Friday, March 01, 2019

Catherine Beltramini Profile

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Photographers often ask  how long does it take to earn a qualification with one of the professional associations?

 It is a valid question and is deserving of a quite detailed answer. Each candidate is individual, they all have differing needs and levels of expertise. This can be quite daunting for many, additionally, each association has different criteria.

I would suggest that this should under no circumstances be rushed, it takes concentration and skill in many aspects, the first is to take advice form someone who understands the requirement at each level. Licentiate, Associateship, and finally, the holy grail, Fellowship.

Honesty is paramount at this initial stage, be prepared to accept constructive criticism, it is in your  interest to listen to someone that you have faith in. How do you go about finding this required expertise, or a sympathetic person that will guide you through the process in the assembly of your submission?

 The different associations offer varying levels of mentoring for free as a benefit of membership, this advice generally will be limited access to the assigned mentor, after all, they have their own businesses to look after, initially it would be sensible  to enquire as to what will be included.

Take a look around and see a photographer that consistently demonstrates work that you are drawn to, for example if you wish to cover weddings or portrait work, it is of little value to see someone who specialises in commercial work.

If your needs are more specific, an in depth level of training,  coaching or mentoring is something you might wish to consider, alternatives could prove to be more beneficial. Personally, I offer a 1 day, three day, six months or twelve months. This dedicated and structured approach can be highly advantageous, you will not only have the best level of advice, in addition you will be guided through from start to finish and overseen at each stage on a personal level, in face to face meetings.

The service I offer is not just mentoring, it is a comprehensive in depth look at what you are currently carrying out in your own business, it will involve showing you how to create beautifully lit and well composed work, which in turn will lead you to create your own signature creations. This is something I have always looked to achieve in every commission, a style that is instantly recognisable.

Catherine Beltramini  came to me exactly one year ago, not as a member of any association just wanting to quietly find her own way. I scrutinised her work and could see that she had a real talent, especially with connection with her clients.
In the description I gave in relation to finding a mentor above, Catherine went through the process, she realised my work was something she could relate to, timeless elegant work that will always be sought after.

 Initially, Catherine came for a taster 1 day, liked what she saw that day and extended it to a further two days.

It soon became apparent that Catherine was ready to submit for her Licentiate qualification, the date was set for July 18th 2018, her submission was greatly admired due to the high level of work she had printed through Paul Williams laboratory, so much admiration that Catherine was nominated for the Peter Grugeon award, this is only given to the best of the very best and is indeed an extremely prestigious award. Catherine's submission consisted of 25 portraits, predominantly in natural light.
Below are a selection of portraits from the submission that Catherine achieved her successful result.

Catherine has a very quiet approach with her subjects, making them relax in a very short space of time, she will have captured the soul of her subjects.

Whether it be a location available light setting, or a studio set up Catherine has proved that light is light, if used correctly it will always provide the results that portray character and personality that  she is looking to achieve.

Not one to sit on her laurels, Catherine took the comments that she should consider applying her skills and submitting a panel for Associateship.
The available light skills that she was in possession of came to fruition in her next project, ensuring that the veterans would be portrayed in a quality light situation, within the confines of their homes. This requires a high understanding of light, their patterns and control, never easy in the confines of a home, using just the bare minimum of equipment.This is always the best approach as our clients can be overwhelmed with such a vast array of lighting etcetera.

Catherine placed a great deal of time and effort into this, tracking down of Veterans that would represent the forces that had served their country. This was planned to coincide with the centenary of the celebration of the ending of WW1. 

Catherine set out to create, portraits that would reveal dignity, character, charm, humour and respect for these amazing men that had served their country, and are now living out their lives in peace and quiet, quite a difference from their time at war which must have been terrifying for all concerned, never knowing if they would return home to their families.

Travelling light with one lens , one camera, one light, which for this project was window light and a backdrop, Catherine travelled far and wide, capturing these beautiful images. We decided that a sympathetic tone would be reminiscent of the times. The important part of all this is often in the presentation and printing. this task was once again entrusted to  Paul Williams to carry out.

 A few months later, November 7th 2018, this collection of poignant imagery was the submission that achieved Catherine her Associateship.
Indeed it was remarkable for Catherine to receive her Licentiateship in a relatively short time of becoming a member of the BIPP. To go forward and achieve her Associateship in such a short time span is really a testament to both her commitment to photography and her craft.

More exciting news for Catherine is that she learnt that her collection of work entered in the 2019 awards at the British Institute of Professional Photography has been shortlisted as a finalist.

So, back to the opening paragraph, how long does it take, here is the proof and your answer, hard work, determination and skill will get you through.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Father Of The Bride

A wedding celebration is always a joyous occasion for all involved. When my daughter Emma set the date for her wedding, Julie and I suddenly became aware how much planning is required to ensure everything would be just as we always wished for the day. Naturally, having been involved in the wedding industry for pretty much all of my life, I was able to offer my advice, when required.

Uniquely from my perspective, I knew of the pitfalls that could be encountered, therefore, Emma sought my help whenever she needed it, at the same time, not wanting to give too much away to myself, father of the bride.

Athelhampton House

The 15th century house was chosen for the ceremony and reception, a venue I was more than happy to endorse. I have worked in this beautiful private house on numerous occasions as a wedding photographer. On each and every occasion, I was always impressed by the attitude of the management team, led by Owen Davies, General Manager and his assistant manager Laura Pitman. I was fully aware of how welcoming and accommodating they are, striving to deliver quality and outstanding professionalism to make our day, just as we wanted it to be. Owen with his guidance and knowledge of fine wines and champagne was second to none.

Laura with her ability to organise and structure the day, took away any worries from our family.  Her patience and expertise must have been tested to the limit, countless emails, phone calls, extensive notes were exchanged between us, needless to say, everything exceeded our expectations resulting in a perfect wedding celebration for Emma and Owen.

The wedding breakfast was magnificent, carefully prepared in their own kitchens by highly skilled chefs, utlising the finest produce. One additional thing we loved, was the ability for our guests to select their food on the day and it was appreciated greatly by all.

As the wedding was going to be a Christmas time ceremony, we knew it would be very welcoming and warm with the log fire glowing next to the floor to ceiling Christmas tree. Additionally, we knew that if the weather had been unkind, we had the Great Hall as a magnificent backdrop for photographs.

As it happened, we were in luck, a cold overcast day providing beautiful soft light for flattering photographs. The grounds offer enormous potential for capturing the essential bridal portraits, everywhere you turn there appears an opportunity to make special portraits of the couple, equally inside you are also spoilt for choice. Many guests appreciated walking around the house, viewing all the different rooms that have been maintained to such a high standard, mainly all undertaken by Patrick, the owner of this magnificent home.


Yes, the dress is very important, possibly the one thing everyone wants to see on the wedding day, after all it is possibly one of the most important elements, guests in anticipation as the bride makes her grand entrance, however, what is the use in spending a small fortune on a dress, then not having it displayed and recorded at it's most exquisite?

You need someone with the ability to give memories of just how beautiful your day is from start to finish, presented in a hand made graphically designed complementary album which will preserve for future generations to come. After all, once the wedding is over, all you have are the memories and the photographs.

Here is one thing I knew just had to be right, after all, having been a photographer pretty much all of my life and a passion of mine since I was a teenager. I have photographed in excess of 1000 weddings, I have seen photographers come and go. Digital has been a double edged sword, with a huge influx of part-time photographers that have not honed their skills or taken sufficient training, resulting in many brides being disappointed with the result. 

In the hands of an experienced and refined photographer, digital allows a certain freedom, providing the photographer is in possession of a complete understanding of light and its effects, composition and posing skills to ensure the best results to ensure everyone looks their best. There also needs to be more vital ingredients, charm and of course striking a fine balance between getting the photographs in a timely manner, which allows the couple to celebrate with their friends.

There are very few photographers that I would consider to produce work that will stand the test of time, therefore, it was of paramount importance for me to deliver someone capable of delivering all these qualities.

I wanted a photographer who has the skills I have achieved, a Fellowship with the British Institute of Professional Photography. This accolade recognises the very best of the best, this represents an award that very few ever reach, widely acknowledged as an expert practitioner in that genre, approximately eleven currently hold that status. Why so few have reached that level, simply because it is so difficult, it is meant to be. In 115 years, the British Institute of Professional Photography have only a handful that truly represent the very finest quality that will guarantee you a collection of images that will reflect your day perfectly, a clear understanding of all elements that go into capturing the special moments. Interestingly enough, there are no wedding Fellows in the South of England apart from myself and David Wheeler FBIPP, who also has the rare distinction of being the youngest photographer to be awarded a Fellowship in the BIPP. This indeed is a rarity as generally photographers take many years, if ever, to reach that position. 

