portrait photographer

Love is Love

Hi guys and gals! 

So I'm officially back from my days off with the other half - did you miss me??

I've had five brilliant days together with my wonder-man, Rob.  We celebrated his 21st... ahem, 37th birthday, spent a day playing computer games (both massive geeks!), had a wonderful night in Brighton, a day at Moors Valley Country Park, and a day at Compton Acres.  Side note: I can't wait to do my first wedding there in March!!

So what's the reason for this post, I hear you all ask?

Well, when we were in Brighton, we got to walk hand-in-hand and watch other same-sex couples doing the same - it was truly heartwarming.  Brighton was the first place where we shared a night away together back in the early dating days.  Before we came home, we were stood at the Victoria Square fountain, I was taking a photo and Rob tapped me on the shoulder - a couple were meeting there.  What's so special about that you might ask?  It was two young guys, one was waiting by the fountain as the other approached, they immediately went to hug and kiss one another, and then the guy who was waiting by the fountain took the hand of his partner and span him around - it was the most romantic scene I have witnessed in a very long time. 

When we got home, I was going through the photos on my computer and looked through the photos from our civil partnership back in 2011 - there was probably a maximum of 50, all taken on the phones/compact cameras of our guest as we didn't hire a photographer (doh!) - and it got me thinking... Mainly that I wish we'd had a photographer that day, and about how much it means playing that part in another couple's special day.

I know I bang on about this all the time lately and it's probably driving some people nuts - I'm sorry (not sorry) - but I mean this, that it would be everything for me to be involved in another (or many) gay couple's wedding.  I've had two wonderful years of photographing so many beautiful couples with many more to come, but I'm still waiting for the day another gay couple book me as their photographer. 

I've tried many ways to attract more same-sex couples to RGW PHOTOS, and almost got there with one.  So I've put my thinking cap on again. 

I would like to offer a FREE couple's shoot to all you gorgeous gay guys and girls - how's that for aliteration!  You don't need to be getting married (just yet!), but ideally be planning it in the not-too-distant future.  

What do you get?

  • A free (yes, FREE!) photo shoot with me
  • All the photos lovingly edited by me
  • An online gallery to view, share and download all of your photos
  • One mounted 10x8" print of your choice from the shoot

Ideally the shoot will take place in the Bournemouth area, and all travel will be covered, but if you want to do the shoot somewhere else, all I'd ask is for a contribution toward my travel. 

If you're interested, get in touch, I would love to hear from you!  You can email me at: richard@rgw-photos.com - message me on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/RGWPHOTO - or just give me a call on 07533 401199. 

Until next time, 

R x

Collaboration - It's good to work with other businesses.

Starting out in the wedding industry is so easy... said no one, ever! 

Two years of blood, sweat, tears and a lot of frustration later, and I can finally say that things are starting to come right in my little world as RGW PHOTOS.  I jumped in head first thinking it would be an easy ride to a flourishing business and an easier life - and I was a fool to think that way.  There have been many instances where I've been asked if I do it all myself and the answer is, YES.  There have been an equal amount of instances where people have asked if I ever assisted other wedding photographers, before I went it alone, and the answer should have been yes, but it was, NO.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  Sound familiar?

I had quite a lot of confidence and belief in myself at the beginning, constantly telling myself that one will lead to another - which technically it did - but the reality of it all doesn't always match up to what was in my head.  

After putting it off for the last two years, I've finally started to make a concerted effort to network with other small, local wedding businesses.  You might wonder, 'why didn't you do it sooner?'.  Good question.  The answer is, I have no bloody clue!

Not all other wedding industry folk/businesses are as forthcoming with useful tips to point you in the right direction.  Which is the most bizarre thing.  I don't personally know their reasons why they are so resistant (I've got my theories), but the truth is, there's not always a lot of support from business to business. 

Until now. 

A few weeks ago whilst doing my regular trawl through Facebook, I came across a page for wedding businesses like my own called Build Your Wedding Business With TWE.  Since joining the group I have met up with and organised styled shoots with three other businesses - Love by Design - With Love From  and Granny's China Cupboard.

Love by Design is a local venue decoration business run by Rachel, based in Christchurch near Bournemouth.  

With Love From is a florist catering for weddings and other occasions, run by Natasha and based near Bournemouth. 

And Granny's China Cupboard is a vintage china hire business run by Vicki, catering for weddings and other events, based in Canford Heath, Bournemouth. 

I've since done my first collaborative shoot with Rachel from Love By Design at a local bridal boutique, Chameleon Bridal Boutique, where Rachel will be dressing the windows each month.  I've attached a sample of the shots we did.  Tomorrow we'll be getting together again for another shoot, this time on the beach near to Boscombe Pier, and working along side Natasha from With Love From and her beautiful floristry!  Keep your eyes peeled for a follow-up blog on that. 

