Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Lenses and Cameras, A Question Of (Auto) Focus

As a photographer who highly values pin sharp images,  any technology that can help improve the consistency and accuracy of focus is essential and something worth investigating.

Lens calibration used to involve sending camera bodies together with all lenses back to Canon or Nikon service (at much expense in cost and time!) they would make sure everything was correctly adjusted. However, in recent years camera manufacturers have included within the camera a micro focus adjustment setting on their mid-range and professional cameras. Great though this feature is it puts the onus on us, the photographers, to understand and make use of this functionality.

I've recently been made aware of software that makes the process of auto focus calibration straight forward and gives a high level of confidence the calibrated values are correct. Having recently replaced my two main camera bodies with the latest and greatest from Canon it seemed a good time to have them calibrated.

It's easy to assume a lens and camera body, particularly pro bodies and lenses would just work perfectly together, sadly this is not always the case! As an example, the brand new 35mm f1.4 mark 2 prime needed virtually no adjustment on one camera body, the software clearly showed my other main camera body required significant adjustment with this same lens, an adjustment that would be noticeable in my real world images.

Below are a couple of images, one of the software showing how much difference it made to the 35mm lens and I couldn't not include an image of Ted (who supported me throughout the calibration process this morning!).

Great software, highly recommended, Reikan FoCal Pro, more details on their website at http://www.fo-cal.co.uk

Screen shot showing FoCal Pro with the before and after image crops

Ted, along with the FoCal Target, 35mm prime after calibration, shot 10000 ISO 1/60th,  f1.4 wide open.

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Monday, July 04, 2016

Audrey Kelly ASWPP

Independence Day.

In recent years, more and more females  have shown just what they can do within what was once perceived to be a very much male dominated profession, this can only be applauded. I would think that it must be very close to 50-50 men v women today.

Welcome to another young lady who is setting the pace with exceptionally high standards for others to follow in her footsteps. Audrey Kelly, based in  Dungiven, Northern Ireland who only started her business in 2012  is rapidly making a name for not only her business, C2 design and her clients but in a much wider context in the professional world of photography.

Audrey is first and foremost a wife and mother to two children, so how she manages to fit everything that she does into her business and every day life, one can only begin to imagine, she is a bundle of energy, never short of conversation and very genuine. Once she has your trust, you have a loyal friend. Something a mentee, mentor relationship requires.

I first met Audrey at SWPP in 2014 during the SWPP conference in London, she expressed interest in my mentoring services, guiding her her towards her qualification journey and improve her work towards her goal.

 I asked her what she wanted and she replied, to become qualified within the SWPP, I asked if she was already at Licentiate level, her reply was,

 "no, however, I would like to eventually get Fellowship". So, no shortage of  confidence there ".

Admirable  to set your sights and to aim high I thought. I then asked what genre she would like to qualify in? Her response , " both wedding and portrait ". That was something that took me by surprise as most photographers want to specialise in one particular genre. I looked at her work which was of a good standard in both styles, however, she needed direction and I felt it would be a considerable period of time before she would have work exceptional enough to submit a panel at Fellowship level, however,  I told Audrey it would be possible  get her wish if she was prepared to work, albeit not Fellowship at this point, but a starting point for her to progress.

  I felt that Audrey was not quite prepared for me to be so honest and candid about the work and point out what I considered to be quality work for clients, but not necessarily up to standard to go anywhere near to Fellowship. Honesty and integrity for both mentee and mentor  
 has to be total.

I think at that stage, Audrey needed time to take stock and I did not hear from her for a few months, thinking that perhaps she had decided to wait until she was in a stronger position as a starting point.

Eventually I was delighted to receive a call from her saying that she was now wanting to start the process of improvement. It was decided to work on two styles to gain her Licentiate, both wedding and portrait. Audrey then went on to say,

  " this work has to be mine, I do not want to copy anyones style "

During the work evaluation and assessment period we undertook, Audrey said that she takes huge inspiration from  horror movies, often watching them until the early hours of the morning. She adored the cinematic quality and wished to bring that into a personal project she was doing. At this point, I was thinking,  nutcase, then she went further and said she often visited clairvoyants ( Mystic Meg ).
Personally, I do not believe in all that mumbo jumbo, however, it turns out that she predicted stardom for Audrey, who am I to argue ?

This particular portrait above, was entered into the PPANI awards and Audrey was delighted to take first prize and earn the title of , PPANI Photographer of The Year, a huge honour.

