Sunrise is a beautiful time of the day – the stillness, the clear air and the promise of the day to come. But a sunrise over sand and water has a special magic and Shawn and Adam of Love + Water Photography specialise in capturing the pure light and soft colours of dawn which gives such an ethereal quality to the bridal couples surrounded by it. No two sunrises or sunsets are ever the same, nor two breaking waves or patterns in the rocks or sand. This gives the images a timeless quality – and that is what is so beautiful about these images – a feeling that for these couples it is all just beginning, and their unique futures are full of possibilities and promise stretching ahead of them. Shawn and Adam share their story.
How did Love + Water Photography come to be?
Adam began years ago as a surf photographer shooting images of empty waves and his learn-to-surf clients, and I started out photographing portraits and weddings. When we moved to Maui we saw the opportunity to specialize in water portraiture, so named our business out of the two things we love most and are most true to the product we deliver.
Where are you based at present?
We are based on Maui, Hawaii.
But we don’t have to be envious of those gorgeous Maui shots. When are you moving back to Australia?
We’re setting our sights on 2019 but to be honest have stopped setting a precise date on our return as it turns out moving overseas with a business, a dog and a toddler isn’t as easy as we’d like it to be, and we’re really enjoying our time on this little island. We’re sure we’ll be pointed in the right direction when the time is right. We are however still visiting Australia for wedding and portrait bookings until we return permanently!
Where will you be based in Australia?
We hope to be based on the Sunshine Coast, which is home.
How would you describe your photography style?
It’s 100% us, authentic to ourselves and to the brand we envisioned when we started up. We love to shoot and share what feels good!
What elements do you use that makes your photographs so different?
We use water in all of our sessions, whether a simple beach portrait or underwater shoot in the middle of the ocean. The water angle is definitely something we like to emphasize.
The vastness of landscape, sky and water are an integral part of your images. How do you use them to create such intimate and sensual images?
We’re lucky to shoot in extraordinary locations and hope our photos do them justice! Beyond that, connecting with our clients is huge. We play well with others!
I love the colours of the water and the sky in your images. Do you deliberately photograph at certain times of the day to get the quality of light you’re after?
We only photograph at sunrise and sunset, the majority of our sessions take place at sunrise. At sunrise we’ll definitely stink of coffee but will bring one for you too!
Posing couples is not really your thing. How do you help couples relax on land and in the water to get the best shots?
We actually pose lots! Direction is a huge part of how we achieve images, everything else just falls in to place.
What dimension does drone photography add to your images?
It’s just a fun way for us to experiment with new angles and explore the world from above! We’ve even seen rays swimming off shore during one of our sessions, it was the coolest thing.
You have a foot in the USA and one in Australia. What do you love about your countries?
We love living in Hawaii because it’s allowed us to really grow our business and pursue our passion which in turn lets us create this pretty amazing set up where we get to make our own hours and enjoy our growing family. Some days it doesn’t seem real! For us, Hawaii is a big adventure, and one we honestly take in every day. We wake up, look outside and commence pinching. And while we have feet in different places our heart is in Australia – we love those untouched beaches, spontaneous roadtrips to Byron Bay, beachside bbqs and of course, our family, who we can’t wait to see again and watch our son interact with as he grows up.
You’ve had an adventurous life to date. Do you feel your adventures have influenced your photography?
The time we’ve had to travel in the past has allowed us quiet moments to gather inspiration and dream of a lifestyle that allows us the freedom to spend time with each other, with our family. Spending precious time together is the driving force behind our photography.
If we can’t get to Maui for our wedding, are you taking bookings for Australian weddings right now?
We are! We don’t get to travel home often and use weddings, and even portrait sessions as the perfect excuse to get back home before we are able to return permanently.
How far out from the wedding should couples book you?
We typically book 6 – 8 months in advance on Maui, but for Australian brides, grooms and couples we say whenever you have the inkling you might want us to photograph you, as we are pretty flexible with travel. We’ll even arrive a few days prior so we’re not drooling with jetlag and holding our eyelids open with toothpicks after entertaining a toddler on a long haul flight.
You say “our mission to provide outstanding service”. What does that mean to you?
Outstanding service is important. It begins at the first e-mail and continues with your final gallery delivery and return business. I always think what we were after when booking a photographer and were always impressed with fast response time and streamline processes so we’ve worked hard to create a solid business plan based on that idea.
Will you travel – even to outback Australia (with no water!) to photograph a wedding?
We do travel but need to make sure it’s a good fit our family (see aforementioned toothpick-eyelid reference) and, of course, for our clients. We occasionally have inquiries from brides getting married in wineries or far inland so we suggest they hire us for a trash the dress or engagement Land + Sea session in the water – those beach and water portraits are really what set our work apart and bring us the most joy!
What excites you about wedding photography?
When I was a graphic designer, on my first day at the job I was told to relax my mind, there are no new ideas. Awkward. Awkward, and untrue! There’s no limit to what you can create. There’s no feeling like the goosebumps you get when your heart is really behind something. It’s exciting to know we can take our passion anywhere in the world and that after years in business, it still brings us joy and a rush of adrenaline when we edit a beautiful wedding or session.
What do you like to do in your leisure time?
Hang out with our family… walks, beach times, surfi… who am I kidding, at the moment our twice-weekly grocery shops together are literally the highlight of my day. I can’t explain it but I have this enormous grin on my face thinking of the way our son screams excitedly for the cookie aisle at the grocery store – and he doesn’t even like them, just loves dumping them in the cart and feeding me cookies in the back seat on the way home, I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Thank you Shawn and Adam for sharing your story. Can’t you just feel the warm water, the sand between your toes and the purity of the air at sunrise – how exhilarating to be a part of that!! To find out more about Love + Water Photography visit the website.
Headshot by Little Bird Photography.