I'll be writing a blog featuring these wonderful wedding businesses, each one will showcase the shoots we'll be working on together.  This is more of an introduction for them, there will be plenty to follow, I assure you. 

My main point is, there are others out there who are in the same position as you are, who are more than willing to help you out.  Even if it's just to meet up, have a coffee and a chat about what you're up to.  At the end of the day, you don't know where these chats might lead and who will be willing to lend a bit more assistance than you first expected.  They're not all know-it-alls who hit the ground running.  I'm a firm believer than business breeds business, and if we're all a little more open to helping out someone else, we all stand a chance of growing and becoming a success. 

Until next time,

R x

Mads+Nate+Bump

I know that not every photographer likes to give discounts or run competitions, but I'm not every photographer.  I quite like doing things a little bit differently to others. 

Michaela was a recent competition winner, for the contest I ran just before Mother's Day.  She was given the prize by her sister-in-law, Beth, who was also my second bride back in November 2015.  I love to do my portrait shoots outdoors, so they can really embrace my documentary style, and also, so those I'm photographing can have a more relaxed and enjoyable shoot. 

Anyway, I'm digressing slightly.

We talked about the shoot, and Michaela had decided to have a family-cum-maternity shoot.  Bonus!!  I've wanted to do a maternity shoot for a while now, so two birds with one stone and all that.  Mads was a flower girl at Beth's wedding and Nate was just a little cutie/page boy.

Letting kids be kids, allowing them to act the fool and tell you to "take that photo upside down" is just wonderful.  Most people react to a camera by freezing up and smiling weirdly, and it's no different for kids.  So we talked nonsense about dinosaurs and space hoppers, running around like lunatics and jumping up to the clouds on their trampoline.  The rest is history, and the photos will be treasured.  Word to the wise, watch out for my next contest. ;) ;)

Here's a selection of my favourites.

Until next time, 

R x

Happy Anniversary... to me!

Wow! Its been two years since I officially launched RGW PHOTOS and set out on the most exciting journey to becoming a professional photographer.  It's been a crazy and fulfilling time, with lots of blood, sweat and tears at times - I know for most that's a clichéd expression, but I mean it.  

I've gone from cautiously being persuaded to photograph a wedding, to being a portrait photographer, a family photographer, a volunteer photographer for Julia's House (which has led to me working with celebrities including Julian Fellowes and Martin Clunes) and so many weddings since and still to come.  

There were times I almost managed to convince myself that it would be an easy ride - and is a very common misconception from an outsider's perspective - before being smacked in the face with just how bloody hard it ACTUALLY is to start, and maintain your own business.  It's a tough realisation to get used to and one that doesn't always taste as sweet as some would have you believe.  True to my nature as an Aries, I'm a stubborn old goat - figuratively and somewhat literally - and have managed to stay the course.  The rewards are most definitely there, especially when handing over a body of work to your client - their expressions and kind words are all you need. 

Last year was the most difficult without a doubt, and at one point I came very close to throwing it all away after my Dad's cancer diagnosis.  Putting on a brave face around others that are celebrating life and love, whilst one of your most treasured family members are suffering massively is quite a challenge, and one I nearly succumbed to.  But I'm not a quitter.  The one blessing that comes out of dealing with cancer, is a new found appreciation for life and those who fill it.  Everything else becomes a secondary notion.  If anything, it's made me want to work harder to succeed and reach my goals.  

So I guess I just want to give massive thanks to everyone who has been a part of my journey so far, you all mean so much to me (even though you may not realise it), and I'm thrilled to have been a part of so many special moments in your lives - a true privilege!!!

There are too many people to thank, so here's a selection of my favourite moments from 2015 to now.

Until next time, 

Richard x

Lana - 7 Months

I first met Gina and Daryl at the beautiful wedding of Kristy and David back in April 2016.  Well now they have a gorgeous baby girl, Lana, and I recently had the pleasure of doing a little photo shoot with them. 

From the moment Lana laid eyes on the camera, it was clear to me that she was a natural.  True to form of such a youngster, it can also be a little too much after a short time - I mean, a girl needs her milk bottle and a nap.  When it comes to photographing young children, you have to allow yourself some extra time and just go with the flow. 

Just like my wedding photography, I like to keep my portrait shoots as natural and relaxed as possible, allowing them to have a documentary feel to them - there's nothing worse than those naff, fake smiles and awkwardly posed people.  After an hour and a half, I walked away with a really sweet set of images to work with, and that Gina, Daryl and Lana will be able to enjoy for the years to come. 

And the best news is, I get to do it all over again just after her first birthday, and again after her second.  Lucky me!!

So here's a bunch of my favourites (which wasn't easy to choose) from the first of the three shoots.  

If you're considering a family shoot, please get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

Until next time, 

Richard x