Vendor Spotlight – Julie Williams Photography
by Sharon Auld
I’m a so pleased to feature Julie Williams Photography on our blog today! Julie is an outstanding photographer based in Canmore, Alberta Canada and she specializes in wedding and engagement photography in the Rocky Mountains including Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise, Golden and Revelstoke.
I first heard about Julie on Facebook. I was hearing lots about this fabulous new photographer to the area and I thought I would check out her blog. I was absolutely impressed by the images on Julie’s blog! Not only does she capture the incredible scenery of the mountains so beautifully, but her photographs seem to completely express the love of the couples she shoots.
I knew my clients would love her photos, so I sent her an email. Julie’s first email to me was “how can I help you?”…”if I can help you in any way let me know…do you need any photographs?…”! I knew immediately how nice, caring and helpful Julie was. I continue to hear nothing but good things about Julie and cannot wait to work with her on a wedding. In the meantime, I have to settle for reading her blog and checking out the gorgeous photos after every wedding she posts. This image is one of my favorites of Julie’s work. To learn more about Julie check our Naturally Chic interview below!
How did you select photography as a career?
I seriously just fell into it. I had been working in the ski industry during the winter and restaurants throughout the summers for years and was obviously growing quite of tired of it. A few separate friends out in the Kootenays mentioned Western Academy of Photography in Victoria. One night, I looked into the school real quickly and on a total whim I applied really late in the registration process thinking I’d be at the bottom of a massive wait list. I was totally surprised when shortly thereafter I found out I’d been accepted and would be starting classes a couple months later. I convinced my boyfriend, [now fiancé!] Adam to pack up and move to Vancouver Island with me. I headed to photo school with the full intention of somehow getting into ski/snowboard photography. Turns out I’d rather just ski than bother to remove my mitts to take photos in the cold! Near the end of photography school, I began to wonder what I was going to do with all this expensive knowledge and Canon equipment I had on my hands. Luckily, I was contacted by an awesome local studio to come in and do some second shooting, post-processing and associate work. I gave it a shot, loved it, slowly started picking up my own jobs and am currently extremely stoked with where I’ve ended up! I’ve recently relocated my business to Canmore, Alberta where I serve the entire Bow Valley region, Golden BC, Calgary…and beyond! I LOVE to travel for work
What distinguishes you from other photographers?
I know a lot of photographers agree, and I have to say that I am a really strong believer in my blog. I devote a great deal of time to my blog, and I really do think it pays off in so many ways. I put a lot about my life up on there. I feel that by letting potential clients get to know me a bit through my blog, it truly helps attract the kind of people I want to work with. If a potential client is scared off by the fact that I have life beyond my business, chances are we wouldn’t jive well in the long run anyhow!
What kind of services do you offer?
I specialize in working with really cool couples of all ages, so long as they are in love! Weddings and engagement portraits are my bread and butter, and I also shoot a good amount of photojournalistic & fun family portraits. But really, I’m open to dabbling in all aspects of the photography medium. Since moving to the Bow Valley I have been contacted several times for a photo shoot with groups of girls in town for stagettes. I also sell fine art print from my personal collection.
You do engagement sessions as well, how do you find the perfect location[s] for the couple?
I live here because I truly love to hang in the mountains. Adam & I try to get out several times a week for hiking/skiing/biking/fishing/ect. While we’re out exploring I’m always keeping my eyes open for killer new spots and great light…when I spot something, I get us to backtrack so I can find a good access point from a road or street…Adam is very patient with my habits! Also, I make a much better passenger than driver while in the car; I’m constantly checking out the view in all directions and visualizing what it would look like through a particular lens…I forget what it is like to see the world like a normal person! While scheduling the session, we discuss if the couple has an ideal spot in mind, if so, we’ll try to incorporate that into the shoot. But typically, my clients travel from out of town for their photos, so they are usually more than happy to take advantage of my local knowledge and let me show them around all my favourite nooks and crannies. I am so lucky that I get to work with people who trust me so much!
