When images draw you into them, you know that there is something different about them. Kate from Quince and Mulberry Studios takes images that are almost tactile – you feel that you can reach in and touch the leaves or feel the breeze in the vineyard – and the emotions that are so natural and real? These are what give images their extra special quality because you are right there with the couple experiencing their joy. Nature and the views, the sunlight on a veil, the mountains in the distance give her images a sense of place and time and the connection Kate shares with her bridal couples shines through the images. Being relaxed in front of a camera involves trust and you have that with Kate who works hard to help you feel confident and at ease. Here’s her story.
When did the photography ‘bug’ hit you? Has photography always been a love of yours?
Photography has always been a love of mine and I was fortunate enough to grow up in an extremely creative environment, both my Mum and Aunty are both visual artists. At school I enjoyed spending time in the darkrooms and experiment with different film techniques.
Cute name for a business – how did you decide on it?
Aw thanks! Quince was my Labrador, who first came into my life as a Kleenex sized puppy when I was living in the Yarra Valley in Victoria. A region that is renowned for their wines and small goods. Her perfect golden coat would grow richer in colour throughout the summer as she would basque in the sun and take part in outdoor celebrations with friends. Around her ears the colour would grow so rich, not that dissimilar to the delicious quince paste that accompanies a beautiful cheese board. With our early love of cheese and our frequent trips to Milawa Cheese Factory, the name seemed apt.
The cathartic process of preparing, cooking and sharing a meal with someone brings me joy. I have loved food since I have had teeth to chew with, and one of my favourite recollections from childhood is climbing the giant Mulberry tree in our backyard. My brother and I would explore the branches, gather silkworms as pets and collect berries until the juice was covering our hands, mouth and clothes and our little bellies ached from fun and fullness.
Who or what inspires you?
I love gathering inspiration from all sorts of difference sources; I love seeing things like live music and performance, sunrises and sunsets. But I also love something tactile like picking up a paintbrush to walking along the beach collecting shells.
What do you love about being a photographer?
Photography for me is almost like a mini escape, as soon as that camera comes up it is almost like everything becomes tunnel visioned and slowed down. I love that regardless of the event or type of shoot; you are capturing a moment/point in time of someone’s lives. It’s a real honour
How would you describe your photography style?
I think on the wedding day I am always trying to slow things down, making sure my couples and their guests have time to really soak in the joy, the happy and sad tears and everything they hope for their wedding. I’m always trying to capture the details of the day, from the cheeky smiles, how the sunlight catches the dress to the styling choices the couple has made. So it’s a mixture of standing back and letting moments unfold and directing when necessary.
You mention the ‘click’ of that connection with your couples – what does that feel like when it happens? Do you feel that this connection is important to create the best image of the wedding day?
I think there is something really beautiful when you can put someone at ease and they feel comfortable enough to relax and be themselves. To me it is a compliment when people say I was able to put them at ease or I made them feel confident when before the shoot they describe themselves as not “photo people.”
When it comes to your wedding day, I think it is important to have a trust or connection to your photographer, or any other creative you are engaging for your day. It’s one of the most personal and significant events in your lives, you want to feel like you can let your guard down, trust them completely and simply be yourselves and enjoy the moments of your day… with a third wheel documenting it all of course;)
Do you offer engagement sessions as part of the photography package? What is important about an engagement session?
I do offer engagement sessions with my packages, but I also like to think of it more as a meeting and I’ve just brought along my cameras. It’s a great opportunity for couples to get a hands on feel to a session and leave feeling confident on the day, because when it comes to the wedding day portraits I want couples to be able to enjoy and soak it all up and not think about what will the photo session be like. From my point of view I love meeting couples before their day and seeing how they fit together, also a great opportunity to ask any questions and rough out a time line.
You use rays of light and the surrounding scenery to give a sense of time and place in your images. Does this define your photography?
I am always looking for details that transport you back to how if felt to be present on the day. So capturing details such as surrounding scenery and how the light falls is important to me in the photos.
What do you feel, are the challenges in being a photographer? Especially an engagement/wedding photographer?
Like any job there is pressure and challenges, but for me it is so rewarding. For me I find the challenges in staying disciplined with the different hats small business owners wear, from the tax to updating of websites etc. as I would rather be out photographing. On the wedding days though, biggest challenges are traffic and parking! I am often early to places as to me it is the most stressful part of my day, once I have the camera in hand and ready to start photographing it’s calming.
As a photographer, how much of yourself goes into each shot?
Absolutely everything goes into every photo-shoot, it can be emotionally exhausting sometimes as I feel I am constantly scanning, looking for moments that are happening. I like to think of it as busting out to your favourite song on the dance floor, you have all the moves happening and you are singing all the right lyrics, for the entire duration of the job. It’s the best feeling.
How do you ensure that you capture the shot at just the right time and not a moment too late – is this experience or just raw talent?
Ohhh this is a tricky one as I think it is a little bit of each. There is a certain amount of experience that comes from photographing numerous weddings and trusting your intuition. But also, I think there is a certain element of getting to know the couple and seeing how they are together (which ties back to the engagement session) which helps pre-empt what might happen.
How do you keep moving forward with your photography?
I enjoy having my own side projects to keep me moving forward as an artist. For me this is collaborating with dancers, I started posting these on instagram every Monday, which is nice because it means I am disciplined in taking time to work on projects away from weddings. Like everyone there has to be a balance.
Are couples more relaxed about their wedding photography now than they were in the past?
I think by nature, I am often attracting relaxed couples, what I love is that each wedding has it’s own vibe and it is my favourite when the couples have trust and confidence in all their suppliers and can then enjoy the day. For me the more personality you can infuse into the day, the better, after all here to celebrate your love right?
Do you expect to see photography styles change over the coming years? And if so, how?
Yes and no, I mean there will always be new technology new developing styles etc but I think the essence of photography is always going to be the same; documenting people, love, life and the environment so in that respect no.
Apart from photography – what do you enjoy on your days off?
A little bit of everything, relaxing with friends and family, heading to the beach (but I don’t like to swim, I only like to frolic in the shallows) cooking/food, or anything animal related – it’s always a happy day if I get to cuddle an animal.
What is fantastic about living and working in Queensland? Any hidden gems you’d like to share with the rest of Australia?
We are extremely lucky to have beautiful weather in QLD almost year round, access to beautiful coastline and beaches that are waiting to be explored. On of the unique and my favourite parts of the job is to explore areas that my clients also hold dear. I have been fortunate enough to travel locally and abroad and it is a very humbling experience.
Thank you Kate for sharing your story and lovely images. The gorgeous light, and the honest emotions are something that always takes you back in time to that moment. To find out more about Quince and Mulberry visit the website.
Headshot by Kelly Adams Photography