British wedding photographer Steve Grogan lives in Manchester, UK, in the northwest of England. “It’s a great city, multicultural with a cracking nightlife and big creative community. The people are generally brilliant too,” he quips. “There are loads of opportunities for my kids to thrive in the region when they leave school and college.” Steve’s family consist of his wife, the aforementioned kids (twin boys), and two dogs called called Ozzy and Lars—named after heavy metal legends Ozzy Osborne and Lars Ulrich.
When we asked Steve if there was one lesson he’d like to teach people, he said it was to leave a job that makes you unhappy. “I know that may seem idealistic, and some may scoff, saying it’s from a position of privilege, but I firmly believe that life is too short to stick at a job you hate,” he says. As it turns out, this is the voice of experience. After leaving university, Steve found himself in various office jobs that were fine, but ultimately unfilfilling. About six years ago he finally decided to quit that path and pursue photography as a career. Photography was something he had enjoyed since he was in college in the 1990s. While he still sort of wishes he could be a musician (as you can tell from his dogs’ names, music is a big inspiration for Steve), building a career with his camera has brought him far more happiness and fulfillment than he any traditional office job could have.
Through his work as a photographer, Steve has had the opportunity take action on causes he cares about. “My charity of choice is Chance for Childhood. They work in several African countries to support vulnerable children. I’ve been fortunate enough to volunteer for them taking photos on a couple of occasions in Rwanda.”
He has also had the privilege to be present at pivotal moments in people’s lives. “The single best photo I’ve ever taken is from a wedding I shot about three years ago. The groom was only in his twenties, but he had terminal cancer. I took a photo of him giving his four-year-old daughter a kiss,” he remembers. “Sadly, he died last December. So, while photo itself was nothing technically amazing, it has become priceless—and I hope it provides his daughter with some comfort as she grows up without her dad.”
While Steve openly admits that he is his own biggest critic, we did get him to admit that his evening wedding party photos are some of the strongest out there. “I like to think that makes me stand out from other photographers,” he says modestly.
But he’s not resting on those laurels. Just as when he changed his life by embarking on a career in wedding photography, Steve notes that he is still constantly striving to push his limits creatively. “I try something new at each wedding I shoot. Most of the time it doesn’t work out and never sees the light of day. But when it does,” he says, “it’s amazing.”
Steve Grogan | UK | Fearless since 2016