Our featured photographer this week is a pro at shooting weddings and engagements. She is a preferred wedding photographer by Utah Valley Bride and Rocky Mountain Bride. We love her bright and cheerful personality whenever she comes into the store. This week, we are diving into the lovely photography of Julia Mathers Nicholes!
Tell us a little about how you got into photography and what made you want to pursue a career in it?
"Growing up, I was always the kid that took a camera to every hike, national park and vacation that my family went on, and through my school years I always took photography classes, which turned to my peers asking me to take their senior pictures, then their family pictures. A year after I graduated high school, one of those friends was getting married and couldn’t find a photographer so she asked me if I would be able to do it. I honestly thought I would HATE it and was worried because it’s a lot of pressure being a wedding photographer! After taking her wedding day photos, I had so much fun & loved it so much that I wanted to pursue photographing engagements, bridals and wedding days. I shadowed a few experienced photographers, but mostly I taught myself by learning how to shoot manually & by learning posing, editing and lighting tricks through youtube."
What has your experience been like so far as a wedding photographer based in Utah?
"I honestly have loved it! Here in Utah, being a wedding photographer is so competitive because there are so many wedding photographers, but luckily there are so many amazing couples to go around. The wedding industry here in Utah is so supportive and kind! I love being able to connect with a couple, being able to capture emotional moments of them during their special time of their lives together and I'm always tearing up on the wedding days because I have gotten so close to them. Also, Utah is seriously such a beautiful place, there are so many breathtaking locations to choose from!"
What is your favorite part about being a wedding photographer?
"My favorite part about being a wedding photographer would be the relationships I gain from every wedding I do. I love that I get to meet these amazing couples—who I wouldn’t have been able to meet if I didn’t have my photography business. I have made so many friendships with my grooms, brides and their amazing families and friends that I keep in touch with."
What does your gear bag look like when getting ready for a shoot?
"My gear bag is packed full—luckily I have the best camera bag I’ve ever had—the Holdland Backpack. In it, I have my Canon 5D Mark IV camera, along with my Canon 5D Mark III backup camera, my Sigma 35mm lens and my Sigma 50mm lens. (Prime lenses are my jam) and of course my flash, my collection of camera batteries, memory cards and AA batteries. I also make sure I’m fully stocked on lens wipes."
"During the winter I bring along a few hot hand packets during the winter—you can buy a whole pack of them at Costco. During the summer I always have a small can of bug spray, sunscreen and a white bed sheet to place under wedding dresses to avoid being grass-stained, covered in mud, etc. You can never be TOO prepared!"
Where has photography taken you and what has been your favorite place so far?
"My photography has given me so many amazing opportunities. I have traveled out of state several times for wedding days, which is so much fun because it allows me to add exploration to my photoshoots and it really pushes my creative level. My favorite place that my photography has taken me was Hawaii and I’m dying to go back again soon!"
What is your biggest advice to those just starting out?
"I would suggest reaching out to a photographer that has your dream job and asking if you can shadow them or second shoot for them or be an assistant on a job. Sometimes it involves you being able to photograph as well, but sometimes it gives you the opportunity to carry equipment and watch how the photographer works and it gives you a look into their life. I also recommend reaching out to other creatives and creating a collaboration shoot where you are able to push your creative side and where you get to choose and be in control of the location, theme, lighting, etc."
"You also are able to make amazing friendships in the industry—I learned so much of my skills during collaborations. We also are so lucky to be able to live in a state where there are so many groups that put together Stylized shoots where you can join to create content for your portfolio and learn from other photographers in a group setting."
Thank you Julia for letting us get to know you a little better and for sharing a few of your tips and tricks. If you want to get to know more about Julia and her photography go check out her website or follow her on Instagram!