I'm honored to introduce you to Caroline & Jayden of Woodnote Photography. We receive so many requests from friends who've seen their work with our family, and to have them sponsor the blog is an extra plus. Most recently the infamous Rue Magazine featured their work!
All photos highlighted in this post were taken September 2010 when I was 6 months pregnant with Ace. Tomorrow I'll highlight their second shoot, newborn Poppy, March 2012.
Jayden, on left:
thn: How long have you been a professional photographer, and how long before that were you interested in photography?
WP: Woodnote has officially been Woodnote for 4 years, but before that, photography was always that unapproachable dream job. It was that cliche thing that everyone wanted to "be when they grew up", but no one actually did it. So, I never said that dream aloud until I realized it had happened.
thn: What do you shoot professionally? In your personal time?
WP: Professionally, we shoot weddings, couples, families, interiors, styled shoots... really, we just like to tell stories. We aren't huge on boxing ourselves in to any given category. We like to keep on our toes, and stay challenged! In our personal time, we love travel photography. I also just started a personal project that I call THink, which is where I tell the stories of people who have tattoos, and what their tattoos mean. I'm totally set on the idea that artists need to create for themselves sometimes, or else they get stagnant. (My personal project is here --> THink )
thn: Which came first: marriage or the professional partnership?
WP: The marriage! Jayden + I were both photographers (casually) before we got married, so our wedding gift to each other was a nice Canon SLR. Since Jayden was from Australia, and I was from the States, we knew that our lives would involve a lot of travel, so we started a personal blog to keep our friends + family up to speed on our whereabouts. From there, people started seeing our personal photos and asking us to shoot them, their weddings, you name it. Our business and professional partnership grew really organically. We didn't set out saying, "Let's get a website and make this
our career." ...it grew because people came to us. We still have yet to advertise, and we love it that way. It means the people that come to us connect with our style and with who we are behind the camera [in real life]. More and more, Jayden and I realize that the value in this is connecting with real people AS real people ourselves. When that connection happens, we're really just capturing new friends and telling their story in photograph.
thn: What is your camera?
WP: We both have Canon 5D Mark IIs, and a bunch of other backup cameras (like Canon 50Ds)... Cameras can and WILL fail. Never go to a shoot without a backup!
thn: What should clients ask themselves/know about themselves before choosing a photographer?
WP: If we're talking about a wedding photographer, a couple should decipher what their individual preferences are, and what that looks like together. Some couples don't like the idea that they might be traditional deep down, when really, they would feel more comfortable with a traditional photographer – and that's totally cool, but they should be honest and seek a traditional photographer. Other times, couples allow their parents to be a major voice in the opinions on photography styles, which is understandable when parents are footing the bill, but in the end, the couple has to love the photos that they are going to be left with - so it may be important to have a conversation with those other voices and see if there can be a compromise.
Personally, I would say that couples should simply ask themselves how important photography is to them – is it something they want because they know 'you're supposed to have a photographer at your wedding', or is it something that they want because they value what photographs can mean in the context of time? Photographs outlive the people in them - we have all seen photographs of a relative who passed away, or even a celebrity who died long before we were born - either way, it makes people stop and reflect, because photographs are echoes and whispers of people, and it inspires wonder and emotion if you have a connection somehow to who is in the photograph. So, here's a great question in my opinion - is photography important enough to you that you care about leaving behind something for your children's children long after you've passed? It's a morbid question, but I think there's also something romantic about the idea! ;-)
thn: If you were never able to do another wedding or family shoot, what sort of photographer would you become?
WP: I'm obsessed with photojournalism/editorial and fashion photography. I hope to do more of that, with or without the weddings and families. I love the idea of creating a picture of history; in the way that we look at the work of Lee Miller or Edward Steichen and are able to learn about the past. Even street fashion photography gets me. In the moment, maybe it doesn't seem that spectacular, but thirty, sixty or ninety years from now? That stuff is gunna be BANANAS.
thn: How do you feel creative and singular in a professional field with such a dense population and such a spectrum of talent?
WP: Man. Sometimes it's really tough. I think it's important to avoid comparing yourself to others, and even to avoid looking at someone else's work on a regular basis. You might not even realize it, but their creative 'voice' will slowly creep in and influence YOUR creative voice, and suddenly you aren't being true to yourself. And you're really just regurgitating work that already exists. It's crucial to find inspiration in sources OTHER than photography that has already been made. I like to watch films, travel, people-watch, read and keep notes on random ideas that whizz through my brain. You're an individual. Your perspective on the world can only come from YOU. It's hard to trust your own perspective and voice, but it's the only route that won't get old or out of fashion - and no one can emulate YOUR voice.
thn: What would you like to change about the wedding photography industry?
WP: The current wedding industry puts IMMENSE focus on the details of the wedding. In all seriousness, it doesn't matter how gorgeous the couple is, or how fabulous the wedding photos are, if the centerpieces and flowers and wedding programs and plates and silverware aren't immaculate, the wedding industry says the wedding doesn't have value. HELLO. The COUPLE has value! Their STORY has value. Their LOVE is what the wedding is supposed to be about! If Jayden + I do one thing to the wedding photography industry, I hope that it is to change the emphasis of the photos and the story from the details to the couple.
thn: How do you stay true to your craft and still manage to fulfill your client's wishes?
WP: Our couples get us and we get them. We aren'tcompatible with every couple, and that's OK. Our couples trust our perspective, and know that we will capture their day completely. We don't shoot off of 'requested photo lists', because our couples know that will take away from the natural flow of the day. If we're busy capturing "ONE PHOTO OF BRIDE BEING HELD BY ALL GROOMSMEN", we're going to miss the fact that the groom is hugging his mother, or that the flower girl is eating an apple out of the centerpiece. We're so stoked to team up with couples who trust us, and don't have wishes that don't already align with our own.
thn: Would you say that it is part of your identity that you are a
photographer, or would you say it is just something you do?
On that same note, how intertwined are we with what we do? I think that depends on whether you ask an American or an Australian... ;) The cultural perspectives are pretty different. If I could never take another photo, would I feel like I had a shift in my identity? Yes, I'd say so. At the same time, I think there's a lot more to us than our photography. Making images is just something we're incredibly passionate about.
thn: Do you think every person is creative? Why or why not?
Yes! Absolutely! I love that Picasso quote, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." That says it all, really.
thn: What do you accomplish, ultimately, when you get that great shot?
Little butterflies get let loose in our souls and we do a giddy dance. Well, seriously? Usually whoever got *the shot* will shout, "I WON! Oh man! I totally won!" and then we'll all gather round to check, and sure enough, high fives all 'round. Ultimately, we've frozen a moment in time that can never be forgotten now. A monumental fragment of a story has been preserved in a way that will be experienced by generations who could not be present in that instance. It's heavy stuff when you sit and think about it for awhile. Has a photograph of an event you weren't present for ever evoked emotion from you? OK, BESIDES that photo of Prince William marrying Kate, and not you...
Thank you, Caroline & Jayden! You guys are as brilliant in your work as in your personality and character.
And too true, I have a girl crush on Kate.
Check back tomorrow for more on Poppy's newborns...
And too true, I have a girl crush on Kate.
Check back tomorrow for more on Poppy's newborns...