Kevin Mullins

Kevin’s images are a breath of fresh air for the wedding industry. Shooting primarily in B&W, his documentary approach to capturing all the special moments that happen throughout an event really brings out the emotion, character and complexity of his subjects. As a leader in the wedding industry, Kevin is not only a photographer to watch, he’s one to learn from.

Kevin uses Zenfolio for all his clients’ online proofing and ordering as well as for creating beautiful slideshows. He loves that his brides can place orders through his site that are automatically fulfilled by a great lab, freeing him from spending hours processing orders and going back and forth to the post office. He also greatly values the mobile accessibility as his work keeps him traveling on a regular basis.

Where were you born and raised? Where have you settled?

I was born in South Wales, UK and lived there until I left for university at age 18. Since then I’ve lived and worked in several parts of the UK including ten years or so in London. Now, I live with my wife and two children in the idyllic Cotswold market town of Malmesbury. It’s a lovely place with lots of history and is a great place for the kids to grow up.

What type of photography do you shoot most often? What type of photography are you most passionate about shooting?

Professionally I’m a wedding photographer. I shoot around 35-40 weddings a year and this is my sole income. I shoot as a wedding photojournalist so I’m very lucky to be able to roam the wedding looking for those special moments to be captured on camera. I’m not shackled by “the traditional” images and I love working this way. I also love shooting street photography and sports photography. I’m an ex rugby player and my “downtime” photography often sees me pitch side shooting games.

How long have you been a shutter releaser? What led you to this profession?

I’ve been a professional wedding photographer since 2008. I used to work in online marketing and digital asset design. When we moved out of London I decided I wanted to change careers and do something that I both loved and that would give me a much better way of life. With my children still young it’s amazing as I can spend as much time with them as I want. Nothing beats being your own boss in that respect.

How has Zenfolio helped your business?

I use Zenfolio exclusively for my online galleries, proofing and ordering system. In the past, I used to spend hours uploading slideshows I’d created, processing print orders, licking stamps, going to the post office etc. When I discovered Zenfolio all that went away and I honestly think having a Zenfolio account probably frees up about 7 or 8 hours a week of my time that I can either spend with the kids, or in other aspects of the business. Having a fulfillment system that I can also access via my iPhone whilst away is really important as I’m out of the country a bit. It really has been a brilliant system for me.

The designs are beautiful and built with photographers in mind. The aim of the website is to show off your images and Zenfolio does that perfectly. The shop is integrated straight into the gallery, meaning people can buy as they browse without having to go through an awkward ordering process (like that which was on my old website). Most importantly, it is super quick to load too!

Tell us about your work flow, what editing program do you use?

I use Photo Mechanic to cull my images, Lightroom5 to edit with a little bit of Photoshop thrown in for good measure. Once my weddings are edited, I use the Zenfolio plugin to simply upload them straight from my desktop. It’s about as simple as it gets.

Do you have brand loyalty for Canon, Nikon or something completely different?

My DSLRs are Canons and I have a 5D Mark III and a 1DX (for sports). However, these days I shoot a great deal of my weddings using the amazing Fujifilm X-Trans cameras, the X100S and the X-Pro1 most notably. For wedding photojournalism they are brilliant cameras that produce amazing images.

What is the best part of being a professional photographer?

Being able to spend as much time as I need away from the job. I can plan as many holidays or projects as I wish. I pick my daughter up from school at 3pm and we can just hang out. No pressure from the boss (well, with the exception of my wife of course :) ). Spending time at weddings has its stresses, but it’s a lovely place to be, with people that are (nearly) always happy.

Are your photography skills self-taught or were you classically trained?

I am totally self-taught and at university studied Computing, Marketing & Economics. I have, however, invested in industry training and continue to do so. There are some wonderful wedding photographers out there who can offer so much in terms of inspiration and advice through their training courses.

What advice would you give a new photographer just starting out?

Be ethical. By that, I mean, don’t take short cuts to simply get bookings. Charge a decent rate, pay taxes, have backup cameras and insurance. Do things right from the beginning and business will be rosy.

What was your first published work?

I’ve had images published in many UK magazines but I think my first one was an article I wrote for Professional Photographer about starting a photography business during the recession. This was back in 2009 and I’m still writing a monthly business column for them now.

What inspires you as a photographer? Or who?

Within the wedding photography world I’ve always been inspired by the work of Jeff Ascough. It was his work that drew me into wedding photography in the first place. However, I also get inspiration from outside of the industry. I recently spent time at the Sebastião Salgado: Genesis exhibition, which nearly blew my mind away. The images are wonderfully crafted, perfectly executed and gorgeously edited. I’m a huge street photography fan too and the works of Eliott Erwitt specifically I find amazing. More recently, the Vivian Maier discoveries have left me in awe of her talent too.

Is there a trade secret you care to share with us?

Enjoy it! Too many wedding photographers seem so stressed by the job of shooting a wedding. Enjoy it. If things are getting stressful during the day – slow down. Stop even. Cameras down, look around and the inspiration will flow again.

What is the very first camera you ever owned?

I’m not a photographer who had a “dad with a Hassy” or anything like that. I think my first camera would have been a Kodak. Something like a Star110. My first “serious” camera was a Canon AE1 Programme (which I still have).

Tell us something about yourself that we would never guess.

I’m a black belt in Judo and have represented my country in the sport.

What piece of equipment or doohickey do you have with you on every shoot?

My Fuji X100S, it’s a marvelous camera. Even if I am shooting sports I take it with me for close action and just shooting around the ground. At weddings I have it everywhere. It’s a delight to use.

Do you have any final words of wisdom on being a first class shooter?

Work Hard! Honestly, I know it’s a cliché but it’s very relevant. I work my butt off, but reap the rewards when I want it. There are no short cuts in this industry. Also, invest in the best you can. From gear to software and great workflow aiding tools like Zenfolio. A small investment often leads to big rewards.

Kevin Mullins

Wedding Photographer, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

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