Exciment, love, happy tears and a gorgeous sunset. That’s what this wedding day was about.
”Alex and I met through a mutual friend while I was in the university. They had grown up together and she and I worked together while we where in school. Alex was in the military and used to come and hang out with us on the weekends to get away from the base. I remember thinking he was really cool and was funny and sweet. We where friends about a year before we started dating. I don’t remember the exact moment when I decided there was something more, but I remember thinking that I had better be sure if I wanted to start dating him, because I knew it was forever.” -Kirstie the bride
”I thought Kirstie was beautiful the very first time I saw her. She seemed smart and exciting. She has always had a very outgoing and bubbly personality. She has a way of making people around her smile. I had a crush on her right away. I have always been pretty shy, so I didn’t act on my feelings for a long time, but I think I liked her from the very beginning.” -Alex the groom.
”Alex has always been thoughtful and so smart. He was (and is) also just hilarious and easy and fun to be around. If I could bottle up what we have right now and keep it forever, that would be my wish. Life with Alex is easy in the best way. He accepts me for all that I am, doesn’t judge, is quick to forgive my grumpy moments and we don’t really fight. As we grow old, I want to be just one unit, that knows each others silent messages and loves unconditionally.” -Kirstie
” I knew that I wanted to spent the rest of my life with Kirstie when I was posted across the country and Kirstie told me that she would come with me. We had been dating for about a year at that point and were only able to see each other on the weekends for that year due to her school and my work. The fact that she was willing to pack up everything and move with me told me that she was committed to the relationship and would do anything to be together.” -Alex.
”Toni and I met first time in 2010 in the nightlife during Christmas. I was out with my friend and she kept talking to men that I didn’t know. The pub was full so that there wasn’t any seats so I wanted to move on. I was just moving on when one of the boys told me I could sit on the lap of the ”hammer.” I was amused and sat on the lap of a happy looking guy. I lost my into the moment. We got to know each other, specially talking about Aki Kaurismäki’s movies. I remember how excited I was of the chemistry we shared and I was impressed on his knowledge of movies. Back then I was studying movies in Stockholm, Sweden.
It took over six months from our first meeting that we contacted each other. He had been on my mind but I hadn’t reached out since I was living in different country. It seemed that Toni hadn’t got me out of his mind either. So he made the first romantic suggestion – he poked me on Facebook. We started on chatting threw nights and from those moments I knew I had a crush on him.” – Laura the bride
”When I met Laura, I remember thinking about how can it be possible to find from a small place like Huittinen a woman who speaks hours and hours movies by Aki Kaurismäki. Talking with her was really comfortable. I remember that when our night ended the separation started to bother me. Since our first meeting I kept talking about it to my friends and thought about her. Even it took half a year I decided to make the move. We we’re on our way to a music festival and on the long car ride I started to talk about her again. I decided to poke her profile on Facebook. That’s how we starting chatting for hours and hours. Those where the times when I noticed I had a crush on her.
From the start Laura and I have shared the same humour and we kept laughing for hours. We also share special connection for each other. She’s really thoughtful and a kind person. Laura is also the sound of common sense when I might easily get impulsive in getting into things.” -Toni the groom
”From the start I was impressed on Toni’s passion in movies and music. When I got to know him more, I realised how genuine and caring he is. He’s confident and at the same polite. He makes me laugh a lot and we share fun moments together. From our future I expect lots of laughing, happy moments and getting our wishes to come true -getting married was first of them. I also wish that we will face the troubles together as we have before.” -Laura
”While Laura’s first visit to my home we had already been chatting for a while. We spent an amazing weekend together and when I drove her to the harbour so she could go back to Sweden, I knew I wanted to be with her forever.” – Toni
Wedding dress: Morsiusgalleria
Brides hair: Kampaamo Aava
Makeup: Sarianna Sormunen
Grooms suit: Eklund
Church: Cathedral of Turku
When I was just a child, I never thought of option on being an entrepreneur. Or even work in such creative job. One of my earliest memories of what I wanted to be as an adult was to become a policewoman. But that was quickly crushed since I’m a short person.
I found my interest towards photography when I was around 18 years old. Before that I had done my studies and I wanted to work on child welfare. But that didn’t happen ever. I wasn’t one of the lucky ones who got their study place for the field. I had to start thinking what else to do with my life. I had started photographing as a hobby and without having clear future plans, I started on searching how could I study photography. The only place I got to go for an interview was to do one year photography studies in folk high school. I still haven’t a clue what my teacher saw in my photos back then, but I am forever grateful for her on accepting me to do the studies. My hobby turned to my passion. My passion turned into my career.
