Lovestills™ Behind the Lenses: A Q&A with Bittersweet Photography's Talented Trio (SG & London
Updated: Oct 30, 2018
Lovestills sits down with professional wedding photographer trio, Joseph, Jonathan & Samantha to learn more about how they capture those moments that make you laugh, cry, and remember.
How did you get into wedding photography?
Joseph: It really began quite fortuitously, it was at a time when a lot of friends and colleagues at work were getting married and I also started really enjoying taking photographs in my own time. So I was always that guy who came along to a wedding and was like "Hey, do you mind if I take some photographs?" Yeah, I was that guy.
Samantha: I have been shooting weddings for 7-8 years now. I was at another wedding photography studio (during which I met Joseph at a workshop and subsequently asked him to shoot my wedding day!) and then took a break to have my annoying-but-cute kid - which was when Joseph asked if I would be interested to join him at Bittersweet Photography.
Jonathan: When I was in the photography club in NTU, I contemplated doing photography as a profession. And then I think documenting weddings really stood out to me when I was working 9-5 at my corporate job - I found no real connection and meaning in what I did then. Weddings was my means to be human again.
Bittersweet Photography's pre-wedding & actual day shoots have a very unique style to them. Describe your style for us.
Jonathan: It can be quite hard to put a finger on a style of photography; style can evolve, and we learn new things, favor new things. But what I can say is that at the heart of it all we aim to capture all the nuances of relationships that make every wedding different.
Samantha: I liked that it has a clean aesthetic. It is also non-instrusive and journalistic. But we are always up to grab formal family and friends' portraits!
Joseph: All three of us have a very similar take on photography which is great. We love the moments, and we aren't really into images that look very staged. Add into that a love of a very journalistic style and I think you have a style between the three of us that is very complimentary!
What are some important tips couples interested in doing a prewedding photoshoot need to take note of?
Samantha: Honestly, great light is key so I always love shooting on a sunny day. Turning up in a good frame of mind is also always good - have a good meal the day before, check in with each other since wedding prep can drive people nuts! This will help you guys be more relaxed in front of the camera.
Jonathan: Don’t worry about the wind in your hair or the sweat in your brow. Enjoy the process and the company of your partner - the results will come through in the photos :)
Joseph: I think the two most important things are 1) Do you like the style of the photographer and 2) Do you like the photographer, and in that order. Because there's no point getting along great with your photographer if he produces images that you just don't like (applies to both prewedding and actual day shoots!)
Are there any things couples who are looking out for actual day wedding photographers need to take note of?
Samantha: You must absolutely love and trust the photographer to do what they do weekly for your once-in-a-lifetime gig. Good vibes and all can be quickly destroyed if problems crop up on the wedding day - so finding an experienced calm photographer is always helpful! I love couples who I can see myself hanging out with - even if we never do after the wedding lol (that is the reality of shooting too many!) - because we can chat and that always helps with their wedding nerves.
Jonathan: Yes, trust! Also, it is important that you engage a photographer because you like the style that he/she delivers and not because you want them to replicate something you saw on Pinterest - afterall, you are paying the photographer to do what he/she know best. And we want to do our very best for you!
Being based in London, what are some challenges you see Singaporean couples face when they choose to do overseas shoots? And what are some tips you have for them?
Joseph: Probably the biggest challenge is logistical! Things like deciding if you want to bring your wedding gown over, where to find make up artists and transport, particularly if it's a place that you and your photographer have never been to before! Being based in London, I also try to remind people about the weather here! There's nothing quite as uncomfortable as being in a wedding gown in 4 degrees celsius!!
Share with us a memorable story that happened on one of your shoots?
Joseph: I'll never forget a shoot I did in New Zealand where we were trying to get into a field to take a photograph with a beautiful tree. I managed to climb the fence fine, so didn't notice anything, and then the bride's sister went next and as she climbed over she let out a little shout and we discovered the fence was an electric one. Needless to say we all found it hilarious (except for the sister) but it was a memorable one!!
Samantha: There was a couple who wanted the entire family (talking about 80-ish people) in one photo and the hotel very kindly helped me execute - that was nuts because I am not a very loud person by nature and somehow the photo did turn out well. Another couple who are owners of 2 cafes here was such kind hosts to me and I remember their wedding because they did the food menu from scratch to represent who they are. Most couples take great care of me, even when I was pregnant and shooting - I am always grateful for that.
Jonathan: There was this one time when I was covering a wedding at the Rochester area and right before the solemnization, a relative of the bride accidentally reversed his car and crashed into the wall of the restaurant. Somebody said they smelled a gas leak so they evacuated everyone out of the restaurant and we had to wait for the police to come (read: drama) and give clearance before we could continue with the ceremony. By the time the police gave the ok, the sun had already set. Even with all this happening the couple kept a calm demeanor throughout the evening and everyone had a wonderful time (including myself!)
What do you think makes a memorable wedding photo?
Jonathan: An unscripted moment of people that have let their guards down and just completely be themselves.
Joseph: Probably emotional ones. You can always have a beautiful location and environment, but the photos I always remember are when the mother of the bride wells up as she veils the bride, or an emotional speech by the groom. Those are the real moments, unique moments that are special and unique to every wedding.
Samantha: A memorable wedding photo is one that has meaning to the couple. For one couple, it could be a simple family photo of their entire clan. For another, it could be his new wife laughing without inhibition.
Last but not least, what advice would you give to couples to help them to get the best from their wedding photography?
Samantha: Feed your photographer! I love love love it when I get fed especially when it is a long day - it feels awesome when your couples are such kind people and it makes you want to do the same. I know some forget because things can go so crazy but I still work as hard for them.
Joseph: Know your photographer! As I mentioned before, love the work of your photographer. From experience it's really difficult to try and adjust to a request by a couple to shoot in a different "style". Sure there will be things that you may want special focus on during the wedding day like perhaps something that was handcrafted, or an elderly relative, but let the photographer do what he or she does best!
Jonathan: Before the wedding, trust. After the wedding, print! Printing enables your memories to come alive (not meaning to be cliche). It’s a totally different feeling holding something physical in your hand vs staring at something on the screen.
For couples looking for a journalistic style of documenting your prewedding shoot or your actual day (in Singapore or London) with this lovely and talented trio, do visit Bittersweet Photography's website to see more of their beautiful work (all images in this article has been kindly provided by Bittersweet Photography) or drop them an email at email@example.com to get to know them better!