Cris Lowis is one of our longest-standing members and is primarily a wedding photographer in Staffordshire.
Hi Cris. Thank you for taking the time to chat.
Tell us a little about your journey into photography.
I think like a lot of photographers I started out as a hobbyist. By chance I’d been talking of buying a “big camera” for a while. Then I went on holiday to Cyprus and kept chatting to a family. It turns out he was a pro photographer and he gave me advise on what gear to buy when I got home.
After trying to teach myself I discovered some online forums such as IPPN which helped me learn the basics, I then built a shed in my garden which became a home studio for kids portraits. In time I started to second shoot weddings, then to shoot my own weddings before making the jump to full time.
Do you have a studio or do you work from home?
The home studio is now back to being a shed and I have a small studio in Stafford.
Do you attend training courses or workshops? What area of photography would you like to improve in?
I’ve attended a lot of workshops over the years. Professional training is key, along with lots of practice. In November 2015 I attended 9Dots which is a workshop/gathering hosted by the best in the world such as Ross Harvey, TwoMann, The Chrismans and other amazing wedding photographers. My objective is to really start developing my creative vision a little more.
Alongside that I’m striving hard to develop the story telling and documentary side of my wedding photography.
What do you feel are the good points and bad points to being self-employed?
Well the good points are being in charge of your own destiny and the ability to shape your business as you want. Its great to see success that comes only from your own hard work rather than that of a large marketing team.
Bad points include having to very carefully manage your money, particularly during the winter when there are less weddings. There is also a constant worry about weather or not next years work will come in, its tough out there!
What equipment do you use and why?
I shoot mostly Fuji and I also use Nikon. I have 2 XT1 Fuji’s with 16mm, 35mm, 56mm and 90mm prime lenses. All of which are superb even the 35mm which is getting a bit old now. I also have a X100T which has a fixed 23mm lens. I easily shoot 50% of a wedding on this camera.
I favour the Fuji kit for a number of reasons; they are lightweight (great for long wedding days and having three or four weddings in a row), the colours and image quality is superb, and having an electronic view finder is a massive benefit that saves editing time.
The Nikons are D750’s. An excellent camera with massive dynamic range. I have a variety of lenses for the Nikon but often use them for wedding portraits when I use the 70-200 and also flash work in the evening when I use the wider zooms.
Why do people hire you, what is your unique selling point?
People book me if they want a super relaxed approach and this is something that is continually mentioned in the thank you cards.
What advice would you give to people starting out in the industry?
Invest in quality training, network as much as you can and set realistic prices. By this I mean don’t underestimate that a business has running costs. The X amount you earn per shoot or wedding is very different from the profit you’ll take home when you go full time.
How do you split your time between photography and administration?
I have a time table that I try to stick to but I always make sure I do a few hours admin per week or else it just mounts up.
What do you like to do on your days off?
I like to spend time with my family and work on my VW van.
What is your favourite food?
I really love Thai food!
Tell us a little about your involvement in IPPN.
Ive been with IPPN since it first set off and have won numerous awards and also come runner up in wedding photographer of the year and studio photographer of the year. Its a great forum, I’ve made lots of friends and also been given a lot of great advice.
Thank you for your time and its been really interesting to hear about your journey so far. You’re very welcome, thanks for asking me.
Wishing you all the best for the future.
Cris’s Contact Details: