Supplier case studies
Andrew Sansom - ethical wedding photography
Your name: Andrew Sansom
Location: Reading, Berkshire
Tell us a bit about yourself and your business
I became a photographer after 15 years as an accountant. I decided if I was going to work for another 30 years it should be at something I enjoy.
I enjoy each wedding I photograph and this is reflected in the quality of the photos and the level of customer service I provide.
What or who inspires you?
Growing up in New Zealand a lot of inspiration came from national heroes such as the late Sir Edmund Hillary. Although most famous for climbing Mount Everest, Hillary was quoted as taking more pride from the projects he became involved with in Nepal, building schools, medical centres and similar in deprived areas.
As I get older, issues such as equality, peace, poverty, conservation and the environment have become very important to me, so anyone past or present working as selflessly as possible in those areas is inspirational.
What do you enjoy most about running your business?
Waking up in the morning looking forward to work is a special feeling, and is a result of the variety of experiences from the different types of photography I do.
I enjoy being able to make a difference through my photography. This can be anything from capturing the emotions of a wedding, to memories of other events, to being able to help charities through photographing their work.
What is the most challenging aspect?
What do you feel you bring to an ethical wedding?
When you are self employed there is often little distinction between the business person and the private person. "Ethical" for me therefore includes:
- treating every customer, supplier and other business contacts as I would want to be treated
- using work practices and suppliers that are as ethical as possible
- considering the importance of fairness, green/environmental issues, equality, respect, and general ethics in all my business and personal behaviour
Ethical means different things to different people, and sometimes we have to be pragmatic about it, but the key is acting on as many of our "good intentions" as we can.
How do you see the wedding industry changing over the next five years (if at all)?
The industry has changed almost beyond recognition in the past five years mainly due to digital technology. Irrespective of economic conditions, there is far more competition, particularly from part-time photographers, and as a result there is considerable downward pressure on prices.
As professionals we have to educate couples as to the importance of using a professional, and concentrate even harder on "over-delivering" both in terms of quality of work, and in customer service. It isn't enough just to be an excellent photographer. We must have excellent people skills as well.
Whatever happens in the industry, the ideal for any photographer is having happy couples recommending you to their friends, families and colleagues.