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If you’re looking for a wedding photographer who perfectly blends candid moments with fine art portraiture, say hello to SPLENDID Photos & Video. Today we’re chatting to Jeff Sun, of SPLENDID, about his photography and how he combines an artistic approach with storytelling to produce meaningful, connected images for his couples. We also discuss how his team provides cinematography options and how this complements wedding photography, his favourites parts of the wedding day to capture, what’s changed in the wedding industry during the decade he’s been in it, plus how he makes that oh-so important connection with his clients.

Hi Jeff! Where are you based?
I’m based in Leichhardt, Sydney.

What are your favourite local spots to take wedding photos?
Personally, I love architecture and greenery. My favourite location for wedding photos is Paddington Reservoir, near the Sydney CBD. It has those two elements, architecture and greenery. Most importantly, it always has the best lighting.

How long have you been a wedding photographer?
I’ve been a wedding photographer for over 10 years.


How would you describe your photography style?
My style is a mix of candid and staging. It really depends on the couple and the wedding. For example, if there is a beautiful moment, I just capture it without a word. If the couple need some direction during the location photos, I will certainly direct them and make sure the photos look natural as well.

How has you style and approach to weddings changed since you first started out?
When I started 10 years ago, I believed the best approach to photographing a wedding was to get involved a lot to make sure that lighting, background, setup and even the couple’s poses were perfect. Then a few years later, I started to change to photojournalist approach to capture more true moments of a wedding. Now, my approach to a wedding is combination of the two because today’s couples expect not only natural moment but also some glamour or ‘hero’ shots.

How have weddings changed since then?
Weddings in Sydney have changed a lot compared to 10 years ago, when everything was a bit ‘standard’. But now every single wedding I photographed looks different in some way. I would say more diversified and personalised. Also, I can see a lots of luxury styling. I think such change is mainly because of social media, where everyone finds a lot of inspiration.


What sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
I don’t really compare myself with other photographers because I only focus on what I’m doing and my clients’ satisfaction. But one thing I feel proud of myself is that I always put my couples’ expectations first and my artistic expression second. It is all about what they expect their photos to look like. My photography is to impress the couple, rather than to impress other photographers.

What’s a typical workday look like for you?
Busy but enjoyable.

How early should a couple book you in?
I’m usually booked 10 months early.

Do you do engagement sessions?
Yes.

How do you make a connection with your couples? Why is it so important?
I like to chat with my couples, hear their love story and share my personal story as well. Also, I really enjoy hearing about their wedding preparation details and ideas. The best way to build up a connection is to have engagement photo sessions. It helps my couples to understand my approach and make sure they feel comfortable in front of my camera.

What are your favourite weddings to shoot?
Big Italian weddings and simple country weddings.


Are there parts of the wedding day that stand out – that you particularly enjoy photographing?

  1. The moment when the groom sees the bride walking down the aisle
  2. Location photos with the couple
  3. Bridal dance
  4. Father-daughter dance

Splendid also does cinematography. What do you love about this medium?
I love the cinematography work of our studio team. I wish I could be a cinematographer, but it is too hard. Haha. I think cinematography is complementary to photography in regards to storytelling, because it records sound (exchanging vows, emotional speeches) and movement.

Do you offer combined photography and cinematography packages?
We do offer combined photography and cinematography packages, and again I love to work with our cinematography team on the wedding day.


You also offer multiple day wedding packages. What’s involved in these types of weddings?
Multiple day wedding packages are mainly designed for south Asian weddings, which have a lot of traditions on different days, like Sangeet Party, Mehendi, Mandap.

The best thing about shooting and filming weddings is…
After 10 years being a wedding photographer, I still love doing it. There are so many things I love about shooting weddings. The best thing is that I feel privileged to be part of the most important day of two loved ones. I’m so lucky to see so many beautiful and emotional moments every weekend, which inspire me to be a good husband, a good father and to love my family and the people around me. I think that is the best thing for everyone who works in this industry.

Thank you Jeff for sharing the SPLENDID Photos & Video story with us! Your approach and experience is reflected in your beautiful imagery. What a treat. To find out more about SPLENDID Photos & Video, head on over to their website or check them out on the Polka Dot Directory.

