Selecting your wedding photographer is one of the most important wedding planning decisions you'll make. To help you learn more about the industry and current trends, we sought expert advice from one of Australian's leading (and award winning) photographers, Mere from Popcorn Photography. We hope these tips will help you when selecting or working with a wedding photographer like Popcorn.
What is currently trending in wedding photography?
Do you know what, we actually don’t follow trends at Popcorn. Trends are fleeting; they come and go with the Season. We produce images that do not date. The last thing we would want is for someone to pick up an album of our photographs in a couple of years and say “OMG I cannot believe you did that, how embarrassing, they’re awful”. Elegant, timeless, with a sprinkle of glamour and a dash of quirky fun to capture the individual personalities of our clients…yes, that’s the Popcorn style.
Where do you see it moving (future trends)?
Again, we don’t pay attention as we focus on creating images that reflect our clients and what they love. The way weddings are captured has certainly evolved over the years from very stiff, stand up and smile at the camera images, to more relaxed and candid. People are certainly drawn more towards real and organic photographs where genuine emotion is seen. There is nothing we love more than couples viewing our work and are genuinely moved by the moments we have been able to capture. It’s very special actually.
What do you recommend to brides looking at different photographic styles? How can they pick the best one for them?
Honestly, it really comes down to the couple and their own connection, what they love, what resonates and what doesn’t. The world is at the end of a keyboard these days, so makes use of the visual stimuli out there. Don’t just look at wedding images and blogs, look at “all” types of images. Which ones draw you in? Which ones evoke an emotional response? Do you like images that are romantic and tender or ones where people are standing on their head? Perhaps you want to re-create something from history or come up with a style that is unique. Chances are it will be a bit of a hybrid mix and how the day unfolds will also influence what and how things are shot to a degree.
Do you ask brides to provide you with storyboards and details of their wedding set up prior to the wedding so you can work best with their theme?
We certainly gather details about the day, from timelines, venues, stylists, supplier’s and designers to colour palettes, entertainment and everything else in between. This really helps us gain an insight into the overall mood, priorities and starts the creative process in our heads churning away.
We are very spontaneous on the day and will never use a shot list. Gee, does anyone anymore? Everything needs to be individual and what is special to some couples others won’t like at all. Whatever is in front of us, beside, above or below us gets captured.
Personally, I am the details girl and macro queen. I can’t get enough of all the fine details, so I take extra time to ensure I have everything covered that is pretty, precious, fabulous and divine. Don’t even get me started on the shoes; I am obsessed!
We also have a small team of Photographers and Assistants that work with us and we have trained to shoot like us, feel, look, embrace, love and be as passionate about every wedding as I am. Our clients trust us, our drive, inspiration, integrity, creativity and love our work, so fortunately we are given free reign most of the time. I’m still looking forward to the day where someone wants us to photograph their wedding utilising a smoky, jazz bar, ambient light, lots of lace, satin and beading on the gown. Old world glamour but with a grainy 70’s hazy feel to it.
What style of weddings are the best to shoot?
Every wedding is wonderful to shoot (no, I’m not just saying that) as it has it’s own ‘flavour’ and is a celebration of love. Families join together, relatives and friends catch up that may not have seen each other in years. Weird and wacky things happen that just make you laugh, and tears are often shed, which always pulls my heartstrings. After all these years I still cry at weddings. It’s the best job in the world!
We always do our best work with couples that say “we love you, your work, just do your thing” and are so relaxed, nothing is a problem and they are will to try new things, climb through things and over stuff….to get a great shot.
What do you do if a bride doesn’t have a very interesting wedding set up / theme?
Nothing different, we shoot with the same love and care we always do.
How do you avoid not replicating the same look twice?
It can be tricky, especially as we shoot in the same venues quite often. However, we always want to challenge ourselves, do better, be better and we always come up with something different. So often we will look back at the end of the night and say “hey, I can’t believe we didn’t think of that sooner” and high 5 each other. Between weather, light, colours, personalities, angles, perspectives and vibing off the energy of the day, new ideas always emerge and gosh it’s fun.
What style do you recommend brides avoid?
We are so blessed that we attract the brides that love our style of shooting and our relaxed personalities. I recommend couples avoid anything that doesn’t incorporate their own personalities.
People get so caught up in wanting what they have seen in magazines, what the parents want, the bossy Aunt that insist they do things a certain way or what their friends had. It’s about what two people want only, the bride and the groom, or hopefully very soon and far too long coming; the bride and bride or groom and groom. The last thing I would want is for any couple to reflect back on their wedding with a feeling of disappointment knowing it just wasn’t them and didn’t feel right.
What should brides know about picking an incredible photographer like you?
My big, huge, massive, warm suggestion is to avoid planning every aspect of your time with your Photographer.
This includes an unrealistic timeline. Always leave yourself breathing room, to take 5, visit the bathroom or have a drink. Also, remember it will take longer than you think for bridal parties to get in and out of cars, and it takes cars longer than you think to get to places, especially if they are vintage and/or you are getting married in an area where there is heavy traffic and narrow streets.
It also includes a tick and flick shot list. This is just a lose/lose situation where you will be stressed about ensuring the Photographer captures every image and your Photographer will be stressed about missing shots, therefore it will breed misery all around. If someone ever gave me a list aka bride holding bouquet, Groom holding rings, I would be mortified and cry, wondering why they hired me in the first place. I beg you, never try and stifle a Photographers creativity or tell them what to shoot, how to shoot it and when.
Breathe, enjoy your day, and embrace every moment. You hired your Photographer because you loved their work, so please trust them and know that they are going to photograph your wedding to the best of their technical and creative ability. We also use two Photographers, so everything really does get covered, and hey, if you think of something that you’d really like to do on the spur of the moment, just ask!
Any extra advice for brides?
a) Love the style, look and feel of the images from your chosen Photographer.
b) Make sure you don’t feel weird around them or think you will drive each other nuts on the day.
c) You truly get what you pay for with Photography…nuff said really.
d) Always hire Photographers that are accredited. We are members of the AIPP, WPPI and WIPM. We are always learning, improving, attending conferences and are so active in continuing our professional development.
e) This is the most important, so grab a pen and paper and jot this down…. www.popcornphotography.com.au book those guys, they’re the bombdiddely!
Thanks to Mere for that awesome advice. We love Popcorn's work and really fortunate to have their tips to share with all you newly engaged couples! Stay tuned as we will have more from Popcorn soon...