I have a lot to thank Laura Babb for. She was our wedding photographer and quite frankly, couldn’t have captured our day better.
Laura is based in London but also travels far and wide, photographing many a happy couple. Her work has been featured recently in Hello Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Wedding Ideas Magazine, The Huffington Post, Rock my Wedding … to name just a very few.
As a story teller of other peoples loves – I thought it would be interesting to find out more about Laura Babb herself, and how she manages to evoke memories so effortlessly with her camera …
Tell me about your background. Have you always been creative ?
I was into drama and performing arts when I was growing up and studied performing arts at college but I didn’t ever really have a visual arts medium that I used to express myself creatively. I am dreadful at drawing.
I think my interest in photography was sparked in 2007 when I travelled around Cambodia and Thailand. This picture of a boat, on a beach on Koh Chang, is one of the first pictures that I ever took that I remember feeling proud of.
How did you get into wedding photography ? What inspired you ?
When I got back from my travels, I met Pete, my now husband, who is a graphic designer and was always taking pictures on his compact digital camera. I guess that inspired me, as I bought my first SLR not long after that.
Pete had studied photography at A Level and taught me to use it. We’d go out on walks to take pictures nearly every weekend and my love of photography developed that way.
I loved photographing urban landscapes and architecture and I still use a lot of those elements in my work as backdrops when photographing people. I am constantly inspired by the world around me, shapes, lines and form and I love to explore these elements with my camera.
Is there a technique to relaxing people so that you can get the perfect photo ?
When I photograph couples it’s really about getting them to interact with each other naturally. When I photograph individuals I’ll get them to engage with me. For me a lot of this is trying to get people to forget that the camera is there.
Once they have spent a little bit of time being photographed in a really low key way, you can move in a little close or try to get more creative shots. I think it’s all about reading people really and, for me, the first 10 minutes of any session is the most important as that’s when I get a feel of what the person will be like on camera.
On the wedding day it’s often easier, as you’ve been photographing the couple in a documentary style for a few hours before it comes to the portrait session, so they’re used to you.
What has been your most unique location to date ?
I’ve had a few warehouse weddings which I’ve really loved. One of my favourites was Camp and Furnace in Liverpool. They have a big, warehouse with vintage caravans inside. It’s very cool. I love heading off to different cities and countries too, to shoot. I was in California recently for a photography workshop and being able to explore a new area with my camera totally reinvigorates my love for shooting. I’ve been lucky enough to do some destination weddings too, which I really enjoy for the same reason.
Do you feel nervous or excited before a shoot ? Or both ?
Both. I think a bit of nervous energy is normal. It starts to build up the day before, when I am getting my kit ready and packing my bag, and I often feel a little nervous when I’m on route. The nerves dissipate when I start photographing though and the adrenalin kicks in.
What camera do you work with ? What would you recommend to a budding photographer ?
I shoot with Nikon cameras. They’re all much of a muchness though really. Any entry level SLR is a great move if you want more control over your photography. There are some great mirror less options now days too. It’s funny, people often ask me for camera advice but I really don’t know much about them. I know my camera but don’t know much about what else is out there ( unlike my husband who seems to know everything about every camera ! ).
I’d always say a camera is only as good as the person who’s using it so the biggest thing to invest in is practice time.
As well as wedding photography – you also offer fashion, beauty and portrait photography – are they all very different ways of working ?
I only really do the odd shoot that’s not wedding related. A lot of my editorial work is wedding related and I do enjoy it. I have thought about trying to grow these areas of my business but, really, my passion is story telling.
I love doing lifestyle shoots that involve hanging out with someone/a family for the afternoon, and just telling their story. I love this picture from a family lifestyle shoot that I did recently, where Laura and Rob are just hanging out with Max, their baby. It makes me really happy to be able to put together a set of images that provide a window into what life is like on a day to day basis.
Being self employed and running your own business - what are the pros and cons ?
Pros – it’s such a lovely feeling to see your business grow. This is the start of my fourth year in business and I have just set up a Limited Company and taken on an assistant. Having flexibility is nice and being autonomous is great. I also love being able to do something creative. I also never, ever get that Sunday night feeling of doom that I used to get when I worked for someone else. I love my job now.
Cons – About five percent of my time is spent on photography and the rest is running my business. As a company of only two people, everything falls to me ( although I do now outsource various bits and pieces ). You really do feel compelled to be working all of the time and it’s common for me to work six days a week or even seven in the middle of wedding season. I even had to check my email while I was on my honeymoon !
Where do you see your career heading in the next few years ? What else would you like to achieve ?
I want to expand the business to have a number of associate photographers who shoot for me. I have started this process with my new assistant, who will be shooting with me this year then shooting her own weddings as part of Babb Photo next year. On a personal level I’d love to do more travel / documentary photography and me and my husband are saving to travel more at the moment.
Thanks Laura. Looking forward to seeing this summers shoots.
If you’d like to see more of Laura’s work, you can go to www.babbphoto.com, where you can also check out her current portfolio. Of course, there’s also her Facebook and Twitter pages too, if you fancy saying hi !
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All images copyright of Laura Babb 2014.