There’s an artistry to photography that lies in intuition. An innate instinct buried deep within. Embracing the unexpected, great photographers anticipate a moment about to unfold, drawing upon their skill and insight to create magic unique to each situation. From the light to the angle to the composition, it’s that ability to harness and transform a moment in time that inspires us. When mere occurrence is transfigured into something more powerful; a tangible cue, an heirloom frame, a visual narrative of feeling and detail.
Composed of these ephemeral, evocative moments – the split seconds of magic that encapsulate a love story – we’re swept up in the dreamy frames of Sydney based photographer, LUCIE Weddings. An emerging artist already making waves in the industry for her fluid and fashionable photographs, Director Lucy Douglas draws on her background in Graphic Design to produce intuitive frames budding with emotion and stylish allure. Delicately balancing design principles, honest detail and ethereal magic, Lucy melds the authentic with the expressive to deliver a gallery of wedding photos steeped in poetic beauty.
Fortunate enough to work closely with Lucy at our recent Photography Workshop, we’ve seen firsthand how her intuitive eye and passion for her artform converge to create truly beautiful photographs. We sat down with Lucy to discover more about her exquisite work…
“Through the use of light, composition, emotion and intuition, incredible photography has the ability to take someone back to that very moment and feel exactly what they felt then. I believe the less static photography appears the better, it’s got so many layers of expression, it’s a waste to utilise just the surface.”
Tell us a bit about yourself…how did you first discover photography? What was it that drew you into the weddings space?
I fell in love with the art of photography in high school. We were taught everything from using and creating our own pinhole camera, to learning the darkroom process; it was one of the very few subjects that I got high distinctions in. After school, photography and I fell out of touch. I went on to do a bachelor degree in Visual Design & Communication at Billy Blue College of Design, and it wasn’t until I landed my job at Cleo and Dolly Magazine as their Junior Designer that I started properly using a camera again.
Similar to riding a bike, everything came back pretty fast and that was when I decided I wanted to do it full time. My partner is in weddings doing both film and photo, and he very generously offered me the role as a second shooter so the ball kind of rolled from there. However, it wasn’t until I shot a school friend’s wedding that I really decided I wanted to be in the industry. I juggle weddings as well as editorial/fashion work and I’m really glad that I do because I know that if I did one without the other I wouldn’t love it nearly as much.
To you, what are the crucial elements of truly incredible wedding photography? What are the frames that move you the most?
I think Andre Kertesz said it perfectly; “People in motion are wonderful to photograph. It means catching the right moment when one thing changes into something else.” Through the use of light, composition, emotion and intuition, incredible photography has the ability to take someone back to that very moment and feel exactly what they felt then. I believe the less static photography appears the better, it’s got so many layers of expression, it’s a waste to utilise just the surface.
To couples seeking their ideal wedding photographer, what advice would you give? What should they look for, or what key questions should they ask during their search process?
Do not rely on an Instagram feed or even a website – this is a highlight reel. Ask to see finished wedding galleries to really get a sense of their style and what the final product is going to look like. Rainy day weddings especially, as this will give you an idea of what your photographer can produce under pressure.
My advice to any couple would be that no question is a dumb question. It’s your wedding day and a good photographer will always understand. And, always meet your photographer before your wedding, for both yours and their sake. Your photographer plays a huge role on your day and it’s nice to break down that initial barrier beforehand.
You have a professional background in graphic design. In all its aspects, how important is design to you, and how does it shape your approach to your photographic work?
I never really considered myself a very good Graphic Designer, but I can honestly say that without having practised it, I wouldn’t photograph the way I do. It wasn’t until I started shooting weddings that I realised how complementary of a skill is it to have. Every time I shoot and edit, no matter what the job, I always revert back to the design elements and principles, such as space, balance, movement, depth, color, harmony (my favourite!) and composition.
Who are the creatives you look to for inspiration?
Photographers such as Henri Dauman, Craig McDean, Helmut Newton and Mario Testino are all standouts to me. Helmut Newton especially, his work is so clever and entertaining. I truly believe he helped encourage fashion photography into a more daring space. You also know a good photographer when you can pick their work before even knowing it was them who shot it – he is one of those GREAT photographers.
What are you discovering more about yourself through your photography and creative work…
I haven’t always been the most confident person on the inside, but it’s interesting what can happen once you find a job that you love doing so much. Launching LUCIE has taught me to believe in myself a little more and to also identify when to take the pressure off because when I don’t, my work and creativity suffers. It’s a daunting thing running your own business, especially in a very competitive industry with SO much incredible talent. I used to worry a lot about what other people thought but as I’ve progressed I’ve realised that what other people have to say about me is none of my business, and the more I believe and trust in what I’m producing, everything else flows the way it’s meant to.
The best advice you were ever given, or a favourite quote that resonates?
The best advice has always come from my mum. She’s always said to me that we have the ability to manifest anything, and it’s true. If you want something bad enough, you will create it whether it be through subconscious or conscious action. The amount of mind maps I have drawn up and looked back on after six months and thought, ‘holy sh*t, I’m living that right now!”, is wild. She’s also always encouraged the celebration of all the wins; big or small. Stop, take a step back and look at what you’ve done and how far you’ve come because it’s so easy to get caught up in chasing the ‘next thing’.
What’s your next adventure?
I’m so lucky that my job allows me to see so many incredible parts of the world. Next July my partner Eddie and I have been booked for a wedding in Sonoma, California, which will be amazing as we’ve always wanted to do the Big Sur drive. Then in September, I head over to beautiful Santorini to shoot a wedding in Oia, followed by Waiheke Island, NZ in October. Super excited and to say I’m grateful is an understatement.
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