Coinciding with our focus on Wedding Photography this month, we talked to Amy O’Boyle of Wookie Photography about getting started in this area, promoting work and what she considers the essential kit.
Amy is an international Fine Art photographer based in the UK. For the last 4 years, she has been travelling all over the UK & Europe shooting luxury and beautiful weddings, under the pseudonym of Wookie. She uses both digital & film cameras, which seamlessly blend together to create her distinctive romantic, light-filled photography. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines and wedding blogs- from Harper's Bazaar & ELLE to Style Me Pretty, Rock My Wedding & Grey Likes.
What is your essential kit?
If I had to, I could shoot a whole wedding just with the Canon 5D mk III and Canon 50mm 1.2 - I much prefer to move my positioning than keep on changing lenses. My 35mm 1.4 is my favourite second lens- it’s not as beautiful as the 50mm but it’s essential when photographing events or group shots in small spaces. I also shoot film at weddings- for this I use a Mamiya 645 or my Canon 1v 35mm camera, with my Canon 50mm 1.2 lens. I’ve just recently bought the Fuji GA645, so this will also be coming out at the next few weddings!
What aspects of your work do you enjoy the most?
I actually love editing- I love curating a set of images which I know will make my clients happy. And of course I love getting film scans back from the lab- that excitement of seeing them for the first time makes me realise what my couples feel. I also love how weddings are such a specific and important moment in a family’s history- I’m very aware that I’m preserving a family, their current friends and even fashions for generations of family to look back on.
How did you first get into photography, and why?
Despite having a keen interest in photography, it was actually a complete accident! I had just finished a degree in Politics, and moved back home whilst I looked for a job. As it happened, my next-door neighbour was getting married and wasn’t planning on hiring a photographer, so on a whim I told them I’d do it. I hired some equipment online & spent the night before watching YouTube videos about aperture, shutterspeed & ISO. The couple ended up sending the photos to a blog, and the rest is pretty much history!
It's actually the name of an Espresso Martini (it was made with Tuaca, which people misheard as Chewbacca, hence the barman calling it a Wookie.) I didn't want to use my name for the business, so was searching for a random but memorable word I could use instead. After three years of drinking Wookies I couldn't get the word out of my head, so decided to go with it! As it turns out, most people have actually seen Stars Wars, and as one of the first questions most prospective clients ask me, it has unexpectedly turned into a really good icebreaker.
What do you find are the most important tools for promoting your work? How important is social media, is it something you are very involved in?
I don’t do any paid advertising, so engagement on social media (in particular Instagram & Pinterest) is a big part of how I find clients. Almost all of my enquiries come through having features on wedding blogs, who are prolific on social media! I get a lot of people saying they’d seen my photos on Pinterest or Instagram, which they followed through to the blog post feature. In a way, once you get a wedding on a blog, they do the promotion for you!
How much film do you shoot compared to digital?
It greatly depends on the lighting situation, although I tend to always shoot some film for at least the couple portraits and any still life details such as flowers, stationery & accessories. I shoot digital throughout the whole day, and mix the two in together. For personal or editorial work, or smaller shoots such as engagements, I shoot about half and half.
Who or what do you consider to be your biggest inspirations photographically?
Without a doubt, the American photographer Jose Villa. He has pretty much single handedly changed the entire field of wedding photography. Outside of wedding-world, Slim Aarons will always be a favourite, and recently I’ve come across Ken Schles and a film-collective on Instagram, called @storyofegypt
Do you have any advice for aspiring wedding photographers?
When you first start out, it’s essential to get practice with any & every wedding that comes your way, but be wary of putting out the wrong images. Your portfolio will attract the corresponding clients, so if your dream is to be shooting beach weddings in Ibiza, you can’t be showcasing the local hotel wedding which you did for free to gain experience. If you’re not booking the weddings you want to include in your portfolio, then make it up. Organise a shoot which mimics the kind of bookings you want, or attend a workshop where the shoots are set up for you- there are so many incredible ones in the UK & Europe such as www.fineartweddingworkshops.com. As soon as I shot my first Chateau wedding, I started getting enquiries for other French weddings on almost a weekly basis, so it definitely works! I have my first Moroccan wedding later this year- so I’m hoping the same will happen with that!