Creative time followed in  France for a couple of weeks took place in 2015 which proved to be so fruitful. 

Upon return, she contacted me and we looked through the complete set. I was amazed at what she had managed to achieve, I suggested we should submit a panel to SWPP for January 2016, top secret with nobody but the two of us aware. I felt that we had enough to get an Associateship. I said it was a shame that she had not taken more images as it would have had a very strong chance of gaining her a Fellowship. She replied;

  " no worries, I have something else in mind "

 Not only has she enjoyed wining competitions for her work in the UK, but following on from her outstanding achievements at the SWPP conference in London, Audrey is currently receiving  enormous success  internationally after her recent entries into the WPPI,  Las Vegas in 2016.

 It was at this convention where her fine art work was assessed as being of outstanding quality, creatively and unique, make no mistake with competition entries coming from all over the world this would have been a very tough arena in which to have your work assessed.

 I am certain within the space of a few years we will all be drawing inspiration and admiring her work.

This print scored 92 at WPPI 2016

I am certain we will discover an awful lot more about her work and progress, her attitude is one of complete dedication to her craft, to be seen as one of the very best in Ireland and much further afield. I can see her becoming one of the future influencers in photography, already she has been invited to speak at the SWPP conference in 2017, where I am sure her classes will be full with delegates keen to listen to what she has to say and show.

Once Audrey decides to do something, she does it, throws herself headlong into whatever work she is currently doing, it may be wedding, portrait or her fine art work, which is where her heart lies strongly.
 She is prepared to travel to learn from the very best tutors available, willing to invest both financially and a considerable amount of time away from her family in her quest for personal and professional development. Interestingly, Audrey travels extensively to attend workshops that appeal to her, USA and Europe recently.

Printing by Paul Williams 01202 732211

So, there it is, many congratulations Audrey, it might be time to visit Mystic Meg once more:)

More of Audrey Kelly at

www.c2photographyanddesign.co.uk and my instagram accounts @c2photoanddesign @akfineart and @akellyphoto


kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mark Seymour FSWPP

Once again I find myself in an extremely happy situation writing a blog about one of my incredibly successful mentees.

 This time it is to celebrate and also congratulate Mark Seymour who has become the first photographer in the UK to receive a fellowship in Documentary Wedding Photography. Fellowship is a very arduous process, but just looking at the work here, you have to agree it is both well deserved and worthwhile.

Wedding photography being the hardest discipline  to achieve this status in.

Mark has worked tirelessly to achieve his goal, on the way  many setbacks throughout the journey, mainly as a result of listening to advice that was possibly not in his best interests, or by photographers that were not fully understanding this particular genre of wedding photography and his work.

 When Mark gained his Associateship around five years ago, he expressed to being somewhat disappointed not to have been upgraded to his Fellowship. That particular day I was serving as chairman of the panel and suggested that he should persevere and apply at a later stage, just as his work evolved and became more refined.

 Had he been successful on that occasion, I wonder if Mark would have pushed himself to produce this, therefore, I believe it was the best thing that could have  happened to him and his continuing growth as the superb photographer that he has become  today.

 He suggested that if ever he decided to seek fellowship he would come to me asking  my help to mentor in assisting him to achieve that aim, however, we drifted apart somewhat, seeing each other occasionally, messaging on Facebook and occasional telephone calls.

 Eighteen months ago, Mark called me to say he was applying to the MPA for his Fellowship the following day, I was a little taken aback and slightly disappointed that he had not asked me to guide

I wished him well and he kindly offered to send a link through to me showing his layout and selection, as soon as I observed it, I had severe reservations about his selection and formed the opinion he may well not be successful, sadly that turned out to be the case.

 Like anyone that is passionate about their work, Mark was naturally somewhat saddened by the result, he telephoned me on the return journey from the train after the assessment to inform me that he had been unsuccessful, he said , just as many do at the time.  " I will not submit again ". It was pretty evident from the tone in his voice for anyone that listened just how disappointed he was.

Fast forward one year, following telephone conversations Mark visited me here in Bradford Peverell, we discussed his work and revisited it,  over a period of weeks we had finally assembled a very strong submission. Some of which is published here.

Mark is in my opinion one of the very best in documentary photography, along with Jeff Ascough.
He is highly sought after in the Jewish community and he is the first person most will turn to when a marriage is in the family
His use of light, composition and narrative is exemplary, impact and moments caught without intrusion.

