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Junebug Favorites: Top Pics of the Week – 10/31

October 31, 2014 | Lexi Ross

This week, our top pics highlight those split-second, intimate moments between a couple. Captured brilliantly by our creative and wonderful Junebug Photographers, Gabe McClintock Photography, Cinzia Bruschini, Catherine Rhodes Photography, This Modern Love, Susan StriplingWith Love and Embers, we just can’t get enough of these stunning images.

GabeMcClintockPhotography_09-600x400  photo by Gabe McClintock Photography

DestinationWeddingPhotographer_Italy_Cinzia_Bruschini05  photo by Cinzia Bruschini

Christina-Craig-Catherine-Rhodes-Photography-19-600x390  photo by Catherine Rhodes Photography

GabeMcClintockPhotography_13-600x400  photo by Gabe McClintock Photography

This-Modern-Love--Junebug019  photo by This Modern Love

Wedding Photography at Liberty House  photo by Susan Stripling 

withloveandembers5   photo by With Love and Embers

We adore our Junebug Members and thank them for their always inspiring work. Missed last weeks top pics? Check them out on the blog here!

xoxo

Photographer Spotlight Interview with This Modern Love – Ireland

October 30, 2014 | Lexi Ross

Not only are we big fans of his incredible work and artistry, we love how Tim of This Modern Love breaks away from traditional wedding photography. Embodying all of the qualities we love about fine-art photography, Tim’s unique perspective and innovative spirit makes for some of the most exciting and compelling wedding imagery around. Creative, spunky, and downright stunning, we hope that you enjoy this weeks Spotlight Interview with one of Ireland’s top wedding photographers, This Modern Love.

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Have you always wanted to be a photographer? If not, when do you remember knowing? My background is in fine art. I studied painting at art college and still paint and exhibit as much as possible. Photography has always been a big part of my life since I inherited my cousin’s old SLR camera when I was 14 (a Canon AE-1). My cousin was a war photographer and had work published in Time Magazine, which I was in awe of. I started to process my own film in the school darkroom which was like magic to me. Photography was a constant hobby over the years but I never thought too much about it until I started shooting weddings seriously. I think all those years of just ‘playing’ with no pressure to produce the goods was a great learning experience.

Like most people, the first weddings I photographed were for friends who were looking for something less conventional at a time when this was less available. Things are different now. Wedding photography is not something I had considered until I started, and I’d no idea how challenging it would be.

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Why photography? What draws you to it? As someone who was pretty shy growing up, photography gave me a license to engage with the world. I realized I could feel confident behind the camera, and that the drive to make images led me to unexpected places, people, and the odd adventure. There’s something exciting about approaching a stranger to ask if you can photograph them! As for wedding photography, I really love the privilege of having backstage passes to a very intimate occasion. You’re welcomed into the lives of strangers for a day and I never take this for granted. I love the idea of what we do as making potential heirlooms for the future.

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Tell us about living in Ireland and shooting weddings there? Until very recently, Ireland was a very religious country and weddings reflected this. Things are changing quickly and this has impacted dramatically on the wedding scene. The idea of a traditional wedding continues to become more and more deconstructed. In the Republic of Ireland it’s only just become legal to have full wedding ceremonies outdoors.  We’re now seeing people getting married in unconventional spaces: family homes, barns, fields, farms, beaches, somewhere abroad. The individuality and creativity of weddings now is something to be excited about.

I also love how connected and supportive the Irish wedding community is. There is a vibrant, passionate, creative community of wedding bloggers, photographers, videographers and stylists. We hang out with Irish photographers regularly and some are now great friends. We encourage each other in flat times, swap business ideas, and refer work to each other. It honestly feels like a community rather than any kind of competition.

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How do you like to spend your time when you aren’t shooting weddings? We’ve two small kids and a big hairy dog so when I’m not working I’m usually hanging out with those guys. I think side projects are important though and I’m always trying to carve out a little time to work on some paintings. It feels like another way to train my eye. I love flipping from photography into a very slow form of image-making and working towards an exhibition. I find this really feeds into my photography too.

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Describe an average day for you. We work from home so family and work life are intertwined. Claire, my wife, is our secret weapon and runs the studio for us. After we get up and feed the kids breakfast, I usually take the kids for an hour while Claire clears the inbox. Then I take over the reins and Claire takes the kids. We juggle like this most days, which makes for a very busy but happy home. Sometimes the kids feel the need to get involved with TML too – we’ve had more than one gobbledygook facebook status update courtesy of our 1 year old and an iPhone! I suppose a good example is how we’re answering your questions right now. We’re sitting in the garden drinking tea, I’m talking, Claire is typing and Mitch is throwing tennis balls at us.

What are your favorite wedding locations in your area? Ireland is coming down with old castles and country houses. The landscape is rich with history and I always love photographing in the nooks and crannies of old buildings and gardens. But what I love most of all is when a couple finds a small pub off the beaten track, or clears out the family barn, or gets married on the stage where they just acted in a play. I love personal, unexpected locations. We’re doing a bit more destination work these days too, mostly in Europe and I love the adventure of seeing new places. But I love the same things abroad as at home – unexpected spaces, full of character, that mean something to the couple.

