Welcome to the Directory - Charlotte Sowman | Photographer
She’s a style queen, creative genius, a whizz with a camera, and an absolute blast to hang out with! I caught up with Charlotte in our beautiful city centre to find out what’s behind this woman who’s always behind the lens.
Photography isn’t your full time keep, what keeps you busy outside of this?
No, wedding photography is like my little passion project! I am actually a full-time graphic designer. I studied and gained my degree in design and have been working as a creative designer for just over four years now. I work at Libby & Ben which is a creative agency here in Christchurch and we also have a studio in Auckland. We do all things creative - branding, advertising, websites and the likes...
I also have a wee freelance business called Folk & Form which (when I have time) try to expand on my personal skills in illustration and fun wee projects.
How did you get into photography?
It's funny because prior to uni, photography had never really interested me, rather you'd find me in the art room painting and drawing. But when I was studying, I chose photography as one of my electives and bought a wee DSLR camera - thinking it would be a great wee skill to have as a designer (which it is!). But I remember being amazed at what this wee camera could do and started becoming very interested in how creative I could be. I was taking photos and posting them on Facebook, then one day a friends sister contacted me about taking some photos at her wedding. I think naivety is a beautiful thing - I had no idea what I was in for but I borrowed some gear and away I went, and the rest is history.
Who is your favourite photographer?
Oh wow, I have a lot... I dread the day I may have to choose one for myself! I'm very inspired by India Earl, she shoots in wonderful, wild locations all around the world and her work is super fun and playful, therefore very natural. Her tones and use of light are out of this world. Other faves would be Phil Chester, Benjamin Patch, Ty French and Danelle Bohane. I love that the world of social media has been able to link and connect us with photographers from all over the globe, not just locally.
What is your advice for budding photographers?
Looking back, I think the most valuable thing for me has been gaining hands on experience and just getting out there and shooting. I feel like every time I shoot I learn something new that adds to my skill set. The more I shoot the more I discover what works for me, what light I like and how that all translates into the style of editing I like to do. Second to that would be connecting with people in the industry and being able to collaborate, share knowledge and learn from each other.
Favourite canterbury hotspot? What do you like to do in your spare time?
I'm a biiiiiiig sucker for good eats, so I'm absolutely loving Christchurch City at the moment with all it's fab new cafes. As things are opening up the vibe in town is getting really exciting. Those who follow me on Insta will know that I'm a regular visitor to cafes like Uncommon & Unknown Chapter (sorry for the food spam on my stories)!
I also love that we have nature on our doorstep so you'll also find me out hiking with my partner Ben. Ryde Falls is a goody for a nice wee day trip and also Bealey Spur at Arthur's Pass.
What is the moment you most like to capture at a wedding?
There's not one particular moment or 'part of the day' that I can pin down to being my favourite to capture. Each wedding is very different. I'm a big softy, so moments that really stand out for me and get me excited are ones with real, powerful emotions behind them - whether that be, happiness, excitement, anxiousness, sadness, pure over the moon-ness (I know that's not a word but I'm making it one), I think the best images come from those genuine, authentic feelings.
If you could capture a wedding anywhere in the world, where would it be?
There's so many places! I'm very into shooting in nature and inspired by the backdrops that nature can provide, and New Zealand is pretty awesome but it would be amazing to be able to shoot in another country. Places that pop to mind would be...Iceland, Morocco, Italy, Yosemite and Canada.
Describe your style?
I like to think the style of my images are very natural, authentic and have a mix of being fun and playful, and romantic and intimate. I love to be a bit silly and have a lot of fun with my couples while I shoot which I think helps achieve that vibe. My absolute fave thing is when couples are willing to be a bit crazy with me and not afraid to be adventurous and have a great time. I'm constantly thinking about light and composition and I also spend a lot of time editing to get the tones of my images right to create my 'look' I suppose, I think editing is a really vital part of achieving your 'style'.
I don’t think you ever take a bad photo, any tips for the perfect selfie?
Omg, that is FAR too kind... but I would say find that good lighting and just rock it sistah! Self love is the best love! And on that note too, for my brides and anyone getting married, please try your best to love yourself, you are beautiful!
Did I mention she does pottery too? I’m always left so inspired after meeting with Charlotte, it’s just fantastic having total bosses full of substance on board the directory, and she is nothing short of that. Welcome Lovely!