by Charlotte Moss Published 01/10/2014
"Education is really important,"
Paul says to me when I ask him why he has worked so hard over the years to gain qualifications in photography. "If you're an electrician, an engineer or a photographer then education is the key to your success." As anyone who has submitted a panel of their photographs will tell you, it is a long and hard road to get to that point, so I asked Paul how being one of the few photographers outside the UK with a Fellowship in wedding photography had affected his business. "Being qualified certainly gives you more confidence in your work as a photographer. When you reach the top levels you're getting the benefit from being a photographer who sets standards rather than follows other people. The qualifications show that you are a craftsperson who produces work with a high standard of finishing."
Paul believes that one of the key benefits of working towards qualifications is the improvement that you see in the rest of your photographic work. "To be a good photographer you have to be very aware of the technical side of things and then match that to the genre that you're working in." While Paul is an exceptionally flexible photographer, who can work across many styles of wedding photography, it always comes back to the little details in his work.
"Nothing is less important than anything else. The composition, the posing of limbs, the quality and direction of light - if anything is wrong then it can easily knock a great image completely out."
Speaking of quality, it's one of the ways that Paul has stayed ahead of the game during the last few years of recession in Ireland. I wanted to know what business choices Paul had made in order to succeed when so many others have shut up shop. "As a wedding photographer people aren't particularly interested when you tell them you've put your prices down, so I went for a different strategy. You have to tell people that they would be getting more for their money so I added in extras that didn't cost me too much. That means additions like extra prints or more images in the album." Of course that isn't the only place that a wedding photographer can keep ahead of the competition; negotiating with suppliers was also important to Paul. "I also managed to source materials and albums at a better price. Album manufacturers were being hit by the recession too so they were more likely to do deals."
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