Capturing The Moment
Focus on wedding photographer Nina Hamilton
Words: Damien Woolnough
Photography: Nina Hamilton
15th November 2018
To limit Tasmanian photographer Nina Hamilton’s skills to capturing magical moments at weddings is unfair. With a background in architecture and design Hamilton is a woman of all trades with a special gift in highlighting the beauty of weddings, gay and straight.
Here's why gay grooms should strike a pose (well, preferably not) for Hamilton.
What makes a good wedding photographer?
At the heart of each wedding is a story; I believe that a good wedding photographer must also be a great storyteller. For me, getting to know the couple and their story is important. I honed my candid skills through street photography, so I approach weddings with a documentary-style; this allows me to stand back and observe, visually narrate the realness of the day, and create beautifully honest stories of love & human connection. I struggle with social anxiety, so I love working with relaxed, non-traditional couples.
What makes a great wedding photograph?
Epic landscapes and beautiful light can make for amazing photos, but at the very core of a powerful wedding photograph is honesty and raw emotion. Moments can be gone in a split second, and the ability to intuitively read the world around you is important. There seems to be so much emphasis on post-production, and the intention of a single capture is lost. I’m all for the real moments.
What is your favourite part of the wedding to capture?
Definitely the post-ceremony congratulations and hugs. It’s when you get the most real and honest candid images. And who doesn’t love watching people hug the heck out of each other? It’s also hard to go past a great dance floor; especially when the grandparents outshine everyone.
Traditionally wedding photography is all about the bride. With gay male weddings how do you work around the absence of a bride?
I believe in a people-first approach to photography: human connections and in-between moments first; the material details (such as the dress, shoes and bouquet) help tell the story but they are not the most important part.
With posing, the dynamics of each couple is different. No matter the gender combination of the couple, I will always ask what they are comfortable with and how they are together in their everyday. That way, the raw and unscripted moments between a couple can unfold naturally.
What is your pet wedding photo hate?
Awkward, cheesy, overly-posed photos. And weird angles and crooked horizon lines – that’s definitely my inner-architect.
How did you end up taking wedding photographs?
My background is in architecture and design, though I have always had an interest in photography. I got my first camera at seven and quickly became adept at chopping peoples’ heads off in photos.
I have a passion for travel, driven by a deep curiosity of the world and my camera became both an extension of my architectural practice and a means of documenting the ordinary, every day and in between. My wedding photography story started in Uganda in 2011, where I lived for a couple of years (teaching architecture); that was where I started to feel confident photographing people.
I returned to Tasmania in mid-2013, unexpectedly pregnant and in mid-2014 I started photographing architecture events. This organically led to a wedding at the end of 2015. I no longer (accidentally) chop heads off now, either.
Before meeting with a photographer what should a couple prepare and what questions should they ask?
You can tell quite a bit about a photographer if you look at their social media, through the imagery presented and the words that go with each image; I get a lot of questions asking for clarification of things. Don’t be worried about asking anything.
I found myself in an interesting situation recently with a lesbian couple. I have been a vocal advocate for marriage equality, and I assumed that the images and words on my website and Instagram reflected this. But I got this question: "Are you comfortable photographing a same sex wedding?" (I am.)
Simply photographing a same sex couple doesn’t necessarily mean you are wholly comfortable doing so. So my advice for LGBTQI+ couples is to make sure that the people and vendors you work with support you and your love for each other wholeheartedly.