Welcome to the Directory - Hannah Bird
It's not very often vendors bring you gifts on the very first meeting, but Hannah did and I quickly figured out that's exactly the kind, sweet natured person she is. Hannah is like a little pocket rocket, beaming with passion for her work. You can guarantee she will continue shooting even on the coldest of days until her hands are frozen numb, and even then she'll keep going - as I learnt on our recent shoot!
How did you get into photography?
Funny story! I went to study graphic design, and in the first year you have to do all of the options in fine arts. All of my lecturers would tell me I was better at photography and saw real potential in my work. Totally not what I wanted to hear as I’d signed up for graphic design! Over the next month I thought heaps about it and decided to give it a go and study photography. I didn’t want to do it just for fun, but wanted to make a career out of it, as well as make a difference. For me, I want to educate people and change their perspective around why they choose, and how they choose a photographer.
Describe your style
Relaxed, wild and romantic are words I would use. People often say they choose me for my natural images. It’s important to me to capture my couples days in the most authentic way possible, whether this be a quite moment together in a secluded spot in the middle of nowhere, or a wild windy day on the edge of a cliff! These are the things that make my heart beat the hardest, capturing true love in an authentic and true way. I’m always up for an adventure, a little off roading is good for the soul! I love massive wide landscapes, windy days, and crazy big trees, all of which New Zealand is perfect for.
What’s most important for couples to consider re their wedding photographer?
Definitely make sure you connect with them and get to know them before your big day. Meet with the photographer or skype first before you pay a deposit or sign anything, and understand what they’re all about. Take a thorough look through their portfolio, and be open and upfront with your expectations so it’s all laid out before things progress. Make sure you’re picking them because you love their style - remember these are the images you’ll have for years to come!
What’s something you think couples think they want, but probably don’t?
I have had quite a few bridal parties pushing the slightly crazy, ridiculous shots they’ve seen somewhere before. However, I find most couples tell me they love the shots I take of the bridal party just hanging out, or the portraits of the bride and groom with each of their bridal tribe members.
What do you love most about wedding photography?
Meeting new people is definitely a big thing for me, I have catching up for coffee and getting excited about my couples plans with them. Being with couples on their wedding day is such an honour, and as the photographer I feel like their number one guest.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
All over the place! I look at a lot of international photographers. Drawing back on my degree, I learnt a lot on the fundamentals of photography and the history of the process, from black and white to colour and how it was used over time to document various events through history. In my spare time I love to take my 35mm film camera out and capture a roll of film, of just anything! The process is so hands-on and is such an inspiration for shooting in challenging ways.
Wedding Photography idols?
For couples that are a bit camera shy, how would you tend to direct them?
On a wedding day there are so many emotions flowing couples who would normally feel nervous are usually too loved up to care!! Its epic really, thats when we get some killer shots. Another good way for couples to get comfortable in front of the camera is to book an engagement shoot, and you also get more epic photos together before your big day!!
What school did you go to?
I’m from Timaru so spent most of my childhood there up until I turned 16, then moved to Christchurch and attended Burnside High. I studied photography there, and I’m pretty sure I failed at least one test!
What do you like to do in your spare time around Canterbury?
I still enjoy graphic design, and do a bit of watercolour painting. If you’ve heard about me, you’ll also know I love to make candles too!
My fiancé Theo and I love to take big long drives to places we haven’t been before, and scope out shooting locations. The Foot Hills, Port Hills - anywhere with texture and big open landscapes.
We also love wine, and love heading out to Waipara for tastings, I’m concerned the locals know us by name now!!
What is the biggest piece of advice you can give to a budding photographer?
Light is your biggest enemy to figure out when starting out, but it will become your best friend. Don’t be afraid to get creative and don’t hold back, thats when you’ll get the magical shots.
You’re about to get married yourself! What are you most enjoying about the process, and what is most important to you when it comes to your big day and marrying your soulmate?
Yes, I’m actually loving being in my bride’s position. It’s great to chat about the challenges too now that I’m having the same experiences! I guess I’ve always known what our day will look like which has made the planning incredibly easy. Most of our vendors are close friends and there will be a lot of DIY aspects. I think the most important thing for Theo and I is that we throw an epic party and everyone has an awesome time, we love spending time with our family and friends so we will most likely do a bridal shoot the next day to allow more time with our guests on our wedding day itself!
You're truly one of a kind, Hannah. Welcome on board!