Behind the Camera with Michael Briggs
We realise how important it is that a couple bond with their photographer, and this is why we couldn’t help but share more about the man behind the camera – Michael Briggs (or Briggsy, as we like to call him).
Briggsy is the the kind of guy you meet who instantly makes you feel at ease. Big smile with an even bigger heart, he has a knack for taking photos that show emotion, love and happiness in a relaxed and natural way.
So we introduce to you Tribe photography fave, Michael Briggs – we know you will love him just as much as we do.
Tell us about yourself Briggsy, how did you end up behind the lens?
I’m not one of those people who grew up ‘wanting to be a photographer’ as such. However, I think I’ve always had a creative soul. I’ve played guitar in a number of bands ever since I was 12 years old. About seven years ago, when I was getting a little tired of playing in pubs to five drunk people, I wanted to do something else to keep being creative. So, I purchased a camera. I started off shooting other bands, because that was what I knew, and it was also a cool way to get into gigs for free too! Then one day around 2012, someone took a punt on me and asked me to shoot their wedding. I had no idea what I was doing, but I did it anyway. And I fell in love straight away.
After working my arse off for a few years after that and throwing everything I had at my photography, in January 2015 I quit my 9-5 office job to give it a red hot crack – and it’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I also really felt it was that point, when it was ‘now or never’ – that I was forced to push myself more, both business wise and creatively . That choice has without doubt really helped my growth to this day too.
Why wedding photography? What attracted you to this industry?
It’s an absolute honour to be let into people lives for a day. You get to be a part of so many rad and real moments. Everyone is happy, they’re looking good, they’re feeling good. Everything is good. Now that wedding photography is ‘what I do’, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
How would you describe your style of photography?
I think my photography is a direct reflection of my personality. Creative, relaxed, fun and a little bit romantic. I try and shoot most of the day pretty candidly or photo-journalistically. I’m a stern believer, that all the awesome things that happen on a wedding day; they already happen. I don’t need to awkwardly make them happen. But I also acknowledge it’s nigh on impossible to shoot 100% of the day like that. So, while I always try and find new and creative things to do at every wedding I’m a part of, there’s still always going to be some ‘safe’ shots in the mix that I hope your Mum and Nana are going to be pretty happy with too.
You’ve grown up in the Yarra Valley, what is about the area that you love so much?
The food, the wine, the beer, the landscapes. And from both a photography and personal point, is the four very distinct seasons we get. I love it.
When a bride and groom invite you to share in their day, what can they expect from you in regards to the lead up and on the day?
At a first impression, people probably think I’m a slightly crazy. Which I’m OK with, haha. Every wedding I arrive at, I’m pumped. And I want everyone there to know that I’m pumped. Really pumped. I’d like to think that this contagious enthusiasm is all part of the experience I deliver. Plus taking one or two in focus photos really helps as well.
But at the core, and behind all the craziness and fun, (which I think shows in many of my photos) I’d like to think that many of my images also have this sense of calm and beauty about them, because that feeling is always there when I’m shooting too. At heart, I can be quite an emotional and sentimental dude. I hold my relationship with my own wife, my friends, my family, my pets in absolute highest regard. Therefore, when I’m a part of someone else’s day, I shoot those things exactly the same way I’d want someone to do the same for me; real, honest and genuine.
What should brides and grooms take into consideration when choosing their wedding photographer?
It’s probably easy to say this as a photographer – but I implore anyone to look beyond price. I know weddings can get really expensive, really quickly. But….your photos are the lasting memory and keepsake of this amazing moment in time, this fleeting celebration we share with our nearest and dearest.
I encourage all couples to check out a bunch of photographers wedding blogs, not just their ‘best of’ galleries, so you can see how the photographer captures an entire day. Any photographer can put up a few epic images on a mountaintop with the couple on the ledge during a perfect sunset on their home page (well, maybe not ‘any’ photographer, but you know what I mean).
But I can’t stress this enough – look at an ENTIRE wedding that they have photographed. If you can feel emotion looking at pictures of people you don’t even know, and you can imagine yourself in the same style of photos that they take…then, just imagine the emotion you’ll feel when it comes time to actually see yourselves and your loved ones in those same style photos.
Told you I get a bit sentimental.
Do you have any tips to help those that feel uncomfortable being photographed and are nervous about this aspect of their celebration?
Meet your photographer before you book them.
Hopefully you’ve already checked out a couple of full weddings of theirs, so you know you’re on the right track with that. Then if you meet them, and you can see yourselves having a beer or a coffee with this person at any time and chatting the day away (not being sold to) like any old friend, then I’m going to say you’re absolutely on the right track. On the other side of the coin, you might absolutely love a photographer’s work, but when you meet them, they come across as a little awkward to you, or the three of you just simply don’t connect. It happens. Then ask yourself, how do you think that connection and awkwardness is going to be when they’ve got a camera in your face on your wedding day?
What is your favourite kind of wedding celebration to shoot?
When a couple are having their day!
When I can tell a couple have sat down and actually really spoken about how they can see themselves celebrating their own wedding day. Not the day they were told to have by their venue, or their parents, or their bloody photographer. They’re not doing what they thought they ‘had to do’ because it was a wedding. But they’re doing exactly what they wanted to do, because it’s them. They’re the best weddings. Every time. Whether that’s a huge arse backyard wedding with 200 people under a marquee in the country, or an intimate celebration with 10 of their closest friends at a pub in the CBD. If the wedding is exactly just what the couple wanted to do – I want to shoot it. Every time.
Where is your dream destination to shoot a wedding?
I genuinely love the fact that a huge majority of my work is my own beautiful backyard of the Yarra Valley. Not that I’m against it, but I’ve never pushed myself as one those ‘destination wedding photographers’. If someone wants to put me on a plane somewhere, and I have been lucky enough to do it a bunch of times – I’m there! But dream destination? I was lucky enough to visit the Oregon Coast on a trip to The States last year and absolutely loved it. Somewhere around there would be pretty damn amazing to shoot a wedding or elopement. I actually have a photo of me on that Pacific North West Coast on my ‘about me’ page, but it doesn’t say where it’s taken. So maybe I’m secretly hoping one day someone out there makes the connection, haha.
Lastly, outside of weddings, what are your other interests, how would you spend a typical weekend?
My wife and I are a sucker for a good winery or brewery, so you’ll sometimes find us relaxing at one of these in The Yarra Valley on a rare day off of ours. And as mentioned before, I’ve also played in bands my whole life, and I still actually do the occasional gig around the traps too 😉
Want Briggsy as part of your wedding day Tribe? Connect with him here.