As a photographic judge/ chairman, trainer and mentor of all the professional photographic bodies in the UK and a worldwide lecturer, I have an acute awareness of the photographers that apply themselves to wedding photography in a manner which represents the finest distinguished quality of light, clear understanding of composition, coupled with elegance within their work.

I first met David around 5 years ago, when he kindly stepped in and assisted me on a wedding. An assistant normally acts upon the instruction of the main photographer, which has always been the case with my previous assistant.  However, I was delighted to see David act for himself, capturing moments that he had observed whilst I was otherwise engaged with the wedding.  I thought to myself how alike David was in his approach to all the elements that I strive for in my own work.  On closer inspection of David's images, I was astonished that we had such strong similarities within our recognised style.

Once I had established that David had a real passion and affinity for wedding and portrait photography we quickly became great friends, working together on many weddings and projects. A real photographer should practice, just as an athlete would, to become one of the best. It is not all about money or financial gain, therefore, I have always set myself projects and I invited David to spend some time with me on these, including documentary portraiture projects in a bohemian town in Dorset and a prison, capturing the prisoners and their everyday life. During this period David asked if he could get his licentiate, to which I replied, "I thought you already had it, if not, it is just a formality, your work is in excess of Licentiate and approaching Fellowship within the next 18 months". Upon looking at David's portfolio we established their was a clear pattern within his work which demonstrated to me beyond any doubt that David would get his Fellowship, which has proven to be the case.  Subsequently he was awarded his fellowship 12 months later, in August 2014.  

During this time, I mentioned to David that I felt he had massive potential to become the finest photographer of his generation, I could see he was going to share the same type of vision and thought process that I have, that is, wanting to give of our very best to our clients who are willing to give their time and trust to ourselves as creative artists. This premonition of mine has come true, where David has fully justified that statement, resulting in him becoming that photographer, the best of the best. 

David has gone from strength to strength, winning gold awards, the Patrick Litchfield Award for 'The most creative use of people', a finalist in the World Photographic Cup competition and I can only see this list being extended, with nobody over his shoulder to match his skill.

Having said all this about the photography side of David, there is more to it than that. A refined wedding photographer needs to be the type of person you would like as a guest, David is that person. He is kind, considerate and extremely talented individual, simply the best.

From past experience, I have always appreciated having an assistant with me throughout the wedding and I wanted David to have someone who he could rely on to work systematically on his own, but also capturing the moments the David was unable to capture. I looked no further than Mark Cornwell who I have worked with over the last 18 months, knowing that he will add extra cover and complement David's work.


Jess Cooper was our choice of florist, trying to use local business wherever that was possible. Again, having worked at weddings with Jess, I always noticed how beautiful her creations were. My daughter Emma had a consultation with her where they exchanged ideas, it was obvious from this meeting that they were both destined to work together. 

We were thrilled with her results, everyone has commented on how amazing and different they were, flowers are always something worthwhile investing in as they contribute and complement so much to the presentation and decoration of venues. As a photographer, I am always extremely happy when I see a bride invest heavily into such an important part of the wedding.


The one aspect I had no input into was the wedding dress, Emma works in London and spent many hours looking at different shops and styles, I have to say she pretty much went to all of the them. Her experiences were varied, eventually, she settled on Le Spose di Gio, Belgravia, London.

The experience Emma received her from start to finish was exquisite, needless to say, I was thrilled with the design they came up with, a soft and delicate design which suited Emma's personality and demeanour.  Seeing my daughter for the very first time was a moment that I will always cherish.  My advice to any bride is to spend as much as you can on a dress (which Emma certainly did!).  I do not regret spending a single penny of that money.


There is only one choice when it comes to perfection, that is the one and only Julie Nicholls. Julie adds a very individual approach to each and every wedding she designs, all unique with colour coordination and attention to detail, her designs are unparalleled and extremely polished.

Julie was an obvious choice to design the finer aspects of the wedding, giving considerable thought process to each and every detail, considering everything to fonts and colour uniformity.  Once again, my experience of working with Julie has always impressed upon myself how much of a significant contribution her skills have added to the details of the day.  I consider Julie to have almost been a perfect bridesmaid, guiding Emma and ourselves, each step of the way.

Lisa Notley was asked to make the wedding cake, just about every wedding I attend, there on the stand is one of Lisa's finest cakes. If that is not a recommendation enough, I don't know what is. 

