How did I end up becoming a Wedding Photographer in Essex?
To be honest I think that this is the most asked question I get (after what is the cost for wedding photography?)
Well, it is a long & winding road that never had Photographing weddings as am intended destination. I guess to get us to the present, we must go to the beginning… or close enough that is relevant!
The Analogue years…
I have always had a keen interest in photography, right back from being a school kid & my old 110mm film camera where you would open & shut to advance the film (who remembers those?) before moving onto 35mm film compact cameras. Once I got a job & was a “grown up” (some would say that this day hasn’t actually arrived yet… but what does my partner know?) I purchased a Practica BX10 with changeable lenses – great for photos… not so much the cost of film developing or keeping my then Girlfriend happy whilst I swapped lenses on a day out. Life got busy & I decided to put a pin in my hobby for a good decade or so.
Living in a Digital world.
I remember the exact day I realised I wanted to get back into Photography – it was 14th December 2008 & at Wembley Stadium for the race of Champions sat in the stands watching the likes of Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard, Sebastian Vettel & co. racing round a man-made circuit on the covered pitch. As amazing (& freezing cold) as this was. It was seeing people with these massive cameras & lenses waiting to enter made me want to scratch that itch again.
10 days later (after bouncing around many different types of pocket digital camera) , my Christmas bonus arrived & I was able to purchase my 1st DLSr – my wonderfully basic Nikon D40, complete with stock lens & big telephoto lens (well I thought it was at the time). With 2 small kids I started using them as models & began snapping away, attending local car shows & attempted to capture images like I had seen in magazines (never has the phrase “all the gear & No Idea” been more apt!)
Time to Chill & get serious.
Around this time, I was an avid follower of the Basingstoke Bison, a British Ice Hockey team in Basingstoke, where the entire family were season ticket holders & I started taking my camera to games occasionally & sharing them on social media with players & fellow fans. Around this time the teams official photographer left & I was asked if I would mind getting more involved & doing it on an official basis & there started is where my professional Photography journey started in earnest!
Almost every Saturday between September & May between 2010 & 2018 was taken up capturing the team This is where I learnt how to use my camera properly & as the years went by & I invested in better equipment, my images improved (as did the team) & being there to capture the team lifting 5 trophies was something special. I finally stepped back & allowed someone else to have the honour of capturing this amazing sport & only covering one or two games a season recently.
Chasing the dream...
As I mentioned earlier, I have always had a love of Automotive Photography & really wanted to carve out a career in this field to emulate the amazing images from Motorsport & Octane magazines. I was fortunate enough to get onto the Media team as one of the official event photographers for the Wilton Classic & Supercar annual event for its final 2 years in 2014 & 2015 as well as its monthly Breakfast club – the Wilton Wake Up (that I actually named!). From there I started attending track days at Goodwood & fell in love with the place & especially the Goodwood Revival, That I attend each September for my annual busman’s holiday. Alas with the market being flooded with unbelievably talented photographers. I decided I needed to step back from this professionally & focus on weddings & events. Only capturing occasional events such as Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court each September (Yes September is my annual Car Month!!)
Carrying Wedding Trains & Chasing wedding Planners
In 2014 a very good friend of mine got in touch asking if I would photograph her wedding? Having only Photography experience in Ice Hockey, Events & Automotive, the thought of capturing someone’s wedding day petrified me. The pressure involved of getting it right first time as it is the most important day of a couple’s life was terrifying & I didn’t want to destroy that memory.
Fast forward to January 2015 & I got another message saying that she has not been able to find anyone & asking if I would reconsider & there would be no pressure if the photos weren’t great as they just wanted a few pictures & needed someone that they could trust to do it? – after a couple of days thinking I finally relented & agreed to capture the day. Two weeks of intense research ensued with all the cheesy Cliché wedding images that were popular at the time included.
For someone who like most photographers has always suffered with “imposter syndrome” I don’t mind telling for it was a very stressful day, however I made it through with no hiccups or dramas – Yay for me!
& 2 weeks later & delivered my 1st wedding gallery to an ecstatic couple.
I was hooked! – why was I so stressed about this? – It’s fun & I get the opportunity to get creative & get to hang out with lovely families as they come together to celebrate!!
So, I started saying “yes” when people were asking if I did weddings & in 2020 I actually stopped marketing myself as an “Automotive, Wedding, Ice Hockey Photographer that also captures family portraits & Corporate headshots” (Catchy huh?) & niched down to just weddings & events.
However, 8 years after my first wedding I now 100% consider myself to be a wedding & Event Photographer Based in Southend-On-Sea, Essex, covering the whole of the UK & beyond.
I found that being an introverted photographer actually helps me to capture those Candid wedding moments that people love, (although that doesn’t mean that I won’t politely shout at someone to turn Auntie Jean in the right direction to face the camera for the group photo).
So there you have it – how I became Grant King Wedding Photography. I did warn you it was a winding road. But here we are.
Thanks for reading.