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

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