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What are looking forward to most right now? We’re just about to build a house beside Claire’s grandad that will mean a move from the city to the countryside. My best friend is an architect and he’s designed an amazing low-energy house, nestled in the hills with a photography studio and a painting studio separated out a little from the main house. We can’t wait to get going!

What is your favorite moment or tradition at weddings? What I love most is where people don’t just go through the motions of any given tradition, but they put care and thought into what the tradition means for them and play with it if they want to. I love it when couples write their own vows rather than having standard exchanges. When a wedding ring is handed down through generations, or when a daughter’s wedding dress is refashioned from the fabric of her mother’s dress. Or when family members get involved – last year we had a Zen Bhuddist priest who was brother of the groom conduct the ceremony and it was utterly unique and personal to the couple. This wedding is actually Hung and Mark’s Sienna wedding, which was featured on Junebug in March. 

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What really gets to you at weddings? Makes you emotional? Makes you laugh? Weddings are often full of minor dramas, some rain, a late bride, a toppled cake, a flat tire. It’s how people react, rally round, support each other and laugh it off that I love. It can make for great photos too! But of the classic wedding moments I think the first look is often great (in Ireland and the UK this is usually as the bride walks in to the ceremony). I tend to have a privileged view on this from the front. Everyone in the room is watching the bride’s entrance but often the real drama is on the grooms face! There’s often a huge emotional release at this point. This is also a big moment for whoever is walking the bride up the aisle – Dad, mum, brother. When my daughter was born I began to empathise with this more. You can see the Dads especially are holding a lot in. I’ve seen big men sobbing their way to the altar!

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What are your favorite destination locations? Probably Italy. I’ve been there a few times and I’ve shot a couple of weddings there now. The light, the landscape, the food… I also have a thing about Morocco since Claire and I spent some time there a few years back. Maybe Junebug could make that happen?

Where do you want to shoot next? Anywhere I haven’t been. Love exploring new places.

Do you have a favorite camera or lens? Do you shoot digital or film or are you a hybrid-shooter? I shoot mostly digital at weddings (Nikon D3s & D700 + about 4 lenses 24,35,50 & 85mm) with a little bit of film thrown in (medium format, Polaroid and various point + shoots). In my personal work, where I have more time and space, I tend to shoot mostly film. I process a lot of my black + whites at home in the kitchen. My favourite camera at the minute is probably my Pentax 67. It’s a huge beast of a machine but I love it. I’m shooting all my personal projects on that right now with the 55mm & 105mm lenses. I have to work a lot slower with this camera and that process has taught me a lot.

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What three photographers do you admire or who has inspired you, either in the past or right now? (Please list their website urls, if possible.) There are so many! Here are three: Mark Steinmetz,  Alec Soth Trent Parke 

Any advice for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer? Someone said, ‘Hire somebody good and get out of their way.’ Look at a lot, find someone you can trust, ask them anything, go with your gut, and give them the freedom to make great images for you.

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Any advice for couples on how to look amazing and feel comfortable in their photographs? In our experience, nearly everyone has some sense of trepidation or nervousness about being photographed. But it’s rarely an issue on a day where, like it or not, you’re the focus of everyone’s attention anyway. Take comfort that there’s generally too much chaos and excitement to even think about the photography. Saying that I work very hard to put people at ease and to be discreet on the day. People often comment that they barely noticed me at their wedding. I never know whether to take this as a compliment or not! 

Best advice you’ve ever received about being a business person/ happy human? Remember to sleep!

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Tim, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful imagery and thoughts with us! Want to see more of This Modern Love’s incredible work? Check out his Junebug Member Portfolio and Website!

xoxo

Best of the Best Wedding 2014 Judges Interview

October 29, 2014 | carrie

With a set of talented judges, we felt the need to pick their brains about their own experiences with contests as well as their advice for photographers looking to submit to our upcoming Best Weddings Photo Contest (open for submissions NOVEMBER 3RD). If you aren’t already sold on the fact that entering the 2014 Best of the Best Wedding Contest is right for you, I can guarantee you will be after reading our judges interview. Enjoy!

What types of submissions are you looking forward to reviewing for the 2014 Best of the Best Wedding Photo Contest?

Nordica Photography: “Simplicity and quality. With that, what we mean is avoiding the gimmicks and trying to be creative just for the sake of being creative. Not every photo needs to be reflected off something or shot through shiny little objects. What we’re looking for are images that are tight in all aspects – composition, vision, a connection between subjects and post-processing – and stands alone above the rest.”

JakobGranqvist_NordicaPhotography_3 Photo by Nordica Photography (Jakob Granqvist)

Susan Stripling: “MOMENTS. While I love portraits and innovative details, it’s the moments that really move me as a photographer and a competition judge.”