Cakes are often overlooked on the wedding day, however I would urge brides to contact her as she is an extremely charming lady.  So much so that I call her the Mary Berry of the wedding cake designers.

Make up and Hair

Amazing Face was Emma's choice, especially as she has been bridesmaid on 13 occasions, she had built a rapport with Caroline and Elke who had in fact provided the styling of hair and make up on so many of those weddings.  Gone are the days when brides did their own make-up and it is such a worth while investment, taking any stresses away in the morning, to ensure the bride and her attendants are looking their very best.

Caroline and Elke kept extremely calm throughout considering there were ten bridesmaids, mother of the bride and father of the bride, which took most time.

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mentoring Thoughts.

As many of you  may be aware, a certain amount of my time is dedicated to passing on skills and  helping others achieve much higher standards within their work. 

This follows on from my experience within the qualification structures in each of the following, The British Institute of Professional Photographers, The Master Photographers Association, The Royal Photographic Society, The Societies and of course Kodak, sadly no longer with us .

 In each of these associations I hold fellowships in different disciplines, I have also been a judge for each and acted in the role of Chairman for all listed above.

I have mentored many, many photographers over the years, many of them have gone on to become household names within the creative field of wedding, portraiture and fine art photography . Indeed, many of these are producing amazing quality within their genre.

I felt it was time to chart the progress of one of my current Mentees, starting with her photography prior to commencing my mentoring process, then to see the growth in her work,  how it is progressing and her achievements to date.

It was February 2016 when I was initially approached . Fiona had recently achieved her Associateship of the BIPP, although that is a great level to attain, she was encouraged to continue with her work and see how it might progress.

Not content to settle for that level, she reached the decision that  it was time for her to create something more artistic with a timeless content, however, that is not quite as simple as one might think .

It takes considerable energy time and money to pursue excellence, after all her clients were satisfied with what she was producing on a daily basis, she felt there was room to give them more.  

Having been told about the various courses Fiona had invested in it was apparent that although she had gained knowledge on different aspects of photography, she was struggling to define herself as a photographer.  With this in mind Fiona knew that for her to move forward and reach her aspirations to create beautiful and elegant work it was essential to find a mentor.  

Having achieved such a high accolade, I couldn’t see how to refine my work.  Looking at Kevin’s work and other photographers that Kevin had mentored , David Wheeler FBIPP and Scott Johnson FBIPP, to name just two ".  One thing I was sure of, I needed my own identifiable style, something Kevin was keen for me to establish.

From discussing in detail, Fiona was looking for someone she could rely on in terms of feedback, who could provide a positive critique, offering guidance and help as when needed. 

From discussing in detail, Fiona was looking for someone she could rely on in terms of feedback, who could provide a positive critique, offering guidance and help as when needed. 

On her first visit we discussed what makes a fellowship panel, analysed her own work against other Fellows pitching her against the best, assessing her skills and knowledge, before going back to the basics discussing posing and lighting, both of which Fiona was aware of but did not know how to use successfully to create something thoughtful and structured.

Then & Now


2016 /2017


2016 / 2017


                                                            2016 / 2017

Achievements To Date

Now today, twelve months into Kevin's program the change in my work is phenomenal!  I am yet to meet my end game, which of course is my fellowship but I can see a massive improvement in my work.  It is becoming a lot more sophisticated now that I understand more about light, posing and composition.

To add to this, my confidence has grown exponentially, helped by finding challenging projects like “London Calling’ where I spent three days photographing in Jungle camp at Calais, which saw me achieve another associate, this time in Documentary Photography.  Prior to this I won Gold and Silver for my work in the South East Regional Awards in 2016,  just months after starting Kevin’s programme.  To add to these new accolades I have also won Bronze, the only award given in the non-commissioned category in this year 2017 Professional Photographer of the Year - I can’t thank Kevin enough.

For any photographer who is reading this and looking to gain professional qualifications, I can not stress how important or how rewarding it is to have one to one mentoring.  With all the courses I have done over the years, investing in Kevin has exceeded all my expectations.  Mentoring is not about personal achievements, it has a huge impact on business.  I can see that I now forming an identifiable style and producing quality work for my clients, which is gold in itself. 

It has been one hell of year, full of change and achievement.  I am most grateful for the opportunities given to me and wish all who are going for qualifications the best of luck.