Sarah Joy Landon mixes two classic photography styles – documentary and editorial – to bring her clients the most comprehensive visual narrative of their day. Sarah Joy Landon focuses on candid images and captures the unposed moments in between. She is currently based in Yorkshire, UK however, splits her time between Italy and the UK, as her family is based in Rome. The bilingual photographer is able to provide her couples with local knowledge in each country and photographs both digital and 35mm film photography.
Tell us about your business!
I photographed my first wedding in 2017, but for a few years it was just a side hustle along my corporate job. My passion for photography only grew stronger as I was working towards a career that I didn’t find fulfilling. In 2021 I decided to quit my job to be a wedding photographer full-time and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I offer wedding and elopement photography and I’m specialised in the UK and Italy as they are my two home countries. I’m half Italian, half British and bilingual – I have spent significant portions of my life in each country, meaning I’m able to provide my couples with the knowledge and insight of a ‘local’. I’m very grateful that I am able to work and spend so much time in the countries I call ‘home’. That said, my passion for travel is only second to photography and I am definitely available to travel anywhere in the world.
I shoot a mix of digital and 35mm film photography and my approach is very flexible: I want couples to feel like they can ask for personalisation and even new ideas when it comes to photography coverage for their day. I don’t have fixed packages but rather I work with my clients to understand their needs and then offer a solution that is tailored to their needs.
How would you describe your style?
My style is predominantly documentary and candid, with an editorial vibe. The couples that contact me always mention how much they love the spontaneous moments I capture and how wedding portraits never look too posed, whilst still making the subjects look their absolute best. I definitely attract people who seek a photographer who can tell the story of their wedding day in images, just as it happened, in style.
What motivates you to do what you do?
Photography has always been my greatest passion in life. When I was a child, I would borrow my father’s analogue camera and as young as 16 I purchased my first very own DSLR. For some time, I photographed landscapes and documented my travels around the world, capturing portraits of people living as far away as Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. I think that’s when I first developed my documentary style and a love for portraiture.
In my early 20's I studied journalism and although I initially worked in marketing and social media, I knew photography was what I really wanted to do. I covered my first wedding in 2017. I fell in love with the narrative opportunities that weddings provide as well as the human connections, getting to know people and their stories and the privilege that is documenting them.
I feel like wedding photography is more than just a job - it’s a big responsibility and a privilege. It is incredible to think that I’m the person who will capture and immortalise one of the most important events in people’s lives and that thanks to me they will be able to re-live that day for many years to come. It still amazes me today, no matter how many times I think about it! I can never take this for granted.
Capturing weddings allows me to express my passion for documentary and portrait photography, get creative and always learn something new. It’s also a job where a social person like me thrives – it allows me to meet new people all the time as well as discover new destinations. It is fun, engaging, exciting. It makes me get up in the morning with a smile on my face!
What is your most memorable career moment?
Leaving my job to pursue this career full-time. I was scared but determined and one year later here I am, doing something I used to only dream of.
What is your favourite product/service that you offer and why?
I recently started offering film photography as part of my wedding and elopement photography package. This has taken me right back to my childhood. Film isn’t necessarily better than digital photography, but it certainly is very different and unique.
There is a huge demand for analogue photography at the moment and I can definitely see why. It’s not just the nostalgia and the vintage look, shooting film is going back to the roots of photography and what it really means. It’s the rawness of simple chemical reactions, no editing software and no chance to waste shots, just the competence of a photographer and light.
I think my clients embrace the imperfections of film and seek raw and authentic emotions, rather than overly posed and perfectly edited images.
What inspires you?
My main sources of inspiration are classical art and the natural world. Having grown up in Italy I was exposed to its rich culture and I’ve always been fascinated by certain painting techniques. Think of the use of ‘chiaroscuro’ (the contrast of light and shadow) in Renaissance art, I definitely emulate this style when photographing a wedding in situations of harsh and contrasting light. Nature is also a great source of inspiration; observing the many colours and textures in our landscapes taught me about complimentary colours and perspective, all things that are necessary to create visually appealing images.
What is your ideal work destination?
I want to say Italy. I spent most of my youth in the country and I know it like the palm of my hand. It’s such a unique country it’s hard to put into words. I have a soft spot for tropical destinations though, especially islands. I’m a scuba diver in my spare time so I have travelled to places like Indonesia for personal reasons but it would be a dream to capture an adventurous couple live a full tropical wedding experience!
If you could describe your business in 3 words, what would they be?
Modern, stylish, spontaneous.
What would you like couples to know about you and your work?
I am a good listener, friendly and open-minded; I really try my very best to tune in with your vision. No wedding in alike and the most important thing for me is that your personalities and the overall vibe is truthfully represented.
What is your favourite travel destination?
I dream of the Maldives, Indonesia and French Polynesia.
What is your advice to couples getting married?
This may sound strange but think of photography as a secondary factor in your wedding day. Let photography be the means through which your special day is captured, not let it dictate what you should do. Trends are nice but you should still be true to yourselves. In my experience all the best photographs are the ones you didn’t plan.