Curiosity about life, places and people is a gift that Adriana of Adriana Watson Photography shares through her photographs. The beautiful play of light, the landscape, the ripples in the water, all play as much a part in setting the scene as the emotions of the couples she photographs – such joy, such love, so many stories. These are images that you’ll treasure through the generations. We’re lucky that Adriana calls Australia home – here she shares her story.
Where are you based?
I’m Brazilian born and raised. I moved to Australia with my Aussie husband and our two little girls in 2010.
I’m based on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, but always up for destination weddings Australia wide and international.
Why did you make the move to wedding and family photography?
When I was studying photography I tried different genres, landscape, architecture, abstract photography, but I kept coming back to the images that always had a subject in it. That’s what attracted me most, and had my creativity flowing.
I have always been attracted to peoples’ expressions, different characteristics, relationships, their story and life in general. These are the elements that make my work what it is today.
I first started photographing families and after 3.5 years in business I decided I was ready to photograph weddings. Weddings are challenging and every wedding is unique, keeping me motivated and always looking forward to my next one.
What do you most love about your profession?
To document peoples’ journeys. It starts with their engagement, wedding and then come the babies! To be there for every milestone it blows my mind. Following how their lives evolve is a privilege.
How would you describe your photography style?
True to life I’d say, like a story teller. It’s how I communicate and how I see life, that’s my style. With a fresh, natural and elegant approach.
How has the Australian landscape and light influenced your photography?
It has influenced my photography a great deal. I remember the very first time I visited Australia, that was many moons before I called this land home. I remember clearly driving through this vast unique landscape, very often just before sunset when the light is soft and golden, what I like to say “when magic happens”. It took my breath away, I’ll never forget.
It’s with this vivid memory that today when I chose a location to take my couples to or whether it is a family shoot, I like to pick a locations that represent this land, that inspire me as an artist.
How do you ensure that your images will look fresh in 10 years time and not dated? Is it all about photography style or processing?
Style and processing are the key factors to how an image will look like in 10 years time. I believe less is more, there are some incredible tools in photoshop and many currents trends very appealing to our eyes today, however these trends will fade in couple of years making these images outdated. I tend to stay away from current trends and over editing my images, I like to keep it as simple as possible so in 10 years time when my clients are browsing the pages of their album they will still be in love with them.
Do you travel to photograph weddings? What are some favourite places you’ve visited for work?
I’m afraid I have developed the travel bug at a very early age, reason why I ended up in Australia.
Yes I do travel, to any destination my clients are willing to take me to.
I absolutely loveeeeeee country weddings. One of my favourite weddings last year took place in the beautiful little town of Boonah right in the scenic rim. The landscape was breath taking, a photographer’s dream.
I’m expanding my horizon and booking more destination weddings this year. I’m excited to be heading to Hawaii in July to photograph a super wedding, I can’t wait.
How much is excellent customer service a factor for bridal couples booking your services?
Oh I could write an essay about customer service, it’s my number one priority in my business. I think great customer service is everything!
It’s what I expect from the businesses that I buy from and I couldn’t have it any other way in my own business. Brides and grooms have such a broad range of wedding suppliers to choose from, if we want to remain competitive in the industry we must deliver outstanding customer service.
What criteria should a bride and groom use when choosing their photographer?
First step is to really love your photographer’s work, if you can see yourself on your photographer’s style of work then you are half way there.
Second step – Setup a meeting, preferable at the photographer’s workspace. This will reveal a lot about their professionalism and their standards.
A meeting is a must to see if you connect with your photographer. We can’t create those magic shots that all brides are looking for without a genuine connection. Plus you will spend many hours with your photographer so make sure he or she puts you at ease.
Last but not least, the budget. We all have one, I get it, I was a bride once, but cutting costs on the only tangible thing you will have left from your big day could be a big mistake. I’m not implying that you should spend more than what you can afford, but maybe prioritising your photos a little more and cutting costs in other areas will get that awesome photographer that you deserve.
Do you feel an engagement shoot is a good idea – and the reasons why?
I think engagement shoots are invaluable, that’s why I offer a complementary engagement shoot with most of my packages.
It’s very likely that a bride and groom may have never been in front of a professional photographer until their wedding day. I see the engagement shoot as a little rehearsal. It’s a great way to get to know your photographer and how she/he works. You will feel more comfortable and confident on your wedding day after having an engagement shoot, plus your photographer will know exactly what to do to ensure you are relaxed, resulting in those beautiful natural photographs that we all love.
Are the best photographs taken when you form a connection with the bridal couple?
Absolutely! I always say to my potential clients, without a genuine connection it’s nearly impossible to capture who they really are.
My photos are about their relationship, it’s about how my couples and families interact with each other, I can only capture those little moments if we have a real connection.
My photography teacher once said that he could always tell if a photographer connected with his subject by the way the photographer portrayed his client, by the body language of the subject and the story told in the photograph. It’s true, today it is what I look for when I photograph, that true connection.
To form this connection I do take the time to get to know my clients, whether it’s through a mountain of exchanged emails, although I prefer a phone chat, it saves us both a lot of time. Unless geography or schedules are impossible, I always try and meet my clients in my studio, so when it comes time to shoot I’m no longer a stranger with a fancy camera. The ice has been broken!
How do you ensure that you remain unobtrusive when shooting a wedding?
The best way is to blend in but without calling too much attention to yourself. After photographing so many weddings I can now anticipate the key shots, positioning myself in key spots and out of the way. I shoot with two cameras, one with a wide angle lens and the second with a zoom so I can get right there without physically being in the way. Like a fly on the wall!
How much direction do you give the couple?
I tend to capture the event as it unfolds, I believe my job is to document a wedding and not to stage one. The only time I’ll give a little direction is during bride and groom location portraits, just because many couples have no idea what to do. However, I’ll still keep my style which is natural and candid.
How do you find the best places for photographs when shooting a wedding?
Oh I drive my husband mental, I usually drag him along for my location scouts. I love finding new locations. He is the driver, and I’m the eyes looking for “the spot”. I can easily spend a couple hours driving around.
If is a destination wedding that I’m not familiar with the venue or the area, I usually arrive the day before the wedding to check the venue and scout the area. Having a plan for every wedding is a must.
What is the best part about photographing a wedding?
Witnessing the love between the couples I photograph and their families. It’s a day like no other, and I get to call this my job.
I have to pinch myself sometimes.
There is beauty in …….
There is beauty in imperfection.
What are your interests outside photography?
Arts, music, movies, traveling and above all my little family. We love to spend time together exploring our beautiful coast and beyond.
What do you love about living on the Sunshine Coast?
I’m from a huge concrete jungle called São Paulo, Brazil. A very cosmopolitan, busy city. But I’m over the hectic life in the city, I love our Sunshine Coast lifestyle, we have everything we need here. Beautiful beaches, the hinterland and a good diverse community. Not to mention it’s a hot wedding destination keeping me busy all year round.
Thank you Adriana for sharing your story. Finding beauty all around her is reflected in the special images that Adriana presents to you. To find out more about Adriana Watson Photography visit her website.