Today we would like to introduce you to a portrait and wedding photographer based in Gloucestershire. She has photographed over 700 weddings and has received many prestigious awards including Photographer of the Year BIPP South West Region 2015. Please meet the wonderful Rebecca Northway…
How did you get started in photography?
When I was at school I loved art but was good at science so I was always encouraged to pursue science-based subjects. The lab technician would always comment on my artwork and say “it’s a shame you can’t find something that combines both art and science” which lead me to think “actually photography does both of those things”. Of course at this time photography was all pre-digital, so when I did eventually pick up a camera and was doing work in the darkroom it was something that felt very natural to me and I just fell in love with it.
How long have you been a photographer?
I started working for myself in 1999.
Did you go to photography school? Or did you assist?
At college I studied A-level photography and A-level film studies. When I left I went to work as a studio manager and an area manager for a company called Parasol Photography which did mass-production portraits. After that, I worked with an independent photographer called Alan Jackson, which is where I learned how to photograph weddings and portraits in a more artistic way. Then, in 1999 I started working for myself with the help of the Prince’s Trust which obviously being a young person trying to set up a business was a huge help.
How would you describe your photographic style?
If I’m meeting clients one of the first things I tend to explain to them is that most of my work is taken with natural light. I prefer to do it that way because I feel that it gives the photographs more of a natural and classical style that will stay timeless. This is especially true when I work with weddings. I like to give a nice mixture of images showing the feel of the day but also combining some very classical photographs. One of the display albums that I still show to clients is actually ten years old and every time I open it up it still gets wows.
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I used to use a medium format Bronica and a Canon EOS 5 35mm camera which as a format I think still works really nicely. So from then I kind of fell in love with the Canon EOS 5 range because you still get the 35mm feel to it. Since then I have always used Canon and now I mainly use a Canon EOS 5D and a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and I tend to stick to a 50mm f1.4 prime lens and 70-200 2.8 zoom lens.
What is your favourite editing tool?
Lightroom. Coming from a pre-digital background, I’ve always worked with the ethos of working in camera. The minimum amount of time I can spend editing the better as far as I’m concerned. I like to be able to drop my images into Lightroom, colour correct and white-balance, use my X-Rite ColourChecker, and then that’s generally it in terms of editing.
The best part of your job?
I feel so lucky and that after all this amount of time that I get to do a job that I love. No two jobs are the same and I love that because I couldn’t do the same job day in and day out. And obviously doing portraits and weddings, I get to meet so many people!
The worst part of your job?
Editing. I think photographers nowadays spend just as much time editing their photographs as they do taking them which is why I strive to do as much through camera as possible.
Do you make time for personal photographic work?
When I joined the BIPP in 2011 that was the first time in many many years that I started doing something on a personal front. The actual act of choosing a venue and a subject matter purely for yourself and not for a client is a really good habit to get into. It makes you think on a completely different level because usually you’re always thinking about the client’s brief instead of yourself.
What advice do you have for any photographer just starting out?
Have a long term goal and know where you want to be in the future of course, but take every day as it comes. Decide what you want to do that day and be proud when you have achieved that.
What is the best piece of advice YOU have ever been given?
From Kevin Wilson “be yourself because that is what people will invest in” and from Alan Jackson “when you stop getting butterflies before a shoot that’s then you know you’ve become a poor photographer”.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
I would love to be a painter and decorator. In my job I’m constantly working with people which I love but I also thrive off working alone. So I think I would quite enjoy something that I can just put my headphones on and disappear into my own little world.
What talent would you most like to have?
Your favourite film of all time?
Goodfellas by Martin Scorsese. I’m a big Martin Scorsese fan.
What do you love to indulge in?
A good film and good wine.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I’ve never really had the opportunity to travel but when I go to London I love it, so probably London.
First thing you would do if you won the lottery?
Take my kids out of school and just go somewhere, anywhere!
For your business, what is the best thing on theimagefile?
You’re absolutely brilliant. I wouldn’t use anybody else! Your customer service is out of this world and I’ve never had a glitch. The website looks lovely and I’ve never received any complaints from clients saying that they can’t use something or work something out.
Where to find more of Rebecca Northway: