Hank's Blog

3 Myths About Candid Wedding Photography

“We just want a series of beautiful, candid photos” – every single couple ever.

posed yet candid wedding photo

Myths about candid wedding photography

Candid wedding photography is one of the most popular and trending topics in the wedding industry these days. Yet there are several assumptions and misconceptions relating to the word “candid”. People often think that candid photography is a passive, unobtrusive way to document a wedding day. And whilst this can certainly be true for some photographers, I want to explore the ways people often misjudge the “candidness” of candid wedding photography.

In this post, we’ll unpack three common myths about candid wedding photography that I have come across in my time as a wedding photographer in Sydney.

Before we dive too deeply, let’s take a look at one of the definitions of the word candid:

Candid. adjective. truthful and straightforward; frank. Not afraid to call a spade a spade.

My theory is that good, candid photography captures the truest moments of a wedding. Brides and grooms want their photos to be “truthful and straightforward” because they desire photographs that will capture them (and those around them) as they are on such an important day.

well timed candid wedding photo

Myth #1: Candid photos are “dumb luck”

There is so much intention in the art of candid photography. An experienced wedding photographer knows that timing is key to creating their own luck. They spend the entire day calculating, taking cues and placing themselves strategically. They will take thousands of photos in order to capture the very best possible moment.

Photographers also work hard to become small and unassuming, in order to capture the most intimate moments without intruding or distracting.

Myth #2: Candid equals unposed

You might be surprised to know that some of the best candid photographers are actually experts at something called “moment design”. This is the art of creating candid-feeling moments through the use of prompts and guides that get the couple out of their head and into their heart. Consider this prompt:

“Take a moment to share something you remember about the first time you said ‘I love you’ to your spouse”.

If your photographer has actively placed the couple in a beautiful location with great light, then this is no longer a “candid” moment. But the prompt that they have been given will allow them to bask in the emotion and feeling of that moment without worrying about where to place their hands.

Myth #3: Authentic emotion can only be captured in candid photos

This is one of the biggest myths about candid wedding photography. My job as a wedding photographer is to document relaxed, intimate and romantic imagery for my clients. As we learned in the previous myth, emotion can be captured in posed photos as well. One of the key factors required to take authentic photos is trust. This means that the subject (i.e. the couple) must trust their photographer. Authenticity requires vulnerability, and vulnerability is built on trust.

Experienced candid wedding photographers are experts at establishing trust with their clients. It’s a big reason why couples should meet their photographer before the wedding day. The more you can all build on that relationship, the more authentic the photos will be.

 

Hank Paul is a candid, Sydney wedding photographer. You can view more of his work by visiting his portfolio here.

How To Have Wedding Photos That Are Relaxed, Beautiful And Full Of Romance

Whether you like it or not, someone will be taking photos at your wedding. If it’s not a professional photographer, then it will probably be your Great Uncle Jim on his super-ultra-zoom lens. Regardless of who takes the photos, after the wedding is over, you’ll want to look back at all of your photos and remember how you felt; relaxed, beautiful and bursting with love for your brand new spouse! Hiring a professional photographer to capture your wedding day is not just about the photos themselves, it’s also about making sure you have someone there who will make you feel comfortable and help capture the joy and celebration from this special day.

Here are three tips to ensure that your wedding portrait photos don’t feel awkward, look amazing, and tell the romantic story of the day.

Number One: Pick your wedding party people

Don’t underestimate how important your “crew” is in making the photos relaxed and enjoyable. By surrounding yourself with high-quality humans in your wedding party, you’ll have plenty of banter and jokes to share around the group.

As a photographer, I love bouncing off the chemistry between a couple and their besties. Here is an example of a prompt I would use with a wedding party:

“Everyone get in close together, and look down at your feet. Now, on the count of three, I want you to look up at the person who you think is the loudest in the group”

This kind of prompt almost always ends in laughter.

Number Two: BYO Music

Launching into a portrait session with your Bluetooth speaker blasting Katy Perry or Beyonce is sure to get everyone feeling pumped up and celebratory. Play some songs that make you feel like dancing, singing along loudly, or just plain having fun – it’s going to show in every photo.

Hot tip: Marry You by Bruno Mars is the perfect mix of “mushy romance” and “party time!”.

Number Three: Trust your photographer

A big reason people choose to pay a professional photographer is so they don’t need to worry about how the photos will turn out. That’s why it’s worth taking the time to research photographers and their approach. When a couple trusts their photographer, there’s a special kind of magic that happens on-camera that is hard to articulate. It’s as if the couple is saying to the photographer “we trust that you see us, so we are letting you into our little circle of love”.

Someone with 8 years of experience shooting weddings will undoubtedly be able to make you look and feel amazing, capturing all those special moments between you and your spouse.

Henry Paul Photography is a Sydney-based wedding photographer specialising in sustainable and inclusive weddings. To check if Hank is available to shoot your wedding, head to the contact page.

I Took My Wedding Photography Business Carbon Neutral

I’m a wedding photographer who has always been passionate about the environment. Even back when I was a student in school, I attended several environmental and sustainability conferences in Canberra. I’m constantly looking for ways to take my business further in terms of sustainability, and have spent a lot of time thinking about the enormous amount of carbon emissions the wedding industry creates. After learning how much pollution is created by weddings, I decided to take on the challenge of making my business completely carbon neutral!

1. My personal values

A few years ago I sat down with my business coach to set out what my mission, vision and values were for my life and business. One idea that kept popping up was that I wanted to “have a positive impact”.

I’m holding myself to a high standard as an entrepreneur. I want my business choices to have long-lasting, positive effects on my community and planet. I have an innate desire to leave this place better than I found it. Thus, the questions of semantics arise: “What exactly does ‘impact’ mean?” “How does one quantify their impact?” “Can we define ‘positive’?” and so on.

Here is the conclusion I have come to: Climate justice is one of the clearest, most accessible ways for someone in Australia to have a positive impact on their world. By choosing to eat a plant-based diet, I have already significantly reduced my daily carbon footprint. By making my business carbon-neutral, I can rest assured that my passion for photographing weddings is not negatively impacting the planet.

2. Conscious capitalism in the wedding industry

To be 100% transparent, I believe being carbon-neutral is good for business. I am hoping this decision will help brides and grooms find me in an oversaturated market. Love it or hate it, we live in a capitalist society, where consumers have choice and agency. After 8+ years in business, here are two things I know:

  • The wedding photography market is very very saturated and;
  • Couples are increasingly looking for more sustainable choices for their weddings.

‘Conscious capitalism’ is a phrase that was coined by John Mackey (Founder of Whole Foods in the US) and Professor Raj Sisodia. It refers to the idea of “socially responsible economics”. If this is something that you’re interested in, I also highly recommend reading Donut Economics by Kate Rawworth.

As a business owner, I also believe the onus is on me to provide sustainable and ethical business services to my clients, which in turn has a positive social impact on my community and planet. In doing so, the feedback loop means my business will benefit from it as more and more couples identify themselves with the values I have set out for the service I’m providing.

3. It’s easy to do

I’m writing this in the year of our lord 2021 when it’s easier than ever to take your business/home/car carbon-neutral. The process is called “offsetting”, whereby a delegated organisation invests in “green” projects around the world that compensate for your carbon emissions. Projects like planting trees, seaweed farming and wind farming can easily be accessed through dedicated offset organisations.

The first thing I did was get a Carbon Report from Offsert, which is an organisation that my friend Nathan Pereira started. In determining my business carbon footprint, I was asked to complete a form that identified all of my energy and polluting habits. People much smarter than me then calculated how much my CO2-equivalent emissions were.

The second thing I did was jump online to carbonneutral.com.au and purchase my carbon credits, per the tonne. My Carbon Report from Offsert approximated a realistic figure of 7.1 CO2 tonnes per year. I got to choose which projects I wanted to support, and create a custom carbon package for my business. You can see my offset certificates here and here.

Here’s the crazy part in all of this! It’s incredibly affordable! For less than one hundred dollars a year, I can rest assured that my entire carbon footprint has been accounted for.

If you want some more information about taking your business or your wedding carbon-neutral, please get in touch. I’d love to have a chat!

 

How to do an Acknowledgement of Country at Your Wedding

Both a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgement of Country are statements of recognition to the continuing connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have with the land. They often take place at the start of events, particularly formal ones such as weddings, and are done in the spirit of reconciliation.

What is “Country”?