What challenges have you overcome in order to become a successful photographer in the field of weddings?
To start with, the biggest challenge was getting really comfortable using a camera in constantly changing situations, and under so much pressure. Being self taught, you never really feel that you know everything- even now I feel like I’m constantly learning! My biggest challenge now is sticking to a routine. Being self-employed, it’s so easy to have days where you either don’t stop working until 3am, or you can’t find the motivation to work at all. Finding a work/ life balance is definitely something I need to work on!
See Amy's photography work at Wookie Photography
We took a trip to check out the 27th WestLicht Photographica Auction last month. With outstanding results throughout, the auction closed with a total revenue of €3,000,000.
In 2001, the largest photo and camera gallery opened at Westbahnstrasse 40, 1070 Vienna. The Auction house was founded on the initiative of a group of aficionados and collectors, and is a non-profit association striving to widen the importance of photography and its development in Austria.
At the center of photography in Vienna, WestLicht aims to show the relationship between photographic apparatus and the art of photography. Upon arrival, you’re immediately greeted by the famous Leica signs either side of the auction house, as it’s sandwiched between shops selling new and used gear from the German manufacturer.
WestLicht is housed in a former glass factory. Specially designed cabinets and lighting system were created to emphasise minimalist space and give a focus to the exhibits.
(for more information, visit the WestLicht website)
The camera collection
A permanent collection of 800 historic and technically important exhibits are on loan from institutions and private collectors.
The two unique Leica models were created as part of a Kinderlachen e.V. project with children in Dortmund. The children were given cardboard versions of the Leica M rangefinder camera, which they were free to paint and decorate as they pleased. The result was 140 paper works of art, which are still exhibited at the Leitz Park in Wetzlar. The company chose two cardboard cameras that served as a template for the Munich-based artist Helmut Lutter to transform real Leica products into truly unique designs.
Tremendous joy for non-profit organization “Kinderlachen”: these cheerful child-made Leica M and a Leica ME designs fetched 28,800 Euros – the proceeds will go to charitable projects of the organization.
About 300 photographs also went under the hammer on 12th June. One of the centerpieces of the Auction is a selection of works by significant names from Russian photographic history, such as Alexander Rodchenko, Yevgeny Khaldei, Max Alpert, Varvara Stepanova, Gustav Klutsis and El Lissitzky. Among the collection’s highlights exhibited in the preview is Rodchenko’s portrait of Lilya Brik 1924, protagonist and muse of the Russian avant-garde.
Few other pictures embody Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment” like his photograph Derrière la Gare Saint-Lazare from 1932. Showing a man’s attempt to cross a giant puddle with a leap, it’s a brilliantly captured poetic moment among the drabness of a Parisian waste ground. The auction preview also showcases first class works by some of Cartier-Bresson’s fellow Magnum colleagues, like Robert Capa, Marc Riboud and René Burri.
This year’s auction features one of the most unusual Leitz accessories - a New York Leica Gun Rifle Prototype, a device that lets photographers shoot images sniper rifle-style. With a starting price of €150,000, it fetched €288,000, achieving the highest price of the auction.
The camera comes with its own carrying case and consists of a mirror housing, a bayonet mount viewfinder, a camera body, two lenses with hoods, and a special red lens case. But more importantly, it looks like a gun.
For more info on this lot click here
A few other results from the night
Easter wouldn’t be complete without an egg hunt so we’ve hidden 6 around the site for you to find. Each has a code attached which will reveal a secret message once all are found and put together. Can you find them all for a chance to win a basket full of photography goodies and Easter treats?
To enter you will need to find all 6 eggs and decipher the hidden message. Once you’ve done this, send your answer to use at showcase[at]mpbphotographic.co.uk and include the following details:
Please be aware that entries submitted in the comments section will not be accepted!
The competition will close at midnight on Sunday 5th April 2015 and three winners will be selected at random from all of the correct entries on Monday 6th.
Remember, it’s best not to share your answers as this will reduce your chance of winning!
Here’s an egg to get you started. Good luck and happy hunting!