What do you like most about photographing weddings?
The folks who hire me really are so great! I’ve yet to meet a bridezilla. I feel so lucky that I am able to do something that allows me to hang out with really cool people while being creative.
Do you have any wedding day photography tips for the bride and groom?
Once you find a photographer who 100% suits the style you are after, communicate as much as you can beforehand about what drew you to their work and the type of images you’re hoping for. Get to know them, and let them get to know you! Building a relationship of some kind undoubtedly yields better images and an overall more enjoyable experience on the wedding day. Ultimately, when it comes to the day of the wedding, sit back and enjoy it all…let your photographer do their thing. You chose them because you appreciated the style portrayed in their portfolio so trust their expertise regarding locations, lighting and poses.
Beyond weddings, what do you like most to photograph?
I love to have my camera plastered to my face when I am travelling. I really dig catching little slices of life and obscure views of the landscape.
Who in the industry inspires you and why?
There are a million super talented photographers out there, and the internet makes it so easy to find new inspiration. I follow tons of photography blogs from all over the world…too many to mention! I do love to browse other locals’ work, but I try not to pay too much attention to their technique and locations…I really think it is important for my work to be as unique and authentic as possible in such a small market.
Who else inspires you?
Well, my entire family is pretty awesome. They’re so fun and encouraging. They all dig the mountains in a huge way, so they try to get out here for a visit as much as possible. I’m lucky to see my parents & sister on a fairly regular basis even though we live several hours apart. And of course Adam; this guy is amazingly supportive and helpful in so many ways. He does my bookkeeping, keeps me well-nourished with a killer fruit smoothie every morning and tears me away from the office to go play outdoors when he can tell I’m getting overwhelmed.
What do you like best about living in the mountains?
Like I mentioned, we’re really into enjoying our backyard. It’s pretty awesome to have SO MANY amazing hiking and biking trails within such a short distance of our front door. In the winter I love to be able to drive 30 minutes in the morning, go for a few runs at the ski hill and then be back in the office by noon for work! Plus the people are all here for the same reason; it’s a great community to be part of.
What is the most unique wedding you have ever photographed?
I was SO happy that Jimmy & Tracy hired me to shoot their wedding in Golden BC this past January. They were actually the first couple to commission me while I was still living on Vancouver Island once we decided to leave the city for the Rockies…and it was the perfect introduction for my new career! I met up with Tracy and her friend Kim prior to the ceremony. Tracy was determined to do a run on her snowboard in her wedding dress so the three of us went for a few quick turns on the lower part of the mountain. After that, we headed up to the top of the mountain. We set up a reveal where she & Jimmy would see each other for the first time as she departed the gondola. We did our portrait session up there in the fog and snow…a perfect backdrop! Then we headed back into the town of Golden for the ceremony which was held on the pedestrian bridge right downtown which is a photographer’s symmetrical dream. Then it was back up to the mountain where they had rented a beautiful chalet and hosted a really cool BBQ. No chair covers, no center pieces, no guest favours, no first dance or cutting of the cake…just really tasty help-yourself burgers, drinks and mingling with friends. Here’s a link to their album design to get an idea of the feel of the wedding: [ http://juliewilliamsphotography.ca/blog/?p=3905 ] I hope that many of my upcoming weddings this season feature tons of neat ideas like this for me to draw inspiration as I am planning my own wedding for next summer! I want it to be loaded right up with plenty of creative touches and great thoughtful details.
Here’s some more of Julie’s fabulous photographs…enjoy!
PS If you like these photos I urge you to check out her blog (http://www.juliewilliamsphotography.ca/blog/ ) for more photos. Truthfully, I picked the photos for this post based on the images I liked best and these are not necessarily fully representative of all of Julie’s amazing work.
Thanks so much for sharing with us Julie and congrats on your own upcoming wedding!!!