Artist Interview with Gaelle Le Berre
It’s that time again, where we get the pleasure of showcasing one of our members and showing you the artist behind the work. This week we’re focused on Gaelle Le Berre from Australia!
How did you get started on this journey, Gaelle?
I am passionate about life and very sensitive to what surrounds us, so I took up photography when I was around 14 years old. It wasn’t until I discovered the very humanistic images of Robert Doisneau that I became interested in this discipline. I went to a Bac F12 (applied arts) then I quickly deviated into photography where I had a blast, spending hours in the darkroom alone. After the baccalaureate, I did a visual communication school in Nantes which I abandoned and left to conquer the Great West!
Self-conquest, finding who you are, opening up to the world to better discover yourself, that was radical for me.
I started traveling to the United States where I worked as a photojournalist for a small county newspaper at the age of 21. It helped stimulate my passion for photography and made it clear what I wanted to dedicate my career to. Then, I traveled to Australia where I studied Applied Photography at RMIT University Melbourne. After graduation, I came back to Europe and got a job in SOHO in central London working as a C41 developer at Tapestry MM. There, I had the chance to rub shoulders with the greatest fashion and music photographers like Miles Aldridge, Kevin Westemberg, Derek Henderson and many others, for whom I was their C41 developer and contact sheet printer. It was an amazing experience as I saw the photos before they’d appeared in magazines, photos of artists like Queen, U2, Coldplay and NY Fashion Week. They were all very cool, and gave me invaluable insight and experience.
After several years, I returned to France and there, I had my three children, and I’d dedicated my life to raising them. I created my photography business in 2015. At the end of 2017, we decided to move to Melbourne in Australia (where my husband’s from).
What made you decide to become a wedding photographer?
The funny thing is when I was at RMIT in Melbourne back in 2001, I remember thinking that wedding photography back then wasn’t great. The wedding industry was so much different compared to the last 10-15 years. Now it is more about telling a story than making kitsch.
I started by photographing a family member’s wedding and I was lucky enough to live in an area where there was not a lot of competition, so I was able to develop my business quite quickly. The first wedding I did was quite epic. I didn't know exactly what to expect but the fact I had such an amazing feeling of being part of something kept me going. Interacting with people you don't know but feels like you've known them for a long time is amazing! Taking photos of the unexpected is fantastic as well, for example a kid picking her nose looking up at the bride!
For me, a wedding is the best representation of our society for the best and the worst (usually the best) and capturing these memories is priceless. Today, I’d say photographing weddings is like a good wine - the longer you do it, the better it gets.
What are your favorite parts of the wedding day?
I love all parts of the wedding because anything can happen at any moment. However, I do have a little preference for the party at the end as you can be a little bit more creative. There’s more time to set up the lights and test some new things too.
What are your favorite places to photograph weddings?
My favourite backgrounds, the three elements of life:
-Water: the wild coast of the ocean,
- Nature: the forest, the vast field of forest or mountains
- Stone: the ruins of churches and old buildings
What are your dream destinations?
Italy, Greece, Spain, are some of my favorite countries where religion and customs are very important. I love the emotions you can get from those moments. I’d also love to go to India for the experience of documenting their festive celebrations and culture.
What is your creative process when looking through a camera?
The light, the good angle, and the moment.
What makes couples choose you for their wedding photography?
I think they can sense the passion I put into my work and the fact I am very friendly and flexible.
What three adjectives would you use to describe your own work?
Real,True and Candid.
Who inspires you?
Lady Gaga. She came from nowhere, made herself from nothing and succeeded. She fell many times and always got up, plus she is a very humble person. Also I’d mentioned Robert Doisneau. He is my mentor, a precursor of street Photography.
What should brides and grooms look for when shopping for a wedding photographer?
I always tell my couples to check my testimonials to obtain a good idea of how I am on a real wedding day. A face-to-face appointment is also important, as it matters that I can answer all their questions, give some good tips, but most of all, it helps them to feel comfortable and see if I am a good fit for them.
What can couples do to prepare for an engagement or portrait session with you?
Nothing. I want them to be who they are! I always talk to them during this session. We laugh and interact with each other. I want them to be the most natural they can be.
What do you think is your wedding photography "super power”?
My super power is flexibility. I want to understand their needs and solve their problems before they appear.
Your style is so candid and hilarious. What's the approach you take to making sure you're catching these moments?
Thank you! Observation is the key! I always move around to check what’s happening everywhere around me. I especially look for the kids, I know that something will happen with them.
I always make sure I talk to everyone too, therefore, people are very receptive to my presence and they tend to forget I am there to do a job so they’re relaxed. I always look after the parents as well as they are special to the event and they share important things with me.
What kind of mistakes do you think wedding photographers - even yourself - make, and how are you avoiding these mistakes?
Photographers aren’t curious enough! I think this is the biggest mistake. You have to establish a real relationship and rapport with people in order to capture the right moment. It’s easy to forget this and just think you’re there to take photos and not interact with people. I think it’s important to make everyone feel at ease so they forget about you and give you total freedom to capture moments as they occur. I find people then feel so open, they tell me when something funny or interesting is happening so I can capture the moment.
Thank you so much for sharing your talent and insights on World’s Best Wedding Photos. It is an honor to have you as a member and a pleasure to promote your photography. To see more work from Gaelle Le Berre visit their website and WBWP profile.