Bride and groom under parasol outside wedding venue at night - Picture by Neil Walker Photography

Getting to Know – Neil Walker Photography

Neil of Neil Walker Photography

Neil Walker Photography logo

Interview with: Neil Walker

Company Name: Neil Walker Photography

Website: www.neilwalkerphotography.co.uk

Location / Coverage: Sussex, London and the South East, as well as Italy

How did the business get started and who works at Neil Walker Photography?

I used to shoot advertising and corporate photography for company annual reports, working a lot in South America, Asia and North Africa. One year I was asked by a relative to shoot her wedding. I said no as I had never shot one and worked with large lighting rigs. She rang me a month before her wedding in a bit of a panic saying they hadn’t been able to get a photographer, so I agreed to shoot it for them. To my surprise I absolutely loved it. It’s rare to know at a particular moment that your life is going to change and you’re going to go down a particular route. Well that was what it was like that day; I just knew that shooting weddings was what I wanted to do from then on. That was nine years ago.

I shoot weddings and Sarah runs the business side as well as designing albums and helping with marketing.

Young girl at wedding cathcing bubbles - Picture by Neil Walker Photography

Had you always wanted to be a photographer?

Yes, I knew when I was 14 I wanted to be a photographer. As soon as I left school I went to work in a local photographer’s studio. Parental pressure had me going to university to study Economics, but as soon as I finished I went to London to do my apprenticeship and become an assistant to advertising photographers.

Bride and groom under parasol outside wedding venue at night - Picture by Neil Walker Photography

Can you remember how old you were when you took your first picture? What was it of?

Yes, I was about 11 and it was a shot of my gerbil. It was a terrible photo, but I had a great time experimenting.

Which areas of the UK do you cover?

I shoot weddings mostly in Sussex, London and the South East, and I often do a few in Italy each year too.

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NAWP - National Association of Wedding Professionals logo

NAWP – National Association of Wedding Professionals

NAWP - National Association of Wedding Professionals logo

NAWP – Promoting Professionalism and Integrity within the UK Wedding Industry

The National Association of Wedding Professionals was launched in July 2013 and started accepting membership in Spring 2015.

Wedding planners, Amanda Sherlock, Lester Gethings and Siobhan Craven-Robins, who between them have notched up 40 years of industry experience, recognised a need in the Wedding industry for a professional and effective networking group. Over the next nine months they went about establishing this, culminating in the launch of the National Association of Wedding Professionals at Kettners in July 2013. The event attracted over 100 guests interested to hear about the new association. The feedback was overwhelmingly in support of the NAWP.

Siobhan Craven-Robins, Lester Gethings and Amanda Sherlock of NAWP

Two months later they held a FOCUS group with key industry suppliers to address some of the valid points raised at the launch. As a result of this meeting, the National Association of Wedding Professionals morphed from not just a networking group but to professional body supporting and encouraging best practice within the wedding industry. Industry standing was, without exception, the most important thing to everyone who attended the meeting.

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Lanterns on floor

Getting to Know – Eleganza Weddings and Events

Eleganza Weddings and Events Logo

Interview with: Sue Parrish

Company Name: Eleganza Weddings and Events

Website: www.eleganzaweddings.com

Location / Coverage: Sussex, Surrey, London and Kent

What does Eleganza Weddings and Events do?

Eleganza Weddings and Events offers wedding planning, consultancy and design to couples getting married.

Wedding Tables
Image courtesy of Laura Dodsworth Photography

Have you always been interested in weddings and wanted to be a wedding planner?

I have always loved and been fascinated with everything about weddings, and particularly interested in the design, flowers and romance!

Previously I had a career that seems very different from wedding planning, in financial management. It may appear that this was a long way from planning weddings, but it was good grounding for my current role. It embraced the skills that are required to be an effective wedding planner, such as organisation, planning, negotiation, project management, communication and putting customer service at the forefront of everything.

Lanterns on floor
Image courtesy of Elmcroft Studios

How did Eleganza Weddings and Events come about and how long has the business been going?

Eleganza Weddings and Events has been in business organising and planning weddings for 10 plus years. My husband, Clive, works alongside and with me in the business, and that works very well. We both have differing skills to offer the business and each play to our individual strengths on the weddings we plan.

We both returned from several years working in Malta and decided to use our skills and passion for weddings in a different direction. We spent several months training on all wedding related areas and subjects, and followed this with some practical experience before we launched our business.

Our business name ‘Eleganza’ is an Italian word commonly used in Malta, suggesting elegance, refinement, gracefulness, style and good taste – all the things we felt we wanted to reflect in the weddings we were going to plan! So, the name and the business was born!

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Bride walking down stairs - Picture by Catching Moments Photography

Getting to Know – Catching Moments Photography

Catching Moments Photography Logo

Interview with: Paul Stott

Company Name: Catching Moments Photography

Website: catchingmoments.co.uk

Location / Coverage: Woking. I cover Surrey, the South East and take bookings throughout the UK.

How did the business get started and who works at Catching Moments Photography?

I started my business in 2006 after planning a career change. For a couple of years I combined two jobs, but by 2008 I was getting a large number of bookings so I left my other job. I work in the company on my own but I often have capable assistants at weddings. Before I shot my first wedding I spent a huge amount of time honing my skills by shooting portraits and landscapes. I believe photography should be a hobby first, and launching into wedding photography after just purchasing a camera is not good for the profession.

Wedding ceremony - Picture by Catching Moments Photography

Had you always wanted to be a photographer?

The honest answer to that question is no. I was good at mathematics at school and got pushed down that route into a degree, then a Masters and a career in industry. I decided to become a wedding photographer because I believed I could be good at it, and that I would enjoy the people side of meeting lovely couples and helping them plan their day. The job allows me to be creative, to produce something useful, and it also is a very flexible job in terms of lifestyle.

Bride and groom smiling - Picture by Catching Moments Photography

Can you remember how old you were when you took your first picture? What was it of?

I can’t remember my first picture, but I can remember taking a lot of photos along the South Bank, when I first came to live in London. At that time I had a Minolta film SLR.

Which areas of the UK do you cover?

I predominantly work in Surrey but I take bookings throughout the UK.

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