She has traveled around the world photographing weddings, has a background in theatre and film, and is so super cool and sweet that you'll love hanging out with her all day at your wedding.
And, she's currently hosting a contest to win a free makeover and boudoir session - what a great gift for your future groom! Enter here before the end of May: http://juliesaadphotography.com/blog/2014/4/30/enter-to-win-a-free-boudoir-session
Meet Julie Saad of Julie Saad Photography...
Q. How did you get into wedding photography?
A. In 2007, I was working as a fashion, portrait, and event photographer, when my then boyfriend asked me to fly to Dubai to document his brother's wedding. I had never even considered photographing weddings, but I realized that I had the necessary training in other types of photography, so if I could stitch them all together, I could photograph a wedding successfully. I spent the next few months poring over books, magazines, and websites about wedding photography, soaking in as much knowledge as I could about the special considerations for photographing such momentous occasions. I condensed everything down into a one page "cheat sheet" of things I needed to remember to provide the best photos I could, and spent the 13 hour plane ride from America to the Middle East memorizing that and imagining the wedding in my head.
I was expecting to photograph the day and go back to my previous areas of photographic expertise. The getting ready was so much fun; the ceremony was moving; and the party was jubilant, including lively dancing and cutting the cake with a giant sword as per Arabic tradition (grooms tend to love this part because they get to play with weapons). When it was all over I left, cameras slung across my back, to go to sleep, thinking to myself, "well that was a cool experience. I'm glad I did that this one time." It wasn't until the next day when I would realize that wedding photography was going to be more than a one-time thing.
As I sat at the computer, looking at the photos I had just copied over from the camera's memory cards, I couldn't believe how much I loved every single image. I moved through the collection of images slowly, not wanting to reach the end. I soon realized that my face was in an enormous amount of pain, from excessive smiling! At that point, I was pretty sure I would like to photograph at least one more wedding, however when I later gave the couple their images, I knew for sure I had found something I loved. It was magical to watch them relive their wedding day and see things they hadn't even noticed. I didn't sleep at all that night; I was just too excited about my new-found passion.
Q. How would you describe your photography style?
A. My photographic style is happy, romantic, and artful. I look for real emotion and heightened beauty. I draw on two of my biggest interests: cinema and fashion. I want to tell the story in a masterful way, and help everyone look their best at the same time. I'm often asked what genre I consider myself. A lot of photographers call themselves photojournalists, and while I do draw from and have training in this method of photography, I consider my style to be more fine art and editorial. As I move through getting ready, ceremony, and reception, I seek to be a fly on the wall the way a photojournalist would, but I am also injecting my own emotions into the imagery. I am adding my own sense of wonder and beauty and layering that on top of the work, to create a look that is all my own, but heavily influenced by my prior conversations with the couple, in which I determine their tastes and learn more about their unique story. During portrait sessions, I blend a variety of styles together, seeking to craft images that are aesthetically superior while also being laced heavily with emotion and romance.
A. My ideal client is any couple that values the craft of photographic storytelling.
Q. Where in the world is your favorite place to photograph?
A. That is a difficult one to answer! I have photographed weddings extensively in the U.S., India, The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Egypt, and Mexico. I'm going to have to cheat on this answer a bit and say that wherever I photographed last is my favorite place, as those are the photos I'll be enjoying working on at any given time. So, by that logic, my current favorite place would be Mersea Island in the U.K., as today I have been photographing my husband, his sister, their parents, and our adorable little niece Molly, who got a real kick out of learning to use a Hasselblad medium format camera loaded with Polaroid film. Also the sun sets so late here at this time of year, so you get this amazing early evening light that makes everything look like a still from a nostalgic movie.
Q. What is your favorite part of the job?
Q. What is your favorite part of the job?
A. I love working with my wedding couples and seeing them through newly engaged to newly wed. My favorite part is presenting my clients with a slideshow of their images, and watching this together. I hold a belief that an image doesn't truly become art until it is shown to someone else.
Q. What tips/advice would you give to couples as they are searching for a wedding photographer?
A. Look at lots of wedding photographer's websites, and when you see ones you like, try to figure out why. This will help you make your choices. For example, a lot of my brides and grooms come to me because of my strong work with candids and in low light situations. They know that they will get excellent portraiture and detail shots with me as well, but I seem to have a knack for capturing hearty laughs, slick dance moves, and stolen glances. If you're working with a planner, you are lucky in that you will have a pre-screened group of photographers from which to choose. Find someone whose work you love, then make sure to meet them or at least do a video conference call to confirm that you like the photographer as a person. It's important to find someone who's cheerful and relaxed. If you feel like you'd invite this person to a party, that's a good sign.
Q. What do you do when you're not taking pictures?
A. Editing pictures. Ok, kidding, I do have a life outside photography. I love going to see films and the occasional play. I play a little guitar and hopefully soon the accordion as well (so far I can only do half of the theme from Amélie on it though). My husband, Sam, and I are training for the New York City Marathon, and also do the occasional bicycle tour. We once rode our bikes all the way down the coast of California and then across the Southwest into Texas. I do volunteer work when I can, and would someday like to open a photography camp for underprivileged kids. I also love reading fashion magazines, walking around New York, and people watching.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
A. Hmm, if you're reading this and happen to be engaged, congratulations! I wanted to be a bride so much that I proposed to my husband myself, who fortunately said yes. Weddings are so much fun, but the best part comes afterwards, when you wake up the day after saying your vows and realize that for the rest of your life, you will have a partner with whom to share your life.
If you missed our previous vendor interviews, you check them out here, here, and here.