Working with Jonny Draper and learning from him has been such a highlight of my career so far. He is pushing me as a photographer and a business owner to work so hard and constantly strive to become an increasingly better storyteller. My work, my motivation, my entire way of viewing this amazing industry has broadened ten-fold in the few months we've been working together and I know I say it all the time, but I'm so so pleased to have this opportunity.
One major high, quite early on in this mentorship, was the chance to second-shoot alongside Jonny at the wedding of Debbie and Darran at the stunning Ashfield House in Wigan. I had only ever worked as a primary photographer at weddings, somehow missing out a crucial part of my wedding photography education and was eager (and scared shitless, let's be honest!) to try it out alongside one of the best.
Watching Jonny in action was a whole new experience: the way he develops such a personal relationship with his couples and their families, stepping back to let the day breathe but also guiding the action along with the collaboration of the myriad wedding pros working at the very top of their game to create the most perfect day. He was professional but also flexible and supportive of Debbie and Darran's wish to throw an incredible party in a beautiful location with the people who know and love them best of all. I came into the process relatively late in the planning stages but I couldn't have asked for a better wedding as my first time second shooting.
I was lucky enough to meet the very warm, very kind and hilarious Debbie at a Little White Books sponsored open evening at Ashfield House, which is run by the awesome Katie Street. I met some seriously cool couples that night and towards the end, Debbie was brought over to my table by Makeup Artist (and all around superwoman) extraordinaire Kerry Baker, whom she had booked for her all day VIP coverage on the big day (look her up! She's a star!!). Debbie greeted me with a huge hug and started chatting away about all things wedding, considering to add extra flowers or prosecco ice lollies and ultimately escaping before her bank balance would suffer too much. She was my kind of people!! Any nerves I had associated with Sunday's wedding completely evaporated!
Sunday rolled around and the day flew by in an instant...we were running around, trying to capture all of the beautiful little details decided on by Debbie and Darran (flip flops for the guests when they were dancing too hard for heels?? AMAZING. Vodka bar? Sparklers? Magician??!!). The day was an absolute dream to shoot and I can only imagine the fairy tale that the two lovebirds must have felt they were in. I learned so so much that day but the biggest lesson I took away was how to balance my presence on such an important day, how to stay involved and engaged but take some steps back and capture those real, magical moments that only happen when two people are truly meant for each other.
Huge huge thanks to Jonny Draper for letting me be his sidekick for the day, to Kerry Baker MUA for showing me the ropes of Ashfield House (and generally being amazing) and Katie Street for being such a badass boss lady and making me feel sooo welcome, to Sam Fitton for showing up with the laughs and the real live magic, to Matt from RED Floral Architecture and Sarah from the Rose Boutique for enhancing Ashfield House's dreaminess with their stunning floral creations, The Word is Love for their personal touches, to Stuart at Appleyard Productions for creating a beautiful video that captured the whole day and to every other wedding professional and unsung hero who contributed to the day.
But most of all, thanks to Debbie and Darran and their friends and families who were happy to have me show up with my camera and capture another angle of their big day. I had a wonderful time and I hope I did the day justice.