Ever felt awkward as soon as someone holds up a camera? So many of us have. And that’s why I adore Louisa Jones’ approach to photographing people. She wants her couples to feel at ease and awesome, because that way it will show in the photos. Today we chat to Louisa of Louisa Jones Photography about relaxing in front of the camera and how she helps her couples to achieve this. She also reveals the best spots for photographs around her local area of Geelong, what she finds so rewarding about being a wedding photographer, and how she prefers her couples’ wishes to be paramount (instead of forcing a particular style). Over to you, Louisa!

Where are you based?
Geelong, Victoria

What do you love about where you live?
It’s bigger than the towns I grew up in, but it’s not too big. I love being in proximity to Melbourne with its urban architectural and cultural treats and on the other side access to the natural beauties of the surf coast and the Otways.

What are the best photo spots in your city?
It really depends where the wedding or portraiture takes place. Tell me what your vision is and we can just about make it happen. Just don’t say snowy mountains! Geelong’s region covers beaches, marinas, vineyards, paddocks, rolling hills, and bush. There are a lot of hidden little spots that are underused and I’ve yet still to take advantage of them.

Do you work closely with any other local wedding vendors?
Yes, I’ve met a lovely lot of venue managers and celebrants, cake makers and florists. I have worked with the fabulous Lainie Brookman Couture for many styled shoots and weddings.

How long have you been a wedding photographer?
Eleven plus years. I just get younger and younger.

Why did you become one?
Bitten by the love bug. In all seriousness, I love photographing people. What’s a better time to photograph them when coming together to celebrate a friend/family member’s best day of their life?
Tell us about your studio…
My studio is part of a shared artists’ space in factory 21 Newtown – think bohemian – but not traditionally as we all shower…  My studio space is number 3 and it has no door handle on the inside. Yep, I’ve been there five years, who has time for a door handles…

How would you describe your photography style?
A combo of candid, relaxed, arty… but basically, it’s about the client. I’m there for the client. If the client is after something specific I’ll do it. Within reason. I won’t go under water, I’m not a swimmer.

You also do fashion photography. Has that helped or influenced your approach to wedding photography in any way?
Not really.  Fashion photography and wedding photography requires completely different approaches.  Fashion photography is controlled and time can be taken to get the right shots, and it really isn’t about the people.

Wedding photography is about the people. Whilst there is a point where I can choose the right spots for the family photos and bridal photos, much is out of my control. Especially because I’m relying on the weather and time constraints. Ideas can change instantly, there is only one take for the ceremony. Much of the day is photojournalistic. It’s a matter or working in the moment for the right angle and lighting. Realistically it’s mainly about family and friends coming to together to celebrate the couple’s’ commitment to each other.

You say that photography is a two-way street. When you’re feeling awesome, it will show in the images. How do you get your bridal couples feeling awesome, especially if they’re nervous or camera shy?
It’s a matter of being relaxed and presenting a calm experience myself, which is easy when I love taking photos. I think it’s definitely a personality thing as well and being there for the couple. If you are feeling a bit camera shy or worried, I’m more than happy to chat and meet up as many times before the wedding to get used to me with my cameras. I do recommend if you are a bit nervous to definitely book coverage for getting ready as it gives you time to get used to me flitting around in the background taking photos.

How early should a couple book you in?
As soon as you decide and lock in a date. There are usually two particular dates per season that seem to be the most popular and I do get several enquiries for the same date quite often. The earliest I’ve been booked has been two years out. I’d advise more 18 months to one year is most typical.

Do you travel for weddings?
Yes! I’ve travelled as far as Palm Cove in Queensland to take wedding photos. I will travel anywhere in Victoria. I’ve been as far as Bright, and have a wedding in Halls Gap later this year.

What have been your favourite weddings in the past year?
Oooh, so many!  All my couples are amazing, I must say I do love the ones where my couples have their pets involved.

Is there any part of the wedding day you enjoy shooting the most?
I love the dancing at the end where people are relaxed and chilling and all the formalities are done. However I also love shooting around a beautiful location with the bridal party too.

Best wedding venue you’ve visited lately?
Hmm, all of the above? I do have a special place in my heart for King Parrot Cottages in the Otways.  I’m a sucker for rainforests. I just adore the place. And then there’s Lorne just down the road, of course.  The ultimate wedding destination for elopements. I also love a bit of the Mt Dandenong mountains and surrounds. Did I say I love forests?

Name three things you find rewarding about your job…
The people I meet, the rush I get when everything looks so beautiful, and the resulting photograph.

And what’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m half Italian. My dad emigrated from Italy. However I look more like my mum who is fourth generation Irish.

Thank you Louisa for sharing your story and photography philosophy with us today. I think it’s so wonderful that you can adapt your style to cater for what your couple wants. That takes true talent and dedication to your craft (and client!). Thank you also for sharing a small sample of your extensive work. What beautiful images. I’m sure they are treasured by the brides and grooms in them. To find out more about Louisa and see more of her wonderful work, head on over to the Louisa Jones Photography website or check her out on the Polka Dot Directory.

Images courtesy of Louisa Jones Photography
Headshot courtesy of Kerrie Manly Photography