Photography has always been something that I wanted to go back to after studying film at college. After meeting my partner and having 3 children, a good friend of mine, who always believed in me, gave me the push I needed to get back behind the lens. I am so glad she did, since then I have never looked back.
After carrying on my studies in digital, I soon realised that portraiture was where my heart was. There are often moments when I’m photographing my subject; when I feel overwhelmed. These moments are magical and it is these moments when I know that I have created something beautiful.
My family and I had gone through some personal struggles, but ironically it was these struggles that turned out to be my strengths. The difficulties I’ve faced have actually made me the photographer that I am today, and most importantly, are the drive has pushed me forwards in my career. Through all the challenges that I had faced, my camera had become my comfort. I was able to escape from everything by entering into a world of creativity.
And so my journey began, it soon led me towards wedding photography, which I absolutely adore. What I love so much about wedding photography is all the various emotions throughout the day. I feel very privileged and honoured to be part of such intimate moments, and for me these moments are only captured by the couples barely knowing I am there. My couples will often say to me “how did you manage to capture all that emotion when I didn’t even notice you”!
It’s the small details that I love – hands touching, lips that nearly meet, the lace of the dress, or the yawning child in the church. These small details all add up to make a unique and personal story, and that’s what our lives are …..”a story”.
It took me a while to warm to the idea of weddings, as I was just finding my personal style for portraits. I knew the style of my photography would not suit a whole day of wedding photography, but as a cousin of mine was getting married, I took the opportunity to start. Of course, I loved it! I soon threw myself into freelance weddings as I wanted to learn as much as I could. By the end of the first year, I had photographed 45 weddings.
I knew that the wedding industry was saturated with other wedding photographers so I knew that I had to stand out. Photography was natural to me. I spent time learning how to become a businesswoman. My personality does not scream businesswoman, and being a laid back northern girl, I found this part of the journey a real struggle. I set out to meet other businesswomen in the same field as me. I cannot tell you how much these woman lifted me and looking back these women have taught me everything I know. When we have bad days we are there for one another as an ‘online team’ to support and push each other forward. I force myself to set yearly goals, which I feel is a great way of pushing myself and my business forward. Last year my goal was to get one of my weddings published, as well as brand my business. I have accomplished both and beyond. I feel that every year these goals are what pushes me forward, and when I achieve them, well, there is no better feeling. Hard work really does pay off.
My goal for my business is to be real and honest. This is not about money for me….. this is my passion. My clients understand me and my work. If I had to describe my style, I would say that it has a relaxed boho vibe with a contemporary twist. It is all about capturing moments of beauty and emotion. My style is not for everyone and that’s ok. I pride myself on offering my clients more than photography. My relationship with my clients is one of mutual trust and respect, and from there will often grow a beautiful friendship. I am there on the day as their friend, photographer, dress fixer and more.
I understand females and their emotions. It’s why I fell in love with weddings. However, going forward I will be doing other work aside from weddings and I hope to create something unique for families as well as couples. I feel that standard family portraiture lacks emotion and magic, so I will be setting up a new portfolio for this line of work, which I am really excited about.
I will never be 100% satisfied with my work but this is what drives me everyday and I hope I never am. Other artists inspire me every day to push myself to my limits in this industry. I am always thirsty to learn from others. It is how every famous painter got to make their mark; by being inspired by others. My partner and family are my biggest support. When I have bad days they are there to build back my strength and determination, and without them I’m not sure if these feelings would get the better of me.
When I set out 6 years ago, I had no idea how hard this industry was. It all started with a camera and a dream. To be successful, you have to truly love what you do and fight for it. I’d say to anyone wanting to set up their own business in photography, to battle through the obstacles and difficulties, and know that if you want it badly it will happen. Another piece of advice would be to have unlimited patience and to share your journey with others. It’s how I was educated in the business and its how you will grow. Absorb as much information as possible from other people that you look up to in the industry.
My grandmother always told me to wake up in the morning doing something you love, so that’s what I do. You can do anything if you want it enough.
LAST PIECE OF ADVICE
Be real and to be true to yourself. I have often struggled to fight the urge to conform to what I have felt that people want to see or hear.
To not burn yourself out and find the right balance between family and work life.
To enjoy the journey and not the destination.
And most importantly, to believe in yourself!
Thank you so much to Samie from Samie Lee Photography for writing this article. Please visit her website for wedding and other photography requirements. Kx