Revealing the winners of Collection 39! Click here to see the full Collection

Why Are You A Photographer?

We all have so many different reasons for being a photographer – so many different paths and journeys. We thought it would be interesting to ask our members their ‘Why’ – and here are 48 of their responses:

Paul of Tansley Photography (UK) – TiR Profile / Website

“I’m an observer. I’ve always been an observer. From my early teens, I realised I was different to most people. I’ve never had many friends. I’ve always had one or two close friends, but I’ve never been a fan of big groups of people. I feel drowned out in a crowd. Later in life, I realise that its extremely likely that I’m somewhere on the autistic spectrum. I’ve had various conversations with people who suffer from Aspergers and I’ve read quite a bit about that part of the spectrum. So many things click with my feelings towards others and how I act in life. I’ve not been tested for it and after reading up about the testing procedure, I’ve seen no reason to go down that route. All I’d gain is confirmation of something that seems pretty obvious and a blue badge to park in the disabled bays. Neither really interests me.

At parties, I’m always the one standing on my own in the corner. Observing the people around me. I love having a conversation with one person at a party, I love having a close partner who I can talk to and who understands my quirks. But I can’t talk in groups at a party, so I tend to step back and observe. So I’ve spent a lifetime watching things. My mind is also very logical. I can concentrate on one thing very hard and exclude everything around me – I’m focused. When I play computer games for example, I totally detach from the world around me and live in the world of the game. When I shoot photos, I detach myself from anything but the image I’m looking at through the viewfinder. I’m aware of my surroundings – probably hyper aware – but I’m 100% focused on the image I want. I think this is also why I still prefer using a viewfinder, than to shooting using the rear screen. For me, that’s like being in a crowd – I feel detached from the image. Whereas, through the viewfinder, I’m right there, in the image, it’s all I can see.

Carol, my wife, found this very strange when we first started shooting weddings together, I almost become a different person when I shoot, I’m that focused on my images. I can become very blunt with her, when she asks me something that’s not related to the images I’m trying to capture. Because to me, during that time, nothing else matters. I’m 100% focused on the job I need to do – capture beautiful, creative images.

I work well in a team, but I don’t like being poorly led. So really didn’t enjoy having bosses during the five years I did office jobs in my late teens early twenties. Being a photographer, employing myself and only responsible for myself suits me far better. I like the freedom it gives me in life, to work when I have to and work hard, but to also play when I want to. Working for yourself means if you want to take time off, you don’t have to ask anyone’s permission to do so. I’m also totally happy working on my own, I don’t need others around me, in an office style environment. I just find them a distraction. Although I do sometimes enjoy when my wife is working alongside me in the office, as we had to do during Covid times.

Most importantly, photography allows me to express myself. Nothing beats the feeling of being able to see the same thing or situation as everyone else sees but to be able to produce a representation of that scene or situation in an image that looks nothing like what others saw. It’s more focused or shows it from a different angle – or perhaps it’s in B&W so removes the colour distractions and only shows the emotions or the light on the subject. It totally satisfies my artistic need to create. To be able to work for yourself, creating things without having to report to a boss is perfect for me.

I’ve always had an artistic side. But am also extremely practical. My mother was a fantastic artist and my father a fantastic engineer. I guess I gained traits of both. During school, I almost went to university to study computing, but I just found it too boring. I don’t like studying and ended up doing office jobs for the first 5 years after leaving school. But at the same time, I started learning photography seriously, doing an evening class in it. As soon as I started processing my own film and printing my own images, I fell in love with the process. The ability to change something I see into an image that is not just a photocopy of what everyone else saw – but is my way of seeing it. And my way of seeing things is unique – as it is for any talented photographer. If all photographers saw in the same way, all of our images would look the same – and that would be so boring.

I think the potential Aspergers and weird way my mind works helps me simply see things in my own way. Then my technical side gives me the ability to translate that into the images I want during the processing stages. Without both sides of my personality, I think my images wouldn’t have the same strength to them.” – Paul

Joao Lourenco (Portugal) – TiR / Website

“Why am I a photographer? Having worked as an engineer, I felt like I was a small, anonymous piece in a large puzzle, doing something I didn’t really enjoy. Photography gave me the chance to be my own boss while doing something I love. Once all the business kinks were ironed out and I was in full gear (which took a couple of years), I had the freedom to find my photographic style. Initially by seeking inspiration in the work of other photographers, but lately it has been increasingly a philosophical process. One that has shown the importance of photography in documenting a multitude of realities. It’s making me develop a couple of personal projects, to tell stories that should be told but no one would pay me to.

Currently the reason I’m a photographer is to tell meaningful stories in a timeless manner, for the generations to come.” – Joao

Katie Kavanagh (Ireland) – TiR / Website

“In primary school, I loved art. Just lobbing a load of paint on a page to see what comes of it. As I progressed through secondary I discovered I wasn’t very good at drawing or the technical aspects required to succeed at exam level. It was only when I started taking photographs that I really felt I was expressing myself the way I wanted to. I used to photograph my pals at the underage discos we went to, the anticipation of getting that film back developed was the most exciting thing of the week.

I’ve always had a thing for weddings, I think it stems from being at my aunts and uncles weddings when I was small. The glamour, the romance, the craic, the tension, I love it all. I love meeting new people and finding out all about them. Weddings are great for that, and I’m not just talking about the bride and groom. I’m talking about all the characters that are there for the day. You never know who you’re gonna meet and what stories they have to tell.” – Katie

John Steel (UK) – TiR / Website

“Well to cut a very long story short, I wasn’t a YES man. I was steered in the direction by my parents to do the 9 to 5 thing but it just wasn’t me. I had various jobs including working in a skateboard shop, call centre, solicitors and I had just had enough. I had always been passionate about sports (mainly skateboarding) so I decided that I would do a sports degree (I already had a business degree). So I did a sports development degree and was hoping that would lead me to my chosen career path.

After I had completed my degree I started to work for the council in the sports development unit but for some reason my face didn’t fit. I ended up having to get my gym instructors qualification and was hoping to work my way up the ladder.

After nearly five years of working in a gym I was bored! On my days off I would photograph events for the council and I enjoyed this so much and actually earned more than a week in the gym. I just one day thought, I need to give this photography lark a whirl, so I just quit my job. I started as a full-time professional photographer with no plans just camera equipment and a portfolio.

Over 12 years on I’m still a full-time professional photographer. Every day I’m out meeting new folk, making them feel good about themselves and taking their pictures. There is nothing I like more than photographing people and I absolutely LOVE it! Don’t get me wrong there are hard days/weeks when I have no bookings but on the opposite sides there are weeks where you are so busy you forget to eat.

It’s been a very hard journey but I LOVE being a photographer.” – John

Andrzej Witek (Spain) – TiR / Website

“3x why I become a photographer:
Because I really, really like it … so I decided that I want to become as good as I can be in a single lifetime. To stay close to the photography and to don’t “waste” time in other jobs, I choose to chase my dream to become a photographer.

Because photography is my therapy and a friend who teaches me how important it is to be present, mindful and focus on simple moments. My camera teaches and reminds me to slow down and to see, I mean really see, that not only the big stories but also the small details, from our day to day life, are worth capturing and remembering.

Because I wanted to do something that matters.

Today, before writing this text, I’ve finished editing a family reportage. Just a normal day in the life of my friends. The session took place in the grandparents’ house, who due to their age (84 & 93) and the current pandemic situation, don’t leave the house too often. Among many photographs that I took that day, one stand out for me clearly. It’s a portrait of the grandma hugging her 7 months old grandchild, softly, cheek to cheek. She is battling cancer. The mix of suffering, greatest joy and love on her face…oh man…those are the moments and memories of great value that deserve to be captured forever.” – Andrzej

Soven Amatya (UK) – TiR / Website

“Being a photographer is pretty awesome!

