by Dennis Orchard Published 01/06/2006
A profile on Dennis Orchard
The studio is something of a hybrid with, on one hand, a highly sought-after, central London location in Regent Street, and on the other, a homebased studio in Reading. The London location is not actually a studio in a photographic sense, it is more of a base to do computer work and interview clients. Also, the city base is ideally situated for Dennis's gallery clients who commission slide duping services. The Berkshire base is largely where the wedding side of the business operates from and is situated at his home, close to Maidenhead
His passion for photography first came about at the tender age of five, though it was not until a careers officer asked him, at the age of 14, what he wanted to do and the answer was quite simple - 'photography'. Dennis says that the adviser could only be described as 'dumbstruck' and the only advice he could offer was to go away and find out about courses. This Dennis did, ending up studying in Birmingham and then Harrow. Photography has therefore been a lifelong career though, as he acknowledges, not always in weddings.
While weddings and portraits are a primary source of Dennis's income he concedes that he is not in it just for the money. Photography gives him a great deal of artistic satisfaction plus a huge amount of personal pleasure by being able to interact with clients, fulfil the commissions and hopefully exceed the clients' expectations. It's not just a business or a job, it is a way of life.
Dennis's lucky break came when he first started the wedding side of the business, in 1997, when an American client called out of the blue, and asked if he could do a wedding close to his home. They knew of him as a photographer but didn't know at the time that weddings were not part of his portfolio. Not knowing quite what was required he instantly set about finding out what the wedding business was all about and ended up on a course with veteran lecturer, and now close friend, Nigel Harper.
The subsequent 18 months proved pivotal in his wedding business with bookings streaming in and within two years he had become the 'Guilds' Photographer of the Year.
Several photographers were influential in the early years, apart from Nigel Harper, who was truly inspirational and who encouraged him to have fun at weddings. This is now central to his style of photography. Subsequently he has travelled extensively to the States and attended Conventions such as WPPI and found numerous inspirational photographers such as Joe Buissink, David Anthony Williams and the Canadian brothers, Frank and Anthony Carva. Dennis says basically you start by copying these mentors and gradually develop your own style and pace based upon the various ingredients of each occasion. Each commission is different.
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