It's always an honour to be recognised by your peers and I have an admission, I never enter photography or indeed photographer competitions, I used to and then I won over 100 separate awards for various photos and came runner up for photographer of the year in 2010 and so I'd done what I sent out to achieve and moved onto the next thing I wanted to achieve so I was a little taken aback when I received a phone call totally out of the blue yesterday afternoon telling me I've been shortlisted for Photographer of the Year in the Northern Wedding Awards.
The truth is that as you probably all know I only shoot a handful of weddings every year now but here's the thing, I love it so much, I choose each one carefully so that I know I can do in and give all of my heart when I work. It's changed the face of my business entirely, I'm not competing for weddings any longer, I don't have meetings, I simply send over a brochure and direct my future clients to a recent wedding and if they love it they book, it's simplified my process and I've just adored shooting weddings this year.
The biggest thing now is that it's not about the money, I choose the weddings based on many things but I go with my heart and it's worked so well. When the focus of my business was weddings it was so stressful but now it's amazing. I love smaller weddings, I shot a perfect 3 hour wedding on Friday and an 8 hour and a 4 hour during September, coming up I have another 4 hour wedding on Friday and then a Dr Who themed wedding at the end of October, my last planned wedding of the year is just a short 2 hour booking for clients I've photographed before. I give my heart and I shoot with love, I tell the love stories of couples I feel close to some of them without even meeting them until their wedding day. I adore what I do now and I think it shows.
I don't at all expect to win these awards so I'll say a couple of thank you's now, one to my lovely longstanding assistant Stacey who I really couldn't shoot most weddings without, she gets me there, she keeps me calm, she helps me organised the masses and she picks up stuff when flaky old me puts it down in places and then I forget! Also a quick thank you to Jamie who comes along to some weddings and second shoots for me or assists me just like Stacey in her absence, it's great to be able to work with people you also call your friends and I'll never stop appreciating their skills and friendship.
There's no final voting process and this isn't a popularity contest so you dear readers don't need to do anything, what will be, will absolutely be, I can't attend the awards sadly as I'll be away on a travel assignment but I'd like to wish everyone else who's been shortlisted the best of luck, there are many amazing photographers out there who truly deserve the accolade and I definitely don't expect to come anywhere near being the eventual winner but to get this far is an honour all the same and so if you nominated me then you are amazing because without you I would just be a mad animal lady with a camera!