Wind and Willow Studios share Ben & Larissa’s intimate Surprise Berkeley Fieldhouse luncheon wedding.
How would you describe the wedding of Larissa and Ben and what were some of the most exciting parts of it from the perspective of a photographer?
Larissa and Ben were another one of our couples affected by Covid. They initially postponed their wedding, and then made the difficult decision to cancel since Larissa is a nurse and they were unsure when they would safely be able to have their big day.
Larissa then reached out to us privately a few weeks before their day to see if we were free because she was surprising Ben with a full blown wedding!
He was expecting a small city hall affair, and she had planned a luncheon wedding with their nearest and dearest, all without him knowing. The moment he arrived at the venue surrounded by his friends and she was able to explain the whole surprise to him was such an emotional and happy moment, and unlike any other wedding we’ve shot before. We don’t think there was a dry eye in the place when that went down (not even ours!)
You talk about not over complicating the scenes and setting for your portraits and keeping it simple and beautiful. How was this approach so successful in this wedding ?
The couple is the star of the day, and we feel it is important to let them shine! An overly busy background can detract from the couple and the emotions we strive to communicate, as well as taking time away from their day when looking for a super specific backdrop. The Berkeley Fieldhouse offers a really unique little oasis of nature in the middle of the city, so we wanted to let that come through in the photos. We were also on a much shorter timeline than normal, so it was important for us to make the most of the time we had and keep the locations local.
How did having an intimate ceremony suit the couples personalities and allow them to express themselves and their love throughout the day?
Larissa and Ben were so laid back and relaxed the whole day, and really just seemed to live in the moment. It allowed the focus to be exactly where it should be – on their love! Having a more intimate wedding really allows couples to spend time with each and every guest, and to tailor their day more uniquely to them. The budget, for example, changes drastically when you are feeding 25 or 50 people versus 200. This can give you some more freedom to really make your day exactly how you want it!
You talked about the importance of being up close and personal ( and preferably fed ) during the reception of your weddings. How does this engagement give such effective results for your couples ?
We think that speeches are super undervalued in terms of photography! Speeches or other interactions with your guests during your reception are some of the moments we see strong emotions come out – whether those are laughter or tears. If we as your photographers are placed outside of the reception, it can be really difficult to be there in time to document those authentic moments. If we are able to be fed at the same time as the couple, even better! If we are able to be fed at the same time as the couple, even better! No one likes pictures of them while they’re eating, so it only makes sense to feed the people who are capturing your every emotion at the same time – this way everyone finishes at the same time and we can get back to focusing on you (without food in your mouth). Not to mention the fact that no one wants a hangry photographer 😉
How do you so adeptly work with natural light to create a beautiful signature palette in your photographs ?
Practice definitely plays a big part, so that you develop an eye for locating the best available light. We do use flash when necessary during the reception, but make it clear to our couples that we are predominantly natural light photographers and therefore work best in outdoor or well-lit venues, as opposed to dark and dingy interiors. We have really narrowed in on the editing style that we like (true to life colours just slightly on the warmer side) and have customised presets that we both use to keep our editing consistent between the two of us as a duo and between different settings. Our editing style works best in natural light settings to achieve that signature Wind & Willow vibe, so it’s a major player in getting the look that you see in our portfolio and our socials.
” A photograph isn’t necessarily a lie, but nor is it the truth. It’s more of a fleeting, subjective impression. What I like most about photography is the moment that you can’t anticipate; you have to be constantly watching for it, ready to welcome the unexpected .” Martine Franck
How does this quote resonate with your practise.
We definitely align ourselves with more of a documentary approach, and this Franck quote really hits the nail on the head. We spend a large part of a wedding day watching and waiting for the perfect moment to capture! We carry two camera bodies each so that we have built in backups in case of equipment failure but also so that we can have four different lenses / focal lengths on us at all times ready to go. This allows us to roll with the punches and capture what is truly happening in front of our lenses. That said, no one wants unattractive photos of themselves, especially on their wedding day! We select the best images that balance the authenticity of the day as it unfolded while providing beautiful images that our couples will want to look back at. Even with a more documentary approach, our personal take comes out in the lighting, the positioning and cropping, the editing, and even at what moment we press the shutter. To us, that’s what makes the difference between a snapshot and a photograph.
Photography: Wind and Willows Studios
Groom’s suit: Indochino
Bride’s dress: Beckers Bridals
Bridesmaid dresses: @lulus
Florals, hair, and mua were all done by friends / family / the bride I believe