After one year photography studies, I moved into much smaller town called Kokkola. There I started my studies as an media-assistant on producing videos and organise them. Even I studied something else I didn’t stop photographing. I kept photographing and had my first clients as a freelancer. Before making Turku my home I lived short while working in London as a personal assistant and photographer.
I graduated in 2014 from my studies. And there it was. Emptiness on what to do after my studies. During my photography gigs I tried to find permitted job. Well, you might guess that permitted job as photographer isn’t that easy to find. One day I was reaching courses from the job services and found out there would begin a three months course on entrepreneurship. The word didn’t disappear from my mind. From my school I had already been in a small course of entrepreneurship but the speaker hadn’t bring out any good choices on being an entrepreneur. Only the bad things. And still I found myself sitting in a three months course learning how it all works.
And quite soon, McWhirter photography was official. From three years of working as a freelancer I became a full time entrepreneur. Many people have said I just showed up from nowhere. I didn’t. Everyone running a business knows how much work it needs to make things happen. And to make a living out of it. Has there been bad days? Yes, there has been. Everyone has ones. But the key is to keep on and do it. This year I have been photographing seven years and my company will be three years. I wouldn’t change it to anything.
Pictures by Mikko Pääkkönen
Harva meistä on luonteva kameran edessä tai tietää miten tuoda parhaimmat puolensa esille. Valokuvissa hyvin pitkälti oppii vain olemalla. Kun aloittelin häävalokuvaaja uraani, tajusin että mikäli itse en viihtyisi kameran edessä, miten saisin hääparini rentoutumaan kameran edessä? Aloin kuvaamaan itseäni. Kehittelin kuviini joka kerta erilaisen tarinan, ja ajastimen kanssa otin valokuvia. Monien kuukausien ajan. Pikkuhiljaa en enää heti ensimmäisenä bongannut itsestäni virheitä tai katsonut kuvaa heti ensimmäisellä ajatuksella ”Hyi, miltä näytän. Mikä tuo ilme on?” Aloin löytämään itsestäni uusia puolia, joista pidin. Myönnän, että aloitus itseni kuvaamisessa oli erittäin vaivaaannuttavaa ja välillä tuli pohdittua miksi edes teen tätä.
Kun tiesin miltä tuntui olla kameran edessä kuvattavana ja miten vaivaannuttavaa se voi olla, opin miten voisin parhaiten rentouttaa hääpariani kameran edessä.
Only few of us are natural in front of the camera or knows straight away showing their best sides. You learn to be in front of the camera by being in front of the camera. When I started out as a wedding photographer, I realised that if I wouldn’t be comfortable in front of the camera, how could I get my couples being comfortable? I started photographing myself. I used my tripod and photographed myself months. Time by time I stopped noticing the sides of my looks that I hadn’t liked. I found sides of me that I liked. I admit that when I started on doing it, it was really awkward. And I many times thought why am I doing this.
When I knew the feeling of being in front of the camera I learned how to relax my couples.
Sovin hääparieni kanssa yleensä kaksi tapaamista ennen hääpäivää – riippuen etäisyyksistä. Ensimmäisellä tapaamisella keskustelemme alustavasta hääpäivän aikatauluista kahvin merkeissä, sekä kysymyksistä liittyen häävalokuvaukseen kuin myös kuvatoiveista. Toisella näkemiselle käymme yhdessä katsomassa hääparini toivomia kuvauspaikkoja hääpotreteille ja myöskin tutustumassa yhdessä juhlapaikkaan.
Miksi siis kaksi tapaamista ennen hääpäivää? Lieventääkseni jännitystä kuvattavana olemisesta, ja jotta oppisimme tuntemaan toisiamme. Olen kokenut, että tämä on vähentänyt hääparieni jännitystä myöskin siinä, että millainen persoona on tulossa koko päiväksi heidän matkaansa. Tapaamisilla myös kerron työskentelytavoistani hääpäivän aikana. Tärkein asia kuitenkin hääpäivänä on hääparin ja heidän läheisten yhdessäolo, valokuvaus kulkee siinä sivussa.
