What Would They Know? Trish Lee Of Tealily Photography

by | Photography Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Ms Polka Dot

When it comes to people you spend the most time with on your wedding day, your beloved ranks right up there. But second? Second in line is your photographer. They’re the ones who are there from the moments of nervousness and anxiety, the ceremony, the celebration and all the in-between. So it makes sense you choose one you love and get along with, and today’s special guest Trish of Tealily Photography is definitely one to add to your “get along like a house on fire and chat easily with over plenty of cups of tea” camp!

Trish has captured weddings for over a decade, beginning as a newlywed. Some time on and three children later, she has found a return in her work to what moves her, what stirs her soul and what she is most passionate about. Today we learn more as we join her for a chat!

You’ve celebrated 10 years in the industry. How has photographing weddings changed in that time?

Co-incidentally, my husband and I also celebrated 10 years of marriage last year and we often agree we wouldn’t quite know where to start if we were to plan a wedding now.  There is definitely a huge amount of choice like never before and there are as many trends as there are unique and wonderful new ideas. The one less exciting thing for me as a photographer though has been witnessing the increase in the number of guests who appear to only be partially attentive to the celebration at hand, as a result of the exponential increase in the number of smart devices over the years.  While this has been managed through unplugged ceremonies which have gained momentum of late, it remains a real atmosphere breaker especially during receptions – this being the time I love to people watch and capture joyful and candid interactions and reactions which I honestly feel have been compromised as a result.

Some things don’t change, however.  The best part of weddings through the ages is the fact that you have hand-picked the wonderful people in the room and that this day is a celebration of love between two people and the unique journey that has brought them there.

Do you have a mentor or someone who you admire who has influenced your work?

Over time, my style has evolved, and my approach to weddings has also matured through my own life experience and circumstance.  While I have not had a mentor through these years, my husband who works alongside me from time to time would probably be the greatest influencer of my work as I draw from my own experiences and belief of love and marriage, family and relationships into my vision for each day.

Aside from this, I have also been lucky to enough to have grown my career alongside other female photographers who I admire in both work and life spheres.  In an industry that can be challenging and hard to keep up with at the best of times, their faithful friendship and our encouragement alongside each other has helped keep perspective through changing times and helped me remain true to the work I am drawn to create.

Is photography a dream profession for you? What is it that keeps the dream alive?

Photography is not something I expected to have lasted a decade in so it does seem like a dream right now! For me, photography is less about taking images with a camera and so much more about the people in front of my lens.  I love what I do because of the people I am able to connect with. I am continually inspired by people’s journeys, where they have come from and where they want to be and I’ve always been a hopeless romantic at heart. In an industry where the ‘business of photography’ has changed so much through the years, I am thankful for the people aspect which keeps it that much more real, honest, and meaningful for me.

You describe your style as ‘easygoing’. What does that mean as far as your photography is concerned?

People often ask me to tell them my best bride/groomzilla stories with the expectation that I must have some good ones up my sleeve after all these years – but they’re always disappointed.  I believe the brand I have put out there, coupled with my own personality, has meant that I have attracted people who are also easygoing and happy to go with the flow on their wedding day. As far as photography is concerned, I make it a point to tell my clients that my style is documentary through the majority of the day, however, I will be providing some direction during their portrait/location session so as to make the most of the light and environment. This is often met with a sigh of relief as it takes the pressure off them to appear to ‘know what they’re supposed to do’.  I’ll also happily chat to guests and family, and do my best to ease any stresses through the day so everyone – particularly the bride and groom – can focus on enjoying themselves and I get to snap those relaxed moments I love as a result!

There is a soft delicate quality to your images. Is this deliberate or has this developed over time?

This has been one thing I hope has seen me through the years.  It’s something I love to capture, a little bit of the way I like to see the world, the way I like to feel and hope others can feel it too.

I enjoy seeing the expressions on faces, kids being kids, proud parents and all those emotions in your images. What does capturing our ‘human-ness’ as well as the more conventional bridal images add to your photography?

You know, Instagram and it’s curated ‘prettyness’ has probably interfered with this one a little for me.  As much as I capture so many of these emotions and interactions and it forms the bulk of a gallery at the end of the day, I probably don’t give it the platform that it should.  A wedding is about the coming together of two people, two stories, two journeys, two families, and sometimes two completely different worlds and I long to capture all the obvious moments as well as all the subtleties to tell the best story that I can.

How do you get the best out of people you’re photographing?

Something about being an only child made me a pretty good observer from an early age.  I feel as if I’m a pretty good judge of how people are feeling and do my best to be adaptable through conversation and quiet moments to ensure they are comfortable and let their guard down to be themselves.  It is when they are able to relax and ease into each other that I feel I am able to get the best out of them and in turn the best out of what I am able to create for them.

What are the qualities that make a good photographer – personal as well as professional?

Being so close to the couple through the majority of the day, a good photographer must be able to have things under control, to troubleshoot on the fly, and remain calm for the sake of their bride and groom no matter what is thrown their way.  Personally and professionally, they should be receptive to the emotions of those around them, and sensitive to the needs of their clients when tricky situations arise as they often do. At the end of the day, the photographer is there to ensure their clients have the best record of memories of one of the ‘best days of their lives’.