Were you lucky enough to get some new kit this Christmas? Get creative with your new gear and share your festive photos for your chance to win a bundle of photography treats! We will be picking and sharing our favourite photos throughout the competition and one overall one overall winner will be selected once the competition has closed.
To enter, just follow these steps:
Entries will be accepted until midnight on Wednesday 31st December when the competition will close. A winner will be announced on Friday 2nd January!
Please make sure you read the rules before entering. We can't wait to see your photos!
Entrants: Our competitions are open to residents of the European Union, aged 18 years or over, except for employees of MPB Photographic, their families or anyone else associated with the particular competition.
Quantity of entries: You may submit up to 1 image per day.
Image copyright: Entries must be your own (you own the rights to the image) and must not have been used commercially. It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that any images they submit are taken with the permission of the subject and do not infringe any laws or the copyright of any third party. Entries will be accepted at the discretion of MPB and MPB reserve the right to request original image files to ensure ownership of an image.
Reproduction rights and your copyright: Copyright in all images submitted for MPB competitions remains with the respective entrants. However, by participating in a competition, each entrant grants MPB permission to use their entry in promotional material connected with that and any other competition run by MPB. Should an entrant wish for their entry to be removed, a request should be submitted to showcase[at]mpbphotographic.co.uk and the image will be removed as soon as possible. MPB will not be held responsible for any third party sharing of entries through social media.
Digital manipulation: You may use digital manipulation which emulates darkroom techniques to optimise an image. You may also use filters and frames provided by Instagram and third party apps. It is important that the content and context of the original image remains intact. As such, you may crop and image but may not add or remove key elements of the composition. Entries will be accepted at the discretion of MPB and MPB reserve the right to request original image files to ensure the integrity of an image.
Judging: One winner will be selected by MPB. Winners will be contacted within 7 days.
Prizes: Prizes are non-transferable and no cash equivalent will be offered. MPB reserve the right to change the prize to a comparable alternative due to unforeseen circumstances. Prizes not claimed within 3 months of the notification date will be forfeit.
The rules: MPB reserve the right to alter these terms and conditions at any time. Revised rules will be posted in this section and it is the entrant's responsibility to review this section. Any breach of these rules by the entrant may result in their entry becoming void. If a breach has occurred but is discovered after a prize is awarded, MPB may request the return of the prize.
If you’ve been thinking about upgrading, now is the perfect time as Nikon have just announced a fresh batch of cashback offers!
Our new stock is eligible for Nikon’s cashback offers and available for part exchange. If you’re interested in getting a quote, simply fill in our online form and let us know if you’re happy to proceed. If you’re purchasing one of the below items between 21st May and 26th August 2015, you will be able to claim up to £60 cashback from Nikon on completion of your exchange!
For more details, take a look at Nikon’s terms and conditions.
Nikon D3300 - £30
Nikon D5200 - £40
Nikon D5300 - £50
Nikon D5500 - £60
AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6G DX - £15
SB-300 - £10
SB-500 - £15
Canon have unveiled a new round of cashback offers in time for summer so, if you’ve been thinking about upgrading, now is the perfect time!
Our new stock is eligible for Canon’s cashback offers and available for part exchange. If you’re interested in getting a quote, simply fill in our online form and let us know if you’re happy to proceed. If you’re purchasing one of the below items between 20th May and 19th August 2015, you will be able to claim up to £50 cashback from Canon on completion of your exchange!
For more details, take a look at Canon’s terms and conditions.
Canon EOS 700D - £50
Canon EOS M3 - £50
Canon EOS 100D - £30
Canon EOS 1200D - £20
EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM - £25
EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM - £25
EF 40mm f/2.8 STM - £25
EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM - £25
430EX II - £40
270EX II - £25
Miss any of this week’s photography news? Here are our favourite stories from around the web this week!
Here's our weekly run down of all things photographic from the week just gone!
See Nikon’s product page or take a look at our breakdown of the key features. If you’re interested in upgrading, send us your details for a part exchange quote today!
You were too sharp to be fooled by our tall tale about Canon and Nikon working together on dual mount lenses. And PetaPixel share details of the tablet selfie stick which we hope is an April fools gone too far.
This week we have been running our annual Easter egg hunt. There are 6 eggs with codes hidden around the site and there’s still time to find them!
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