It was in 2013 when an accidental fall from a horse, resulting in a broken back, that prompted Sarah into photography. Having never owned a camera or had much of an interest in the art of photography, she purchased an entry level DSLR to take photographs of people riding her horses whilst she took a year off to recover. It was a game changer.
In a banking career surrounded by numbers and people, Sarah used photography as a means to escape and create, tying in two of her passions: people and horse riding. Initially dabbling in Equine Photography at some of the major horse shows throughout New Zealand, she caught what she calls ‘a lucky break’. One of her riding associates asked her to be her wedding photographer.
“I really had very little idea what I was doing, I was very clear with my abilities and let them know not to expect too much. In fact, half way through the wedding, I had to borrow some SD cards from the guests as I had panicked a little, overshot and run out of memory. I learnt a lot very quickly from the experience”.
Thankfully it all turned out perfectly (although Sarah laughs a little about the results she produced now). One thing led to another and very quickly she became known as a Wedding Photographer. Sarah shot over 35+ weddings in her first year of business and has now shot 160+ weddings in 6 countries. She credits much of her success to the people she attracts and the massive amount of word of mouth referrals she receives. Sarah also noted how much social media has played a part in her growing business. Initially a large number of enquiries came via Facebook but has since seen a huge increase in enquiries coming in through Instagram.
“I try not to look too much at trends or what other people are doing. I rather love living in my own little bubble capturing what is in front of me in the best possible way. My style is so free and can morph depending on the light, landscape or couple I am working with. Personally, I love diversity and with the number of weddings and couples I get to capture, I enjoy all different types of light and locations. My favourite shots are those that are full of emotion; from a quiet moment of reflection, to those deep belly laughs that wrinkle your whole face - I love to be right in there capturing it all.”
Sarah says her journey with Nikon has been instrumental in launching her career. She prefers to shoot all weddings with just a kit of prime lenses, with the Nikkor 35mm 1.4G and 58mm 1.4G being her absolute favourite lenses. She also opts for the 24m 1.4 & 85mm 1.4 when she needs them attached to her two faithful D850 bodies.
“There are so many photographers out there that can document a wedding from the perspective of the ‘outside looking in’ and some couples are happy with that. Their wedding has been just that: documented. I, however, love to be the little ninja right in amongst the action. I find the closer I am to the action, the more energy and emotion that comes across in my images. I haven’t just documented their wedding; I have captured their story, their epic journey. I love it when people look at their photographs and can feel as though they are right there back in the moment. My 24mm & 35mm allow me to be in the thick of the action all day which I love. Although, I am also very discrete as I don’t want people to look back at their images and feel as if they were on a photo shoot the whole day and remember me being in their faces all the time. The biggest compliment for me is when a couple give thanks and say they had no idea where I was for most of the day but they felt like I must have been right there with them at all of the key moments - that’s a job well done to me.”
Wanting people to have an amazing experience is how Sarah believes she gets so many word of mouth referrals. She puts their comfort and trust at the forefront of every shoot which allows couples and clients to truly relax and engage with each other. She takes a lot of pleasure when couples comment on how nervous they were, but then how much they enjoyed themselves and actually loved the experience of being photographed.
There have been many moments that Sarah feels have shaped and influenced her to grow and develop. She is always interested in new techniques and perspectives that cause her to transform into an ever changing photographer. Her overseas assignments are always a pivotal chance for growth as different cultures, traditions and ways of doing things challenge her to push herself outside of her comfort zone. She loves anything a little different and nontraditional when it comes to weddings and has some exciting overseas weddings coming up which involve a lot of hiking and adventuring into little known areas.
“My favourite weddings are those that are a true reflection of the couple getting married; untraditional dresses, locations and out of the box ideas which make each wedding unique. I encourage people to really follow what they dream of and just make it happen. My fiancé, Trent, and I are getting married in May and although we would have loved to elope somewhere amazing we have strong family ties and a big group of friends we want to share in the moment with. Our compromise is our ceremony location, which is rugged and doesn’t allow for seating or archways or any of what is expected. We can’t wait to stand up on the hilltop (rain, hail or snow) and just make a promise to each other with a short and meaningful commitment - we have rain ponchos for our guests and have told them to dress for warmness and comfort as the landscape is just so important to us.”
Balancing timings, lighting, composition, energy and candour is what Sarah feels like she is born to do and becoming a wedding photographer is the perfect balance. Sarah’s photography is a true passion of light, laughter and love. It is exciting to see where the future will lead her.
Grandparents, children, pets, golden light and rain - all magicially rolled up into one epic gallery that freezes time forever. Sarah Clement's wedding photography teleports you back to those exact moments in time. Excited when the light is good, and always on the lookout for that wow shot to hang on the wall.
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