Today we’re going to take a peek inside the life of Natalija of I Heart Weddings, a photographer from Western Australia. Photographing love with a softness of light and sensitivity to the subject is Nat’s style, the emotions of the moment oozing from the images. Her appreciation of Western Australian life just makes me want to pack my bags and go and explore that vast State of Australia. Here is Natalija’s story…..
You seem to be so enthusiastic about your chosen profession. How did you become a wedding photographer?
I am indeed enthusiastic! I’ve been a photographer all my life but only discovered how much I love shooting weddings a few years ago. I finally thought I’d give it a go and after that first wedding there was no turning back! I am constantly inspired by my clients, their love, their tastes, their individuality. It is them that motivate me each time to shoot with originality so I can create images unique to them.
Do you allow your personality to become part of the way you take photos and therefore the finished product?
I think that the photographs I take are a result of my personality combined with the couple’s personality. When you put us both together, this is what you get! I have to be true to myself in order to feel in my element when taking photographs as it’s partly an artistic expression from my heart, but I’m also really engaging with the couple to bring out their best – their happiness, love and fun spirits.
You talk a lot about living in the moment as a photographer. What does that mean to you? You have a story on your site about “What would happen if every guest put their phone, ipad and camera away and just watched…?” Please comment…….
Yes, I’m passionate about ‘the moment’ and about ‘the present’ because a photograph is most magical when it captures a real moment! You can’t fake it. So I want to help people lose themselves in many wonderful moments.
On a location shoot I like it to feel like an adventure not a photoshoot, so I love helping a couple forget there’s a camera and instead lose themselves in each other.
This also applies to guests so I’m an advocate for having people leave their i-devices in their bags at ceremonies so they can really be a part of the moments, not distancing themselves through a viewfinder. When guests are present I can feel the emotion of the ceremony heightened and the connection between the couple and their friends and family is stronger.
How would you describe your photography style?
My style is foremost ‘natural’ and by that it feels authentic, like you are there, and you can feel the emotion in the image. Beyond that I would describe my work as soft, whimsical, playful, pretty and a little bit cool – using a mix of documentary approach and creative styling.
Has living in WA influenced your style?
WA has a different quality of light than the eastern states. We have big bright skies, harsh sun and 40 degree days and so there are challenges of shooting to get soft attractive photographs. So I’ve become very very conscious of how to work with light. I love to be immersed in living here (after some stints living over east) and getting to know my environment so much that I can bring new location ideas to couples. I particularly love being in Fremantle where I bicycle around and discover new things!
Do you see any difference between brides from WA to brides from elsewhere? Do they have a particular ‘style’?
WA has a habit of being a year behind Sydney and Melbourne but I see this gap getting smaller as sites like pinterest, etsy and wedding blogs are giving everyone the same access to ideas and suppliers. I do think WA brides go for more elegance and simplicity over extremely quirky and original styles but there are always people here who are unique and trend-setting. I’ve been lucky to shoot some weddings like this that are a feast of the eyes!
But I do feel like weddings are not all about style! Some of the best weddings I’ve been to were all about friends and family having a really super time together.
How do you challenge yourself creatively (with photography)?
I do like to look at other photographers I admire as it helps me not to stagnate, instead it challenges me! I admit my competitiveness comes out and I want to be as good, if not better! Mostly my inspiration comes from hearing people’s unique stories and getting to know their personalities. This is when my ideas flow because I’m making new connections in my mind and developing concepts that reflect them.
Who or what is your inspiration?
I’ve never been one to have idols or uphold other photographers. My inspiration is self-improvement. I want to always be super proud of my work. I want my last wedding to be my best wedding yet. I want my clients to gush and feel like they just got the best gift ever! And beyond that, I am inspired to be stress-free so I can get into wonderful creative flows where nature delivers me magic because I’m in a really open and happy state when I shoot.
What do you love about living in Western Australia?
I love how you can really make things happen here. It’s the State of opportunity. You can get to know your community easily because similar people find each other quite easily here. I also love the vast coast that gives you a whole range of moods. I have loved driving all along it and discovering the different landscapes.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you have other creative pursuits?
I’m quite obsessed with gardening, I’m even happy sweeping up leaves. If I have another career I think it will be in botany. Helping plants grow from a tiny seed to bearing fruit never ceases to amaze me! I also love pottery, having just bought a wheel, and I do a bit of graphic design for businesses I’m passionate about AND I love my yoga.
My favourite restaurant in WA is……
I seem to always think of Il Lido in Cottesloe, probably because you can lie on the beach first and then go in for an amazing glass of wine and a yummy gourmet bite. Location and food quality combine!
If I was visiting WA what do you recommend I see?
The beaches here are some of the best in Australia – white sand beautiful clean blue water. Come to Fremantle and explore the heritage buildings down High St, the artistic nooks, new shops and the few remaining hippies around Market St and South Terrace. Have an awesome coffee at Hush or The Grumpy Sailor before wandering down to explore Kidogo Art House, have a Little Creatures beer and settle on Bathers Beach to watch the sunset.
Thank you Natalija for giving us an insight into I Heart Weddings. To find out more about Natalija and I Heart Weddings visit the website.
All image from Natalija of I Heart Weddings.