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WHY THE HIGH STREET LEFT ME COLD (and what its got to do with photography)

I tried to go shopping on the high street the other day. For two hours I searched. I couldn't find ANYTHING that inspired me. I felt fired up enough to write about it, so apologies for the things sounding a little enthused, but I can’t help it, I’m a passionate person.

To begin with, I will tell you why I decided to go on a rare shopping spree and at the end you will realise what its got to do with photography.

I have recently made the transition to a full-time photographer, which means that every ounce of my being is currently poured into…learning, engaging with, talking about, making lots of…photography. I work really hard for my trade, and it is an illusion that photographers are in this for the money, despite sometimes hefty deposits and print costs. Photographers are often just trying to make a decent living doing something they care about, and why shouldn’t they? I consequently decided that if I was going to work so hard, I was going to treat myself when I’m able to.

So, I decided to give myself a gift and to just buy something that made me happy. I searched around about eight different shops in my local town for that *thing that would make me feel good. It didn’t happen and after the first hour. Nor the second hour. I probably could have told you that it probably wouldn’t happen after the first hour, even if my search lasted six hours instead of two. Wandering through the shops, I became aware that all the materials I touched were cheap, the quality of the manufacturing was below par and the service was impossible to find. I got so bored that I just gave up, thinking to myself that I wouldn't return to the high street to shop again in my lifetime. I even bought a coffee on the way home, which was watery and tasteless. I won't say who made it, but it certainly costa lot.

When I got home and made myself a proper coffee, I wondered why I hadn't found anything. Surely a whole town’s shops would have been able to offer something to my taste, so it wasn’t that. I thought harder and realised that maybe it was because I was struggling to part with my money for something that was slightly (vastly) below my expectations. if I was going to spend my hard earned cash, I wanted to spend it on something that I could invest in. I wasn’t after a jumper that I would be able to pass onto my grandchildren or a piece of jewellery that could be melted down in the next recession. I just wanted to know that my money would be going to someone else that had also worked hard for their trade and whom believed in the product and service they were selling. I wanted to be on their team and I wanted them to want me back.

In my opinion, the high street should feel massively under pressure by the independent businesses and traders slowly building their empires, not the other way round. Chain organisations will never be able to offer what a designer or true craftsman will be able to. I want to shop in places where the sales team know the owners, maybe they have been out to dinner with them, a place where people know their product and they can tell me exactly why its so great.

Now the link to photography…. as I suspect, there may be some out there that have similar thoughts about how you like to spend your money. I’m not saying lets go and live in Portlandia, but you should expect more for your money and know that, when you do spend it, its going on something you really want to invest in. Well, I have those same thoughts as you, which is why every shoot I work on, be it weddings, portraits or events, I do my research. I get to know you, because you are my investor. The outcome is a product that you feel good about, not ripped off, bored or frustrated. Now go come, give me a call, lets get to know each other! I am taking part in a few wedding fayres this year, so for anybody that is arranging a wedding or knows anyone that is, I have carefully selected some lovely fayres that aim to offer something a bit different. Please see the dates below, plus an additional one at Strawberry Bank Hotel:

Sunday 12th April 2015 - Birmingham REP Wedding Fayre at Birmingam REP, Broad Street Birmingham 11am-4pm Sunday 19th April 2015 - Strawberry Bank Hotel Wedding Fayre at The Strawberry Bank, Meriden, Coventry 11am-4pm Sunday 26th April 2015 - Old Borrowed and Blue Wedding Fayre at Nettle Hill, Antsy 11am-5pm (I will be workshopping my Time Capsule Wedding Jar at 11.30am and 2.30pm, so come along if you'd like to find out what goes in them!) At most of them, if you register you get a free glass of bubbly on arrival, so check them out! Thanks for reading x P.S. If anybody has any great recommendations for craftspeople, designers, or just a great sales team, PLEASE LET ME KNOW ABOUT THEM! I can even make sure everyone else knows about their business in my newsletter. Who knows, they might also have that *thing I'm searching for! P.P.S. I still love street photography

Amy-Rose is a Birmingham photographer, specialising in portraits and documentary wedding photography. She works predominantly in and around Solihull, Birmingham and the West Midlands, but will happily travely further afield for UK wedding photography and family photo shoots. Have a destination wedding or a family holiday you would like photographing? Why not enquire to see how her packages can work for you.

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