Thursday, November 20, 2014

Katharine Boyd Davies : Editorial Portraiture ABIPP

One of the first things  I like to establish as a  " mentor " is to find out some background information. How they came into photography, their thoughts and aspirations ?

Each and every " mentee " that contacts me has to be realistic and have an understanding of what I feel is achievable for them. The last thing I wish to do is to offer false hope , it would be quite unrealistic to make promises that are at the best, misleading.

 Mentoring by Kevin Wilson takes time, and at considerable financial cost to the mentee . I have heard stories from some of those that I have mentored, or am currently doing so now, how  a previous mentor was paid a fee of £5000.00 in advance was paid and only one days tuition was given , the promise of everything just did not materialise.This is what I mean by misleading and leaving a bad taste with the mentees , money wasted with nothing to show.

 Countless hours, days and weeks are involved if you want to become one of the best at what you do. And be prepared to pay for the knowledge you will gain. 

I can proudly say that I have mentored some of the finest photographers in the UK, virtually household names, it is fair to say that nobody has had the success in teaching or guiding people through their qualifications at all levels and different genres as I have. 

By listening to their career and interests , I feel that much can be learnt  enabling to plan  for the ultimate success the " mentee " achieves , is it long term learning or is it something that can be reached fairly soon ?

Once we established the route to follow , it soon became very clear that Katharine's work was going to be more advanced than a Licentiate, so we decided to add strength and push for a level one step up, her Associateship .

 This is an unusual approach that is rarely  achieved and is dependent on the assessors all agreeing to take the submission to a higher level , thankfully , the assessors were all in total agreement that this should be the case , Katharine was awarded the higher status on the same day, furthermore , as her submission was deemed to be outstanding it  was nominated for the Peter Grugeon award.This accolade is for the best of the very best submissions throughout the year.

This is Katharine's story. 

" I always loved taking photographs but the thrill for me was finding finding the subject or seeing the image and composition, I was never much enamoured by the dark room process, although both my father and grandfather had their own.  I am lucky in that I have always been surrounded by artists and great imagery.  My father took us to many of the great art museums in Europe as a small child and I have been buying postcards or hovering around musuem coffee shops ever since! 

 My own early career in London was spent working across some of the best magazines, Harpers & Queen and Country Living and then on moving back to Dorset 10 years ago, working for the National Trust in the region.  It was with the National Trust that I discovered how much digital photography had changed the game for me with my own work and I started doing some location portraiture to help build up a bank of marketing images.  With little or no budget I would rope in mates and set up shoots at stunning locations and very quickly I was hooked.  

within a very short space of time, Katharine had a clear understanding of using light creatively, selecting the correct camera for the task in mind. Although almost every family owns a digital camera, it does not enable them to take a meaningful child study like this. 

" After leaving work to start a family I reinvested in my photography, trying to improve and building my portfolio.  I set about promoting myself in earnest for location portraiture in 2011 and step by step I have built my small business and reputation locally.  My love of the arts and creativity continually pull me towards more narrative portrait projects and increasingly I am commissioned for editorial and lifestyle projects ".

In this particular case, the artist has been placed within her surroundings which in turn adds narrative, Katharine has made good use of space and colour. In the second instance, I particularly like the mirror image of the artist , not instantly noticed, however the awareness of Katharine to seek something different has worked extremely well.

Katharine has a real sense of colour and is becoming a great stylist, turning up to locations and adapting as necessary to both light and surroundings, giving this image a light and airy feel .

 " By far the most beneficial part of my development has been the mentoring I have had with Kevin Wilson.  I approached Kevin in the hope that I could attain my qualification with the BIPP and crack some of the technical elements I wanted to develop.  What I actually achieved with him went far beyond that. 

 I feel I have a much greater understanding of my own inspirations and creativity and much more confidence in my work.  It has been a fulfilling and inspiring time for me and I am truly grateful.  I think photography has been a bit life-changing for me.

  My portraiture has  become better paced and more considered . I am fast developing a unique style that is polished and rewarding, both personally and of course financially which in turn has led to more commissions of varied nature.

I feel that I no longer find locations daunting, I have the skills and confidence to carry out portraits and stylised documentary work. 

" Creativity and Art ", can meet together, this is something I try to bring to each and every commission ".

During the last year, I have covered many rewarding portrait shoots , in particular providing character portraits of vulnerable young men in rehabilitation.

Passion for my work is never in doubt, I adore people and ensuring that I make them look their very best with composition that is commensurate to the portrait setting.

Composition of my imagery has improved dramatically , as has my posing skills enabling the sitter to look and more importantly to feel comfortable ".

Compassion for my work is never in doubt, I adore people and ensuring that I make them look their very best with composition that is commensurate to the portrait setting.

Composition of my imagery has improved dramatically , as has my posing skills enabling the sitter to look and more importantly to feel comfortable ".

I am always drawn to the quote from Paul Caponigro  "It's one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it's another thing to make a portrait of who they are."

Katharine is now embarking on her fellowship with a clear idea of what we are wanting to achieve, 2015 will be an eventful year for her, however, she now has all the necessary skills that will help her along the way.
I very much relish the thought of being a part of her journey. 

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Amy Lacey ABIPP in Wildlife

Amy Lacey ABIPP in Wildlife

On 3rd March 2014 at the National Photography Show, I was representing the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP) as an assessor and mentor.  As usual this is a very busy time for the BIPP in attracting new members to gain qualifications.  One of the beauties of belonging to an association such as the BIPP is the depth and diversity of membership and their skills.  This day proved to be particularly productive when Amy Lacey BSc presented her portfolio for review on wildlife photography.  

Amy graduated from Bristol University with a degree in Zoology.  After graduating, Amy travelled to Africa to work on an Elephant conservation project which gave her the opportunity to further her portfolio and her online gallery.  During the following 10 years Amy extended her collection of work to include big cats, wildebeest, giraffe, birdlife and primates.  Amy travelled extensively throughout Africa, Asia and South America.  Upon her return to the UK she decided that she would like to seek recognition within the premier Photographic Association - BIPP.  

Although I am recognised as an expert in wedding and portraiture photography as well as a highly respected chairman and judge, I do have the ability to recognise raw natural talent and photographic ability, Amy had these qualities in abundance.  

The initial route through the BIPP as a qualifying member, however as soon as I viewed her portfolio it became evident that this was a step she would not have to worry about.  It became immediately apparent that here was a photographer that is deeply passionate about wildlife and conservation.  During our discussion I asked Amy about her wildlife photography and she responded with the following:

"I relish the unique challenges of photographing wildlife and my background has given me a real advantage in this field of photography: my in-depth knowledge and understanding of animal behaviour enables me to capture unique and beautiful situations that tell an important story and hopefully inspire viewers to appreciate and foster a desire to protect and conserve our wild spaces and the animals that rely on them for survival."

One of the delightful elements of her portfolio was the sheer attention to detail, composition, timing and feeling for the environment around her which not only showed the animal but more importantly its natural habitat.  At this point, I questioned the luck element within her work, a rather cheeky question as many people think they are wildlife photographers just because they have been on safari.  However I realised that this work was not taken just by chance.  It took all the skills of a hunter to capture such intimate studies as these.  Amy related to a situation concerning a leopard, notoriously shy and elusive, where patience was going to be required,

"After much tracking, I encountered a female leopard who had just made a kill. Unfortunately, she was concealed behind dense undergrowth guarding her quarry. Rather than passing up the chance, I decided to wait by a nearby tree where I anticipated she may choose to rest after feeding. After more than an hour's wait, I was rewarded by her climbing into the tree where I was able to spend time with her as she rested from the heat of the mid morning sun. Even then, photography was challenging due to the density of branches. Her attention was caught for a split second by a sound which made her turn her full face to me. I was satisfied with that amount of intrusion and decided to retreat knowing I not only captured the leopard, but more importantly, a slightly different location to that which one would normally expect."

