Yemaya Bridal: Introducing Sofie
Are you looking for an awesome wedding photographer who is based in the south west? Then Sofie is your girl! Surf instructor, wedding photographer and just an all round lovely lady - I caught up with her to find out a little more about what she is up to!
Hey Sofie it’s great to chat to you, so firstly tell us a little bit about yourself & where you are from?
Hey! So I’m originally from Poole in Dorset where the business started. I moved to Teignmouth in Devon for a little while, which was lovely, but moved back to Dorset where the business grew. I am now based in Newquay Cornwall, where the business has taken off and is busier than ever!
So you take some awesome photos – how did you get into wedding photography?
Thank you! I actually stumbled across wedding photography while doing some work experience in a studio in Southampton. The studio focused on magazine and model photography, which was an eye opener and great fun. The main photographer also shot some weddings, which I was luckily enough to second shoot on. I fell in love with it and decided that was what I wanted to do when I grew up (aged 21 😂).
You have a pretty awesome job! What does your typical week look like in wedding season?
Wedding season is pretty manic as you can imagine but I try to keep a good work life balance. I try not to book more than one wedding a weekend but, that doesn’t always work out.
However, a usual week will consist of waking up for a morning surf and a coffee, followed by emails and some social media. I’ll then get stuck in to editing the previous wedding which can take a few days, as I’m sure you can imagine. Once I hit mid week I’m making sure I have all my information ready for the next wedding. I ask couples for wedding timelines a month before the wedding so I know what’s happening throughout their day. I run through this a couple times a day, a few days before to get it stuck in my mind. Then depending where the wedding is, I may load up my van and head out for the weekend. As my business takes me all over the South West, having a home on wheels is essential for me!
Do you have any particular style weddings that are your favourite to shoot? What has been your most favourite wedding?
I love outdoor weddings (not always possible in the uk though!), and quirky venues. I love a tipi in a field or a rustic barn hidden away somewhere beautiful!
I have loved all of my weddings- it’s all about the couples. They make the day. I fall in love with them and love capturing their love! It makes my job easy!
But I have to say my favourite wedding ever... well I have two! The first was probably my first Cornish wedding. I was actually second shooting for a photographer who lives up north. The couple were from Manchester. They got hitched in the registry office on Friday and then had a field booked, overlooking the sea near Penzance for the Saturday and Sunday. They were blessed with glorious weather and they made a mini festival. Their best friend was a celebrant for their wedding, under a flower arch with guests on hay bails. They had DJs in the family, who played different sets, branded festival tankers, food trucks, drinks tokens, yurts and glamping pods and friends who just set up camp. It was a 2 days festival of laughter, music and beer - utterly awesome!!
The other favourite has got to be my first ever destination wedding. I was lucky enough to secure a wedding in Burgundy France last September. They had booked an incredible chateau over looking rolling hills and a valley. I spent the weekend with them, capturing their outdoor ceremony in sunshine, soaking up the laughter and love from their families and friends who were all staying on site for the week. It was heaven!!
I guess you must deal with a fair few ‘bridezillas’! Have you ever had any totally crazy requests or been asked to shoot anything totally ridiculous?
I’ve actually been really really lucky to avoid the bridezillas! I think because I brand myself as a wild, adventurous and natural photographer who lives in the sea, I tend to avoid the bridezilla types. All my couples love what I love, are chilled and loves adventures. Would rather a nice view, even if means a short hike up the coastal path then making sure everything is perfect and fretting over the small stuff.
Do you have any Cornish wedding venues that you have a soft spot for? I’m sure lots of people have their eye on a Cornish wedding!
One of my favourite Cornish spots is Lusty Glaze. They have so many options for weddings and elopements on their private beach. The steps down are a killer but it’s worth it! I’m really excited to get back their next year and work with them!
Word on the street is that you are a pretty keen surfer & a surf coach too? Have you always been a surfer? How did you get into teaching?
I actually only started surfing properly when I moved to Cornwall - About 3 years ago. I’ve always been in to water sports but there isn’t much surf on the coast of Poole! I dabbled in windsurfing and kayaking a lot though! So moving to Newquay, it seemed only right I attempt surfing! And well it’s brings joy like nothing else I’ve ever known! It’s a real game changer!
When I moved to Cornwall initially I had to get a job while the weddings picked up. I found myself being a teaching assistant in a secondary school. The school itself is in quite a deprived area, so they do lots of off curriculum activities such as forest school, surf life saving, dance etc. They run activity weeks in the summer and one was surf camp. I happened to be one of the only female surfers in the staffing list, so I stumbled in to teaching that way. I also volunteered a lot with the wave project which is an incredible charity!
I’ve really lucked out this year, despite a global pandemic I have managed to secure full time work as a surf instructor in Newquay. It’s amazing having the time to through all my energy in to another passion!
Where are your favourite spots to surf – both in Cornwall & anywhere else in the world?
There are so many fun surf spots around! My ultimate fave in Newquay has to be Crantock. It’s usually a bit quieter than Fistral and Watergate and in certain tides when the wave hits the sand banks you can dreamt waves for days! I had my best surf there last week. Jumped in at 5.30am and had the whole beach to myself, with amazing 3ft peelers coming through at sunrise. Can’t beat it!
I’ve not managed to get abroad too much to surf due to work as this global pandemic. I was planning on a couple months in Sri Lanka over winter but the wallet can’t stretch that far now. I did head out to Fuerteventura, where there were some cool spots! But the best day was heading to Los Lobos Island. Where is was just 6-8ft swell coming through. It was going off! Way too big for me to surf but my friend (he’s pretty awesome) jumped in for about 5 hours. It was insane. I took photos all day, the stoke from the water was nuts. I was high on life that day and didn’t even surf! I love the power of the ocean 🙌🏻
So with all of this Covid craziness, next year must be looking pretty manic for you! What do the next 12 months look like for you? Do you have any big trips planned?
I’m hoping to head out to Sri Lanka in January 2022, but that does all depend on my new roommate - Effie the cat! I rescued her in lockdown. She’s a golden oldie with kidney disease. I wanted to give her her best life for the last part of it.
CHECK OUT Sofie's work and find out a bit more including how to book her for your big day at http://www.sofiemichellephotography.co.uk/
Photo credit: Sofie Michelle Photography