Female Photojournalist Now Shoots Weddings

Copyright Shiralee Swan

The Enquirer Photojournalist Now Shoots Weddings

I’ve changed my genre without a change of style.

After working for The Enquirer Newspaper as a Photojournalist for thirteen years. I was looking for a new direction as I didn’t want to go to another Newspaper or News Agency.

After a couple of weeks of chatting things over with my husband, I realised that I still had my passion for getting a great pictorial story, so I wanted to continue working.

I made a few lists of what I really liked about my past career as a Photojournalist (News Photographer). Without boring, you too much here are my top five.

  1. Meeting people.
  2. Getting the story.
  3. People watching.
  4. Telling a story with photographs.
  5. Travelling to different parts of the country.

My list didn’t point me in the direction of landscape or wildlife photography!

Royal British Legion – Brentwood & District Branch – Service to the Community

Brentwood Mayor

Without having to change anything, I can tick all of my boxes by being a true Photojournalist but the story that I will be documenting in photos will be a wedding, win, win.

  1. Meeting people. – The Bride & Groom along with all of their families.
  2. Getting the story. – Documenting the buzz and excitement of a wedding day from Prep through to the evening.
  3. People watching. – I love to people watch that is when I can capture all of the joyous little moments that not everyone gets to see.
  4. Telling a story with photographs. – Documenting the story of a wedding day in photographs.
  5. Travelling to different parts of the country. I love to get out and about and there are amazing wedding venues up and down the country.

Now the business plan…

This was going to be a big step for me as I had always been a  Photojournalist ‘Staffer’ which means that I was employed by the Newspaper and not self-employed.

My priority was to build myself a website. I have a good working knowledge of WordPress and a couple of friends who are very good with WordPress.

What takes the time is writing all the copy for the site.  The ‘About Me’ page I found hard as I didn’t really know how much couples would really want to read about me? I  did some research…

Looking at things as if I was looking for a Journalistic, Documentary-Wedding photographer. I found it funny/odd how many wedding photographers have on their ‘about’ page that their Dads gave them their first camera when they were 8 years old! What!!

Would I care that someone had a camera at the age of eight… No

I hope that you have read my About page. Do let me know if you think I should add anything else. I feel it is more about my photographic style now as a true documentary wedding photographer than anything else.

The first website was done and up, fingers crossed that Google starts to index it. I wasn’t too good with Social Media, still not really but as a new business, it’s a must-do, apparently.

I’m keeping everything the same. I am @ShiraleeSwan on Instagram, and @ShiraleeSwanPhotos on Facebook as I set a Facebook page up when I was at the Newspaper.  I now have no access to that email as the company has gone hence having to add Photos to my name.

Designing Paperwork

Wow, there is a lot to this, before I get going. It’s all good business foundations for me to build on. First logo design as this will be on my website, as well as all paperwork. Again I have used something that represents me and my name, including a Swan.

Google and Social Media start working

We are now in 2020, I have a few meetings with couples who have the faith that I will be able to photograph their wedding in my storytelling journalistic style. Because I am just starting out in the Wedding industry my wedding portfolio isn’t very big.


Need I say more…

Weddings are being moved to other dates, which was horrible for the couple as they picked the date for their wedding on the day they did because it holds meaning for them. One of my couples wanted to get married on the Brides late Mothers birthday, sadly that wasn’t to be.

I am pleased to say that I was able to move dates for my couple’s not just once but a couple of times for some, 2020 and 2021 were unbelievably stressful times for couples trying to get married, all because of the COVID restrictions.

Charlotte and Sam’s wedding was at Blue Bell time at Milling Barns in Buntingford, Hertfordshire because of the COVID restrictions they were only allowed fifteen at their wedding. You can read the story of their wedding here

Offering the very best service

One more little thing before finishing this post. I will only be taking on a limited amount of weddings as I want to offer my couples the very best service I can, I don’t want or need to be run ragged shooting weddings every weekend. I want to offer my couples that little extra to be here for them if they need a chat.