I’m so excited to share today’s Photographer Spotlight Interview with Canada-based wedding photographer David Guenther of Rowan Jane. It was a pleasure to learn that not only is David an incredible wedding photographer but he is also an absolute sweetheart. I totally melt when he talks about his wife and darling daughters, and I love that he assures even the most camera-shy of couples that they will be captured beautifully. Thank you David for taking the time to share your life and work with us. So if you are in the mood for genuine romance and natural beauty (really, who isn’t?), this is the post for you!
What are your favorite destinations locations? Playa del Carmen is the nicest place I’ve shot in so far. The light was beautiful. The color of the ocean was amazing. And there weren’t very many tourists around, so it felt really remote and romantic.
What are your favorite wedding locations in your area? I’m really lucky to live in a part of the world that has a lot of beautiful scenery nearby. Prairies, lakes, foothills, mountains…they’re all close. But my favourite place to shoot a wedding is probably Waterton Lake National Park. The scenery is incredible, and the best part is there are some amazing spots that are easy to get to. Everything is close, so you can do three or four epic locations during one wedding.
Where do you want to shoot next? India. A traditional wedding in India would be a dream, for sure.
What gets you up in the morning? Usually my kids jumping into bed with us.
Describe your wedding photography style in less than 6 adjectives. Romantic. Ethereal. Calm. Intimate. Natural.
A tip or two for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer? Find someone whose images make you feel an emotional connection. Look beyond price, logos or processing. Look through their portfolio or blog and ask yourself if you can imagine images like these telling the story of your wedding day. Everything else will change with time.
And even more importantly, find someone who you personally connect with. As a photographer, it’s important for me to make a personal connection with my couples, and for them to feel comfortable and trust me. While I don’t think you necessarily need to become “friends” with your photographer, it’s so valuable to work with someone who is like-minded.
A tip or two for couples on how to look amazing and feel comfortable in their photographs? Don’t do anything you wouldn’t normally do. If you never wear five inch heels, for example, don’t wear them for photos or on your wedding day. You’ll feel out of your element and your comfort zone. Same with makeup and clothes. Don’t put something on that’s going to have you questioning yourself while you’re staring at a camera.
Most importantly, focus on why you’re having photographs taken. You’re not modeling. You don’t have to try too hard. You’re having your relationship and your love documented. So focus on each other rather than how awkward you think you look in photos.
How has witnessing so many weddings impacted your life/outlook? I get to spend every weekend being a part of the most important day of people’s lives. There’s a lot of emotion, and lot of love and feelings shared. It gives me a chance to reflect on my own life, and envision what my relationship will be with my daughters when they get married. I don’t think that’s something we get to do very often, so I’m lucky. It helps keep me focused on my own relationships and what’s important to me.
What three photographers do you admire or who has inspired you, either in the past or right now?
1) Hugh Forte. Not only has he been, in my opinion, really influential in modern wedding photography, but he’s a really humble guy. He only wants to create great images. That inspires me.
2) Fer Juaristi. His work is original and on another level.
3) Michael O’Neal. I only know of his work on Instagram, and he’s consistently coming up with fantastic imagery of people and landscapes…with his phone. That’s incredibly difficult to do.
Favorite image you’ve taken lately? I would say it’s this shot of Dara (see above) watching her guests arrive. If you’ve ever been in a room with a bride before her ceremony, you know it’s a really emotional and intense time. Most brides have been imagining their wedding day since they were little, and here they are, moments before it happens. They’re surrounded by their closest friends and family members. You can feel the anticipation, and sometimes the nervousness. It’s just a really emotional thing to be a part of.
So here’s Dara, looking down from a second floor window as her friends and family arrive at her ceremony. I knew that all I wanted in the image was her face, because it says a lot. You can almost feel what she’s thinking. I also wanted to be able to see one of her bridesmaids behind her. It gives that sense of closeness and intimacy; that feeling of being surrounded by love.
This is my favourite image of this year so far.
Favorite wedding style? I’m never concerned with details or decorations. But I do appreciate good taste in fashion. I like weddings where the people involved look and feel cool and confident. I believe fashion is a form of expression, so I like being at weddings where the bride and groom have both really thought about what they’re wearing. On a side note, I can’t stress enough the importance of tailored suits for guys.
Ultimately though, I just want to be a part of weddings that are a celebration of the bride and groom. My focus on a wedding day is to document the story and the emotion. Style and details are an afterthought.
Favorite trick to capture images of reluctant subjects? (kids, grandparents, nervous-in-front-of-the-camera-types) I’m a really calm person. I don’t have a loud voice. I don’t tell a bunch of jokes. I just chat with people about what they’re interested in. That usually puts people at ease fairly quickly; at least the people I work with. I find that making a connection with someone is the best way to make them feel at ease.
What gets your heart racing – both personally and professionally? In my personal life, my wife gets my heart racing pretty much every day. She’s beautiful, and I’m still fully in love with her after 10 years of marriage. I still get nervous when we go out on dates.
Professionally, my heart races when I feel like I’ve created an image that is both unique and emotional. There are so many fantastic wedding photographers in the world; if I can look at one of my images and feel like it could stand out and be evocative … that makes my heart race a bit.
What is the best possible/your favorite reaction from a client when you deliver their images? I love it when couples say something like, “I can’t believe you were able to capture us like that!”
I find that most people believe that they look bad in photographs. They don’t like to look at still frames of themselves, and that makes them nervous and uncomfortable in front of the camera. So many of my sessions begin with people telling me I probably won’t get a good shot of them. And I always reply with, “Everyone says that, but everyone is wrong.”
This is why I love shooting engagement sessions, because couples are more confident and trusting in front of the camera on their wedding day after they’ve seen beautiful photographs of themselves.
What are looking forward to most right now? Well, I have a lot of amazing weddings coming up in some great locations. But in June I’m shooting a wedding in Cannes, France. I’m pretty dang excited about that.
Wasn’t that absolutely beautiful? A huge thank you to David for spending time with us today. Be sure to check out Rowan Jane’s blog and follow David Guenther on Instagram. Having his gorgeous work pop up on my feed always brightens my day.