An Interview with Brian St. Denis Photography about his lovely Berkeley Fieldhouse Wedding shoot of Avery and Kyle.
How does the venue serve to inform the kind of shots you are going to look for in a wedding shoot? What do you consider when you are preparing in a venue?
Your recent shoot at The Berkeley Fieldhouse with Avery and Kyle has a blend of fun whimsical pictures and romantic classical shots. Is there a list of “must have” shots you have in your head as the wedding is progressing?
I don’t like repeating myself so I try to avoid having a rigid list of “must-haves” – it will depend on the couple and the venue. There were a number of things at Berkeley that I made mental notes to incorporate – the spiral staircase upstairs, the two windows in the main stairwell to frame the couple, the red exterior, to name a few.
Obviously the various couples you shoot have their own unique personalities. How does this affect your approach to setting up different types of composed portraits?
Getting to know the couples as much as possible ahead of time helps with this – I don’t want to force a moment or stage something that, on any other day, the couple wouldn’t do for a photo. If they’re a more gregarious couple then I’ll have different suggestions than I would with a couple who might be shy in front of the camera. And often (like in the case of Kyle and Avery) the personalities between the two partners are quite different. Avery is really excitable and bubbly and Kyle is one of the calmest people I’ve met, so I did my best to split the difference in their photos.
Wedding pictures have a lifetime expectancy ..how does this reality affect your process?
What is the preparation process you go through with a couple before you shoot a wedding?
There must always be a gap between the plan and the unfolding of the day …has this ever created an unexpected positive outcome for your photos?
In my experience it’s usually the weather that creates that gap, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with couples who were prepared for inclement weather. Often the umbrellas make for really great photo props!
At Avery and Kyle’s wedding, we did all of the photos before the ceremony. Many of the wedding party and couple photos were done at U of T, with the plan being do a few more + the family photos when we got back to Berkeley. We were back in really good time – almost 90 minutes before the ceremony – but guests had already started to arrive. We ended up having to send some groomsmen down to sequester the early arrivals in the reception hall so that we could roam around and finish the photos! It ended up making it pretty fun as it felt like we had to sneak around.
I love your picture of the groom in the Berkeley treehouse before the ceremony in black and white there is such a story in the composition of the shot it has a filmic quality (think Hitchcock) … are you looking for these kind of compelling pictures?
Thanks! Yeah, definitely. My education is in journalism and I’m a big film nerd, so my photography style is steeped in one or both of those influences, both of which are storytelling based. It’s something that I’m subconsciously aiming for even if I’m not explicitly thinking about it.
all photos by Brian St. Denis
venue Berkeley Fieldhouse