Interview With: Jamie Penfold
Company Name: Jamie Penfold Photography
Location / Coverage: Based in North Shields, Tyne and Wear…delivering across the UK
Who is Jamie Penfold Photography?
Jamie Penfold Photography is basically me with a bit of help from my wife Joanne. I look after the photographic side of the business and Joanne supports me in the design aspects when it comes to wedding album design.
How did Jamie Penfold Photography get started and how long has the business been going?
The idea for the company came about following our wedding in 2000. We had a nightmare experience with our wedding photographer who did not engage with us, did not deliver any photos that we asked for and who threw together an album. We were devastated. My friends and family knew I had an interest in photography and suggested I start delivering wedding photography myself. I held back for a couple of years until a friend asked me to photograph her wedding in 2004; the nerves were unbelievable but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I carried on photographing friends weddings for a few years or so and then formally created Jamie Penfold Photography in the January of 2008. My passion is driven by the knowledge of how Joanne and I felt when we saw our wedding photographs, and ensuring that the couples I photograph don’t feel the same way. I want them to look at their photos and go “WOW”, and instantly get the emotions and buzz of the day when they look at them.
Have you always wanted to be a photographer? Can you remember how old you were when you took your first picture and what it was of?
To be honest, no. Photography was always something I was interested in but I never really thought about being a photographer until about 10 years ago. That’s when I started putting my plan together. I had grown tired of the corporate world and daily commutes after only a few years, and really wanted to do a job which I loved and have passion for. Having a young family meant I couldn’t jump into it straight away so it’s been a slow process, but I’m there now and I love it.
I think photography has always been part of my life. I remember from a very young age, my dad had an old 35mm camera which he taught me how to use. When I was 6 he brought me a cheap Kodak compact camera which I took everywhere. I honestly can’t remember what the first photo was but remember taking a grainy picture of Windsor Castle with it early on. The big step for me was getting my first 35mm SLR camera for my 13th birthday and then doing a photography course at school. I loved tinkering in the darkroom! That’s where my love of photography took off. I loved capturing images of landscapes and in particular architecture and sunsets, something which, 20 years later, I still try to incorporate now in my wedding photography.
Which areas of the UK do you cover? Do you go abroad?
I’m based in Tyne and Wear so naturally most of the weddings I have captured have been in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Country Durham and Teesside, however I have delivered the service right across the country, as far south as Kent. This year I am covering weddings in Wigan and Cambridge… my motto is “Have car, will travel”. I’m a Geordie born and bred so my heart is in the North East, but I love travelling around the country to see new places and to provide my service. One of the most stunning venues I’ve shot at was at The Swan at Streatley on the banks of the River Thames last year.
As for delivery abroad, I’ve not been fortunate enough to shoot a wedding overseas as yet but it’s something I would love to do.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I have a relaxed approach to photography which I think shows in the images I create. I like to capture the mood and emotion of the day. It’s all about telling the story and capturing those fine little details which people sometimes forget all about years on down the line. I like to mix modern contemporary with the traditional.
I see you offer ‘Rock the Frock’ photo shoots, what are they?
Rock the Frock (or Treasure the Dress/Trash the Dress) is the post wedding photo shoot service I offer. It is the ideal way to really show off a bride’s stunning wedding dress without all the stresses that come with the wedding day. I do the shoots at a location of their choice, whether it be a city centre, a beach, a field, even a cemetery. It’s a chance to get relaxed images done in a slightly different environment and for the bride to wear her dress again.
Random question…Indian or Chinese takeaway?
Tough question….I love both but if I was put on the spot I’d have to say Chinese. Deep fried shredded beef in hot ‘n’ spicy sauce, seaweed and noodles. Mmm mmm mmmmmm
What’s the best thing about the job?
Meeting lots of interesting and diverse people who always keep you on your toes. The beauty of wedding photography is that no two weddings are the same so every shoot brings different challenges. Above all, it’s seeing the reaction on the faces of the bride and groom when I reveal their images to them. You know you’ve done a good job when you see their faces light up.
Do you just do wedding photography?
Wedding photography is the main photography service I provide, however I also do a lot of music photography. I play the drums and through some work I have done with a local drum centre have started to develop a good reputation at gigs. Music photography allows me to mix two of my biggest passions.
Funnily enough, the music photography has also led to me starting the corporate photography side of things. So although I am a wedding photographer, I like to explore other areas.
Do you have a favourite picture you have taken (If you can choose!)?
Technically it might not be the best shot I have ever taken (I am my own biggest critic!) but this shot I love. It was sub zero that day and the wind chill was around -7 degrees, but that didn’t stop Hannah and Dan having a blast on the day. From start to finish the emphasis for them was to have fun and enjoy it and not let the nerves get to them. This shot sums up the day, the fun, and doesn’t give away the fact that it was so cold. I also like the way that the confetti gives the shot depth and movement. Hannah and Dan chose this image for the cover of their album and also asked for it to be enlarged on canvas as it was also their favourite of the day. It sums up what I try to achieve…capturing the fun side of the day and the emotions.
What’s your top tip for choosing a wedding photographer?
Don’t jump for the first photographer you meet. There are lots out there, all with different styles. You have to pick the photographer you are comfortable with. Yes, price is important, but you need to make sure your photographer connects with you, makes you feel comfortable, and most importantly understands what you want and not what they want. It is why I work with my couples from the very first meeting to ensure they are completely comfortable with me as a person and can relax with me on their big day.
Where can I find out more about Jamie Penfold Photography?
Easiest way is to visit my website http://jamiepenfold.com. There is a sample of work on there with links to Flickr, Facebook and my blog which have a wider selection of my work.