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Nostalgic Love & West Coast Adventures || Behind The Lens with Auckland Photographer Frankly Faye

Wild Hearts recently caught up with talented photographer Hannah from Frankly Faye, to chat about her recent move to Auckland, highlights of her journey as a wedding photographer working with wild coastal landscapes and funky loved-up couples, film at weddings and how her determination has allowed her to follow her dreams. 

Always up for an adventure, Hannah has an eye for that romantic nostalgic lighting and is a big explorer when it comes to location scouting! As an expert on capturing those forever moments in wild destinations around New Zealand, she shares with us some tips for couples planning their big day and new bidding photographers making their break into the industry. Originally based in the South, Hannah has now moved to the big city of Auckland and we can’t wait to get to know more about this creative soul behind the lens! 

We are so excited to hear you have recently moved to Auckland. So tell us about this transition, how you’ve settled in and how you envision the wedding industry in Auckland? 

Ah, well that move… There were a few hiccups considering we were meant to leave two days after lockdown happened last year but after a 8 week process of getting up here, the kids and I finally made it (husband had already moved a month prior). It’s interesting, I never thought I’d be one to live in Auckland, funny where life takes you sometimes, but I’m absolutely loving it up here! We are based out east and it’s just such a great little coastal community. The wedding industry is big up here.. Bit of a change from Dunedin haha. I’m excited though to get amongst it and meet lots of new vendors and see different places. 

Is there a location in the Auckland region that resonates with your shooting style most? 

I love shooting at the beach, but a lot of that is just because this Pisces feels most happy when next to a body of water, so in saying all that I’m most excited about shooting over at some of the west coast beaches. I got to shoot and visit a whole bunch of them on the west coast of the south island and they were glorious, so I know the ones up here will be just as magic. 

So just to take a few steps back, how was it that you came to shoot weddings? What has kept you in the industry? 

I’m not actually too sure, it just kind of happened one day as something I’d like to have a go at and see if I would enjoy it, so I reached out to, omg so so many photographers asking if I could tag along to a wedding with them, not even shoot, just carry their bags and watch. It was quite disheartening at the start as I didn’t get many replies back and the few that did were all no’s, but I was determined haha. I finally managed to get a yes from a couple of local photographers and it was fantastic. I was absolutely buzzing after the weddings and then it just kind of flowed on from there. I started putting out the word everywhere that I was new and just trying to find couples that were willing to give me a chance – actually got my first wedding off student job search. Very thankful to Gab and James. 

Weddings are hard, well actually weddings are super fun, running a business is hard and there have been plenty of times I’ve just wanted to throw it all in but it’s my couples who keep me in the industry. Every time I feel like I’m just ready to be done with it all – generally due to something business-related – I get an email from a couple who are ridiculously excited to get married and their excitement pulls me back in. 

Last time we caught up you spoke about your passion behind being a creative soul. Can you share with us how you navigate location scouting for each couple? Is this personal choice or do you work with each couple to find a space that suits? Or perhaps it comes down to proximity to the wedding location?

It’s a little bit of everything really. The location is important, yes, as it does help set a particular tone for the images but it isn’t the be-all, end-all and I’m definitely not going to drag my couples away for hours on end for an amazing location when all they want is to hang out with their friends and family, so you’ve got to find a good balance.. and i love a little challenge. I always check with my couples first if they have anywhere in mind, as sometimes there are special places they want to include, or if they have a particular vibe they’d like for their photos. Once I know their thoughts on that, I take into consideration how their timeline is looking, what’s roughly allocated for portraits, where the ceremony is vs reception, then I just get out there and have a look around. Sometimes you can stay on the venue grounds and it’s pretty straightforward, just looking for where the light will be but other times (and this is my fav part) I get to go drive and wander around, exploring a very particular area to find something exciting for my couple. I always try to take them somewhere they haven’t been before if possible, as it all adds to the experience of the day and I want them to have a bloody good experience. 

In regard to celebrating love through imagery. What makes an image a great shot in your opinion? 

I’d say about 80% is emotion, in any form but that other 20%, sometimes you can’t even describe why it’s a great image to you, because the other side is it’s all so subjective. The photograph just generally has that thing that you can’t quite put your finger on but is a little combination of composition, light, colour and all those ingredients, but also every photographer’s own personal little dash of magic, from how they view what’s around them and their experience in that particular moment. It’s just that shot that you keep going back to. 

How can couples make the most out of the pre-planning stage with you? Is there any advice you would say to a couple looking to explain what they would like to achieve from their wedding day photograph, ie. Mood boards? 

