I thought I should end the ‘An interview with’ blog series with a post where you awesome people ask the questions, because I can’t interview myself right?! Thank you for all the lovely questions I have had sent in, it has been really fun to go through and answering each of them for you. I hope you find the answers helpful, and if you spot your question included please feel free to share.
I want to say a big thank you to every vendor that was involved in this blog post series, it has been really fun to put together and learn more about all of your businesses!
Essex wedding photographer ‘Gemma Giorgio’ answers your questions:
TELL US YOUR STORY
I fell into photography by a happy accident. I was studying A Level Art at Braintree Sixth Form and for one piece of coursework I was able to experiment with photography as a form of media and I loved it. My beautiful sister modelled a lot for me in the beginning whilst I was getting to grips with how to use the camera. Around the same sort of time I also joined a photography club, one at my sixth form and one in the local community (this is where I met my now awesome second shooter Laura, we were easily the youngest members!) to help advance my skills.
From then on I knew I wanted to study photography further so I went on to Colchester Institute and did the 1 year Art Diploma where I specialised in photography and got to learn more about working with studio lighting, developing film in the dark rooms (this was great fun!), making pinhole cameras and more. Alongside this I was beginning to get asked to do shoots and asked how much I would charge. It was at this point that I realised, I could make a career of it if I could generate sufficient work!
Whilst I was studying I was also working part time at Costa Coffee (I loved making the patterns on flat whites!) to help pay towards car costs going to and from Colchester. This is where the next part of the story happens as one of my regular customers who was also a wedding photographer at the time offered me a second shooting job and this is where my love for weddings started.
Back to Costa, on one random coffee shift the photography club teacher from Braintree Sixth Form popped in and asked what plans I had work wise as a vacancy had become available. I got offered a job in the photography/website department at the school. I will be forever grateful for all the knowledge I learnt in my short time at the school. I learnt how to make websites from scratch (challenging and frustrating at times!), Lightroom, Photoshop, InDesign, photography studio setups, and much more!
I worked at the school whilst slowly building my photography business in the evenings and at weekends. I began filling my diary with as many second shooting opportunities I could get, as I knew I wanted to shoot more weddings. A few years into my time at the school I switched to a partner school where I became part-time. I set myself a goal of booking in 12 weddings for the next year to be able to leave my part time job. I had my notice written and handed it in when I got to 13 weddings.
If you’re wondering, ‘why didn’t you go to uni?’ The honest answer is, it really wasn’t for me. I love my family too much and it would have been to hard move away. I am also a neat/clean freak so the thought of living with messy house mates would have driven me mad. I just decided to get as much experience as possible in the wedding industry and it all worked out in the end!
Fast forward to now and I get to work with 20-30 wonderful couples a year, photographing their wedding days. I have met so many amazing souls through the wedding industry and made life long friends. I am forever grateful for how my story happened and so thankful for all the support I have had and continue to receive.
WHERE ARE YOU BASED AND WHERE DO YOU COVER?
I am based in Braintree just off the A120, I cover mainly Essex and Suffolk weddings but I do travel further afield.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE SHOTS TO CAPTURE ON A WEDDING DAY?
That is a tricky question as there are so many elements to a wedding day that I love to photograph. Here are some of my favourite moments to capture and why:
During the couple photos is where I can be most creative which is often why I find it so much fun. Capturing the special moments between newlyweds is just such a great part of the day to be involved in.
I adore photographing all the bridal details, from dress, shoes, jewellery, perfume, invites and more. All these little bits help to tell the story of the day and they do make for gorgeous photographs.
I know I just said bridal details but just details in general, throughout a wedding day there are often so many small thoughtful items that mean so much to a wedding couple and I love photographing these.
Confetti is always a fun one to capture, often a mix of facial expressions. Many a time confetti has flown into the bride/groom’s mouth which makes for a funny photo. There is always so much joy and often lots of colour in these photos which is probably why I love them so much.
The moments in between. When couples allow enough time on their wedding day to mingle with their guests it can create opportunities for beautiful candid photographs. The more weddings I photograph the more the love for these types of photographs grows.
I could carry on listing many more parts of the day that I love and it would probably end up being a bit from each part of a wedding day so I will leave it with those 5 moments above :-).
