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