Back in September 2012, when I had just photographed my first wedding, I made a plan (in my head) for the next three years. “If I was to go back and train as a hair dresser, accountant or plumber I’d need to spend 3 years in college and then there’s no guarantee of a job at the end of it” and so starting my own business, learning and reflecting along the way and making my own ‘degree’ with an outcome seemed like a sensible option.
So this month, three years on, I celebrated my graduation. 500 wedding photographers from across the world came to join me in Sweden to celebrate my graduation with me, and it was pretty epic. Cole Roberts and Jacob Granqvist of Nordica Photography organised Way Up North; the greatest wedding photographer summit the world has seen over two days in a theatre in Stockholm.
Speakers including Nessa Kessinger, Ed Peers, James Moes, Fer Juaristi, Samm Blake, Kat Williams, Chrisman Studios, Jonas Peterson, Andria Lindquist and Jasmine Star wowed us with presentations that were engaging, heartfelt, honest, humbling and inspiring beyond words.
Some key themes and lessons from the week have been;
- Wedding photography is about the storytelling, the emotion, the relationships and the unique moments so much more than a single epic shot of a bride and groom
- Wedding photographers are colleagues and friends before their competitors
- What we do is very special and should never be under appreciated
- We are all equally passionate
Nobody showed me their portfolios, boasted about their businesses, bragged about their awards and accolades. I spoke to 100s of people, made dozens of amazing new friends, laughed until I cried, cried until I laughed. We drank £14 pints of ale and left in style by going to the wrong airport late and recreating a scene from Ronin as we raced in a taxi and ran to catch our flight with less than a minute to spare.
“Wedding Photography Conference you say?” . . . . . yeah, it does sound dull, but it was far far from it!
Here are some photos I took this week, some by me, some by my travel companion and roomie Tim Bishop.