The Inspirations: Lisa Devlin

Gareth & I joke that we should change the name of The Green Room to The Lisa Devlin Room in honour of her services to guest posts! I’m always so thrilled when Lisa offers her insight into something as she’s just like me with her advice – to the point, honest and practical.

With 20 years as a professional photographer under her photography ninja belt, Lisa has got to be the perfect candidate for an Inspirations interview right? She runs the phenomenally successful Photography Farm, sells PhotoShop actions, shoots weddings all over the country… oh and she’s the 2011 British Journal of Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year. NIIIICE!

You’re no stranger to The Green Room, but just in case anyone has been living under a rock for the last 6 months, can you introduce yourself?

I am Lisa Devlin from Devlin Photos a UK based photographer mostly shooting weddings. I don’t remember ever not owning a camera of some sort… My Dad was a keen photographer and over the years bought me all sorts of cameras including a disc camera with tiny negatives in a wheel to a polaroid that spat out instant stickers. I have just always been completely fascinated by the process of taking photographs. For my 18th my parents bought me my first SLR which was a Minolta because it had the best review in Which Magazine. It was a great camera, the kit lens had a macro switch and I loved getting to grips with it.

I ended up as a music industry photographer for around ten years, working freelance for record companies and magazines. I travelled a lot and got to photograph lots of celebs from Eric Clapton to East 17. The first wedding I shot was for my agent in 2000 and though I was initially reluctant to do it, I totally and utterly fell in love with the whole shebang and set up my wedding photography business.

What is it about shooting weddings that you love? I mean you gave up shooting rockstars for them so they must be pretty special!

Before, I was working with a lot of pop stars who got to be treated like royalty every day of their lives. Some of them were amazing to be around and their talent could be so inspiring. Others who were maybe the most demanding were not necessarily the most talented and after so many years in the industry I was feeling somewhat jaded.

When I shot that first wedding, I got to photograph an everyday girl becoming a princess for the day and to put that story into images was so much more exciting for me. I think the two genres crossed over quite a lot though… I never had much time with an artist and was often in a pressured situation with just one chance to get The Shot. I had to think quick and be creative in all kinds of locations and lighting situations. Whether creating a story for a magazine or for someone’s wedding album, you need to have an eye for detail and an ability to build a rapport with your subject pretty quickly.

You’ve been a professional photographer for 20 years. Let’s lay it all out there – why do you think you and your work has stood the test of time whereas so many others have fallen to the wayside or their style of photography has fallen out of favour with brides & groom’s today?

Maybe its because I have maintained a genuine love for it. It can be hard work but I feel blessed to have found a vocation that I am truly passionate for and maybe that is evident to potential clients. I see other photographers who have been doing it as long as me moaning all the time about new photographers, or the recession, or blaming other external sources as to why their businesses are failing but I think it’s good to be challenged and not get set in your ways. I find new photographers incredibly inspiring and I love seeing what my second shooters have come up with. People haven’t stopped getting married because of the recessi