“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver
Vicky Potter, creative portrait and wedding photographer currently based in North Wales can be found nestled amongst autumn leaves and mossed over hill tops in search of emotive shots for her clients.
Vicky, who likes to use her editing skills to emanate a mythical theme to her work, has inspired me ever since I met her when we both worked together many many years ago! Back then, she was hashing out a plan for her photography business and now look at her!
This week, I’ve managed to speak to her candidly about what inspires her creative photos, the trick to finding hidden beauty in Wales and who she’s following on social media.
I absolutely love your style of photography, particularly where you look like Mary Poppins taking off into the sky with your dogs, can I ask what inspired you to start taking pictures?
Ahh, Thank you, I love Mary Poppins. Well, believe it or not…my dog. I really wanted a photo of her to carry around, so I could always look at her. I finally got my hands on a film camera when I was nine and I took photos whenever I could afford film and to have the photos developed. I still have a big box full of all my negatives.
You’re currently based in North Wales; how do you feel your country hometown works for your photography business?
Well, it works wonderfully for a beautiful background! I think it’s always hard to stand out in a heavily saturated market like photography but living in a smaller area I haven’t come across anyone local to me (yet) making creative portraits like I do so that’s got to be a bonus.
Are you self-taught or did you take any courses to get to where you are now?
Self-taught all the way baby! 🙂
Can you describe how your particular style of photography is different to others and how that works for your clients?
It’s not. Not really. There’s so many photographers, some with light and airy images, some dark and grainy even some beautiful souls still shooting film. I think what makes us all different is our approach and the personality we bring to the job. My favourite thing that almost all of my clients always tell me is that I make them feel comfortable during their shoot. If you’re looking for someone dorky and awkward to make you feel relaxed, then I’m your gal.
Where did you first spark the name ‘Love Monkey’ for your photography business and how do you think it connects with your unique style? (Why Love Monkey? What made it a right fit for your business? Inspiration?
During my many, many years of watching my 101 Dalmatians VHS as a child, waiting for my own Dalmatian, there was a preview for Disney’s Dinosaur and a little scene where he says, “I’m the love monkey”. I don’t know why but it always stuck with me and I’ve always called my dogs my love monkeys. The plan has always been to have my dogs as the face of my business to attract other dog people. So far so good!
With a portfolio of portraits, creative portraits and weddings under your belt, where do you see your photography business ‘Love Monkey Photography’ going in the next 5 years? (Anything new you want to try? Do you want to move or are you happy where you are and why?)
More of the same. I’d like to have some time to do more creative shoots and invest in some more props, mostly beautiful dresses. I would definitely like to spend some time raising money for animal charities with a creative dog portrait calendar, that’s in the works now.
I’m pretty happy at the moment so for now, things are great as they are but in five years I might be living on a small farm in Italy shooting beautiful Italian weddings…. yeah, I can see that.
Do you have any favourite client’s images and why? (include three photos in the email and number them so I can reference your reasons for choosing them)
1- This mermaid photo. I had a vision of what I wanted, and it turned out even better, I love when that happens. Bethan is an incredible model and she makes the most intriguing, eerily beautiful, freshwater mermaid. I just love it.
2- This is the happiest family I’ve ever met. Their wedding was beautiful from start to finish and I wish I could do it all over again. I smile every time I see this photo.
3- A walk in the woods. I spent a lot of time on this photo. I don’t know what it is about it but I’m really proud of it, it makes me feel something.
Who are three of your favourite photographers on social media to follow? (and why)
Rosie Hardy (@georgiarosehardy on Instagram)
Rosie, the reason I fell in love with creative portraits. She’s a remarkable soul. Her photos can break your heart, pick you up when you’re feeling down and transport you to another world. She wears her heart on her sleeve and encourages people to be kind which is always beautiful. She’s the full package and yes, I want to be her.
Oleg Oprisco (@oprisco)
He’s just pure magic. All of his work is outstanding, and I feel like I could spend hours looking at one of his photos. He has the best props too and did I mention he shoots film.
Anka Zhuravleva (anka_zhuravleva_arts)
She’s so different. The tones in her images are so beautiful, the way she uses her models and her surroundings are incredible. She’s wonderful.
Can you tell me what a typical day would look like for you if you were covering a wedding? (If you set it out as a time schedule or however you do on the day that would be fab- just makes it easier to read if we timescale the day)
A typical wedding day starts with plenty of hydration, dioralyte is perfect for preventing dehydration which is a big issue when shooting a wedding all day, and a good breakfast.I always prep all my gear and pack my bag the day before so I can relax in the morning.
Music whilst I travel is a huge deal for me. It helps to prepare the introvert in me for a full day of people. I normally do at least twelve hours at a wedding and I like to keep busy, so I shoot everything and when the bride and groom have their food I like to go to my car or the restaurant and be alone with my food, it helps recharge me.
Then I stick around until everyone’s had a full boogie on the dance floor, drive home, cuddle my dogs like I haven’t seen them for a year and backup all my images whilst eating a dinner that my kind-hearted boyfriend makes me (I can eat at any time) and then boy do I sleep.
I always like to ask this to photographers…particularly ones who are ENGAGED!! Do you have an idea who you would have to take your pictures at your wedding and why?
Rosie Hardy, always and forever. She has the kind of heart I’d want around on my wedding day. She’s as cool as a cucumber and her photos are always perfect.
Are there any photography forums or sites you would recommend for a keen photographer?
Blogs. Instagram is so great, you find someone you like, follow them, it usually brings up similar people, so you can spend a day finding all the styles you love and then click on the link to their website. Most photographers have blogs and you can learn so much there.
Ben Sasso is ace, he has loads of educational information on his website for portrait/wedding photographers. He’s a giant weirdo too so he’s lots of fun.
Oh, and YouTube for editing, Phlearn is a great channel.
For anyone looking to get into photography on a professional level, what equipment would you recommend getting them started?
I’m not going to pretend to be a huge camera nerd, because I’m not but I’ll tell you what I had. A Canon 6d and a 50mm 1.8.
I used my one camera and one lens for so long and even though it meant it wasn’t as versatile it made me think about how to get the image I wanted. I worked that lens so hard until I left it on my car roof and drove away one day, oops.
If you’re shooting a wedding though, always have backup equipment, you don’t want to spoil someone’s day by being a cotton headed ninny muggins.
Well, I’m officially obsessed with your work even more now! Keep doing what you’re doing superstar! Speak soon xox