An Interview with Nordica Photography about the process behind Robyn and Cam’s beautiful Berkeley Fieldhouse wedding day photography.
You captured the neighbourhood in some fantastic documentary style photos that will serve as a time capsule for the couple to see where the city stood at the time of their wedding. Is this something you like to always try to do? What was the thought behind it?
Wedding photography for us is not just about the couple. We want to tell the story of the day, with the location and surroundings being a vital parts. This particular neighbourhood has a lot of character (to say the least!) so incorporating that in the day was a given.
So much work goes into each little detail of the planning and preparation of a wedding. The photos you took really capture the spirit of the build up to the wedding with all the little details of the set-up. What was your thinking with this?
Since we don’t do hourly coverage, we document a wedding day from start to finish. Oftentimes that starts with the setup in the morning and ends with late night dance. All parts of the day are equally important for us to be able to tell the story properly.
The photos capture some very unique details of the venue Berkeley Fieldhouse before the wedding, things that could be missed in the business of the wedding. Did you set out to get these pictures from the beginning?
Not specifically, no. We shoot whatever we see on a day, and in this case I was fascinated by all the little unique things of the Berkeley Fieldhouse. It’s a fantastic venue with a lot of character.
The Berkeley Fieldhouse treehouse is so intimately shown that one feels like they were part of the build up to the wedding with the groom’s wedding party. This is such a nice element for the couple to have years later to look back on. What was the intention when approaching each aspect of the wedding?
The treehouse is a perfect little getaway location for the groom to get ready in, so it felt important to capture those moments the boys had together, having a last drink of whiskey before the wedding ceremony.
Similarly the bride and bridesmaids are shown in their unique space as each detail is captured and their excitement is transmitted through the pictures. What are some of your approaches that contribute to achieving this?
There’s always a special excitement going on throughout the preparations. We try to stay in the background and not interfere with the action, and in that way be able to capture the true emotions.
With infinite choices of what to take pictures of during each part of the wedding day, your pictures have the appearance of placing you at the exact right place at the right time. How did you achieve this?
Being in the right place at the right time comes from experience. We’ve shot hundreds of weddings by now and even though every wedding is different, you become good at predicting what will happen next. It’s also a matter of being aware and alert at all times.
What was your favourite part of this wedding?
To be honest, the whole day was fantastic. Everything from the ball game in the morning to the late night party. However, the emotional ceremony with the bride’s brother as officiant is what stands out the most looking back at the day.
In the Berkeley Fieldhouse you are working with the natural light flooding in as well as the venue lighting, and its fluctuation throughout the event. How do you manage all the variance?
We don’t use any artificial light except for documenting the dancing, so the more natural light, the better. Berkeley Fieldhouse has plenty of that, and was a pleasure to work at. However, whatever the surroundings and settings, our goal is always to tell the true story so what lighting there is or isn’t doesn’t make a huge difference to us.
During the meal and speeches do you oscillate between being a “fly on the wall” for wide shots and more intimate “in the thick of it” shots? How do you break down the shots you need to get to capture the entire essence of the event which you clearly did here so successfully?
Again, experience. A wedding day is like a puzzle, and throughout the day your picking the pieces. After shooting so many weddings, we have a good idea of which pieces we need to tell the story.
What was your biggest challenge with photographing this wedding?
To be honest, there weren’t too many challenges. At least that’s how it feels now, afterwards. The couple were fantastic, the guests a pleasure to be around and the venue is one of the best venues we’ve ever shot at.
How familiar were you with the Berkeley Fieldhouse venue before photographing this wedding?
Not familiar at all. We had been emailed a link to the website and had a brief look, but that’s all. We prefer to have a clean slate going into weddings, so we don’t do too much research beforehand.
The pictures show an ease and happiness with spontaneous nature of the pictures. How did you build this confidence with the main wedding participants?
It’s all about trust. We’ve built this up for years, by developing our brand and our portfolio to what it is today. It’s also about being ‘normal’ and not putting too much pressure on the couple. Most people aren’t models and it’s important to keep that in mind, and try to normalize the situation as much as possible.
The evening pictures of the dancing have a really interesting and aesthetically great ethereal feel to them. How did you achieve this?
It’s hard to describe this, but we play around with the flash in order to create interesting images that show not only the subject, but also gives the viewer a sense of how it feels. If that makes sense.
The photograph of the patio at night with the reflection in the creek is stunning. Was this premeditated or are you constantly on the alert for opportunities of interesting reflections and surfaces?
It’s hard to predict these things. What works best for us is being aware of the surroundings and stay focused throughout the event. The images will come as long as you’re there, mentally the whole day.
The exterior night shots from the treehouse are stunning and give the couple an additional very interesting and beautiful perspective of their wedding. Is this something you strive for?
Like mentioned before, we’re there to tell the story of the day. The surroundings gives an added dimension to the event and to us, they’re just as important as the action inside the venue.
This wedding has an ease and grace that portrays a smooth and enjoyable event, what advice would you give a couple to achieve this success?
Focus on what’s important to you, and don’t spend time and energy on things you don’t really care about. In the end, it’s all about having a good time. Not necessarily about which centrepieces or decorations you choose.
Anywhere anytime what would your dream shoot look like?
We travel the world telling people’s stories, so the honest answer is that we’re already constantly shooting our dream weddings. However, if we had to pick one right now, a wedding in India would be high up on the list. And shooting at the Berkeley Fieldhouse again, of course. 🙂
Photographers: Nordica Photography
Venue: Berkeley Fieldhouse