Say hello to Cat – one of our recommended suppliers and wonderful wedding photographer. She tells us a little bit about herself and her photography business.
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
Oh blimey, how do you make this not sound cheesy?! OK here goes! I’m Cat, I’m a late thirties something Mum of 3 and military wife. I have a small studio in the Cotswolds village of Bampton which is about half way between Oxford and Cheltenham (and yes my real name is Cat Stephens, and I promise you that you don’t want to hear me sing!!)
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO START YOUR BUSINESS?
I have had so many different jobs, and spent all of my twenties wondering what I should do when I grow up! From a high level sales career – where I insisted on being a burlesque dancer on the side, to training as a florist, to owning a livery yard and running a large events and conference centre my work life has definately been varied!
In Spring 2007 whilst working as a florist I happened to be next to a photographer at a wedding fair. I was a single Mum and keen to get some extra work and she needed someone to help carry her bags and equipment at weddings that coming season! After a couple of weddings I was fascinated and truly caught the bug – by the end of the season I had a one of the photographers cameras in my hand at every wedding and learnt on the job whilst carrying bags. The rest as they say is history!
HOW DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
I am not sure I have a typical day! Unlike a lot of wedding photographers I am 100% a full time photographer, but that can mean wearing many hats. Some days I am in the studio with new born babies, some I am out doing commercial work on someone else’s premises, and other times I am jet setting off to photograph lucky couples in beautiful locations across Europe! Most of the time though it really isn’t that glamorous and I am sat behind a computer editing, either in the studio during the day, or at my dining room table late into the night.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
This is going to sound pure cheese, but the best part of my job is becoming part of the family. Most of my bookings come word of mouth and I often become the family photographer for the full extended family after a wedding – someone will have a baby, baby might have a baptism, a sister might get married, a brother might be planning a secret proposal – it goes on and on! The fact that people trust me so much after meeting me for one day is always the biggest honour and seeing those people grow into families, and their families grow up is always just magical.
AND WHAT IS THE WORST PART?
The admin! Without doubt – its a boring and very necessary evil. Accounts, taxes, advertising, designing and ordering leaflets/business cards, website updates, social media updates, the list is never ending.
Meh! To all of it!
I just want to take pretty pictures :-)
WHAT IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN?
Two bits really – the first was take it slowly and never stop learning. It is so easy in this job to get way out of your depth and its why a lot of photographers give up. I have let the business grow very slowly and organically from just a couple of weddings a year with some family shoots in between to now having a thriving studio of my own and turning people away regularly as I just get so booked up. I still attend workshops and subscribe to learning material so I am always keeping up to date with my skills.
And…….Tell the REAL story. Always!
By capturing all the moments without altering them to make them perfect you create a true story of the day. It is this “real” story telling that means when you look back on your images from the day you evoke the same emotions as you felt on the day. There is no substitute for that.
WHAT WOULD YOU WANT COUPLES TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
I tell your story – not my version of it.
I will fit in with your family and friends like I have known them for years.
I have a terribly bad sense of humour.
I will muck in and help if you need it – I have stitched dresses, mended flowers, done up ties, fitted buttonholes, saved cakes!
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR COUPLES PLANNING A WEDDING?
Do it your way and stick to it. Don’t let family or friends interfere and change your plans.
Don’t stress – if the table decoration is 5cm to the right no one will notice! But seriously, as long as at the end of the day you say your vows to the one you love that is all that is important, that is the jewel – the rest is just the added sparkle.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU DIDN’T WORK IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY?
I will still be a photographer – photography is my life!
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR TIME OFF?
Spend time with my beautiful little family – or drink gin with friends! I also love to travel whenever I do get some time, whether that be to places I am yet to see in the U.K or abroad, I just love exploring new places.
The Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 10 YEARS?
Hopefully still crying in the corner at a wedding somewhere! I love what I do and still get a tear in my eye during vows and/or speeches. The day I lose that emotion I know it will be time to hang up the (very flat and sensible) wedding shoes.