On the 10th October, after one absurdly early train journey, 40mins squished on rush hour tube, and a huge coffee, I arrived at Belt Craft Studios in London. I was here for the Welcome Home Workshop organised by wonderful wedding photographer and all round star Emma Case and her husband, awesome Pete.
Before I even considered the idea of being a wedding photographer, I have followed and adored Emma’s work. Her brightness, honesty and happiness comes through in everything she does. Emma single-handily made me, a 23 year old bloke, endlessly seek out and enjoy browsing wedding blogs and viewing and soaking up as much lovely happy, photography as I can. (My partner Helen, for a time was a little worried why I kept pointing out my favourite weddings…. and kept dragging her to wedding shows…..)
So here I was, in London, in a big old interesting studio space ready to talk, listen and learn photography at my first ever photography workshop.
You know what? Emma and Pete together put on one bloody brilliant day. It was so fun, welcoming and inspiring; it’s going to have profound effect on me as a photographer and as a person for a long, long time.
I was initially nervous about meeting everyone. I’ve never actually met any other photographers before, and expected most would be more experienced then me. I was so anxious to meet my own expectations and not to say anything stupid. But true to it’s name, within a few minutes, it did feel like home. Emma talked us through her story, her approach and even her workflow and loads more besides. It was honest and open experience all about wedding photography.
For the first time, I was able to talk about the stuff I love, with people who love it just as much as I do. I left the day with so much new information, new ideas and new questions for myself and my business. Every second of the day was inspiring, rewarding and a joy to be a part of.
I must admit, I didn’t actually take as many photos as I thought I would. I was so busy soaking up ideas, inspiration and the warm friendly atmosphere. And smiling. Lots of smiling. It was just too much bloody fun. Emma had enlisted the help of two gorgeous couples to photograph, to run through her tips and techniques for directing a fun and natural portrait session. Watching Emma at work with her couples was really nice. Her advice was less about technique, and more about letting go and being in the moment.
There was a theme that ran throughout the day that really spoke to me. It’s now clearer to me why I do this. Why I want to be the absolute best I photographer I can be.
People. Fun. Love. This is all that matters. This is what lights me up, brightens my life and kicks me out there with a camera in hand. One day in London, and I feel as if I could fling my “WHY” around me on a big stick. It’s going to surround, influence and improve everything I do. My goals, my business and my photographic approach will be less about what other people are doing, and more about being true to myself.
One of the most unexpected ideas I brought away from Welcome Home; listening to Emma’s experiences, surrounded by the loveliest bunch of fellow photographers (homies!) is the realisation that you actually, can have it all.
For some reason I always thought the only way to be successful, was at the expense of having a fun or a life. Emma & Pete’s story so far is proof that you can have a life, love & fun, but work hard, be successful and have fun doing it.
Welcome Home has made realise I’ve been probably working really hard on all the wrong things, and I’ve nearly missed a lot of the important, amazing, beautiful stuff. I now know exactly what I have todo to be the person and photographer I should be. To find my home.
I am so ready. Let’s go do this.