I have always been that person that never stuck at anything. I’d try things and my determination would waiver or my enthusiasm would wane. Truth be told I often got scared and wouldn’t put myself in situations where I had to push through my vulnerability or fear of rejection.
Being a photographer is riddled with opportunities for fear and fear of rejection. You feel vulnerable when you meet a couple and discuss the possibility of working with them. You feel vulnerable when you share your work publicly and when you send a final gallery of images to your clients. You feel vulnerable as a business owner as you know you have to make your passion work to pay your bills. You feel vulnerable as a creative person because you doubt your work sometimes. You feel vulnerable as a person because there’s not much slack when it’s just you doing everything.
Sometimes you plateau and create work that you know is solid but that doesn’t inspire you at the time, other times you fly and feel incredibly excited by everything you’re doing. You go from shooting in beautiful locations to 14 hour days stuck in front of your computer, without talking to anyone. This truly is a a job of contrasts.
I wouldn’t change it, even though some parts of it are harder than I ever expected. It’s also more rewarding than I could have imagined. My ‘why’ is the reason photography has been one of the few things I have (obsessively) stuck with.
I am incredibly proud of the business I have built up in just under five years as a full time wedding photographer. Ultimately the feedback from my couples and having happy clients is the absolutely most important thing to me in relation to that business. It’s really, really nice though to be acknowledged by your peers and celebrated by the industry that you have poured your heart and soul into.
External validation shouldn’t be important but, actually, to know that someone from within your industry thought you were creating good enough work to nominate you to be considered, alongside 200 other photographers from around the world, as part of a process to find Rangefinder’s 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography is an amazing and slightly surreal feeling.
To then receive an email telling you you’ve been selected as one of the final 30, out of 200 photographers from around the world, is mind blowing.
I had the opportunity to submit last year and didn’t make the final 30. I didn’t expect to but that didn’t mean it wasn’t disappointing. As I said to someone at the time everyone I know that does this job is hugely emotionally invested in it. We all want to do the best job we can for our couples but we are also driven by a passion for photography and by producing work that we are creatively proud of. Pulling together a portfolio of your absolute best work, only for it to be rejected at a time when your energy is at its lowest after a busy wedding season is hard.
That disappointment last year meant I was braced and ready for the rejection email this time around, especially knowing some of the amazingly talented nominees that I was up against. And then I got the email saying I’d been chosen as one of New York based Rangefinder Magazine’s Rising Stars of Wedding photography 2016. In the whole WORLD. Unreal.
I can’t even begin to say how truly grateful I am for the support of the people who put me forward (Claire, Megan, Chris and Verity – thank you SO much) and I’m also really thankful to the Rangefinder Magazine judging panel for selecting me to be in such esteemed company. There are honestly so many people in the final 30 whose work I find endlessly inspiring, not to mention the previous winners who have shaped my photography and impacted on my journey as a photographer.
Thank you to my couples for putting their trust in me by inviting me to document one of the most important days of their lives. I’ll be celebrating five years of being a full time photographer next year and it’s been a journey full of incredible highs, lows and everything in between. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to do something I love for a living.
And finally thank you to Pete. He’s an integral part of both Babb Photo and SNAP and he’s a brilliant photographer and film maker in his own right. He sparked my interest in photography in the first place so I know wouldn’t be writing this post if I hadn’t met him.
Check out the full list of Rangefinder’s 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography here.