Gill Maheu wedding photographer in Geneva, Switzerland
Our interview series continue with Gill Maheu, wedding photographer in Geneva, Switzerland.
It gives me such pleasure to share this interview with Gill Maheu… Gill is an incredibly talented photographer, with whom I have been lucky enough to work on several weddings. Gill’s professionalism, kindness and calm on the big day is only a preamble to the absolutely stunning photos she unveils afterwards… every single time! So read on as Gill shares her passion for photography with us and invites us in a world where she makes everything look simply beautiful.
Hi Gill, could you introduce yourself in a few words?
Helloooo – I’m Gill, I’m English but I’ve lived in France for a long time (longer than I lived in England !). I have a gorgeous family and a job that I absolutely love photographing fabulous people… I’m very very lucky !
How would you define your style of photography?
ooooo I don’t think I can define a style for myself, I shoot how I see. I try to convey the beauty and happiness of a wedding day – little moments of emotions, huge smiles, love, gorgeous details . I don’t try to fit into a particular style I just aim to take images that in 5, 10 or even 20 years time will transport the couple back to an incredibly happy event in their lives !
Did you always know you would become a photographer? How did you train to become a photographer?
I’ve always loved photography, that’s a standard answer isn’t it ? sorry. As a kid I remember Grandpa taking 10 minutes per shot when all I wanted to do was fidget, as a teenager in the film days, I had a Saturday job developping photos which was ‘enlightening’ to say the least!
When we had the girls I was given one of the first compact digitals and fell in love with photography all over again taking photos of them, and one thing lead to another – I photographed my first wedding in September 2009 (the photo below). I have no official ‘degree’ style training in that respect I am self-taught, but I have been lucky enough to have done a couple of courses with the fabulous Annabel Williams and to be mentored and very much looked after and guided by Jo & Si from Shoot Lifestyle photography – who have been full of precious advice and support.
What are the biggest challenges in the life of a wedding photographer?
Adaptability. Things very rarely run to plan on a wedding day for a host of happy reasons mostly things taking longer than planned because of the love around – the hairdresser taking longer because they want the bride to be perfect, the priest taking longer because he has so much to say about the couple, the fabulous surprises from friends and family, an amazing flash mob springs to mind … oh and then the weather occasionally misbehaves! So time is the main challenge.
What recommendations would you give to a couple looking for a wedding photographer?
The best bit of advice would be that once you have looked at the sites arrange to meet with your potential photographers, see who you get on with – whoever you choose will be there all day so it’s very important you both like and trust them, because trusting them means you can be you and forget about the camera. The images will be all the better for it – promise!
I personally love the fact that your photos breathe life while being “picture – perfect”, clear, vibrant. You make life simply beautiful. A client once told me that some of their friends who had been unable to attend their wedding felt as if they had actually been there just by looking at your images afterwards. Can you share a photo with us illustrating this very powerful feeling?
You also photograph women, families… In your photos, beauty is everywhere… You reveal beauty even when people do not expect it. I’m talking mostly about women and our constant obsession with our little flaws – in your photos, we don’t see that. Rain or shine, happiness prevails, you capture beautiful smiles. What is your secret?
I just love people, simple as that I think. People come to me and tell me straight out that they are not photogenic – that’s rubbish and usually based on beach photos and restaurant shots, let’s face it nobody looks good after toasting on a beach all day or partying all night with great friends and a front facing flash ! If you trust me I can show you just how gorgeous you are; and you are that, I promise you – I can show you what everybody else sees .. simple.
What do you like best in your job?
What is your favourite moment in a wedding?
ooooo I don’t know where to start, I love the pretty details and the excitement of the day unfolding as the bride is getting ready, I love the emotions of the church and as they leave under the confetti – and I looove the couple shots – when everything is done the rings have been exchanged and the couple relax as they start to really enjoy their day with family and friends !
You always take beautifully refined photos of the most precious details of a wedding. What story do these images tell?
ahhhh well these shots tell the story of all sorts of happy hours – the outcome of all the dress shopping that resulted in THE perfect dress, the choice of the to-die-for shoes, hours of happy blog browsing looking at wedding bouquets and favours – all those things that have gone to make up such a magical wedding day !
Wedding days are very short and packed with emotions. How do you handle the pressure while making sure you capture the key moments?
I think experience is a key factor – that and working through their time line with the bride and groom beforehand. As with anything being properly prepared is the key, it means that the couple can enjoy their day, they know that I know where to be and when.
Many couples also ask you to take photos of them during an engagement session. I particularly like looking at them on your website as they show a different facet of the couple. How do you prepare for these engagement sessions with the coupleS?
Coffee & cake ! Seriously? I send them a PDF with ideas for the engagement session, afterwards we talk about it and they tell me what they are after style-wise… Country or urban or fairground or even car scrap yard . Then we meet over a coffee and go over the timeline of the day, group lists etc… before I get out the camera. The whole aim of the session is to have a laugh, get to know each other and get them used to being the stars of the camera ! No pressure just fun.
What do you tell your brides and grooms to get them to relax?
One of the huge plus points in doing an engagement shoot is that the couple already know me and the way I work by the time we get to their Big Day – that trust goes a long way towards feeling relaxed. They know and trust that I’m going to show the happiness of their day.
Can you share a fun memory with us?
I think one of my favourite fun memories recently is sitting cross legged on the front of the boat as we whizzed around Lake Annecy with the groom steering the boat the bride laughing her head off and me trying desperately to focus and not to fall into the water or drop the camera … and that was before the ceremony !!!!!
Couples tend to go for unCONVENTIONAL photos these days in addition to more classic images. Do you have a favourite image like this?
I love these images and when the opportunity arises, t’s always fab to get a more unusual image. Sometimes they are set-up but it’s always an extra bonus if they are spontaneous.
Gill, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. One last question though: where can we follow you?
on Facebook: facebook.com/gillmaheuphotography
on Instagram: instagram.com/gillmaheu
on the Web: gillmaheu.com
To see more of Gill Maheu’s marvellous work, visit www.gillmaheu.com. On the website dedicated to the work of Gill Maheu wedding photographer in Geneva, Switzerland, you will have a chance to appreciate first hand how Gill perfectly captures every little detail of your day as well as how she manages to convey the atmosphere through her marvellous photos…
Photo credit: Gill Maheu
B/W portrait of Gill by Jo at Shoot lifestyle