Taking a back seat and capturing a true emotive moment, right lens, right place.

This truly is an amazing capture, if ever there was a decisive moment, surely this has to be just that.

Once again, choice of lens, viewpoint all there . And anticipating the peak action.

Final celebratory first dance, full of action and expression on the bride.

I think you will all agree that this brief insight into what Mark achieves on a wedding day is truly inspirational. There are many that consider themselves to be true wedding documentary photographers, none approach anywhere near this.

So, what next ?

Mark then showed me some of his work that he had documented during the demise of his father who was suffering from dementia. Mark had recorded the complete period from when his father was diagnosed, right up until the very end.

I suggested that he should consider submitting this as well, although Mark was unsure as to whether he had enough to make a complete set at Fellowship, once again, we revisited the hard drive and pieced together the whole story, very moving and poignant. This shows just how dedicated Mark is to documenting life and indeed sadly in the case of his father, his resulting passing.



Unfamiliar surroundings.

Dedication from his wife.


The end is nigh.

Powerful in the extreme, emotional , definitely deserving of the title of " Best Fellowship Application  SWPP Convention, January 2016.

Words from Mark.

I’ve been a professional photographer for over twenty years and in that time not only have I established a very successful wedding photography business, I have really carved out my own distinctive style of photographing and editing.

My photographic style is embedded in the genre of documentary photojouralisim, also described as reportage, photorealism and photoessay.

Documentary photography as its’ finest engages the audience in someone else’s story, their experiences, life. They evoke an emotional response in the viewer, making you smile, laugh, cry and even shock.

My photographs whether they are wedding, my personal projects on street, are totally unorchestrated, natural, and a truthful representation of the subject. I capture candid moments that together will tell the subjects unique story with all the emotions and will provide a lifetime of memories.

I like to use a lot of beautiful contrasting black and white when I edit, as this enhances the intensity and depth of the image, often likened to the work of fine artists in the renaissance period using a technique called chiaroscuro. For me documentary photography is most effective when processed in black and white. Mayfair fine art dealer William Lansbury recently came across my work and quoted “If Caravaggio had a camera these are the type of images he would take”.

Great documentary photography requires all the elements of photography in its highest artistic form, including good composition and beautiful lighting. In addition there is a crucial component that elevates a documentary photograph to one that truly captures a moment in time, telling the story of the people within the image with all its emotion, and as a photographer it is about having the experience to know where to position yourself so that you can capture that illusive moment within a single frame.

Over my career I have won many awards, had my photographs published, even the National Portrait Gallery in London holds my portrait of Jimmy Choo in the national archives. My website has the many testimonials I am proud to share from my many wonderful couples. But gaining a fellowship was a very important milestone to achieve in my career. For me documentary photography, particularly in wedding photography, is highly skilled and requires a photographer to work at a level beyond the formal posed traditional wedding photographer. Within the photography community there was a lot of debate as to whether a documentary panel could reach fellowship status. To have my peers judge my work at fellowship level was an incredible reward for all my hard work but also I hoped that it would set the standard and inspire other documentary photographers to develop their style.

The wedding panel reflected my work in the Jewish community, which is one of the areas of photography I am probably most well known for. There is such a contrast when shooting a Jewish wedding, between the black suits and hats of the rabbis, deep in serious conversation at the synagogue, through to the party atmosphere and energetic dancing of the wedding reception. I want my couples to enjoy their day, engage with their friends and family and leave me to capture the unique story of their day with all its emotional moments, naturally.

The dementia panel has a deeply emotional connection for me as the twenty images have been selected from my personal project, documenting the decline in my father’s health following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. John Easterby, former Head of Magnum UK, contacted me saying ‘These are the best and most poignant images I have ever seen on this subject’. I had not expected the worldwide media attention that the images would then receive after the Alzheimer’s society heard about the images, and Ronnie’s story would go viral, helping to show others what this is like in real life. The images have led to interviews on Sky News and articles worldwide from Japan to The Mail online and the BBC.

I have to be honest and say the process of getting my panel ready was more of a challenge than I expected. I have such a personal connection with my images, but I had to look at them again to critique them at another level to be able to select twenty images that together gave a complete story, but were also a statement of my technical ability and my creativity, as well as reflecting by passion and unique style.

Having a mentor was key in this process; being able to have another critical eye to challenge my decisions and make me evaluate every choice made me raise my own bar. It enabled me to think and question my panel until I knew I had a set of images that were going to represent what I wanted to say about me as a photographer.

My double fellowship is an immense achievement and I am so proud. Being able to share, work with and inspire other photographers is a really important part of my career now, and I love the time I now dedicate to my documentary training courses. But I am still learning and looking to be inspired with each new project and situation.

  1. kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Susan Renée ABIPP

Selecting a mentor can be quite a daunting experience and a very tricky decision, one not to be taken lightly. It would be extremely unwise to select someone that does not possess the ability to highlight  strengths and weaknesses and of course then to demonstrate how to make the difference to their career. Once the strengths and weaknesses have been ascertained, then and only then do you have starting point to make the improvement.

Susan plucked up the courage and called me. Her ethos is, to give her clients  her very best at all times, that sat well with me. I have always driven forward to be the very best that I can possibly be.

This call was to be a career changing move for her, Susan was of the opinion that although she was producing work which her clients loved, the artist inside  was waiting to be realised and her full potential to be exhibited for all to see. I was confident that Susan had complete faith in me.

 Susan operates a highly successful wedding and portrait business in Aberdeen, Scotland.  Her clients are falling over themselves to assure the wedding day would be covered by her, so why would she wish to go further?

 The answer could be discovered by studying  her previous career of teaching, reaching the dizzy heights of not only Head Teacher, but Head Teacher of all Head Teachers in Scotland. Not wishing to rest on her laurels, Susan took the decision to enhance her skills in available light, composition, and refinement of her photography.

Susan also desired to gain a qualification within the BIPP, we decided we would work towards a Licentiate, but aim for Associateship status. This calls for dedication and perseverance, which was never in doubt in Susan's case.

This was going to prove to be somewhat of a logistical nightmare, Aberdeen being  the opposite end of the country to sleepy Bradford Peverell in West Dorset.

Travel would involve  a flight from Aberdeen to Manchester, followed by a second one to Southampton,  finally a train ride through the New Forest, from Southampton to Dorset. Pretty much a full day of travel with a very early morning alarm call.
Additionally there would be an emotional price to pay being away from her beloved sons, Spencer and Cameron for three days.

 The photograph below is one that was taken by one of her best friends, I personally think this sums up how she feels about her boys. It is a personal favourite of hers.

Susan had asked me to consider taking her to the next level, not wanting to take advantage of anyone or discredit my mentoring business, I would need to see the basics were already in place, if the photographer is not experienced enough, I would turn them away until the time came that they are ready to push themselves forward. It would be extremely  misleading and somewhat devious to tell someone that they were ready, far better to wait until the time is right to take the step up. It demands time and patience to achieve something worthwhile.

I studied a Susan's work displayed on her website and immediately knew I could assist her to become a superior photographer. Her site demonstrated to me that I would certainly be able and highly delighted to assist her in the process, however, it needed to be tweaked to take her to the higher standards needed to gain her qualification .

Looking at diaries, this was  never going to be easy when looking after a family, we decided to take the three days consecutively, July 14th - July 17th 2014. During this period, I became to understand who Susan was and just how talented she was already, but lacking confidence in her work.

The second day was going to be a location tutorial in Milton Abbey, this would  be led by Susan this could have proven to be quite intimidating unless it is handled skillfully and indeed  sensitively, however, it is essential in order for the mentee to grasp the subtle differences in light control and body posture.

Finally the third day was back in the classroom to go through a comprehensive set of notes on the delicate lighting employed by myself, something I have been using for 25 years.

The following weeks and months, Susan set out to capture the work needed, gradually her submission was building into a fine body of work. Body posture was imposed dramatically, casual posing and composition as in the portrait of the groom below.

Susan had it in her mind out to capture something special at each and every wedding she attended, this proved to give her a focus, as opposed to just hoping something would present itself in front of her. In this instance, elegance and refinement combined with subtle lighting assured her of a timeless classic.

While admiring this sensitively handled portrait, it demonstrates to me just how skilled Susan was in both capturing and creating this poignant study, the bride grasping a framed photograph of her mother who had recently passed away. This would have required trust on both sides, I personally feel this is one to be extremely proud of, the expression says it all. Mum would so loved to have been there at her daughters wedding.

Nothing was going to spoil this brides day, determined top get something worthwhile  Susan
has asked the bride to venture out into the snow, a slow shutter speed has captured this snowy scene to perfection.

