Emotive wedding photography to celebrate for generations - Introducing Natalie J Weddings
Yes, we want your wedding to look good and we want you to look fabulous, but what we really want is for you and your wedding day to feel bloody great. After all, what’s the point of a wedding that doesn’t celebrate love and the fact you’ve found your forever? One of our exhibitors who totally shares that sentiment is Natalie J Weddings, one of our wonderful photographers who feels ALL the feels when capturing your day. We chatted to her about the privilege of being the one to immortalise the emotions of your wedding - and to capture how stylish you and your gang look too, obviously!
A little about your business and you
Hello! I’m Natalie, I’m 36 and a wedding photographer based in Bedfordshire covering London as well as all over the UK and abroad for destination weddings. When I'm not taking photos, I love to spend time with my family. I had my son Danny when I was 18 & have brought him up as a single mum, so it's been a bit (ok, a LOT!) of hard work to get where I am today... but it's been worth it. We live in a beautiful 270-yr-old house & love to travel. In recent years we’ve been to Marrakech, Bali & Malta and we’re currently trying to decide where to visit in 2019. Other things I love include a good cup of coffee, art galleries & museums, beautiful clear night skies, squeezing my 2 young nieces, salted caramel anything, old photographs & rainbows. Karaoke is also a favourite (if you have karaoke or Rockaoke at your wedding I WILL sing!), as well as bingo (yes, really!) and spending time with my family - the older I get the more important family becomes and know one day the photographs I capture of them will become special for generations to come, as I now treasure old photographs of long-lost great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. Photography feels like creating magic, and with it I definitely feel I have found my purpose in life.
In June 2007 I graduated from my photography degree and moved to London where I worked as Studio Manager at ASOS.com and Figleaves.com before I realised how important connecting with individuals and capturing their stories was - one day I followed my intuition to hand in my notice to become self-employed and set up my own photography business. October 2018 saw my 8-year anniversary for being self-employed through photography and to date I've photographed 145+ weddings. Before starting to photograph weddings a little over 5 years ago, my focus was fashion, portrait and commercial photography; with credits including Elle UK, Cosmopolitan, Vidal Sassoon, Tesco & Sweaty Betty. This creative work led me to begin photographing weddings when I realised wedding photography didn't have to be 'formal' but could be told in a fine art, relaxed, storytelling way. Each couple's story is uniquely special and important to me, as I understand how much photographs mean; how much emotion a photograph can evoke. I photograph with love, stomach-flutters, tears and goosebumps.
The coolest/best moment of your career so far
Can I say that right now, in this moment, is the highlight of my career? Everything I look back on is felt with gratitude because each little thing has led me to being who I am today. 2018 saw travel to Paris, Ireland, Malta, Santorini, LA, Vegas, Scotland & Hawaii and I feel EXTREMELY grateful to travel as part of my job! But to note just a few individual highlights would be: photographing some familiar faces of Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Kelly Holmes and artist Antony Gormley who is one of my absolute favourites!; seeing my work printed in countless magazines around the world; having my work featured by Vogue, ELLE UK, Brides; one of my images being included in the Junebug Best of the Best Destination 2018 collection - WOW!; being nominated for the Rangefinder 30 Rising Stars of 2017 and 2018; winning Highly Commended for the Four Counties Wedding Awards - such an honour that I wasn't even at the award evening as I didn't think I'd win; having photographs featured on recognised wedding blogs including Love My Dress, Rock My Wedding and Rock 'n' Roll Bride; travelling to Hawaii, Santorini, Las Vegas, Iceland, France, Italy, Greece and NYC for photography clients absolutely makes my heart sing - that people would trust in MY photography that much to take me to those places. Standing at the Top of The Rock with my eloping wedding couple, looking out over Manhattan with tears in my eyes, the Empire State Building rising majestically, the realisation that THIS is MY LIFE - that is one moment that will forever make my heart burst with gratitude.
Who or what inspires you
Each of my couples inspire me - it's their story that I'm capturing and it feels important that I capture WHO they are and WHAT they feel. Photographing a wedding isn't about me, it's about capturing each guest and each couples's personalities, their quirks and mannerisms. Sure, I get excited by a pretty venue and beautiful light but nothing is more beautiful than what is felt on a wedding day. The most important thing is that I can capture how a wedding day FEELS, that couples feel those wedding day goosebumps every time they look at their photographs for all the years to come.
What do you love most about your job?
The goosebumps; the laughter; the happy tears; the email from a mother saying she's crying at how wonderful her daughter's wedding photographs are; the countless times my photographs pop up all over social media on special days, showing how important it was that I captured those moments and those people; the travels and adventures; the excitement; and most of all, the days I can work from my sofa in my pjs! Photography is so much more to me than just pictures - it's a passion; really SEEING the world & sharing my perception of it; harnessing light & capturing emotion. I have my own Grandparents' wedding photos framed in my living room & it feels special I can now create the same gift for future generations.
What's your top advice for couples getting married?
Simply: 'We want our wedding to be relaxed and fun... and US!' Those are the magic words that I love to hear from anyone enquiring about having me as their wedding photographer. Be it a relaxed garden wedding, a city celebration or a faraway elopement, as long as couples want a relaxed way to celebrate their marriage then I want to photograph their wedding. Couples that understand the importance of photography and feel a CONNECTION with my work - if my work sings to you, then come and say hi!
If you want to come and chat to Natalie in person and feel that connection in real life, grab your tickets on our shop now!