As a photographer, I primarily photograph weddings and families. I love to capture moments. Moments that are preserved in time become priceless memories, not just for now but also for future generations. To be able to do this effectively, you have to be present. Your mind has to be in the here and now. You begin to see the world differently, looking at shapes, textures, light, composition and objects. You begin to notice the smaller details.

At weddings and family sessions, I enjoy being able to tell the story of the event. Again, emotions, moments and memories, frozen in time, forever. I want to elicit an emotion from the viewer as they look at their wedding or family photographs. In essence, capture a feeling of the moments.

Photography allows you to be creative. To find the things you love and produce something that feels creative to you, the photographer. It allows you to express yourself and show your perspective in what you photograph and show. It broadens your mindset as you get to meet so many interesting and varied couples, families and clients.” – Soven

Cathy Hoogenboom (Netherlands) – TiR / Website

“I am a photographer because it gives me all kinds of great challenges in life. It’s fascinating making photos of the most intimate moments of people you barely or do not know. As a photographer you need to have some kind of instinct to know where these beautiful moments will occur, paying close attention to the body language and the interaction between the couple.

For me the shot is a success when not only I but also the couple sees their feelings frozen in time on the picture I took.

I am also a photographer who always tries to capture the impact of a moment by playing with natural light. Using the light correctly enables you as a photographer to create a kind of painting. Sometimes this will result in images people can actually enlarge and hang in their living room as some form of art, which is of course a crown on my work.

And the best thing about my work is that I can stop time. Bringing back that moment each moment of your life, relive it, show it to your children or grandchildren. Such love you can share with a picture. How nice it is that you as a photographer are responsible for that.

From a personal perspective my work shows me time and again how nice it is to come home every time and to give my husband and children a cuddle and be grateful for the love I have at home.” – Cathy

Crystal Genes (United States) – TiR / Website

“Purple has been my favorite color since I was a tot. When we moved into a new house when I was 7, my parents let me choose the color of my walls and carpet. I picked purple walls and purple carpet. Yes, they matched. It was great. When I was a senior in high school I was ready for a change. I installed bright red shag carpet all on my own (a neighbor was throwing it out), and I painted the walls bright yellow.

I’ve always been a DIY type of gal, embracing change, not afraid to try new things, always looking for ways to break the “rules”, always looking for my next project or new hobby. I love that photography mixes all of that into one! Combine that with a love of people, raw storytelling, nature, and all things quirky, and there’s really no other job I need.” – Crystal

Isabelle Bazin (France) – TiR / Website

“I can say that photography saved me. It allowed me to build myself, to see the world, to communicate with what I can see and what is absent. After losing my father and sister at a very young age, I needed to stop time and face the world without them.

Photography has allowed me to see the world better, to meet people from all walks of life and to move on. I have been a photographer for 30 years in various fields, from art, portraiture, advertising, communication, photojournalism to weddings now. There are always things to discover, to improve, to overcome, to meditate, to learn, to experiment and the best moment is when the other is sensitive to what you reveal. In my personal projects, I like to use photography as a means of reflection, creating real or imaginary scenarios, questioning the world around me.

I came to wedding photography in 2014 after getting married myself 😉 I never wanted to do weddings as I never wanted to get married… being more of a funky rebel than a dreamy romantic but when I found out that as time went on weddings were taking liberties, I got interested and I don’t regret it. I love the world of weddings, whether it’s with the bride and groom, their families and colleagues, or the world of awards and conferences, it all feeds me deeply.

So, our wedding was a crazy wedding and in our image, at the time I knew nothing about weddings. I discovered an incredible world with real values, strong emotions, off-beatness, sincerity, the magic of beauty, poetry, madness, funkiness, and stress too, and all this is simply part of life. It’s a concentrate of emotion with people who make us feel good (we hope) for a few hours, a few days, few months and years. A concentrate of happiness, sincerity, madness, love and that is priceless. I wanted to offer this to my turn. Because this wedding has challenge me, built me up, amazed me. I love capturing this intensity of emotion, beauty, love and madness.
You understood, I am addicted to photography and happy people…” – Isabelle

Patrick Mateer (UK) – TiR / Website

“I love photography – and I could end my answer to the question right there. But there are many reasons ‘why’ and ‘how’ I became a photographer. Photography has always been a part of my life. My father is an artist and there were always cameras around the house. The photo accompanying this text is of me, age 8, holding my very trusting dad’s Nikon F2 at an art exhibition. I still shoot with Nikon cameras today.

I went to school during some of the last glory days of film, taking my A levels in the late 90s. There was a school dark room that I spent a lot of my time in – I was lucky that my teachers realised and supported my passion for photography. When I left school, I studied Fine Art at university, as I felt it gave more freedom for creativity in the way I approached my photographic work. From there it should have been a straightforward journey – work hard and become a photographer.

At this time though, I was in a band – a very average, very indie band. What we lacked in musicianship we made up for in delusions of grandeur and I ‘forgot’ about my plan to become a professional photographer. However, becoming a rock star somehow failed to materialise and reality set in. I had several jobs – nothing to do with photography.

Luckily, people asked their ‘friend with a camera’ to photograph their weddings and parties and I began to gather real world experiences and develop new skills. Also, my friends and family kept encouraging me to go all out for photography. Eventually I gave up my full-time job – it was without doubt the best decision I’ve ever made.

Looking back, I can see that my work developed more by feel than any prior decision or carefully laid plan. My wedding photography became less traditional and more relaxed, more concerned with people’s reactions during the event.

Then I met Hollie, we fell in love and we started working together in 2017. I feel at this point my work took another big step forward. Hollie and I drive each other on creatively, we talk things through constantly. The documentary approach we take at weddings is something we have honed together.

I’m still learning and improving today. I hope I never lose that drive to be a better photographer and to continue to document the world around me – all life is out there waiting for a photograph to be taken.” – Patrick

Hollie Rosa Mateer (UK) – TiR / Website

“I always had a strong interest in photography and planned to study it at college – but life took a few turns, and I went in a different direction. When I met Patrick – now my husband – we were both working in the wedding industry, Patrick as a wedding photographer and I at a florist. At weekends Patrick would go off to shoot weddings and I would use one of his cameras that he didn’t take with him, taking it out with me. I learned how to shoot manually, and I began to develop my love for photography – photographing friends, family.

Then I started assisting Patrick at weddings, at first with no intention of turning it into a career. Assisting at weddings was a great way of learning as the pressure was off – shooting and developing my own style and approach, turning how I see the world into images. It took only a few weddings before I decided photography was what I wanted to do – the freedom and creativity it afforded really suited me.

In 2017 I left my previous job. Since then, I’ve had a baby, taken maternity leave, come back to work (photographing weddings while breast feeding presents its own challenges!) and in 2019 started photographing some weddings on my own, though still mainly working alongside Patrick.

You can see an image from the first solo wedding I shot above. I love photographing weddings on my own: it’s great to work under pressure and expectation and really great when you rise to the challenge. However, above all, I love working with Patrick and photographing weddings together. So that is my journey to becoming a photographer – probably not that different to many others. But really, the reason I am photographer is my love for it.” – Hollie

Rafe Abrook (UK) – TiR / Website

“The question of why I am a photographer is one that has fascinated and puzzled me for the entire 6 and a half years I have run my business, and only recently have I really been able to give it a proper answer. As a natural introvert and someone who has always feared the party environment since childhood, I enjoy donning my ‘Invincibility Cloak’, becoming temporarily gregarious and confident and throwing myself into peoples parties and capturing the joy that unfolds safely from behind my ‘Cloak’.

As my personal life somewhat unravelled a couple of years into my career, I also take comfort from being able to take control of certain elements of photography. I strive for compositional perfection and order. As someone who’s marriage didn’t work out, the situation could have driven me away from the Wedding Industry out of bitterness, but I remain first and foremost – a Wedding Photographer.

