Time Served - part 3 of 1 2 3 4 5

by Lisa Beaney Published

So, with no experience and no portfolio I couldn't advertise and without advertising I couldn't get wedding bookings or experience. It is a catch 22 situation that many new photographers find themselves in. I ended up putting an advert in the local newsagents window offering to do three weddings for free. I was very open about why I was doing it in that I had no experience of wedding photography and that there was no guarantee of the results.

From this advert I got my first two wedding bookings - the third was a friend whose daughter was getting married.

I'm not sure I slept much before photographing my first wedding.... I borrowed spare equipment for the day just in case I had a problem with my camera and I think I had enough spare memory cards and batteries to shoot the whole thing three times over !

All three couples were delighted with the photos and all of them bought albums from me.

This gave me enough material for advertising and meant that I could show sample albums with my own work, from real weddings, rather than samples made up from training courses or posed shots with models. It has always been important to me that couples book me based on my work that I am capable of reproducing on each and every wedding.

I carried on building my business and attending training. In the IT industry I was heavily involved in installing accounting systems so I have spent a lot of time learning about how business works and business planning. This experience has been invaluable to me building my photography business.

In November 2008 I gained my Licentiateship with the SWPP, almost two years after photographing my first ever wedding. Early in 2009 I saw a posting online from Mark Cleghorn offering an SWPP member a place on his training programme as an 'Apprentice' I applied and thought nothing more of it. Judging by the length of the thread on the forum LOTS of people applied. I was a bit speechless when Mark phoned to say I had been shortlisted and invited me to Cardiff for an interview. I was a little apprehensive but thought nothing ventured nothing gained so I put my images on disk and went to Cardiff.

I did consider the impact this may have on my business. I had been working hard to build my reputation locally as a QUALIFIED photographer and was slightly nervous that being known as an Apprentice may undermine this.

To say I was speechless when I was selected is an understatement.

I discussed what this would mean in practical terms with my husband and also what it would mean for my own personal development with a few friends within the photographic world.

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