What Would They Know? Expert Interview with Darin Collison of Darin Collison Photography

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


Ms Floral
Darin Collison of Darin Collison Photography loves to tell stories through his work. If you’re after a wedding photographer with a fine art, photojournalistic approach then you’ll definitely want to chat to Darin about shooting your wedding! First and foremost, he believes in documenting your entire day, including the big moments, and most importantly the small details and intimate moments that often happen when you least expect them to. Today he tells us about his process and how goes about capturing those special moments that are raw and evocative. He also lets us in on what’s changed in over a decade in the industry, what a typical day as a wedding photographer is like, and his favourite things about photographing weddings.

Where are you based?
Aspendale, Victoria.

Are there any local venues you work closely with?
Not really, although there’s a tonne of lovely spots close by – The Briars, Baxter Barn, Morning Star Estate, off the top of my head.

Do you travel for weddings?
For sure! I’ve been to Albury Wodonga, Cairns, NZ, Hobart – I’ll shoot wherever.

How long have you been shooting weddings?
Wow. I went full-time before my son was born. He’s eight now. So, around 9-10 years full-time, and shooting part time for several years before that, to learn my trade.

How would you describe your photography style?
Unfiltered. Candid. Raw. I want to tell the story. But mostly I want to make really strong images. Basically, I used to be a street photographer. I try to bring that sensibility to the day.

What’s a typical day in the office look like for you?
It’s amazingly glamorous, actually. I sit in my darkened studio editing wedding images. In my slippers.

What about a wedding day?
That starts the day before – charging tons of batteries, checking and cleaning gear. Worrying about the weather and the light. Planning where to park. Double checking the logistics. The day itself is… easy. In a stressful, full on and exciting way. Shooting is the fun bit.

What’s your approach to a wedding, starting from when you first meet the couple?
Basically, I just try to give couples as strong a sense of who I am and how I approach things as I can. If that works for them – awesome! Once it’s booked in, I get in touch a couple of weeks out from the day to get all the info I need. That way, on the day I can take photographs, and they can, you know, get married and have fun.

How important is it to make a connection with them?
Good question. I guess it’s important, but there’s a big difference between chatting to someone for an hour in what is kind of an interview type scenario, and then actually being there on their wedding day. One thing I have learnt is to never have any preconceptions as to what the day will be like.

Do you offer engagement sessions? If you do, why do you recommend them?
I do, but I kind of don’t push them. I… like to shoot for the story. Weddings are fun.

What are the top three best things about photographing a wedding?
Being on 100% of the time. You have to get in the zone and stay there all day. It’s amazing. Those moments when you know it’s all come together just perfectly in the frame. That moment when you realise you’ve found the essence of the day and a way to show it visually.

What’s the most challenging aspect of it?
Well, there’s a lot that can go wrong! The things that you can’t control tend to provide the biggest challenges. Weather and light – I’m looking at you.

What’s your favourite style of wedding to photograph? Why?
That’s almost impossible to answer. I’ve shot so many weddings of so many varieties, I really can’t single out a particular type. I guess… weddings where the emphasis is on enjoyment and participation do it for me.

You pour so many hours of work into a wedding! What’s some of the behind the scenes stuff that couples might not realise you do, especially after the wedding?
Hey White Balance! You wanna come here and answer that for me? Editing takes hours. I guess most couples are kind of aware of that, though. There’s a tonne of other things – chatting with the venue so you can maximise the chance of ducking out for portraits when the light is right is a biggie.

How do you guide couples through the wedding album process?
It’s a collaboration. I get my couples to pick their favourite images. Not the ‘wedding shots’, but the ones they love the most, whatever they are. I use their choices as a basis for designing the album. With a very strong focus on the story first, and then making sure each page works visually as well. I’m super fussy about it, actually.

What have been some the biggest changes in weddings since you started out as a wedding photographer?
Well, I shot my first weddings on film…

When I started, my approach was pretty unusual. Now, having a photographer that is there to document rather than pose is a far more normal approach.

One of the biggest changes is the move away from ma more traditional format – you know, church then wedding venue. People are being far more creative with  locations for all aspects of weddings, which rocks.

What kind of trends have you noticed in the weddings you’ve shot recently?
Less. Bunting 🙂 Seriously, while people want a really great looking environment, the accent has been more focussed on great food and music, rather than the whole place looking ready for a Pinterest spread.

When you’re not shooting weddings, where would we find you?
By day, I’m a mild mannered editor of wedding images. By night, I transform into… Super Dad! Which means, I’ll be in the kitchen. Tacos tonight.

Thank you Darin for sharing your thoughts and incredible work with us today! Your approach to wedding photography is beautiful and refreshing, and we’re sure your bridal couples agree! To find out more about Darin, head on over to the Darin Collison Photography website or check out more of his work on the Polka Dot Directory.


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