Contemporary Wedding Photography by Steve Walton FMPA FBIPP FRSA
Contemporary wedding photography by Steve Walton
A visit to the annual Spring Fair at the NEC in 2005 and a chance meeting with a book publisher who was exhibiting there set in motion an invitation for me to write a book on wedding photography. The publisher I met by chance was Angela Patchell who had previously co-published a number of inspiring art, crafts and photography books, including a successful wedding photography book by Annabel Williams a few years earlier. After supplying Angela with images and sample text, she created the necessary ‘blads’ to take the concept of the new book to the New York, Paris, Frankfurt and London Book Fairs in order to attract potential publishing houses. Five major publishers were interested in the concept and between us it was decided that David & Charles would be the best option for both Angela’s, and my own, vision of the book. Contracts were signed in October 2005 and print and publishing dates were set for February 2006.
I had four months in which to prepare images and text for a book, which, in it’s early concept, was to be quite small: less than 12,000 words. Contemporary Wedding Photography was underway and my daily writing and images began to reveal the potential for a bigger book than originally planned. David & Charles revised my remit as the author to increase the size and scope of the book within the four-month timeframe I had been given under contract. I had to complete the text and image selection by January 21st 2006. More chapters were added and the word count requirement was increased to over 20,000. My days were very busy from then on, working up to 16 hours a day and I finished the text two weeks before the contract deadline.
Contemporary Wedding Photography (isbn: 978-0-7153-2460-8) was published on 6th February 2006 with an initial print run of 12,000 hard cover copies, followed three months later by another print run of around 10,000 soft cover copies. My book was very successful on launch, the entire hard copy print run sold out within two weeks and the second print run date was brought forward to maintain orders. My book has subsequently been translated into five languages and also revised as an eBook. It’s still selling and, I hope, still useful to those who are creating a career for themselves by photographing weddings.
Ten years on and what, if anything, has changed in that time, both for myself and within the realm of contemporary wedding photography? The answer is that quite a lot has changed! On a personal level I have gained the highest professional distinction of Fellow of the Master Photographers Association and Fellow of the British Institute of Professional Photography and subsequently gone on to become the current (2016) President of the Master Photographers Association and an internationally-ranked judge in professional awards and qualifications. My wedding photography business has taken me to many amazing destinations and I have met many wonderful people along the way. There have been a few challenges in that time, but nothing I couldn’t deal with quickly and very effectively!
Wedding photography has also changed and when I am judging competition entries and qualification submissions, I am always in awe at some of the creativity and artistry that pushes the bar ever higher. Better cameras, better lenses, better and more diverse lighting options, better editing software and better album and image display products, the list of what is ‘better’ than 10 years ago is extensive.
For creative and ambitious wedding photographers, contemporary wedding photography continues to be an inspiring environment. Working primarily as a wedding professional, I live and breathe it and cannot imagine doing anything else!