Award-winning portrait photography - is it all in the genes? - part 2 of 1 2 3 4

by Mike McNamee Published 01/08/2009


Laura photographed with John McDonald of Nikon & Philippa Forrester

"I just wanted to be the best wedding photographer in the country" she notes. "I traipsed all over the country knocking on the doors of all the top Fellows, in a single-minded quest for knowledge. And to this day I don't know why - but no one ever turned me away."

She adds: "Weddings are very hard work. Every angle must be covered but the key ingredient is the introduction of an element of fun."

Bill, the pragmatist businessman, notes: "The studio strategy was quite simple. Eileen wanted to take pictures. I wanted to take money."

But eight years ago the studio stopped photographing weddings altogether.

Bill recalls: "Eileen used to shoot around 100 weddings a year. Over time we reduced the volume and handled only the more lucrative commissions. She loved the wedding day shoots and she was a gifted exponent of the art. She knew how to connect with her customers.


But from an economic point of view we had to revisit the situation. Weddings have the highest demand for skill but yield the lowest rate per hour. So eventually we agreed to divorce our studio entirely from the weddings game."

Says Eileen: "I did begin to tire of it. I never had a weekend off - and the move to more trendy candid reportage-style shoots didn't suit the traditionalist in me.

I felt I could no longer control the event...whereas in the studio we can completely control everything - and still make an average £700 per shoot."

"So Bill and I decided on a sea change in our business model. I think you have to decide where you want to fi t in the commercial jigsaw. You can't be a Primark and a Marks & Spencer. You must choose. We decided we wanted to be a studio that off ered creative, professional portrait sessions that would command around an hour's time in total - and we wanted to produce consistently outstanding work."

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1st Published 01/08/2009
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