Emma from Heart Full of Tea Photography sat down to answer our version of the Proustian questionnaire. Read on to find out why heart stopping moments have been a speciality of hers long before she picked up a camera.
1. What is your idea of the perfect wedding?
I’m not sure I have one as they are all so individual. I’m really lucky that all my couples have had really unique wedding days so far…but I would say in general that the best days are the ones that make me skip away at the end of the night. When the couple and you get on so well that it’s just like spending the day with your friends. It makes the best photo’s. I particularly like dancing with everyone, so nothing too staged I suppose. Just let the day happen!
2. What is your greatest fear when you are working on a wedding?
Without a doubt, my camera’s breaking!!! Of course I have back-ups, but still… the fear is real!
3. What is your best trait that helps you be so great at your job?
I thrive under pressure and I’m good at keeping a cool head. I encourage that rebellious behaviour and try to break down those barriers that can stop the couple and guests from letting loose and having fun!
4. Which living person do you most admire?
Wow, that’s a toughie and I have no idea!!! There are so many individuals that aren’t “heroes” in the media that I admire. Public sector workings for a start!!
5. What is your greatest extravagance that helps you get through the day?
Comfy shoes! I am on my feet for 12 hours straight. Fashion doesn’t enter my head with this one. Happy feet, happy back! Happy photographer.
6. What is your current state of mind?
Excited, I’ve really grabbed hold of all opportunities that have come my way in 2017, I sometimes think you get to a certain age (cough thirty-something cough) and you learn to pick yourself up and hold your head high, I’m a great believer in giving off good karma. Meaning 2018 is looking like more and more happy moments.
7. What do you think is the most overrated thing that couples try to squeeze into their wedding day?
There are a couple of things that my couples always talk to me about in the build up to the day. I tend to end up being a counsellor and that third party that they can have a good rant to over FaceTime so I get to hear it all!
Controversially, booking transport… Unless you are really into cars and that’s your thing (which if it is then book all the cars you want), to me it seems such a waste of time and money. It can really alter your timings of the day too, stay in one place, it’s much easier! Get a friend to stick some tin cans on their car and you’re done!
Canapes… they can be super expensive and people are always hungry after the ceremony as it’s generally lunch time. BUT have you thought of cutting your cake after the ceremony and feeding the guests that? Afternoon tea anyone?
Favours!!! Sadly, they all just get left and put into a box when the room gets cleared. A lot of my couples roll their eyes at me, when I’m taking what they’ve got left to do and they say that word… If you do want them, think about how you can incorporate them more into the day or your budget? Get your friends/family involved and pre-bake a bunch of cookies for example and make it your starter/nibbles? There are always other ways of bringing your own stamp to the day.
8. On what occasion is lying at work a good idea?
When it benefits the couple on the day, ha! Although I don’t think lying is the answer but trying to borrow and alter the timeline of the day on the day can make things run smoothly for all. Being a wedding photographer means I get one shot, one opportunity and if I miss it that’s it. So if manipulating the timeline slightly to ease the pressure and reduce any chance of stress that the couple might have, thats ok with me. As suppliers we’re all out to achieve the same, to give the couple the best experience.
9. What is the most outrageous (fabulous or terrifying) outfit you have ever seen at a wedding?
Nothing too terrifying, but I’ve seen some fabulous dress changes from brides. In particular a wonderful Chinese wedding I did at the start of last year, she had 3 dresses! Also a fair few dresses that have been loved and borrowed, charity shop finds, in particular Oxfam and grooms in relaxed suits, converse, bracers, bow-ties, even hiring a tux can be cheaper and look amazing! I think this can really be a big saving, I would always encourage my couples to think a bit more out the box. There is an amazing charity called Brides Do Good (https://www.bridesdogood.com) who focus on giving back towards ending child marriage but can also give you more of a choice of bridal wear if you want that kind of look.
10. What is the best theme you have seen at a wedding?
A Glastonbury Festival Wedding done well, with all the signs and DIY galore, wrist bands and drink tokens, without a doubt it was impressive. Really impressive, the details were amazing. It was all about the music and just grabbing your friends and dancing your socks off eating pizza.
11. What is the hardest thing a couple has ever asked you to do for their day?
Walk the whole wedding party through a town centre on a Saturday from the church, to get to a picturesque spot for their groups shots. I felt like a tour guide, directing and keeping track of everyone! We did get some great group shots though and in a place that was important to them so it all worked out really well in the end. For elements like this though you need ALL your guest to know that this is going to happen and friends/family that can help you, as I don’t know them!
12. What quality in a groom do you like the most?
For both questions, in any couple, bride, groom or same sex I love the ability to have a bit of banter and trust me. Seeing that unfiltered love is the best.
13. What quality in a bride do you like most?
As above PLUS don’t not worry about getting your dress dirty!! A mud stain can remind you of the time we walked through that field as it was raining on your day for example or a grass stain where you sat on the floor with your friends drinking and laughing.
