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My Year

As 2018 draws to a close, I’ve finally found some time to reflect on what has been a truly wonderful year.

I’ve had the unique honour and pleasure of capturing 35 weddings. I can’t quite believe it when I count them all up! The couples I have met over the last twelve months have been gorgeous on the inside as well as the outside. And the venues have been totally stunning. I love discovering new places and this year didn’t disappoint, some of the views will be etched on my mind forever. Each and everyone was so different, but what shone through in every celebration I photographed was love. The love between each bride and groom and the love people showered over them on their happy day. Love that is so palpable you can almost touch it. Love that somehow manages to live forever in a single frame taken on a camera.

This has been a really fulfilling year for me professionally too. I’m delighted to have been given 41 awards for my photographs, something I never thought would happen. It’s been very humbling and exciting all at the same time, and I’m so happy that all my hard work has paid off.

I’d like to share with your some of the highlights of 2018.

Wales Regional Photographer of the Year

In March I was named Wales Regional Photographer of the Year. This was a lovely surprise and gave me a real boost for the coming wedding season. Nominations are given by brides and grooms and then judges, who are also professional photographs, review the entries. It was really nice to be recognised by both my couples and fellow professionals.

The Owl

A couple of weeks later in March, THAT photo went global! I managed to capture the moment when the ring bearing owl at a wedding decided to take a detour and swoop on the best man. I found my photograph became the focus of press attention after a video of the scuffle, recorded by a guest, went viral.

The interest was unbelievable. The photograph was on page 3 of every national newspaper, I was interviewed by BBC news, was contacted by press and radio all over the world, from Canada to New Zealand. It was on the Chris Ramsey show, made it onto the TV Quiz show Have I Got News For You – it even got a mention by Chris Evans on Radio 1.

My phone didn’t stop for 48 hours, going off day and night as different parts of the world woke up to the story. To be honest it made me feel quite humble. I had been a press photographer for so long, it felt like I had seen and done everything. But this was something else, it was surreal. It’s something I will never forget.

Guild of Photographers

These awards are given by highly experienced judges who grade in accordance with international judging criteria. It’s a bit scary putting yourself forward for these awards because they are so well respected. Photographers can enter wedding pictures each month, and there are gold, silver and bronze awards.

And I got a gold – the best thing ever as they’re so hard to get! I also was very happy to receive 40 bronzes.

I feel so proud of these achievements, and they push me every month to find that special award-winning photo. It’s a real incentive to keep going, keep improving and work hard. My wedding couples get some very special shots because I’m always striving to get the most amazing shot I can.

Masters of Wedding Photography UK and Ireland

This a really prestigious award, one that is also hard to get as it is judged so rigorously. Again, this is one that is scary to enter as other photographers in the group are top class and I have great respect for them.

I decided I would enter one of the now-famous owl photographs. It was my first ever entry – and I won! I was very proud to get this one.

Wedisson Awards

People who enter for these awards are from all over the world. Wedding photographers submit their images and compete with each other for a place in the monthly collections, chosen by Weddison Awards. They pick the most interesting, breathtaking, and creative wedding photographs. All the winning photos are of the amazing ‘wow’ shots at the end of the day. I’ve been a member of this group for the last 8 months and have been delighted to win 5 awards.

The Best Reward of All

One of the reasons that I’ve been on courses to learn new skills and bring new ideas to my pictures is because I want to grow and improve all the time as a wedding photographer. As satisfying it is to be recognised for my work, I’ve not rested, and want to be the best I can be.

I could never have dreamed that 2018 would have been such a successful year for me as a photographer. And I wouldn’t have got here without the trust and support of my amazing couples. I want to thank each and every one of you for making my job so delightful, and for allowing me to try new things and make creative decisions that have resulted in award photographs I am immensely proud of.

So farewell 2018, and I can’t wait to meet new couples and see where 2019 will take me.

COPYRIGHT STACEY OLIVER PHOTOGRAPHY