Poring over Matt’s work is such a delight. A self-proclaimed “big softy that craves great love stories and people with genuine connections”, you can see these elements at the forefront of his images. Try to look at them without smiling or feeling something. It’s impossible. And so special. Capturing the real moments and connections that can’t be faked or replaced is super important to Matt, and clearly what makes Stone & Wool Photography such a success and a favourite with us – we are all about the feel good! It was also a delight to chat to Matt about his journey as a wedding photographer and how his perspective and style has grown and changed so far.
Where are you based?
Brisbane is home for me and my family. I’m actually lucky enough to have the Gold Coast Hinterland pretty much at my back door.
What are your favourite local spots to take wedding photos?
SEQ has a stack of options for gorgeous wedding photos. In saying that I’m a sucker for anywhere in the Hinterland and at the end of the day a beautiful location is just a bonus to me. I prefer to focus on the couple and the way they connect when I’m shooting.
How long have you been a wedding photographer?
Not long enough! I first started shooting weddings in 2017 so it’s just the beginning of a massive thing for me. I’m super excited to really spread my wings and see where this takes me.
How would you describe your photography style?
Pure wickedness mixed with a touch of hell yeah! To be honest I’m not entirely sure how I’d describe my style but when the conditions suit I’m a big fan of taking a dark and moody approach and I also have a real soft spot for black and white. I don’t like to stereotype how I produce images. I like to keep an open mind when approaching any wedding and let the light and my surroundings influence the end product rather than force what I want it to feel like.
How has you style and approach to weddings changed since you first started out?
I wouldn’t say there has been a dramatic change in my style over the time I’ve been shooting. What has changed is my perspective when approaching a wedding and the couples I work with. When I first started I was drawn to the Hollywood side of the day, you know the beautiful pics of the bride with the dress spread out perfectly and my posing had a real model approach. Today I’ve evolved into something completely different and for the better. I’m far more focused on those organic moments throughout the day. You know the ones that happen because the couple really connect with each other. I find if I spend more time simply hanging with my couples and shooting their interactions with the people on their day, a story will unfold effortlessly. For example, I used to find the family photos a drag and was always rushing to get them over with. I’ve since learnt that family photos are the best bait for those unplanned moments between guests that everyone is chasing for their day. It’s a great opportunity to grab those hugs, kisses, laughs and smiles that everyone wants in their images.
How have weddings changed since then?
Being so young and fresh in the industry I haven’t really experienced the massive shift in the industry that most of the seasoned pros have. It’s kind of refreshing to be a little blind to changes in a way. I like to beat to the sound of my own drum and not get caught up in things that come and go so easily at times.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
I can cook a mean steak, I once won a meat tray at the Jindalee Tavern and I’m also a truck mechanic by trade! I’m sure some of you are thinking how does a trade set me apart but it has its advantages, especially around shy grooms and the bridal party. It’s given me a special set of skills to help the blokes on the day relax and feel comfortable having their photos taken. It’s not uncommon for an inquiring bride to mention their fiancé doesn’t enjoy having his photos done so having this under my belt can really help put their mind at ease.
What’s a typical work day look like for you?
If I’m lucky enough to wake up at home on a shoot day, I like to spend what little time I have with my two boys, eating breakfast and playing around before heading off to witness a little magic. I don’t have set hours in my package. I run point to point so all day is literally all day. Most weddings are upwards of 12 hours for me but worth every minute.
How early should a couple book you in?
To be honest, you can never book a photographer too early, especially in the prime times of the year when the weather is perfect and similar minded people are also on the hunt for that photographer who will set their day apart. My tip is start looking as soon as you have a venue and date.
How do you make a connection with your couples? Why is it so important?
All the great story tellers and journalists are great for one reason…. Access. They tell the story from the inside out and the only way to do this is to be on the inside with the couple, shooting a wedding is no different. If I have access to the inner sanctum that is your life, your friends, your family and your relationship I have all the tools I need to tell a great story. This is why connection is so important to what I do, it is everything. And to be honest it’s not hard to get a good connection started, all it takes is a genuine conversation and interest in the people who reach out to me. I love a good chat and I’m always looking for an excuse to have coffee or beverage with some new friends.
Do you do engagement sessions?
Hell yeah I do, it’s the most fun type of shoot to be a part of, it’s just the three of us, no time constraints and usually a kick arse location to run wild in. And for those checking out photographers it’s a great way to try before you buy and get feel for what to expect on the day.
What are your favourite weddings to shoot?
I’ve always had a soft spot for weddings at home or somewhere out of the normal, not that I don’t enjoy a wedding at a big venue, but I suppose I’m a home body at heart and there’s always another layer to the story when it’s somewhere personal to the couple. It may be their favourite place to escape life, the place they met or even Nan’s backyard. I also love it when my couples do something a little different, it makes the day exciting and really personal.
Are there parts of the wedding day that stand out – that you particularly enjoy photographing?
First looks all the way baby!!! It doesn’t matter if it’s between the couple before the ceremony or dad and the bride. If approached right it brings a bag of emotions and tears that can’t be explained in a good way. I quite often find myself tearing up alongside when I do them for my couples.
Are you available for destination weddings?
Definitely, any excuse to get my travel on, I’d love to book more destination weddings.
Where in the world have you travelled as a wedding photographer?
I’m yet to book any weddings outside Oz but I’m super keen to find that couple who want to pack me in their bags for a little trip.
Top three wedding venues?
This is a hard one, there’s a stack of them to choose from that are out of this world so I’m going to spin this a little. Here’s three places I’d love to be a part of wedding at…
Anywhere in the Snowy Mountains as long as it’s snowing! Central Oz because I love the complete barren land that I call home and finally the Maldives because let’s face it who wouldn’t want to get hitched in the most epic place on the planet!
Thank you Matt for sharing your story and stunning work with us today. I love the feeling of the stories and the emotion in these images. What a beautiful thing you offer your couples! If you want to find out more about Matt and see more of his work, head on over to the Stone & Wool Photography website.
Headshot by Jemma Brown