One of my favourite things is to check in with past students and see how they are doing. Every time I see my mentees' or workshop attendees' names pop up on the finalists' list in industry awards, or whenever I start bumping into the buzz their success is creating in unrelated circles, my heart almost bursts with pride. Not because I'd ever claim that success was my doing, but because I feel truly privileged to have walked beside them if even for a short period of time, and honoured to have had the opportunity to play a small part in them finding their way.
Miss Gen aka Genevieve Chapman is one of those success stories. She attented a workshop I held a few years ago with my dear friend and fellow photographer Ed Peers, and since then she's been making some serious waves in the wedding photography world. I caught up with Genevieve to hear what she's been up to since our time together. She shares her amazing story in this Case Study. Enjoy!
Tell me about your business, what do you do and how long have you been in business?
I photograph weddings with a focus on creative, reportage storytelling. I also shoot couples, families, portraits & fashion.
After working as a graphic designer for over 10 years, I knew it was time for a change. I’d always been a keen travel photographer, but had never done anything with my pictures. The first wedding I photographed was for a friend on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. She wasn’t going to hire a photographer so I offered her my services. Afterwards. I realised that this is what I’m meant to be doing. I love being able to tell a story of a wedding day and to create images that make my couples feel beautiful.
I’d only shot a few weddings before attending Marianne’s workshop and I didn’t properly start my business until a few months later. Starting a wedding photography business in London (where there’s already hundreds if not thousands of photographers) was a daunting prospect, so I wanted to get some pointers before I took that leap. The first year was challenging, juggling a graphic design job with setting up a new business, but I went full-time with my photography last year and haven’t looked back since!
Why did you want to attend a workshop?
I was curious to see what it would take to setup & run a successful photography business. I was drawn to Marianne’s work because it’s so pretty and the emotion looks real. I also loved the co-host Ed Peer’s work, and wanted to find out more about destination wedding photography.
What was the experience like for you?
It was fantastic to meet a lovely bunch of like-minded photographers all willing to share their thoughts & experiences. You learn so much from your mistakes and advice from others. And it’s great if you don’t have to make those mistakes yourself! Marianne & Ed were both so open, sharing aspects of their business & workflow. They have very different approaches to shooting, editing and client management, so it was fantastic to see some different perspectives on how to run a business.
What was your favourite piece of information that you learned and how have you used this in your business?
From Marianne I realised how important the entire client experience is, from the very first email right through to after you deliver the images. I immediately put processes in place to make my clients feel special and informed while working with me. From Ed I was inspired to explore, to create & not to worry too much about the gear, who needs lens caps anyway? ;)
I also loved the focus on authentic storytelling and using my images to show people how beautiful they are.
What kind of results did you see after your workshop? Personally or in your business.
The workshop helped give me the confidence to pursue photography as a profession. I really felt like I had a head start having learnt from others’ experiences, things to focus on, things to avoid. I created a website, started booking clients and received excellent feedback about how professional my approach was. Most people assumed I’d been in this business for years!
More importantly, I booked clients who are a good fit for me, right from the start. They love my work, my approach, and are pretty chilled out, perfectly suiting my relaxed, modern approach to photographing their wedding. The workshop really helped me to focus on attracting the right clients.
I went from shooting a few weddings & couples sessions in 2014 to a full season of 24 weddings, 14 couple shoots, 5 family sessions, a maternity shoot, a christening, a 40th birthday & a few stunning inspiration shoots in 2015.
I was lucky enough to be shortlisted as a finalist in the Wedding Industry Awards in 2015 & 2016 (thanks to my lovely client feedback!) and I received an honourable mention in Junebug’s Best of the Best Wedding Photography 2015.
I highly recommend Marianne Taylor’s workshop to any aspiring wedding photographers. Marianne shared so much about how she runs her business & how she looks after her clients. The tips and workflows I learnt were essential and really gave me a head start so I could kick off my business the right way.
Do check out more of Genevieve's gorgeous work on her website. You can see her beautiful heart shining through each and every image, and it doesn't surprise me what an amazing success her business is!
All images: Miss Gen Photography