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LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW

Interview with Anastasia Woolmington, Fine Art Wedding and Landscape Photographer

Photographers have great responsibilities on their shoulders. The situation is much more stressful especially for wedding photographers who need to capture the moment and do not have the possibility to reconstruct the environment. I talked to Anastasia Woolmington, about her career and the details of the wedding photography.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Anastasia Woolmington

Anastasia Woolmington

LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW

by Melisa Kaya

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In wedding ceremonies, we celebrate the marriage that represents the moment that couples start a new life together. Couples want to remember every moment of this celebration from beginning to end. The couples who will continue their lives together reserves the most beautiful corner of the house to put the photos they have taken with bridal and groom dresses. This process, which was carried out in the past with a few exposures in the studio environment, has now moved on to a completely different dimension and beauty with wedding photographers' perceptions of the couples' lifestyle and the creative ideas they put in that frame. Wedding photos should not only be the photos created by pressing the shutter button, but also have to be artistic works to represent the stories they will tell their children and even their grandchildren in the future. I talked with Anastasia Woolmington, Fine Art Wedding and Landscape Photographer, about her career, Serenity Photography, and the details of the wedding photography.

Anastasia, before talking about photography, could you tell us about yourself? Who is Anastasia Woolmington?

I am a fine art wedding and landscape photographer based in Australia.

My love affair with photography started at a very young age and it seems to be growing stronger every day. I believe in the power of storytelling and being in connection with your subject, in real and raw photography that shows the true beauty of our world as it is. As a photographer, I want to inspire people to open their eyes; to see, to listen, and to feel every detail of our world, nature, cultures, and wildlife. With my work, I hope I can open someone’s heart and inspire them to love, to be kind and to make protection of our world a priority.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

When did you get your first camera? What did you photograph first?

I was dreaming about a photo camera since I can remember and was constantly asking my parents to buy me one. But when I was young, photography wasn’t as accessible as it is today and my family didn’t have anyone who could teach me how to take and develop photos. When I was 11, I went to study in London on a student exchange program and my parents gave me some pocket money. Other students spent their pocket money on clothes and toys, I went and bought a point and shoot Kodak camera and a few rolls of film. I still have that camera. With those first rolls, I started experimenting with light and composition using interesting foregrounds. Mostly nature and landscapes. I just saw so many beautiful moments and wanted to preserve them forever.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

How did you decide to pursue a career in photography?

Ever since I got my first camera, I was always carrying it around taking pictures. For some reason, a possibility to freeze the moment in time always fascinated me. I often saw something I thought was extraordinary that no one would even pay attention to and I just wanted to show that beautiful moment that they were missing. My first intention was to paint the scene but, unfortunately, I didn’t have the patience or a natural talent for it, but I was able to see and understand light and composition. At University I studied international journalism and became a regular in our photography dark room and specialised my studies in photojournalism. My Master’s degree took me to South America. Apart from photography, I had a passion for diplomacy, nature, conservationism, languages, and ended up working for the United Nations in Chile for 7 years. It has been an amazing and eye-opening experience that only strengthened my passion for photography and a need to give nature a voice with my work.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

How did you become interested in wedding photography? What is the most special aspect of weddings for you?

To be honest, weddings never interested me. I have been always interested in the protection of nature and wildlife. Friends of mine were getting married, knew my work and asked me to photograph their wedding. I had an amazing time photographing it. You are surrounded by so much love, happiness, and beauty. It was like a breath of fresh air in the world where there is so much darkness. It showed me an aspect of humankind that you don’t see very often. And I loved it. I wanted to see more of it. I want to feel this energy again and so Serenity Photography was born.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Could you tell us about Serenity Photography and your team?

I founded Serenity Photography in 2015 in Sydney. I was getting more and more requests to photograph weddings, I was really enjoying it and I decided it was time to establish a business. A few years ago my husband - Lawrence - joined me and now we are a team of two and always photograph weddings together. I find our team to be amazing, we understand each other without words and complement each other perfectly. Without any doubt it makes the wedding day go smoother and easier.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

How would you describe your photographic approach?

My approach to photography is very artistic. I love creating images that are unique and interesting. Of course on the wedding day, I will take the shots that are expected. Images that are elegant, timeless, ethereal. Where every detail is thought through, but also images that are super fun and candid. I love it when couples laugh, cry, and show their true emotions. And when you look through the gallery you will find a very versatile collection of beautiful portraits, elegant details, stunning landscapes, and emotional moments. I always loved art and paintings. The exquisite beauty and delicate light in works of Botticelli, Da Vinci, Raphael, Renoir, Monet. Their work had a lot of impact on how I see the scene and light. I also always loved black and white photography. I love its honesty and simplicity. It is like reading a book instead of watching a movie, it leaves a lot more to the imagination and interpretation.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

What are the advantages of an award-winning photographer? Could you tell us about the awards that you won?

I think to work with an award-winning photographer definitely has a lot of advantages. However, I find that a lot of photographers these days call themselves “award-winning” when they have only won a participation prize at a local competition and their work is not on an international level. I also come across photographers who can create a great award-winning image however their portfolio and gallery they produce for a client’s wedding is not consistent. So for anyone who wants to book an award-winning photographer I definitely recommend to check their work, request full day gallery, look through their blog, etc. I started submitting my work to international competitions about 4 years ago and have won over 60 awards for both my landscape and wedding work. Recent awards were first place for Carolyn Mitchum award at the Epson International Pano Awards, second place in the wedding category at the 2018 International Photography Awards and Top 10 dance floor shots at the 2018 International Wedding Photographer of the Year. To be honest, what matters the most to me is for my clients to be happy with their wedding gallery, however international recognition amongst your peers is certainly something that feels good and helps you understand where you stand. I believe that a photographer who has enough courage to submit their work for judging and also receives respectable awards is someone who constantly works on improving their craft, on staying current, on being creative, on thinking outside of the box, and keeping up with a benchmark that rises higher and higher every year. I personally feel inspired to create something different and unique. A true art piece.

What type of services do you offer to your clients?

I offer wedding, family, and portrait sessions to my clients.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Could you tell us about the different packages that you offer for different budgets?

There are a few different packages that I offer. Mostly, the cost of the service would depend on the amount of hours, locations, and inclusions. Quality wedding photography is an investment, but a couple has a guarantee that they are getting a professional experienced photographer, the best possible gear (flawless images that can be printed in a large size and not only shared on social media), and great client service. With modern equipment any uncle Bob can take a lucky shot, however wedding photography as a service is not only about the camera, it is about the approach, vision, light, planning, consistent results, and professionalism. Anyone who doesn’t want to invest in a professional is risking ending up with a bad experience and results on an important day that can’t be repeated or photographed again.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Could you briefly tell us about the steps of photographing a wedding day? Does the whole shooting process end on the same day?

Wedding photography starts long before the actual wedding day. I like to help couples plan their wedding day from a photography perspective and share my experience and advice. Every package that I offer includes an engagement session. I find it to be a great opportunity for us to get to know each other, practice posing and tricks to achieve the best possible results on the wedding day. Usually, the first half hour or so of the engagement session is quite awkward, but after a while, the couple starts to relax and that’s when the really great photos begin, and getting this out of the way before the big day really helps when taking shots on the big day.

On the day I usually begin with capturing some of the details, the bride getting makeup, the groom mucking bout with the groomsmen, etc. During the ceremony I make sure I’m ready for big ticket items like the first kiss, exchanging rings, etc. whilst photo journalistically capturing all that is going on around those moments. At the reception, when the couple has a had a chance to let their hair down, I try to take a moment with them to grab some fine-art pics with interesting lighting or smoke effects.

Then, after the wedding day, I work on editing all the images, and later on designing a wedding album.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Do you accept the projects of couples who want to organize their wedding in foreign countries?

Absolutely. I love travelling and destination weddings are becoming more and more popular, in fact, my husband and I eloped to New Zealand and got married on top of a mountain near Queenstown. I think it is a great idea to plan a wedding in an exotic destination: that being a tropical island or an old European town. Honeymoon or anniversary shoots are also becoming more and more popular and it is a great opportunity for anyone to celebrate their love and take beautiful photos.

Do you offer printed versions of photos or do you only work on the digital side of the photography?

I believe that wedding photos must be printed. I put my heart and soul into my work and really want my couples to proudly display their pictures at home on the wall and not just hide the USB somewhere in a drawer. Nothing compares with the feeling that you get when holding a printed photograph, looking at it hanging on the wall or flipping through the pages of a wedding album.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

How does your landscape photography experience affect your perspective of your wedding photography?

Landscape photography has always been a big part of my life and naturally influences my approach to wedding photography.

Throughout the years I have developed my personal style where I use my eye to sense beautiful light and composition and use the camera to photograph high-resolution images of the couple with a beautiful background. Every couple chooses their venue for a reason and many of my clients love locations that have natural beauty. And of course, during a wedding photoshoot I want to capture the beauty of the location and the couple. Often, the couple will end up ordering large mounted prints to hang on their walls: beautiful pictures of a location that they love, but it’s also their wedding photos.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

What advice would you give to photographers who want to pursue a career in wedding photography?

A career in wedding photography is certainly not for everyone. It has a lot of challenges. As a wedding photographer, you need to know how to photograph portraits, products, landscapes, architecture, and do it all under pressure with a smile. To anyone who wants to be successful as a wedding photographer I recommend to plan as much as possible: locations, timings, different weather scenarios, and also listen to your clients. Every couple is very unique and at the end of the day, you have to help them receive the experience and the pictures that will mean a lot to them for a long time to come.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

What is your favourite photograph that you have ever taken?

The one I will take tomorrow. As true as this is I have a number of favourite shots. My most favourite photo perhaps would be a shot of a Pakistani bride. She was just sitting in her room waiting for the groom to arrive and I immediately saw potential in that shot. It wasn’t posed, actually, it was very much photojournalistic. Later I won a silver distinction award at WPPI for it, and today it is one of my favourite shots and a very true representation of my artistic style and vision.

What do you think about social media? How can our readers follow you?

I think social media has become crucial for businesses and more and more clients find me through Instagram and Facebook. My Instagram is @serenity.photographyau and links to my social media channels can be easily found on my website: www.serenityphotography.com

I also recently started a YouTube channel where I will be sharing behind the scenes from weddings and photoshoots, tips for wedding and landscape photography, travel vlogs, and more. I think it will give a great insight into my work and life to my clients, peers, and anyone interested in photography.

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

Serenity Photography - Photo by Anastasia Woolmington

What is next for you?

Wedding season is starting again in Australia and I have so many beautiful couples and weddings booked for this year. We always put so much thought and planning into their wedding day experience and I just can’t wait to see it all come together. I always look forward to creating stunning images for my clients, true heirlooms that would stay in their family for generations and every wedding is an opportunity to create a new artwork. I am also planning a few international editorial shoots with incredible wedding vendors and international designers. And of course, landscape trips to some remote, raw, and breathtaking corners of our beautiful planet.

Thank you Anastasia for your time.

For more information, please click here to visit the website of Anastasia Woolmington