It's great fun being a professional wedding guest. I enjoy the opportunity to be a silent observer knowing that I have just one chance to get the right shot, to be in the right place at the right time, utilizing available light where possible and framing the subject in just the right way to create a memorable image. I look out for those interesting bits that are otherwise forgotten, attention to detail is essential. It's quite a challenge!
People often ask what I used to do for a living. When I say I was an instrumentation engineer in the North Sea Oil industry they are not much wiser. Suffice to say that it was a bit technical and involved occasional terrifying trips to oil platforms, something I trained at and originally enjoyed. But I never felt I was doing what I really wanted to and over time I became more and more disillusioned.
I was a keen amateur photographer and did the photos at weddings for family and friends. They still talk to me so maybe I didn't do too badly. In 1986 I attended a wedding video course and soon filmed my first wedding. In the church my hands were shaking so much that I couldn't fix the camera to the tripod. But I still remember the bride's reaction to my wobbly shots. A kiss, a nice letter to me and £100.00.
Now it occured to me that the chief engineer was never as nice as that when I wrote a decent specification. I had stumbled across my true vocation, earning a living from something I really enjoyed. I was hooked.
I continued filming weddings part-time until 1998 when I decided it was time to say goodbye to my grumpy chief engineer for good and become a full time videographer. I picked up awards like DVD Videographer of the Year and APV Wedding Video of the Year. Bookings flooded in and every wedding I filmed received wonderful comments. I even filmed Kate and Pippa Middleton as demure little bridesmaids at an early wedding. Little did I know, but that's another story.
Amazingly, with all the editing and preparations for weddings I seem to have less spare time than ever. But a few awards and hundreds of happy couples later I still enjoy every wedding.