How to Get Addicted to Photography by Julia Boggio

My husband recently found a book of images of Wimbledon High Street from the late 1800’s. In it, there were the usual pictures of green grocers, cobbler shops and ironmongers. Horse-drawn carriages were the main method of transport on the street, aside from good old foot traffic. Little boys that look like they’re straight out of the cast of Oliver! sell newspapers on every corner.

However, one thing that struck me was the number of photography studios in the images. They were everywhere. Back then, photography was a new art form and people were going in droves to document themselves and have their children’s pictures taken. Professionals were the only ones who owned the proper equipment and knew how to use it.

Flash forward a hundred years. As a child, professional photography was never a part of my life. Sure, there was the annual school photograph, which are quite possibly the ugliest, most awkward photos of me ever. The first time I actually walked into a professional studio was to sit for my senior portrait for our high school yearbook (I grew up in New Jersey). After that, the next time I started thinking about being photographed by a professional was for my wedding. And this, coming from a professional photographer!

Weddings reintroduce people to the concept of getting your photograph taken by someone who owns the proper equipment and knows how to use it. Having been in the business for almost seven years now, it always makes me smile when I see my clients become addicted to professional photography.

Why is it so addictive? Almost every wedding client who comes to my Wimbledon studio to meet me says the same thing: “I don’t photograph well.” Thankfully, I have a rule that nobody looks bad in my pictures! As part of my wedding package, we include a pre-wedding shoot for a number of reasons: first, it gives us the chance to get to know each other; second, it gives my couples a chance to see how I work; and third, it gives me the chance to prove to my couples that they do indeed photograph well.

A bride from a recent pre-wedding shoot sent me the following praise: “We love, love, love them. Even [my fiancé], who generally hates himself in any photograph, can’t wait to show them to people!” And that is how the addiction starts.

Boudoir photography is another extension of the wedding. Although we also offer traditional boudoir at our studio, we specialise in Vintage Boudoir, which is 1940’s pin up style photography. One of our clients recently quipped that she’d “give up her Jimmy Choos for a Vintage Boudoir shoot with Julia Boggio.” The idea is that brides get their photos taken in the style of a pin-up vixen and we create an album of images to give to the groom on the morning of the wedding. Imagine how excited he is going to be about marrying you after receiving that! After the wedding, the bride brings her new husband into our studio so they can choose wall art to hang up at home. And just in case you missed your wedding, the first anniversary is paper, so it’s not too late.

Although the excuse for doing a Vintage Boudoir shoot is often that the bride is giving it as a gift to their husband, we find that, secretly, they’re actually doing it for themselves, too. It’s such a fun once-in-a-lifetime experience and it’s nice to remember what they looked like near their wedding. I don’t know about you, but I was in the best shape I’ve ever been for my wedding. If only I could get married every year…

…which brings me onto post-wedding photography. Many of my couples and also couples whose weddings I haven’t photographed will come to me after their big day because they want to get back into their wedding finery and have some fun. I had one bride ask to climb into a river in her dress, which I happily obliged. Another said her wedding photographer didn’t take the fashion style images that she’d wanted at her wedding. She wanted to revisit her venue with me, as I am known for my fashion wedding photography, so she could get what she wanted. The post-wedding photography craze started in America (as always) with a trend called “Trash the Dress”. In my experience, British brides don’t like the term “trash”, which is why we call our post shoots “I DO REDO” sessions. It’s not always about ruining your dress; it’s about doing something that you couldn’t do on your wedding day. For example, if you had a country wedding, you may want a city-based post shoot and vice versa.

Nowadays, wedding photography isn’t just about shooting a wedding. It’s about creating a long-term connection with a couple. I always tell clients that it’s so important that they get along with their wedding photographer because, chances are, she is going to be in their life for a long time.

Five or six months after the wedding, we often get a message from our brides: their first little bundle of joy is on its way and could they book in for a pregnancy shoot? Then we get the newborn shoot (important that it’s in the first week!) and then the baby shoot. Who knows? Maybe my studio will even photograph their baby’s wedding one day. I recently photographed the baby of one of my first wedding couples and it was such a joy to see them and be part of their happiness again.

I think this newfound addiction to photography is wonderful and not just because it’s good for my business. I view my job as important; I am documenting the creation of a new family. Long after I am gone, my portraits will be sitting in someone’s attic along with their other treasured family heirlooms. Teenage descendants will look at the pin-up album and think, “Wow! My great-great grandmother was a hottie and what a personality!” and, secretly, they’ll hope that some of those genes have filtered down to them. Great grandsons will look at the wedding photos before they propose to their girlfriends and think, “What were they wearing!” Fashions will change and no matter how “in” your dress is now, it will most certainly be “out” in a hundred years. In real life, we can’t stop the march of time, but I can stop it in a photograph.

Before I sign off, I’d like to revisit my point about professionals owning the right equipment and knowing how to use it. When you get married, you are suddenly expected to be an expert in so many things: diamond cutting, event organising, and speech writing, to name a few. The field of Photography is also something you probably won’t know much about. My advice is this: please realise that not all photographers are created equal and you don’t get a second chance to get great wedding photographs. Make sure the photographer holds a qualification with a professional body like the MPA or BIPP. Ask to see a full album of images from one wedding, so that you know they can consistently cover your day well. Ask how many years the photographer has been in business; there’s a lot of knowledge that comes with experience. And finally, make sure you like not just your photographer’s style, but also their personality. He or she will most likely be part of your new family’s life for a long time.

Now go forth and get addicted to photography.


Julia Boggio is one of the top wedding photographers in the UK, known for her distinctly fun, dramatic and colourful style. Her studio is based in Wimbledon, where she photographs 1940’s pin up boudoir, babies, teens and families. Julia is a popular columnist for Photo Promagazine and has written for all the major bridal magazines in the UK, including Condé Nast Brides.At her own wedding, Julia and her husband, James, performed the dance from Dirty Dancing, which later became a You Tube hit (currently with almost 8 million views). They’ve appeared on Richard & Judy, BBC Breakfast, GMTV and The Oprah Winfrey Show, where Julia danced with Patrick Swayze. You can view Julia’s wedding work on www.juliaboggiophotography.com and her studio work on http://www.juliaboggiostudios.com.

  • 1 comments "How to Get Addicted to Photography by Julia Boggio"

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  • Mike Hubbard says

    7th July 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I am only beginning my journey into photography a passion of mine that has accidentally grown from a hobby into more... I love to see the pictures created by and read about professionals like Julia, they constantly inspire me to keep trying I have so many images in my head and I am continuously held back by needing to learn the technical skills that will allow me to create my visions but the inspiration of these great photographers spurs me on!

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