From the epic Great Wall to the massive cathedrals of Prague, Daniel Tam has been practically everywhere to shoot unparalleled pre-wedding photos. Amidst a hectic schedule and unique photoshoots, the visionary artist took some time to answer our questions regarding his tricks of the trade, his upcoming world exhibition tour and much more.
Q: As one of Asia’s most prominent wedding photographers, what are some of the most interesting wedding trends that you’ve seen or helped pioneer in your career so far? And if you could bring back one of these trends, which would it be and why?
A: As the wedding industry grows, clients readily have more diverse choices for their pre-wedding photos. We can all see that the major trend tends to include more dramatic scenes inside the wedding photos and more photoshop retouching. If I got to choose, I would love to bring back more portrait–style wedding photos with the couple as the main characters. I would love to have more intimate photos captured in the essence of each frame, with the couple as the focal point of the story.
Q: I noticed you have a busy schedule in 2016 with a world tour starting in February. Would you mind telling the readers a little bit about this tour and your schedule?
A: The tour locations are basically the same as last year, but this time around we are trying to engage a different style. We will have some more short tours in March and November, probably focusing more on Asian countries such as Japan and Korea. By engaging more cities in our tour, our clients will have more choice on the tonality of their wedding photos. Some clients are enjoying several shoots with us and visiting different locations where we usually create different styles in each location for them.
Q: Capturing normal people to bring out their most captivating sides for a perfect wedding shoot can sometimes be a challenge for the clients themselves, can’t it? How do you break the ice and get them perfectly comfortable and well-prepared for the shoot?
A: Actually, different couples will have different needs for the photos. Communication is one of the most important things for us in planning for the shoot beforehand. I will try to give them some dynamic actions in order to break the ice or have a better understanding of the couple. On average, it usually takes around 30 minutes to get some warm-up shots going. Within these 30 minutes, it’s really important for me to understand them more, because this makes it easier for me to adjust the shooting plans accordingly.
Q: What do you look for during your shoots? Is there a specific priceless moment that you’re trying to draw out or do you prefer to let everything come naturally as you go along?
A: Depends of the couple – I usually try to create different styles of photos. For example, say for a couple that loves to have more dynamic shots, we will give them more moving space and actions to do in order to capture more natural moments for them. For a couple that is more conservative, I will try to offer them more instructions on posing and try to blend them into the environment in the most natural way possible for a more artistic style. It really depends on what the couple prefers and their type.
Q: Many couples from Asia have Europe in mind when choosing the perfect location for their pre-wedding shots. Which cities would you highly recommend to these couples and why?
A: Prague is very good shooting place. Actually, when we are considering a location for pre-wedding shots, we usually consider a variations of photos that can be created in those specific locations. Prague is a city that I love so much; it has churches that we can get inside for shooting, rivers, bridges and also some rural areas that are simply fantastic for shooting.
Q: Considering the whole process from brainstorming together to on-site execution, what do you think are the most important aspects in realizing a client’s dream wedding photo shoot?
A: As a photographer, things can get tricky if we are doing a shoot in locations that we haven’t been before. Usually I won’t do the shooting immediately, but instead I would just walk around and check the locations. I will ask myself, “What is the essential feeling of this location?” or “How can I naturally blend my clients into the surroundings?” and “Why are they here?” And then I will try to execute the photos guided by my feelings once I’ve gathered enough of these thoughts. Usually clients have their reasons for choosing a specific location and a little better understanding about the location may help a great deal.
Q: What advice can you give to budding wedding photographers who are trying to understand the art?
A: Just try to think outside of the wedding. I seldom look at how other wedding photographers work. The reason is if we are trying to find inspirations from other wedding photographers we may just fail because we are both photographers doing similar work. I find my inspirations from fashion photography, product photography and painting. Just think out of the box, try to learn from other photographers that are working in different fields and try to learn from painters who understand their own art. You might just be amazed by the growth of your own photographer’s eye.