Game Changer | Lisa Devlin

[M]ost wedding photographers have one special image that has defined their careers or changed the game for them. For me it would be this shot that won the British Journal of Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year for me back in 2010. It is the reason that I first offered training to other photographers and without it, there would be no Photography Farm. I was curious to see what image some of my photography heroes would choose when asked. So when Professional Photo Magazine told me that they were doing a special edition on wedding photography, I used my monthly column to ask some of the most influential wedding photographers around what shot changed everything for them. I’ll post them in a series, along with what they said about each image.

BJP Wedding Photographer Of The Year

“Picking an image for me, is really easy. This is the one photo that completely changed everything for me back in 2010. I had coasted along really nicely for quite a while but I was starting to feel the pressure of lots of new photographers coming into the industry. I realised that I needed to seriously up my game and one thing that I decided to do was try to win an award. 

When you work solely for yourself the ‘milestones’ are not so obvious and definitely not celebrated by anyone other than you. So I think awards and accolades are a good thing to aim for, just to give yourself obvious goals and to make you feel like you’re progressing. That same week I saw that the British Journal of Photography was running its first ever Wedding Photographer of The Year contest, so I entered with this photo. 

I put a lot of thought into what might stand out to the judges and be in with a good chance. So first of all, I chose a portrait format as I knew that would fit on a magazine page better. I chose this wedding as I figured many of the other entries would be big white dresses in formal settings, whereas this one was very low key but cute. I didn’t think I would win but I did think I could get on their radar. It was a big shock to find that my strategy worked and I was chosen. This opened so many incredible doors for me and, without it, I wouldn’t have Photography Farm and all the opportunities that has brought for me. I haven’t looked at the shot for a long time and really it’s such a simple photo but it also came at the beginning of weddings becoming much more DIY and relaxed than they had been and I think it captured that mood really well.”