Some couples know exactly what they are after and there’s not much help I can give but for the ones that know the vibe they’d like but aren’t quite sure how to achieve it, let’s just grab a drink and have a yarn. You can talk your way through it all and I can help pull ideas out and show you different ways of doing things. Pictures or mood boards are always helpful too! I think for most couples, they generally have this preconceived idea of how a wedding is to look, naturally, but in reality as long as they say a few legal words to each other in front of a celebrant and two witnesses (one of which I’m happy to be if needed) they can spend the rest of the day however they like! I think when you realise that, the possibilities are endless. 

Aside from the couples, what is your favourite thing to photograph during a wedding? 

I really enjoy the moment the couple walks back down the aisle when the music starts up, everyone is cheering for them, they are so freshly married and you get the absolute beeeest

looks on their faces! Pure happiness! They are always some of my fav photos from the day. I’m also a little partial to the florals. 

Is there a current trend in weddings you are absolutely loving? Or perhaps one you are not loving so much? 

I’m really loving that couples are continuing to lean more and more into doing things their way and making it unique to them – whatever that may look like. When it comes to styling though… COLOUR! More and more colour please. Just throw that shit everywhere. 

Have you co-shot a wedding before and if so is there a favourite photographer you like to work alongside? 

Photography wise, I tend to work alone but if I’m photographing down south i’ve started to bring along me mate Karl (@karlshootsfilm) for some company – he’s the best bag bitch around – and to throw a bunch of my film cameras at, for another perspective on the day. He’s a good sort. 

We have noticed a huge increase in film cameras being used at weddings. Is this a service you offer, or can you suggest how couples are best to include this alongside your photography? 

Hell yes, it is! Anyone who’s followed me for a while or my past couples could attest to, will know I love shooting film and I’m always lugging around a whole bunch of old af cameras during the day. Polaroid takeaways are also something that I pull out for them at the end of the night. Very obsessed. If couples are interested in including it, have a chat first with your photographer to see if it’s something they offer. If not, you could always grab a few disposables and ask them to shoot a roll or two, or maybe you give them to your bridal party to hang onto for the day (they would have a pretty unique perspective). Or.. have a chat with me 😉 

What are your tips to new photographers looking to shoot in Black and White? 

I love a good black and white image, and I find knowing what image should be black and white while editing is much like the answer to ‘what makes a good image’, I find it always comes back to a feeling and I’m yet to really understand why/how I get that feeling. There’s just something there. In saying all that though, go grab a couple rolls of black and white film and start shooting. Look at the light and shadows around you and go from there. 

Have you got a dream wedding in mind that you would love to shoot one day. (pretending that border restrictions don’t exist)? 

For a long time, I would think about ‘dream weddings’ and travelling overseas somewhere amazing – which don’t get me wrong, would be so rad! But dream weddings for me now, and maybe I’m just getting older haha, are less about the location and more about the people. I just want really rad couples who absolutely fizz over my work and vibe with me. Those are my

dream weddings. In saying that, if someone wants to fly me to Scotland or somewhere tropical, I won’t be saying no haha. 

Can couples look to see you travelling around NZ for weddings in 2023? If so, what is the best way of communication for a new couple looking to make a booking? 

I definitely do travel around NZ still, although I am a bit more picky about it now, less time away from home and family life, so it would have to fall under my ‘dream weddings’ as above. A lovely couple that reeeally wants to hang with me. 

When it comes to editing and working from home, do you have any key tips or bits of advice you would share with other creatives working from home? What motivates you and how can you make your space a beautiful one to work from? 

Haha I’m probably the worst for advice in that area… Cue editing in my PJs from bed or my now very cluttered desk (we’ve moved into a very small home in Auckland haha). You just need to be very motivated and have a bit of a plan for each day. I don’t think there’s any need to sit down 9-5, chained to your desk but you do need to find what works for you. For me, that’s working in a little burst of around 45min and then taking 10 minutes or so away from my computer. 

What’s next for Frankly Faye? 

Just continuing to photograph rad people in love and ideally more on film, less on digital. Settling in and finding my groove as an Auckland wedding photographer with more focus on lifestyle.. That dreaded work/life balance haha. If the past two years have taught me anything though, it’s that you can’t really plan too far into the future. Just taking things as they come right now.

We loved hearing about Hannahs’s time in business and what motivates and drives her. If you think Frankly Faye is a great match for your wedding, you can contact Hannah through our Vendor Collection HERE or follow on Instagram at @frankly.faye

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