What Would They Know? Jason and Sally of Studio Sixty Photography

by | Photography Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride

When someone is as passionate about photography as Jason is, the camera becomes an extension of your being. Jason quietly recording the large and the small moments of a wedding without imposing himself and directing the situation. Candid, natural and relaxed is how Studio Sixty Photography’s Jason and Sally describe their style. Bridal couples caught in unrehearsed moments, family members wiping a tear from the eye, or grinning from ear to ear – that’s the essence of the wedding day, captured when you thought no-one was looking. And the best shots even for those of us nervous in front of the camera, are when we’re relaxed and ‘in the moment’.  This is what will make your album one that you will come back to, and though time and fashion marches on, no-one can doubt the emotions of your special day reflected back at you through the images. Let’s take a peek and see what a great team Jason and Sally make at Studio Sixty Photography.

When did you take up photography, Jason?

For as long as he can remember! He was the kid in high school that took all the school photos and spent every lunchtime in the dark room. After high school he worked in a camera store in the city to pay for his photography degree and the minute he graduated he started Studio Sixty Photography. It is his passion and his first love.

Where is your studio based?

We work from our home in Paddington, Brisbane but are moving in the new year to New Farm. Very exciting times! Jason travels a lot for work from as close as the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast to as far as Chicago, Tuscany and Mumbai.

How did Studio Sixty Photography come about? How long have you been in business together?

Jason started Studio Sixty straight out of college and was based in Brisbane city for a number of years. I left my job about 10 years ago when we got married and started working in the business too. It’s a great way to really get to know your husband – warts and all (just kidding!) Anyone who has spent time with a wedding photographer knows it’s working almost every night and all weekend so if you want to spend any time with your partner you really can’t have a 9 to 5 job. It helps that my skill set is the exact opposite to Jason’s so, work wise, we complement each other perfectly!

What roles do you each play in the business? Are your roles defined or do they cross over?

Jason is responsible for all the photography as well as the important technical support. We are old school in the sense that we edit and process all of the files ourselves. We do all the album planning as well. Many photographers outsource these things nowadays but we really like to make sure our clients get the outcome that best reflects Jason’s vision.

I am responsible for the day to day running of the business, email correspondence and social media as well as marketing our business. I also do the very boring but very real task of managing our books and finances. Nothing is more important or more mundane! The only photographs I take is of our dog, Crinkle – if you want to see how beautiful she is you can see my photographs @sallyogilvie on Instagram.

How do you first get to know the couple you are photographing? What is important to you, in this initial meeting?

Honestly the best thing we do is listen. We listen to the couple talk about how they met, how they fell in love, what their plans are for life and of course their wedding. Listening is a highly underrated skill in these times of social media but we find that the more you listen, the better you can serve. At the end of the day, we want to capture our clients at their best, so listening to what they think, and who they are, as a couple – what means the most to them – that’s what we want to do here.

How would you describe your photography style?

In a word, candid. Jason’s best shots are the ones he captures while the subject isn’t aware of the camera. You really can’t beat that! They really show joy, emotion – that can’t be replicated in a posed image. The great thing about wedding photography is that it offers SO many opportunities for that emotion to come through – mums and brides, brides and bridesmaids, sisters, parents, grooms and groomsmen, the bridal couple – everywhere you turn people are expressing themselves in a true and meaningful way. Jason just drinks it in and in turn the photographs feel natural and real. So many of our couples comment on how relaxed and happy people look – nothing makes you more stressed and tense than someone pointing a camera at you – Jason is so unassuming on the day that our couples genuinely forget he is there.

How do you go about capturing the ‘real-ness’ of people and the wedding day? Do you feel you have a sixth sense about people?

Candid is the only way to go, for us. That ‘realness’ that you talk about, that is getting those looks and glances as they happen. There is a skill to being able to be in the right place at the right time. With 25 years experience you do get a sixth sense about things, knowing what is going to happen before it does.

Not all of us are relaxed in front of the camera. How do you capture the shots where people seem totally unaware of the camera?

I think Jason would say that a lot of it comes down to him being quiet and just getting the job done. The less you call attention to the fact you are there, the more you can move about the day getting candid photography. The more candid the photography, the less likely you’ll hate the photos, and the less likely you’ll feel tense thinking your photograph is being taken. It’s a win win.

Do you plan your shots or do you just let the opportunities present themselves naturally?

This is a classic question. So many of our brides and grooms want to organise and schedule the day. It is a big day and they want to make sure they have everything covered. But wedding days don’t often go to plan! So we work with a best of both world’s scenario – Jason does a location scout a few days before taking into consideration the location, time of day and the couple’s wishes and he has a contingency plan for when the couple run late, or it rains, or the driver gets lost or if one of the million things that can go wrong, does! It’s always worked out – some of the planned shots come off and some of the candid ones are better.

What is important to you when photographing a wedding?

Number one is making sure you have good gear and backups and a great data storage system that also has a backup. Next is understanding that is the couple’s wedding day, not your photoshoot. Bossing couples around and running around at the church distracting the guests is NOT the way to behave on a wedding day. The best compliment we get is that they didn’t even know Jason was there. Of course the usual stuff like taking great photographs as well…

What is different now, than when you started your photography career? What, do you believe, makes photographs timeless?

Timeless images are ones that really capture the emotion of the day. That is why candid images are so much better. As you look at them you can really see how the couple were feeling. It is a beautiful thing! With regards to how the industry has changed, EVERYTHING has changed. An example is that when Jason started he shot on film, and now it has come full circle and clients are asking for film coverage!

When presenting the finished images to your bridal couple, what is your aim?

Natural, natural, NATURAL!!!! Thing is, we all look at our parent’s photographs with a little bit of horror at the crazy fashion and bad hairstyles, don’t we? Those things you can’t change, they are a sign of the times. But I guess we believe that fashionable processing of your files, vintage treatment, flat colours, trendy filters are only going to add to that horror in 10 and 20 years time. Natural processing, as close to what came out of the camera as possible, is timeless and elegant. You can thank us later.

What is the craziest thing you’ve had to do to get a great shot?

Jason does commercial photography as well as weddings and recently he was in the outback, standing on the roof of a Cobb and Co coach, which was moving, on a dirt road, trying to capture the horses running at top speed. (I’m pretty glad I wasn’t on that shoot I can tell you!).

If you could photography anyone, famous or otherwise, who would it be and why?

Jason loves shooting anyone, he enjoys everything about photography and feel like he can get a great shot of anyone he meets. In fact as long as he is behind the lens he is happy. However he’s not so happy in front of it!

What other things are you both interested in doing?

For Jason is it ALL about the bike! Anything to do with two wheels and he is there. He’s got a BMX, polo, mountain, road and fixie bike – and I’m sure there will be more. He recently rode a penny farthing but I’m hoping like crazy he doesn’t want one of them because no one has the space for something that huge! For me it is really simple – I love working on our old cottage in Paddington and cooking up a storm for friends. I used to publish some of my favourite recipes on our blog and have been thinking about doing that again. Food is the way to people’s hearts!

A favourite restaurant or cafe?

Our favourite restaurant at the moment is Wasabi at Noosa Sound. You really can’t fault anything – their food is amazing, and the view stunning. A five star experience!

Thank you Jason and Sally for sharing your story.  Loving all those moments captured through Jason’s lens – memorable, artistic and candid all rolled into one! To find out more about Studio Sixty Photography visit the website.

Headshot by Jason Starr of Studio Sixty Photography. All other images by Studio Sixty Photography.


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