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Nicholas Purcell: Adelaide Wedding Photographer

Nothing thrills us more here at Gerard McCabe when a couple share their wedding photos with us after their special day. Wedding photographers are highly skilled in knowing exactly the shots you have to have. Luckily for us a photo of the wedding rings and engagement ring is a must - we have seen beautiful photos of our rings in so many different settings. 

As part of our “Wedding Vendor” series we sat with our long time friend Nicholas Purcell who also happens to be “one of the World’s Best Wedding Photographers” as deemed by 2016 Complete Wedding Magazine. 

This chat gave us a further insight into what occurs in the process of choosing and then engaging a wedding photographer.

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Destination weddings are a large part of your business - Do you have a favourite location?

Yes I specialise in destination weddings - I love Italy and Greece  -  great places to spend a few days after a wedding. I photographed a wedding in Iceland recently and now I keep thinking about it - I really want to go back. 

How did you get started in Photography?

I used to work in IT and I hated it with a passion - actually perhaps it was more the corporate world….I left that job and went travelling with a camera and realised that I really liked doing that and though that I would pursue it. I have been a photographer now for 15 years.

Has your photography always been wedding based?

For many years it wasn’t - I was focussed on portraits. Portraits of writers and musicians and corporate work. Then I moved to Adelaide and started shooting weddings and just really loved it.

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What is it about wedding photography that you love? 

I love that the end result is something people love. Sometimes in the corporate world when taking photos you think “Who is going to care about this image in a few days or weeks?” 

It is really lovely to bump into couples and they tell me that they still have their wedding photos on the wall, and that is lovely because it means so much to them and now their family.

I have photos of my great Grandparents - even though I never knew them, I have their photo and it is special to me and my family. 

There is so much emotion attached to a wedding. Hopefully my photos are a way of capturing that emotion for couples.

Apart from the wedding rings - photos are the only thing that you actually have to keep after your wedding day.

Are there any trends with wedding photography that you want to comment on?

There seems to be a movement towards dark and moody shots. I don't mind taking the occasional dark and moody but I don't like to get too focussed on “trends”. It is best to mix things up a little.

Sometimes couples can get caught up in a “look” - so I often ask them if this style is going to make you happy down the track?

Are engagement shoots becoming popular?

Not as much I thought they would, they are very popular in America. I thought it would transition over here too. They certainly do happen, but they are not huge.

There are a lot of photoshoot options out there as couples:

 • Proposal photos

 • Engagement photos

 • Wedding photos

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Could you give us an indication of price for a wedding shoot?

I have a big range of pricing - there is a page on my website that talks about price. It really depends on the couple and I like to quote once we have met and worked out what they would like on the day.

What is your top tip to couples to achieve natural looking photos?

Your choice of photographer is really important. It is the photographer that makes it happen - if you see a photographers portfolio and there are alot of natural photos then you should expect the same result. It is really nothing that the couple do - they should rely on the photographer on the day.

What is the most creative way you have photographed a couples wedding rings / engagement ring?

There have been photos I have taken in the past that I go back to and wonder what I used to get that effect… I use a lot of unusual techniques. There have been times when I get some unusual looks from guests because of how I go about taking a shot.

I generally look for things around me to use - nothing overly technical though.

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At what stage in the process should you be booking your photographer?

This depends how important photography is to the couple. In my opinion, it is straight after the venue - so as soon as they have their date they need to book. If your photos are important to you, to some they are not and that is ok, you need to get in early and book your photographer.  

Do you meet couples first and get a feel for their personality before shooting the wedding?

I really like the couple to meet me first - and get a feeling for me and my style. It makes a big difference, most of the couples I meet I end up booking.

Sometimes couples come to me with questions, often they don’t which is fine.

Do you like couples to come to you with ideas for their shots?

It is not my preference for couples to come with sample shots of what they would like - that is generally copying another photographer and that is not my style.

Family shots are important and we always make sure we know who needs to be in which photos and with the correct members of the family.

Do you have a preferred season for great photos?

To be honest, I really like summer - Winter is not great as it is cold and dark. A lot of photographers like the weather to be overcast - but I would rather have some sun, something I can work with.

Are you seeing any trends that affect photos?

I did see recently a story on proposals done with an avocado - with a ring stuck inside… but seriously….

There is a slight trend towards unplugged weddings. This is great because I have had instances where photos have been ruined because someone stuck up an iPad while I was shooting a ceremony.  

Unplugged - Switch off your phone. Don’t bring an iPad. Don’t film the ceremony.

I shot a wedding recently and nearly each guest had a phone out and was either videoing or photographing. About 6 people got out into the aisle to take a photo of the kiss so i was not able to get “the shot”. I had to really crop the photo to get a good result.

I have seen people send out as part of their invite advising that it would be an unplugged wedding. Also signs at weddings telling people it is unplugged and to keep their devices away.

I was at one wedding where there was a basket and it was kept at the back of the gathering where guests were asked to keep their phones.

The hashtag is a big one at a wedding too - great for the fun shots on the dance floor - sharing photos on social media using a hashtag that the couple have chosen.

How do you work out what to do on the day?

No set plan - it is very much about a discussion before the day. I like to educate the couple on how much time I will need to spend for certain photos. We chat about which stage is important to them - getting ready - reception - ceremony? I then go about allocating time from there.

For any couples planning their big day - what is your #1 tip for them?

Book Nicholas Purcell - and obviously choose Gerard McCabe for their rings.

I see lots of couples get so stressed out - I reckon I see about 10% of couples look like they have actually enjoyed themselves.

• Dial it back a little bit and soak up the moment.

• Don’t get stressed - chill out - relax - enjoy it.

• Be prepared - a week out.

Discover more from our Wedding Vendor series - Catering Tips for the Perfect Wedding

If you would like to know more about Nicholas and the service he offers you can reach him via his website. You can also follow him on Instagram and Facebook here.

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