In 15 years of bookbinding I’ve made products for all sorts of creative folk including albums, print boxes, CD covers, photo galleries, and USB packaging for wedding photographers. This year as I prepare for the coming wedding season, I’m doing so with an even greater appreciation for these photographers.

I thought I knew essentially what wedding photographers do. But just as others wouldn’t understand what I do, unless they came and watched me making from design to finished product, witnessing what’s involved in photographing a wedding, first hand, has given me a new appreciation for how much time, work, effort and energy goes into creating someone’s memories.

My partner and I got married this year. When it came to choosing a photographer, there was only one person for the job! I have worked with Rachel Callander for almost as long as I have been a bookbinder. We’ve chatted on the phone and e-mailed for years. I finally met her in person at A Bit More Soul in 2013, and I knew she was the one for us! Not only because of her photographic style and general life ethos, but I knew she was someone we could hang out with all day and who would appreciate our need for a “faff-less” wedding!

We didn’t have any particular photo requirements and didn’t want to be too directed or posed. The aim was to relax, enjoy our friends and family doing their thing and make it as much about them, as it was about us. And that was my general description when I first contacted Rachel:

“Rach, we are planning to just hang out all day. I’ll book an awesome house to get ready at. We’ll barbeque breakfast, go for a swim at Murawai beach… and just BE. Then we’ll go to Hallertau and drink some beer, say some words and hang out some more. Oh and we are going to have the Quick Draw Sketch Gang there to draw all our guests. Want to come hang out and document all that for us?”

Rach and Tracey (who was second shooter) totally got it and blew our minds!

All day Rach secretly did direct us, but in a way that we didn’t even notice, so we felt at ease. She came up with ideas and ways to make us comfortable- all along making us think that we were just naturally doing those things. She hid around corners to capture all the shy people interacting. She squealed with delight when she caught Ivan and I holding hands, she made us feel less dorky about being photographed and even bought us ice-creams on the way home from the beach!  She worked her butt off and made it all seem effortless!

She was constantly making use of the details in the surroundings and knew how to capture the light just right. Seemingly without thinking, Rach was able to grab the right camera from her well stocked harness of options to get that perfect shot. Both photographers kept an eye on the time, making sure we got to where we were meant to be with enough time to fit in shots of everything.

Looking back at our images, what stands out is that Rach and Tracey knew how important it was for us to live each moment. They gave us the chance and the direction to enjoy each other in that magical time after the words had been said and before the food came out! (The light was freaking amazing in the orchard at that time too!) Rach knew just what to say to get us looking at each other with just the right amount of romance.

When we received our final images (in a box filled with awesomeness: matted prints, USB and other goodies) and had our first look through, every image was bang on and retold the story beautifully. Each frame took us back to that nanosecond, and replayed for us the exact feeling at that time. Seven months later, I still haven’t managed to cull them down for an album. I’m literally in love with every single shot.

I love this lady too! Rach has such an amazing heart and sees the positive and good in every person, and it really shows in all the images she shot of our family, friends and moments of the day. Her energy is infectious and just what we needed to tell our story!

As I make presentation products for my wedding photographers this season, I will be thinking of how hard they are working to capture the memories for all their couples. How much of their own energy is in each one of those shots, and how much they care about their couples and the stories they are conveying! The photographer’s process doesn’t end when the day is over. They are editing and culling and editing again, and then organising all those parts to make a final presentation to each couple. The complete package- about the day of someone’s dreams.

Good luck this season photographers, you are in my thoughts! You have even more of my respect and admiration…… Go make magic!