January 27th, 2014 | Julia Braime
I adore James Jebson. Not only – as you can see from these images – is this Brides Up North Featured Supplier a brilliant wedding photographer (have you booked him yet?), but he’s also an all round nice guy, doting new dad, friendly face and party animal. Even without all that, anyone who names the tables at their wedding after their favourite shots is a-ok with me… let’s say hello…
How did you get into wedding photography/?
Photography has always played a massive part in my life and having earned my ‘apprenticeship’ from assisting other professional photographers which then led to ‘second shooting’ – I learnt a lot of do’s and don’ts of not only the technical side of photography, but also how to photograph a wedding day in a relaxed and low key manner!
I always had the plan to have two separate photography businesses and after a lot of hard work this became a reality – my wedding photography business, where I’ve captured weddings from Scotland to Brighton as well as my commercial photography business where I’ve been commissioned by companies such as Manchester United FC and Thwaites Brewery. By having two different disciplines, I remain really creatively challenged – something which I feel is very important for all photographers so they don’t fall into ‘autopilot’. I really found my own style while studying the first year of my Photography degree at Blackpool and the Fylde College, something which I feel sets me apart from other wedding photographers that are out there.
Why wedding photography specifically?
I absolutely LOVE weddings, there is no better environment to be in. The day is always full of love, laughter and often some (happy) tears, so to able to capture all those genuine emotions and tell the story of one of the best days of your life, is ridiculously fulfilling. That combined with the end result when my couples receive the photography from their day and seeing how it brings back all those emotions – really does make it the best job ever.
What is your favourite thing about being a wedding photographer?
Wedding photography has really changed massively in the last five to ten years and (thankfully) gone are the days of a ‘generic photo album’, where a massive part of the day is taken up by posing for very formal and stuffy shots. I love meeting my couples, hearing their stories and their journey to becoming married and just generally really getting to know them and then exceeding their expectations once they receive the images. I also love the reactions I get once my couples see their images – especially for the first time. There is nothing quite like it.
How do you get couples to relax on the day?
I’m a strong believer that each and every wedding couple is very different in how they want their day, so I spend a lot of time building an honest and trusting relationship leading up to it. I really believe that getting to know each couple and building a really good, natural rapport is essential and truly goes a long way to making sure my couples both enjoy their day and are as relaxed as possible, safe in the knowledge that they know ‘I’ve got this’.
Any advice to any brides who don’t like to have their picture taken?
Be yourself and keep reminding yourself that your look beautiful – there is no such thing as an ugly bride! Some brides really love having their picture taken and could happily pose all day for photographs if I let them – however these brides are very much in the minority. I include a pre wedding shoot for this exact reason as not only do you get some great keep sakes, but more importantly you experience having your photograph taken professionally. My aim for every pre wedding shoot I do, is to make sure that not only have we had a laugh, but you also look at your photographs and think ‘actually, I really look good there…’ This means that not only have we spent more time together building on that all important relationship, but you’ll also know exactly what to expect on your big day – meaning it’s one less thing to worry about. So in short – make sure you pick a photographer that you are 100% comfortable with and that you trust – if they’re doing their job right, then you should (dare I say it) enjoy having your photo taken!
What sort of makeup should a bride wear to look great in her pictures?
Every bride’s ‘look’ as well as the style of their day is often very different but the makeup can really make a difference. I’d always recommend to use a professional make up artist, they really are worth the investment as not only will your make up be perfectly flawless, but it also goes towards the whole ‘wedding experience’ which is so important. Make sure that they include a make up trial which is industry standard and as always, make sure it’s someone you like and have a connection with.
Anything to avoid which might look bad in the wedding pictures?
The only thing I’d suggest is to avoid choosing anything that isn’t ‘you’. Be yourself.. You’ll find that during the planning stages of your wedding day a lot of family and friends will readily give their input and opinion on how they think you should have the day or what dress you should have, who you should invite, etc. My advice with this is to politely nod then go with exactly what you want because as with most decisions you will genuinely get ‘a feeling’ when you find the right photographer, venue, dress, etc so as long as you follow your instincts, there wont be anything that looks bad in your wedding photographs – simple!
Which celebrity wedding would you most like to photograph and why?
It would have to be Prince Harry’s as not only would it be one heck of a celebration, but I think he’d be one of the few royals that would go against protocol and what was expected but in turn really have the day how he wanted it!
