#WeddingPhotography | Blog 081 | End of an era (again)

June 02, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

I've had some serious 'wobbles' about this part of my business, purely due to a lack of activity on the bookings and obviously, people's plans have changed drastically over the last number of years because of COVID. Since the start of 2022, I've had one new enquiry/booking, to me, the writing is on the wall, it's basically over for me in this sector.

What does this mean?

Well, I have 3 more bookings left to complete this year, and those lucky brides and grooms will get the usual excellent service that I've always offered, which has included:

  • Super fast turnaround of images (typically within 24 hours of the wedding)
  • Professional web services that include downloads, prints and much much more
  • Smartphone App that allows you to view your images wherever you go
  • A bit of craic on the day!

My history

The business was born of necessity, as I had to transition away from a full-time role in sales to move back to England to look after my terminally ill mother. I had a passion for photography, always had from when I was no age, plus I had a good rapport with people, all I had to do was do a deep dive on what it was you had to do to become a photographer. This involved buying book upon book on posing, composition, and the technicalities of the hardware available to get the shot and style that would define me as a photographer. I got busy, putting myself out there by networking! I knew how to market myself as I'd been doing it for years in previous roles. My first couple of gigs were some PR work for the local PR agency, even had those pictures published in the local press (no credit), it was such a buzz. Getting paid to take photographs! What was not to love?

Sadly, the momentum I'd built up over a short period of time was to grind to an abrupt halt, with the passing of my Mam (we use 'a' in the North of England for Mum) years ahead of her prognosis. She was such a massive part of my life, my number one fan and I took her death badly. Thankfully, the company I worked for previously asked me to come back a few months later. They were such a massive help on my road to recovery, both emotionally and financially. Unfortunately, the economy was to take a massive downturn in 2008, and the company had to pull the reigns in. It was a survival strategy and I would have done the same! There were no hard feelings at all, and by all accounts, they survived and have thrived ever since.

Again, the camera came to the rescue.

I saw an ad in a local newspaper looking for a staff photographer and I threw my hat into the ring. Thankfully, my experience working with a PR agency in England got me the job. I had a great editor (who is still a good friend) who gave me a good deal of advice and guidance and got me on my way, working with the public.

My private business started to kick off too in the greater County Down area, I had a good network of friends and fellow photographers and the craic was amazing. Sadly, as newspapers started to struggle with sales, a lot of those staff photographers were let go, instead, they had to transition to the freelance market, and for some, retirement wasn't too far away anyway and they hung up their cameras. Me, well, I moved to the North West just before the press exodus, having found love and started a new life here in the greater Derry area.

That was 12 years ago. I've been fortunate enough to establish a more of a musical slant to my target market. The BBC have utilised my images/skills, and some local festivals too (Stendhal being one of them - who I'm a massive fan of!), I even dabbled in aerial photography, seeing some of my images published around the world, much to my bank balances delight.

However, the wedding business never really took off. I'd gone from 20 to 30 bookings a year in the County Down area down to close to 10 here in the County Londonderry/Derry area. COVID kicked the businesses arse, 2019/2020/2021 pretty much killed it on all fronts. Thankfully, I transitioned from online work to bus driving with Translink, then back again to online work, which is where I'm at now, online working for a great American owned organisation, which again is utilising my skills in writing, photography, and videography. It's almost like, everything I've gone through, learned and attempted have led me to this point.

2020/2021 saw me build out my camper van, and in October when I took up this current role, it gave me an opportunity to actually work from it! All I needed was a decent 4G network signal and I'm golden. We've travelled around Ireland, England and Scotland in the van, and I've been able to attend online meetings and complete all the projects I'm involved with, whilst sitting in the back of my hard work, I was never a fan of an office environment, so this job suits me to a tee!

This is why I'm not sad to see the wedding business die out. I'm actually happy with the way things have turned out.

It's been fun. I've met some amazing people on this journey, I've seen people enjoying what would be the best day of their life, and I've some stories to tell my grandchildren, such as the time a bride.... not for disclosure here...

Some of my camera gear is going on sale (not all of it, not until the last wedding is over), mostly the video equipment I no longer need. I'm downsizing some of the tech as new innovations have come into the marketplace, such as the DJI Mini Pro 3, and the DJI Pocket 2, just so I can have it all handy (and small) in the van for when we go on our travels/adventures for my 'other' YouTube channel.

What will I see on this blog in the future?

The short answer is, I have no clue. I've two blogs on the go at the moment, this one, and one on my personal weight loss journey. You can check that one out here: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/dmfotoni - I'll probably keep posting van stuff, tech stuff and my other ramblings on things that are going on in my day.

How long will this site be available?

I've no immediate plans to sunset this website/domain. So for any brides who have yet to order prints, you've plenty of time to do that. I'm still active in the music sector, and I'm also going to be taking advantage of this new drone sub 250g freedoms and posting some new images (once it arrives) on the drone section of this site.

I really can't wait to get my hands on this little thing (that's what she said), I've probably watched every influencer video on the device going, and nothing has put me off at all.

Wouldn't mind being an influencer to that brand myself if I'm being honest.

Anyway, here's to the next chapter in the life of a 'non-specific-jobbing-photographer' on the loose. I'll keep you posted here (if you're remotely interested), and I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!


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