What advice, if any, do you have for photographers entering this contest?

Nordica: “Don’t hesitate to submit. After looking at your own work for a long time, it’s easy to start seeing what’s wrong in the images rather than what’s right, and to think that everyone elses’ work is better. For us as judges, we’re seeing your work for the first time, so even if you don’t think your work is good enough, take a chance and submit.”

ColeRoberts_NordicaPhotography_07 Photo by Nordica Photography (Cole Roberts)

Susan: “Separate your personal feelings about the wedding, the client, and the day itself out of it. You’re looking for strong images that tell a story, whether it’s a beautiful portrait or a compelling moment. If you have to explain the day, the moment, or the mood, the picture isn’t strong enough – the image should do that FOR you. If you say “Yes, but….” about any image, it’s not right. Be ruthless with your own work!”

Susan Stripling Junebug Weddings Judges Interview Photo by Susan Stripling

What have you learned about photography contests over the years?

Susan: “I’ve learned that a lot of people get really personally crushed when their favorite image doesn’t win anything. That has happened to me more times than I can count, but it’s just business – it’s not personal. Not winning a competition doesn’t mean that your image doesn’t have merit. Don’t let the results of the competition define you, upset you, or keep you from coming back next year and trying again!”

Susan Stripling Junebug Weddings Judges Interview Photo by Susan Stripling

What was it like winning your first Best of the Best contest with Junebug? How did this help your photography career? Can you share your first winning image?

Nordica: “Winning photography contests is always an honour and with Junebug’s Best of the Best
contests, even more so because of the large number of submissions. We’ve had winning images in the last three Best of the Best contests in a row now, and we’ve definitely seen an increase in viewers of our work as a result.”

Nordica Photography Best Wedding Winner Winning Best of the Best Photo by Nordica Photography

What was your first contest to enter as a photographer? Which contest and what did you learn from submitting your work?

Susan: “The first competition I ever entered was the WPPI 16×20 print competition way back in …. I don’t even remember! Probably 2006 or 2007. I quickly learned about that intangible spark that separates a great image from a great competition print. Sure, it might make your client cry. Sure, the mother of the bride might have ordered it as a wall portrait. Sure, it might be huge in their album. But making your client happy and creating a strong competition image are two separate things, and you have to take your personal feelings out of it when choosing your images to enter. I’ve learned that it’s not just enough to have great light, a great composition, and great post-production work to ensure that you have a stellar competition image. Your clients also have to give you a moment, a movement, a gesture, that perfect second of animation. Without that, all you have is a pretty picture.”

Susan Stripling Junebug Weddings Judges Interview Photo by Susan Stripling

How can entering a photography contest jumpstart your career as a photographer?

Nordica: “Contests can complement your overall brand, but on their own, winning a contest is not
enough to jumpstart a career. For us, winning contests has given us a broader viewership of our work, and allowed us to network with other photographers who we otherwise would never have been in touch with. So, the indirect benefits from entering contests, even if you don’t win, come down to what you can do with a network.”

ColeRoberts_NordicaPhotography_10 Photo by Nordica Photography (Cole Roberts)

Does being a contest winner help your credibility with brides? Do you think you receive more bride inquiries as an award-winning photographer?

Susan: “If you think that winning a contest will start or define your career, you’re mistaken. No one competition or accolade can do that. I don’t think any of my competition awards have made more clients contact me. That said, I do think it’s like having a stellar resume when you’re applying for a job. The more accolades I have, the more trustworthy I appear, and the longevity of my career is more apparent. It also helps to be able to say to a client “Look at how I am regarded in my industry by my peers!” This has been the most helpful aspect of competitions for me; being able to show potential clients that I am a photographer that other photographers look up to.”

Oheka Castle Wedding Photos Photo by Susan Stripling

What was your favorite image from last year’s Best of the Best Weddings contest? Why was this image your favorite?

Cole (of Nordica): “Image #9 by Daniel Aguilar. The image tells a story with the variety of elements all in a single frame, and the moment which happens with that incredible light is impossible to repeat. It’s once in a lifetime image that is very simple, but remarkably difficult to achieve.”

Daniel_Aguilar_001 Photo by Daniel Aguilar

Jakob (of Nordica): “Image #22 by Gary Evan is the one that stands out for me. I love those quiet
moments at a wedding, and Gary has captured this one perfectly.”

Gary Evan_All Season Photography_005 Photo by Gary Evan

Susan: “My favorite image was by Davina Kudish. She is a lovely woman and a fierce, fierce talent. Her husband, Daniel, photographed my own wedding and the talent the two of them possess is simply staggering.”

davina_kudish_davinaplusdaniel_01 Photo by Davina Kudish

Thank you so much to Nordica Photography and Susan Stripling for their expert advice. For more information on the 2014 Best of the Best Wedding Photo Contest, click here! Good luck to all of those preparing to submit, and don’t forget… submissions open NOVEMBER 3RD, as in NEXT MONDAY!

xoxoCarrie