Award Winning Photographer Ky Luu Shares His Secrets

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We speak to Ky Luu, winner of the AIPP Australian Wedding Photographer of the Year award, about the world of wedding photography.

BC: Let’s start at the beginning. What’s the first thing you do when you meet your clients?

KL: This is a crucial stage for me. When I first meet with clients, I begin by showing them a range of wedding photos in a number of different shooting and editing styles. From this, I can see what grabs their attention and I can begin to decide on what styles of shooting and editing I should use when it comes to their wedding day.

BC: How do you bring out your clients' individuality while still making your shots characteristic of your own photographic style?

KL: Good question! Every couple brings their own desires for their wedding shots, so no wedding collection should ever be the same. Trust is a fundamental part of being a professional photographer. For example, some of my crazy fi ghting shots rely heavily on my client’s 100 per cent commitment and trust. All it takes is for one member from the bridal party to think that the shoot is a silly idea for the whole photo to be ruined. Once you gain their trust, their personality will shine through and you will be able to produce a wedding collection that is true to them, through your eyes and your style.

BC: So how can you gain a client’s trust?

KL: A picture can speak a thousand words so at the start of the shoot, I usually show my clients a photo on my camera that I have shot of them and when they see what I, as a photographer, am capable of doing, they hopefully put their full trust in what I do. Sometimes I also like to step back and let the story unfold, and this is how I can capture all the true emotions and unique characters within each couple. This might mean I tell my clients that I have finished shooting, so they tend to relax and be themselves but little do they know that my camera is still on and still documenting their every move. These are often the best photos!

BC: Some of your renowned shoots entail very chaotic yet stylised scenes of the bridal party. Is there a type of wedding that you think lends itself to this sort of shoot?

KL: This style all started when I was fortunate enough to shoot a Victorian steampunk wedding back in 2012. I knew the wedding was going to be something special but little did I know that it would be out-of-this-world special. I wanted to shoot the wedding differently and from this, a particular style was given shape. It was after that wedding that it all clicked and I asked myself the question: why can’t all weddings be this different? Even if the wedding is similar to others, as a photographer, I still have the power to shoot it differently and that was how my crazy and very chaotic shoots slowly edged their way into the wedding scene.


BC: Do you think wedding photography has changed over time?

KL: What I am seeing is that couples seek variety in their wedding collection these days. They like to see various styles used in their wedding photos, incorporating a combination of contemporary, vintage and artistic techniques used in documenting their wedding day. They want the candid-type shots but, at the same time, the artistically crafted photos as well — and let’s not forget about the crazy bridal party photos too. Social media plays a large role too, as sharing my wedding photography online has helped a great deal in gaining my clients’ trust because they can keep track of what I do at each wedding and what I am capable of producing.

BC: How much of what your shots are going to look like is decided on the day and how much is decided in post-production?

KL: I shoot my photos in a way that supports my vision for how they should look after postproduction. The right composition, lighting and posing all play a crucial part in the result of the image and this is not something that is easily achieved through post-production. In my opinion, lighting is everything in photography and is what I first look for before anything else. I begin by sourcing out the best light to inform on the location of the shoot. I often tell my clients, “it doesn’t matter where I shoot, it’s all about where the light is”.

BC: So apart from lighting, what do you see as the fundamentals for a successful wedding shoot? 

KL: I believe a successful wedding shoot must involve capturing all the fine details of the day: the fi rst kiss, the teardrops, the laughter and all the unexpected moments that unfold. As a wedding photographer, my job is not to simply take nice photographs, my job is to retell the story from the day through my trained eyes and from the eyes of the couple. A wedding photographer’s goal for a wedding collection is to be like a time machine that can transport the couple back to their wedding day, even decades later when they are all wrinkles!

Ky Luu was born in Vietnam in 1981 to Chinese parents. “My parents sacrificed everything so that we could come to Australia to give us an opportunity to have a better future. As a kid, I remember that my parents would work crazy hours at a Chinese restaurant to give my sister and me a better lifestyle and education” explains Ky. “My sister and I never took things for granted as we knew that our parents had sacrificed a lot to give us what we have today. As a result, family is everything to me and now that I have a family myself, they are everything to me. I am pretty much a family guy and family comes first in everything I do. “I have always had a passion for photography and four years ago, B Captured was born. Like everyone else, I have big dreams and wild ambitions but I acknowledge that dreams stay as dreams if you don’t work hard to make them happen. As a late starter in photography, I knew that I needed to work twice as hard to make up for lost time. When people sleep, I shoot, when people eat, I shoot and when people play, I still shoot. I have my camera with me everywhere I go. However, I never get sick of shooting, I really enjoy it. The more I shot, the happier I become. I never had the luxury of having someone teach me how to shoot but what I did have was a real thirst for photography. My day feels incomplete if I have not taken a photo with my camera. In the early days, I loved shooting so much that when I ran out of things to shoot, I would set up a tripod and become my own model.”

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