Conventional logic would hold that truly excellent photography, like all art, is something that cannot really be taught. But this month’s franchise in the spotlight shows this for the fallacy that it is. With just a few years of experience, the work of a Barrett & Coe photographer can easily rival the work of someone who has spent their whole life honing their art. “The results are phenomenal,” remarks co-founder Andrew Coe. “We have hundreds and hundreds of forms from customers saying what wonderful photography it was.”
The progenitors of Barrett & Coe certainly aren’t lacking in experience of the field. “I’ve had a long history with photography,” explains Coe. “My family firm is one of the oldest in the world; it goes back to 1850.” His co-founder Brian Barrett has also had plenty of recognition for his portrait and wedding photography. “He’s been pretty renowned throughout the industry,””Coe says. “I don’t just mean in the UK – both”in America and across Europe and winning awards in all of those places.”
It was on a flight to compete for such awards”in New York State that the two met. The level”of competition in America provided a stiff challenge and one neither of the photographers could resist. By pure chance they got chatting”on the plane and the subject quickly moved onto how little training was available for wedding photography and portraiture. Coe recalls, “We thought, ‘There really isn’t anywhere that’s training portrait and wedding photographers.’ There was no formal training.” Neither academic settings nor government organisations had any real provisions for training people wanting to become professionals in the field. And this was all it took to spark the Barrett & Coe franchise.
Very quickly, during the first half of the 2000s, Barrett & Coe became a thriving photography franchise. Its roster of franchisees grew to 65 photographers, all of whom were producing”the highest standard of work. “Our franchisees have covered weddings in the most prestigious locations throughout the UK: castles in Scotland, the Savoy, the Ritz and all the places”in between,” says Coe. Rapidly, it became clear not only that the model worked, but that it”was highly effective. “We found it was possible”to train someone who had never done photography before to become a highly successful wedding photographer.”