Whether you have been following us for years, or we’ve just met, you may have noticed @tealilyweddings signature photography style across our journal, website and Instagram. We have always been in awe of how Trish documents emotions and relationships unscripted as they are, as well as the little details that are often overlooked. From our Founder, Natalie’s very own wedding day, to capturing NMJ couples today, we consider Trish from Tealily Photography as part of our family and an integral part of how we tell stories.
We recently caught up with Trish about her journey into photography, what she loves about visual storytelling and even some photography tips about how to get the best out of your big day.
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
As a mum of three, I’ve felt more and more defined by this role in recent years – to help guide and shape little hearts to the best of my ability, with so many lessons learnt and still being learnt along the way. My background is in finance and law, however photography has now been a full time blessing for over twelve years. My work consists primarily of wedding, family, and editorial photography - observing connections and capturing the way it all feels.
What is your favourite part of your work?
Definitely the people aspect – seeing stories of love and life in all its beauty (admittedly biased towards the highlights), and that feeling of purpose to dip below the surface to represent what I see as real and true.
Was there a defining moment that made you fall in love with photography?
I couldn’t give you a defining moment but would describe the process itself as the one I fell in love with. Starting out on an old film camera, finding space to observe and create, followed by nervous anticipation while the rolls developed at the lab. The process brought a sense of freedom for me, to create with no real rules as I learnt by feel – with seemingly only magic to be made.
What has been a career highlight for you?
What comes to mind is not the fanciest wedding or those fun destination gigs, but honestly the relationships I’ve been able to make through the years. For me, the best thing is being able to journey with couples from their wedding day, to their maternity session, and then see their family grow and grow and to be trusted to capture all those precious chapters along the way.
What is at the essence of your photography style?
Capturing the way it feels.
What should you consider when choosing a photographer for your wedding?
Top of my list would be personality and style - probably in that order too. You might not realise this during the planning stages, but your photographer is often one of the people you spend the most time with on your wedding day - from morning preparations, right until evening goodbyes. It’s important to ensure that the both of you enjoy their company, and are at ease with the way they communicate in order for you to feel relaxed and not pressured or forced in any way through the events of your day. If you connect visually with a photographer through their style, which is then strengthened through a closer look at their portfolio, and are happy to spend a day hanging out with them, you’ve more than likely found the one you’re looking for!
What are the most important moments to capture at your wedding?
When I first started out, there was a nervousness about making sure I captured the first kiss, and the exchange of rings and those ‘significant moments’. While these moments will always be significant, I continue to seek out more and more the little in between moments that thread together and paint the bigger picture - a quiet moment between mum and son, the weight of dad handing over his daughter’s hand at the end of the aisle, the hugs that linger with grandma, that joyous ease of friendship, and all those unscripted moments between a new husband and wife that speak so much louder than anything anyone else could direct.
What is your favourite thing about shooting weddings?
I guess you could say I’m a bit of a romantic, and I love being the observer in these joyous milestones. Wedding celebrations are truly special - a coming together of people surrounded by their families and friends, many of whom are very different from each other, but have found their common ground in this beautiful thing called love and all that it means.
For our budding photographers, what camera/lenses do you use and what are your favourites?
I’m not one to be technical about gear, but Nikon cameras are my workhorses and my favourites are definitely my prime lenses: 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, and 85mm f/1.4. My film cameras include a Polaroid 600SE, a Mamiya 645, and a good old Canon AE-1.
Trish's five tips to help you document from the heart:
1) Embrace the light
Light is a wonderful gift that we often take for granted. The way it flows through our world and gives us different colours and different moods - the blissful warmth of sunset, the quiet ambience of twilight, even the intense brightness on a hot day. Essentially, photography is the study of light and over time you’ll begin to notice where light falls in your home throughout the day. You’ll find your little sweet spots that magically light up with morning light, or cast magical golden hues as the sun rises and sets. There might be a time in the day when light bounces evenly across the walls, or when windows cast interesting lines and shadows that you could use to compose creatively. Start to observe the little things, and suddenly normal becomes all sorts of beautiful.
2) Take time to reflect
What do you want to remember about today? This week? This year? Sometimes it will be more about a physical trait that changes with time, something someone said, or an event, a tradition or milestone. Other days your thoughts may wander to how personalities have been shaped, a lesson that you have taken away, something that reveals the heart of someone you love, or an outpouring of your own.
3) Just one rule
That there are no rules. Seriously. Take photos like oxygen for your soul. The way you want to remember them. Take images not for technical value or the applause of others, but for the way they make you feel, and for what they mean to you. These are the images you will look back upon fondly, and these are the frames that will stir your heart.
4) Make friends with discipline
If there’s one piece of advice I’ve given to photographers eager to improve - it would be to shoot and keep shooting. There is much to be said for trial and error, and the best way you can learn is by making mistakes. I can’t tell you the exact amount of days it takes to form a habit, so let’s just agree to give it the best chance that you can. Discipline means having your camera around, making sure there is a memory card in and a charged battery ready to roll when the moment calls - when light falls that certain way, when your kid does something you don’t want to forget, or maybe even both of those things together. It might also mean having a notebook or word doc easily accessible to jot down thoughts or ideas when they come to mind, or committing to a photo a day that you post somewhere for accountability.
5) Tie it up with string
Think of every image you create, and all the stories you notate, a little gift to be discovered in the years to come. I truly believe that the gift of memories is a gift greater than anything that can be bought. Even as a professional photographer, I want to remind you that your loved ones are not going to care how technically perfect your moments looked or how creative they might appear. They are only going to care that they exist, and that they have a little window into these blessed years that they hold dear because they were spent together with you. Don’t let your images die a slow death in your hard drives, or float around in a cloud (although it’s always excellent to have back ups). Print them, frame them, gift them, keep them.
All photos by Trish at www.tealilyphotography.com