Any really memorable weddings that you have captured?
I’ve loved each and every single wedding that I’ve had the honour of being involved in, but one of the most stylish weddings has to be when I was involved with capturing a ridiculously cool wedding in the centre of Manchester. The ceremony took place at the stunning Manchester Town Hall and once complete, the couple and all of their guests marched through Spinningfields to the reception venue which was the ridiculously cool Australasia restaurant which had been completely hired out. A very stylish and awesome day which finished off with a packed dance floor and is a prime example that the best weddings are always the ones where the couple have done exactly what THEY want and really let their own personalities shine through.
Are you married? Tell us about your day.
I really learnt some very valuable lessons from my own experience of getting married. Really seeing what a couple go through completely changed my own perspective of both the day and the wedding photography so I often reflect on this. Gemma and I have been together since early 2003 and she did me the great honour of marrying me on the 29th April 2011 at the superb Inn at Whitewell. This date may ring a bell with some people as it was also the Royal Wedding Day. Now for the record – we booked ours first (two years earlier in fact) but it brilliantly brought in a whole different element for us as the whole country was caught up in ‘wedding fever’. Due to my wife working in PR we were bizarrely featured in different newspapers, websites, interviewed live on BBC Radio Lancashire’s breakfast show and ridiculously Channel 7 News based in Australia sent a reporter and a TV crew up from London to film us for two days as a feature for their Royal Wedding coverage – crazy!
The day itself (even though I’m clearly biased) was perfect. We had the day exactly how we wanted it and ensured that it really reflected our tastes and us as both individuals and as a couple. Even down to the meal we had Bangers & Champ as our main course and as both us and our friends and family have been known to like the odd tipple we decided to name each table after a particular alcoholic drink (for example The Jägers, The Kir Royals, etc). Each guest was carefully located on a table where their beverage was synonymous with them and when it was time to ‘toast the happy couple’, each guest promptly received ‘their’ drink – meaning to toast our marriage, some people downed a shot and others sipped a brandy. Perfect.
Any funny stories to share?
Much like the doctor-patient confidentiality, what happens on my couple’s wedding day… stays on their wedding day…
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
Aside from my own individual photography style, I feel that my approach on the day also sets me apart from other photographers. I ensure that I maintain an extremely low profile throughout as my aim is for the guests not to be conscious that I’m actually there taking their photograph. This in turn produces brilliant results by creating and capturing images that show the real and genuine emotion of the day and its guests. I also work very quickly and efficiently, especially when it comes down to group shots. I understand the need for group shots (especially to please mums and dads) but I’m very conscious that it is a wedding day and not a photo shoot. I maintain my low profile by drafting in the use of the bridal party to gather the required guests in a very low key manner. I made a promise to myself very early on in my career that I will never find myself stood on a pair of step ladders, with a list in one hand and shouting for ‘Uncle Bob and Aunty Norma’ – it is simply not me or what I want for my couples. As well as the day itself, I also firmly believe that the planning stages of a wedding are just as important as the day itself and that every element of the planning should be fun and genuinely really enjoyable – especially meeting and choosing your photographer!
What can a couple who book you expect on the day?
My couples can expect a photographer who tells the true story of their wedding day in a very low-key and relaxed approach, ensuring that they feel completely at ease and can focus on having one of the best days of their life. Aside from the awesome imagery, my couples also find that as we have built what can now be described as a great friendship, that I’m also there to ensure the day flows effortlessly and I’m there for any support or guidance that may or may not be needed on the day.
What is included in your "package"?
Included in the package is the all important pre wedding shoot followed by coverage of the big day from ‘bridal prep’ in the morning, right through to the first dance (and a little bit after). This is then followed by a disc of high resolution images along with full copyright permissions and some other lovely bits & pieces.
Can you give us an idea on price?
I keep my pricing as simple as possible so to discuss this or to ask any other questions just simply get in touch.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you/ see more examples of your work?
Anything else we should know?
I know and understand from my own experience how stressful organising your wedding day can become. I pride myself on the fact that I class each of my couples as friends and each one has received photography that truly tells the story of their day in a stylish, modern and honest way. Have a good look at my website and really get a feel for what I can do for you – I promise you won’t regret it…
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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…