
Within two weeks I had a stall at The Scottish Wedding Exhibition (yes, the huge one in the SEC), a proper website, sample wedding albums and gorgeous prints and took my first few bookings.
It would be safe to say things have grown massively and that business really is booming. As well as a few exceptional cameras (Canon 5D Mk IV and Fujifilm X-T2), some amazing lenses, the best off camera flashes and a super duper harness to manage two cameras, I have a fully working photography portrait studio in The Hidden Lane in Glasgow. I’m mostly doing weddings but have added headshots and, family and new born shoots.
But what does all that mean for you?
Quite simply: I love my job. Nothing makes me happier than to be interacting with people – yeah, those ones I was so scared of at the beginning. I love hearing about people’s families and jobs and lives, aspirations and dreams, greatest fears and challenges. But mostly, I love people’s reactions to the photographs I’ve taken – it fills me with such joy (really, I’m not exaggerating or trying to use language cleverly) to be able to craft photographs which make people happy and which they can look at over and over again. Forever.
And because of this it means I do it well – it’s like anything you have a passion for; you want to do it as much as you can and get as good as you can so that you’re absolutely the best you can be.
Now when I look at my photographs, I love them. I really love them.
There's one last thing you should know: I was a teacher before I was a photographer. I have a degree – a Master of Arts (Hons.) in English Language and Literature from The University of Glasgow - and 13 years teaching experience. I’m not going to bore you with that - though I’d happily chat all about it, if you want! - except to say that it means I have lots of skills I can use when taking your pictures:
I’m relaxed I listen well, I know how to communicate with loads of different people, I know how to overcome challenges.
I’m self-reflective. As in, I constantly look at my work and make sure it’s always getting better; I constantly think about how I’m coming across and make sure I’m professional but friendly.
And of course, I’m organised, I’m punctual, I’m reliable; when I say I’ll be somewhere, I will be; when I say I’ll do something, I will.
But probably most importantly, I’m flexible. I know that things change - timings, plans, the weather - and I’m pretty good at being able to adapt so that the most important thing is kept in focus - you and your shoot, whether that be your wedding, headshot or newborn photo session.