From education to employment

Photography tutor snaps up top industry award

John Alderson

A County Durham college (@bishopcollege) photography tutor who has covered more than 400 weddings over nearly three decades has snapped up a top industry award.

John Alderson said he was “astounded” after being named regional winner of the Wedding Business Awards by a panel of six judges.

The 53-year-old, from Bishop Auckland, who also offers portraiture and commercial, interior and event photography, has lectured at Bishop Auckland College for the past five years and helped more than double photography student numbers during that time.

Since his first wedding photo shoot for a friend aged 25, John has covered a huge variety of venues and locations, from the quirky Nancy’s Bordello in Newcastle to the middle of a field at Ripon, North Yorkshire!

He has also photographed his fair share of stars, including England manager Gareth Southgate, Rik Mayal and Ade Edmundson when they were in Bottom, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer for Shooting Stars, and rock star Frank Turner in concert. John also used to photograph Middlesbrough FC players for the club’s matchday programme.

He said:

“My dad bought me my first SLR camera when I was 13 and I still have it and use it 40 years later. He was a very keen amateur photographer and got me into the hobby.

“I studied graphic design and photography at college and went on to become a graphic designer and photographer for a large local design and print company. After 20 years I left to set up my photography business in 2012.

“I entered the Wedding Business Awards earlier this year and I had to show my work, get clients to give feedback and submit client reviews. Six judges then rated my photography, rang clients, looked at my website, scoured my Facebook page – they really checked me out.

“When I found out I had won the regional award I was astounded. It is an absolute dream come true. I feel so honoured. It has taken years of very hard work to get here, but I am so glad I put all of those long hours in.”

John, who has also been awarded a licentiateship with The Society of Portrait and Wedding Photographers, enjoys passing on his knowledge and vast experience to budding photographers at the college.

He added: “My main piece of advice for students is to live, breathe and dream photography. Make it a passion. If you love photography, making a living out of it becomes a pleasure.”

Natalie Davison-Terranova, Principal and Chief Executive of Bishop Auckland College, congratulated John on his award. She said:

“We are all delighted for John – it’s a richly deserved accolade. The college is lucky to have so many talented and highly experienced industry professionals who bring such enthusiasm to the classroom or workshop, which clearly rubs off on our students.”

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