Fleur and Kevin went on honeymoon in France in 2003. That started the couple off with more frequent visits to France. First they got a house in the Auvergne, where they would go as often as possible for short breaks. Then once they had started their photography business in 2008, they began photographing weddings across France, with the majority in the South of France.
Most of the weddings were couples such as Americans, Brits and Aussies, who fancied a stylish wedding in the sun.
In latter years they have undertaken a variety of commercial work too across the channel, including:
The business was thriving, until the contracts dried up, because of Brexit.
As the producers of visual promotional material, the contractors had to pull together multi-professional teams: caterers, stylists, florists, models, musicians and so on. Everything ran smoothly for a decade of business. There were no controls or delays at borders. No problems of permits to be required. They even bought at house near Lille.
With Brexit contracts dried up
After the 2016 referendum result, with Brexit looming, the contracts began to dry up. They sold the house in Lille. Then covid hit, and in any case weddings in either France or the UK were getting cancelled because of restrictions.
But as pandemic restrictions lifted, they looked again at what this business of promoting French venues would involve. As coming from a third country, British business now has to show a “carnet” with the value of all goods being brought into the EU. Any equipment worth more than £1,500 has to be listed in the carnet.
This is a lot of extra work for professions, like film photographers or music producers, with expensive technical equipment. Such paperwork is an unacceptable extra cost, both in staff-time and fees. Imagine having to fill in a carnet for an orchestra! So just the same as with other creative industries taking their services to continental Europe, this Kent based business had to cease to trade with the French venues for now.
So how is their business managing now? Fortunately they are busy as there is a surge of Kent-based weddings that have been postponed until pandemic restrictions ease. Also they have expanded the business of promoting catering venues, taking advantage of their long track-record of photographing wedding food. So they will be OK. A pity about the loss of an export service that also promoted inter-cultural relations!