2014 Iris Stars: Andy Brown

Christchurch wedding photographer Andy Brown is our next Iris Star, nominated by Clinton Lloyd to discuss this image from  the 2014 Wedding Creative category, which won a Bronze award though Clinton reckons it should have scored even higher.

Known for his emphasis on authenticity in wedding photography, Andy tells D-Photo about putting together this inventive shot, the idea for which he'd been toying for some time:

D-Photo: Can you tell us a little bit about the wedding this was shot for? Whose was it, where was it, and how did it all go?

This was from Grace and Ben’s wedding down at Longbeach Estate near Ashburton.It was certainly a highlight wedding for me, we had beautiful light to work with, the location oozed with rustic character, and Grace and Ben were a lot of fun to photograph.

The rustic building in the shot is wonderful – was that part of the wedding, or somewhere you took the couple specifically for the shot?

Yeah the whole area down there was really well suited for their wedding and the style they wanted to portray. It was on-site but separate from the wedding, which happened in a nearby chapel. This shot was actually taken after dinner, when we planned a short late-light session.

The shadows tell a cool little story, can you walk us through the set-up needed to get them just right?

It’s a photo that I’ve had in mind for a while now. I’ve seen this technique used in skateboarding and snowboarding photography and I just needed the location, ambient light and a trusting couple to all line up. It’s a composite sequence, with a single off-camera flash. The idea was to show something more than single frame, and to use the shadows to bring more motion and narrative to the image.

What was the most challenging aspect of putting this image together?

It all came together pretty well. Probably the trickiest part was getting the timing of each shot consistent as I did it manually.

What do you like about the Wedding – Creative category, as compared to Classic?

Creative is more open, and allowed a composite like this to be entered, Classic, I believe, is for in-camera work.

Is it difficult to convince your subjects to go for the more creative shoots?

I find most couples are pretty receptive and keen to push the boundaries, which I’m so grateful for. It’s a mixture of planned and off the cuff ideas really. Weddings are so unpredictable that when an opportunity presents itself, you just have to run with it.

What was it about this image that make you choose it for the Iris Awards?

For me it was adifferent image, I do a decent amount of off camera flash work but this one just had an edge.

Did you hear what the Iris judges had to say about the image?

Yeah, I streamed the judging live. Basically, two judges loved it and were trying to pull it up to a Silver, the other two weren’t really into it. It’s all quite subjective so you can’t get too hung up on it, but I certainly took something away from the feedback, both good and bad.

What sort of impact does winning awards like these have on your business?

Being a Bronze, I can’t say it’s had much impact at all, but I’ve had some great comments from clients, fellow photogs, and friends, and it was definitely a great personal experience.

Were your clients happy to hear their wedding image has won a photography award?

Absolutely, they were pretty stoked! I treated them to a complimentary fine art print for being awesome. Without the trust and contribution of my couples I simply wouldn’t be where I am today.

Be sure to check out Andy Brown's website for more of excellent wedding work