STUDIO TOUR: JULIE MICHAELSEN PHOTOGRAPHY
It’s the ultimate dream, turning your hobby and passion into your career, and something we’re passionate about supporting at BLOVED. London wedding photographer Julie Michaelsen made the jump last year, leaving behind a career in finance to build her very own success story. Today we take a peek behind the scenes of her Kensington studio, and find out what makes her tick…
Name: Julie Michaelsen
Current Title + Company: Julie Michaelsen Photography, Founder.
Tell us a little about your business? My business is predominantly wedding photography but I also offer bridal boudoir, portraits, family and lifestyle photography.
How did you get started in the industry? I decided to leave my full time job in the finance industry just over a year ago to set up my photography business. I used to work in sales at one of the biggest hedge funds in the world and after 4 years I decided that I wanted to build something that I could pour my heart and soul into. I wanted to get back to basics and associate myself with the things that really matter in life. It was a huge leap of faith but with a lot of help and support from friends and family and especially my boyfriend, I have managed to create a business and a brand which I am proud of.
What do you think has made your business successful? Success is an interesting concept and means many things to different people. I think what makes my business a success is that it is centred around the fundamental premise that I am hired to document peoples lives and their milestones which I consider to be a real honour. Everything else is secondary to that. I am relentlessly focused on providing a wonderful experience from start to finish for my couples. I invite my potential brides and grooms to the Dover Street Arts Club in Mayfair for a cocktail and go through how I work, who I am, what I do and why. Nothing is more important to me than my couples coming away from their wedding loving their photos and having enjoyed their interactions with me. It’s not just about the photos it is the whole package, the experience, from start to finish.
Where do you work + how do you make sure your space stays inspiring? I work from home in a sleepy little corner of Kensington surrounded by ancient little antique shops! I work from my spare bedroom which I have converted into an office. I make sure that I surround myself with reminders of why I am doing this in the first place for when I can’t see the wood for the trees (such as my ‘This is your life’ poster), I have inspiring art prints and photos such as an original Vivian Maier Street photo. I have photos of people that I love especially a photo of my grandmother in her wedding dress to remind me of the importance of my job. I create imagery which reminds people what life is all about; family, friends, connection, love. That generations to come will be looking at the photos I have taken, and just as I treasure this image of my grandma, others will count these photos as some of their most valuable possessions. That really means something.
What’s the biggest mistake people make when starting their own business, and what advice would you give them? I think the biggest mistake is trying to make every element of your business perfect right from the start. If you’re a perfectionist like me you can often get bogged down in the details and neglect to see that as long as you have something in place which you’re happy to represent you for now that’s fine. You have to get going, make sure you don’t suffer from ‘paralysis from analysis’. You make constant improvements as you grow but you have to START in order to do that. Also being too sensitive to rejection can really stunt your development and is so hard to overcome if you do a creative job.
How would you describe your style? My style is mainly reportage mixed with a fine art, editorial aesthetic. I like light and bright imagery which is dreamy and ethereal but also enjoy throwing in a bit of the humour associated with street photography. I like my images to feel romantic and intimate while maintaining an unobtrusive approach.
I’d like to think that people are attracted to my brand because I’m authentic and I really care. I hope this comes across because I literally changed my entire life to do this for a living, to do something which I feel is meaningful and where my value is visible. I like to make connections with people because that is how the best photographs are created so I spend a lot of time getting to know my couples and figuring out what will work for them. I think this is hugely important to the success of my business there are so many wedding photographers and I am grateful to every couple who trust me to document their wedding day.
What trend predictions do you have for 2015? Within photography I would say that the love of natural reportage is still going strong, couples don’t want posed awkward imagery of such an intimate day. I think the trend towards more creative and artist wedding photography is an exciting one, it means photographers have to push the boundaries and work harder to create interesting and different imagery whilst still capturing the essence of the couple.
What challenges have you set yourself for the next 12 months? The next 12 months are about development into a fine art wedding photography direction (I will be attending the Jose Villa Workshop in Mexico in November- EXCITING!) whilst ensuring my photos still have authenticity, playfulness and intimacy.
I am working with the wonderful PR company Sweetpea PR so that I can focus more on my photography instead of marketing and PR.
I would love to collaborate with some of the many talented wedding stylists and suppliers on styled shoots to get to know people better and keep inspired!
I hope to streamline my workflow and admin as well as making sure that my work / life balance is healthy!
Tell us 5 things we don’t know about you
- I was born in Denmark and my first language is Danish, I grew up in the UK and sound so British that people sometimes don’t believe me and ask me to prove it…
- I have a very serious pizza addiction…
- I used to be a fashion buyer…
- I can rap the lyrics to most Jay Z songs as well as the whole Les Miserables musical (male and female songs!)
- I make the best homemade chocolate covered honeycomb in the land.
And if you’d like to find out even more, here’s a sweet video from Julie