Earlier this year my son turned one years old! This past year has been a whirlwind and I’ve had a lot of fun pacticing my skills as a documentary family photographer living in Manchester.
In the grander scheme of things Owen’s birth went smoothly and my wife and I were overjoyed to have a perfectly healthy baby boy added to our little family. I won’t lie, it was a bit hair-raising at times. My wife’s labour started slowly, and but then the contractions started coming just a few minutes apart with very little build up or warning. There was one point in the drive to the maternity ward at North Manchester General, that I thought Eleanor was going to give birth in the car!
In just the relatively short time of one year Owen has changed an unbelievable amount. He’s virtually unrecognisable from how he looked as a newborn. I didn’t take any ‘classic’ newborn photos by the way. I certainly considered it, but ultimately I found documenting his little life and the reactions of our extended family much more fun and interesting. But yeah, it’s insane to think that the almost-walking 15mont year old that is currently shuffling round the room pulling everything off shelves, used to look like ‘that’.
One advantage of photographing so much of my personal life is that it allows me to continually develop my technique….that is to say…get better at photography…which means I can be better professionally too. i.e. take better photos at weddings. A year of taking photos of my son means I now understand the habits and behaviours of babies and very young children better than I ever have. Which means I can ably photograph those ‘baby moments’ at weddings, should they happen. And let’s be honest, there’s very often babies at weddings.
A question I get asked a lot at wedding fayres is ‘have you shot at our venue before?’ Whether your photographer having shot at your venue before makes a difference to the quality of your wedding photos, is a topic for discussion in its own right……but I think an equally good questions for a photographer is…..have you shot ‘this scenario before’? If they haven’t…hw do they know what to expect? To be honest, I don’t have strong views on things like this…..most good photographers will have an intuition about when a moment is about to happen that’ worth capturing. But I also think it helps to have a little experience, and that’s why I shoot as much as I can (or as much as my life will allow) in my personal life, because that experience, that life experience – not just photographical – will help me perform better professionally.
The photos you can see here were taken on a variety of cameras, large and small, nw and old. Sometimes very old. Sometimes my camera phone too. You’ll notice some of them look pretty grainy. That’s what happens when a camera isn’t so good at performing in low light. But for my personal stuff at least, I don’t worry too much about that kind of thing. It’s the mood, the moment and the memory that counts. And I’m very pleased to say I have plenty here. I’ve shot some really great, memorable weddings in my career, and worked for some really cool bride and grooms…but I don’t think I can be blamed for treasuring these precious photos the most.