It was 2010, nearly a decade after moving to Sydney from her home of Paris, that Marie-Edith Dugoujon decided to take up wedding photography full time. What started as a “happy accident” has since turned into her livelihood, one which she doesn’t take for granted and has made her true passion.
Tell us about yourself and how you got started in wedding photography…
To sum it up, I’m a French girl who moved from Paris to Sydney in 2001 and worked in corporate for 6 years before transitioning to full time wedding photography in 2010. It was a gradual process and a bit of a happy accident. A colleague in my corporate job was getting married and asked me to take photos at his wedding. Another colleague saw those shots and asked me to shoot his wedding. It kind of snowballed from there. I started to take a serious interest in wedding photography and learnt the craft by looking at blogs and tutorials online and of course practicing like crazy.
What would you say is the best thing about your job?
There are so many “best things”! Firstly, as a romantic, I’m a sucker for weddings. Being able to work in that kind of environment on a regular basis is just magic. It really is uplifting and inspiring to witness romantic love and extended family love. Secondly, being able to make a living by doing something creative/artistic is pretty incredible in my opinion. Last but not least, the freedom and flexibility that come from being a freelancer is priceless.
You’re based in Sydney. What would you say is the best thing about working there?
Sydney is an incredible place to work in because of its variety. Beaches, city, sandstone buildings, industrial backdrops, terraces, incredible parks and forests, you name it. Also, as opposed to France where weddings must take place in a town hall and/or church, ceremonies in Sydney can take place anywhere, often in breathtaking spots.
What’s you dream shoot location?
I’ve shot in so many amazing locations that I already feel spoilt for choice. But if I had to choose right now I’d love to do a shoot in Venice, or Moscow under the snow… somewhere unique, ethereal and really picturesque.
You’ve been booked for someone’s big day. Tell us a bit about what happens next…
First of all, I do a happy dance (laughs)! I like to show up with fresh eyes at weddings so I tend not to think too much beforehand apart from the obvious logistics. It’s all about going with the flow on the day and adapting to the couple, the vibe and the light on the day.
What is your favourite part of the wedding day to shoot?
I always had a soft spot for the bride getting ready part. It’s an intimate moment full of anticipation. When the bride puts on her dress, it’s very elegant and feminine. As a woman, I feel privileged that I can share more of these moments than male photographers who sometimes are not allowed in the room. I also love when the newly married couple walks up the aisle, bumping their fist in the air, all smiles, while everyone claps. The epitome of happiness.
What equipment do you use?
I’ve always shot Canon and always have the latest professional equipment available (like the new 5D mk IV). In terms of lenses I use a 16-35mm, 50mm and 85mm, 2 on-camera flashes and 1 off-camera flash.
With so many photographic choices available, what advice would you give couples who are drowning in options?
I’d tell them to choose a photographer not only based on their portfolio but also personality. Ultimately the photographer will spend the whole day with them and it will have a big impact on the couple’s experience of the day and how the photos will turn out.
What is the best feedback you’ve ever received from a couple whose wedding you’ve shot?
The compliment that touched me the most is from a bride who said I brought out some confidence in her that she never thought she had. She felt beautiful on the day and was so thankful. I love that it was a positive impact beyond photography.
What achievement are you most proud of?
The fact that I created this life from scratch. A few years ago I knew nothing about photography, and I knew nothing about running a business. Now I do both, and while it comes with its challenges, I’d never look back.
Marie-Edith Dugoujon http://www.girlinthewhitedress.com