Capturing the moment
"My drive is knowing that I get to capture moments that will help people remember a special day. I don’t know which photos people will treasure, and for what reason, but I know they do because they tell me afterwards."
Visit the testimonial section of photographer Ruth Atkinson’s website and you’ll find nothing but joy. The kind words from couples who have recently got married and had their special days documented by Ruth are proof of her skill. “So, so glad that we could have you as our photographer…no one else would have done anything like you, both on the day and the final product. We cannot thank you enough!!” said Helen and Robin Sweet. While Becky Barsellotti said, “I couldn’t have asked for a better photographer! Ruth was nothing short of fabulous. She captured so many moments on the day and took notice of all the little details.”
These could be the glowing reviews of a veteran photographer with decades of events under their belts. So it’s even more inspiring when you know Ruth is a self-taught photographer who’s just four-years into her career.
If you could do anything…
After achieving a first-class degree in English Language and Linguistics, Ruth was unsure about a career in teaching, a popular choice amongst her peers, and struggled to find a job when she was unsure about what she wanted to do. “I remember a friend asking me during my final year of university, ‘if you could do anything, what would you choose?’” says Ruth. “My response was that I would love to be a photographer, but I had no idea how one starts or if it’s possible with it being such a saturated market!”
But like many creative people who are unsure about how to get going, it was someone who believes in them that got the ball rolling. “My journey started 4-years ago when my sister asked me to take some photos at her wedding. Following that a friend from university asked me photograph his wedding and then various other people asked. Word of mouth began to spread so I decided to set up a website and Facebook page and took any photography work I could whilst working in a coffee shop. A year later I managed to go full time!”
No easy day
With support from her husband, Ruth weathered a difficult first year that saw her investing heavily in the business while also learning the more administrative, but no less important, sides of running a business. “The start-up costs of buying all the equipment was quite overwhelming. I made a £5000 loss in my first year because of it! If I had been single or living alone and relying on my own income at this point, I wouldn’t have made it. It can be quite lonely working from home and trying to figure out how to run a business from scratch with no previous experience. I found some workshops that were European funded and specifically aimed at creatives which were great for helping me think about marketing and finance, but also provided a way for me to meet other creatives in the area.”
Making timeless memories
Despite the high-pressure nature of her job, Ruth relishes the opportunity to help people document their special days. She’s even found that her role sometimes goes beyond photography. “It is such a great feeling being able to help people relive special and emotional moments. In my work, as a woman, I often find when spending time with the bride in the morning that I can play another role of helping her feel calm and confident – putting her at ease during the build-up of nerves and excitement. I’ve helped putting on the dress, I’ve helped put earrings in, I’ve sent my assistant running off with a bridesmaid dress to try find a shop to take a security tag out which had been left on. I love that I’m part of hundreds of peoples wedding days!”
Learn more about Ruth and her business: