She's only been photographing weddings for two years, but Paris Hawken is quickly establishing herself as one of the world's wedding photographers on the rise. Her natural, paired-back style fuses light, landscapes and romance to create something only true photographic talents manage to achieve. So, naturally, we cherished the opportunity to pick her brain about how to choose a wedding photographer, and what inspires her.
E + A: Paris, tell us about you...
PH: Hello! I’m a photographer based in Margaret River, Western Australia and I’ve been shooting for nearly two years now. Before that I studied photography at the Central Institute of Technology in Perth, where I graduated as Dual Top Student. Last year was my first full wedding season and I shot close to twenty weddings, and this season is shaping up to be a big one with close to forty weddings. I also exhibit my personal photography work and am partners in a photographic agency called Elements Margaret River alongside Russell Ord and Mark Boskell.
E + A: What inspires you as a wedding photographer - how do you keep your work so fresh and avoid horrible bridal cliches?
PH: I’m inspired mostly by light, and also by looking at photographer’s work such as James Frost and Dan O’Day. I think my number one inspiration is just the light though – it’s always doing something different, hitting someone’s face differently and I just love exploring that and playing around with it. I don’t really shoot with a huge amount of specific shots in mind to capture, I more just take it all in as the creativity comes on the day which is inspired by the environment, the people and the light. When I’m doing that I’m in my element.
E + A: What should a bride-to-be look for when choosing a photographer?
PH: Brides should definitely choose a photographer whose style resonates with them most, and whose attitude they like as well as you’ll basically have your photographer with you all day! If you want more posed and traditional photos then make sure your photographer does that, and if you’re more into documentary style coverage then look for that.
E + A: Many brides have ideas for the kinds of photos they want to capture on the day. How do you like to take suggestions from your brides? Before the day, or just off-the-cuff as you're shooting?
PH: I prefer them as we’re shooting, as my best work definitely just comes in the moment rather than any pre-planned shots or a list of pre-determined photos. That’s how I work best, and if I can work together with my brides like that then we can always get something we both love.
E + A: Which other wedding industry creatives do you admire?
PH: I love the The Lane’s website and blog for their fresh and stylish content – it’s so refreshing to see the work that they put out there. I’m also loving Stacey Clark Stylist's work, and the LoveStoned crew’s blog.
E + A: Because you're based in Margaret River, Australia, you often photograph destination weddings. What advice would you give a bride and groom considering a destination wedding?
PH: Take your photographer’s advice on locations and times for photos, as we know the area and the light best. Also I think it’s a great idea to take on recommendations on other vendors from suppliers, as they will always have a good idea of who they work best with and whose style compliments their own businesses style.
E + A: A wedding photographer sees everything that goes down on a wedding day. As someone who's there for it all, what advice would you give to brides to have their best day possible?
PH: It sounds a little clichéd, but just to relax and enjoy the day as it comes. Just work with whatever’s thrown at you on the day and have a cool attitude ready to go!