Q&A WITH MATT O’DONNELL + HAYLEY SHEEHAN FROM HAILS & SHINE
How and when did Hails & Shine begin?
It all started in 2013 with a string of family sessions that were all booked on the back of our personal Instagram profiles. We’d both started getting more and more into photography, which, naturally, began with shooting pictures of our kids. We were posting those and started getting some interest from others and one thing led to another. Shooting weddings was a natural progression.
What do you love about photography?
The power of a photograph is untouchable. The way it freezes time. The way it can transport you right back into that moment. It’s like poetry or a song – it makes you feel something.
What is the best part of capturing a couple’s love story?
Exactly that: that it’s their love story. It’s so exciting! Every single couple and their day is different. It makes for a pretty interesting workplace. The best part, though, is the idea that we are giving couples memories that they and their children and grandchildren and so on can revisit for generations. Best. Job. Ever.
Describe your work in three words.
Bits of happy.
Tell us about the people behind the business and how you work together.
It’s just the two of us. We’re a couple with a young family living and working in Geelong. So many people have told us we’re crazy for working together, or that they could never do it, but we absolutely love it. For us, it was half of the appeal of starting this business. Now we get to hang out all the time – it’s awesome.
How is it an advantage to have a duo for the big day?
Besides the fact that you pay for one photographer and get two, the benefit is that nothing is missed. Two sets of eyes, searching for moments, searching for memories. Choosing us means your photographer has eyes in the back of their head. We believe a wedding is about a marriage and a marriage is made up of a string of moments: we capture the looks of genuine adoration, the gentle hand on an anxious back, a tear falling down a smiling face.
Why is choosing the right wedding photographer so important?
Your wedding photographs are forever. Everything else is consumable. The photographs are the only tangible product of the wedding; they are the only thing that lasts. Beyond that, the right wedding photographer is incredibly personal. Just like no two couples are the same, no two wedding photographers are the same. It’s important to choose a photographer that speaks to both what is important to you and what you want the vibe of your day to be like.
What’s it like behind the scenes of your business?
Probably much the same as most small businesses. Juggling family and editing during the day. A neverending virtual pile of emails. And lots of late nights.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Our couples. Each couple and their wedding is different and stepping into the unknown every weekend and searching for beautiful light and unbelievable moments is, in itself, the single most inspiring thing for us.
The best feedback you’ve received?
Recently, one of our brides told us her favourite picture from her package of photographs was one of her husband’s grandfather holding a poem he read for them. To her, it was more important than their kiss, more important than their pretty portraits, more important than the signing or the cake or the pictures of food. That’s why we do what we do.
To contact Hails & Shine click here – hailsandshine.com
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