Entä sitten itse hääpäivänä? Silloin tunteita tulee olemaan laidasta laitaan; jännitystä, naurua, odotusta. Hääpotrettien aikana ohjeistan jokaista pariani aina samalla tavalla:
- Pitäkää olkapäät alhaalla, sillä jännittäessä ne nousevat helposti melkein korviin asti ja jännityksen näkee näin kuvissa
- Et ole tällä hetkellä kuvassa yksin, vaan elämäsi mies tai nainen, on siinä sinun vierelläsi. Keskitymme näissä teihin kahteen ja läheisyyteenne
- Ei, tämä ei ole koulukuvausta
- Kun halaatte toisianne, halatkaa jopa hieman puristaen. Näin ote välittyy paremmin kameraan
Rentoutumistapoja kamera edessä on monia aina hengittämisharjoituksista kehon ravisteluun rentoutuneemmaksi. Yksi suosikeistani on juokseminen. Kyllä, luit aivan oikein; juokseminen. Hyvä olo tulee liikunnasta ja hetkellinen kisailu rakkaansa kanssa lievittää sen hetkistä stressiä. Lisäksi jutustelu ja pienet tauot kuvausten aikana auttavat rentoutumaan entisestään kameran edessä.
Luota häävalokuvaajasi visioon ja ammattitaitoon. Jokainen ammattikuvaaja osaa rentouttaa hääparinsa oikealla tavalla ja lievittää kamerapelkoa.
I make two appointments with my wedding couples before the big day -depending of course the distance. The first meeting is being held in the local coffee store where we talk about the wedding day’s timetable and expectations for photography. On the second meeting we’re scouting together the wedding portraits locations and visiting the wedding venue. Also on the meeting I tell about how I work during the day.
And how about on the wedding day? The day is full of emotions: excitement, laugh an wait. During the wedding portraits I guide my couples the same way:
- Remember to keep you shoulders down. When being nervous your shoulders go up and it can be seen on the photos
- You’re not alone in front of the camera. The man or woman of your life is next to you.
- No this isn’t class photos.
- When you hold or hug each other you can give each other a little squeeze each other.
There are many ways to get relaxed in front of the camera. There are breathing exercises and shaking your body to come more relaxed. One of my favourites is running. Yes, you read it: running. After even having a short p.e. you receive a good feeling from what you have done. Also the stress level goes down after running shortly with your loved one. Talking threw the portrait session and having short breaks helps my couples to get more relaxed.
First of all: trust your photographers vision and profession. Every professional photographer know how to relax their wedding couples and ease your tension towards to camera.
”Edward and I met in Tinder. After two weeks of texting and after one Skype call, we met in person in Helsinki. We had a lovely date by the sea (coffee and korvapuusteja!) and what was supposed to be a one evening date turned out to be a three-day long date! Immediately, I realized that Edward is the kindest person I’ve ever met, plus also funny and very handsome. He also has same kind of quietness in him that I have.
I think I had a crush on him from our first texts. He liked the same things as I do and he seemed to be very open minded. We value the same kinds of principles in life. My heart melted when I heard how fondly, and in such a loving way, he talked about his family. He told me that his family is Skyping every week to catch up on what has been going on with their lives (at the time he lived in Helsinki and his family in the US). My family has always been important for me, so hearing that the other person loves their family too made me feel very happy. I knew he was special! ” Sari the bride
”Even though it was just our first date, I thought about Sari then the same way that I do now. She is a kind, compassionate person that has a special gift for caring for others. We were preparing dinner together one evening. She placed her feet on mine and we danced around the room together. It was so natural. I was able to see her sense of humor, and I could tell that she was relaxed and enjoying the evening as much as I. That’s when I realised I had a crush on her.
She is an incredibly good-hearted person that I could trust with anything. As a nurse, her natural abilities with children and the elderly or sick are incredibly impressive to me, and I am in awe of her strength and compassion.”- Edward the groom
”I wish that we can continue our adventures together as long as we live. We already have had lots of big changes in our lives. After dating 1,5 years we decided to move to the US together and we got married less than three years after we met. I think we trust each other more than anyone else and that makes things easier for us. We are a family, and a team, and we work towards the same goals.” -Sari
”From the moment we met, I felt like I was home. It was so natural and felt so right that I never even thought that there would be a different outcome. She continues to amaze me, as she has since the day we met, and our future together has always seemed like it was completely meant to be. ”- Edward