At Belle Bridal we love championing regional creatives and today we’re thrilled to announce that we’re once again shining a light on award-winning photographer, Ray from Sawyer and Sawyer Photography.
Having already won multiple awards for his wedding images, Ray has topped off his first year in business by winning Wedding Photographer of the Year (Newcomer) at The Wedding Industry Awards.
We talk to Ray about the whole process, what this award means to him and what we can expect in the future from Sawyer and Sawyer Photography…
How does it feel to have won the regional award for Wedding Photographer Of The Year (newcomer)?
“AMAZNG! Winning such an accolade attests to the amount of work I have put in to the business. I closed my design business, Taekwondo Club and Fitness Club and put all my eggs into one basket. The gamble paid off, but certainly wouldn’t have got to this point without a lot of hard work and dedication, funnily enough the motto I used to use as a fitness instructor. Winning the award indicates to me that I’m on the right path. Striving for excellence at each and every wedding is the key.”
Can you explain the process of what you had to go through to enter the competition?
“Entering The Wedding Industry Awards is done by nomination. Once nominated there is a fee to enter. You then need to ask all your eligible wedding clients to vote for you via the TWIA website. All couples whose weddings took/take place between 24.10.17 and 09.10.18 are eligible to vote for you. One vote per couple and only after their wedding has taken place. I love this method as it’s not just a popularity vote on social media, its votes and feedback from actual couples who you have worked with. There is also a judging panel who looks at everything from your couples votes, feedback, website, social media, brand and message. Everything. So you really need to be on point and stand out from the crowd. You even get the couples feedback in January after the national final so you can see what your couples think about you.”
What does this award mean to you?
“The award itself will always be an accolade to be proud of. I hope it showcases to potential new couples looking to book a photographer that as much as 2018 is my 1st full year as a photographer I have the creativity, work ethic, personality and skills to capture their day perfectly. With 38 weddings in 2018 and already 42 booked and counting for 2019 my couples can see the value in my work and hopefully this award helps to ‘seal the deal’ with further future potential couples.”
When did you get the news that you were shortlisted? How did you feel at that moment?
“Voting closed on the 9th October and it was shortly after it was announced who the finalists were. It was a proud moment. I have confidence in what I provide and was confident I would be shortlisted so when it happened it affirmed my belief in myself that I was doing well.”
Did you ever think that in your first year of business you’d win this regional award?
“To win an award of this scale in your first year is fantastic and I hope to enter again next year into the main category. I’m a glass half full type of person, so I always believe in myself but to actually win it, I’m over the moon.”
How did you celebrate?
“Now this is a testament to how hard I work. I came home from the event, somewhere around 11pm, poured a nice glass of red wine and did some work on a wedding, plus work on my website ready for the next day to announce the win. I honestly believe if your willing to work hard you can achieve anything.”
How are you preparing yourself for the national finals?
“As much as I would love to attend the National Final in London it just isn’t feasible this year due to other commitments. I will certainly keep my fingers and toes crossed as my business is put up against the other seven regional winners. Obviously to win the national award would be out of this world and I’d be speechless. Each regional winner has on average beat out 5-10 other photographers for that award so the national winner is pretty much the cream of the crop out of 60-70 photographers from around the UK and that’s just in the newcomer category. I will certainly be anxiously checking the TWIA live Twitter feed.”
You’ve won countless awards for your photos and now this prestigious award, what’s next for Sawyer and Sawyer?
“You can’t rest on your laurels. Like I said earlier hard work will always win out. I’ll continue to push myself to create epic and creative portraits as well as capturing the moments that all brides and grooms want. I love approaching every wedding with the goal of trying to create at least one award-winning image. The awards I submit to every month only select the top 10% of entries each month, so winning an award is always a tough ask so if I can create an award-winning image at every wedding I’ll be chuffed. As the years go on I want to expand with a lighting assistant/trainee photographer I can train and have work alongside me when needed and eventually shoot under my brand for dates where I am already booked and couples are willing to have someone trained by myself capture their day.”
“The name Sawyer and Sawyer comes from the birth of my son Tobias, aged 5. Hopefully in 10 year’s time he will come to the weddings with me and learn the craft. I’d love to be able to provide him with a career when he leaves school. Long way off yet but working with my son/daughter/wife as a family business in the future is the main goal.”
To see more of Ray’s work, visit www.sasphoto.co.uk