January 2016, Susan visited me once again, this time to select the submission to BIPP, it soon became evident that we had more than we required and the selection process took place, at this stage I was very confident that the panel would not only make the target , but exceed that and was upgraded to Associateship on March 2nd.

 Looking at the available light portrait in the final image, handled with precision, detail from highlight to shadow, the work of a true professional wedding photographer.

Many congratulations Susan Renée.

Here is Susan's Facebook post in celebration

I'm somewhat overwhelmed and humbled to let you all know that I received my Wedding Associateship with the BIPP today. I had submitted what I believed to be a Licentiateship Panel so, as you can imagine, I am absolutely shocked and delighted! A lot of blood, sweat and actual tears went into the submission (particularly the supporting evidence), but the journey to get there, ie the taking of the pictures, was an extremely pleasurable one thanks to the mentoring, encouragement, belief and company of Kevin Wilson
I began making my visits to Dorchester on Tuesday 15th July, 2014 and the improvement in my work in the last 18 months is incredible. Kevin has taught me to look at light in a different way and to be more confident when posing clients. To be honest, most of the people I work for and with won't ever ask whether I'm qualified of not, but they undoubtedly have and will continue to reap the benefits of having 'Kevin's voice in my ear' when it matters on their wedding day. 
So, Mr Kevin Wilson, I salute you. You are a wonderful and gracious teacher (and I should know wink emoticon ), and I appreciate everything you have done for me and my boys. And finally, I hope this doesn't mean I don't get to visit Ted, ahem, I mean YOU, ever again.....?!

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Joanne Gower - ABIPP

I thought it would be interesting to vary the content of this post in as much as instead of coming from me, it is Joanne's own thoughts which makes very interesting reading.

I became a wedding photographer by accident. My best friend was getting married for the second time and asked me to do her photographs for her. In total ignorance of what it involved, I accepted, mainly because she told me if I didn’t do it, she wouldn’t have a photographer at all. I ran by the seat of my pants and did what I did by instinct. I must have done something right, because I suddenly had lots of enquiries and brides wanting to book me. For the first couple of years, I carried on, in complete happy oblivion, producing wedding images for delighted clients and not even thinking much about what I was doing. I then made the fatal error of starting to look at what other wedding photographers were doing, and by doing this; I convinced myself that I was doing the wrong thing! After all, no one else seemed to be doing what I was doing; working with available light, and the trend seemed to be for off camera flash and horror of horrors, I knew nothing of this mystical art! 

So, in a whirl of anxiety, I did various courses, bought training DVDs, read books and generally filled my mind with all sorts of new ideas. Twelve months later, I had a body of work and a collection of images that I couldn’t relate to. Whereas, in the beginning, I had had my own style and a way of working that sometimes frustrated me, but often gave me joy, I now had a collection of images that I felt disassociated from and unhappy with. In utter desperation, with a very heavy heart, and following a rather intense couple of hours one Saturday evening with a large bottle of red, I emailed Kevin Wilson asking for help. On the Sunday morning, when the phone rang, and my husband told me it was Kevin, I thought it was a wind up! Kevin’s uncanny perception was evident in his first words to me, “Had you been drinking when you sent me that email?” My shock and embarrassment were further heightened, when he followed up with “I’ve had a look at your website…” Ruing that bottle of wine and cringing at the thought of him actually looking at my work, I squirmed as I had never squirmed before!  I needn’t have worried, he followed with a cheery, “I can help you!” Despite my acute embarrassment, the relief was massive and within that first brief conversation, I learned enough to know that this was going to change the way I approached my photography forever.

Kevin mentored me for 15 months and in that time, I squirmed and suffered many times. Mainly at having to show him images that I know didn’t cut it. However, he has a unique ability to deliver feedback on your work in a way that makes you think rather than shrink! He encourages you to examine your work and to identify the weaknesses as well as pointing out the strengths. Never once did I feel that I was being criticised and I always came away from our conversations feeling positive, inspired and excited about what I might achieve. Working with Kevin gave me the confidence to be creative, the determination to work hard, the ability to be self-critical, the tenacity to keep trying and the inspiration to be different and avoid the commonplace. Mainly, I desperately didn’t want to let him down, fearing I would be the first of his many mentees to fail to make the grade! His guidance and belief in me, when I doubted my ability, kept me going and pushed me to find a way to achieve the results that I was seeking. I shed many tears (and I am sure I drove him to a few too!) and drank more than the odd glass of wine! There were a few times when I wanted to give up, and I almost fell at the final fence, when preparing my panel for my BIPP submission, but Kevin’s total confidence in my ability gave me the courage to go on.