HOW DO YOU HELP COUPLES FEEL MORE AT EASE IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA?
From the outset, I try my hardest to help couples feel comfortable and at ease with me not only as a photographer but as a friend as well. I believe the more relaxed around me you are the more likely you will look and feel relaxed in the photos.
Currently, with my full day wedding photography collections, I include an engagement session. This is a fab opportunity for couples who are a little shy/uncomfortable in front of the camera to see first hand that it can be a fun experience. This also means come your wedding day you would have essentially had a practice run stepping in front of the camera, therefore, removing any worries you may have about being photographed on your wedding day.
One of the common trends I have noticed in the feedback from previous clients is that I helped them to ‘feel at ease’.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
That is a really interesting question because I think the answer will be different from whoever you ask. Some of the key characteristics of a good wedding photographer that come to mind are:
Calm – wedding days can be stressful for the wedding couple, having someone who is calm on the wedding day can really help.
Patient – being a photographer is essentially waiting for ‘the shot’ so having patience is so important. Sometimes you could be waiting for the shot that never happens and sometimes it does and it is beautiful.
Friendly – I like to think of myself as an extension of the wedding party and that my couples could see me as a friend on their wedding day. I always strive to go above and beyond for my couples and for them to know that I am always there for them even when it’s not photography related.
Organised – this is an obvious one but so important. There are so many details us photographers need to know before the wedding day so being organised is paramount. I love the planning meeting I do with my clients 1 month before the wedding, getting all the final details helps the couple and myself to feel more organised.
Creative – photography is such a creative skill so being creative is one of the most fun parts about being a photographer. I love it when couples put their full trust into me because it sets my creativity free.
Hard-working – wedding days are long, so being hard-working is a given.
APART FROM WEDDINGS ARE THERE OTHER THINGS YOU LIKE TO PHOTOGRAPH?
I enjoy photographing my family, I am lucky to be an auntie to 4 girls and 1 boy and they are always changing. It is so lovely to look back and compare the photos over the years.
WHEN ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED?
Now that is a good question! The answer would be when I get a ring on my finger ;-), although I am in no particular rush for wedding bells at the moment, it will happen when it happens!
HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL CAPTURING SUCH A SPECIAL DAY FOR A COUPLE?
Such a mix of wonderful emotions, to be honest probably all emotions!
Buzzing – end of the night high on the dance floor.
Nervous – morning butterflies, they say nerves are a sign that you care, and that I do.
Excited – when I see how beautifully styled everything is and how wonderful it’ll look in photos.
Happy dance – when a couple secures the date (yes I have done this!).
Sad – I have cried during speeches/first dance, weddings are emotional and sometimes some things hit a cord.
Anticipation – waiting for moments to unfold.
Stress – when parking at the church is very limited (learnt that it’s great to have a space reserved!)
Love – getting to do what I do and capturing beautiful wedding days for wonderful couples.
I am always so grateful and thankful to be able to be a part of couples wedding days it means so much that I get to do what I love.
WHAT WOULD YOU DREAM DAY BE AND WHERE?
I have always said it would be amazing to capture Olly Murr’s wedding, I know he is not currently engaged but can you imagine?! Putting it out to the universe, Olly if you need a wedding photographer ;-)!
OUTSIDE OF PHOTOGRAPHY WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO?
If you follow me on Instagram you may already know some of these!
A few years back I got into calligraphy after going on a course and I still love it now. At the moment I am working on improving the bounce in my letters. I am also working on my brush lettering which is similar to calligraphy in style but it is done with a brush instead of a nib so it uses different pressures.
I have always enjoyed painting with watercolours, there is something quite therapeutic about mixing the colours and how they blend in water. I particularly enjoy painting flowers and floral wreaths.
I used to love ‘Gardeners World’ as a kid, do you remember the program? Now that I have my garden I love gardening. There is just something about being outside and seeing everything come into flower. As well as gardening I really enjoy getting new house plants!
Family is so important, so spending time with loved ones is something I really enjoy, even if it’s just sitting having a cup of tea in the garden or going for a short walk.
I have dipped in and out of yoga over the years but this last year I have got into it more and I have noticed it has been helping my health and general well being. I have recently been trying out some hiit exercise, it is good but it is hard!