WHAT'S YOUR STYLE AND HOW DO YOU WORK?
I wear two hats on a wedding day, part photojournalist, part portrait artist...
For the documentary part, I like to tell the story of your day as it unfolds, without staging or interfering. I love capturing those genuine moments and emotions of your day and a documentary approach is about capturing moments as they unfold without the photographer interfering. I aim to be discreet and unobtrusive, to just let those natural moments happen. If you're looking for cheese or cute set-ups, I'm probably not the right photographer for you!
For the bridal portrait (just before the bride heads off to the ceremony) and the couple portraits, I wear my portrait hat. I love creating beautiful images of a couple, so I'll carefully choose locations and work with light and posing to create photos of the two of you that, (while ideally they'll also look spontaneous and un-posed) are more carefully crafted. The other exception is the family photo session (usually after the ceremony), which I will be quite hands on with, or it tends to never end!
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE LOCATIONS FOR THE PORTRAITS?
For bridal couple portrait locations I like to find places that reflect who you guys are as a couple - what do you guys do on the weekend? Hang out in the city? Hit cafes and restaurants? Head out hiking? Chill on the beach? Once you've given me an idea of who you guys are, your style, and the vibe you'd love for the photos, I'll head out and scout somewhere near your venue that fits the bill. You don't want to be traveling too far unless you have a really specific scenic shot you're keen on, and are happy to give time to get it - an amazing clifftop or mountain location for instance - which can be a lot of fun.
For most wedding locations I love to do something new and that fits with the story of your wedding day, that has significance for you and your venue, ideally within a 5-10 min drive that will provide a beautiful background that works with portraits, options that will work for if it is sunny, cloudy or rain, and most importantly, light that will work for the time of the day we'll be there. If you are able to, the closer to sunset you can time your photos, the better the light - the softer, more flattering, more moody. If you've got your heart set on first look photos at midday, when our New Zealand sun is out in all its super bright glory, then we'll be looking for locations which can offer some shade, and you probably want to avoid open spaces like the beach.
WHICH PACKAGE SHOULD I GO FOR?
It depends on a few things. First have a read below about how you can allocate hours. What's really important to you to capture? Plan out your day and think what you want covered. Will 5 or 7 hours cover the essentials of what you want, or actually you really want every moment covered so it's 10 hours for you. Your call!
HOW CAN I ALLOCATE MY HOURS?
So you've got an idea of which wedding package you're keen on, now how you allocate those hours is totally up to you. Some people like to cover more prep, some want to go all the way through to the dancing. Some like a little of both. Often people will get that first hour of the reception to get a feel for the details, some people shots, the vibe. When the food comes out isn't the best next hour or so for photos though - the food looks great coming out, not so much getting halfway into people's mouths - however, this is a great time to pop out for sunset photos for the couple (who usually get fed first) - the light is the best and it can give you a break to hang out. More and more couples are opting to split their photo shoot between a pre-reception and mid-reception timeslot to make the most of the light. Pre-wedding first look photos are also really popular - you are able to take your time with the photos without feeling like you've left your guests - if you choose this option you just need to be a bit more flexible with locations as you'll need somewhere that provides options for shade for if it's a sunny day.
PLANNING YOUR DAY
Wedding days are so diverse and there are so many ways of working out how they will flow. So firstly make sure you have a good idea of the type of day you want and what that looks like. We'll always work in with your day, and never want you to feel like you need to worry about if we’re getting what we need. That said there are some good things to consider when you’re working out your wedding day timeline in regards to photos:
1. The day will fly by!
While the morning of the big day can seem a little slow motion at times – once you get close to the ceremony, the day will just go. Delegate as much as you can so you can be as present as possible on the day, and give yourself margin – don’t schedule so everything just fits, give yourself time. If you're the bride, plan on an extra hour or so for photos once hair and makeup are done, so you can relax and get some gorgeous images before everything starts. This may seem like a lot and sometimes everything comes together easily and we fly through, but it's always handy to have a little more time up your sleeve so you can relax and enjoy the process!
2. Most wedding days will run behind schedule
With one or two exceptions, most weddings will! Everything takes longer than you’d imagine –the make-up, the finding the flower girl’s ribbon that’s been put under someone’s coat, the time to round up your bridal party to get them in the car, to actually get in etc etc – there are a whole bunch of movements that an event involving large numbers of people, and co-ordinating music and celebrants, bridal parties, couples and so on, take. Build some margin into your day (that isn't the photo session!) so it doesn’t matter if this happens. And if you don't have a wedding planner, have someone who has that organised gene to help build a timeline of the day and enlist their help on the day to get people moving for when/where they need to be. This is your bossy cousin/friend/aunt's moment to really indulge their OCD side!
3. Allow around 20 minutes after the ceremony for people to congratulate you
People are stoked for you – and they want to be there straight after to tell you. So don’t plan on rushing off after your ceremony, allow 20 minutes or so for a wedding of around 80/100 people for greeting everyone. And don't forget to add that extra 10 minutes onto the ceremony starting time for when the bride actually plans on walking down.
4. Family photos take longer than you’d imagine, and aren’t much fun for you!
I remember at my own wedding standing there waiting for Aunt Ethel (or whoever it was at the time) to come back from the ‘quick’ toilet trip, or a cousin to be rounded up from chatting with her friends or grabbing a drink, and really all I wanted to be doing was hanging out with people, most of whom I hadn’t seen in a long time! Allow 20 minutes for around 8 family group combinations, and keep it simple – which photos do you really need? Which photos will get used? This might be grandma's photo so let's make sure we get that shot - but do you need every combination of siblings/partners/children/extended family? The more guests you have, the further away the photo location from the ceremony venue and drinks trolley, usually the longer it will take to round everyone up. It's really useful to have that bossy cousin/friend/aunt shoulder tapped beforehand to help facilitate the family photos - someone who isn't afraid to round up, interrupt conversations, bellow at large groups and ideally, who knows whose who!
