I’m writing this somewhere over the Atlantic between the UK and Montreal, a place I’ve found myself every month or two over the past 3 years. I’m heading west which mean home, and looking forward to seeing Evelyne and our boys. The past week I’ve been working in the UK, shooting a wedding, four family sessions, some band portraits and a couple of live gigs. A few photos are in this post. It’s been pretty non-stop, and I had to postpone a couple of shoots due to some almost cliched British weather, but overall it’s been a fun seven or eight days.
When we first moved to Montreal in 2014 nobody really knew who I was as a photographer except a few other photographers. It was over a year later that I booked my first Montreal wedding, so having work in the UK was pretty important. Actually it was kind of essential. Shooting weddings does actually mean I can travel back and forth over the Atlantic and make a good living, even when we take off the cost of flights etc. I don’t charge any travel expenses for UK weddings. I don’t want that extra cost to discourage UK couples from booking me, and if I do a couple of weddings in one trip it actually works out pretty well.
Having work in the UK allowed me to breathe a little after the big move. I wasn’t relying on getting work in Canada to pay the bills so I had time to get settled, work on my SEO, make connections in the industry and build my business in Quebec. Three years later and I’m far from the established Montreal wedding photographer, but most of my weddings in 2018 will be in my new home country. That’s exactly what I want but I do definitely still want to be shooting a handful of UK weddings each year. In my head, that number is around ten to twelve, with maybe 15 Montreal weddings and a couple in other countries. In the next year I already have weddings coming up in Bangkok and Mexico. I do love destination weddings but sometimes it’s not quite as glamorous as it might look on social media! I’m planning a Journal post that goes deeper into the subject of destination weddings soon…
I realise that couples looking for a wedding photographer in the UK may feel a little uneasy booking someone who lives so far away. When I was based in Birmingham, England I had one enquiry asking if I travel as far as Lichfield. That’s roughly 30 minutes drive! Some people just assume wedding photographers cover their local market and that’s it.
The tricky thing for me has been working to build a name in Montreal but still making it clear to UK couples that, as far as booking me to shoot a wedding there, nothing has really changed. I always fly at least 3 days before a wedding just in case of travel issues (so far I’ve had almost none of those) but the amount of enquiries I get from British couples has understandable dropped dramatically. Hopefully I’ll continue to get a few UK weddings. I love shooting in the UK and it gives me the opportunity to catch up with my mom, hang out with friends, stock up on M&S teabags, Bisto and proper Cadburys chocolate, as well as visit some good countryside pubs. Seriously, you don’t realise how good you’ve got in for great pubs in the UK. I’ve yet to find any in Canada that even come close.
The other thing I got to do this week was hang out for a day with my friend and mega-photographer Ross Harvey. Every year I try to do at least one workshop where I see what I can learn that will take my business and my photography to the next level. Ross is a great guy and I have a lot of respect for him. He’s also far more technically minded than yours truly and I learned new things about my cameras, editing techniques, new SEO tricks and general business practice. It was only yesterday that I was with him and the eagle-eyed amongst you may have already noticed a few slight changes to this website. More to come.
So, tomorrow I’ll be shooting a small wedding with my friend Lindsay in Quebec and, after that, things calm down a lot as winter approaches. I’m really looking forward to having time to look at other things once my editing is up to date. I have more learning planned, including improving my French, and will also be preparing for my own workshop that I’m hosting in Montreal in April.
As New Model Army once said… no rest for the wicked ones.
Ok I think we’re gonna be landing shortly. “Tray tables up and laptops stored”.