Several years ago came up with this statement as a tagline, it still really sums up what photography means to me.

Sometimes a photograph captures reality.
Sometimes a photograph captures the imagination.
Ultimately, a photograph simply captures a moment in time.
And then, it lives forever………

I’ve been a photographer just about as long as I can remember. I used to use my old polaroid camera to take photos of my Star Wars models back in 1977, then eventually graduated to a Canon AE1P a few years later.
Somewhere around the mid ’90’s I started playing with studio lighting in my living room. It was rough learning back in those days – you’d shoot 2-3 rolls of 35mm film with detailed notes about the settings on each shot and then wait for it to come back from the lab to see what worked and what didn’t.
In 2001 I picked up my first digital, the Canon D30 all whopping 3.1 megapixels. A few years later I started shooting comercial stock photography, some of which can still be found on Getty Images.

Then in 2008 I retired from my IT job to focus on my photography full time. Rented space downtown for a studio and started focusing on personal projects, model portfolios and commercial photography. I also got bitten by the wedding photography bug at this time.

I’d shot a few weddings here and there but didn’t really think I wanted to focus on that before this time. Then a friend, Dain who would later become my near constant companion and second shooter for almost all weddings, asked me to assist him at a wedding he was shooting at this amazing venue, Dunafon Castle.

Wanting to make sure I did this right I started researching various types of wedding photography and stumbled across the work of Joe Buissink. Joe practiced what was called Wedding Photojournalism and at that time still mostly worked with just film. I was entranced by his work and the idea of capturing a wedding as it unfolded instead of being a choreographer who took control of every aspect of the wedding so that I could get the “perfect shot” for the wedding album. Joe’s philosophy was “there is no perfect shot, just a perfect moment”.

Mark Hayes Photography went on to focus almost exclusively on weddings and wedding photojournalism, but my background in studio work still meant I could bring out the studio lighting on location when needed for those family portraits. Still kept busy, was rated highly and won awards by the AG/WPJA (Artisans Guild/Wedding Photojournalist Association – now seems to be folded into just WPJA)

But then around 2013/2014 I’d have to start phasing out the weddings. I had damaged and abused my knees pretty badly as a younger man and age was catching up with me. Pain was so great I could barely walk the day after a wedding. As the 2014 season came to a close I made the decision to retire from wedding photography, find a cozy desk job, and make photography just a hobby again instead of my sole source of income.

These days I use a cane most of the time to get around, hoping someday to get by without that, but I don’t plan to ever go back to being a professional wedding photographer, but hope to shoot the heck out of friends and family weddings from time to time if I can lose the cane in the future.

Also went through quite a few years (roughly 2011-2015) where I got back into a lot of film photography. There’s just something I adore about the look of film, even more so if it’s on a medium format camera. But lugging that much film gear while walking with a cane is a bit of a hassle, so these days it’s back to a light Fuji digital kit. Still there will indeed be some film galleries showing up on this blog, both for weddings and personal work.

As for this site, while I closed down the official Mark Hayes Photography site, I still wanted something about me, Mark Hayes Photographer. I’ll feature a lot of work from the wedding years and the studio – if only because I’m still immensely proud of that work, but going forward will focus on my personal projects. Maybe if all goes well in a year or two that will include a wedding or two shot as a favor.

While my days of professional wedding photography are over, I can make some wonderful recommendations for your photographic needs.