Over the coming months I was exceptionally proud and honoured for Amy to place her trust in me as her mentor.  At this point although Amy had presented her portfolio in colour I suggested that her particular submission would be embellished further if we were to convert to black and white. After a few trials we both agreed that this was the best way forward. Presentation is also vitally important. We ensured that this was going to be both sympathetic and impactive. Amy's working profile was painstakingly assembled, giving further supporting evidence to her submission. Final selection was made, densities checked and adjusted as necessary. Many submissions fail on print quality, or should I say lack of. The task of printing was undertaken by Paul Williams and needless to say Paul interpreted her work artistically. 

Fast forward two months of exceptionally hard work and considerable cost, Amy presented her portfolio in front of the judges who were highly impressed both with the content and variation. After due deliberation, the assessors decided that this submission would pass at the Licentiate level. However, it was proposed for this particular submission should be awarded an Associate standard of the BIPP. Amy was introduced to the judges by the CEO and Chairman, Chris Harper, who informed her that her panel had been upgraded to the higher level.  For the future, Amy will be working towards her fellowship. I am in no doubt that this is not beyond her capabilities and I would encourage her to start thinking about this very soon. 

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Thursday, September 11, 2014

David Wheeler FBIPP in Wedding Photography

"On behalf of the BIPP assessors and myself as Chairman it was a delight and a pleasure to observe your outstanding creativity", these were the first words David heard from CEO of the BIPP, Chris Harper FBIPP.  Sentiments he will never forget.  August 5th 2014 saw David enrolled as the youngest fellow in Wedding photography.  Congratulations David.  I for one know how deserved David is to receive this accolade and his life will change forever.  

Two years ago when we first met, David was not a member of any association, with no photographic qualifications.  It is unprecedented for anyone to have achieved this in such a short space of time.  Truly the hallmark of person that lives and breathes photography and wants to be the best he can possibly be.  David approached me after speaking to many photographers about a formal mentoring programme and time and time again my name came up as the only photographer in this country to take photographers to the very highest levels possible.  I started to mentor David in 2012 and from the very first day that he came out with me on a wedding I was aware of his talents that were mainly unseen, or in effect even realised by himself.  

Fellowship is the highest qualification possible within the associations, it is rarely awarded. So, what is Fellowship and is it worth the effort?

I will deal with the second part of this question first. If you feel it is too much of an effort, or you are easily distracted at the first obstacle, then this is not for you. Commitment and dedication to excellence is going to be in high demand from you over a considerable period of time. You will experience many highs and some lows along the journey.  Your patience will be pushed to the limits, your frustration will be unbearable, but one thing is for sure, pass or fail, you will definitely become a far superior photographer through the sheer perseverance and dedication that you will have gleaned from the experience.  That alone would be worth the effort if the quality of your work has improved, which it will. There is also the added benefit as being seen to be one of the very best practitioners in the country, very few aspire to fellowship. 

Is it because most are too lazy, or is it that the appeal is not there?  I personally feel that it really comes down to just how much you love your photography and how far you will venture in the pursuit of excellence. 

Composition will also have to be excellent and commensurate within the feeling of the image, freedom to allow the image to breathe when appropriate. Here it would be useful to consider selecting the correct choice of focal length lens.

Communication and empathy with your subject will greatly enhance your chances, work on the look and expression of your models.

Attention to detail during the posing of your subject will need to be commensurate with the mood you are trying to convey, classical will need to portray elegance and grandeur, body shape and enhancement of facial features.  Fashion would require a completely different feel and approach, although the commitment and skill level will require the same finesse.

More than anything, a fellowship submission, should bear the insignia of a true craftsman and master of his craft, the panel will sit comfortably as a set, truly the work of one person with a distinguishable style. 

Fellowship in wedding photography has to been collated from real weddings, no models or location fashion shoots, purely selected from Davids weddings over the last couple of years.  At this point I might add, wedding photography is the most demanding subject to achieve a fellowship in.  No second chances, no retakes, it has to be done on the day.  Working under the pressures of nervous brides, family, friends, hoteliers, taxi drivers and of course throw into the melting pot the notorious atrocious weather that can be thrown at us.  Yet after all this we still have to come up with the perfect collection of images.  Once the cake and the wine has been consumed and forgotten, all the happy couple will have is their memories of the day and the precious photographs that a fellow is capable of producing.  

