Caroline Stocking’s wedding photography is characterised by it’s delightful, fun, spontaneity. So many of our readers tell us they love natural spontaneous images, but there really is an art in capturing informal photos without them looking to messy or, ironically, too posed.
The very best informal images have a lively or tender “just captured the moment” feel to them. This is where Caroline’s work really stands out as she has a real skill of being able to photograph almost from another guest’s perspective. Her documentary style photos draw you into a couple’s celebrations and tell the story of their day in the most unobtrusive way. We’ll let Caroline take it from here and tell you more about her business.
What motivated you to start your business?
My dad had been a very keen amateur photographer whilst I was growing up, so I was very used to having a camera shoved in my face..Ha! But I always loved his work. As I got older, I was always the one with the camera. I always had it with me, much to my friends disgust on nights out..ha! When I hit 30, my friends and family kept asking me what I would like for my birthday. I decided by this time, I really wanted my first DSLR camera. So a whole bunch of them chipped in, and bought me one…I was thrilled.
I was working in Catering at the time, and had been since I was 15, but I was coming to the end of my passion for it, so I knew the time was coming for me to start investigating other routes for the future. I realised very quickly, that I had this beautiful camera, but really wasn’t sure how to use it, to get the best out of it..So I decided to do an Online Diploma in Freelance Photography with The Photography Institute. Two years later, and I finished the course, and I had my Diploma.
I opened my business in 2013 and just went for it. I learnt on the job, and spent many hours researching photography on the internet. For 3 years I worked alongside my photography business, but due to circumstances I was made redundant in September 2016, and being a believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’ I knew this was my time to make the leap to Full Time Photography, and I’ve not looked back!
Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business
A great deal of my photography bookings tend to happen at the end of the week and weekends, due to the nature of the shoots I offer (Weddings & Family Portraits). However during seasonal holiday times, any day can be busy with shoots. However when I’m not shooting, I am based in Guildford working from my home office.
My days are taken up with editing, social media, writing blog posts, organising advertising, accounts, client meetings, venue visits, and all other aspects of being a business owner.
If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?
I pride myself in offering a service that I would like to receive if I was in their shoes. All my photography is based outside on location. I offer relaxed, friendly and stress free shoots. I like clients to feel 100% comfortable with me. With my family Portrait shoots, I take families out to their favourite scenic locations, we go for a walk and we just take relaxed, happy and natural photographs.
When shooting a wedding, I offer a documentary style of photography. I like to capture all the little details as well as the big ones. I offer simple packages that either include a digital album of images for the client to use as they wish or a USB of their images.
What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?
I have 2 key moments from any wedding that I love. The moment the ceremony has finished, and the couple look at each with a slight sigh of relief that the nerves have eased, and they can now relax. I also love a first dance. First dances mean so much to a couple, A song can tell so many stories, for that 3 minutes it’s all about them, it’s their moment to connect with each other of that incredibly personal level.
On an individual wedding basis, I have to admit one big highlight for me, was when I photographed a Same Sex marriage in Oct 2016, and half way through the reception, the Butlers in The Buff Arrived 😉 It certainly brighten up my 10pm slump!
In Oct 2017 I was lucky enough to shoot a fusion wedding between a British Sikh and Church of England Couple, The wedding was bright, colourful and full of love and flowers. It was amazing. I love being able to shoot alternative style weddings
The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more
I offer location shoots for Couples, Families, Individuals and friends. I also offer a RETAKE service, whereby I take out married couples that perhaps got married a few years ago, and either were not happy with their original photographer or photographs for some reason.
We go to beautiful scenic locations, get the couple suited and booted again, and take some new and updated relaxed, natural photographs.
What have you got planned for the next 12 months?
In the next 12 months I plan to work hard to build up the business to another level, to get word out about me, and my services, and to expand my business.
And finally, what or who inspires you and why?
I am inspired by many different photographers. I love looking at alternative and different work, that steps away from the norm. I love creative people and exploring what makes them tick.
All images courtesy of Caroline Stocking Photography