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(jazz music) – Today we’ve got a very special visit, we are at The Garage
Studio in Sunbury visiting Fiona Handbury who’s an
amazing portrait photographer, particularly for weddings and newborns. We’re here today to discover
more of what she does. What’s your standard procedure when you’re approached by a bride particularly? What happens? – So they’ll normally send us
an email, or give us a call. And they’ll say are you
available on a particular date. And that’s where I stop the conversation, I go “what’s your name?” (Sally laughs) “What’s your partner’s name? And tell me about how you guys met.” Because I want to know
more about my clients, not just: “am I available to
photograph their wedding?” I think by getting to know them first I’ll know whether or not
they’re gonna be my client and if I’m the right
photographer for them. – What’s your favourite venue to shoot at? I’m sure there are lots of memorable ones but where is something that has
particularly stuck with you? – I really enjoy Cammeray Waters
at Woodend, it’s beautiful, it’s got lots of natural
environment which I really enjoy and it’s got a slight vintage feel to it. Same with Abbotsford Convent, that’s a stunning place
to photograph as well. But I think anything that’s
relaxed, country or vintage, is really totally what I’m about. – And what is your dream
time of the day to shoot? – Photographers have a
saying, ‘the golden light’. So we love that hour before sunset, when a really warm hue
comes through from the sun, you get that beautiful backlight, the rim light comes around
the veil and the hair, and it’s just a stunning
time of day to shoot. Whether it’s dawn, pre-dawn or
sunset it’s always fabulous. – How long do you like
before the ceremony, after the ceremony… – I’d really like at
least an hour and a half, and that way I know I’ve got
to photograph the details, I photograph the getting
ready, that last bit of hair and makeup when
everybody’s starting to look really fabulous and not so daggy. I get them in their
bathrobes, their special robes that they may have bought for the day. Those little details that
on the day, you just think they’re part of it but when you look back they go “yeah that was really special”. I love cornering the bride
on her own in a room, when it’s just the two of us. – [Sally] Why is that? – [Fiona] Just so she can
relax, she doesn’t have anybody fussing over her, she
can just take a deep breath and go “yep okay, this is my
wedding day how do I feel, I feel great, I’m ready
to do this, let’s go!” – And then they have the
ceremony and then after? – [Fiona] At least an hour and a half. That’ll give time for
the bridal party to have cocktails and canapes or
champagne and beer or whatever, without having to rush the
whole time with, you know, let’s go and do pose B and position A and we’re gonna go stand
in front of this door and we’re gonna stand
in front of that hedge, and we’re gonna do this. They’ve just got time to
relax and enjoy the process. So the more time you
can give a photographer the more creative we can be, and the more time we’ve
got to play in the shot. Having said that, if
you give me 25 minutes I’ll still create
something, it just won’t be the same relaxed atmosphere
that you would’ve had if you’d given me an hour and a half. – Have you always scouted
out a venue beforehand? – If I haven’t photographed
a venue before, I always go. I always wanna know what I’m walking into. I don’t know if it’s just me or if it’s photographers in general,
but whilst I like surprises, I wanna know where the light’s falling. Cause you could go to a venue and go “I’ve seen some amazing
photos in front of this wall,” but if you go there on
the day, or I normally go a week before, and there’s construction… or a mural that they really
wanted to be photographed in front of has been
defaced with graffiti, you need to have a plan B. Also by judging where
the light’s gonna fall I can say yeah that was
a great venue in winter, when the light fell
beautifully across there, but right now you’ve got
direct harsh sunlight and you’re not gonna be
able to look at the camera. So let’s look for another spot, exactly. So light is my most
important thing I look for, followed by location. – We have a pet hate when
we see photos that come in, and the bride is holding the flowers right in front of their waist. Cause we’ve spent so long trying to get that lovely silhouette and
to get a lovely silhouette we need to show of the waist. What are you telling brides
to do with their flowers? – [Fiona] Bellybutton or below. If you come too high you are covering that beautiful silhouette, you’re covering any beautiful detail work in the dress and same with the
bridesmaids, so I always say just a little bit lower
to open up that shape. – What’s your one big tip for for a bride? – Can I be honest? – Yeah. – Like your photographer. (they laugh) Don’t book a photographer just because you’ve seen one photo that you love. I always meet with my
couples before the wedding, we might have had a
coffee, gone for a walk, checked out a venue, done a test shoot, is really important too. So meet your photographer, make sure you’ve got a connection,
make sure you’ve got the same sort of sense of humour, that you want to hang
around with this person for, you know, half of the
most important day of your life so to speak, so connection’s important. When I started as a wedding photographer I was booking everybody,
anybody who rang me and said “I want you to photograph
my wedding”, I said “great”. Now I’m looking for couples
that I can relate to, have a connection with,
maybe set the same values. What’s important to you becomes
important to me on the day. So it’s important for us
to get to know who you are and not just capture your day. – [Sally] And you can draw them out as you go through the day. – [Fiona] That’s it, drawing
out their personality, the emotions, finding out the love story in advance is really cute too. Cause you can say, “remember when you guys kissed in the car park
on your first date?” and suddenly I’ve got a natural smile and not something I’m forcing by saying “Can you smile for the camera?” – Thank you for sharing
your work tips with us. – Yeah, I hope they’re useful. – Yeah, absolutely. I’ll put in the show notes below, details on how to contact Fiona. Just check it out! (jazz music)

James Carver

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