Well, I never thought I would be on the client side of photography again.

I just hadn’t thought through the practicalities of photographing the occasions that we were part of ourselves, and it is disconcerting as a consumer I can tell you!

A few years ago our lovely nieces Mollie & Katie were married, and we promised to gift them their wedding photography as we know that after the day is over that is the only lasting memory you have when the meal is over, the party has ended, and the flowers have wilted. We were even brave enough to let them choose their own (with a little gentle nudging from us) as it is so important to click with your photographer to get real emotion on the day.

It is a very odd relationship we have with our photographer. We liken it to the relationship with your dentist. You just have to trust them, or it won’t work.

Thank goodness they chose Stephanie Williamson and Joanne Symington (fellow members of the Professional Photographers Association of Northern Ireland (PPANI) and excellent photographers), and the results speak for themselves.

This time was even more nervewracking! We gave Mia and Andrew the PPANI list and left them with google. They narrowed it down to three. All excellent photographers and then a little bit of fate meant that they met Simon from Ciaran ONeill and they knew that they had found their man.

Now, I love my darling daughter, but as all brides know, there comes the point in the process when they all crack. We trusted Simon to handle the inevitable. We love Andrew too but he is not keen on being photographed (like most of us), and we trusted Simon completely. As long as we kept giving Andrew sugar and breaks, he would be fine. The worst bit is the fear that we would make it hard for him by getting in the way. We didn’t need to worry. We were more than happy for him to lead and did everything we were told.

We can’t thank him enough. Everything we tell you is right. Kit doesn’t maketh the man. Experience does. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when he knows what he is doing and can use light as a paintbrush and shade as an eraser. When they see what they are doing a good photographer is a master in his trade using people skills and timing to capture the emotion and understand just when to step up or step away.

More than once his eye lifted from the eyepiece to give Catherine and I a concerned look or an understanding nod when he noticed tears welling up, and for that I thank him.

I have no doubt all the people aforementioned will go on to win awards for their art this year as in years gone by but for the first time I realise just how much it means to me to have someone to help us create and archive our family story so skillfully, not just for those of us here today but those not even born yet.

I’m away to make a cuppa and gather myself before my next client arrives or they will think I’m a soppy old goat.


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