January 22nd, 2014 | Julia Braime
She’s a relative newbie to the wedding photography game, but we love to support emerging talent here at Brides Up North and what Brides Up North Featured Supplier Cat Topham lacks in years, she makes up for in skill, personality, fun and life experience. Here she showcases some images from her most recent wedding, and lets us into her world. Oh, and she’s running a pretty cool competition too… read on!
Let’s say hello.
How did you get into wedding photography?
I think my journey to being a wedding photographer has been pretty unique! I started out like lots of little girls desperate to ride horses for a living and despite best advice from my parents about getting a ‘proper’ job that’s what I trained to do from school. After realizing I loved it but my dad was probably right (damn!) I decided I ought to do something more worthwhile, so I bounced around a few sales jobs in search of my career and eventually ended up in the Army. I was lucky enough to be selected by the Intelligence Corps, although my dreams of being a female James Bond were quickly shattered with report writing and briefings it suited me well as I never was that military and shouting at people and standing in line never really was much my style! Two operational tours of Afghanistan later and I realized I’d become a bit jaded dealing with all the bad things in life on a day to day basis. I thought I was pretty handy with a camera and I knew that photography could give me the flexibility to spend time with my friends and family which was important to me after being away from home so much over the past seven years. So I set about becoming a photographer…
Why wedding photography specifically?
Because weddings are happy! I knew I wanted to be a photographer and over all the jobs I’ve dipped my toe into it was always the people that made them what they were, good or bad. So I knew I wanted to photograph people. I also wanted to do some proper training, as being good at what I do is really important to me. I found a company called the The Trained Eye who provide top quality training for budding wedding photographers and over the past year I’ve been lucky to train and work with the best wedding photographers this country has to offer.
What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?
There’s so much effort goes into a wedding and so many smiles and emotions to capture, the photos are the main memory of the day. I get to be the person who gives that to the couple and the family, it’s great.
How do you get couples to relax on the day?
I’m pretty relaxed myself (once described on a school report as horizontal!) and that’s a great place to start. I hope that by adding in some fun and creativity to the photos and making an effort to get couples involved with that as much as possible keeps people at ease. It’s always easier to be relaxed when your involved and you know what’s going on then when someone’s just directing you about the place I think!
Are you married? Tell us about your day.
I’m married to a fantastic Yorkshireman called Paul. We had a super relaxed and fun weekend at the Bivouac in Masham in October this year. We wore jeans and tweed and had an Autumn theme. We are both keen cyclists and our friends put bike bells with special messages around the service making it really personal and special. Our families organized a pumpkin lantern competition for the afternoon, which meant that the Yurt we had was decorated with glowing lanterns made by the guests in the evening. I still can’t believe how much effort people put in and how involved people were with the day (and how much dancing we all did). We wanted a special weekend with our friends and family and that’s what we did and what our family gave us, staying in log cabins and wood fired hot tubs to relax in on Sunday just topped it all off!
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
You could say that being pretty new to the game is a negative point but I currently count it as one of my greatest strengths. I really care about every couple and getting it right for them and I’m still excited about your ideas and bringing them into my photography. I also have a lot of life under my belt and have worked with a really diverse range of people, all that really helps with weddings, which are usually full of a huge range of friends and family!
What can a couple who book you expect on the day?
Firstly I will be around all day. I will be the last women standing if that’s what you want. Beyond that I’m not too in your face, I will just be about the place having fun with your guests and capturing the day. We will take as much or little time to do your portraits as you would like and we will have fun whilst we do it! Crucially before and after the day you can expect the same thing, great service is really important to me, start to finish.
What is included in your "package"?
I only have one package because I like to be upfront with pricing. It includes an engagement shoot, full days coverage and a lovely album (also made in Yorkshire). You will also get all the photos in a gallery and on a USB. Your family and friends will be able to download them as well. It’s important to me to include all the photos for you to share, making people pay for them separately is liking asking a chef to cook you a meal and then watching him eat it himself in my opinion!
Can you give us an idea on price?
Yes of course it’s £1,350. There’s extras you can add if you want as well but that price covers everything you should get from your photographer.
Anything new on the horizon for you?
I’m going on a course in January to learn how to make my own albums. I love the albums I currently supply they are fantastic but I’d love to offer something really one off. I got the idea at my own wedding from the information folder in our log cabin at the Bivouac. It was made of wood and held all the information for the area. It was clearly handmade and I thought what a fantastic way to display wedding photos. I hope to be up and running with this in 2014 and would love to hear from couples who might be interested in it as an idea
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or see more examples of your work?
And what about this competition…?
I’m running a Facebook competition to win my full wedding package, normal price £1,350. All you need to to enter is post a photo of yourselves on my facebook page along with your names and wedding date!
As my photography is about capturing fun and emotion the more of this in the picture the better. The more effort in the photo the better, but no professional shots though please! If you have read the interview you will know a bit about me and my photography so feel free to try and impress me by making the picture speak to me personally. I will pick my favourite a month from now (22/02/2014).
Click here to enter.
The wedding must be in 2014 and in the Northern region. Judge’s decision is final, no cash alternative. As an extra bonus anyone who enters and doesn’t win will get 10% off a booking with me anyway, whatever the date of their wedding, so 2015 and beyond! Just post a picture to claim the discount.
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Former lawyer and bride to be Julia founded Brides Up North in 2010 with a chip on her shoulder. Frustrated by the poor Northern presence in glossy bridal magazines and online, she decided to do something about it herself. Astounded by the rapid growth of her blog and brand, Julia now manages Brides Up North’s online content alongside their busy wedding exhibition season, industry events and related commissions. And she’s always, always, got a new project on the go…