Does your photography style reflect the way you see life?

I don’t think I could have it any other way.  I admit there was a period I was particularly envious of the abundant beauty and style seen through many styled shoots – these being the ones that tended to be picked up by magazines and media.  However, in attempting a few for myself, I realised my heart was not in the business of beauty for the sake of beauty, but at its core – so much more in the richness of relationships themselves, and beautiful styling becomes an added bonus.  By embracing this in both my wedding and family work, I have strived to find ways to celebrate connection and togetherness, in the same way, I want to remember it for myself, my marriage, and my family.

How do you plan your shots (or do you take a spontaneous approach) so that each bridal couple has a unique ‘story’ of their wedding?

I take a spontaneous approach to my sessions in that I don’t seek to have a set vision of how I want moments to happen and I let the story unfold in this way.  That said, I do make sure I take the time to speak with my clients over their timings for the day, and ensure that we have the best possible chance of being able to allow these moments to happen naturally in terms of sufficient time and space, as well as aligning our day to the best light where possible. Over the years I have learned to naturally incorporate a range of coverage into my imagery. I photograph with different lenses on two camera bodies and find that I am able to capture details, spontaneous moments and scene setting shots by being forward thinking and well-prepared, but not prescribing moments through any given event of the day.

Do you try to get to know the couple so that you can capture their unique personalities in your photography?

Yes! I always meet with my clients prior to their wedding day and also love being able to do an engagement session if the couple chooses to.  There is so much you can learn by observing and interacting with a couple during this time, and by communicating well in the lead up to the day itself.  I also ask my couples to fill out a questionnaire for me that includes all of the necessities of the day, but also some fun and thoughtful questions to help me understand who they are individually and also to each other.

You often seem to place the couple in amidst magnificent scenery. Is the natural world something that resonates with you?

This is an easy one.  Yes! As much as I love the conveniences of city life, the naturally created world in all its beauty and wonder is something I love to seek and capture.  Add a sunrise or sunset to that and the effect is nothing short of magical.

Is keeping the connection, as your wedding couples have families and you photograph this next chapter in their lives, a thrill to you?

It’s a thrill as much as it is an honour.  Having started my photography business in the same year my husband and I were married, and now with three kids of our own, we know how much things can change.  I am always so excited to hear from my past clients, and even more excited to meet the new little loves in their lives. I’m about to photograph the 4th baby of one of my first ever wedding clients this week and I know it’s going to be a super special one.  You definitely feel like you’re there less as a photographer, and so much more as a friend.

Where do you find inspiration to keep your photography cutting edge and your interest in it fresh?

While I’m not sure you can call my photography cutting edge, I definitely want to ensure it remains honest and timeless for all who choose to trust me with their imagery.  I have a love for branding and storytelling, finding what is your you and doing it well, and in the current market, I feel like it is so important to have a clear voice that you are proud to own.  I often look at lifestyle and fashion brands that inspire me and examine how their product, imagery and story intertwine to give it the presence that it has in the market and take what I can to apply this to my own work and life.

As an aside, I have been playing more and more with film photography in the past few years and it’s definitely something that keeps my interest piqued.  Even though I started my photography journey in film photography and use it for my family work, incorporating it into my wedding work has only been a recent thing (on request) and the sheer exhilaration of sending off rolls of film to be developed and waiting for the results back definitely keeps me on my toes!

What do you offer as part of your wedding packages?

My base wedding package comes with all edited digital images alongside your chosen hours of coverage.  I have a huge heart for wedding albums and how much they will mean to you and your loved ones in the decades to come and so have included these in my wedding collections too.  In a world where everything is increasingly digital, tangible keepsake of your memories have more value than you know.. Without fail, all my clients who have chosen an album have commented that ‘it’s somehow different in print’ and have loved them.  For me, I’m just happy knowing these images celebrating the start of a brand new adventure, will someday be seen by family they have not yet met, but will one day mean the world to them.

How do you make sure that you maintain a balance between work and family life?

Funny you ask this, I’m currently writing a keynote on ‘work-life balance’ for a family photography conference I have been asked to speak at.  I chose this career because I wanted to be there for my family and at the end of the day – family for me comes first. Luckily enough, it also comes first for my husband and we made a decision after our second child that he would work part-time to enable me the opportunity to work while he took over family responsibilities for those days.  Now with two kids in primary and our little one still at home, life always seems busy. We have however been blessed with doting grandparents who are happy to step in when the seasonality of work becomes overwhelming and I am so grateful for them as I know this is a luxury not everyone is able to enjoy. Ultimately for us, it’s a matter of personal values and making day-to-day decisions that align with what you believe, and a definite bonus when you can make those decisions as a family, compromise together, and happily support each other through what follows.

A big thank you to Trish of Tealily Photography for taking the time to chat with us today!  I have really enjoyed her thoughts on photography and life and I know you will too! You can find out more about Trish and see her beautiful work on her website here.



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