Headshot by Jason TU

One of the most special days in your life will be your wedding day. Unfortunately, this can put a lot of pressure on the bride and groom to make sure their wedding is perfect – from the venue to the flowers. Newly engaged couples often lock themselves into months of envisioning and planning without much idea of how the day will turn out.
But what if you could make the wedding planning experience comfortable from start to finish? Wedding expos are a fantastic way to connect personally with vendors, get the best deals and get great advice from professionals. Attending an expo can help to ease that anxiety by helping you to better visualise and organise your special day.
Since the endless choices and sheer size of the event can be overwhelming, we have put together a list of 5 top tips to help you navigate your way through a wedding expo.
  1. Make a Plan
First things first, attending an expo can be daunting, there are hundreds of stalls all popping out at you and sometimes you do not even know where to start. Prior to the event, you need to have a basic plan. This doesn’t mean having everything sorted out to a tee, but rather make a list of what you want to tick off, have an idea of where you want to start and what kind of things you need to bring home. Do you need a celebrant, a photographer, a location? The day will be far less daunting with a plan intact.
  1. Have a Date
One of the most important parts of a wedding, besides the bride and groom, is THE DATE. Going to an expo with no idea of the date can make the process harder and the date will save you and your partner a lot of stress and make the planning process a lot easier on the day. Often prices, availabilities and trends all depend on when you are getting married, so before you go to an expo, make sure you know what date you’ll be saying the vows.
  1. Keep Track
With so many stalls and things catching your eye, you need to keep track of all the stalls you love. The easiest way to do this is by taking a photo and emailing it to yourself with the name and what you love from that specific stall. Remember, the stalls are there to catch your attention and make you forget about anything else. Make sure you take note of your favourites before moving on to the next stall. After a busy day at an expo, you will come home with ten different florists, photographers and DJs! Make sure you keep track of your favourites so you don’t forget them.
  1. Utilise the Shows
The fashion shows are great to give you a concept of styles such as hair, makeup, bridesmaids and groomsmen colour coordination and can really help you tie in a theme for your day. It can even help you to see how flower styles can also work with your wedding. You might actually have the style of your dress already chosen, but the shows can help you to plan a coordinated look for not just you, but the entire bridal party and the whole event!
  1. Make a Personal Connection
When you’re choosing your wedding vendors, the fatal mistake people make is choosing them solely based on their work. The people you hire for your wedding are the people who will be organising, decorating and capturing one of the most important days of your life. The vendors you choose will also be a big part of your life for the coming months, making it important that you choose the right person for your own sanity!
You need to trust them and you need to work well with them. Taking an extra moment at your favourite stalls to connect with vendors personally will help build a relationship with your vendors that ensures your vision for the day is of one accord.
Ms Zebra Says: These big shows and expos can be SO daunting. However, if you do a bit of research, make a plan and set a few goals, you’re sure to make the most of it! Thanks for sharing Monique!

About Monique Annetts: Monique is the founder of AMA Event Management. She saw a gap in the market for an outstanding event management business after enduring her own personal experiences with other events that didn’t go to plan, Monique came up with the idea to create community events that not only share businesses and support them, but bring a fun activity to communities around Australia.

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This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

What do Sundays with your in-laws and getting-ready photos have in common? For some folks, the idea of either of those generates the same amount of sweat on the palms. With getting ready photos, there’s sometimes the impression that they’re about staged shots in your undies (I can assure you i’m not really that interested in seeing that either). When you’ve just rolled out of bed with yesterdays ashtray still in the room, and that this is the part of the day when everyone is caught at their worst.

Fortunately, things have changed, and there’s another way you can look at it.

Of all the weddings I’ve photographed the world over, the getting-ready part of the day consistently provides some of the most wonderful moments and as a result, some of the most wonderful images. It’s a unique part of the day where some of the closest are present, the guard is down and a beautiful context is set against the rest of the day.

Here’s 5 reasons why I think that if you don’t want that part of the day covered, you should reconsider.

1. The wind-up

Think of it as a baseball pitch. if you’re camera shy (as I am), think of this as the warm up. Pretty quickly you won’t be noticing the camera there for the rest of the day. Being comfortable in front of a camera is one-part having someone calm and natural taking the photos and one-part exposure-therapy. The more time you are in front of it, the quicker that natural guard drops, all by itself.

2. The Timeline

The rest of the day can be manic, so those moments before the ceremony are unique and calm in contrast to other parts of the day. This can make you feel like your brain has been thrown into a nutri-bullet (don’t dig too deep into visualising that metaphor).

3. The light

It stands to reason that generally, getting-ready happens indoors. Whether the vibe of your day is colourful, moody, or a mix of the two, there’s something magical about the indoors that a skilful photographer will be able to capture. Whether it’s a castle in Italy, or, light in a broom cupboard (this has actually been a backdrop, once).

Make sure this majestic light isn’t being compromised by other light sources: turn off TV’s (unless you really think that midday football and the latest Kardashian scandal in the background will add to your images).

Indoor light is like nothing else: whether it’s a beautiful air-bnb you’ve hired or a cluttered lounge-room, trust in your photographer to be able to see the best in it, and find the magic that’s already there.

That’s what we do.

4. Family feels

Whether it’s family, friends, or your partner that are around, this is one part of the day without the craziness of all the guests and other logistics. It’s a unique little part of the day, full of smaller moments, surprises and connection that are worth having a record of.

This isn’t about the staged shots, the makeup being applied, blah blah. You can have those, of course – we’ll be there for them too and they often make for much more interesting images than you’d imagine. But this is about that normal human dance that happens with you and your nearest, without the charade and ceremony that informs the rest of the day.

This might just be the only time in your life that you’re lucky enough to have an artist document a little bit of your everyday.

5. Someone on your team, from the start

A great photographer is there to serve you and make great images for you, not against you. So It’s worth remembering that even in the most seemingly simple or plain situations, their job is to find magic.

And if you make a space for some prep shots, know that in the right hands, it’s going to be so much less about “prep” shots, and so much more about creating a little record of the everyday.

We don’t need long – just like Sundays with the in-laws. 20 or 30 minutes is often plenty. But if you’re weighing up whether to have more photos of drunken partying at the end of the day versus having someone capturing everyone getting ready, it’s worth considering which one will hit you more in the feels.

Ms Zebra Says: It’s such a special, once in a lifetime day that capturing the important memories will never be a mistake! 

About Briars Atlas: Briars photographs love and ritual from America to Antarctica, and is an advocate of cutting sandwiches into triangles over rectangles. Away from weddings, he experiments with and writes about the future of analogue, and runs workshops on creative-thinking worldwide.

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This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.