• Chris Thompson - CRT Weddings

How CRT Came To Be

Updated: Jun 7



I’m Chris, I’m 26, I live in South Yorkshire, and I absolutely love photography! When I was a kid, I always used to take disposable cameras when we went on holiday, and I very quickly burned through the full roll of film. (They were blurry, out of focus and I usually went through the roll on the first day of the holiday!) I was also an avid snowboarder, spending my evenings in Sheffield Ski village (I miss that place), and then time with my father in the French Alps, taking videos on our helmet cams and pictures of the scenery.


One memorable holiday saw me, and my family go to Egypt, and my dad bought me an underwater digital camera. I spent hours snorkelling, swimming down to the corals and trying to get pictures of exotic Sea life! This is where my love of nature and photography started to emerge!


Either camera technology has improved, or I've gotten better at taking photos. I'm not sure which

Flash forwards to being around 20 years old and I was on a trip to Wales. Someone I was traveling with had a DSLR camera and I asked if I could borrow it to take a few photos. Since that trip, I’ve not stopped. I would spend the rest of the holiday taking (bad) photos, but I loved it. 2 weeks after I got back from Wales, I purchased an old Nikon DSLR camera for £50 from a friend. I spent the next 6 months learning everything I could about photography. It took me a while to fully understand the different settings, angles, and styles, but one day it all just clicked.


I started taking photos of the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, and anything I could take a photo of really. I had a small Instagram page, and I was quite content just snapping photos and uploading them. However, a clothing company contacted me to ask if I could take photos of their new clothing line. It wasn’t a paid opportunity, but I’d never considered the option of selling my services, so I did the job. It wasn’t the best shoot, but it lit a spark inside me that made me realise that if I really dedicate time to this craft that one day, I might be able to work for myself.


I did a few small jobs like this before deciding it was time to invest in a professional camera if I was going to progress further. I saved for 5 months and got together £600 (I was earning minimum wage at an estate agent and living alone at this point in my life, so saving was very tricky). I then purchased a brand-new Sony A7II with the standard kit lens for £1200, paying the remainder on finance. This was really the turning point. After that I decided I wanted to really push this hobby and learn as much as I could.


From Journeyman to Professional:


I started offering photo shoots to all my friends, family, and taking photos of everything. Pets, families, cars, musicians, and live gigs. Everything you can think of. I did it, and I enjoyed the process. Around this time in my life, I started a new career working for a bank. At the time I thought it was a great step in my life. However, looking back, it was the first step onto the corporate ladder, and I had no idea what I had signed up for.


I was then contacted by a friend (who was also a photographer) and he wanted me to support a project with him. The project was to create a documentary about an extraordinary man who lived in Sheffield. This man had a brain injury and was terminally ill. His goal was to train his body to fight the illness and we were going to document this.

Over the next 12 months I learned a lot about photography, videography, directing, planning, running a business, communication with the press and assembling a team to help fulfil the project. I really grabbed the opportunity by both hands, and I truly wanted to make a success of it. However, with the project of this size, my lack of experience began to show.


A premier was arranged for the documentary on a very short timescale. It left me with around 4 weeks to shoot the interviews ,and I then had to edit the full 90 minute documentary. I realised very quickly that I didn’t have the equipment I needed to edit such a project, so I spent all my savings on a new computer and a new speaker system. I put together the project the best I could with the timeframe I had, and the premier went well. Around 100 people came to view the full film.

(here's the intro to the doc)


After the premier, the project was picked up by a producer from London. We had different visions for the project going forward, and both had a different understanding around the copyright of the documentary. At this point, I departed the project and donated any income to a charity that specialises in dealing with brain injury.


After I left the project (I had learned about business and project management the hard way), I decided that my passion was photography and not film making. I went back to my roots and created the brand CRT Media (Christopher Robert Thompson media). I made a website; I wrote legal documents that outlined how I would deal with customers, and I even got a business card. I had made it; I was a business owner. (So, I thought.) However, I had no customers! All I had was a snazzy website and a pile of business cards (I was very optimistic, I ordered 500).


Over the next year or so I did a few little jobs here and there, and then I started to find my feet in nightlife photography, working in some different nightclubs around Sheffield, Barnsley and even in Manchester. I was also working with several local businesses, learning how their business operated and the products they produce. This allowed me to take amazing images that represented their brand. Then the pandemic hit. The nightlife work stopped dead. Businesses were closed so no one wanted any photos taking. For around 3 months I just waited. I knew I wanted to be a photographer. My corporate job was weighing heavy on me. We had now moved to the world of home working and zoom calls. Working in that environment for a bank during a pandemic was just as stressful as you can imagine.



I then decided I was going to make a studio at home. I cleared out my back bedroom, purchased studio lights, back drops, product photography tables, product photography lenses and then I set to work rebranding my website to offer remote product photography.

A simple idea, really. A business posts me their products, I shoot them at home and post them back to the client. All covid safe, no need to leave the house and it kept me working on my passion and honing my skills. I did a few small jobs for a while, and then I managed to land my biggest client to date. A company who produces tools needed several thousand tools to be photographed for a new catalogue, all white background photographs. We agreed to split the project into batches of 100. For the next 6 months, my house was full to the brim with spanners, wrenches, and screwdrivers, I had never seen so many different kinds. I worked hard on this project. I worked every available moment around my 9-5 on this job. I started at 6.00 am, finished at 11.00 pm, worked a full-time job, maintained family and social relationships all whilst running a business is hard going. Really hard going. But I knew if I put in the work, I could build a customer base and eventually leave the corporate job to follow my passion.



Tell me this isn't the biggest spanner you have ever seen. also, check out the size of the wrench he's holding.

It was around this time in 2020 that one of my friends was getting married. He had the big fancy wedding postponed, but they planned a smaller ceremony and asked me to be the photographer. I fell in love with the process. It was exciting and engaging. I wasn’t confined to my home studio; I was creative and free. My passion for wedding photography grew from this point forwards. I started second shooting for other wedding photographers at any opportunity I could take. I was still working my commercial business as well and growing both sides. At the age of 25 I decided to not wait around any longer and towards the middle of 2021 I finally took the plunge and left my corporate job to run my business full time. I had shot several weddings at this point, some of my own and some second shooting for other photographers. As well as having lots of commercial customers who would regularly request me to come to their business to take photos.



I spent the latter half of 2021 really building my wedding photography skills, shooting my own weddings as well as working with other photographers at every opportunity I could take. I also developed a new brand website for my wedding business called CRT Weddings. My website has been updated with both brands having their own sections on the site. As well as setting up all the back end of the business to be ready to take on larger numbers of clients, I also made the decision to purchase 2 professional cameras and a whole series of new lenses to help make sure I’m well equipped for the next few years of wedding photography.




And here we are today, a quarter of the way through 2022, I’m running my own business full time and living with my beautiful girlfriend in our own home. I’m managing to keep my work life balance in check too! It’s been quite the journey and looking back at all the hard work I've put in to get here, I can say I'm so excited for what the next few years are going to bring!

My diary for the next 2 years is starting to fill up with lots of amazing weddings, businesses and I have a whole new set of equipment to reflect my growing client base. My business is set up and prepared to handle many weddings, as well as take on more commercial projects. Hard work pays off, and dreams do come true. From snorkelling in Egypt to my own business, it’s been a real journey and one I can’t wait to continue.


If you are planning your wedding or have a business and would like to discuss photography, please have a look at my website crtmedia.co.uk, fill out the contact form and I’d love to find out more about your plans.



Blog Writer - Jon-Jo Armstrong


Photographer - Chris Thompson

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