Four years ago Mark Feakins was facing redundancy at Sheffield Theatres after a 20 year career in the arts.
Confronting the dilemma of many people across the country of what to do next, he turned to what had started as a hobby, photography.
And the switch from spotlights to flashlights has paid off to an extent that he has been voted the Best Wedding Photographer in Yorkshire for the second year running.
Mark, who created Sheffield based Marmalade Photography, said: “Winning the award last year was amazing, because I had only really set up my business a couple of years before.
“But to win again is astonishing - I am chuffed to bits! Especially as the award is voted for by brides and grooms and then a judging panel look at their scores and comments and assess the photographer who has given the best service to their clients across the year. I much prefer this sort of award to an anonymous panel who look at a couple of photographs and chose the ones they like best - this really means so much more.”
His business, Marmalade Photography, is based on his passion for creative photography.
Mark, aged 45, of Cruise Road, Nether Green, trained as an actor before going into theatre management and becoming executive producer at Sheffield Theatres where he worked alongside artistic director Sam West.
A management restructure was the prompt for a change of career direction, but one that still required creativity.
“In many ways I had reached the top of the tree. I had had enough of the theatre and wanted to do something else. Photography and was something I enjoyed.
“I did some training, wrote a business plan and got some experience of doing weddings and I absolutely loved it.”
Mark used years of experience running theatre venues and producing theatre shows to help brides and grooms make the most of their big day.
“Weddings are very much like putting on a show, and my experience of putting on plays and musicals in the West End, on Broadway and across the country has really helped me to work with the brides and grooms to make their special day a hit! My photographs are a mix of traditional charm but also creative fun and relaxed informality, which has helped me build my business quickly in the last few years”.
At the same time, Mark has not totally forsaken the theatre, although this time it is purely as a hobby. He directed Sheffield Teachers’ Operatic Society’s performance of Christmas Carol at the Lyceum last November and now is he is preparing for Our House at the same theatre from November 12 to 16. “It means I can do it for fun,” said Mark.