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Why I Love Wedding Photography

With wedding season almost in full swing and my calendar filling up fast, I couldn’t help but think about how much I love what I do. Thinking back to when I took the plunge and became a full-time wedding photographer actually gives me goosebumps. It was such a daunting time, but deep down I knew it was right and I’m so happy I did.

Over the past 16 months, my work as a photographer has developed from a passion in what I do, to an absolute love and I have to thank the amazing couples I’ve worked with for that. I find it such a privilege capturing those magical moments and giving them to a couple to treasure forever.

There are so many things about wedding photography that I love, but there are some things that truly stand out for me:

The Excitement

As a wedding photographer, I do get to miss all the chaos and stress that often comes during the build-up to the big day. What I love is being part of the excitement. I love to see the range of emotions that come when a couple’s planning finally comes to fruition, from love to pure joy it’s an amazing experience being in the midst of it all.

The Relationships

Since beginning my journey into wedding photography the relationships I’ve made with my couples is something I treasure. From the first point of contact to meeting the couple, engagement shoots and communication right up to the big day, I love how natural it feels capturing each and every moment when the wedding arrives., due to the relationships we’ve formed. From often being so closely involved a couple’s magical day, I must say I always take something special away on a personal level too.

The Challenge

Wedding photography is definitely a challenge I love. From the technical to the editing it’s these challenges that drive my passion. With every setting being different from weather to lighting I am always learning something new. I’ve also learnt how important it is to always be on the lookout for the emotions most will miss. Every wedding is unique and you never know when the most tender and emotional moments may come, finding those is a challenge I love and it certainly keeps me on my toes.

The Memories

One of the most wonderful parts of my job is that I am capturing memories to be adored for a lifetime, the I do’s, the first dance and the big family shots are always loved. However. it’s not just the notable moments I look for, I am always mindful that throughout a day the whole wedding party will go through a range of emotions, and being able to capture these often raw moments, give the best memories for my couples too, and their families. It’s touching to know what I do will be passed through generations for years to come, to be able to give that to a couple is something I will always love.

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

Engagement Shoots

The decision to make a lifetime commitment to someone is a huge milestone. For you, it may have been love at first sight, or perhaps it’s taken a few years to pluck up the courage to pop the question to your beloved. Whichever way your proposal happened, getting engaged is an exciting and possibly one of the most romantic times for both of you.

During those first giddy weeks of telling your nearest and dearest, you’ll begin the search for venues, dresses, shoes, caterers – and of course for your ideal photographer! A great way to see if you have chosen the right person to capture your wedding day is having an Engagement Shoot.

I’ve offered Engagements Shoots to my couples for quite some time now and although the idea seems quite new, it really has taken off over the last year or so. Engagements shoots are like a mini-trial for the big day. The best thing about them is that we get to know each other, usually, somewhere that’s special to you both, in a relaxed and informal way. I love hearing about how my couples met, how did they propose, I like to know as much about them as I can.

Not many of us are completely comfortable in front of a camera, and nerves can make people look anxious and even terrified! By having a chilled-out engagement shoot you have the best opportunity to learn how to be your most natural self, whilst having your photo taken. It’s my job to make sure you don’t freeze in front of the camera. We can work together to come up with poses that feel effortless, and in turn that will really help how you feel on the actual day and make your photographs even more stunning.

Kathryn and Scott recently had their Engagement Shoot. Scott was quite nervous about having his photograph taken, but we met at Wepre Park, the local woods to us and chatted for a short while and he soon felt more at ease. He made Catherine laugh a lot and the pictures worked a treat. Capturing a lovely natural laugh or smile makes me so happy too!

Finding a lovely location can be quite simple. How about a walk through the woods, or a stroll by the river? Or maybe you met at an unusual venue and want to celebrate your love for one another there? It really is up to you.

The shoot is calm and casual, there’s no standing on ceremony (unless that’s your thing!) and I can assure you we will have lots of fun. It’s never too late to have this kind of photoshoot – sometimes couples have pre-wedding shoots done just a few weeks before the wedding.

Couples often use a photo from their Engagement Shoot to put in a signature frame at their wedding. Guests can sign the frame and it makes a gorgeous keepsake for years to come. They can also be used for ‘save the date’ cards to tell your family and friends that you’ve decided to tie the knot.

However you decide to use your gallery of beautiful photos, you won’t regret having such a wonderful memory of a most amazing time in your lives. Getting engaged is truly special and deserves to be celebrated wholeheartedly!