Why I’m taking a wedding photography sabbatical during 2013
When I was at university, geology was one of the modules I studied. And part of this included a field trip to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park, a beautiful area of Scotland just outside Glasgow. I hadn’t been further north than Edinburgh before, and I was completely bowled over by the attractiveness of the place. I had never seen anywhere in the world so beautiful, I didn’t know anywhere could be that beautiful. That trip made a huge impact on me. It was the first time I ever remember looking at – and being in – the landscape instead of just passing through countryside to get to some other place.
A few years later, one of my university friends moved to Scotland to study for a PhD. I had bought an SLR camera by this time and I enjoyed pointing it at anything and everything. But the trip I took to visit my friend changed all of that for me. Her boyfriend was Scottish, and he took us on a trip to Glencoe. It was during that trip that I became a landscape photographer.
So what has this got to do with me taking a sabbatical?
After photographing the landscape for a few years, my friends started to get married and being “the friend who can take a good picture”, a few of them asked me to shoot their weddings too. The first weddings I photographed were in 2007, and I started to really build my business properly the following year. As I’ve been photographing more and more weddings, I’ve been photographing less and less of the landscape. I’ve been doing less personal work, and I’ve been caught up in the maelstrom of trying to get a small business off the ground in a global recession. I feel that my artistic growth has been chocked by not being able to get back into the open space of the landscape. At some point you need to come back up for air.
Most of my creativity as a wedding photographer comes through the funnel of my landscape work and vision. And with that source of inspiration undergoing a self-imposed strangulation, I am forced to look elsewhere. I have been following what other wedding photographers are doing and got carried along with the crowd. I stopped being true to myself and I feel that my photography is not as genuine and unique as I want it to be. Without working on progressing and developing as a landscape photographer, I can’t develop and improve as a wedding photographer either.
If I’m photographing your wedding in 2013, don’t worry, I’m still turning up!
So I have made the decision to not photograph any weddings during 2013 (beyond the couple I have already booked in). I shall still be here, I shall still be contactable, and I am still taking wedding bookings for 2014, when I shall be back, revigorated and refreshed and hopefully producing my best and most creative work yet.
I am still here (and booking weddings for 2014) so do get in touch.
I know that there is a chance that after all this I may fall flat on my face. But this sabbatical is about the journey, not about a particular destination at the end. It is one of the most scary things I have done in my business, but I also know that taking a chance and giving myself space to breathe is the only way to grow and improve.
I hope that you will all give me the encouragement I will no doubt need during the next 12 months. At the moment I have no set goals, I’m just going to follow my heart for a while and see where I end up, but I’ll also be living this journey through this blog, so I hope you can all share it with me.