Currently there are only 18 Wedding Fellows within the British Institute that achieved this highest award available in social photography.  It goes without saying that the Institute (BIPP), which has been in existence for 113 years, has always been regarded as the guardian of standards and perfection during this time.  It is therefore a true testament to David's ability realising just how difficult and demanding a submission at fellowship really is.  

It is my strong belief that David is now arguably the best wedding photographer in the country.  Why do I say this?  I speak from vast experience as a photographer who has achieved Fellowships in all the associations, served as chairman of judges both nationally and internationally and as a mentor in both wedding and portraiture I have seen many submissions that just tick the boxes.  In this instance I have witnessed Davids growth as a professional wedding photographer, which surpasses all others.   

As a mentor nothing satisfies me more than to see photographers achieving the success that I have had over the years, and still enjoy.  

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Art In Wedding Photography Workshop, Milton Abbey Dorset July 2014

On the 21st July the impressive Milton Abbey in Dorset saw the first in a brand new series of wedding photography workshops ran by Kevin Wilson and Simon John. The duo are old friends with a combined experience of over  sixty years in the profession. Both Fellows of the British Institute Of Professional Photography having both taught extensively , it was the first time the pair had teamed up since their highly  successful Fuji workshops back in the 90′s.
wedding photography workshops
wedding photography workshops

” This was an idea we had been talking about for ages” said Simon. “We wanted to identify why certain wedding photographs work on all levels, and why some just miss the crucial elements needed for a great image”. ” The day was a mixture of therory , practical demonstrations, AV’s and a showcase and discussion of finished print quality. “The day was a sellout and the feedback has been fantastic” said Kevin. “We had photographers from all skill levels looking to improve the quality of their work for qualification; something we can both really help with “. ” “We were so pleased that our album suppliers Graphistudio were in attendance on the day”. This gave delegates the chance to discuss and view the wonderful new products with Martin & Chris from the Graphistudio team. The revolutionary new software to the ground breaking Digital matted albums (DMA) was also demonstrated on the day.” In my opinion the Itallian Graphistudio wedding albums are the finest our industry has to offer”. ” To be associated with them and our long standing friend, head for the UK Jeremy Price is an honour”; said Simon.
“We decided to have the day filmed”. “Delegates will  receive their dvd of the day when the group will re convene once again at the National Portrait Gallery London on the 13th October”; a day of mentoring and inspiration added Kevin”.
In the meantime please take a moment to view a trailer of the day and some of the images created.

A master of natural light Kevin explored the many amazing locations Milton Abbey had to offer. Describing the correct use of reflectors, sub tractors and diffusers to create these stunning compositions seen below.
_KSW2115-wedding photography workshops wedding photography workshops wedding photography workshops

_KSW5757-wedding photography workshops wedding photography workshops

Simon concentrated on the psychology and story telling. Experimentation with light & composition , always looking for something different being the key to the success in his images below.
IMG_3277-wedding photography workshops wedding photography workshops

wedding photography workshops Talk-wedding photography workshops

Kevin & Simon would like to thank Graphistudio for their support on the day. The staff and wonderful lunch and  environment at Milton Abbey.
The success of any workshop ultimately relies on the effort put in by the speakers. However, suppliers add the extra dimension. The models, Megan Westlake, Charlotte Wilson, Charlie Bedford and David Wheeler, none of them are professional which helps a great deal.  Jessie Copper, the young floral designer from Poundbury Florist was our choice to create something special for the day.
“The special requirement from Simon and myself was for her to create something to interpret our photography that would blend with the ambience of Milton Abbey. “No input from ourselves, just leave it to the artistry of ” Jessie “, all I had to do was to collect from her beautiful shop adorned with each and every flower available”. “I arrived at 7.30am in the morning, so what time Jess was up I dare not think ?; anyway, this is how Jessie came up with the most amazing floristry”; said Kevin.

