In Conversation With Tracy of Tracy Gow Photography

by Michelle

Who doesn’t love looking at wedding photos? Professionally shot images are always a delight to swoon over and enjoy. Today, we’re chatting to Tracy of Tracy Gow Photography whose images are a beautiful.

As you can see from the images below, Tracy has that skill of making her work look effortless, capturing that subtle balance between formally posed shots and carefree relaxed images. I don’t know how she does it but she takes the kind of photo that makes it seem she was just in the right place at the right time.

Capturing the joy and excitement of a couple’s big day is the challenge of any wedding photographer and I think Tracy’s photos do this beautifully; from celebrating down on the beach to capturing a tender moment up at the castle. Over to Tracy now to tell you more about herself and her business.

Tell us a little about yourself and your business

I started out wanting to be a television journalist, but got side-tracked into visuals after attending a TV production course. The first time I picked up a video camera, I was hooked! I finished my degree (History), ditched my plans to write, crashed an ‘A’ level photography in 6 months (grade A by the way) then moved to London looking for my ‘big break’ in television.

I secured a job with a small TV production company which specialised in scientific and natural history film making. A strange place for a ‘soppy arts graduate’ (sic) but it proved to be so interesting that I stayed with the same company for ten years, shooting all manner of wonderful material.

What motivated you to start your business?

A move to Scotland and time off while my kids were pre-schoolers got me thinking about how I could shape the next part of my life. TV camerawork is demanding and I wanted to be around for the kids, so I decided that I should start my own business. Having always loved portraiture, I set up a portrait studio at home and launched Tracy Gow Photography. It was real ‘toe in the water’ stuff but clients began to book sessions and word spread.

Then I was asked about wedding photography, and although I was reluctant, a friend persuaded me to shoot her wedding, then another friend asked me to shoot her sister’s wedding. It was a white knuckle ride to be honest, but, that’s how my wedding business started.

Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business.

Running a photography business is hectic. If I have a shoot (portrait, wedding, boudoir or commercial) I have to check, clean and pack up my kit, get to the shoot, do the work, then come back, download and back up the files onto extra drives. On non-shoot days, I’ll be answering enquiries, processing files, designing wedding albums, creating social media posts, processing print orders and ensuring my marketing materials are up to date for wedding shows.

I have to give up quite a number of Sundays to attend wedding shows and of course, I have to keep abreast of all the latest products and refresh my samples to reflect what’s trending in the market.

 If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?

I’m a little ‘old school’ when it comes to maintaining professional standards. I hear horror stories about the way some photographers behave at weddings, and I’m appalled. I believe that everyone should do more listening and less talking. I listen to what my clients want, advise as necessary and deliver exactly what they have asked for.

When you’re in a business like wedding photography, every single person you encounter is a potential client so you’d be crazy to upset people.

 How can couples judge if a company is the right fit for their wedding?

I think water finds its own level. I always advise couples to look at photographers whose work they like, then, out of those photographers, choose the person you feel most comfortable with. Your wedding photographer is with you all day so you have to feel happy having them around. It goes without saying that couples should also make sure that their chosen photographer is fully insured, has back up gear and a contingency plan in place in case serious illness or accident prevents them doing the job on the day.

What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?

Anything emotional gets me going, especially if the Bridegroom cries. And I love humour – fits of giggles at a ring that won’t just slide on or a veil blowing out of control. A lot of the best moments are pure serendipity. I was photographing a wedding in December and we had a very short window for the bride and groom photos – the sun was low and golden and just as the couple kissed, three swans took off through the negative space on the left of frame. I couldn’t have planned it better!

Grandparents and older guests are often a delight at weddings too – intentionally or otherwise. I’m always stunned at how beautiful venues can look and constantly marvel at the creativity and ingenuity of wedding stylists. A wedding marquee I shot in September has to be one of the most beautiful and indulgently styled spaces I’ve ever seen.

The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more.

As well as weddings I shoot boudoir, which I love, because working with people one on one is always such a luxury. I shoot my boudoir photography at an amazing venue, Balmule House, which is not far from my home base. The bridal suite and bathroom at Balmule are completely gorgeous and make a perfect setting for this kind of photography.

I shoot portraiture for families – either outside, which we call ‘lifestyle’ or at home or in the studio. Family events often call for a photographer too, so I often find myself at special anniversary or birthday celebrations, usually in hotels.

I enjoy my commercial work too, especially interiors and food. In another life, I would have loved to have worked for Country Living magazine shooting homes and gardens. It can be fussy photography in a way – there’s a lot of ‘just move the vase a quarter of an inch to the left’ –  but I love creating that kind of imagery.

 What have you got planned for the next 12 months?

I’m currently putting the finishing touches to a new website. Every so often, you have to refresh your brand and this is my year for doing that. I’ve got some gorgeous weddings lined up for this year, and a number of commercial shoots which I’m looking forward to as well.

And finally, what or who inspires you and why?

I think I’m past the stage where I try to copy the style of other photographers. I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go, some of which I like and some of which I simply don’t get. It’s why I call my style of photography ‘modern, classic.’ I shoot the classic poses because I think people want to see faces clearly, they want to see wedding dresses shown off properly and family groups set out with deliberate symmetry, but poses don’t have to be stiff, and I do shoot a lot of candid/reportage images alongside the signature shots so that my clients get a bit of everything.

A wedding is a special day for couples and their families. It’s not a photo shoot. I think once you understand that, you’re going to create exactly the kind of images your clients want.

Images Courtesy of Tracey Gow Photography


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