What Would They Know? Ane Hagen of Ane Hagen Photography

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


Polka Dot Bride

There are so many emotions swirling around on a wedding day sometimes a little sad but mostly joy,  and at what other happy occasion is there so much love in the air? Ane of Ane Hagen Photography brings her warm and caring personality into each and every shot, along with a whimsical and adventurous spirit that will have you smiling at the memories long after the day. Along with the emotions, there is the beautiful light and shadows captured so sensitively and wandering in the wild whether it is in the bush or the urban jungle – well that’s half the fun isn’t it? Let Ane take you on an adventure – your photographs will be a treasure for you to re-feel your day every time you look at them. Here is Ane’s story.

How did you come to be a photographer?

I spent my 20’s traveling and working in travel to be able to afford more traveling. I absolutely loved all my adventures but I knew that the travel industry wasn’t for me. I wanted to do something creative. Photography had been my creative outlet for years already, so it made sense to pursue this path. The year I turned 30 I started a Bachelor of Photography at Griffith University, and the rest is history.

Has photography been a lifelong interest?

My dad was always a keen hobby photographer so I have been around cameras since I was little. I bought my first film SLR in a second hand shop in Sydney in 2000. It was a Minolta and it produced the most amazing crisp images. I miss the excitement of picking up a roll of film to see what magic had worked and what hadn’t.

How does your personal style of treading lightly on the planet, influence your photography?

I try my best to follow these 5 rules in my personal and professional life: REFUSE, REDUCE, RE-USE, REPAIR & RECYCLE.

I work from home to reduce emissions from transport and power usage.

I source sustainable and locally made products and packaging.

I buy quality over quantity and second hand when possible.

My business is virtually paper free, the very little paper I use is of course recycled.

I encourage my couples to choose eco friendly options for their day

And what does growing up in Norway and being a traveler at heart, bring to your photography?

I am very adventurous and always try to coax my couples off the beaten track and into the wild in search of epic light and backdrops. Growing up in Norway and in particular, my family taught me that being polite and smiling will get you far in the world. I treat everyone with the same amount of respect, regardless of what cards they were dealt in life.

Do you feel that making a connection with your couples is essential to delivering your best work?

Yes, I always meet my couples before their day, either for a coffee or a sneaky wine. We often meet even before they book. I find even an hour of getting to know each other before the wedding takes a lot of pressure off on the day. The rapport is built or at least building, and we all feel like we know each other and can have a laugh.

Please describe a typical wedding day for you as the photographer?

I start the day with about half an hour of yoga and meditation to calm my mind and my body. Before I leave home I check my gear for the last time and eat a decent lunch to keep me going for hours until my next meal. I crank Triple J in my car until I arrive at the getting ready location.

There I Introduce myself to friends and family and tell everyone my only rule: no one is ever in my way, so don’t apologise or wait for me to finish my shot, just carry on as if I wasn’t there.

Arriving at the ceremony I have a chat to the celebrant and find out which direction the bride will be arriving from.

After the ceremony and congratulations I like to swiftly do all the family shots. I find a suitable helper to herd family and friends for me, because I don’t know who is who, nor the family politics.

For the newlywed shots I like to get the bridal party shots done first and then send them all off for a good half an hour or more. Bride & groom shots are way more natural and intimate when they don’t have a bunch of mates staring at them! And this time is often the only one on one time (plus lurking photographerJ) the couple has all day. I like to wander from spot to spot with my couples and I shoot in between moments as much as the other moments.

At the reception I try to make sure I have photographed every guest at least once. And of course all the details and decorations and flower arrangements. I almost always cry during speeches – it least I can hide behind the camera while I cry. When the dance floor kicks off I am there bopping up and down while capturing all the fun vibes and singing along to the tunes.

I drive home with Triple J cranked, feeling warm, fuzzy and lucky to have a job where love is my subject.

What are the items you always make sure you have with you on the wedding day?

Besides all my camera gear I also have safety pins, band aids, pain killers, hair pins and a few other emergency bits and bobs.

Do you find yourself being more than a photographer on the day?

Yes, I do a lot of reassuring, nerve calming, dress fluffing, hair fixing, buttonhole attaching, small talking with uncles who are hobby photographers, and I should learn how to tie a Windsor knot because that almost always needs to be googled.

What elements have to align for you to make the most magic and natural of your photographs?

Light, love & connection between the bride & groom.

What lengths do you go to get the perfect shot – any funny stories you can share?

I climb fences and balance on chairs, stand on the road with my back to the traffic, walk through tall grass in snake season, pull faces at children and laugh at drunk jokes.

I accidentally stepped in llama poo once as I was walking a couple into a paddock for a shot. I was so happy it was me and not the bride!

What is the most favourite part of the wedding day – for you?

The hugathon of congratulations after the ceremony.

What are some lovely and unique ideas you’ve seen lately at weddings?

  • Confetti made from gum leaves
  • Plantable invites and menus embedded with seeds of native Australian flowers
  • Brides-men and grooms-maids
  • Redesigned wedding dresses

Could you offer us 5 tips to help the bridal couple get the best shots on the wedding day?

  •  Plan for photos to be taken during golden hour
  • Choose a location that means something to you
  • Wear shoes (or no shoes) that allow us to wander fields, bash through bush, jump fences, scamper rocks, stroll along beaches, climb mountains, or trek the urban jungle.
  • Focus on each other and show me your love
  • Be your quirky selves and make each other laugh.

Would you suggest to bridal couples to have their photos put into an album – and why?

Yes because no one ever sits in front of a computer showing people their wedding photos.

What is next for Ane Hagen Photography?

More weddings, more love, more laughter.

What the next places on your wish list to travel to?

I have clients who are thinking about the possibilities of taking me to Mauritius for part two of their wedding. I am really crossing my fingers for that!!

Over hill and dale, country or city, wherever your wedding is, Ane will be there photographing every important moment ensuring that you don’t miss a thing. What a wonderful keepsake of a day that is only too fleeting and passes so quickly. Thank you Ane for sharing your story. To find out more about Ane Hagen Photography visit her website.



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