On the evening of the 18th January 2019, I heard my name announced as the winner in the “Bespoke Photography” category at the South West Wedding Awards. It truly was a surreal moment.
I had previously been in the finals when I entered back in 2016. Back then I had managed to get myself in a bit of a state, in the week building up to the awards I was having thoughts like what would it be like to have my name called out, what if I did win and I fell over walking up to the stage to accept the award, would my heart actually jump out of my chest. I didn’t know what to expect at all and when the awards came about, sure enough I was a shaking wreck (I did hide it well) and I think my heart did actually jump out of my chest when the nominations were being read out. Unfortunately, I didn’t win that year (Freckle Photography did and well deserved too) but I did gain a whole load of experience and a lot of new friends I had met that night.
So, this time around, I had the experience and I knew what to expect so I remained ultra cool in the build-up. Trying not to think about it, trying not to fantasise about winning to keep the shakes at bay. I did a pretty good job up until the moment of the nominations being read out, then it all came back, heart thumping, thinking what if, what if, what’s going on……...
Before the winner is announced, a part of the client feedback is read out, we looked for clues in this with the words used, at the beginning, the word “they” was used, implying that the winner was a team rather than an individual. There was this sudden feeling of relief and thoughts of “oh well, never mind” but then the word “he” kept popping up and then I went back to not knowing what to think and to be honest I can’t remember any other words that were said. Before I knew it, I heard my name, there was an almighty cheer around me and I looked down at the floor, this massive smile appeared on my face and that was it, “BOOM”, total adrenaline rush and I was off, I stood up and nearly squeezed my wife to death as she deafened me with her screams of elation. A few high fives around the table and off I went down to the stage (I was at the back so had a bit of a mission to get to the front). I can’t remember how I got there, it was a bit of a running/floating movement hugging it out with friends, Rowe Films and the Yeti boys along the way and that was it, I was there on the stage, trophy in hand and having my photo taken. Pumped to the max, I was then asked if I wanted to say any words, I hadn’t prepared for this, I think I said no initially but when asked again convincingly, I thought I better had. So, without knowing what the hell I was going to say, as soon as I got to the mic, words came out of my mouth.
I have linked to the video below (Congratulations Emma Stoner as well for getting the highly commended award in the same category, she features in the video also).
The words I used are true and came directly from my now “pounding ferociously” heart. This award is for the couples who put so much trust in me, this is all thanks to them, allowing me to do what I do and working with them to provide images they can share with their family, friends and endless future generations. Also, a massive thanks to my wife and 2 boys, being a wedding photographer isn’t just shooting weddings here and there, it’s an all-time business, you are not just a photographer you have to work in every department so the hours can be long. My family have been so supportive and helped me so much to get to this point, I owe it all to them also. But it also comes down to hard work and obsession. I love what I do, it’s become a way of life rather than a job, I wake up thinking about it, I go to sleep thinking about it and that’s not a bad thing as I love it.
Those I didn’t thank but I do so much, are everyone else I know in this industry, whether it be other photographers, videographers, florists, the venues I work at, bands, DJs, cake makers, etc, etc. You ALL provide support in one way or another. I honestly believe by supporting each other, no matter how big or small, we can all win and help each other love what we do even more!
I wasn’t able to party after, they had a band playing and the dancefloor was full. I had a wedding to shoot the next day, so I was designated driver, it’s ok, I will party very soon.
I cannot believe the response I have had, winning the awards is one thing but the messages I have received is overwhelming, I am a big softy when it comes to things like this and I am so grateful, it’s beyond words.
Winning this award changes nothing apart from carrying a humongous sense of pride and a skip in my step, I have got my busiest year ahead and I will continue to love every second of every wedding I shoot, I can’t wait.
Here are a few poor, phone photos from the night.
My crew for the evening
It was awesome to share the experience with these guys. Tommy (Rowe Films) didn’t get his win this time but it wont be long, the guy is a genius.
Left to right: Me, Tommy, Adele (Tommy’s Partner), Nicky (The Wife)
This was my face for the next couple of hours
The Man, The Yeti (Vince)
Big shout out to the Yeti crew. Vince taking his win again in the Reportage category and of course congrats to Matt for getting Highly Commended for Videography.
We also got to spend the evening with this legend.
I was over the moon to discover I had managed to bag a table with and sit next to this man Josh Curnow and his wife Jen. We met these guys at a wedding in 2018 and instantly became mates, total legends, go check out Josh on his insta HERE, talent on a different level!!!
Wedding Awards - DONE!
Thank you everyone for your support, it has been an amazing experience. Now time to move on, time to shoot some weddings.
Thank you for taking the time to have a look through, if you want to find out more about the judging process and see some of the amazing feedback I received, check out THIS BLOG POST.