We get to see what life is like through a lens as we chat with the incredibly talented Caroline from BlueCicada Photography, a destination wedding photographer based in Kuala Lumpur.
Today’s interview gives an insight into the dreamy job of a destination wedding photographer and Caroline shares her top tips with us on the increasingly popular trend of engagement shoots, finding the right wedding photographer and making your wedding day memorable.
YMTWTM: How did you get started as a photographer?
- Caroline: “I have always been taking photos. A lot! I used a point and shoot camera at first and would play in post processing. I got my first DSLR about five years ago and was shooting in automatic. I very quickly disliked the look that was inflicted by the pop up flash and really wanted to learn more about how to make images from scratch. I attended a course with a professional photographer in Dubai and from there I studied online and practiced a lot. I still do and still learn every day.”
YMTWTM: How would you describe your photography style?
- Caroline: “I like to think that my French-ness is in my photographs – something stylish, classy and timeless. My ultimate photographer idol is Robert Doisneau and what I admire about him mostly is this ability he had, this magic I should say, to capture the special glances between people and compose his photos so well. What’s timeless is the emotions that people feel, the way they look at each other. This is what I see when I have my camera in my hands. I much prefer to create natural looks for my images, I want people to look at their images and say: ‘That’s so me, you have captured us exactly how we are.’ If someone says that to me, I know I have done a good job.”
YMTWTM: Where do you find ideas and inspiration?
- Caroline: “My main inspiration is going back to my book of Robert Doisneau that my mum got me a long time ago, from time to time. When I feel a bit blocked in my creativity, it is my go-to breath of fresh air. I always see things I never noticed before. I also get a lot of inspiration from other photographers, worldwide. I do spend some time on Pinterest and revise the notes I have made along the way on Evernote. Apart from that, I usually find inspiration practically everywhere I go and whatever I see. I observe a lot.”
YMTWTM: What do you enjoy most about photographing weddings?
- Caroline: “I enjoy everything about photographing weddings! I get sucked into the day and enjoy witnessing fun, love and party. I love it all. From photographing the shoes, the couple shots, the ceremony. I also like the family formals because although this is not the most creative part of the day, it’s really good to see different generations brought together and two families coming together. The most fun is the bridal party and so far, everybody I have photographed has been really up for fun ideas. I think, what I love to see the most is that after the ceremony, everybody is so relaxed and happy that everything becomes very smooth and relaxed. I get the best candid shots then!”
YMTWTM: We have seen a huge increase in engagement shoots, what makes them so popular?
- Caroline: “I know I love engagement shoots as a photographer because there is no time pressure like there is during the wedding day. It is also the perfect time to build a good relationship with my clients, getting to know them and them understanding how I work. It is why I offer this session as complimentary, as part as my packages because if someone couldn’t afford the session for example, I wouldn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to create this bond. From a couple’s point of view, I think that couples get a bit of practice in front of the camera for one, and learn a few tricks and tips, but also, in the midst of frantic preparation, it’s probably the best opportunity to get a moment of just being together, not to think about flowers, invitations, seating plans, but just have fun!”
YMTWTM: Can you give any advice for couples who are looking for a wedding photographer?
- Caroline: “My advice for couples who are looking for a wedding photographer could follow these simple steps: select down to three or four photographers whose style you like. Contact them and make sure you end up speaking with them or meeting with them (Skyping should be made available to you, especially if it is for a destination wedding). It is important you get a good vibe and have similar ideas as the photographer as you will spend the whole day with this person and the communication and relationship has to be one that you feel good about. Destination wedding packages may come with a photographer but I wouldn’t necessarily settle for that one. Do a bit of research and don’t be afraid to opt out of the photographer who is part of the package. Ask about how they work, ask to see more of their work, see a whole wedding perhaps. You will be looking for consistency, you may want to see examples of products they may have to offer as well. One important question to always ask is; how long the photographer will take to deliver the images, how they will be delivered and if they will be edited. A friend of mine had a bad experience where she waited for three months for her photos to be delivered to her and none of the photos were edited. When she asked why, the photographer replied that they can be edited but at an extra charge per photo. Just make sure there are no surprises.”
