Carissa Cross of Elk & Fir Photography loves to capture the perfectly imperfect. Awarded ABIA’S QLD Wedding Photographer of 2016, Carissa knows a thing or two about beautiful wedding photography. She’s known for her natural style and for documenting real moments – those ones that everyone else might have missed but are oh-so breathtaking in their rawness. Today we chat about her process of making connections with her couples and why this is so important in terms of getting them to feel comfortable in front of the camera. We also talk destination weddings, engagement shoots and how Carissa goes above and beyond to make sure your wedding runs as smoothly as possible.
Where are you based?
What are your favourite local spots to take wedding photos?
Locally here in CQ it would be Byfield National Park and Henderson Park.
How long have you been a wedding photographer?
How would you describe your photography style?
Raw, organic and natural.
How has you style and approach to weddings changed since you first started out?
Oh yes, style… This is a hard one as I am a huge fan girl of the light and airy, with pretty tones as this is how I started out! But I am always drawn now to the more dramatic light of dark and moody earthy tones. I just find them romantic and raw!
How have weddings changed since then?
I have learnt so much over the years in terms of how to best service my gorgeous couples. A lot of my couples say that I am a wedding planner with how much I help with time lines and action plans for their day. It’s a win win for both of us! I am finding my couples are more adventurous! I am always trying something new.
What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
Bridal coaching is what I do best in the lead up to a wedding. The more involved I am the better the experience for both of us. I just couldn’t imagine turning up to a wedding and not knowing my couples. In terms of images I think they are more on the raw side!
What’s a typical work day look like for you?
Emails emails, texts texts texts. Hahaha! I work from a home studio so it is hard sometimes to drag myself away from the PC. Meetings, bridal coaching, album design, and some how I have to find the time to edit! But I love working from home. When I have no meetings scheduled and it is a day of editing then I sloth behind the doors listening to music or put on a move whilst I edit.
How early should a couple book you in?
Oh definitely minimum 12 months before. I’ve had couples book two years ahead.
How do you make a connection with your couples? Why is it so important?
The KEY to all good experiences with a photog is connection! We are going to be with the bride and groom all day and night so there has to be a connection! I always meet my clients before they sign on the dotted line! Mostly in person but if they are not local always by Face Time! Always! So personal and warm. Plus body language is a key indicator, right? I love to know the vision they have for their day and hear their love story. Some are very green with wedding planning and some are experts. I love to help both.
Do you do engagement sessions?
Absolutely – included in all my packages. It is the only real time I have with my couples for a full hour getting to know them in front and behind the camera. It really puts them at ease also with getting to know each other and also the final result of their love documented in print! Included in their package is a wedding guest book filled with these images!
What are your favourite weddings to shoot?
I really don’t have a favourite. Every time I have an amazing wedding it almost always is about the warmth of the people around me on the day. A lot are so darn appreciative! And that gets me every time. Of course styling is gorgeous but at the end of the day how they make me feel is what I remember. And this really is my motto for life… How you make someone feel is what they will remember.
Are there parts of the wedding day that stand out – that you particularly enjoy photographing?
Mostly the pre-wedding and the creatives after the wedding, as I have more control over the photos I take in terms of lighting etc. It really is a personal/intimate and funny time. During the actual wedding and reception I am just a fly on the wall (which is a great way to be).
Are you available for destination weddings?
Absolutely! Last year I flew to Bali. This year New Zealand, Sunny Coast, Toowoomba, Hamilton Island and out west to Barcaldine!
Top three wedding venues?
Oooohhhh my! I can’t! This is too hard! Anywhere with mountains are my fave.
The best thing about shooting weddings is…
To be able to capture the connection in love on film. This is hard to do but when I do it is raw!
Thank you Carissa for sharing your wedding photography journey with us today! Your passion and enthusiasm for your job and your couples really shines through, and your work is absolutely breathtaking. To find out more about Elk & Fir, head to their website or check them out on the Polka Dot Directory.
Headshot and images courtesy of Elk & Fir