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An interview with Rose Kemmy

Rose Kemmy is a special and utterly rare blend of talented, modest and sweet so it was an absolute pleasure to ask her about her business ventures and to gain some insight into the mind of a modern day creative woman with a penchant for photography and baking. I spoke to her about Rose & Tristan, a wedding photography business that she runs with her lovely husband and her own solo venture, Mountain Bakery.

When did Rose & Tristan begin and why?

When Tristan and I met, we were both individually already really passionate about making pictures – in fact it was one of the many things that first made us get on really well. I had just studied photography at Art School and Tristan had a lot of photography integrated into his degree as well, so we both had a bit of a background in the subject. At the time we had little 35mm film cameras (Pentax and Minolta, respectively) and loved going out to the beach or the forest, spending a few hours snapping away and getting to know each other.

Over time, we started investing in more and more sophisticated kit, from huge 120 press cameras to crushingly beautiful rare glass lenses. The idea of starting our own business brewed for a while and slowly became a natural pathway for us to explore. We both have really different, yet utterly complimentary styles and events seemed to be where we really shone. We were asked by some friends to photograph their wedding and we loved it, so from there we started our business ‘officially’.

What makes you different from other wedding photographers?

We’re quite different from other wedding photographers in many ways. Firstly we don’t have any set time limit, which, believe it or not, is actually quite radical! We’re really passionate about doing the best possible job that we can, and we’re committed to putting the hours in to make sure we get pictures that blow people away. We are also a really equal team, there’s not really one of us who is the stronger or lead photographer, so the collections we give to customers are always a warm and heartfelt reflection of their wedding day from our dual perspective.

What do you most enjoy about working within the wedding sector?

Definitely the people that we get to meet and the places that we’ve gotten to see. We recently photographed a wedding on an Island in Sweden called Finnhamn and I loved it! Everyone from the bride and groom, to their friends and family were so lovely, the weather was amazing and the scenery was immense. We took some of my favourite photos at that wedding and had an absolute ball doing it.

How do you find working with your husband?

It’s errr, a little challenging at times! We’re both quite strong-minded people and know how we want to go about things, so we have to endeavour to find workable compromises. Having said that, there are many more times where we’re entirely on the same page and we don’t even notice things that some people might perceive as an issue. We both really respect each other’s strengths, which are luckily quite varied. Tristan is amazing at (besides taking photos, obviously) looking after our website, updating all of our software and making sure our kit is the best it can be. I usually work on the more marketing related tasks such as our social media channels and booking us into wedding fairs. I also man our email account and phone so if you contact us, it’s normally me that you speak to.

The biggest plus is that I’m working with my best friend, doing something we both love, and making people really happy at the same time – it doesn’t get better than that.

You also run a successful bakery business, Mountain Bakery, would you call yourself an entrepreneur?

Haha, I suppose so! I guess I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial streak. Right from when I was little I used to set up ‘museums’ in my parents spare bedroom and then charge them admission to come and see all of their worldly goods, which I displayed on numerous stools and chairs. When I was little I also had a go at busking (!) with my limited violin skills to see if I could get a bit more pocket money. I guess I was a bit on the cheeky side but my parents always encouraged me so I’ve always enjoyed having several irons in the fire at once.

What advice would you give to other women looking to start their own companies or turn a passion into a career?

I would say go for it. The only way to see if your idea will sink or swim is to give it a go see what happens. You don’t need loads of money, start small and work with people that you trust and admire.  When things things fail or don’t go to plan don’t let it stop you in your tracks. Take a step back and evaluate constructively. I’ve tried all number of things that haven’t worked out, but I refuse to let it stop me from learning something useful and taking that knowledge with me to what I choose to do next. I think a common problem that women face, myself included, is the internal monologue of ‘but what if it goes wrong?’ You have to learn to be somewhat pragmatic and just quash those feelings with the notion that even if everything does go belly up, you’ll just dust yourself down and start again. No biggie.

Look at your dream competitors and be inspired. Some people see competition as a bad thing, but from my perspective it’s a game changer because it means that you have to keep constantly evolving and making what you do even better. On a practical level, there are a number of sources of inspiration that get me pumped up when I’m having a bit of a flat day. I love to listen to the Design Sponge ‘After the Jump’ podcasts, based on their really successful Biz Ladies column. I also love the book Creative Ink by Joy Cho, which was a good read when I was first starting the mountain bakery blog.

Where can we find you? 

We have a website (www.roseandtristan.co.uk) where there is an extensive portfolio of our work. I also do regular blogs on our site about wedding-type topics from Instagram to shoes. We also do a little bit of social media in the form of our Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/roseandtristanweddingphotography) and Twitter pages (www.twitter.com/roseandtristan).

For those in the east, we have a couple of wedding fairs coming up, the next of which being at the EPD fair on the 12th October at the Ivy House Country Hotel, Oulton Broad. We’re very approachable people, so do come and say hi!

I also blog really regularly and share some scrummy recipes on the mountain bakery site (www.mountainbakery.tumblr.com) and Tristan shares lots of his pictures on his website (www.tristanconorholden.co.uk) and photo projects on his exposure account (https://tristan-conor-holden.exposure.co/).

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