Choosing a photographer for your big day is one of the most important decisions—and one of the hardest! The photos from your wedding will be the memories you can pass on to generations to come, so choosing a photographer you love is super important.
Our friend Kirsten Cunningham certainly knows how to capture the magic. Her philosophy is to capture truly beautiful and candid moments, not just stiffly posed ‘perfect pictures’.
Whether she’s gallivanting around the globe capturing epic sceneries or running around Central West NSW snapping up her latest loved-up couple, Kirsten is super passionate about her job and capturing real moments.
Kirsten is one of our fave photographers here at HOORAY!, so we were super excited to sit down with her and discuss all things photography.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Kirsten. I live in Orange, NSW. Orange is my place. You know that place that makes your heart sing, where everything just feels right? After living up and down the east coast and overseas we finally settled in Orange in 2017. I moved here with my favourite person in the world—Damien, and our two young, wild and crazy boys Byron and Fox. I miss the beach madly, but you’ll find me with my boy tribe on the Sunshine Coast most holidays.
2. How did you get into photography?
I learnt how to use my Canon SLR film camera while I worked as a tour leader in Africa in the early 2000s. I’ve travelled the world with my cameras since then (even lugging a gigantic 4×5 large format film camera around Cuba!) and have been lucky enough to live and work in every continent except Antarctica (so far!).
I studied journalism at university and always thought I’d become a photojournalist overseas or work in the NGO sector. But then I fell in love and realised that I wanted to document the most beautiful things in life, not the most heartbreaking. And that’s how I became a wedding photographer!
3. DESCRIBE YOUR AESTHETIC
My photography is definitely an extension of me. My style is candid, relaxed and very natural. I love being outside and photographing outdoors in beautiful places. I use natural light whenever possible and want the bridal portrait part of the day to be a real highlight—full of laughing, champagne, and hanging out with your besties in a gorgeous vineyard or field somewhere having fun.
4. What advice would you give potential clients when booking a photographer?
It’s interesting how many people book their photographer without speaking to them first. We are honestly right next to you for most of the day. Being really comfortable with your photographer—and even better liking them—is really important to how you are going to look and feel in front of their camera.
A 15-minute phone or Facetime conversation can help you make the decision on who to choose obviously, but more importantly, make you feel excited and confident that you’ve got an ace photographer by your side who’s going to be on your team before, during and after your wedding.
5. What does a typical day look like?
Mornings are pretty crazy in our household. There’s normally dancing, good foods and some kind of argument about shoes and socks. After I drop the kids off at daycare I go to the gym. Looking after my body and making sure I am strong and fit is really important. It took me a while to realise wedding photography needs to be treated as an endurance event! I literally train during the week, and warm-up, cool down and fuel load on wedding days. After the gym, I head home and normally work in my office editing and doing admin for the rest of the day and duck out to do any shoots I have midweek. Then the kids come home and the craziness starts again until bedtime.
During wedding season, I keep editing for a few hours after they go to bed, but in the off-season, I try and rest. Saturdays are ‘go’ days. Get up, get organised, get my wedding game and then cool down, wind down and eat a big meal when I get home.
6. What is your most memorable project?
Damien and I travelled around Cuba and stayed in Old Havana for a few weeks photographing the streetscapes with a large format camera. You know one of the old school 19th-century cameras where you have to put a black cloth over your head and the view through the camera is upside down? That was so cool. Cuba was so technology deprived and it felt so strange, but so fitting to be using such old analogue technology. We developed the film in our hostel bathroom in Mexico and exhibited the images in a gallery in San Miguel de Allende.
7. What is your favourite aspect of your job?
Definitely being so intimately connected to my clients on their wedding day. I honestly feel so grateful they have chosen me to document their wedding and fully understand how important my images will be in their family history. It’s like suddenly becoming a family member or close friend. Sharing their wedding journey with them is just the best!
8. What is your best advice for couples when working with their photographer?
Trust them! Choose a photographer whose work you love and who you get along with really well. Then let them do their thing and be blown away by what they create for you! The more you connect with your photographer and the more you trust them the better your images will be.
Definitely discuss what you want and need before the wedding day, be organised with your run sheet so they know where to be and when, and make sure you provide everything they need beforehand so you are setting you and them up for a great day. Then let them go for it as planned. No one does their best work when they are being micromanaged.
9. I AM HAPPIEST WHEN…
I’m photographing weddings—it’s true! There is nothing like it!
Outdoors—hiking in the mountains, swimming at the beach or sitting around a fire pit with friends and family are my happy places. Indoors there is nothing better than snuggling up on the couch with the boys in front of our fire—even if I do have to watch Frozen for the 100th time!
WANT TO HAVE YOUR DAY CAPTURED BY KIRSTEN?
We don’t blame you! To contact Kirsten Cunningham, email firstname.lastname@example.org.