The tied sheaf bouquet included: cymbidium orchids, dendrobium orchids, Persicaria 'Firedance', 'Brocante' roses, myers fern and a number of items from my dorset suppliers; harts tongue ferns, pink lady fern, white astilbe and trailing amaranthus (love-lies-bleeding). The hand-tied posy consisted of: Protea 'Barbigera', Serruria 'Florida', Leucodendron 'silver leaf; eucalyptus 'nicollii', a large 'Tillandsia' air plant, plus Chocolate Cosmos & Achillea from my local suppliers, plus grasses from my own garden :o) My inspiration is always taken from the flowers that I see available. Whilst it's always helpful to have a short brief (i.e. I knew you wanted nude colours for at least one of the bouquets), the rascal side of me always wants to challenge or push that brief in some way, to push the concept a bit further to surprise and wow the observer. Lastly, I would say that I am fundamentally driven by texture and colour mixes.... the more varied the textures that I can create, the more satisfied I am with my work, and this goes hand in hand with using unusual or exotic varieties.

“Our gorgeous models were enhanced by
Minna Hepburn

Environmental issues are important to Minna and consequently, her label can best be described as Eco Luxe. Each piece is hand embellished and made from sustainable, organic, recycled and locally produced textiles. Her label has in a short time re-defined what ethical fashion should be. Environmentally friendly production techniques including local manufacturing and zero waste pattern cutting techniques are used for every garment.  Minna is always looking into any new ways to minimise the impact to the environment.  Stylish, desirable and beautiful, Minna’s range appeals to the wider audience, not just ethical.

Once again, careful thought was placed with research to find someone that was going to be different; adding flair within her work that would enhance our photographic skill and expertise, Minna provided us with just that, beautiful soft headdresses and veils, this taken from Mina’s site sums up her range and ethics”.
Lastly but certainly not leastly the delegates. We hope you enjoyed the day and have gained valuable skills for your forthcoming weddings. We look forward to seeing you all again in October. On a personal note a big thankyou to Julie and Yvon for all your help and support XX
Please leave any comments below we would much appreciate your feedback.
Both Kevin and Simon are  available for mentoring. Please follow us on Facebook for news of the next workshop      Simon         Kevin

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kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Over the last eighteen months, I have had the privilege of mentoring David Wheeler ABIPP.
He has gone from strength to strength, culminating in him being awarded the prestigious Peter Grugeon award for the best submission of 2013, no mean feat when you consider just how many successful panels were submitted, in what turned out to be a record year for qualifications.

David is working very hard to attain his Fellowship of the BIPP in wedding photography, the next few months we will be selecting his work for consideration and inclusion.

In the meantime, BIPP have taken note of David's flair and creativity by asking him and I to present a wedding workshop at head office in Aylesbury on August 12th 2014.

Here are details of the day.
Tuesday 12 August - David & Goliath! Creative Wedding Masters at Work with Kevin Wilson Hon FBIPP & Dave Wheeler ABIPP
For the very first time, witness the battle of the giants!
Kevin is known globally for his wedding photography and for the support he gives people coming into the profession. Dave is one of those people. Experienced in other fields, but only starting to shoot weddings a few years ago, Dave has become ‘one to watch’. He achieved the Peter Grugeon Best Associate Award in 2013 and continues to learn from the Master.
Take the opportunity to discover why they have both found success, how hard they have to work to maintain that level of success, and shoot alongside them on live demos throughout the day.
Don’t miss this first battle in what could be a long-running war!
For full details visit
Tuesday 12 August - David & Goliath! Creative Wedding Masters at Work with Kevin Wilson Hon FBIPP & Dave Wheeler ABIPP

For the very first time, witness the battle of the giants!

Kevin is known globally for his wedding photography and for the support he gives people coming into the profession. Dave is one of those people. Experienced in other fields, but only starting to shoot weddings a few years ago, Dave has become ‘one to watch’. He achieved the Peter Grugeon Best Associate Award in 2013 and continues to learn from the Master.

Take the opportunity to discover why they have both found success, how hard they have to work to maintain that level of success, and shoot alongside them on live demos throughout the day.

Don’t miss this first battle in what could be a long-running war!

For full details visit
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kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset