Joséphine Elvis – Photography Workshops, Conferences & Styled Shoots

Photo of Joséphine Elvis by Nadia Meli



Joséphine Elvis is a London-based wedding photographer lover of light and people, creating bold and modern imagery. She has been published by many influential wedding blogs and named one of the top 50 wedding photographers of the UK. She also happens to be born in the same city as photography itself (a small town in Burgundy, France). She has always had a passion for capturing life’s special moments, loves creating striking imagery and adding a bit of colour to the wedding industry.

Hi, I am Aida, host of  My Wedding Season -The Podcast!
If you prefer listening, this blog post is also available in audio format on my podcast: Episode 64



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(I, Aida, have at times paraphrased and other times directly quoted what Joséphine and I have said in the episode to make it easier to understand – this is not a direct transcription.)


Aida: What was your journey into becoming a photographer?

Joséphine: I am from a tiny small town in France called, Chalons-sur-Saone, where the very first picture was taken. Because it is a tiny town and there is not much else to do – it is our claim for fame, everybody takes pictures. I was gifted a camera when I was eight, a small point-and-shoot, and that is how I started my journey.

I grew and studied at university – developing photos in a lab. And then I moved to London without any idea what I wanted to do with my life. I decided to do my BA in photograpy at University.

Aida: Wow! How was that?

Joséphine: It was useless. It was very expensive and pretty much useless. You do learn the techniques of photography and the history of photography, but it was not helpful to find work – they just teach you to be like an artist and develop you creativity. But once you are in the market, you just need to do things that people want.

Aida: Yes, when you are running a business, it is different from having a creative, artisitc expression. Obviously if they both align properly, it is the dream. But I feel like we are service providers when we do wedding photography and we need to serve what the market wants, right?!

Joséphine: Yes, that’s right. I think that there should have been more focus on the business-side. I would have been better off studying business.

Photo: Joséphine Elvis Photography


Aida: Which was the first photography workshop that you attended?

Joséphine: It was called, Photography Farm, I believe that it is called Thrive now.

Aida: Oh yes, I know that one – it is by Lisa Devlin (side note for readers: you can read my interview with Lisa: Why You Should Offer Albums to Your Clients as a Wedding Photographer).

Joséphine: I needed some business education, and that was very helpful. And it was lovely meeting a community of people. I feel like at conferences you learn from the speakers, obviously, but you also learn from other attendees.

Aida: I have always said that, for me, it has always been about those in-between conversations – everyone is so talented – it just so happens that some people are on the stage (which is great), but it doesn’t mean that one knows more than the other.


Aida: You have been to so many workshops/conferences over the years, what insights can you share that can be helpful from your experiences?

Joséphine: When I went to the first workshop, I didn’t know anybody and I was so scared – I thought that I was going to spend 2-3 days all by myself. I barely spoke to anyone – not that people were not friendly. I just felt like I was not experienced enough and felt imposter syndrome – I just felt like I didn’t belong. It was ideas I was making in my head, but everybody is just a normal person like you and me. But then I realised that it is not as scary as I thought. I was able to make friends and online communities kept me busy.

Aida: And that was the start…

Joséphine: There was a break during Covid, but in 2022, I think I went to about 10 workshops and styled shoots.

Aida: Where you only in Europe, or how far away have you been?

Joséphine: They were mainly in Europe. I did one in Canada last year – the one with Jennifer Moher. They can be addictive because you meet people and you learn things. And they are all so very different. I also went to Grain, the one in Zagreb, Croatia – and that is my favorite by far! Because it is not too big and it is not too small – there are bigger ones, like around 500 people.

Aida: Oh yes, I was just at WayUpNorth in Florence and it was about 500 people.

Joséphine: When you are an introvert, it can be a bit difficult. It can be a bit overwhelming. It depends how comfortable you feel. If you feel you can talk to anyone, go to the biggest one – there are more people to connect with and the atmosphere is really vibrant. But if you are a bit more introverted, go to the smallest one because it is more intimate and you can have 1:1 conversations, or you can not talk at all and still have company. Loads of people are scared of going by themselves and they shouldn’t be.

Aida: How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as an introvert?

Joséphine: It is funny, because I do see myself as an introvert. When I go somewhere I am really scared and I do not want to talk to anyone. And usually, I am the only Black person.

Aida: That is also a point of conversation, isn’t it.

Joséphine: Definitely – we will talk more about that later. One thing I like to do is put myself out of my comfort zone, because that is how you grow. So I usually go by myself, because worst case, I won’t talk to anyone and will just listen to the talks – but that is never what happens. There is always someone who comes and talks to you. You feel the energy and start enjoying the company and you start sharing with them.


Aida: Since the first time that you have been to a workshop/conference, have you seen a change in terms of representation and inclusivity? Do you feel like there has been a shift, especially since 2020, or do you feel like there is really that much more to do. What are your thoughts on that?

Joséphine: It is tricky because in 2020 Black Lives Matter happened and loads of people in the wedding industry realised “oh yeah, maybe we need to make an effort.” But I feel like making the effort was maybe a little too much for them. Maybe they would find one Black speaker, and that’s enough.

Aida: With the speaker line-up, it is lacking most of the time, isn’t it? And it is also sometimes about the lack of diversity in the attendees. Black people and People of Color need to feel welcome in these spaces – it is not easy for people to just come.

Joséphine: My first WayUpNorth was in Rome and I was the only Black person there amongst 300 people. And because it was just after Black Lives Matter, I realised that I got a lot of attention, but I am not sure that it was the right kind of attention. It was more like, let us do a styled shoot, let us take pictures of you, so that we have a Black person on our grid. I can’t say it was a bad thing – but it was an easy way of saying I see a Black person and you are going to ask. Diversity and inclusivity is not just about having a Black person on your grid, it is much more than that. Otherwise it is just tokenism, if you haven’t done the work.

Aida: I certainly want to see more diversity in speaker line-ups. And I always say, if you ever want to approach me, do not approach me to speak on a topic that is just about diversity. We have other talents and we want to share about other things. What I saw often is that Black people were being invited to just talk about diversity.

And from ourside, I think that it is also important to be more visible. I am not necessarily one who chases the spotlight, but I think that it is also important when I am visible.

Joséphine: We have to be the change that we want to see.

Aida: Absolutely! And I can see you transitioning from being a participant to taking that stage.

I think that it is important to have these conversations so that we can move forward as an industry. But I want to reach a point when we don’t need to have these conversations because they are no longer necessary.


Aida: There has been recent conversations only where some photographers said that people should stop doing styled shoots because they are not real weddings, and it is like false advertising. Others were saying that styled shoots are a way to have a creative expression and to give inspiration. Of course, I know that there are beginner photographers that fill their entire website with just styled shoots, where they didn’t really need to pose the couple, everything was set up – they just took those photos by clicking on the camera, but don’t have the skills needed to actually be a photographer on a wedding. Not just about changing light, but as a photographer, you also have to know how to mobilise people – it is the social skills that I feel like are most important on weddings.

What are your thoughts?

Joséphine: I used to hate styled shoots because of these reasons, but I changed my mind. I see them as creative exercise. When I do styled shoots now, I would say about 90% of my pictures are utter rubbish. It is hard because I have paid money to be there, but it is because I want to experiment with different techniques. I am not here to take perfect pictures only, because at the end of the day, how many pictures do you need from a styled shoot? Maybe 20 – if you want to do a little blog post. But for the rest, you can just do whatever you want. The last time, I played around with a flash and most of them are not good. I was experimenting and honing my craft, and I have learned one really good technique.

Aida: Taking photos without an end goal to deliver them is so freeing. I wish I had the capacity to do more of that.

Joséphine: The mindset around styled shoots nowadays is that people want to elevate their portfolio and have those luxury images. They post these styled shoots as a way to promote a fake wedding.

Aida: But then again, people are running a business.

Joséphine: Yes, you don’t want to just be experimenting. You need really need good content to attract these higher paying clients, or whoever you are trying to attract. Styled shoots are expensives whether you are attending them or organising them. And other suppliers, like florists, are also expecting pictures.


Aida: My photography work is not my artistic expression. When you see my portfolio, I am showing images that i know my type of clients want to have. I am running a business and that is how I fill up my calendar. If I was completely shooting without any responsibilities, without any expectations, it would look different.

Joséphine: You have to keep your clients in mind, as you said. And it is always good as a photographer to do other projects. As a wedding photographer, shoot something completely different.

Aida: Is there a personal project that you would like to create?

Joséphine: There is a 93 year-old lady living alone close to me. Older people are often invisible – I want to start photos of people of older people. Just do it for free – just give it to them. I am going to start this project this year.

I am so grateful to Joséphine for taking the time share so much valuable information with us.

Episode 64. Joséphine Elvis – Photography Workshops, Conferences & Styled Shoots

Connect with Joséphine Elvis:

Instagram: @joelvis_photo
Website: Joséphine Elvis Photography

Connect with Aida Glowik:

Instagram: @aidaglowik
Website: Aida & Tim Photography / Aida & Tim Hochzeitsfotografie
Workshop: Wedding Photography Retreat in Corsica, France
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I specialise in European intimate weddings & elopements.
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