We first discovered Jesse and Jessie just over a year ago, while pottering around on Instagram (for research purposes. Honestly). We were instantly drawn to their photography and its crisp, clean and timeless style. These two are not only incredibly talented, they’re also kind, generous and passionate about what they do and why they do it. They bounce off each other, savour their differences and never lose sight of the bigger picture – preserving beautiful memories for people in love. We really, really like them.
We wanted to know more. So, we asked them a few questions.
Warning: These answers will make you want to quit your job, buy a camera and change your name to Jessie.
Who are Jesse and Jessie?
We are a married duo who are lucky and unlucky enough to share the same name. We live in Auckland with our two cats and get to work together every day to capture couples on the best day of their lives.
How did you get into photography and in particular, wedding photography?
Jesse: Its always been a passion of mine, but for a long time I didn’t see how I would make it into a career. I spent years in the surf and skate industry and running events and it was only after spending some time second shooting for a friend that I realised it was something I wanted to do full-time. I saw how weddings perfectly merged my passion for photography and love of people.
Jessie: I have always been lucky enough to work with beautiful things in the fashion and marketing space. I actually did a Bachelor of Design majoring in photography many moons ago but like so many people I didn’t actually utilise any of those skills until about 10 years later. It’s not until now that I realise how much all that time studying has shaped my perception of photography and art and I am so appreciative of that. I think being in fashion has also helped me be a sponge for visuals and see things from a different angle.
Most importantly, we are so lucky having each other. A lot of people think a good marriage is finding someone who is just like you, and at a core level it is, but we think it’s actually more about finding someone who’s got a totally different skill set and fills in all the blanks, who relishes in all the areas you lack. At least that’s how it’s been for us, this business wouldn’t be possible if it was any other way.
How would you describe your photography style?
We always try to keep things clean and timeless and all about the emotions. Because of our backgrounds, there’s always elements of fashion and documentary mixed in too. We try to concentrate on figuring out the couple and everything they bring to the images, so that helps to dictate the style as well.
We loved our own wedding images, but one big regret is having too many formal poses. The images were beautiful, but they just don’t feel like us at all now. Our candid moments with our bridal party, the little in-between shots and all our loved ones on the dance floor are the moments we wish we’d captured more of and given more time.
Wedding photographers that are married add a layer of understanding to the job that you can’t replace. We are lucky enough for this to be our job every day but for every single one of our couples this is THE day and we always try to remember that.
What do you enjoy most about wedding photography?
First and foremost, we are big fans of marriage. We love the whole process; we get really invested with our couples to help them to plan their whole day. That’s something we don’t talk about as much, but really enjoy.
Jessie has a picture of her mum on her wedding day on her dresser, it serves as a reminder that what we are doing goes so far beyond a picture to frame or post online, these are the memories people are left with from that huge milestone of a day. What a privilege to be part of something like that.
What can couples expect when working with you?
We are here for the whole ride, from the planning and details to the day itself. We always encourage couples to meet with us and make sure we know a bit more about them, so we can weave that knowledge through the images. We have a style that we bring to our work, but the style is always evolving, we always want it to be more about the couple and less about us.
Jesse is a huge people person and we are lucky enough to have so many couples tell us after the day what a calming and fun presence he was to have beside them. Honestly, that’s all we could ask for. His background in events helps so much with the practical, logistics side of things and comes quite naturally.
We always try to help our couples to make sure that, first and foremost, their wedding is going to make them and their guests genuinely happy. We want to make sure the whole experience is a positive one. This really has such a huge impact to how the photos turn out and it’s something people don’t consider often enough.
I have spent the last few years in the fashion and wedding industry so I can’t help wanting to offer some of that insight to our couples. I was told last week I should add wedding planning to our services, but I think we have enough on our plates already at this stage! We have started to book up for 2021 already which is crazy and amazing all at once.
We are currently working on a big “Weddings 101” guide for our couples to help not only with the photography and what to expect, but as a roadmap for the whole planning process. This will have some of the info from our blog, as well as a lot of new info reserved exclusively for the wonderful couples that have decided to trust us with their images.
What makes your job easier? Is there a formula to taking beautiful photos?
To be honest we don’t have a set formula but if all of the above has been considered – if the couple is relaxed and happy and their guests are having a good time – then that’s a pretty good start. On a really practical note, ceremonies in the height of summer (under the midday sun) can make things really hard. Not only for us, but for your very warm and squinting guests. A note to all couples, chat to your photographer about ceremony and photo time, and work with them to decide what will be best in your location on your chosen date. Ask them when sunset is going to be and work backwards from there. At the end of the day, photos are really about light and emotions, so those things always need to be considered. Those dreamy, soft images don’t happen by accident - as we like to say, “sometimes candid takes planning”.
Dream shoot location?
It’s a bit cliché, but an elopement in NYC with a couple who’s ready to really trust us and run with it has to be high up on the list. We are also keen to get back to Europe and shoot a gorgeous evening celebration in an overgrown garden under twinkling lights, with dancing and Spanish wine. Anything with an overarching sense of celebration.
And you’re also offering videography now too?
This has really come about after seeing how frustrating it can be for couples to work with so many vendors, and how hard it can be to avoid falling all over each other. We offer this exclusively to couples who have booked photography with us and want videography that matches our aesthetic. We’ve brought on an incredible videographer whose background is in commercial and fashion. If you want video that’s set to slow emotional music, or a play by play of the day, then we won’t be right for the job. That’s just not our team - and that’s ok. We know there’s a gap in the market for videos that are all about the celebration, a highlight reel of every emotion and something people are excited to watch over and over again.
Your most memorable wedding moment?
We had our reception at Pah Homestead (which is beautiful, and more people should get married there). We chose to drive ourselves in the wedding car from our photos to the reception. The drive gave us 20 minutes of time to ourselves in an awesome vintage Mercedes, dressed in our finest and on top of the world. On the way there was a hold up on the motorway and we got word that some of the guests were running late. We took the opportunity to park down, drink and eat the last of the picnic we’d packed for the photos. It was bliss.
If you can, work in some time for just the two of you. Take a moment, take a breath and take it all in.
Advice for couples on their wedding day?
At the risk of sounding horribly cliché…it’s 2019, please do what makes you happy.
For more info on this incredible duo: Jesse and Jessie Wedding Photography
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