Professor Mick Dodson, member of the Yawuru peoples, describes Country as “a word for all the values, places, resources, stories and cultural obligations associated with that area and its features. It describes the entirety of our ancestral domains”

Acknowledgement or Welcome? What’s the difference?

A Welcome to Country is a ceremony performed by Indigenous Traditional Custodians to welcome visitors to their traditional land. It can only be done by Traditional Custodians of the land that you are on. If no Traditional Custodian is available, an Aboriginal person from a different nation, or a non-Indigenous person, may do an Acknowledgement of Country instead. A Welcome to Country normally takes place at the beginning of an event. The ceremony can take many forms, including singing, dancing, smoking ceremonies or a speech, depending on the particular culture of the Traditional Custodians.

An Acknowledgement of Country is a statement that shows awareness of and respect for the Traditional Custodians of the land you are on and their long and continuing relationship with the land. Unlike a Welcome to Country, it can be delivered by anyone – Indigenous or non-Indigenous. This means you can ask your celebrant, minister or even a friend to open your wedding ceremony with an Acknowledgement of Country.

What to say for an Acknowledgement of Country:

Liaise directly with your celebrant to ensure the wording feels appropriate and genuine. They might also want to do some research through your local land council into the history of the land you are getting married on to see what special significance it holds.

Here is some suggested wording:

“Before we begin, (Name) and (Name) have asked me to to acknowledge that this wedding is being held on the traditional lands of the (appropriate group) people of the (name of Aboriginal nation) nation, and they would like to pay their respect to Elders both past, present and future.”

or

“(Name) and (Name) would like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. It always was, and always will be Aboriginal land. They would also like to pay their respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge any Aboriginal people who may be with us today.”

 

 

Disclaimer: I do not identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. I have drawn upon various Aboriginal-led resources, as well as my experiences as a wedding industry professional. If you are looking for more ways to be inclusive and anti-racist at your wedding, I would encourage you to do your own research.

Resources:

https://www.reconciliation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Welcome-to-and-Acknowledgement-of-Country.pdf

https://www.commonground.org.au/learn/acknowledgement-of-country

https://www.indigenous.gov.au/regional-network

Erin & Micah | Gold Creek Station Wedding

Gold Creek Station Wedding Photos

Erin & Micah’s celebrated their wedding at the picturesque Gold Creek Station, a few kilometres north of Canberra. We were blessed with divine cloud coverage for the majority of the day, which makes my job incredibly easy as a photographer. The grey clouds also contributed to a sensational, de-saturated colour palette for the impressive floral arrangements. I love a good bit of de-saturation 😛

I was delighted to come back to Canberra over the Christmas period for this particular occasion – Erin and I are old school mates. Seeing her find marry the love of her life was a pleasure, and I feel privileged to have shared the day with them both.

Erin looked phenomenal. Her dress, her makeup, her entire demeanour was dazzling. It was a spectacular outing for a bride, and such a special moment capturing the first-look of her parents and bridesmaids.

establishing shot of gold creek station walking down the ailse at gold creek station gold creek station wedding ceremony venue family watching the ceremony wedding confetti toss canberra wedding photo gold creek station wedding bride and groom

Erin and Micah also gave me time to take them out at sunset. Whilst it was cloudy and there wasn’t much sun, it was still an excellent opportunity to take a break from the noise of the reception.

Micah’s mum arranged a flashmob-style song for the coupe upon our return, with the entire room of friends and family joining in to commemorate the special day.

Erin & Micah’s wedding at Gold Creek Station, Hall

Wedding Credits:

Photography: Henry Paul Photography | Florist: Peony n’ Pearl | Engagement Ring: James Allen | Celebrant: Pastor Stephen Dunn | Ceremony Venue: Gold Creek Station | Reception Venue: Gold Creek Station | Catering: Tree83 | Entertainment Chris and Bec Van der Wielen | Cake / Dessert: Canberra Cake Boutique | Event Furniture / Prop Hire: Wedding Event Creators and Gold Creek Station | Wedding Bands: Michael Hill | Micah’s Suit: Peter Jackson | Bow Tie: OTAA Ties | Shoes: Julius Marlow | Erin’s Bridal Gown Designer: Ashleigh Bridal | Boutique: La Belle Bridal | Hair: Kate Lily Hairdressing | Makeup: Angela Marshall Makeup Artistry

Henry Paul Photography acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. I pay my respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders both past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

 

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