When looking at a photographer’s images, they can touch something deep with you. Through the lens you not only see the personalities of the couples photographed – there’s always a little bit of the photographer imprinted on every image too. When looking at Alan Hughes Photography’s images you see not only the love between the people, but you see a love of the landscape, the Australian light, dust motes, shadows and reflections – all of which create images that give a sense of time and place. His love of fun too, shines through the images and his ability to relax his subjects make for natural un-posed moments. All telling the story of your day. I think we’ve gained ‘a beaut bloke’ when Alan decided to make Australia his home! Here’s his story.
What does photography and being a photographer, mean to you?
Wow how do you answer this without cliches! Well here goes – I guess first and foremost I am lucky enough to make a good living out of it, that my images are sought after and are good enough for people to pay me a decent amount. Secondly I think photography has become such a ‘taken for granted’ thing with phones, social media etc that I’m stoked that my bride and grooms take their time to choose someone who tries not to take the standard shots. I consciously try at every wedding to take something different, even if I’ve photographed at the venue a thousand times, as I know if it floats my boat, my clients will love it too!
What was the catalyst for you becoming a photographer?
It was a change of career and lifestyle – I moved to Australia 8 years ago from the UK where I ran an electrical business alongside my photography studio. When I moved here it was my intention to just go for it full time, I was really excited – especially with the climate and breathtaking scenery on the Sunshine Coast.
Where are you based?
My studio is in Peregian Springs and the majority of the weddings I shoot are on the Sunshine Coast.
How would you describe your photography style?
I match my photography style with the laid back coastal vibe we have here. Most of my bride and grooms are either locals so are pretty relaxed or from interstate and are having their weddings here because they want a more informal approach with a holiday feel. I photograph things as they happen and work with the bride and groom as much before the big day so that they know I have everything covered.
You also do portrait and commercial photography. Do these bring a different perspective to your wedding photography?
Actually it’s the other way around! My natural relaxed approach to wedding photography means I can have fun on any shoot which makes either the family or the corporate clients more relaxed and therefore easier to capture.
What do you love about the countryside surrounding the Sunshine Coast as far as photographs are concerned?
Wow – it’s just stunning, I count my lucky stars every time I take the coast road to Noosa and gaze to my right at the ocean or drive up to the hinterland and breathe in the beauty of the area. I used to do a lot of work in London and the surrounding counties, so this is quite the difference.
What part does the surrounding landscape play in your photography style?
Well there are two types of landscape and weddings here – the beach or the hinterland, I love putting my bride and grooms as part of the scenery in some shots. Especially if they aren’t from the area – they chose the locations for a reason so I know they would want the wide angle shots too.
Do you like playing with the light in your shots to produce ethereal and magical images?
Everyone loves a bit of sun flair on some images don’t they? It adds to the romantic nature of the couples’ images. Evening light can be magical and a lot of the times the light in the images straight out of the camera just blows me away so much that I have to do very little to them when I see them on the computer.
Are there differences in the way couples approach the photography for their wedding now? What do couples expect?
Yes definitely – couples are more aware of different styles, so generally know what they want. My couples want more natural ‘in the moment’ shots and less (if any) of the stylised set-up shots, but they also want some ‘wow’ shots along the way too. So I try to combine the two.
What do you look for when setting up a shot?
Hmm…sometimes it’s the light….and sometimes it’s the expression, whichever comes first. I direct my couples towards the nicest light, but sometimes there’s a moment that happens along the way so I just keep snapping.
Some of us don’t like being photographed. Do you have any tips you can give to bridal couples?
Yes, book me! Then we can have some fun too haha!!
Being photographed shouldn’t be an awkward painful thing to experience, things should flow naturally. You should at the very least be comfortable with your photographer so that you can relax and let go – that way you get the best images that show your personality.
What preparations do you make to photograph a wedding? Do you do a lot of pre-planning?
Yes – all these natural, candid shots don’t just happen by accident! I get together with my couples as much as I can, if they are from overseas or interstate then we chat by Skype and then definitely meet up before the wedding day. The more we chat the more naturally the wedding day can flow because the couples can just relax knowing everything they want covered is being captured as well as all the bits they don’t see, too. I don’t leave much to chance I always have a plan as to where I’ll be taking the couple and bridal party.
In terms of gear and what I pack for the day, I’m particular about my car being full of bits and pieces to cover most eventualities ie. umbrellas, rain covers, ground sheet, sun cream, mosquito repellant (usually for the bridesmaids!), Nurofen (again often for a bridesmaid!), spare camera bodies, spare lenses, a spare shirt!
On the wedding day, how do you remain unobtrusive, so that you are able to take the most natural shots of the couple and their guests?
I would say it’s down to just being professional and amenable on the day and after a while you kind of blend in and people get used to you being there.
Have you ever done something unusual/funny to take the perfect shot?
I have done all sorts to get shots – climb trees, stand on fence posts, hang out of windows for a better angle (and I’m afraid of heights), being drenched by an incoming wave because I ventured onto that ‘next’ rock for a better shot.
Do you make time for other interests – how do they balance your professional life?
If i have any spare time it’s with my family – they are my number one reason for being. Other things I do like are going for beach runs during the week to stay fit for my job – yes weddings need a certain level of fitness 🙂
I love movies and music, I couldn’t do any editing without music on the go.
Any favourite spots on the Sunshine Coast we should visit?
I just adore the beaches here, so anywhere between Maroochydore and Sunshine Beach, then there’s Lake Currimundi, oh and Noosa National Park and Mt Tinbeerwah…then there’s Gardeners Falls and Buderim Forest Park….then there’s………..fades out……
Just get here, chill, call me up and we’ll grab a coffee and I’ll photograph you somewhere cool on your visit 🙂
Thank you Alan for sharing your story. A variety of fun shots, emotional shots and artistically beautiful shots making up the story of your day – because that’s how it really was! To find out more about Alan Hughes Photography visit the website.
All images by Alan Hughes Photography.