COLIN Jones' world almost fell apart when he lost his job after 25 years' service with the same company.
He was made redundant from Leach Colour in Brighouse, where he headed up the digital print section.
But a brave decision to stride out on his own has paid dividends.
Three years after the redundancy blow, he's back on top of the world after picking up one of the UK's most coveted awards.
Brighouse-based Colin has beaten off stiff competition from some of the best photographers in the country to become the Kodak Wedding Photographer of the Year 2006.
"It really is a fairytale. I just can't believe it," said Colin, 47.
"Three years ago I was devastated after being made redundant. Then I realised there was no point in sitting around feeling sorry for myself.
"I just had to dust myself off and start again. My partner Lesley and I decided to invest the redundancy money in our own business - Waterhouse Photography.
"I have worked in the printing business most of my life, so picking up a camera was second nature to me.
"I studied at college for four years.
"Now our business is growing fast. We covered just 11 weddings in our first year – and this year we'll do 39.
"The redundancy turned out to be the boost I needed and the prestige of becoming the Kodak Wedding Photographer of the Year will be hard to match."
Colin, who runs the business from Ye Farre Close, Brighouse, picked up £1,000 cash, plus £1,000 cash for the bride and groom.
Wedding packages cost between £900 and £1,600.
His stunning photograph of four young bridesmaids dancing in a field captivated a panel of top photo experts at Kodak House, in Hemel Hempstead.
International photographer Richard Dutkowski said: "Colin's picture was exceptional. He has captured a quite compelling moment in time and he fully deserves this win."
Bride Adele Daly, who lives with her husband Paul in Cain Lane, Southowram, said: "Colin truly deserves this win - he made our big day very special."