I hope you enjoyed my blog post earlier today featuring Mike and Lucie’s wedding last September.
As promised, here’s a Q&A with the very talented Surrey wedding photographer, Juliet Lemon, who captured their wedding.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
Photography crept into my life without me really realising it.
Back in 2006, I got the opportunity to work in Botswana for a Safari company for a year, (which of course was an offer I couldn’t refuse).
So I left the corporate world, purchased my first digital SLR, a Canon 350D, and off I went!
There I fell in love with the process of taking pictures, which is far more than just pressing the shutter button.
It’s about absorbing what’s in front of you, focusing on all the elements of detail, considering the angles and different perspectives, making sure that what you’re seeing in your viewfinder is exactly what you want to capture, then deciding on the right camera setting to use.
I also loved the challenges behind the photo. Being in the right place at the right time and having the correct camera settings to capture that amazing wildlife moment, such as fighting lions or stalking leopards, where you need to think and act quickly, battling to try and keep a steady hand whilst the adrenaline is coursing through your veins.
The people side of things I loved loads. Interacting with subjects, being conscious not to scare them away with my big camera, working to help them feel comfortable and relaxed to capture a photo with a natural feel.
Using a variety of photographic styles, with reportage and documentary being my particular favourite. Whilst I had been in Africa I snapped away for the love of it, but the positive response I encountered in the UK by setting up The Lemon Gallery, getting my pictures published and winning awards enabled me to see that I could take my passion for photography and turn it into a career.
When did you become a wedding photographer?
This was when I photographed my first wedding in October 2008.
I was contacted by a bride-to-be who lived in Tunisia. She was keen to fly a UK photographer over to photograph her Indian/Tunisian fusion wedding.
We spoke on Skype a lot and she was impressed with my travel photography plus we got on really well. Out of the four photographers with whom she spoke, she chose me!
The two day wedding with a couple of hundred guests was certainly a mammoth task to take on as a first wedding assignment, but I was 100% confident in my camera knowledge, knew that I had good people skills, knew that the photographs would be great, and they were.
The couple, Leena & Montasar, loved their photos and we had so much fun over there. We’re still in touch now and that’s another element of wedding photography that I love, which leads us nicely onto your next question…
What is it about wedding photography that you love?
Keeping in touch with the couples and they become more like friends instead of clients.
Hearing their news over the years, photographing their friends’ weddings and it’s such fun to see them back in the wedding world as guests.
The personal and social interactions continue by photographing the new additions to their families and other occasions that they’re celebrating.
On the actual wedding day, I love documenting the story of the couple’s day through my pictures.
Capturing photos from different angles that their friends are seeing, or occasions in the day when they’re apart, such as being with the bride and her girlies in the morning, or being with the bridegroom and his groomsmen. It’s really great to give those ‘before’ moments to the couple.
I love the challenges of the day, from a technical point of view, working in different venues, in many varied lighting situations and constantly striving to take those ‘wow’ shots.
I also love how wedding photography styles and techniques have evolved since I photographed my first wedding back in 2008.
Different influences and inspirations can be incorporated into the wedding day in terms of both what the couple can bring to it as well as me as the photographer. The variety keeps it interesting and challenging.
Where are you based and what areas of the UK do you cover?
I’m based in Esher in Surrey, photograph the majority of weddings in London and the home counties but can get to wherever you need me to be in the UK, or in the world.
The last wedding I photographed abroad was in in December in Botswana. You can see it on my blog.
How would you describe your style?
Vibrant, creative, eclectic, reportage, contemporary and original with a big dollop of fun!
What is your favourite wedding moment to capture on camera?
Oooooh! Tricky question to answer…
I love photographing the magic of the morning with the bride and her girlies getting ready. The excitement of the day is dawning on them and their nerves are setting in.
Everyone’s milling around the bride, there are lots of giggles, glasses of bubbly flow and then the buzz in the room when we see her in her wedding dress for the first time.
I feel it’s so important to capture the emotions of the wedding and for everyone looking at the pictures to really feel everything from the nerves and tears through to the fun and excitement that happened on the day.
My other favourite moment of the wedding day to photograph is during the reception, when I have a bit of ‘bride and groom photo time’ with the newlyweds.
It really is such a special part of the day because it’s the first ‘alone time’ the couple will have had since they made their vows.
Nattering away like animated children, frolicking and giggling their way around the grounds of the venue, filling each other in on their stories around the day, their ‘loved up’ faces filled with excitement and happiness really is a truly special time and an honour to photograph.
Of course I am there photographing them so they are not completely alone, but they will have got to know and engage with me before the wedding day and also during the engagement shoot, which had taken place a few weeks prior.
This prepares them for what they need to know for the wedding day ‘Walk’ shoot, so I can carry out my job giving minimal direction, allowing them to enjoy being newlyweds together and natter about the thrill of their wedding day.
Having got to know my couples beforehand, I also work to incorporate their personalities into the pictures, and during ‘The Walk’, that is a perfect time to do so.
What advice would you give to couples to help them to get the best from their wedding photography?
When planning your wedding do give yourself plenty of time because the wedding day will fly by at warp speed!
Arrange the morning preparations so they’re done with some time to spare for you to chill with your bridesmaids/groomsmen before you leave for the ceremony.
It really is a magical part of the day to take everything in and by planning and by factoring in this time, you won’t be leaving in a mad dash or be late for the ceremony!
Do allow yourselves an extra few minutes here and there when going from A to B.
Understandably, brides aren’t as speedy and nimble when wearing their stunning wedding dresses compared to their everyday clothes and the additional few minutes that have been allowed will help for things not to feel rushed.
I would advise for the reception, to be at least an hour and a half. This will give you a good amount of time to mingle with your guests as well as a bit of time for photos.
Do pull on the venue and your photographer to get help with planning the timings of your day, having had many weddings before, they’ll be able to give you valuable gems of advice that will be of real help to you.
Your careful planning will ensure that the day runs smoothly and you have the time to enjoy your incredible day!
(Image : Juliet Lemon)