14. What is the most overused word at a wedding – or in a wedding speech?
That the best-man lies! They don’t, it’s ALL true!
15. When was the last time you laughed out loud at a wedding? What happened?
Pretty much at all my weddings!!! Cliche I know, but hearing stories about them throughout the speeches is pretty hilarious. I also LOVE the time I get to spend with them at the couple portrait session, take a glass of champers with you and it’s the best!!
16. What makes an ideal wedding?
For me it is honestly about having those around you that are important, not an twice-removed cousin that you last saw when you were 3yrs old or a friend that holds you back. You need people that empower you and understand why you’ve got to the point you have, your journey.
17. What is the most unusual entertainment you have ever seen at a wedding?
I don’t know about unusual but I’ve seen an amazing steel band and some samba dancing before now. This was brilliant!! I love my music, so a band and live music is a must. It can totally make your day and change the atmosphere. Seeing your 85yr old Nan getting down with the beat and teaching you all how it’s done is brilliant.
18. If you could change one thing about a wedding, what would it be?
Probably two things, the way it has been moulded to flow. If you don’t want a sit down dinner, or speeches then don’t do it. Don’t become part of the conveyor belt of the wedding industry. Secondly have an UNPLUGGED wedding!! It is so sad to see people watching your wedding through a phone, or worse an ipad!!! Don’t do it, I’m there on the day to grab all the photos you need, especially on the morning or through the ceremony.
19. What moment are you most proud of in your profession?
Wow, what a tough question. I don’t think I have had that ‘one’ moment to be honest. I would say that it’s pretty satisfying after the awful nerves have past of delivering the email to say “your wedding photo’s are ready” to receive the most loveliest of emails and feedback. That certainly makes me proud, that’s totally why I do my job to make people/my couples feel like that. Job done!
20. If you were to die and come back as person or thing, what would it be?
Definitely not a human. Probably an animal and something that lives in the ocean. A whale maybe. Or if it was a human, then a hermit, living in and off the forest, where the animals are my friends, ha!
21. Where is your favourite setting for a wedding?
I love a good outdoor ceremony. And if that ceremony happens to be in a forest or surrounded my nature, OR by the sea. I’m happy!
22. What is the one thing you can’t live without in your job?
Oooh so many things, but in a way technology! It’s how I run my business, how I interact with my couples and how I create my end product.
23. What is the most embarrassing thing you have seen at a wedding?
A male guest ripping their trousers on a space hopper and not having any pants on underneath. My eyes!! It was very funny though!
24. What is your favourite occupation, apart from your own?
I’m the type of person that wants to have a go at all the careers, I love hearing about what people do, I once got talking to someone at a wedding who photographs human skin for a living! For me, I particularly like the thought of becoming a photographer in marine biology in a far off island somewhere. Think Blue Planet, snorkelling and documenting this ‘other’ world that we all depend on so much but don’t understand.
25. What question do you wish every couple would ask you when you are meeting with them for the first time?
So… tell me about Japan! Because I can talk about it forever having travelled fairly extensively there. I just love the culture. And also, what’s your favourite pizza topping… hmmm pizza.
26. Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?
I’m a huge Wes Anderson and Tim Burton fan so the cinematographer that these guys use is a real inspiration. I love aesthetics and high contrast, which I think I draw from previously being a graphic designer. Plus mother nature, there is nothing more satisfying than using the landscape and light to frame your perfect shot.
27. What mistake do you see couples make over and over again on their day?
Making their timeline too tight, so there is no time for them to go and talk to their guests. Don’t have too many group photos or perhaps try and split them up. This day is about you guys and often you will get to the end of the night and hardly talked to your new husband/wife!!! That is not how I like my couples to feel. With my couple shoot I like to give them some protected time, a few little walks, a ride in my car etc anything just to stop the day a little and take it all in.
28. What is your biggest regret at a wedding you have worked on?
Lucky to say, none so far!!!
29. What is your motto?
I’m always a glass half full type and believe you can always turn things around.
30. What would people be surprised to learn about you and/or your work?
I think perhaps the variation in my careers. My original degree was in design, I started out life as a graphic designer, I freelanced for a long time and taught myself photography to add to my list of attributes when pitching for work. I then had a break from design and retrained as a nurse, which I still do part-time, I’m a Heart Failure Nurse Specialist and I’m near to completing my Masters in Advanced Practise. I love that aspect of my life!! It grounds me and gives me perspective on life. However the photography seems to have always been my strongest “calling” as they say and it is my main career now, 70/30 split with the nursing. I’ve been shooting Weddings for 5 years and I love my job. I feel very privileged to be part of people’s day and provide them with memories for a lifetime.
31. Is there something you would like to add?
I have a few spaces left for 2018 so if you want to get in touch please drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
To see more of her work clink on the links below.
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