Candy and Francis’ wedding at the Berkeley Fieldhouse had such an intimate cozy feel to it that you capture so well in the photography. What are some of your techniques for catching this intimacy?
I’ve been told that I make an excellent silent ninja! In reality, 3 things help establish intimacy in photography: by creating an atmosphere for people to be comfortable to express themselves, through anticipation and being aware of what is happening around you, and through lots of hands-on experience.
This was a small lunch reception. The time of day left you with lots of natural light both inside the Berkeley Fieldhouse and outside in the urban space. How did you plan for and utilize this opportunity?
I’m a bit different from many other photographers in the sense that I look for “quality” light, not just “quantity” of light, as my number 1 priority (as opposed to many who look for a cool background first). Plus, I’ve always been a big fan of natural sunlight radiating through massive windows since they act like massive softboxes, which provide soft and diffuse lighting. My signature photographic style utilizes quite a lot of “backlighting”, “subtractive lighting”, and “short lighting”, so photographing in a venue that has diffuse, directional lighting during the day certainly helps me accomplish my creative vision much easier!
The photography leading up to the ceremony is beautiful. How did you capture these artful still moments in the busyness of the day?
I call my style “hands-on documentary” — it may sound odd, but I often “handcraft” perfect moments. Over the last few years, posing has quickly been getting a poor reputation. Of course, no one is a fan of poorly-directed, stiff, lifeless posing, but originally, master portrait photographers utilized posing techniques to ensure that their subjects looked and felt their very best with confidence in front of the camera. My photographic style is a hybrid of both natural photojournalistic, relaxed, candid moments and stylized, posed, crafted moments.
You had a good sense of the space at the Berkeley Fieldhouse and where you could get good angles from. Is this simply experience or do you have any other techniques you employ?
Simply put: great light, great composition, and a great moment (or subject) creates a great image. Knowing where to be and how to capture that in the best possible way definitely requires experience. A lesson that every photographer needs to learn is what to include and what to exclude in the frame: surprisingly, sometimes what’s not in the photo can make the biggest difference! Regardless, the quickest way to improve is through practice, review, critique, and repeat — in other words, experience 😉
What was your favourite part of this wedding?
I loved Candy and Francis’ First Look (a.k.a. The Reveal)! When Francis saw his bride-to-be for the first time before the ceremony started, Candy’s smile lit up and he was so overwhelmed that he shed a few emotional tears of joy! They held each other close and it was simply magical.
This wedding at the Berkeley Fieldhouse has a distinct charm with its lovely creative touches. How do you get in sync with the vision that the couple has for their wedding and how it should look?
I make it a point to get to know my couples on a personal level: I ask each of them how they met, what they like to do for fun, and how they want to cherish the memory of their wedding day. By actively listening to what they’re saying and seeing how they interact with each other, I’m able to get a much better understanding as to what they envision and how I can best help achieve what they’re looking for. Plus, my couples love how my characteristic photographic style is bright, lively, and full of joy 🙂
When you first walk into a wedding what makes you think it’s going to be great?
It might seem like a platitude, but I simply know that every wedding is going to be great! Because of what I believe about marriage, every wedding has the potential to be great in its own unique way — the celebration points to and demonstrates what sacrificial, selfless, emotion-filled love is all about.
The guests at Candy and Francis’ wedding appear relaxed and happy. How do you think this was achieved?
Great food, great company, and a great experience! First, the team at Berkeley Catering put together an impressive variety of menu items from breakfast sandwiches to smoked fish and from Korean beef ribs to crab legs. Second, Candy and Francis’ closest friends and loving family from far and wide were present to celebrate their nuptials. Finally, the many people that worked so hard to plan, prepare, and help the details and events of the day unfold smoothly made it an enjoyable and memorable experience!