First Day of School introduction of yourself…
I’m an alternative wedding photographer based in Nottingham who travels the UK shooting my distinctive brand of non-traditional, quirky, fun, documentary wedding photography for down to earth couples who love to laugh and who are doing things their way not the conventional way. Friends and family describe me as a tad eccentric, which I take as a compliment because I sure as the hell couldn’t bear to be considered ordinary
Tell us what you love?
Cats. Pugs. Animals in general. Olives. Vegan food. Kindness. Watching motorbikes whizz round tracks. Radio 3. Punk, Indie punk, and rock. Victorian novels. Ghost stories. Walking in the countryside. Lying in bed of a morning trapped under a pile of cats unable to get up. A bloody good laugh. Bruce Willis films. The beach at Lundin Links in Fife.
Tell us a bit about your HQ…
HQ is my home, a little Victorian cottage, which I share with my husband Mike and numerous hairy four-legged kids. It’s a mad house with lots of laughter at, quite frankly, the sorts of things five year olds tend to find funny. Most days I’m editing with two pugs at my feet and three cats trying to stampede my knees, or the keyboard, while Radio 3 rocks out on the airwaves.
What made you start up the business?
I trained and worked as a medical photographer before moving in to teaching but I’d always imaged that someday I’d return to photography full time and work for myself. I actually thought of architectural photography, as I love photographing buildings and structures. Never wedding photography. When Mike and I got married we spent much of the time being herded in to groups by our photographer. Wedding photography to me seemed dull. But then about 15 years ago I noticed a huge shift in wedding photography. It had become much more informal and often editorial in style. Wedding photography had changed for the better and it became really appealing to me. When I was at college studying photography I’d get the brief done that was set by the tutors in the morning, then grab a 35mm and head out in to the city to do street photography. I loved photographing people. I decided to quit teaching and set up my wedding photography business in 2006 and I’ve never looked back. I’ve shot close to 300 weddings and picked up a few accolades on the way. I feel so happy when I’m at a wedding and photographing people and the goings on. I love documenting stories. It’s an amazing job to have.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that I get to hang out with cool and crazy people who love life, who love a laugh and then they pay me take photographs of one of the best days of their lives. Result! Oh yeah and going to a shit load of epic weddings every year is pretty awesome as all of my mates are long since married. Mwahahahahahaha!
What makes you unique?
I’m not your conventional wedding vendor; formality isn’t my thing. If I’m not being me I feel awkward and constrained. I believe in authenticity. Me being me, you being you, it’s how I get the fun and creative images I do. By nature I’m friendly, I laugh lots, I love conversations, I bond with people quickly so I frequently get mistaken for a wedding guest with an amazing camera. People are genuinely surprised when they realise that ‘No I’m the wedding photographer. What’s important to me is that I limit the number of weddings I shoot in a year to 20 so I have time to get to know my couples well then when their wedding day arrives it’s like a friend is there and not just the photographer rocking up. I spend most of the wedding day photographing the fun and shenanigans but for a short while we go off and take some awesome portraits, which are always geared up for my couple personalities. I want your images to be about you and not some stylised version of people you’re not. Authenticity rules the day. Authenticity comes from getting to know you and us all being ourselves.
Who is your ideal customer?
Fun and quirky down to earth couples who love to laugh and who are doing things their way not the conventional way, They want their day to flow pretty much uninterrupted and the thought of standing round having groups shots taken brings them out in a rash! They’re all about the fun, the love, the laughter and the party.
What advice do you give to make sure people book the right suppliers for their day?
Try to always meet up with suppliers in person it’s the best way to see if you’ll bond and if you want them to be part of they most epic day of your lives so far. Ask how long they’ve been in business and what their experience is. Make sure you see lots of example of their work. In the case of photographers ask to see printed albums and even a full proofing gallery or two if you have the time to look through tonnes of other people wedding images. Testimonials from past couples, especially recent ones, can be really useful too.
What inspires you?
People who are kind. People who don’t differentiate. People who rise up against adversity. People who have a creative gift and who are awe inspiring. The natural world. Pets!
Projects you are most proud of?
I don’t know why but I feel awkward about feeling proud of things to do with me. The typical thing would be to say the accolades I’ve received as a photographer, that I got a really good degree, or that I’ve been an education officer for the RSPCA but I’m not that typical. I feel proud of other things. I feel proud that I knew my gran. She was an amazing woman. I loved her and I miss her every day. I feel proud I was given the privilege of being with her at the end.
The thing that has made me most proud though was my dog Freddie who died last year. He was to me the best dog in the world and when he died, although he was known to people around our village I didn’t know just how much they loved him too and so many people were sad when he left. I love all my pets but Freddie was magical. One of my friends said, ‘You and Freddie were like this,’ and she crossed her fingers in that attached at the hip kind of way. You can read about him here of you like. https://yvonnelishmanphotography.co.uk/freddie/
What’s your top on the day wedding advice?
The day has arrived. Just breathe. Don’t stress if you’ve forgotten to do something, Honestly! Who’s even going to notice? This is the best day of your life so far. Have the blast to end all blasts. Plus spend on your evening music, the dj / the band whatever get the best and make sure they have epic all singing all dancing lights. Epic music equals everyone dancing and having a crazy time. Amazing lights equals amazing colourful party images. But no disco fog please. Disco fog equates to can’t see a ****!!!!
What makes a great wedding?
Off beat out of the box ideas. Fun happy people having a fun happy time. AMAZING music and lights at the disco / from the band.
Website Link: https://yvonnelishmanphotography.co.uk