I have the utter pleasure of chatting with the marvellous Sharon Cooper today. I’ve met Sharon a few times and I have to tell you she is the loveliest lady, full of talent and creativity. Her images shine through, filled with colour, vibrancy and fun. Her passion for weddings is evident in her images and I just love featuring her amazing couples and photography on the blog.
Sharon is also kindly offering a wonderful treat for WWW readers that book with her, read on to find out all the details and of course to get to know Sharon.
Hi Sharon, could you firstly tell WWW readers a little bit about you?
I’m a hard working, friendly, (some say quirky), creative soul. If you are looking un traditional, fun, and creative photos, read on! I shoot in a relaxed way that puts people at ease. I get as excited as my couples about a forthcoming wedding and take pride in being dedicated and thorough. I am determined to get the best possible photos for you. I love catching the real vibe of a wedding, the real essence of anyone I photograph. I live in Hitchin and love travelling all over for my weddings! I’m married, have two girls, two Bengal cats and four hens. I drink lashings of tea and love exploring with my camera. Wild flower locations and nature make me giddy! I love living in such a fun friendly town, but equally I’m just a short journey to lovely. Perfect!
What do you love about your job?
I love helping others, that could mean advice about venues or other suppliers, timings for the day, or running and getting a brides forgotten deodorant, or fixing the buttonholes correctly, it makes me happy to help out. I love all the interactions at a wedding, and often make friends with my couples and stay in touch with so many of them! But the best thing is creating those beautiful lasting memories for my couples that they will look back at. I enjoy making every interaction special, the final part… the delivering of final images to posting off packages, and designing beautiful albums which I know will be lovingly looked at and handed down. Such a joy! As for types of wedding, whatever the location or style, it’s when a couple trusts me to do my thing and they are left to enjoy the day! I want my couples to look at the photos and remember how they looked and felt.
How did you get into the wedding industry?
I’d been a keen photographer for years, and worked in I.T. then my youngest daughter was born deaf, I developed a way to use photography to encourage her to speak and be understood. I’d take photos of what she’d done at a weekend, and turned a selection into laminated sheets with text underneath, that she took to school. These enabled her to be understood and gave her a confidence in communication that was missing. I did that for years and made books of holidays and special events. I then did a few personal photography projects, which led to exhibitions and selling my work via Getty images, an artist friend asked me to photograph her wedding. Then other photographers did! To date I’ve photographed 8 photographers weddings! Soon I realised this had to be my full time job. Since my first wedding in 2009 I have worked very hard to learn my craft and build my business I absolutely love my job!
Tell us about your typical working day.
If I’ve got an office-based day, I could be doing anything from editing, responding to emails, sending invoices, uploading galleries, blogging, or album designing. I love packaging up my parcels for my couples, so that something that takes a while, but I love it and skip off the the post office wearing a smile. I drink lots of tea and have my day timetabled so I’m as effective as I can be. Once a week I meet up with fellow Hitchin creative free-lancers for breakfast, I feel like that’s my ‘staffroom’ we often bounce ideas off each other and it really is something I look forward to.
As for the day of a wedding… I’ll be all prepped and ready (I might even be in a hotel the night before if its further afield). Once I arrive, I see who else is around and say hello. I like to take a walk around first without my camera, seeing wherever I am, taking it all the possibilities in. This way I can find good light and the best places and not view it through an eyepiece. Mostly it will feel like we are friends already, but sometimes it might be the first time I’ve met my couple in person. I take time to get to know my couples before the big day, so I know what’s important to them. During the day I’ll work my socks off, always looking for something that will make a special memory, or an artful creative photo. It feels wonderful to be part of someone’s wedding in this way. I love it all, the bridal preps, the ceremony, the interactions, and it all seems to flash by quickly. Things slow down when I take the couple off for some portraits and I’m often told that time is memorable, when a couple are first alone and we make some magic portraits together. I often get choked up during at the speeches, I love all those proud and heart warming snippets, a great time to catch guest’s reactions. I am unobtrusive and often told afterwards they hadn’t realised I was there during that part. After the first dance, and everyone lets their hair down, the dance floor photos are super fun, after a while. I like taking a photo of the venue at night, so my couples remember the scene they made! It’s hard to switch off, but if there’s a live band or a great DJ. I normally pack my camera away and bust some of my own moves before heading home.
If you could choose another role in the wedding industry what would it be?
Yikes! That’s a great question! What other role that lets you see so much of a wedding though? I’m there in the bride’s bedroom, in the parent’s kitchen, in a wedding car, up with the bell ringers, in beautiful gardens, a tipi fully decorated and ready for the wedding meal, I’m in that airstream, taking a shot of the groomsmen, I’m alone in a secluded part of the reception area that’s caught my eye with the two main people of the day. I don’t want to swap that for any other role!
Can you give us a teaser about what you are working on now?
I’m currently editing a beautiful alternative uber DIY wedding, where the bride had a surprise bespoke gown and lots of surprises for her husband. She had been a bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding that I photographed a while back, so I loved seeing all the family again. Her amazing The Couture Company gown and show stopping purple hair stole the show. For a colour lover such as me it was a treat to the eyes.
What do you aim to achieve for your clients?
It’s all about creating those lasting memories to keep forever, including the fun ones that retell the story of the day. You’d be surprised how many of my couples say they feel uncomfortable in front of the camera! I aim to relax them and have lots of ways I do this. One groom said “…Sharon went about her photo taking with Ninja like stealth. I had no idea where she was! That was the great thing; she took all the great angles with little fuss and definitely displayed her eye for a good photo” , that always makes me smile. I am unobtrusive but try to be in all the right places. I’m looking for things that I know they will look back on and smile, or catch a breath and be back there for a moment. Making the memories strong and lasting.
How would you describe your style?
I love vibrant colours and artful black and whites. I like to use depth of field. I want emotion and truth and love. My style is relaxed and I aim to connect with whoever I am working with. I am super friendly and easy going – I want to get to know you and make you feel at ease, to capture memories and tell you story. I’ve been told this more times than I can remember “ Sharon was our photographer… It was like having a really close friend at the wedding taking our pictures in a way that just ‘got us’”.
Do you have any tips for couples in selecting their photographer?
I do! Have a really good look at everything! Their website, their blog, their facebook page, testimonials, instagram, the lot. Find someone whose personality fits in with you. There are going to be with you all day, it’s important you get along. Watch their promo film, and ask to meet up or Skype if there’s a distance. Even a chat on the phone you can better gauge if you are going to get along. Ask to see all the photos from a gallery, maybe at a similar time of the year as your wedding. Pick someone who you can see loves what they do, that’s important.
Could you tell us some information about your packages/pricing?
I would love to hear from anyone who is looking for a wedding photographer who reads WWW. I think you who are reading this blog right now are the couples I love working with. So many of my brides have told me this is their ‘go to’ blog, so I’m honoured when they get featured here too. Each wedding is unique, in time and location and length of coverage. So pop to my website and tell me about your plans, Id love to hear from you, and I will ping you a reply right back.
I would love to offer a very special extra treat for every Whimsical reader that books a full day wedding photography for 2017 – I will make you a fun Viewmaster viewer, your photos on one of my cool quirky retro Viewmaster reels, such fun! – just tell me you found me here!
How can we get in touch with you?
Drop me a line on [email protected] or 07790 732232
F O L L O W
Well wasn’t that just lovely. I love how enthusiastic Sharon is and her portfolio is just stunning. Drop her an email to see if she is free for your date quick sharp xo Lou
*Sharon Cooper is a WWW sponsor*