I learned so much from working with Kevin, not just about photography, but about myself and what I am capable of if I really set my mind to it. Even now, when I am not under his expert guidance, I am continually surprised to see that each time I shoot, there is ongoing improvement and the skills that I developed under his guidance, continue to evolve and help me to grow as a photographer.

Under Kevin’s mentorship, I submitted a panel of work to the British Institute of Professional Photography with the faint hope of achieving my Licenciate qualification. To my utter astonishment, I was awarded the Associate level. Que another bottle of wine!

Kevin’s mentorship enabled me to reconnect with my own creativity. More importantly, he is a lovely person with the patience of a saint, and somehow, despite my determination to convince myself that I am crap, he gave me the confidence to be the photographer that I longed to be, and to achieve standards that I thought were beyond my reach.

If you are thinking about working with Kevin, stop thinking and sign up. You will be investing a very small amount in comparison to what you will get back!  It isn’t easy. You will work hard and Kevin does not spoon-feed you; he challenges and encourages you to seek your own solutions, offering guidance and feedback along the way. For me, this makes him a truly exception teacher, because it means that not only are you improving your own photography skills but you are also developing the skills to continually reassess your own progress and keep your work moving forward.

Working with Kevin, gave me permission to be the best photographer I can possibly be. Thank you Kevin, there are no words to express just how much this means to me!

One of the best things about Joanne is that she is constantly looking to improve and move upwards. 

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Monday, March 30, 2015

Kevin Wilson FBIPP Mentee Profile

Scott Johnson FBIPP

My first encounter with Scott Johnson was at a BIPP awards ceremony in 2014,  this was for the Peter Grugeon Trophy, this annual prestigious award is in recognition to the candidate that is deemed to have submitted the  best associate submission in the preceding twelve months.

The next occasion was at the SWPP convention in April 2014, Scott was watching the final judging  of the 20 x 16 annual competition, it was evident that Scott had taken took a keen interest in this process, particularly as he had entered the various categories, this is a valuable learning experience for anyone wanting to know "what not to do in a print competition".
During one of the breaks, Scott approached me and asked if I would mentor him to his Fellowship, both in BIPP and SWPP in wedding photography.

Scott, being full of enthusiasm could not wait to get started, a date was set in the diary for 2015 to attain his fellowship, we targeted the first assessment day , March 10th 2015.

Scott brought his portfolio to me of his Associate panel, which was of a good standard, but nowhere near enough to go to the ultimate level, fellowship.

 It was then that we decided it would be best to start from scratch and use nothing from his A submission, it is not to often that someone would want to undertake this route, however, those that know Scott will understand, he does not lack in confidence, or indeed determination and enthusiasm for the craft of fine wedding photography, which in reality is the most demanding and difficult of genres to succeed in.
There are only 18 wedding fellows in the BIPP, that shows just how rigorous and demanding it is to be successful.

If anyone was going to attempt this task, I felt he was the man that could do it. After all, he does have a Black belt in Karate, so that demonstrated to me that he can be disciplined.

Scott had developed a talent that needed to be expanded upon, it is far too easy just to plod along in the middle lane, Scott was not made that way, he possessed a great eye for location, however he was lacking in the finesse of posing his subject and control of fine lighting, this was something he could be taught, having the eye was the most important element that cannot be taught easily.

So, the journey commenced in April, initially on a 2 - 1 with one of Scott's closest friends, after this taster day Scott  took the decision immediately to start in earnest with my mentoring.

Journey is not an understatement when you consider the 400 mile round trip to Dorset each time he visited, plus the financial cost involved. During these days  we would assess his progress and identify any weaknesses that were developing.

Each time Scott came to visit during the following nine months, the path was becoming clearer for him, he was going away with a clear and precise path that he needed to pursue. He would go away full of inspiration to carry forward to the next wedding.

The  work was getting visibly stronger and refined, exhibiting the elegance within his work  was  for his clients, as well as for his own self esteem, his Associate panel by this time was a distant memory.
Design and symmetry, coupled with composition was now falling into place.

Fellowship application is a discipline that has to be given the utmost thought, care and attention with no half measures, or failure is guaranteed, no short cuts and no need to rush, it is a journey to cherish and it certainly is not a race.