I believe in marriage still, and I find the process of documenting a wedding day cathartic, and something of an honour to be trusted with. When I was at school, I couldn’t paint for shit. Still can’t. I don’t really like computers, and I couldn’t care less about the latest Sony being launched and it’s specs. People however, fascinate me. Give me any camera, some interesting light and a subject to capture, and I am a happy boy.” – Rafe

Pete Martin (USA) – TiR / Website

“Honestly, I am a wedding photographer completely by accident. It was definitely never an ambition of mine or part of my long-term career plan. It just sort of happened when I quit my job as a diplomat with the U.S. State Department without a backup plan. I started helping my wife with her wedding photography business. At the beginning, I was just carrying equipment. Within a few months, though, I was photographing weddings alongside her.

So why am I still a wedding photographer seven years later? Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not because it brings out the artist in me or serves as a creative outlet. Instead, there are two other things that I love about doing this for a living.

The first is the challenge that wedding photography presents. I have a restless mind and get bored easily, especially if my job starts getting too routine. I love that wedding photography and documentary wedding photography, in particular, are never dull. The hunt for meaningful moments that tell a couple’s love story never stops. It demands my total focus and concentration throughout a wedding and hours of practice during the week. I can’t afford to let my mind wander when my camera is in my hand, because I might miss a moment that is going to mean a lot to our clients in 30 years.

The second thing I love about wedding photography is the chance to make people happy. I’m a bit of a people pleaser (in the positive sense of that term, I hope!) and like doing things that “make a difference” in someone’s life. Photographing weddings offers me the opportunity to give our clients something that they can use to relive one of the happiest days of their lives for years to come. When our brides and grooms express their gratitude for that to us, the satisfaction I feel helps get me through the normal day-to-day frustrations of the job.” – Pete

Anji Martin (USA) – TiR / Website

“The question of why I am a photographer is one that can be answered in two simple ways. One, because of the creative outlet it gives me. And two, because I know from personal experience how important it is to preserve family history forever.

I love photography as a creative outlet because it gives me the opportunity to express the way I see the world in a tangible way. Everybody perceives things around them in their own particular way. They notice and focus on different things. And I see the world around me in vibrant and beautiful colors. I am always aware of them and am always drawn to them — the brighter they are, the better! As it is a visual medium, photography is the most natural choice for me to communicate that and express myself.

I’m also a photographer because preserving history, especially my own family’s, is so important to me. I have always been the person taking pictures at our family events. I realized early on that photographs could freeze happy moments and allow us to relive them whenever we wanted. Even today, I feel drawn to old pictures. I study them and find myself wondering about the stories behind them. I even keep antique photos of strangers when I find them because the thought of the people being forgotten or discarded makes me incredibly sad!

The importance of documentary photography became even more significant to me in 2019 when my uncle passed away. My husband and I were fortunate to be able to visit him in the weeks leading to his death, and we spent much of that time documenting the interactions he had with my extended family. Now that he’s gone, my aunts, uncles, cousins and I treasure those photos we took, because they remind us of him and how special he was to us.” – Anji

Victoria of Lovely Creatures (UK) – TiR / Website

“Part One:

I worked as a marketing assistant, was very bored, saved 1K & went travelling around Europe with 2 friends, poor peoples style, machine gun smoking, & sleeping in a Landrover for 3 months. It was amazing, lots of awesome memories!

When I returned home I obviously had no money, the first job I applied for was for a photographers assistant, I was determined to get it, I needed a job even though the pay was very low, a creative job would have been amazing, I was offered the job at the interview over 100 other people, started the job & found out on the first day of my 3 weeks intensive training that it was actually a sales job. Turned out luckily after all the fantastic training I was pretty good at selling genuinely in-person to customers, being a shy person this was pretty surprising to me but if I hadn’t been good then I would have lost my job & not been able to get a paycheque, no one was indispensable, I became a sales trainer to other employees around the UK studios, won sales awards & I loved the buzz of working in a thriving busy studio working with so many different people.

The company also trained me to be a makeup artist & then when a photographer left, I was trained as a studio photographer, it was an extremely target driven company which I loved. The photography at the company emphasised working to a formula and didn’t involve a hugely creative process or need to have vast technical knowledge. The company invested in me & encouraged me to qualify as a master photographer which I did & I really appreciate & have gratitude for everything the company did for me.

Unfortunately, the whole company went into liquidation, at the same time I lost my dad who always supported everything I did, I moved back to look after my mum in a tiny village with no bus routes, couldn’t drive as I have epilepsy, so I decided the way forward to make money was to approach lots of photography studios, photographers, creative companies to see who needed a photographer, makeup artist or salesperson and that’s where my freelance career and self-employment began. I remember walking 2 miles dragging my makeup trolley over muddy fields, getting caught in the pouring rain many times just to get to a bus stop, then that bus could then get me to a train that I needed to get to the job I needed to earn money.

I worked as a makeup artist for celebrities, photographed in fashion studios, shot boudoir, photographed & sold at events, worked in promotions, anything that paid the bills. After a year of walking through muddy fields to get to work, Ed Brown joined me in business & we travelled the UK to lots of fun & random events, law societies, army bases, school proms, footballer presentations, with celebrities photographing & selling prints. We had to set up lighting, backdrops & a printer on the day/evening and sell there and then, no initial upfront payment. There was never any guarantee of making money from any booking. We had to seriously hustle to make our money to pay our bills. Due to the stress and uncertainty of where the money was coming from my health deteriorated (epilepsy got worse) and I decided to put the brand under Ed Brown’s name and push cheaper end wedding photography initially as we would be guaranteed payment, Ed would shoot the weddings and I would work in the background.

Over time my health is much better and our wedding photography brand has grown steadily into something we didn’t ever imagine through our determination and hard work. All our original goal was, was to pay the bills, now we have a really established successful highly recommended business and another super cool luxury alternative wedding brand too, awesome clients, amazing feedback, even awards. Now we are challenging ourselves more, making bigger and unrealistic goals going forward.

Part Two:

After not shooting for around 7 years, my business plan in wedding photography due to having epilepsy and not wanting to give the clients added entertainment for their wedding day has been to employ lots of talented freelance photographers to work for me and I am super proud to say I have helped, supported, invested in and encouraged over 20 wedding photography companies in the last 7 years many of whom are now established, award-winning wedding photographers and lots are members of This is Reportage.

I have now begun to start using photography again as an artistic & conceptual method to express myself, around lots of different subjects that are important to me or that I find interesting or that I can help to change mindset and opinions. I have been working on pieces that try to express the stigma & misunderstanding that surrounds epilepsy and the discrimination and trauma that I have been through the past few years.

The current subjects I am choosing to work on sound super serious, but I am trying to bring in a little humour too.

I have lots to learn technically again but I am loving being able to express myself creatively again. I am finding lots of joy and happiness finding new creativity and I am having lots of giggles too along the way.

Peace, love and lots of positive energy to all x” – Victoria

Ed of Lovely Creatures (UK) – TiR / Website

“I have Victoria to thank for my journey into the photography industry, we met whilst Victoria was qualifying to be a makeup artist. I was going to be a sports coach but I was so head over heels with Victoria I used to go to the film sets with victoria and spend 12/14 hours helping out and just keeping myself busy whilst victoria was working.

I somehow started taking photos around the film set and the director thought they were fabulous, I was totally hooked and Victoria helped me to get a job as a top portrait photographer in Market Harborough where I started making the tea and learning the ropes. I quickly moved into photo editing, framing and running the front of house. The clientele was very affluent and the level of service and the end product was paramount, this set me in good stead for the future.

The photographer wanted to relocate to Dubai, I decided I wanted to stay in the UK so Victoria managed to get me a job in the company she was working for and I began photographing all over the country in the different studios. The work was so demanding, I would shoot a minimum of 20 sessions a day and often in the mid 30 and my record was 42 shoots in one day. I had 10 minutes to shoot 12 different poses and 3 different backgrounds as well as different lighting to create maximum sales potential. I worked out that I shot over 16000 shoots myself, that could be a family group of 20 and the next shoot could be new a newborn and a puppy in the same shot, it was relentless but the best training in the world in my opinion as nothing now ever phases me as it can never be as hard as what I had to do back in the day haha.

A week before Christmas we all lost our jobs as the company went into liquidation, so I and victoria decided to set up our own business. We did shoots and work for other photographers in return for equipment, we had no savings so we had no option but to work hard and make it work there was no plan B.

I can still remember when we had a camera where we had to jam a piece of paper in the battery compartment just to make it work, oh how far we have come!

We moved into the events market and we would shoot anything from school proms, sporting lunches with celebrities, Christmas parties and we would shoot, sell and print all on-site and have to come home with money, there were no fees to attend, so we had to be a slick team, and we were!

Victoria became very unwell with her epilepsy and we decided to call the business Ed Brown Photography. We started to shoot weddings and have made our clients our main focus, this personal approach really has done well for us. In 2015 we secured a small happy studio space where we can meet our awesome clients face to face, this has proven to be very useful.

Victoria has fabulously run our business, always looking at new things and our clients really do leave us amazing reviews, which is largely down to her first class service.

When lockdown hit we decided to upskill and learn more about self-development and we decided to make our awesome new brand LOVELY CREATURES which is something that we had wanted to do for a long time.

Our core values are giving awesome customer service and also a strong move to advocate equality and kindness. Ed Brown Photography is well established but as I and Victoria are equal it was always about me and Victoria was always referred to as “the diary keeper” or “my wife sends a few emails”, this is obviously not the case as Victoria is the fabulous captain of our ship. So the new brand that we are running alongside Ed Brown Photography has really taken off, and I couldn’t be prouder of our journey together.

I never thought I would be where I am now after 17 years in the industry, it was always about making money and paying the bills, I always loved creating beautiful work for clients but we both relied on photography for everything, it has only been in recent times when I and Victoria have been able to step back and look at the route that we want to take, and our LOVELY CREATURES brand is and will be our happy place as we can finally run the business with equality, shoot the weddings the way we want and our clients are totally in love with a documentary/reportage approach rather than the traditional wedding photography styles of times past.

I feel that the hard work and the journey we have been on together truly is a testament that hard work does pay off, although I am so happy not to have to fill the car full to the brim of event photography kit and drive all over the country not knowing if we would make any money or not and we now have a happy warm and welcoming studio where our awesome clients can come and have a drink and a good laugh about their wedding.” – Ed

Shane O’Neill (Ireland) – TiR / Website

“There is letter from school written when I was 12 years stating that “I want to be a photographer when I grow up”. I picked up a camera when I was 9 years old and never really put it down. Since then, being a photographer has been a major part of my identity. It’s what I do. It’s what I’m known for. Everyone knows I take photos for a living and associate cameras/photography with me. Whenever their camera breaks I’ll be able to fix. I’ll be the one who can print photos for them. Or Photoshop something. Anything related to a camera is related to me. And I love it. It’s my purpose. I’m now grown up and I made it to be a photographer.” – Shane

Tom Beynon (UK) – TiR / Website

“In 2014 my mum was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and given a few months to live. She spent her remaining time living in a care home. My sister and I personalised her room as much as we could and one of the things we brought to put in it was an electronic photo frame, which constantly played a slideshow of images. I spent a long time going back through all our family photographs to find stuff to put on it. A couple of years earlier my sister had made digital copies of all our old family photos which I uploaded loads of. But I also wanted some more recent pictures. I trawled back through all the images we had taken on our camera phones and was disappointed to realise just how little usable pictures we had.

Both me and my sister had taken a lot of pictures on our phones over the previous few years, but most of them were crap. Mine were mainly blurry drunken nights out with friends, random nonsense I thought was funny or interesting at the time and loads of selfies with my nieces. As well as not many good images of the family in general to use, I was also horrified to realise I didn’t even have a decent picture of my mum anywhere. I’d had a camera on me every moment of every day since I got my first iPhone in 2009 and in all that time I’d barely taken a photo of her, despite seeing her weekly. Between me and my sister we barely got into double figures for photos with her in. The only one of me and her together was a poor one taken at night in awful light and it’s not a particularly flattering one of either of us. This coupled with the fact mum was always the family photographer when we were kids means we have very little imagery of her in general.

Looking back over these photos was a lightbulb moment. I’d always thought I’d understood the importance of photography and capturing moments, but this really hit home not only how important it was, but how important it was to photograph the right things. Trying to find a good picture to use at her funeral was a complete nightmare.

After my mum died I knew I needed to start taking more meaningful photographs, but was happy to do so on my camera phone. The next year I spent most of it travelling and I brought a camera to take with me. It was during this trip that I fell love with the craft of being a photographer.

When I landed back at Heathrow my dad came to pick me up. He asked about my trip and I spoke about it all from the aspect of photography as that’s what the entire trip had turned into, a landscape photography trip. Once I got home and spent time with family and friends again I started to take my camera with me. Very quickly I became hooked on capturing the moments I was sharing with them, but not just from the point of view of a person snapping away with a camera phone, but as a photographer with a passion and a craft.

I’ve been driven by that passion for capturing people and immortalising moments ever since then and this has led me into weddings. Specifically documentary wedding photography. I love that with good storytelling you don’t just see an image of someone, you can feel what it’s like to be back in that moment with them. Those images to me are so much more important than a simple group shot or portrait.

Being able to capture these big occasions for my couples, where all their family and friends are gathered, and preserve the moments forever, is a real honour. I would have thought that after doing this for a few years that feeling would go, but it never does. Every wedding I see the couple interacting with the most important people in their lives and I think about my mum and how I’d love to have more pictures of her at similar moments in my life. It drives me on every wedding day to produce the very best work for my couples, knowing that after their own parents and grandparents have gone, or if they lose anyone else from the day in the future, they will always have these pictures to look back on.” – Tom

Christoforos Mechanezidis (Germany) – TiR / Website

“I’m a photographer because of many reasons. One is just totally profane:
I’m too impatient for painting!
Another reason is, that I love the steaks at the wedding diners!
In fact, the reasons why I’m a photographer change every day, every month and every year.

But at the moment, also in the context of the Corona crisis, I love to be a photographer, because I have the power to document this crisis in my very own creative way by working on a lot of free projects since May 2020 and at the same time help others with some of these projects by creating strong pictures of and for those, who suffer from this crisis much more as I do.

By doing these projects I got in contact with many, many families and companies, who all suffer from this crisis in various forms. But what unites all of them is the happiness and joy I saw in their eyes as many of them were just super happy to be part of something special and at the same time they all were so happy about just some variety during these difficult times without any real perspective and financial worries, homeschooling and warehouse fever.

Just being there and meeting new faces and people – yeah, real people! – this was maybe much more worth than any paid photo job – to me and to the people I met.

Here are two pictures from two of the 5 projects I’m shooting. One is a creative (and super flashy!) documentation about companies, artists, musicians, institutions and societies who’re suffering from the lockdown and the Corona crisis (it’s called “Alles auf Stopp”), the other one is a picture of my most recent photo project called “Corona kids”, with which I focus on the kids and teenagers during the pandemic crisis.

