Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Susan Renée ABIPP

Selecting a mentor can be quite a daunting experience and a very tricky decision, one not to be taken lightly. It would be extremely unwise to select someone that does not possess the ability to highlight  strengths and weaknesses and of course then to demonstrate how to make the difference to their career. Once the strengths and weaknesses have been ascertained, then and only then do you have starting point to make the improvement.

Susan plucked up the courage and called me. Her ethos is, to give her clients  her very best at all times, that sat well with me. I have always driven forward to be the very best that I can possibly be.

This call was to be a career changing move for her, Susan was of the opinion that although she was producing work which her clients loved, the artist inside  was waiting to be realised and her full potential to be exhibited for all to see. I was confident that Susan had complete faith in me.

 Susan operates a highly successful wedding and portrait business in Aberdeen, Scotland.  Her clients are falling over themselves to assure the wedding day would be covered by her, so why would she wish to go further?

 The answer could be discovered by studying  her previous career of teaching, reaching the dizzy heights of not only Head Teacher, but Head Teacher of all Head Teachers in Scotland. Not wishing to rest on her laurels, Susan took the decision to enhance her skills in available light, composition, and refinement of her photography.

Susan also desired to gain a qualification within the BIPP, we decided we would work towards a Licentiate, but aim for Associateship status. This calls for dedication and perseverance, which was never in doubt in Susan's case.

This was going to prove to be somewhat of a logistical nightmare, Aberdeen being  the opposite end of the country to sleepy Bradford Peverell in West Dorset.

Travel would involve  a flight from Aberdeen to Manchester, followed by a second one to Southampton,  finally a train ride through the New Forest, from Southampton to Dorset. Pretty much a full day of travel with a very early morning alarm call.
Additionally there would be an emotional price to pay being away from her beloved sons, Spencer and Cameron for three days.

 The photograph below is one that was taken by one of her best friends, I personally think this sums up how she feels about her boys. It is a personal favourite of hers.

Susan had asked me to consider taking her to the next level, not wanting to take advantage of anyone or discredit my mentoring business, I would need to see the basics were already in place, if the photographer is not experienced enough, I would turn them away until the time came that they are ready to push themselves forward. It would be extremely  misleading and somewhat devious to tell someone that they were ready, far better to wait until the time is right to take the step up. It demands time and patience to achieve something worthwhile.

I studied a Susan's work displayed on her website and immediately knew I could assist her to become a superior photographer. Her site demonstrated to me that I would certainly be able and highly delighted to assist her in the process, however, it needed to be tweaked to take her to the higher standards needed to gain her qualification .

Looking at diaries, this was  never going to be easy when looking after a family, we decided to take the three days consecutively, July 14th - July 17th 2014. During this period, I became to understand who Susan was and just how talented she was already, but lacking confidence in her work.

The second day was going to be a location tutorial in Milton Abbey, this would  be led by Susan this could have proven to be quite intimidating unless it is handled skillfully and indeed  sensitively, however, it is essential in order for the mentee to grasp the subtle differences in light control and body posture.

Finally the third day was back in the classroom to go through a comprehensive set of notes on the delicate lighting employed by myself, something I have been using for 25 years.

The following weeks and months, Susan set out to capture the work needed, gradually her submission was building into a fine body of work. Body posture was imposed dramatically, casual posing and composition as in the portrait of the groom below.

Susan had it in her mind out to capture something special at each and every wedding she attended, this proved to give her a focus, as opposed to just hoping something would present itself in front of her. In this instance, elegance and refinement combined with subtle lighting assured her of a timeless classic.

While admiring this sensitively handled portrait, it demonstrates to me just how skilled Susan was in both capturing and creating this poignant study, the bride grasping a framed photograph of her mother who had recently passed away. This would have required trust on both sides, I personally feel this is one to be extremely proud of, the expression says it all. Mum would so loved to have been there at her daughters wedding.

Nothing was going to spoil this brides day, determined top get something worthwhile  Susan
has asked the bride to venture out into the snow, a slow shutter speed has captured this snowy scene to perfection.

January 2016, Susan visited me once again, this time to select the submission to BIPP, it soon became evident that we had more than we required and the selection process took place, at this stage I was very confident that the panel would not only make the target , but exceed that and was upgraded to Associateship on March 2nd.

 Looking at the available light portrait in the final image, handled with precision, detail from highlight to shadow, the work of a true professional wedding photographer.

Many congratulations Susan Renée.

Here is Susan's Facebook post in celebration

I'm somewhat overwhelmed and humbled to let you all know that I received my Wedding Associateship with the BIPP today. I had submitted what I believed to be a Licentiateship Panel so, as you can imagine, I am absolutely shocked and delighted! A lot of blood, sweat and actual tears went into the submission (particularly the supporting evidence), but the journey to get there, ie the taking of the pictures, was an extremely pleasurable one thanks to the mentoring, encouragement, belief and company of Kevin Wilson
I began making my visits to Dorchester on Tuesday 15th July, 2014 and the improvement in my work in the last 18 months is incredible. Kevin has taught me to look at light in a different way and to be more confident when posing clients. To be honest, most of the people I work for and with won't ever ask whether I'm qualified of not, but they undoubtedly have and will continue to reap the benefits of having 'Kevin's voice in my ear' when it matters on their wedding day. 
So, Mr Kevin Wilson, I salute you. You are a wonderful and gracious teacher (and I should know wink emoticon ), and I appreciate everything you have done for me and my boys. And finally, I hope this doesn't mean I don't get to visit Ted, ahem, I mean YOU, ever again.....?!

kevin wilson photography | wedding photographer | dorset