South West Devon

Behind the Lens with Devon wedding photographer Julie Louise Sum

15 Oct 2018

Julie Louise Photography takes centre stage and details more about her signature style when photographing weddings in Devon and beyond

Image gallery

Image gallery

How would you describe your style of photography?

I capture the day as it unfolds, looking out for moments as they happen to put together a well thought out story of the day. When it comes to couple shots I like to include some scenic photography and something beautiful and unique looking. Those images are the ones that will be on people's walls forever. 

How did you start out in wedding photography?

I started out in wedding photography by buying some second-hand kit in 2010 and I covered many commercial events in Exeter for free to gain more experience behind the camera. I then began to advertise myself as a new photographer seeking experience and offering my services at a lower rate. 

Who are your ideal clients?

My ideal clients are chilled out, friendly people who want to have a relaxed vibe at their wedding. They are always easy going yet they will take their images seriously; they want quality and something beautiful. Usually, they are not 100% keen on having their picture taken but choose me because of my friendly manner and they feel that they will like having me around as part of their day.

Can you choose a picture that encapsulates everything you want to achieve in a wedding photograph? Tell us what it is about this image that you love.

I really love this shot; I took of a couple on the bridge at Bovey Castle. I know it's a distance shot and that you cannot see their faces, however for me it shows how I love encapsulating everything that is beautiful in light and scenery in Devon. Believe it or not, I do worry about showing this shot on its own  as it is a more serious arty type of picture, but it captures all the things I love about photography. However, of course I do closer up images of couples and mix it up with some distant scenic images when I am photographing a wedding.

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Photographers seem to inject a lot of their personality into their work… what are your inspirations?

My inspiration is Louise Sumner Photography and my partner, Graham Warwick of Warwick Photography. I love their use of posing and scenery. 

How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?

People should try to book me at least 12 months before their big day, however I sometimes do have some last-minute dates available. My weddings are always at really random times so you never know, no month is the same.

What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?

For me, the most challenging part is trying to arrange the day for all the right images in a fashion that does not feel too rushed for the couple or the guests, especially when I am working with venues that have a tight kitchen schedule after the ceremony. I try to get this planned out and looked into as far in advance as possible before the day so I can see when certain shots are going to happen and in what part of the day. 

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How can couples help to ensure the best work?

I find that it is really essential that couples listen to the advice I give them on their pre-meet, that we work with the available time on the day in the best way. We often have to work around the weather; if it's not a great day then the priority shots are the couple ones. Group shots we can do indoors if required, however I will always try to prioritise the couple images if the weather is an issue. 

Sometimes I may spot opportunities on the day for images: a sunset, a cool sky, things mother nature create that i have no control over. I won't force anyone to do these but I will always say: "Hey, there's a cool sunset right now, do you fancy going outside because it's only there for a moment?". If the couple are receptive to my ideas it really helps. 

What are the 3 most important questions for couples to ask their photographer, in your opinion?

  1. How many years have you been photographing weddings?
  2. What do you look for when you are taking images?
  3. How do you handle low light situations?

What’s your opinion on the controversial ‘group shots’ – can you give us an example of yours?

I think they are only controversial because people find them boring stood around after a long amount of time. If you communicate well to couples about the amount of time they take up then sometimes they will think twice about providing so many combinations. If I am there all day, there is no pressure to get every combination in the time before dinner is served. 

I think sometimes people don't realise how long it takes. That's why it is so important to mention this in the pre-meet. It's great to have a wet weather plan too and to keep the organising of group shots light and jolly.

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In terms of trends, what do you think is the most interesting at the moment?

There is a huge trend in styled shoots at the moment, photographing brides with wreaths around their head looking solemn. I know it's trendy but i can't help but feel the bride needs to be happy. There is a lot of de-saturated processing happening too; I think that wedding images have to age well. Applying heavy filters to wedding images will not be trendy in years to come, so I am not a big fan of this. 

What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples? The thing you’d most like to communicate to the masses.

Every couple asks me for 'natural wedding images'. My view, in theory, is that any skilled and able wedding photographer should be able to pose couples naturally. The outdated posing of the 1980s really has gone. My only concern is that every couple is asking for 'natural images', to the point where they are not asking for anything else. I think everyone needs to trust the photographer and to think of more questions for the photographer in relation to their style and what they are looking for. 

What’s been your most memorable wedding to photograph, and why?

There have been so many. Most weddings I have photographed have been amazing and had a fun-filled vibe. Quite often I really love ending the night while I am photographing people on the dance floor when people are having a good time. For me, that is always memorable.

One of my most memorable for images would have been Rosie and Lee's wedding, when it snowed at the Lord Haldon Hotel and we had some beautiful snowy pictures. Even though it was cold, they where really up for for being photographed in the snow and it made some really unique images. 

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Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?

Because after everything has been paid for, the wedding images are the one thing you will have left to look back on. No matter how expensive the cake is, no matter how beautiful the dress is, after the big day, the images are the only thing that people will see and they will last a lifetime. 

Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?

I would love to be a wedding co-ordinator or still work in the wedding industry because I love the buzz of a wedding day.  

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www.julielouise.co.uk