// G I R L B O S S E S //

I'm a secondary school teacher, I teach. I used to be a graphic designer, I've designed. All the while I've also been a photographer, I have photographed stuff for 11 years. So what happens when you decide to combine all the best things that you like to do and combine it into one huge vision.......The Alternatives.....

Back in January my friend Jenny and I put our heads together and decided that we needed to do something to change the direction of both of our lives and those of many other female photographers. Being a female comes with its own set of challenges, we doubt ourselves every day, we don't shout and scream about (pardon my french) how f**king awesome we are enough in fear of sounding big headed. How tolerant we are. How hard working we are. How self sacrificing we are and actually how we can achieve anything when we put our minds to it.

We are told growing up that it's expected that we go to school, college, uni, get married and pop out a few kids in that order. Well here's a newsflash, life is a b***h and it doesn't happen like that - take it from a woman who knows first hand. Life throws challenges your way and it's a test to see how you cope. I'm hardworking, for 13 years I've not allowed myself to say that, I thought it was the norm to work all the hours gods sends for very little financial gain and I almost felt guilty to have a day off. I felt it was a weakness. I can't remember a time where I've only ever had one job. Most of us talk ourselves out of doing the one thing we love and don't have the confidence to stop saying "it's not the right time, or I'm not ready yet. As women, we often feel trapped into staying in a job, particularly when we are starting to think about having a family. "I can't leave, I need the maternity leave" Then, surprise surprise, it doesn't happen straight away and fast forward three years, still in the same job, still not living the dream... still waiting to use that maternity leave...

Enough is enough... so for all those women out there who have EVER felt like this, YOU were the inspiration for Jenny and I to start our little venture. Jenny and I both work full time jobs, difficult and demanding jobs on top of shooting 20 plus weddings a year. It's tough, but we not we are not alone. So what we came up with was for those ladies out there who need a boost, a bit of inspiration to get going and find the confidence to go it alone... just like us.

Last Wednesday and Thursday Jenny and I delivered our first styled shoot workshop in the Lake District. An event on epic proportions. Not a pair to go easy on our first we arranged two full jam packed days of shooting, mentoring, guiding, creativity, confidence boosting and most importantly feeding nine amazing female photographers of all different experiences and backgrounds. It wasn't easy, we slept around 3 hours in 72. There were times when we bit at each other, tempers flared but we got through it, a memorable moment for us was at lunch on day 2 -  I had just finished setting up a picnic scene for our couple, we saw two beautiful geese wandering in the background.... let's just say all hell broke loose 2 minutes later when a goose ran off with a ham sandwich it's mouth, which resulted in Jenny and I screaming at each other "We are NEVER doing this again"  I'll let the photographs tell the story. For two ladies who have only met in person less than 7 days in the whole time we have known each other (18 months) to achieve what we did last week is incredible. Furthermore to see what our ladies have achieved and produced has made us so proud and inspired us both on an epic level. As photographers we always see things differently, seeing what these nine ladies have produced has made all the stress and hard work worth it. Watching our girls confidence grow over the two days was incredible. On the evening before Day 1, Linsey had a panic attack thinking about shooting a couple one- on - one, by the end of Day 2 she was confidently directing couples into poses.

Nobody teaches you how to photograph weddings, there is no degree, it's simply waiting to get an opportunity to second shoot or just going it alone like I did. After all, how difficult can it really be? The answer is very difficult, especially when you cock it up. Every wedding you photograph teaches you something new, a setting on the camera, a pose that worked....

What Jenny and I wanted to create was opportunity. Opportunity for our ladies to practise, try out new things, gain new skills, challenge themselves and walk away with a set of images that they could use for their portfolios to prove that they are worthy of photographing weddings. Every single lady rocked it! If I could get married nine times over I wouldn't hesitate to hire every single one of them.  To see this in each of our ladies and to see the friendships built was so heartwarming and rewarding.Too many of us don't have the confidence to do what we love in fear of failure, and so stay in an unhappy dead-end job just to pay the bills

Me and Jenny don't have all the answers, no where near,  but what we do have is experience and an attitude to nurture and share openly to hopefully make another amazing female feel confident to go forward with their photography path.

We are two ladies at completely opposite ends of the spectrum. I'm a details girl, Jenny is a portrait girl. In another life we probably wouldn't be friends but together we offer each other the missing pieces in our photography journeys. I have learnt so much from Jenny over the past 18 months about confidence and to stop doubting myself and to know my worth. Something so very valuable as a hardworking female. 

For now, I'll leave you with these images: The biggest thank you goes to our incredible couples and every supplier who helped us create this vision.

 

Couple: Lucy Wright and James Norris

Venue: Merewood Country and Hotel, Ambleside/ Waterhead Marina, Ambleside/ Borrans Park Ambleside

Windermere Lake Cruises

Flowers: All bunched Up

Cake Flowers: @florella_flowers

Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup by Saskia

Shoes: Rachel Simpson Shoes

Rings: The London Victoria Ring Company

Stationery: A little Pigment

Cakes: Where the Ribbon Ends

Boots: New Look

Hangers: Akito Avalanche

Ladies - keep being awesome and more importantly KNOW YOUR WORTH xx

 

*A special mentioned for my husband Richard who is my biggest supporter and without his support, strength in lugging vintage trunks through forests and honesty, this wouldn't have happened.

Also for Saskia, our incredible hair and makeup artist who did the most beautiful job on our brides.

 

//D A Y   O N E //

MEREWOOD COUNTRY HOUSE AND HOTEL/ WATERHEAD PIER

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//D A Y    T W O //

WATEREDGE INN, AMBLESIDE / RYDAL WATER AND CAVES

Couple: Jasmine Tovey and Edward Darling

Flowers: Picking Posies

Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup by Saskia

Shoes: Rachel Simpson Shoes

Rings: The London Victoria Ring Company

Stationery: A little Pigment

Cakes: Storeybook Cakes

Boots: New Look

Props: Princess Occasions

Hangers: Akito Avalance

 

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Our amazing Photographers:

Sophie, Donna, Jenna, Adele, Becky, Linsey, Josie, Gail, Louise

Thinking about joining us on our next one? 

 

Our next two day female only event will be after the wedding season, most likely in October, however we will be running a series on one day shoots.

(Our two day events include Lifestyle, prep and Bridal along with relaxed, informal mentoring and ideas forum - usually with wine!)

Our shoots are specifically designed to test and challenge photographers, time limits set, one - to- one sections of the day, creative challenges, dark spaces, limited room and much more. We work you hard! Our theory is that Styled shoots are great, but on their own, without the pressure of a real wedding, completely useless. We will guide you on posing, tips and tricks that we use when we have a brain fart and can't think creatively behind the camera. 

Our emphasis is on support, we don't accept egos, nobody is better than anybody else, we are all equal. Our aim is to make friendships, to support each other. We give feedback not only from us, but from the models so you can go away with better knowledge on how the couple felt you were in front of them - this is key to getting bookings. 

If you would like to join us on our next events then please keep an eye on our instagram and Facebook pages - The Alternatives. The Alternative approach to supporting photographers.