So, since May 2020, you can say, that these free projects I’m doing are the current reason why I love to be a photographer!
Let’s see when the reason will change into “because I love to eat the steaks at the wedding” again! 😉

Project “Alles auf Stopp”:

Project “Corona-Kids”:” – Christoforos

Martin Ellard (UK) – TiR / Website

“I consider myself just a photographer, weddings is a huge part of my work and from the first wedding I shot I never looked back. When I studied photography at college in Swansea it was documentary that grabbed my eye. I gathered as many books as I could on the greats and Magnum was my goal. In my second year of college I was able to get a month’s work experience at Magnum’s London office and the images I saw just reinforced my passion for documentary stories. I saw the fresh transparencies coming in of camels and burning oil fields from the Gulf War and I met Eve Arnold and had a sit down critique with Elliott Erwitt. I spent the early part of career working for a press agency in South Wales. Less documentary and more news, and from time to time I got to shoot for the broadsheets which were often more in depth stories to cover.

After eight years the documentary passion had been beaten out of me in place of tabloid doorstepping and celebrity ‘news’ and it was time to quit. I went freelance and for a few years carried on with some of the news work but I was focussing more on corporate and advertising work, less jobs but more money and more fulfilling work. in 2009 I shot my first proper, full on country hotel, chilled out summer wedding and it was AWESOME! people came up to me saying I looked like I was really enjoying myself!! I hadn’t really labelled myself as a documentary wedding photography because back then it wasn’t the thing it is now and I just shot how I wanted, capturing moments and not bossing anyone around. I had a discussion with my wife and said I wanted to make this work and it would mean giving up the press work and just keeping the commercial work. It was a no brainer really. Would you rather sit at the side of a rugby pitch in the rain trying to file pictures against PA and other agencies when their work was already paid for on retainer or be at a wedding with lots of people dancing their arses off happy you were there.

I dabbled with more set up off camera flash styles for about a year, just because I thought it’s what I should be doing. Then I gave up on that and went back to what could loosely be termed as documentary again. Capturing moments and covering the whole day with no real time limitations. I just went with the flow, but with couple and group shots thrown in. I realised pretty quickly that this was the way I could get back to shooting documentary work and although I’ve struggled at times to really improve my style, I also realised every wedding is different and sometimes you might just get one shot that has that feel about it and the rest are a historic record of the day and are no less special or important for the couple.

In recent years and with the advent of The is Reportage and other groups along with people I follow on instagram i’ve been inspired more than ever to look hard and closer and to be more patient for those shots.

I always say to people I never had a plan B, I’m one of THOSE photographers that did have a film camera at school and never looked back. I’ve never wanted to do anything else and I doubt I ever will.” – Martin

Anupa Shah (India) – TiR / Website

“I love people. I love conversations. I love stories. Especially stories of love. Family, friendship, loyalty, adventure, honesty, are things I value the most. So I feel blessed that I can experience that through my photography. Wedding and family photography make me experience a melange of emotions and I love that feeling of creating memories that will last through generations. Photography gives me the power of gifting time travel to people, to their favourites moments. It’s like my very own version of the world. From my perspective. That moment when technology, skill, moment, location, light all of it aligns and you freeze the moment…forever.” – Anupa

Anna Pumer (UK) – TiR / Website

“I became a photographer about a month after buying my first DSLR! It was my ex’s idea – he said I was good at taking photos and good with people, so I just… went for it! But why have I stuck around doing wedding photography for eight years? I think after spending a decade working as a magazine sub editor, with someone else getting credit for all my work, it’s wonderful to have recognition for what I do. I also love having creative control, doing what I want – and being paid for it. There’s nothing more satisfying than creating something cool that you’re really proud of and getting recognised for your work, with the extra bonus of making people happy.” – Anna

Anthony Lyons (UK) – TiR / Website

“What a question. I live and breathe photography but not just wedding photography. Wedding photography is a major player in my life and I love the anticipation of each wedding. I originally became a photographer as a means to express myself and studied under the great British landscape photographer Jem Southam at Plymouth University. I love nothing more than sitting down and reviewing photography art books, going on photographic road trips or spending time in my own darkroom. I have a need to be creative. Even if that just means taking a few personal shots or enjoying the creative process by spending time in the darkroom.

Recently I have been able to engage more with early photographic processes. During Covid Lockdown I have learnt Wet-Plate Photography which really takes you back to the birth of photography and helps you appreciate how far we have come technologically. Having your photograph taken in the 19th century was no easy task. I have also built a UV box so I can create cyanotypes and even walk in the steps of photography pioneer and inventor, Henry Fox Talbot by creating salt prints. This type of photography for me is not just about the end result but an appreciation for each step.

I do also enjoy digital photography and wedding photography in the main. I have a creative urge that needs to be quenched and the instant gratification of wedding photography gives me that. Each wedding is an unknown and teasing out how you see it can be really nerve-racking but also very exhilarating at the same time. I can become nervous in the run up to each wedding and I always think there must be a less stressful way of making a living. Sometimes it feels like you are on a perpetual rollercoaster and you can’t get off.

All of it feeds into why I’m a photographer. It’s all I know! I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!” – Anthony

Lisa Bjork (Sweden) – TiR / Website

“I was dreaming about being a photographer when I was 10 years old. I loved horses and read a lot of horse-magazines, I couldn’t imagine anything better than being a horse photographer. When I was 25 I had tried all types of different work experiences and some years at Uni, but nothing really suited me so I was forced by my own fears to try to go to photography-school – to see if it was for me or just a dream. After 4 years of schooling I was a photojournalist, happy and proud of that but ended up in the wrong workplaces because I was trained since birth to be an employee, because its safe.

Fast forward 5 years and I was not in a happy place and I hadn’t picked up my camera in years because of my frankly quite bad workplaces. A friend told me “shoot weddings, its really fun”. Two years ago I would have laughed it off, and also had many times. All I did was see pictures in my head, I couldn’t see myself not taking photos. So I shot a couple of weddings, fell in love with photography again. Gained a confidence that I hadn’t felt for 10 years and now I can’t not be a photographer and a creative.

I’m a photographer because I love what the camera does to me, It gives me so much joy because I get to go places, meet all kinds of people, tell them what to do, make them laugh and I have this positive impact in their life. When I deliver the pictures and they say they love the pictures I feel so proud and happy about myself, its like a drug.” – Lisa

Natasha Lamalle (United States) – TiR / Website

“When I started to take pictures of my friends, my goal was to capture our time together so we will never forget the fun we have. 16 years later, this is still my main goal, for me and my clients. I treasure a lot of my pictures because they bring me back to a moment with a person. It’s usually not special or perfect, but it brings emotion and memories of important people to me or my clients.

Since I’ve started to be part of many communities like This is Reportage, I do enjoy the challenges of improving my photography. Seeing so many talented photographers inspires me every day to get better images. This is why I love pushing the button of my camera!” – Natasha

Gaelle Le Berre (Australia) – TiR / Website

“My fervour for photography came to light when I was 15 years old, not because I had someone I knew who was a photographer, but because I discovered the story telling photographs of Robert Doisneau who really inspired me. My first camera was a Pentax P30 (funny I can still remember it), which I bought from a friend who was interested in Photography and Videography.

I began experimenting with the process of developing photos (B&W) when I was studying Applied Arts in High School as I had access to the dark room at the time. It was in that moment that I discovered my passion for encapsulating real life in the art of film, a passion which only continued to grow as I did.

I was kind of a troubled teenager being the middle child who couldn’t find her place. Once I travelled to the USA as an au pair in Boston, I started to emancipate myself. Finally, I started to discover what I truly loved and I wanted to do individually and personally.

The funny thing is when I was at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia studying Applied Photography, I remember saying, “Wedding Photography is crap!!” Well that was back in 2001! The wedding industry was so much different back then compared to the last 10-15 years where it’s more about telling a story than capturing some cliché photos.
I started as everyone I guess, doing family’s friend wedding. I was lucky enough to live in an area which there is not much competition so I was able to develop my business quite quickly. I would say that photographing weddings is like wine: the longest you leave it the best it gets!

Above are two of my favourite photos I took which represent exactly what photography means to me: different scenes in one moment, this is life, it can’t always be predictable but you just have to be aware of what’s surrounding you.” – Gaelle

Janina Brocklesby (UK) – TiR / Website

“This is such good question! It really got me thinking….and this is my simple and honest answer: I always loved photography and power of photos. The power of freezing moment in time. My family home was always full of photographs. Why I became photographer? I had two children, started to watch them grow too fast…I wanted to freeze moments. I wanted that for myself but also wanted to do something which might mean a lot to someone one day. Also… I can work around having family, choosing when, where and how I want to work.” – Janina

Florent Cattelain (France) – TiR / Website

“It all started with my father. When I was little I spent a lot of time in my father’s photoshop as well as in his lab. The first time I developed B&W photos with him I exclaimed, “Wow that’s magic, I want to do that for a job!” It was amazing to see an image appear slowly on white paper.

However, I chose another path by studying motion design.

After my father passed away, something clicked, and I decided to follow in his footsteps by becoming à professional photographer. Here I am a photographer since 2011. Ten years later, I’m as pleased by my profession. It makes me happy to give such precious memories to my clients. When I capture the laughter of a family, eyes shining with emotion as they say “yes”, a couple thrilled to meet their child, and I immortalize all those moments and I know why.” – Florent

Steven Parry (UK) – TiR / Website

“Quiet simply, because life’s too short!

I don’t want this to sound like a sob story because it isn’t. 24th May 2015 was the day that my life changed. Without all the gory details, I was unfortunate enough to be a passenger in a vehicle that was in a head on collision at high speed. Numerous serious injuries meant things didn’t look too good and to cut a long story short, was told it was pretty much a miracle I was still alive. Although I don’t remember too much about those weeks in hospital, I do vividly still remember lying in hospital and thinking that if I get through this, I will never ever hold back on the things that I want to do. I had a 5 month baby at home and it just dawned on me that after all, life’s too short, as I so very nearly found out.

I got married in 2013 and before that, wedding photography was to me the stereotypical old fashioned, posed, formal type photographs that only a grandma loves. It literally blew my mind to see some of the more modern, reportage type work that was out there. It struck a chord with me and was exactly what I wanted. To me, wedding photography should be just that, it should be about moments, about people enjoying themselves, not about guests standing in a line saying cheese. We couldn’t be more happy with the photographs from our day and having seen how the photographer worked and the finished product we received – I knew it was something I wanted to try despite never owning a ‘proper’ camera.

Queue buying my first ‘proper’ camera (a Nikon D3200) and spending far too many hours online trying to figure out how it works. Queue my first child being born and literally taking thousands of photos of him. Queue thinking about starting a wedding photography business, becoming my own boss and getting out of the rat race that was the day job. So much time spent thinking about it, but never really having the guts to do anything about it. Queue the accident.

Fast forward to present day and in a perverse kind of way, I’m almost thankful for those circumstances and what happened in 2015. It gave me the mindset that you can do anything you want to as cliché as that sounds. You need to be brave, you need to follow your heart. Yes it’s been a hard slog and a (very) steep learning curve, but being able to celebrate with couples on one of the happiest days of their lives and to document it in a way that allows them to relive their day every time they look at their photos is something I am very fortunate, proud and love to do.

Life’s too short folks – carpe diem.” – Steven

Sonal Dalmia (India) – TiR / Website

“I started photographing weddings in 2014, and had the blessed opportunity to grow through the ebbs and flows of this industry and the community. In the beginning it was all about me, and impressing my fellas – as my skill sets grew I was busy seeking validation for my art and was searching for meaning in my work. A deep part of me always knew there has to be more to this craft than just “capturing a moment”.

Over the years I’ve honed in on a vision and focus worth having. It was to truly connect with those I work with, to offer an experience that only someone who knew them well could provide. This meant that I had to be selective with who I work with, as not everyone views the same things as important.

The goal when I photograph is to find connections that are important and show them off in meaningful and creative ways. That is why I believe one needs to vibe well together. When I create the images I create with my piece of our heart and soul in it. It won’t be just photographs – it will be love” – Sonal

Sam Chipman (UK) – TiR / Website

“I’ve always been interested in storytelling, and trained as an actor. I travelled the country, and the world, playing different characters and telling stories. I have some really fond memories of my years in the industry.

The truth is, I stumbled my way into wedding photography by accident. I’d started playing around with camera’s whilst I was at drama school, and ended up shooting production shots and actor headshots. I wasn’t at the time thinking too much about photography being my full-time profession. That was until a couple of performer friends that I’d worked with asked me to photograph their wedding. I was stunned, and very apprehensive. I seem to remember saying to them “Are you sure you don’t want someone experienced, and someone who knows what they are doing?”. They were insistent, however.

Halfway through that wedding, I realised that it was storytelling, and I knew how to tell stories – I’d been doing it for years. I was hooked. The idea of gifting couple’s images that document their special day, and that they will look back on with fondness for the rest of their lives struck a real chord with me. As soon as that wedding had finished, I dived headfirst into setting myself up as a wedding photographer.” – Sam

Alessandro Iasevoli (Italy) – TiR / Website

“I became a professional photographer only 9 years ago when I was 41 yrs old! It has always been my “secret dream” since the age of 18 when I started reading by chance the Andreas Feininger’s book “Successful Photography” and shot my first black and white roll with an old Zenit Camera with a 58mm Helios f2.

I remember a school trip to Paris that year with all my classmates and a bulky and heavy Russian camera filled with 1 bw film, roaming in the magical streets of the Ville Lumiere. I was quite consciously searching for Atget’s , Brassai’s and Doisneau’s moods in my very first attempts to photography. I was in love with that nostalgic and romantic atmosphere their images of Paris conveyed to me.

Of course, nearly all the 36 shots were completely wrong in focus, exposure (the built in light metering of the Zenit was already exhausted) and lack of moment :).. I saved only one of these frames, more for self-vanity than for the real photographic value of that shot.

I remember that back in Rome one day my father took me to the biggest photo shop here in Rome to buy me all the necessary kit to start developing and printing my negatives: enlarger, tanks, chemicals etc. I was so excited to discover a new magic world made of chemistry and mechanics. I remember those silent and long nights in my little darkroom as one of the sweetest and most passionate ages of my youth.

As it unfortunately often happens in life, I slowly put aside the dream of becoming a photographer and focus all my efforts to university studies first and then to find a “real life” job as an employee in a TLC company where I have been working for 18 years! During this long time, I came back to photography once in a while, I started to seriously study the basics and the documentary / reportage branch of photography that I was so fond of. I began to buy and read so many photography books, attend photography festivals, getting interested in and engaged by so many photographers work.. I studied with both Italian and foreign documentary and reportage photographers and my passion for photography was at the top at that time.

But once again, I left the Photography Goddess passing by…: when my son was just few months old I had the concrete chance to leave Italy for East Africa to try entering the most known Photography Press and News agency at the time.. Once again, the “comfort zone” voice of my conscience drove me back to where I was: a good and remunerative job, a safe family life in Rome where to grow our child up… I was not ready for that big jump…

After few more years of struggle and increasing dissatisfaction of my employee’s job, I realised that there was no more time to hesitate… I found that photographing weddings could be the response to all my needs: let the Photography being a full time job, let me doing my documentary and reportage photos, let me focusing on people interaction and emotions. And all of that without forcing me to roam around the world but keeping my work- family balance at its best compromise..

That’s how and why I became a professional photographer: an intimate urgency that cannot be postponed anymore…” – Alessandro

Nathan Eames (UK) – TiR / Website

“Born in the 70’s I didn’t have the distractions of today, we played outside, the streetlights were our alarm call to go home to bed. I feel lucky to be one of the last generations of kids to experience that. What does that have to do with me being a photographer? Well I was given a Kodak instamatic as a child and the only thing I had to photograph was the outdoors and my friends, I was a keen skateboarder so that was my subject. One specific shot I took framed a skateboarder in some flare from the sun, completely by accident but it inspired me to try more. Now remember this was shot on film so I was unaware of this until the film came back a few weeks later, exciting stuff. I still have that camera and that photo it reminds me everyday where it all started.

I fell onto the academic path for a while with physics, mathematics and sciences taking over but the creative side was never far away, during my A levels I rediscovered photography during a fine art module and it adhered my scientific brain to the artistic side of me and I decided that was it then came the photographic degree and the career that followed. After the degree I found studio photography and worked in photographic studios across the south coast covering other photographers who needed a holiday. That is where the love of people became evident, my photography always caught a little bit more of the ‘soul’ than my peers and that is just down to my personality.

I shot my first wedding in 1999 I quickly realised that was my canvas, so many emotions and photographic opportunities. I feel like Donald McCullin wandering around but instead of the ravages of war I am looking for the love. I consider myself a thief as I steal this moments and present them as a gift to the couple who hire me, their heirloom to show their children and their children’s children. Libra Photographic was started later that year and I’ve been a full time wedding photographer ever since, I love it and during this pandemic, I missed it. I even felt a small (brief) sadness when Ed Sheeran or John Legend’s first dance songs were on the radio, yes you know the ones.” – Nathan

Melissa Ouwehand (Netherlands) – TiR / Website

“For me the main reason that I’m a photographer is that I can capture those moments for my clients which will never return. I talk through which guests/people are important to them and focus on them during the day. Being able to put my creativity and their stories in photos is the best combination for my photography. Also being part of an important moment in the couples lives makes me humble.

The biggest compliment I achieved is that a wedding couple didn’t ‘see’ me throughout the day, but was there on crucial moments to capture. I love to blend in during a wedding day and it’s a huge compliment that the couples put their trust in me for photographing their special moments in every emotion along the way.

Second main thing is that I can dance at every wedding 🙂 !” – Melissa

Nathan Walker (UK) – TiR / Website

“After I married my wife Delphine, it was only a matter of time before there was a baby on the way… and that’s where my photography journey started. Inspired by seeing all the throw away photos on social media, I wanted to document family life in a way that didn’t make me cringe! So, I learnt how to take photos that I’d be happy to print and share with my family as gifts. I quickly became hooked on seeing the joy my photos brought to other people and I dreamed of making a career out of it.

Now as a wedding photographer, I love photographing two ridiculously happy people and working at a fast pace, knowing that there are NO retakes of key moments! It’s such a buzz.” – Nathan

Sam Walzade (India) – TiR / Website

“Photography allows me to focus on the moment – at that time, all the noise of the world gets drowned out and I am singularly focused on capturing the moment in front of me in the way I see it. It allows me to express myself. Moreover, it allows me to create something that will be there long after I am gone. A photograph that I made as a wedding photographer will be passed down generations for the families to remember what happened on that day. While we cannot travel through time, my photographs will, for that family. This is why I am a photographer.” – Sam

Stam Chananakhon (UK) – TiR / Website

“Since I was very young I spent a lot of time on creative pursuits and loved everything artistic. Photography came a little later but as soon as I saw the possibilities a camera gave me to tell stories and create beautiful artwork I was hooked.

I started shooting weddings as I was living in Phuket, Thailand at the time. There are many destination weddings there as its such a beautiful place to get married. This opportunity really opened my eyes to the beauty of good wedding photography and storytelling. I have been lucky to work in over 15 different countries doing this amazing job and still get a buzz seeing how happy my couples are with their pictures.” – Stam

Liam Collard (UK) – TiR / Website

“I’ve always been a bit of a free spirit and never suited the corporate world. I knew that being a photographer would give me the creative stimulation I wanted and the flexibility I craved. I felt overwhelmed by the thought of stepping into a leadership role running my own business and did not really understand the first thing about it, so I stopped believing it was possible for a long time.

I was fortunate to be introduced to a professional photographer at an event and realised from talking to him that you had to blend the love of creating images with the correct business and mindset skills to really thrive. I used this as a catalyst to start taking the action I needed. I booked myself on a workshop of a photographer I loved and developed a growth mindset to really allow change to start happening. I’m now ten years into photographing weddings for my couples and still get excited about every single one of them.” – Liam

Chris Denner (UK) – TiR / Website

“So, to answer this question I feel I need to provide some context, as I feel photography literally saved me.

In all honesty I stumbled in Photography.

I was a terrible student when I was young and couldn’t understand the point of schooling at all. I was difficult, disruptive, and challenging (some would argue that I still am) and I really was heading into a dark place really fast. My parents were informed by the school that there was “literally no hope for him” and that I needed to “do a stint in the Armed Forces”. Brilliant, I wasn’t even 15 and already I`d been written off.

I had been removed from a lot of my GCSE`s by that point and the school needed to do something with me and so asked me to pick an extra activity.

So, I picked photography. Because there were a lot of girls in the class. Honestly!

BUT it really was a light bulb moment for me, as suddenly something clicked (get it?), and I found something I not only enjoyed but was good at. Long story short I didn’t get shipped off to join the army and focused (get it?) on taking photos.

I’ve now enjoyed a twenty-year career, and whilst my initial “why am I a photographer” decision was based on the reasons above, I genuinely can’t imagine my life without photography. I love the creative elements of planning a shoot, the geeky tech bits with the ever-escalating arms race that is camera equipment and love the actual feeling of shooting something and you just know your crushing it.

During this last year during the first lockdown, I turned to photography to keep me sane, and embarked on a self-portrait project, which was super fun. I’ve also created and exhibited five of my own self-initiated photography projects, one of which is still hanging in Rich Mix gallery in London after I sold it to them. So even outside of “work” I love using photography as my medium of choice to express myself.

Why am I a photographer? Simply because I don’t think I could not be.” – Chris

Ludwig Van Halewijck (Belgium) – TiR / Website

“I am passionate to be a photographer, because I love Life in all its aspects, what I wanted to capture. Sadness and happiness of people, animals, cultures and nature beauty.
An empathy and expression of the emotion that runs deep inside. In order to share that with the subject, and then with others.” – Ludwig

Abbie of Abbie Sizer Photography (UK) – TiR / Website

“Because I love it! I got into photography whilst studying it at college. Our lecturer sent us out to experiment with using pinhole cameras that we made ourselves and I fell in love with the process from there. The dark room is my favourite place to spend time and although I shoot digitally now, I still enjoy shooting film for personal projects.

I began photographing abandoned spaces and industrial sites. I was drawn to the structural lines and scale of industry and abandoned industrial spaces that the land had begun to reclaim. Then a work experience opportunity led me into weddings and photographing people.

I was instantly drawn in by the excitement of documenting people and telling their stories as they went about their day. People’s raw emotions and facial expressions when they don’t realise that the camera is on them, feels like a moment that only you as a photographer gets to witness. Attempting to capture those moments is thrilling and challenging and brilliantly rewarding when you do capture them.

Wedding photography for me is just that, telling people’s stories as they go about their day, for the couple, one of the happiest days of their lives and for their guests, a huge celebration. An ideal combination for me would be a wedding held within an industrial space, for example a warehouse!” – Abbie

Tsvetelina Deliyska (Bulgaria) – TiR / Website

“In the beginning I became a photographer because I was curious. Curious about the world around me and the way to stop time in just one shot. I indulged in painting, which may have been a natural continuation of my decision to study photography. The years in high school are one of the most wonderful in my life and all this thanks to photography.

Gradually I realized that my love for people, communication with them and shared moments are the main reason for me to do photography and take pictures of people. I am quite a social person and photography helps me keep in touch with many people. In this way I am emotionally charged and receive inspiration and desire for new projects and development.

