This is Ben from Ben Wyeth Photography. Ben has been part of our online Yamba wedding directory from day dot. Ben has captured weddings in Yamba for many couples over the years and has always received rave reviews from his clients. Now you can learn a bit more about this keen wedding photography on a more personal level in the below interview.
How long have you been taking photos professionally?
I had my first photos published in early 2005 while I was still a student. I'd been in Sri Lanka on a surf trip during the Boxing Day Tsunami and it ended up going into a European Surf Mag as a feature. From there I did a few freelance bits and pieces and when I graduated in 2006, I got my first job as a press photographer in Swansea, UK.
What got you into wedding photography?
I was doing a Xmas market selling photography prints and was approached to photograph a wedding. It was Valentines Day 2010 when I first photographed a wedding and I haven't looked back since.
What would be your favourite ceremony location to shoot in Yamba/Angourie? If it's a large wedding, Pilot Hill is a great spot and probably my favourite, it's so open which means as a photographer you can shoot from lots of different angles and have the freedom to move around. For smaller weddings/elopements, somewhere more intimate on the coast around Green Point/Angourie.
What would be your favourite location for the bridal photos in Yamba/Angourie?
There are so many great spots around Yamba/Angourie. I love the rock shelves under green point and at Spookies. Turners is a really great spot if its late afternoon as you can capture the sunset over the water as you look back up the river. I also really like the bushland around Wooloweyah, it's really accessible, offers great sunset opportunities and contrasts really nicely with the coastal stuff.
There is a lot of pressure on a wedding photographer as you are expected to capture every special moment from the entire day. Do you ever get nervous or worried you might miss a special moment? It's funny, this is something I get asked a lot especially by other photographers who don't shoot weddings. I've been doing this for so long, I feel really comfortable shooting a wedding. I think as an experienced photographer, you can back yourself to get all the key moments in focus and well exposed and when you are with a couple for a few hours or an entire day, you know there are always going to be a few opportunities where everything comes together, the light, the location, the expressions and you can get those magic shots.
What is the weirdest/craziest thing that has happened whilst shooting a wedding?
Probably shooting weddings in Byron on Main Beach in the middle of the summer. I remember one wedding in particular, where mid-ceremony, this couple starting doing some crazy photo shoot on the water's edge not far from where the couple were. They were both dressed in full fluoro gear and the guy was lifting this woman up in the air above his head while someone was shooting photos. Fortunately, Yamba is a bit quieter and people are more considerate.
What is the weirdest/craziest request you have had from a bride/groom? I had a few couples who have been really into Star Wars. One specifically requested the whole wedding running towards the camera and then had me photoshop in these giant walkers. I've also seen a few light sabre battles instead of a first dance.
When you're not shooting photos what other things do you get up to?
I've got three young kids so when I'm not working most of my time I'm hanging out with the family. They love to skateboard so we're at the skatepark alot.
What is your most listened to song whilst editing photos on your computer? Do you have a public playlist on Spotify that we can all have a listen to?
I tend to be pretty eclectic and it depends on the mood but more often than not its 80s/90s Hip Hop - Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, De La Soul... No Spotify playlist, unfortunately, I'm pretty old school, I normally listen to music via youtube when I'm editing.
If you could watch one movie or series over and over, what would it be and why?
That's a tough one, top three TV series would be Succession, House of Cards and Billions.
When you are shooting a wedding do you bring your own snacks or do you hope that the bride and groom hook you up with some canapés and dinner throughout the day/night?
It depends, if its a shorter shoot, 4 hours or less, I'm normally on the go the whole time and eat before or after. If I'm there all day, generally most couples arrange for you to have a vendor meal, which is always really appreciated as a full day shooting is pretty full-on, you can be on your feet for 10 hours or more.
What do you love most about your being a wedding photographer? Weddings are such a happy day and everyone is always excited and in a good mood so it's a great atmosphere to be around. The opportunity to be creative, while surrounded by happy excited people is pretty special.
If you're not shooting a wedding, what does your typical weekend look like?
Normally I'd surf in the morning then take the kids to the skatepark for the afternoon.
Do you have another side hustle apart from professional photography? As well as being a wedding photographer, I run a creative agency called The Design Space. We specialise in branding, web design and social media for a diverse range of clients. I love to learn new things and challenge myself creatively and this is another really good outlet for that. I've got a small team of really great people who work with me so I'm really fortunate.
What advice would you give brides when choosing a wedding photographer?
I think there are two main things I'd say are super important. One is making sure you really check out their work, ask to see a few client galleries so you can get a better sense of what you can expect to receive. If you are shooting an 8-10 hour wedding, it's easy to get a few killer shots and make your Instagram look amazing, but it's quite a different skill set to deliver a gallery of 3-500 shots that really capture all aspects of the day.
The second is to make sure the photographer is someone you connect with. During the wedding day, the photographer spends a lot of time with the couple so it's important they are easy to get along with. A good photographer also makes your day run smoother and takes the stress out of it for you. Really we wear many hats, wedding planner, coordinator, honorary bridesmaid, groomsmen, chauffeur, it's not just turning up and taking pictures.
What can brides expect when they choose you as their photographer?
I'm a big believer in how you feel when you have your picture taken really impacts how you feel when you look back on your images and remember your day, so for me, it's really important you feel relaxed and at ease. I try to get the couple to really focus on each other and give them space to have a good time so we can capture some beautiful memories.
Any words of wisdom or advice for brides on their wedding day? When you're planning your wedding, think of it as planning a party, not a wedding. I think for a lot of people as soon as you throw the word wedding in there they feel a lot of pressure/expectation whether its from family or tradition etc. The best weddings are always when couples just do what is important to them rather than sticking to tradition.