It takes two, baby—at least that’s what photographers Karienne and Elizabeth tell us. Co-founders of Karienne and Elizabeth Photography, they made the difficult leap from university to the world of business and stopped by to tell us about their journey.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do
We are Karienne and Elizabeth Photography, also affectionately known as Kitkat and Liz :) We are business partners but are also great friends, obsessors of Pinterest, lattes and cake.
We met at University seven years ago where we were both studying for a Degree in Photography. Individually we come from different backgrounds and parts of the world but photography brought us together—well, an assignment forced us together! We just clicked as they say and decided to go into business together at the end of the course. The rest is history! Our blog is a great insight to our photography relationship over the years!
We are wedding photographers predominantly but can also be found cuddling babies to sleep for newborn photoshoots or hiding in the undergrowth photographing family portraits (and pulling nettles out of our socks).
Photography is our craft and not a job, cliche or not, we love what we do and feel immensely privileged that there are those who trust us with their wedding photography. What an honour, if you think about how many generations of families will look at your pictures over the decades (saying it like that actually sounds quite scary).
We always work together utilising the different styles and ideas we each have; this helps us to get the most out of our photography and to offer our clients something extra. It is an advantage that we put to use as we both visualise different angles, light, and locations...cue Karienne racing towards a gorgeous border full of foxgloves before Liz can even position herself! It works for us—we come as a pair, buy one professional photographer, get one for free.
It has been a conscious decision from the beginning to limit the amount of weddings we do over a year to ensure we stay fresh and focused, giving us buckets of time to scour Pinterest, laminate ideas (laminator obsessed) and really think about each wedding in its uniqueness.
Give us a brief glimpse into an average day at Karienne and Elizabeth Photography
Our average day starts with just a few butterflies and excitement because we always prepare equipment a few days before to save stress on the day, no bride and groom need worried, stressed photographers. We charge batteries, clear memory cards, check our flash guns and then pack our bags.
We always have a chat with each other a couple of days before about ideas we have and send each other pictures of images we have seen that we like the look of. We always have a plan of action ready, which more often than not changes on the day, but we know where we need to be and at what time and everything else just falls into place.
Pre-wedding, we photograph the bride relaxing with her bridesmaids and always make sure we photograph the dress being put on; that is such a magical time and always involves wet eyes and mascara being reapplied. Then it’s off to the men at the ceremony venue. We take a few fun pre-wedding photos to get the men relaxed in front of the camera, which generally takes about three seconds! And so the ceremony begins...
We always incorporate traditional group photos and photos of the bride and groom away from their guests, the more romantic personal pictures. The wedding party photos with the bride, groom, groomsmen and bridesmaids are a must; they always involve raucous laughter, manhandling and sometimes far too much exercise—we love love love that part.
After that we stealth right up to the first dance where we can be seen taking photos, hip swinging and attempting to remember the words to our favourite songs. When we finish it’s a review of the day on the way home and discussions about Lush bath bombs and coffee.
What first drew you to wedding photography and how did you discover it?
After finishing our course, we set our business up and decided that we wanted to specialise in weddings. Because of the diversity of wedding themes we knew being wedding photographers would be exciting but also challenging enough for our personalities. Vintage fairground theme one week and Alice in Wonderland the next, who wouldn’t love photographing that (also, we had stalked a few photographers during our course and both had the bug to try and be as amazing as they are)?!
What do you think makes a memorable wedding photograph?
Over the years we have learnt that many things can make a wedding photograph memorable to us, but to to our brides and grooms, it is how they felt at that moment a photograph was being taken. If they felt comfortable with us, the poses we suggested, how we made them look but also that they had the same vision, that image will evoke how they felt at that moment in time. Again, if the opposite of the above happens, that photo would be as memorable to them also but for the wrong reasons! The latter is not an option to us.
Which wedding photography clichés do you try to steer away from?
Ha, this is easy! We both equally hate selective colour picking and bride and groom poses that should be saved for the top shelf of newsagents!
What were the difficulties you encountered when you started wedding photography?
There is so much to consider when you become a wedding photographer; not only on a personal level but also on a business level. Business wise, things such as your unique selling points, pricing, advertising, getting your business exposed in an already saturated market, first and foremost getting clients!
Personally, we are both passionate and have the need to succeed, often we put too much pressure on ourselves and would stay up until the early hours researching wedding trends and advertising methods. Time management is key to running a business to help you both mentally and professionally.
When you are shooting, how much is instinctual and how much is planned?
When shooting a wedding, we always have a plan of action for certain situations, such as the bride walking down the aisle, the first kiss and the speeches, you can have an element of planning with those. The rest is mainly instinct; we wait and watch what is happening in front of us. You can’t prepare for off the cuff photos, they just happen, so you have to have that intuition, but at the same time a vision of the end product.
Quick thinking is a must! Most wedding venues have got their little spots for ‘nice shots’ but as a photographer your eye is trained to look for interesting spaces that will work well with a couple wedding theme and outfits but also personalities. These locations may not always stand out to the untrained eye but we are able to visualise what it will look like in the photo.
Which tools or editing programs could you not live without?
We couldn’t live without Photoshop, Bridge and Lightroom. Also, when editing, Spotify is great :)
Where do you see yourself in the future?
That is such a difficult question to answer. We were once told that such distant goals can create anxiety as life can take many twists and turns. Some goals that might have been achievable in the beginning, have to change because circumstances out of your control, not because you have failed.
We take life year by year. We love what we do and as long as we continue to get those ‘likes’ on the photos we post to our Facebook page, the fabulous reviews and emails asking us to photograph weddings, we are happy. As we said earlier, this is our craft and we don’t put too much pressure on ourselves, we like it that way and it works for our business style.
You can hear more from Karienne and Elizabeth on their blog or their Facebook page.