Interview with Peta Hall of Captured by Peta

Peta Hall of Captured by Peta is all about photographing your milestones so you can have forever memories. Her clients adore her so much they’ve asked her back time and time again – from the engagement all the way through to newborn photoshoots. We love that she prides herself on providing the kind of one-on-one service that leaves couples feeling as if they’ve found a new family friend. Below, we chat to Peta about how she makes connections with her clients (which includes attending bonfire and pizza nights!), her photography style and all the behind-the-scenes works that goes into making sure newlyweds are over-the-moon with their final gift box of photos.

Where are you based and how long have you been shooting weddings?
Bendigo, Victoria. I’ve been shooting weddings for two years. Thanks to COVID, I have seen a lot of my bookings reschedule to the first half of 2022. But with two very exciting photography retreats just attended in December, I photographed just the same amount of images but in a practice setting; giving me ample opportunity to hone my creativity before things get really busy!

Do you travel for weddings?
Absolutely! I love to jump in the ute and head down the highway to capture your special day. I pop on a podcast and the hours slip by as we chew up the miles.

How would you describe your photography style?
It’s real. Unposed. A moment in time. The final edited look? Warm honey tones with rich contrast.

What have been some the biggest changes in weddings since you started out as a wedding photographer?
The rise of the MICRO WEDDING! The shift from something big and elaborate to intimate and really cosy with those nearest and dearest thanks to COVID has been interesting to see. I think given the time I stepped into shooting weddings has meant that it’s been almost my new normal; and it will be a while before I am treated to something on that grand scale with 100+ guests again.

What kind of trends have you noticed in the weddings you’ve shot recently?
My style of photography has definitely allowed me the privilege of capturing memories for those clients that have found me to suit them and their personalities; which all seem to be that modern country wedding with a highly considered budget. The couple have focused on what, and who, matters to them and the act of getting married, rather than the wedding itself.

What about a wedding day?
The trend of making a wedding an experience isn’t going anywhere – and weekend long celebrations are still very much a thing. The dinner together the night before pre-wedding, wedding day and a recovery session on a Sunday is a full weekend itinerary!

What’s your approach to a wedding, starting from when you first meet the couple?
First of all, I like to create a really high-touch experience from the start. Lots of back and forth conversation, answering questions and even catching up in person for a coffee or walk around the lake to discuss their wedding day vision. Weddings are a reflection of individual interests, passions and lifestyles, which I want to shine through in their photography – and in the years to come I want them to enjoy their images and relive the magic of their day.

How important is it to make a connection with them?
It’s make or break. I’ve got a couple that invited me to join them and their friends for a bonfire and pizza a fortnight before their wedding day just to help break the ice. Going along to that meant that when the wedding day rolled around, not only did everyone know me but it felt like I was their friend!

Your one-on-one service is important to how you are with your couples. Is this a philosophy that comes from your business philosophy or life?
It sure is, and it just goes to show now that I have two couples who I have done a full circle with – I have photographed the engagement, the wedding, the baby bump and now the baby’s arrival! Being a part of life’s important milestones with them is the ultimate for me.

What’s your favourite style of wedding to photograph? Why?
That’s an easy question to answer – a modern country wedding! Think a gorgeous barn, string lights, hay bales surrounding the dance floor and a couple focused on having a great time.

You pour so many hours of work into a wedding! What’s some of the behind the scenes stuff that couples might not realise you do, especially after the wedding?
Being a wedding photographer has always been a dream of mine since picking up the camera, and the hard work that goes into the behind the scenes should be no surprise to anyone!

Before the wedding, there’s all the communication between myself and the couple ensuring their wants and needs are met, and on the day it’s all about being a step or two ahead of everyone else and capturing those real and authentic moments. Once home, that’s when I can get to work on first culling the thousands of images that I have shot. Once selected it’s all about the crop, angle, edit and being happy with the final image. Once the images are finished, it’s time to upload them to the online gallery, complete the slideshow to music and put all my little touches together in my beautiful gift box. Then I’ll arrange to drop off their special gift box with a couple of prints and their USB.

Alongside all that is the day to day running of the business – social media, answer enquiries, bookings etc.

What inspires you to search for adventures and keep improving your life?
In general, I am a very curious person and love to live life to the fullest, my quest to develop personally and professionally has me moving forward and 2021 was my best year yet!

What keeps your wedding photography style moving forward?
Constantly up-skilling, networking and being in a state of curiosity about what I am drawn to. ‘Comparison-itis’ used to cripple me; but no longer. I have a unique style, and I know who I serve best. I make that super clear and it’s allowed me to work with the absolute best souls who love and share my work with happy hearts.

Do you have some wedding day advice for the couple?
A few of things…

  • Break your shoes in before your big day!
  • Hire a great team of venders *cough cough*
  • Don’t forget to eat and drink!

It’s easy to get caught up with the busyness of work and life. How do you make sure that you have a work/life balance – and where would you like these plans/hobbies/interest to take you in the future?
I’m still working on this one but there’s nothing like having sassy daughters to remind me that there is more to life than peering at my laptop screen. I often get caught up in my work there is no denying that – I’m so passionate and could work for days at a time without much of a break because I truly love what I do, but when I have those gorgeous girls demanding my attention, as well as my horses out in the paddock waiting to be ridden, it’s a reminder that balance is the key to enjoying all aspects of the life I have and am creating!

Thank you for sharing your story and work, Peta! To find out more about Captured by Peta’s photography and packages, check out her website or head on over to the Polka Dot Directory.

Peta’s headshot in banner by Leah Ladson Photography