YMTWTM: What’s your favourite type of wedding?
- Caroline: “I think my favourite type of wedding is the smaller affairs, they’re more intimate. This is why I love destination weddings so much. You can see that the couples are relaxed, they have time to spend with all of their guests and the wedding becomes so much more than just that one-day of celebration. I think there is a real sense of togetherness and intimacy in smaller weddings or destination weddings that big weddings don’t have.”
YMTWTM: How do you make the bridal party relax in front of the camera?
- Caroline: “Bridal party photos are the most fun. You can feel the bride and groom being so much more relaxed when they are surrounded by their close friends. It makes it easy for the photographer. For me, this is another example of when the preparation and planning and getting to know the couple becomes so important. If I know my couple well and their background, then I can make them relax easily in front of the camera. I have all sorts of tricks, usually just asking people to look at each other is a good one, and everyone ends up laughing. I sometimes use movies to help me set a scene: ask a groom and his group of male friends to walk as if they were in ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and you instantly get the coolest look ever!”
YMTWTM: What makes a memorable wedding?
- Caroline: “Every single wedding is memorable. Brides may worry about things matching, everything running smoothly or even people getting on. But at the end of the day, your day will be perfect, just because it is your wedding day. You, the bride and your fiancé/husband are bringing all of these things together, perfect day ever, end of story. Having said that, I have seen surprises that have brought a funny or an extra sentimental touch to a wedding and that of course, adds a special twist to it.”
YMTWTM: How many images do you average per wedding and how do you present them to your clients?
- Caroline: “The number of images will vary depending on the length of the wedding and what events happen during the wedding. I deliver all the edited images to my couples, and they are all edited. I deliver my edited images within two to three weeks of the wedding day, and make a special effort for the couple to receive a mobile album of a small selection of the wedding day within a week. They can share this mobile album privately or publicly and couples love that, as often they are on honeymoon and they haven’t gone home yet, so that’s a real treat! When I can see the couples again (i.e. they are in the same country as me), then I always present some of the images in an album form, even if they haven’t ordered an album. I love to see the couples looking at their story put together from start to finish! I try to do my bit for the environment so the images are delivered through Dropbox, and I am contemplating the option of a branded USB key made of recycled material, made in Australia.”
YMTWTM: Have you ever created a trash the dress shoot?
- Caroline: “I have created one trash-the-dress shoot. I was in Dubai and a friend of mine wanted one, after getting married in the UK. I felt so creative and spontaneous and excited! It helped a lot that the bride was someone who was willing to try anything. I loved the contrast between her satin white dress and the filth and business of the Dubai creek harbor on a very hot and sweaty(!) day. It was just perfect! She ended up diving in the sea with her husband and finished with some sunset shots in front of the Burj Al Arab. I wish there was a bride who’d be willing to do the same soon, as it was so much fun! I could see a fantastic shoot in the jungle here in Kuala Lumpur, trekking and then swimming in a river. That would be amazing!”
YMTWTM: What else are you working on at the moment and do you have any other exciting projects in the pipeline?
- Caroline: “At the moment, I have a series of maternity and newborn shoots. It is very different from wedding photography but I get so much joy out of them. There is something calm and soothing about pregnant women and tiny babies – well, I just love them!! I am very excited about two projects that I have in the pipeline too. One is to work with a brand who make clutch bags out of vintage kimono fabrics – brides will LOVE them for themselves or as presents for their bridesmaids! We have a photo shoot next week and you will see them appear in my bridal packages soon! The other one is to work with one of the many schools that cater for refugee children from Burma here in Kuala Lumpur. This is something that I have wanted to do for a long time, so I am super honored to have been put in contact to work with wonderful people and these fantastic children! I can’t wait!”
YMTWTM: Where are you available to shoot weddings or do you work worldwide?
- Caroline: “For destination weddings, I am available to shoot in all South East Asia destinations all year long and Europe in the summer, starting summer 2014. I am working on some exciting offers for summer 2014 in Provence, in my native South of France. Get in touch to find out more if you are planning to get married there!”
Caroline from BlueCicada Photography is a French photographer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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