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The Spindrifter Series :: Julia Toms

T H E   S P I N D R I F T E R   S E R I E S

I am beyond excited to introduce our next Spindrifter, my very good friend Julia Toms. Julia is an incredible photographer from the UK, who takes the most beautiful pictures of interiors, watersports, events, products, weddings, portraits and brand lifestyle images to name a few!  She has photographed a number of projects for us here at Spindrift, including managing to get some nice portrait images of me (I am useless in front of the camera)! I only just wish she lived a bit closer! I met Jules back in 2007, when I was learning to Windsurf down at West Wittering beach in the UK.  I love her adventurous spirit –  she is always the person who will say YES to a new adventure without hesitation! She is a keen kitesurfer, surfer, paddle boarder & hiker. I can’t wait to jump in and ask her some questions….

How did you come to be a full time photographer?

It all started in 2003 when I packed up a borrowed snowboard and a film SLR camera, and headed to the french alps for the winter to learn to snowboard. Whilst I was there I fell in love with how the light painted a different story on the mountains every moment of everyday. From this moment, I knew I wanted to work in photography. At first I concentrated on photographing watersports as it was an area that appealed to me. I followed my dream and began to travel extensively to far flung destinations I had only ever read about in magazines, but this time with a DSLR… The rest is history and my skills have ebbed and flowed with the many different genres of photography ever since. Every year I set myself new goals and seek new skills to learn and develop.

What’s your big vision // dream for the next few years?

My dream? Is to continue chasing my dreams and making them a reality. It sounds cheesy but my parents taught me that jobs are not constrained by boxes and that life is not a linear line from school to retirement. However I do hope that my business will continue to grow, and that my work/life balance continues to bring in happiness.

Tell us what typical day for you looks like?

Something I have learnt over the years is how hard photography is on your body. There is a lot of lugging equipment around, and often you have to contort your body into odd spaces and positions in order to get the ‘money’ shot. So my days start with some basic pilates/stretches, and after this I brew a strong coffee!

And that’s where the routine ends… every day is different and in a week I can be photographing interiors for a magazine, doing commercial work for agencies, shooting weddings, editing images, planning new shoots with clients, and on top of this I have some regular clients whose websites and social media accounts I look after.

When you’re not busy photographing where can we find you?

Outdoors! I spend as much time enjoying nature as possible – whether it’s walking on the beach, surfing or kitesurfing, hiking the south downs, or exploring new places I’ve spotted on a map. I am always up for an adventure.

What has been your most important & defining moment so far?

I did have the pleasure of photographing Bill Clinton once on a job for a colleague Carl Pendle one year. Does this define me, no. Was it a highlight of that year, Yes!

Or maybe it is getting a number of ‘front cover’ shots on international interiors magazines.

However, for me, the defining moments are whereby I really make a difference to someone or something. For example, I am currently working on a project closer to home, and also closer to my heart. It is a project called ‘Sea’s the Day’ which is a partnership to celebrate the heritage of the Selsey Fishery and encourage use of our local fish.

Tell us about your personal connection to our wild and beautiful natural landscapes + what do you do to minimise your impact on them?

18 months ago I did a complete overhaul of how I process my jobs, package the work when sending out to clients.. I now use recycled boxes and packaging, recycled paper for all correspondence, invoices, and contracts, and even my USB memory sticks are made from bamboo. On top of this I am delighted to announce that I have just joined ‘1% for the Planet’

What two key things have you learnt in your journey which continue to push you forward?

Balance // Sometimes you have to do less, to achieve more. Working for yourself can be a tricky balance and knowing when to stop work and do something for yourself is an important thing to learn.

Time // Over the years I have learnt that time is something you can’t buy. Use it wisely, and make the most of every moment!

What is your favourite quote and why does it particularly resonate with you?

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body. But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly shouting…. WOW what a ride.”

What’s next on your horizon? // What can we expect to see?

Aside from adventures and travel I have a rather exciting wedding to plan next year… My own! The big question everyone has asked me is “Who will you get to photograph your wedding?”

Work wise, I am looking to find more homegrown brands to produce artwork and photographs for, and to help them grow and develop in this highly competitive world.

What advice would you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?

  • Do lots of research into the field of photography you want to get into
  • Create a business model to work to
  • And then get out there and start snapping
  • And finally remember to always take photos for yourself and not just for clients


Thanks so much Julia, its been so great to catch up and ask you some questions. If you want to find  out more about Julia or are interested in her photography head over her website


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