Artist Interview with Jacob Gordon
World’s Best Wedding Photos has the most highly vetted recommendation list in the industry and we’re proud to promote our experienced, talented members. Today we are focused on wedding photographer Jacob Gordon from Australia, and his dramatic, elegant style.
Hi Jacob, how did you get started photographing weddings?
I began documenting weddings three and a half years ago when I was living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. My first love was street and travel photography and when living in Vietnam I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to undertake a mentorship on wedding photography that led me into the field.
I fell in love with everything about weddings in Vietnam. They are such an amazing mix of culture and food. There are several traditional aspects of Vietnamese weddings, including the tea and candle ceremonies, engagement sessions, honoring of the elders, and the lion dances, which makes them very interesting and special to me. My business took off while I was still in Vietnam photographing local weddings and destination weddings. Then about two years ago I decided to return home to Australia and have been working here since then.
When did you decide that you wanted to shoot weddings full time?
After I received a heartfelt compliment from a family member of the bride and groom, it made me realize how important the images are that we create. They can have an everlasting impact on the lives of people, not only for their generation but for future generations also.
What are your favorite parts of the wedding day?
The vows. I love to capture reactions throughout this part of the day. They are always filled with raw and unexpected emotion, whether it be tears or laughter.
If your next destination wedding were anywhere of your choosing, where would you go and why?
I would love to capture a wedding in Thailand. The mix of culture, food, and tradition really inspire me photographically. Thailand has an abundance of vibrant colour, which coupled with the energetic streets would make an amazing place for portraits. The fact that I love Thai food is also a determining factor in me wanting to photograph a wedding there.
What is your creative process when looking through a camera?
For me a focus on light, composition, and moment. When I am able to capture all three in one frame, it makes for a very strong image. First I will assess each scene for light because this will determine where I position myself. Next I do my best to create a composition free of clutter or mess. Then I wait for the moment to happen. The essence lies in waiting patiently for that moment once you have aligned the light and composition.
What makes couples choose you for their wedding photography?
Couples choose me based on my ability to capture moment-based imagery. I want them to remember how their wedding felt, not just how it looked on the day. On the wedding day I'm like a guest with a camera -- friendly and personable. Couples always place great importance on feeling comfortable in front of the photographer.
What 3 adjectives would you use to describe your own work?
Honest, bold, and creative.
Name two of your favorite photographers, painters, musicians or other artists that are not in the industry and tell us why they inspire you.
Yiruma and Ludovici Einaudi. Both are pianists and composers. Their music is very emotive and raw. I love it because my photography has the same feeling and draws a similar emotion when being viewed.
Other than photography, what do you love to do?
Food and coffee are my two loves. I love trying new cuisines and checking out new restaurants with my friends. Generally whenever I travel the itinerary is based around the food and restaurants I want to try.
How do you prepare for a big wedding?
I treat every wedding as a professional sporting match. Preparation begins in the week prior. This includes scouting the location, going through the timeline, and remembering the names of the bridal party and family members. On the evening before the wedding, I have a healthy meal with a good balance of carbohydrates and proteins. I make sure all my gear bags are packed and batteries are charged so I don't have to worry about anything on the day of the wedding. On the morning of the wedding I'll go to my favourite cafe and spend 30 minutes relaxing and preparing mentally for the big day ahead. The last thing I do is give myself 3 goals for the wedding; this can be anything from creating a new and unique portrait or something like focusing on creating images with interesting compositions.
Your black and white work is stunning, creating drama with light and shadow, sharp contrasts. Can you tell us how you go about looking to make portraits like those in your portfolio on any given wedding day? What's the process like?
I love to look for interesting pockets of light that will help make the couple really stand out in the frame. The subtleties in the light and shadow of a scene can be tricky to see at times; however, finding them always makes for more interesting portraits. Having the couple placed on a dark background allows them to stand out, and having the light on the couple helps create a dramatic scene. This, along with an interesting composition and beautiful moment, always makes for a great image. Having all three (light, composition, moment) align in an image is always a winning combination. Throughout the portrait session, it's important to build an image by starting with one of the elements (typically the light) and then adding a further element to bring the image to a higher level.
You mentioned in your bio finding the perfect light. What does perfect light look like to you?
The perfect light can come in many forms. The light I prefer helps create the most dramatic and creative images. Sometimes this can be backlight and other times it can be hard light which can be great for making silhouettes if the couple is placed in the shadows with the light (sky) behind them. I always find it important to work with different types of light for wedding day portraits, not only to give the couple a variety of images but to also as a creative challenge for myself which inevitably help to enhance the quality of my images.
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 Jacob Gordon visit his website and WBWP profile.