Smithtree Photography is one of those photography duos that manage to capture all the little moments in between the big moments of your Big Day… I chatted to Russell Smith, one half of the duo, about what makes Smithtree tick – here’s what he had to say.
1. What do you offer to those planning their weddings???
When we meet with the couple beforehand we go through the order of events, discuss possible ideas for the day, inquire if there are any special requests and just get to know what they are about and what they like. We visit the venue and make note of the light, look for potential spots to take the couple for their shoot, get an idea of distances between ceremony and reception etc. We believe that good preparation is half the job done and is crucial.
2. What makes Smithtree Photography different???
I have been shooting for close to ten years professionally in studio and location in the fields of decor, food, portraits and travel. Weddings are a relatively new speciality, which gives us a fresh look at shooting weddings by bringing in all our disciplines. We don’t pretend to be classic wedding photographers, in fact we seek clients that look for a different approach with more of the imagination of the day. Beautifully composed and lit imagery with memorable expressions and emotions are what we strive to record on camera. We also work as two photographers, giving us a little space to capture the moments in between – the ones that tell the full story.
3. Why did you choose to focus on weddings???
Wedding photography with the invention of the digital camera has opened up the genre to be more playful and more creative. While you need to be focused and be in the right place at the right time, there is now loads of room to have fun with imagery and push the boundaries like shooting into sunlight which was very risky with film.
4. What advice do you have for brides who are planning their weddings???
Look at the portfolio of your photographer closely. What you see you will get. The way a photographer sees through the camera, the lenses they use and how they treat the images afterwards are all demonstrated in their work. So if you love the work you see in their portfolios, then you will be happy. Don’t get a photographer that shoots great documentary style and hope that the images will look more like fashion.
Secondly, the day belongs to you, for you to concentrate on enjoying and being in the moment. So appoint a sister, best friend or aunt to help co-ordinate the logistics with the photographers on the day. It shouldn’t be your responsibility on the day to gather your family for the group shots for example.
5. My favourite part of a wedding is…?
The time we get to photograph the couple. They have just exchanged their vows and there is a real excitement that I strive to get on camera. We get to go away for a while somewhere beautiful where we can capture them together, married for the first time. We treat it like a little fashion/lifestyle shoot and have a lot of fun.
6. I love weddings because…?
They are positive and hopefully once in a lifetime!
7. My number one tip for wedding photography is…?
Focus and preparation. I’ve mentioned preparation but you need to know where and what is important at any given moment. Life is happening all around you with a million potential possibilities for great images. You need to be there in person and in mind. It can be pretty harrowing when the bride walks down the aisle and a million guests are trying to take shots in front of you and the bride is expecting you to get the shot. Also learn when to stand in the background and when to take over and direct. The wedding, in my opinion, is not about the photographer, so step back and observe and document. When you’re alone with the couple then they will need your direction to get the right angles and lighting – they need to be able to trust that you know what you are doing.
8. My favourite wedding trend with photography is…?
To not get caught up in trends but shoot what feels natural for yourself, that way you will attract people who like the honesty in your work and your style. And to go back to the most important principles of good lighting and then use post production. Too many young photographers don’t have a clue about good quality light, all they do is use Photoshop to fix their images. Not us.
My brother is lucky enough to have booked Smithtree for their wedding in December – I can’t wait to see the pics!
Until next time!