One of my favourite things about my job is getting to know passionate small business owners and finding out their story. i.e. what led them to the wedding industry… It’s not always straight forward!
For Kaz from Confetti Coast Photography, her journey into the wedding industry came through being made redundant from her IT job as Quality Manager, where there was no creative outlet. She and her husband Vince bought a clapped out VW splitscreen campervan (Sleepy Jean) from Oregon, which they had restored, and they started Vinnie’s Vintage Vehicles in 2013. “VWs hold my heart and fulfil my passion for all things from the 1960s when we were born” explains Kaz. They now have a fleet of classic 1960s VWs comprising two campervans and three Beetles. The business has seen them frequent popular Hampshire wedding venues, including The Tithe Barn in Petersfield, Southend Barns in Chichester, Tournerbury Woods Estate on Hayling Island, Three Choirs Vineyard in Wickham and Skylark Golf & Country Club where they are suppliers.
Kaz always loved dressing the vehicles authentically, the excitement of driving bridal parties to their weddings, and capturing real emotions on camera. Some of her favourite moments were (and still very much are) driving brides and their dads, and witnessing such intimate moments. “I always feel a connection with those moments, having had a close relationship with my own dad” says Kaz.
After encouragement from fellow wedding suppliers who recognised her photographic skills and passion for weddings, she took the plunge and invested in training with top photography academy, Trained Eye.
“I think it was always meant to be, and I’d like to think that my late dad had some divine intervention in directing me along this path.” explains Kaz. “When I was growing up, dad was always shooting on film, buying me the latest new-fangled cameras, and proudly showing cine camera footage from family holidays on a makeshift projector screen at home.”
During her training, she learnt much about the technical side of photography and the editing process. Kaz also second shot at real weddings with some of the country’s top photographers. Wedding photographer Faye Cornhill was one of the academy tutors and Kaz went on to join Faye’s creative business collective, The School of Happiness. “In a world full of amazing new creative entrepreneurs, finding your voice and uniqueness is essential” says Kaz. “Faye’s coaching really pushed me out of my comfort zone which opened up my horizons, and in turn, helped me find my own identity and the courage to pursue my photography dreams”.
I love how all photographers have their own style and things they look for on a wedding day. If I ever renew my vows, I’d have at least 3 photographers with different styles to capture the day, and I would definitely be up for standing knee high in seaweed at sunset to get that spectacular once-in-a-lifetime photograph.
Finding her Niche – Intimate eco Coastal Weddings
After completing her training, it took Kaz a while to find her niche in the photography market. “I felt some pressure to shoot in a popular light airy style, but I love the colour and texture of nature, and the drama a stunning sunset can bring to an image. I also have huge respect for nature, so seeing the damage that’s happened from plastic pollution, I vowed that I would give something back through my photography.”
“It’s also really important for me to involve my (grown up) children by involving them in what I do, so they help out on weddings and wedding fairs. We even get out samples of that ‘awkward to talk about’ microplastic at wedding fairs to highlight the issue.”
“I’m not pushy with this stuff, but if we can encourage couples to have healthier ethical alternatives to balloons, glitter, and single use plastic items, then that’s a big win for nature and ultimately humans. There have been huge leaps forward with actions to reduce plastic consumption in daily life, and if we can encourage couples to see this through to their wedding day celebrations, then this will have a massive impact. ”
Kaz loves to capture the blues and greens of coastal landscapes, so bringing the coast into her branding was natural for her. She has always lived near the coast, loves fresh air and spending time at the beach (as we can tell from her passion for VWs). Equally, she loves vineyards, barns and the stunning South Downs countryside. Her definition of the coast is not literally on the beach, but more the diverse strip of coastal land along the south coast.
For her wedding fair displays she uses natural oak planks, twisted willow from her garden, and natural, nautical props. Recycling and reusing as much as possible is important to her for obvious eco reasons, but it also gives her that creative outlet she’s always harboured.
When editing, she spends hours working on the skies in her photos. She tells me she wants her photos to look almost like paintings, rich with detail and interest.
Eco is a big part of Kaz’s brand. She puts a lot of emphasis on reusing items and for couples to hire instead of buy. She also strives to create natural things such as her daisy confetti which she recently shared on her social media. She picked daisies from her garden, dried them out in the sun, added lavender and rose petals and popped them in a recycled cardboard box. So simple!
Kaz works a lot with The Final Straw Solent, and gives back by photographing beach cleans and other amazing work such as the Final Fat Fish for them on a voluntary basis. She also goes out on beach cleans when she can and creates and shares documentary art to highlight the problems with beach litter and the harm it does to marine life. “I really hope one day all the shorelines of the world become free of marine litter” says Kaz. “It really saddens me that my grandchildren have this on their beaches. When I was growing up in the 60s all we found were rock pools teaming with tiny fish and crabs”.
A percentage of Kaz’s bookings go to Surfers against Sewage for the awesome work they do to protect our oceans.
‘I didn’t know that…’ facts!
– I’m photographing Amy & Sam’s wedding at The Boat Shed, Portchester next year! (I’m still pinching myself).
– My ideal couples are surfers with windswept hair!
– I adore CHEESE (the cheddary type, definitely not cheesey smiles).
– Also adores Rhubarb Gin, ShihTzus, driftwood, sea salt, beach huts, chai latte, and Thermos flasks.