Intro by Skip Cohen
Just into the new year I published a post called, "Why I Love This Blog". The post was the short version of how this blog became a reality and a couple of the challenges along the way. Every photographer remembers the key points in how they got started, what drew them to photography and who were the people involved who helped them focus, not with their camera, but with their heart.
So, this is going to be a new feature and we'll run a story a week until I run out. I'm looking for stories about how you got started. What was your first camera? Who's been your inspiration? Who planted that first seed about photography? It's 200-400 words, a head shot of you, a link to your website and 1-2 images you're most proud of. Images only need to be 5x7 equivalent at 72 dpi...and obviously YOURS! Send it all to my email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A big thanks to UK photographer, Nikkie Tatton of First Light Wedding Photography, who was literally the first person to respond! What a kick to read her story...and for those of you who will be critical of her starting point and have forgotten what it was like when you first started, Nikkie has only been out shooting for a little over a year...she's definitely a newbie, but I couldn't be more proud to share her story, because she's passionate about what she's doing. She's focused on the effort it takes to never stop learning and paying attention to what her clients want and building relationships.
The fun of a newbie's story like this will be following her growth with the hope that her passion keeps evolving in her skill set and future success.
I’m Nikkie Tatton and I’ve been a wedding photographer for 15 months, going from zero knowledge of photography to co-running a successful business in that time. I’m the kind of photographer who takes a lot of stick from our Facebook group for how I started, but I’m proud of my background and what I’ve achieved. I’m not ashamed to admit that I am not a formally trained photographer in any capacity.
My journey, at 32 years old, started 2 years ago when my fiancé Pete photographed a wedding for a friend. Pete had wedding experience, but I had never held a DSLR before - didn’t even know what one was! I knew nothing about ISO, DOF, shutter speed, aperture or any of the other strange words I heard. But I was just there as an extra and my photos were a bonus - Pete was paid £100 only. My images came out well - I had a natural eye for photography. But I discovered how much I enjoyed photography and wanted to learn more.
I found it hard at first - photography was a foreign language to me & I thought I’d never understand it. But I learned by doing - photography came instinctively to me - I knew how I wanted my pictures to look along with how to achieve them long before I understood the technical terms for what I was doing.
I bought a beginner's DSLR, a Canon 700D and took shots of the kids, friends, dogs – anything & everything. We decided that with Pete’s experience, wedding photography could become a part time source of income. We built a website, using the wedding we had done together plus one other of his for our portfolio. We didn’t expect much, but got our first enquiry & booking after 10 days. Our first paid wedding was 6 weeks later and I was hugely nervous. But the couple knew we had just set up & were happy. I planned that wedding in minute detail - visiting the venue, researching shots, deciding exactly where to take each of the posed shots. It was a massive success & many of these photos are still in our portfolio.
Fast forward to now and we have shot 35 weddings. We are both primary shooters – specializing in different aspects. I learned Photoshop & Lightroom and I edit all our wedding photos, having developed a style we both love. I research photography techniques & styles every week. But I have learned the most ‘on the job’, by actually photographing weddings.
I will always feel nervous when we send couples their photos and I will always feel proud when they tell us we have truly captured their day. I am also incredibly proud of the relationship we have with our couples - many of them are firm friends afterwards and these relationships are as important as the photography.