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Events, photo walks, talks from the masters, in-depth workshops. Expand your horizons with one of our many events across Australia.

Starting Never Ends is the one place for all Sony camera mini-sites. Learn about all new Sony camera products in a fun interactive way.

Events, photo walks, talks from the masters, in-depth workshops. Expand your horizons with one of our many events across Australia.

Starting Never Ends is the one place for all Sony camera mini-sites. Learn about all new Sony camera products in a fun interactive way.

AU NZ
Sony New Zealand
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Event Host

Alpha Creator Project: Wes Anderson Inspired Wedding Film by David Le

26 Jan 2022
Sony New Zealand
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Event Host
Image: Sony New Zealand, Alpha 7 III (A7M3)

To stand out in a crowded market it often pays to take a risk and do something different, right? Well, that’s easier said than done when you’re a busy pro photographer, with a family to support and very little time to spare. However, very occasionally a unique creative opportunity will land in your lap, and then you just need to pick up your camera and shoot it!

For wedding photographer David Le (@davidle_nz), that opportunity came in the form of a Wes Anderson themed wedding at Maungaraupi Country Estate in Marton, New Zealand. The charming and highly original stop motion film he created to document this wedding garnered international attention. It was also a finalist in the prestigious Junebug Wedding's Choice Awards in the Best Wedding Video category.

 

 

Based in Palmerston North, David learnt the basics of photography by completing a Southern Institute of Technology correspondence course and watching YouTube videos. His journey to becoming a full-time wedding photographer started five years ago when a friend asked him to shoot her wedding after their photographer pulled out a couple of weeks prior. He now spends every weekend from October till May travelling around New Zealand shooting weddings. “I’m really fortunate to be based out of Palmerston North because it’s so central and I’m able to cover a significant amount of the country,” David says.

Back in 2020, David received an enquiry from bride-to-be Tina, asking if he was available to shoot their quickfire wedding. Under normal circumstances, David would have had to refer Tina to another photographer, as his schedule is typically booked up many months in advance. But with COVID-19 causing most couples to postpone their weddings, David was available and happy to help.

 

Photo by David Le
Sony Alpha 7 III with 45mm tilt-shift lens. 1/640 sec, f/3.5, ISO 100

 

Tina explained that their intimate wedding of 20 guests would have a rather unique theme: the aesthetic of Wes Anderson. A highly acclaimed American filmmaker, Anderson is known for his very distinctive visual style. His films include The Royal Tenenbaums, The Grand Budapest Hotel and the stop motion animated feature Fantastic Mr Fox.

Prior to the day of the wedding, David wasn’t sure to what extent the couple and their guests were going to be embracing the theme. As he rolled up to the homestead he knew straight away that the stunning venue was going to be an ideal backdrop. Then the friends and family started arriving in their costumes, and he quickly realised they were going all out. From his research, David was aware that symmetrical compositions and a muted colour palette were key visual elements of Anderson’s films, so as he unpacked the camera gear he already had a sense of how he would shoot (and edit) his photos.

 

Photo by David Le
Sony Alpha 7 III with 45mm tilt-shift lens. 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 800

 

David had free reign over how he was going to document the wedding, and while he didn’t go with the intention of shooting a stop motion film, he knew a couple of hours into the event that he would be able to create a quirky animated video with the images. Even so, David continued to shoot in a very efficient and calculated manner. “I avoid over-shooting wherever possible,” he says. “It just adds to more wear and tear on the camera and creates additional work in post-production.”

At weddings it’s important not to disturb the flow of the day, so during the reception, David would pull aside small groups of people to the tennis court where he had his camera set up on a tripod. “It’s a balancing act of trying to be creative, not interfering too much, and not having people feel like they’re getting photos taken the whole time,” he explains.

 

Photo by David Le
Sony Alpha 7 III with FE 55mm F1.8 ZA lens. 1/100 sec, f/6.3, ISO 800

 

The biggest challenge for David came after the wedding, as he discovered that creating a stop motion film is incredibly time-consuming. There was an immense amount of post-production work involved, with David spending over 100 hours editing the photos and turning them into an animated video. “Once I get fully involved in a project, I want to do it to the best possible standard. In this case, it required a huge investment of my time and a lot of mental energy. I honestly can’t imagine ever doing anything like this again.”

 

 

 

The Gear

David shot Kris and Tina’s wedding with two Sony Alpha 7 III camera bodies and used a combination of three prime lenses: a Sony FE 35mm f/1.8, a Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 Zeiss lens, and a 45mm Canon tilt-shift lens. With tilt-shift lenses autofocus isn't available, but this didn’t phase David. “It’s a good challenge to shoot in manual focus as it forces you to slow down in order to nail the shots.”

 

Parting Advice

David’s advice for aspiring wedding photographers’ is not to compare yourself to someone who is significantly further ahead in their career. “Being too focused on what more experienced photographers are doing will interfere with your personal style and the way you shoot. You can get lost down a rabbit-hole constantly looking at other peoples’ work, and become disillusioned if you can’t achieve the same results yourself.”

 

Photo by David Le
Sony Alpha 7 III with FE 55mm F1.8 ZA lens. 1/800 sec, f/1.8, ISO 80

 

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