As you know, the Book Of Love directory is home to a selection of the UK's coolest wedding photographers and original member, Joanna Bongard, is no exception! In fact... if I could turn back time, I would definitely have booked her to shoot my big day!
I finally pinned Jo down for a quick chat about her life as one of the industry's top wedding photographers!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Joanna, a laid-back wedding photographer based between London and Margate in Kent. I love traveling, gorgeous buildings, art and colour which all massively influence my shooting style.
How did you get into wedding photography?
I’ve always been a photographer.
I used to specialise in portraits and studio work but couples kept asking me to shoot their weddings! I was terrified so kept saying no but one came along that I couldn’t turn down. When it came to shooting it I was nervous but I managed to hold my own and absolutely loved the thrill of it! 5 years and 100 weddings later and I still adore shooting them just as much now as I did then.
How would you describe your style?
My style is fun, colourful and relaxed.
I like to work with cool and creative couples so my pictures often reflect that and end up looking pretty different to your average wedding photographer. I have a bit of a love affair with cities and I’m lucky to work mostly in London so I like the location to be the 3rd personality in the picture.
What inspires or influences you?
I’m always going to exhibitions (with my trusty Tate Card) and I’ve always enjoyed modern architecture and design. Julius Shulman was a massive influence for me to look at my surroundings and incorporate buildings and the city into my images.
Tim Walker, the fashion photographer, also inspired me to think beyond the standard image and create something dreamy and unique.
What can couples expect when working with you?
You can expect to have a laugh and not to take photography part of your day too seriously.
I’ll be in the background all day, snapping away, you’ll barely notice I’m there most of the time but the moment you need me I’ll be there. Whether that’s for photos or sometimes it’s just an extra pair of hand to help you put your shoes back on!
If you had to pick your favourite image of all time, which one would it be? (one of yours!) Tell us the story behind it.
My favourite image is this one of James and Juliet.
Their wedding was in Hackney Wick and the time for sitting down for their meal was drawing closer and I knew we had to get some killer shots around the warehouses before they sat down for food. We got a few great photos but I didn’t have ‘The One’. I stumbled across these cool glass bricks and sat them on the wall and asked them to just relaxed and look at each other, it wasn’t until I looked at the back of the camera that I realised the graffiti actually said ‘LOVE BIRD’. These two where so into each other I couldn’t have written something more perfect behind them if I’d tried!
Any advice for camera shy couples?
Just relax and be your weird self. Don’t worry about trying to pose or look a certain way, it’s always much better if you just let the laughs happen and ease into it. Everyone feels a bit awkward to start with but you soon get used to it, especially if you’ve got a great photographer.
I would also totally recommend pre-wedding shoots, that way you can get to know your photographer and feel more confident in front of the camera and once you see the pictures you can see what you liked and felt confortable with and what didn’t quite work.