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