If you’re after a wedding photographer who looks for those raw, candid moments and captures them so you can remember them forever and ever – let us introduce you to Sam Wyper. He is an absolute pro at delivering this and we are such huge fans of his work. It’s natural, it’s beautiful and you can tell his couples are relaxed (which, spoiler, is one of his photographer super powers). And we’re not the only ones loving what he does. A quick Google shows he has a five-star rating with the loveliest testimonials around!

Below, we chat to him about his unorthodox approach to wedding photography (it’s all about emotions and less about labels), how he makes a connection with his couples and how they come to think of him as their wedding planner as well as their photographer…

Hey Sam! Where are you based and how long have you been shooting weddings?
I’m based in Tweed/Gold Coast and have been shooting weddings for 4.5 years.

Do you travel for weddings?
I mostly work between Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast but I love to travel to Sydney about three times per year so I can catch up with family and friends.

You describe your photography style as ‘an unorthodox approach to weddings’. Please let us in on this approach!
I don’t like to define or categorise weddings in the same way others may choose to. A previous couple who booked me mentioned they were happy that I was a boho wedding photographer. But they were kind of missing the mark. Terms like ‘boho’, ‘classical’, or ‘traditional’ can be useful to an extent, but I believe there’s more useful, or even powerful ways to categorise a wedding photographer. Ideally, I’d love it if my potential couples looked beyond those terms and instead judged my work on the quality of candid images I take, and ultimately how that makes them feel. 

Your images seem full of energy – whether they are action shots, or raw emotion. Is this special energy something that attracts you to photography and weddings in particular?
I absolutely love weddings. What attracts me is there can be the whole spectrum of emotions taking place at weddings which can be extremely beautiful and rewarding to capture. For example, when I’m capturing a bride or groom’s parents having a tearful moment as they are hugging their daughter and son, I’m fully aware that for some couples, this may be the only time they see their parents truly let their emotions show on their sleeve and being vulnerable. Ultimately, I hope these are the images that will largely contribute to a family’s visual historical legacy, and will be the images couples look back on with really fond and loving memories.

And then of course, on the other side of the spectrum, there is the dance floor where everybody lets their guard down and allows a totally different (and often wild) part of their selves shine through. 

What have been some the biggest changes in weddings since you started out as a wedding photographer?
This might surprise you but not much really. We all went through a very rough with Covid impacting weddings, but now things seem like they’re very much back to normal. I still see the shoe game all the time and wedding party champagne shots are still the rage. I am seeing less first looks with couples but plenty with brides and their fathers and family.

What kind of trends have you noticed in the weddings you’ve shot recently?
More dogs at weddings. Please bring your dogs to your wedding, couples! There are amazing pet minders who will look after your fur babies for you.

What’s your approach to a wedding, starting from when you first meet the couple? 
Now that’s a big question. I often get told by couples that I was their wedding planner as well as their photographer. After chatting with a couple over Zoom, my first thing is to make sure they have a solid timeline in place. If a wedding is poorly planned, the couple will likely stress, which will ultimately mean I have to work a lot harder to get the shots couples want. Next, over the course of a year or two, I drip feed couples with helpful wedding planning tips (via email), whether that be what to include on their invites, what vow books they should purchase, how to best prepare for their ceremony, plus much more. 

By the time it comes to capturing a couple’s wedding, I’ve already helped the couples in so many different ways and therefore couples feel a lot more relaxed around me, but most importantly, they trust in me.

How important is it to make a connection with the couple and their guests?
Making a connection with a couple is everything. I need my couples to trust me in every step of the way to get the best possible images I can deliver them. But just as importantly, it’s really important for me to connect with immediate family of the couple before the ceremony. Having the opportunity to introduce myself and what I’m about helps family members to feel at ease and do what I want them to do during the ceremony – not realise I am there!

What about a wedding day? How do you prepare for the hours, the energy and getting the best shots?
I tend to run off adrenaline for better or worse. But for getting the best shots, it all comes down to educating my couples in advance on what is required from them to allow me to perform at my best. For example, in the hugs and high fives part of the day straight after the ceremony recession, I let my couples know to pick a spot and let guests come to them. That way, if it’s just me that’s photographing the wedding, I can capture both sets of parents embracing their daughter and son. Being one person, of course of the couple split from each other during this time, it becomes impossible for me to capture these moments with each of the newlyweds. This is one example of many things that couples likely wouldn’t consider or be aware of prior to their wedding.

Do you offer engagement sessions?
I occasionally do engagement shoots, but I don’t promote them. Contrary to popular opinion, I find them unnecessary. Some couples have the preconceived idea that they need to practice being in front of the camera to feel comfortable. However, my firm belief is that any photographer who is worth their pennies should be able to make a couple feel relaxed on their wedding day. With postponements being plenty, I have already nearly clocked up 40 weddings this year alone, and only one of these couples had an engagement shoot. Yet I consistently get reviews with couples talking about how comfortable they felt in front of the camera.

Do you have a favourite style of wedding to photograph?
My favourite weddings are what I call ‘moment rich’ weddings that take place in either beautiful scenery or in interesting architecture. I really believe emotions tell the story of the day and find it really special when people open up and become vulnerable. And with either beautiful or interesting architectural settings, I have a lot more scope to be creative and capture photos that fulfils the creative in me.

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?
Uploading to multiple hard drives and culling takes a large number of hours. Plus putting together the slideshow, editing, photoshopping, uploading images to full galleries, curating blog posts, contacting vendors from the wedding day. The list feels endless…

How do you balance work and life, and what do you like to do to relax?
Postponements have actually put a big strain on my work and life balance, to be honest. Under normal circumstances, I never would want to photograph as many weddings as I have being doing so far this year. So there hasn’t been a whole world of balance lately sadly. However, I only have two postponed weddings to go which means I’ll soon have more time time for my family, exploring nature, creating my amazing garden, feeding my curiosity about life through books, and playing my Playstation.

Thanks Sam for sharing your story and beautiful photography with us! To find out more about Sam Wyper Photography, head on over to his website or check out the Polka Dot Directory.