But sometimes photography is just fun that we should enjoy to the fullest!” – Tsvetelina

Andy Tyler (UK) – TiR / Website

“I’ve ended up being a professional photographer because I tried my hand at a career in advertising and marketing, and although it was going alright, I was never really passionate about it. I learned a bit about photography at school using film cameras, and became much more interested when I got my first digital camera and could instantly see the results of what I was capturing.

So I taught myself more and more using books and online resources. Eventually I found myself between jobs and decided to try and turn my photography hobby into a career. I didn’t know what I wanted to photograph to begin with, so I took photos of all sorts of things, before realising that I enjoyed photographing people the most. I like meeting all kinds of people and being a photographer has opened up lots of doors to meet plenty!

It’s basically how I’ve built up my business, talking to people while doing one job, because it often leads to another job. I love shooting weddings because (when covid isn’t happening) they’re full of people from all walks of life, all happy because they’re celebrating their friend or family member’s special day, and that’s great to be around.” – Andy

Phil Salisbury (UK) – TiR / Website

“What is it about photography that draws me to do what I do? For me it has always been about storytelling no matter the subject I’m photographing. Wedding photography for me is an absolute catalyst for this. Being able to freeze a moment for a couple of their special day and allowing them to relive the moments they knew happened and some they didn’t I believe is such a privilege.

I’m fascinated by people, what makes a person the individual they are, how they move and interact with people, what makes them tick. How they feel at ease in some circumstances and awkward in others and how this is emphasized by the images I capture… Being able to capture all this for families to look back is quite simply a “pinch me moment” that I get to do this for a living.

This is one of my favourite wedding moments to date showing how everyone is so unique and its real life!” – Phil

Carrie Davenport (Ireland) – TiR / Website

“I first fell in love with photography when I was in school. Art had always been my favourite subject but I was never blessed with the patience for painting and sitting still for hours on end staring at something to draw it. I had always loved old photos and generally took our family snaps so there are very few photos of the young me.

One day when hiding from maths class I discovered my school had a darkroom nobody ever used and I was intrigued. My granny Edie sadly passed away when I was 14 and left me some money so after a newspaper advert my dad spotted led me to an old pentax slr I started teaching myself and was instantly hooked. My first shots were nothing special – blurry captures of other school kids playing but the magic of placing a blank page into chemicals and watching an image appear is something that til this day I am never not amazed by.

At first I shot gritty buildings, urban decay, cows in fields – the usual art student journey. As my confidence grew I started to talk to people and take their photo and suddenly I wasn’t the shy awkward kid anymore but I had this excuse to chat to people, hear their stories and make something at the same time and that was when it clicked – all I have wanted to do since then was take photos of people.

I shot friends in bands when stage fright prevented me from getting on stage. I shot drag queens with way better make up than me and goth kids with much cooler music collections. I photographed everyone I got the chance to and I loved it.

20 years into my photographic career and 15 years working for myself photography has not lost any of it’s appeal. There is something really special about taking a photo that makes someone smile and feel good about themselves, hearing somebody’s stories while shooting or teaching them about photography and taking what I’ve learnt and sharing it out. As for wedding photography – the fact that one day someone’s grand kids may look at that photo and ask about their wedding day – well where else would you get the chance to time travel like that!” – Carrie

Ash Davenport (UK) – TiR / Website

“After spending 15 years in the corporate world trying to be the youngest CEO of an FTSE 100 company I released over the course of a few years that I wasn’t enjoying my job and I had become someone who I didn’t like. One day after a pretty horrendous month I realized I wanted and more importantly needed, a break. To be honest I was at a breakpoint and it was my wife who suggested I pick up my camera to bring a little relief. Not as a career but more as a hobby.

One Friday night after a few more bottles of wine than normal and after another long and hard month at work, I had created a Facebook and instagram page saying I was a photographer. I was a little surprised at how easy it was to call myself a professional photographer. I created a logo and a basic website all whilst binging wine and eating chips.

The morning after I had a sore head and a few people asking for a shoot and that’s where it began! It took another 5 years of building the business up whilst working but in 2019 I left the corporate world and become a true professional photographer.

To this date, I have never looked back.” – Ash

Ramona Ulrich (Germany) – TiR / Website

“I came to wedding photography through the haute couture and beauty scene. I was relatively successful, but the stress of being always further, faster and more extraordinary was too stressful for me after a few years. At some point, a model friend got married and I should accompany her wedding. With my first escort also directly began the passion and questioned me whether I would like to do it in the future always … Very clear yes.

I realized that every bride is a unique model in her favorite “Haute Couture” dress, no matter how fat, thin, tall or short she is. The essential aspect behind this is that my bridal couples are beaming over both ears and that this is so utterly convincing and contagious that I have left fashion and beauty behind. Weddings are the most intimate and wonderful emotions that you can accompany as a photographer. It is an art to be able to deliver at the right time at the right place with a good camera setting and not appear stressed. In addition to experience, this also has a lot to do with luck…

It is always an insane honor for me when a couple books me because of me and my style after our conversation. In the last few years it has been shown that my couples choose me because they see me as a friend and I agree…. Because we are fully on the same wavelength and that is terrific…. I am not allowed to accompany a wedding as a service provider, but to be a welcome guest at the start.

This appreciation that is shown to me is why I love photographing weddings. But between us, it’s also the wedding cake and if I once did not get a piece off and my couples find out, even coupons of the pastry shop have been sent as a thank you, so I could buy another piece in the aftermath … How awesome is that? That’s how attentive my customers are, they listen to me and appreciate me. That’s why I photograph weddings” – Ramona

Dan Morris (UK) – TiR / Website

“As you’ll soon notice, words are not something that come easily to me. That’s reading them or writing them. I fail to take much in or have forgotten the passage that I’ve just read, pretty easily. One or ten too many knocks on the head playing rugby perhaps and a little stint of viral meningitis as a twenty year old perhaps. Anyhow! Words just don’t stick. Then we get to photographs, for whatever reason they resonate with me and I find every fulfilment dissecting an image as I guess most people would reading a great novel.

When I did my engineering apprenticeship, there was an old chap called something or other  my memory again) 🙂 it’s just comeback to me – his name was Gordon. He would bring in albums of his holidays and everyone would try their best to avoid him. Basically every image he showed he would waffle on for ages about. Even telling you what’s around the corner and the story would continue and continue in that direction.

Now here I am twenty years older and I think the exact same thing as this man. Each and every image does have a story. Even if it’s not my story it’s somebody’s story. That I find fascinating. There are so many questions to be asked of every image. That could be from a photographic stance or just being nosy. I get the same from my nan every time I pop over her house. She’ll take me into her parlour (very special room in Wales that not many people get to see) 🙂 she has so many old photos on shelves and will pick a few and tell me all about them. Who’s in them, what the people were doing, this is where we differ, my nan usually knows the date too. Baffles me every time.

When I see what photos mean to other people it grips me too. It’s addictive giving those memories and certainly always a conversation starter. For me there’s no other job that can give that satisfaction and service that we provide. People aren’t here forever but those memories are.

Now the truth! I hated my job bought a camera and pretended that I can take photos. Simples!” – Dan


Thanks so much to the TiR members who contributed to this feature! If you enjoyed this, you may also be interested in some more of our group features, including:

Are Two Photographers Better Than One?
39 Photos That Have Had A Lasting Impact On These Photographers’ Lives
Top Tips For Surviving Wedding Season
Do You Need To Visit My Wedding Venue Beforehand?
What Do You Do During The Quiet-Season?
What Would You Look For In A Wedding Photographer?

Are you looking for a photographer? Check out the work of the photographers who contributed above, or view our entire membership.

Interested in joining us? Find out all the details and apply for membership. Submissions are currently open to our next round of Awards; submit by 23:59 BST on 24th May 2021.

Aga Tomaszek

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