Award winning wedding photography - Officially 5th in the UK and 13th in the world, as ranked by the industry leaders at This is Reportage!
This time last year I was setting goals, things to work towards over the course of 2022, things to aspire to that would keep me pushing to improve and learn every day. One of the things I wrote down was to try and make it into The Top 100 wedding photographers worldwide, as chosen by This is Reportage. (Dream big, Phil! Dream big!)
It’s basically the Oscars of documentary wedding photography, recognising the top artists in the genre. Competition is intense, but it’s also a community that encourages and inspires photographers to keep pushing creative boundaries. Imagine my surprise when I received an email to let me know I’d achieved my goal! Plus not only had I hit the top 100… drum roll please…
I’m officially ranked 5th in the UK…. And 13th in the WORLD!!!
Pass the rum! Hold my pint! Pinch me!!
I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this feels and how grateful I am to have been recognised for all my hard work. I wanted this, like… reeeaaalllly wanted this – but I didn’t think I would end up in the Top Ten wedding photographers in the UK and the Top 20 worldwide, never in a million years.
It has given me a confidence boost (I’m quite a perfectionist and can be pretty tough on myself), and I hope it reassures future couples (and me!) that yeah, I am pretty good at what I do apparently – capturing all the real stuff with no awkward posing required.
I’ve written a round up article for the year, where you can check out some more of my best wedding photos of 2022 (including some epic party shots!). I love delivering galleries and getting feedback from happy couples, it reassures me I’ve done my job properly and I always aim to exceed expectations by going the extra mile (or additional Macarena!).
Each award-winning image represents a magic moment that will stick with me from the rollercoaster of 2022 – I wanted to share them with you and a little bit of the story behind each of them.
Building an incredible relationship with all my couples means they are happy to give me access to their entire day, they have complete trust in me, they feel comfortable around me. This photo, with the baby looking directly at me as he feeds, represents a really serene and emotional moment on an otherwise hectic wedding day, an insight into family life and the bond between mother and child. It was really special to be able to capture it, a quiet moment in the midst of the party.
I photographed this at one of the awesome venues I get to visit as a Cheshire wedding photographer. A pocket of light had caught my eye as people walked in and out of the building, and I came up with the idea of a creative portrait with someone half in and half out of the shadow. I waited, poised for the perfect moment, probably for about four or five minutes (which feels like an age when you are standing there!), and low and behold, a waiter emerged with a tray of glasses. It was well worth the wait!
I actually also received a This is Reportage Story Award for this wedding at Wrenbury Hall, for a collection of images captured across the day.
This little guy took on a huge role as ring bearer at his Mum and Dad’s wedding, and I could see he was proud and excited to be doing such an important job. After handing over the rings the emotion took over, and he cuddled up to his grandfather for comfort as he cried. I photographed this black and white image with a 35mm lens, which means I would have been quite close to the subject at the time, so having that rapport and trust with everyone involved in the wedding was really vital.
The deadpan look on the bride’s face as she adjusts her bouquet and gestures to the groom… priceless. You never know what is going to happen at a wedding, the walk down the aisle is often a really tense moment where all the anticipation of the day has been leading. It’s not only about joy and tears though, and this was absolute comedy GOLD! Capturing the personality and humour of this brilliant bride perfectly.
When I’m photographing a wedding, I make sure I’m amongst all the action, especially on the dancefloor. This black and white image of the entire wedding party dancing and celebrating is probably one of my favourite party moments of the year. Drinks, hugs, high fives, laughter, everyone enjoying the moment and letting their hair down – there’s something happening everywhere you look.
Kirsty and Ian’s wedding at Ferrari’s Country House was a party and a half, it was also hugely emotional. Giving a speech at your wedding can bring tears to the eyes of even the toughest of fellas. Ian the Groom is a blokes-bloke, he doesn’t usually do emotion. So, when he got up to give his speech and the worlds wouldn’t come out of his mouth the whole room could see how much it meant to him. His best mates leapt up to support him in this heart-warming moment, grabbing the microphone and helping him through it.
One of the incredible destination weddings I captured this year was as Sven and Jacqueline’s Alicante wedding photographer. The scenery, the heat, the beach… just gorgeous from start to finish!
This is one of my more considered creative shots, where I had noticed a picture of the bride and groom attached to one of the supporting posts of the sun canopy. As the receiving line got under way in the background, I waited for the right moment to capture a similar scene to the photo, bringing together memories of their love story with moments on their wedding day, and a few bonus glasses of champagne!
As couples get ready separately, sometimes they will choose to send each other gifts, or a letter to read before the main event… this one makes me laugh every time I see it!
Guy had sent Beth a letter, written on some hastily found scraps of paper. His message on the covering page simply read… ‘HOLY F**K! 😊’. As Beth opened the letter she started to laugh and dropped the covering page onto the floor. It fell perfectly into a little pocket of light. I noticed this out of one eye as I was looking through my camera at Beth’s face with the other! I stood up, and grabbed the shot. It’s an example of a totally real, pure documentary moment, and most importantly it sums up the humour and love between the bride and groom!
I have a lot of people to thank, firstly, the couples who trusted me and invited me to capture their weddings, who laughed, partied, cried and danced (sometimes all at the same time!). Capturing your stories and all of those moments of emotion is what documentary wedding photography is all about.
Then there’s the incredibly supportive photography community I am part of, the photographers who inspired me, pushed me, helped me, told me to just keep doing what I was doing, gave me a kick up the arse, and supported me in ways I didn’t even know I needed – absolute bunch of legends. My family and friends too, I absolutely could not have done this without you.
Winning awards is humbling, encouraging and bloody amazing, don’t get me wrong – but I’ve also had such a fantastic time doing it. Check out my review of 2022 for some more of my favourite photos from this year!
Don’t worry, now I’ve basically won an Oscar I’m not going to become Billy Big Balls, I’m still just your mate Phil, there to tell the story of your day in my signature style. I’m going to keep building on the successes of this year and pushing to grow as a photographer. I will always think creatively, break the rules and dive into the centre of the party!
If you’ve been part of my story, or have welcomed me as part of yours – thank you again, it means the world to me to be able to do the job I love and yeah… I’m officially pretty damn good at it too, I suppose!
Party on people, see you in 2023!!