5. The more time you can give your wedding photographer for the portraits, the better the photos
Getting all the elements needed for a beautiful portrait photo takes time: you need to juggle how a couple interacts, in themselves, with each other, in their body language, their expressions, and how that interacts with the available lighting, and the ideal background setup and composition within that. It just takes time to get a couple working together well, comfortable, so a photo can look natural and your chemistry can come through. A millimetre move of the eyes or chin can change the whole feel of an image – just think about that tiny movement from looking at someone to rolling your eyes, and how dramatically that changes what your expression is, or how flattering half closed eyes aren’t compared to full and joyful ones. I like around 1-2 hours for couple portraits (a bit more if we need to allow time for driving between locations), bridal party shots, and time to just relax and enjoy the chance to be together and, most importantly, for that to come through in the photos. If you can make it work with your schedule it often works well to break that time up and have 30 mins or so before sunset to make the most of that gorgeous soft light.
BUT MY GUY(/GIRL) REALLY ISN'T KEEN ON PHOTOS
I totally sympathise! I hate being on the other side of the camera too ,I feel self-conscious and I don't know what to do with myself. This is super common, usually one person in a couple won't be super psyched about the idea of a photo shoot and the idea of two hours or so of photos sounds like their personal idea of hell.
Can I promise you it won't be that bad? My goal is to create a space and time where you guys can relax and hang out with each other and just be yourselves - this is probably the only time in the day you'll get to do that. I don't expect anyone to be photogenic or know what they're doing, that's the whole point of a professional photographer, we take our time, we have a bunch of tricks up our sleeves.
DOES THAT MEAN YOU DON'T POSE US?
Sometimes a unicorn of a couple comes along and you say "just do your thing" and boom it all comes together and I just shoot. 99% of the time though I'll give you some space and a basic idea of what pose I want you in, that works with the background and the light, and some pointers. Then I'll get out of your way and that can be enough. If you need more pointers I'll give them, it's usually a bit of trial and error for what works for each couple and that particular location and what the light is doing - so you guys might be ace posers, but we still need to tweak what you're doing to make the most of the light for instance. Usually the less worried you are about getting your posing right, and the more intent you are on just hanging out with your new spouse, trusting me to manage that end of things, the easier my job is.
DOES OUR BRIDAL PARTY TAG ALONG TO THE PHOTO SESSION?
It's totally up to you - most of the photo session is just with the two of you and it's up to you if you want your bridal party to hang out the entire time, bring them in towards the end or just do some photos with them during the family photo session. Often a couple will bring them along, park them up with a picnic and a few bottles of wine and we'll head off somewhere nearby to shoot. This gives you guys a bit of space without the extra spectators, and also some time to hang out with the bridal party as well.
WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE?
I shoot mirrorless with two Nikon Z6 bodies, an S series 24-70mm 2.8f nikon lens (nikon's latest, shiniest go-to-lens), a Sigma Art 85mm 1.4f (my favourite portrait lens), a Tamron 70-200mm 2.8f (gorgeous compression, most of my favourite ceremony shots are with this lens, and very useful for ceremony close ups without actually having to be right up there beside the couple). I also have a whole bunch of speedlights, flashbenders, LED lights etc, but I'm a natural light lover first and foremost, so these usually stay in my carboot as a last resort!
HOW LONG BEFORE WE GET OUR PHOTOS?
It's around 6-8 weeks for your photos to be delivered to you via an online platform, along with your physical matted prints. These get posted out to you. We also try to get you a few shots that week straight after the wedding so you get some sneak peeks in the meantime.
WHAT'S THE PROCESS FOR BOOKING YOU?
If you're keen to lock in your date and you'd like to talk over any details or nail any further questions you might have, give me a call/email or let's grab a coffee or a zoom - I love meeting my couples beforehand and getting to know you guys a bit and your vibe, if that's possible. If you're at the stage where you're keen to lock me in for your date, let me know and I'll send out a contract - if you're happy with that, payment of your $1000 deposit (non-refundable) will lock in your date. And sorry, I can't hold dates - weddings are booked on a first come, first served basis.
COVID & HOW EASY IS IT TO CHANGE DATES?
Life, pandemics, whatever it might be, sometimes you need to change your date or cancel. We totally get that. We do however also need to balance that with that we have a very limited window (wedding season) in which we bring in our annual income, and once you're booked in we have to turn away other inquires that we very possibly won't be able to rebook. So your deposit is non-refundable - the payment of it holds your date for you, and it is usually specific to your date, unless you've booked the elopement package (which isn't available on Saturdays).
However in certain scenarios you can change your date and move that deposit with you. This includes Covid Alert Level's 4 or 3, where the Government has specified that either no one can get married or only groups of 10 or less than do so. You can also move that deposit to another date during level 1 or 2 if your GP has said that either the Bride or Groom need to legally self-isolate.
You may wish to move your deposit to another date for another reason, such as where you could get married with most people there you would like present, but you don't want to because say an important person is not able to travel into New Zealand for the day, or a parent needs to be in self-isolation. In these cases get in touch, if you’re in peak season (not Jan/Feb/March) or not a Saturday, there may be some leeway to move your deposit.