 Scott wanted to achieve so desperately that he would not let anything stand in his way, his head was down and on a mission.

Scott had placed his trust in me completely, having been told by two other photographers that he was a long way off fellowship, naturally he was delighted to hear that I could see real potential in his work.

Late December 2014, we met and reviewed the work and set about making all the other vitally important issues that go into creating success, never once did Scott question decisions I made, after all, he trusted me as much as I trusted him.

Fast forward to February 2015 and we were ready to commit to final output, trimming prints, placing in the correct sequence and now Scott could do no more until March 10 th 2015 .

His work was presented in front of the assessors and a unanimous decision was taken to award

Many congratulations Scott, the journey was well worth all the time and effort you placed into this project, your future is secure and now one of the leading wedding fellows in BIPP.

Ted wishes you well.

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kevin Wilson Mentoring Profile

Sam Mcdermott ABIPP Wedding Photography

My first encounter with Sam was in 2013, although not in person.

 Sam had submitted a portfolio of wedding photographs to the British Institute of Professional Photography in consideration for a Licentiate status.

 Unfortunately on this occasion, it was unsuccessful for a variety of reasons. Nobody wants to fail, quite soul destroying. However, so much has been gained from failure, had Sam passed on his first panel, he would not be sitting in the position he is today.

 Sam being a young man full of ambition and testosterone, he was totally deflated. He was keen to see what had gone wrong, a telephone call was made, a brief discussion took place and Sam made up his mind immediately, he wanted me to mentor him, particularly as he had long been an admirer of my work. 

During our discussion, Sam informed me that he was a third generation photographer, his father and grandfather before him, so qualification was important to him, he wanted to do it for himself .

Two weeks forward he was on a plane from Belfast to spend time with me, we spent considerable time studying and  practising the techniques I have implemented, both in the studio and out on location,  in addition to attending three of my wedding workshops.

 Sam felt he needed to go right back to the beginning, this was a complete shock to me, but really just what I wanted him to say, he was prepared to take his time, develop a sense of understanding of what makes a fine image, starting with exposure and composition, reflectors, light assessment and the quality of what would work,  more importantly what would not in a given location.

Once this had been mastered, we looked at posing and composition, one step at a time until each topic was thoroughly understood. 

Body position in relation to light, shape and contour was looked at in depth, composition with a similar process followed.

Output was discussed at length, I explained that print quality and presentation would play a key role in his submission, Paul Williams 01202 732211 was the printer chosen, someone I have known for many years, best of the best. 

Enthusiasm for the craft has to be mutual, which made the process much easier for us both, I believe sincerely that if you pursue qualifications and awards, you are not just in the business for the monetary gain, it is a two way process, it is about giving of your very best to the clients.  once this process has been completed, you will always be aware of pretty much everything that may come your way during the course of a wedding day.

As the weeks passed, his wedding portfolio became much stronger, narrative was taking shape, finesse shone through after each week. He was beginning to create the style he craved for.

As 2014 progressed the foundations became visibly stronger in his work, he could have submitted in the autumn of that year, although we could have placed a panel in front of the assessors that would have ticked the boxes,  this young man was not wanting to tick any boxes, he wanted to impress.

(After all, have you seen his ostrich skin shoes and sharp suits?)

 He was excited about some of the weddings coming his way in the autumn and winter. It was decided to hang fire, this was to prove to be a very wise decision, particularly as his prediction of flexible couples , keen to help in his quest for him to be successful combined with fine locations were going to really reinforce the folio.

Fast forward to December 2014, all images for discussion were collated and printed, ready for the first quarter A & Q day, March 10th 2015.  On this particular day, I also had two other mentees in attendance, more of that in the next blog

Up at the crack of dawn and Sam was on his way to the airport to exhibit his application for his Licentiate qualification, something the assessors were unwilling to do , instead he was instantly upgraded to the higher level of Associateship and nominated for the highly coveted Peter Grugeon award for the very best Associate panel of 2015.

It would not surprise me in the slightest if I were not here in the next 12 - 18 months, writing about him on attaining his Fellowship, so father and grandfather, you can take great pleasure on what you have instilled in this son, grandson and lovely guy.

Today, I feel proud to have helped him achieve his goal, a friendship has evolved which will last for many years to come, a few fine wines will undoubtedly be drunk this evening in Belfast.

Many congratulations young man. 

Sam Mcdermott ABIPP ARGB

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset