Hi all and welcome to my new blog. I've been super busy over the last few months with gorgeous weddings at The Rochford Hotel near Southend, Hedingham Castle, the stunning Prested Hall in Kelvedon and Butley Priory in Woodbridge, Suffolk. There are going to be some fantastic sneak peeks coming up so stay tuned!
Over the coming months I shall be developing my new blog series involving different aspects of the wedding industry from flowers, cakes, and music to the brides and grooms reflecting on their own wedding days. I’m certain you will find these posts insightful and will help to provide great guidance for couples who are organising their wedding days. If you would like to be involved and have a great story to tell, then contact me!
Today’s blog is going to be something a little different. It’s all about ME!
Whilst developing this new blog series I’ve had loads of ideas about how to move my business forward and make it more dynamic and interesting, then I had a “light bulb” moment. There are three things that customers look at when booking a wedding photographer. 1: Their photos 2: The cost (packages etc.) 3: Who is the photographer?
When I got married 8 years ago, I never met my photographer; in fact I couldn’t even remember his name. When I started capturing weddings myself, I made a conscious effort to ensure all my customers knew who I was, and I knew all my customers! Sounds simple doesn’t it, however you would be surprised at how many people have spoken to me about their experiences when they got married, and how even on their wedding day professional people in the wedding industry did not know their customers name and vice versa. On every wedding booked with me, I conduct a personal consultation. This means couples get to know me, and get to tailor the pictures they wish for the big day. I have always wanted to make my business customer focused, and I want couples to feel comfortable with me. So………….let me take you through a brief history of Dale Zimmermann Photography and the man behind the lens. Enjoy!
It all started on March 31st 1978……….that’s right one day before April fool’s day. My parents Glynis and Mick were proud as punch (of course why wouldn’t they be!) My first memories of my childhood were of my first house in a little village called Wix, near Manningtree in Essex. I loved this house, especially the garden, which was ENORMOUS, and the Tree house my Dad made for me, even though there was not one Tree in our garden! I attended Spring Meadow primary school which I loved. I was a spotty lanky lad who loved sports especially running and swimming and I was actually quite good, regularly running for the school in the local sporting events. I am also still friends with some of the students that I attended with!
When I left high school I attended Suffolk College and graduated with a Media and Cultural Studies Degree course. I loved this course as it incorporated two things I loved……film studies and being creative with TV and Video production. This was of course before the days of digital media with Cameras. Like many graduates I had no experience doing anything so when I left, I of course didn’t go into anything I studied for! Typical isn’t it. You spend three years of your life doing something you really enjoyed, and now the difficult part……WORK!!!
However, anyone who knows me will tell you that I love technology and one of my first memories as a youngster was of the top loading video player my parent’s had. That was home entertainment at its greatest! I can recall this was my first glance of movies which I love, and I’ll go to the cinema whenever I get the opportunity! The creation and imagination in film fuels my interest and artistry in photography, and gives me new ideas for wedding shoots, so anyone planning a Star Wars wedding, I’m your guy! I would like to say that with age, my taste in movies has matured, not so! I love all kinds of movie's, however several will always be my favourites………The Goonies, Jaws, Superman the movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the future to name a few. As you might know these movie's are from a particular genre which encapsulate the themes of light and love over dark, and all that is good in humanity. Perhaps this is why I love being a wedding photographer as weddings are the epitome of the commitment to love and capturing the moments on these days is a great privilege.
I have worked since I was old enough to do so, starting off on paper rounds, and assisting to local butcher, and then moving onto summer work doing baggage handling for cruise ships and baling straw and hay for farmers but my first “proper” job was with a clothing retailer. If anyone has worked or works in retail then you will know that it can be really hard graft, with working weekends etc. but there was one specific reason why this job was special to me……this is where I met my wonderful wife, Laura! Retail wasn’t really for me, and I moved onto a couple of different roles in the following years, however in 2003 I applied to work for an emergency service, and to this date still work there, but this is only part of my story……
Laura and I were married at the stunning Crondon Park wedding venue, Essex and like a lot of weddings, the day FLEW by and before we knew it we were sitting around the pool on our honeymoon in the baking heat of the truly amazing country that is Thailand! In the following weeks we received our wedding photos and my reaction was….they are nice……just nice. I didn’t at one point go WOW look at our wedding photos! These “okay” photos were distributed amongst friends, and so began the journey of taking photos for other people and prompted me to spend a bit of our wedding gift money on a Canon 450D – A DLSR camera…..and this was the beginning of my photography career, don’t worry, I didn’t spend it all, Laura got the boots she wanted too!
(One of the happiest day of my life)
I am a self-taught photographer. I learn best by doing, and for 12 months after my wedding I took my new camera out and took photos of everything, perfecting my skills with landscapes, macro work and the business of capturing photos of people. In this time, Laura and I discovered that we were going to have our first child which I was over the moon about and when he arrived we found were approached my numerous photographic business’s asking if we wanted pictures done of our child. The prices of these photos appeared to be remarkably high with very little product at the end of it. Despite reservations, we did have a couple of shoots with some of these photographers and we did encounter a few things. First : On one shoot they “photo shopped” my sons face so much he looked like a porcelain doll and it didn’t even look like him Second : Another shoot he had a bogey hanging out of his nose, they said “we don’t Photoshop anything!” I then decided I could do a much better job of it and took some photos of my own, which were infinitely better.
(My first EVER photo shoot of my eldest!)
(My first "official" photo shoot)
A friend saw these pictures I took and said to me “would you take some photos of my friends’ children for a gift?” I have never looked back after this moment and I began to build my skills and portfolio as a photographer. Things then took a remarkable turn when several people I worked with were getting married and asked me if I would take some photos for them. My first wedding was just an evening shoot, and I got paid in burgers…..sounded good to me (unfortunately I cannot offer this to customers today)! I learnt so much from these informal jobs, not just about camera settings, but more about how to interact with people on their wedding day to get the best and most natural shots.
Things progressed swiftly and in the following 12 months I captured 3 or 4 weddings for friends I worked with, they then recommended me to their friends and so by the power of word of mouth advertising, my second vocation has progressed to a professional level, and over the last few years my photography and business has grown from strength to strength. I have never been so busy and it is all thanks to you that I am getting more and more enquiries which is fantastic.
(Here are some of my first wedding photos I ever captured)
So what are my plans moving forward? Well this is where things are going to change and develop. Several projects are in the pipeline that I will be telling you about in my new blog series, Essex wedding photographer: The Wedding series. These new projects are going to involve other wedding vendors like florists and DJ’s and I also have some exciting interviews with two of my previous brides and grooms sharing their experiences of getting married, so do stay tuned for that.
With so many photographers out there, I know that it is difficult to choose who will capture those special moments for you, whether it is a portrait shoot, or a wedding. I think it’s important that you know who is going to be involved in your event. A wedding photographer in particular will be around you all day, and it’s integral that you feel comfortable with them, and most important for you to know you can communicate easily with them. I am far from a shy person, however there will obviously be times when the photographer needs to “stand back” and let things happen rather than set it up and the candid shots can sometimes prove to be the favourites. A photographer should merge into your wedding day and bring out the best moments for you to keep and enjoy for years to come. I love this job and it’s my passion to provide the best service, with the best photos possible, and most of all, be me.
Thanks for listening and I shall see you all soon.