When a creative passion takes hold and you realise you have found your true calling, you must act and that is what Bree Woolliscroft has done. Within the past year, Bree has made the leap to leave her career in Landscape Architecture to pursue her passion for wedding and elopement photography. Bree says that she's come to understand herself and her surroundings better by looking at the transformation of moments into memories thanks to a camera.
I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Colorado based destination wedding photographer Bree Woolliscroft to the Bridechilla Directory!
Tell us about how you got started in the wedding business and what you love most about working in weddings!
I've been in the photography world for about 10 years, back when I was fifteen I would spend my hot and sticky summers in South Florida running barefoot through the neighbors yards down to the lake to take self portraiture to tell a story. I followed through with photography through high school and in to College where I got my BFA. After college however, I was on my own and needed a career that would pay the bills. I fell in to Landscape Architecture, packed up my little Toyota and moved out to Denver and even began a masters degree. But it wasn't 'right'. I was getting the grades, excelling, but something was missing and I ended up fighting a hard battle with depression and anxiety. Ultimately, that led me to turn back to my camera for creative relief when I realized that photography was exactly where I needed to be.
I often refer to myself as a wedding photojournalist - I think that really resonates with my brand and the thing I love most about capturing wedding days: The honesty.
What drives your work?
My heart was in storytelling, and I suspect it always has been. There's nothing that gives me joy as much as capturing the biggest day of my clients lives - I mean that. I hit the ground running with destination wedding and adventure elopement photography, quit my 9-5 in January and being full-time wedding photographer has meant that I get to wake up every day the happiest I've ever been. I refuse to be some impersonal vendor stepping in to stage a couples day for a feature blog, or for Dirty Boots and Messy Hair. Instead, I always go in to it as a witness - I believe wholeheartedly in capturing your love for exactly how it happened: all candidness, tears, laughs, and emotions. The REALNESS of the day and the empire love story you've built leading up to the day - that's what makes it worth it. Jokingly, I often refer to myself as a wedding photojournalist - I think that really resonates with my brand and the thing I love most about capturing wedding days: The honesty.
I'll never refer to myself as a 'wedding vendor' because it's way more important to me that my couples feel a deep connection and relationship with me - they trust me.
Tell us a bit about who your ideal clients are
I love the real bride and groom. The ones who aren't afraid of getting a little dirty, of crying their makeup off, who isn't afraid of the emotions they're going to feel on that day. My couples understand that we are friends FIRST. They understand I'll never refer to myself as a 'wedding vendor' because it's way more important to me that my couples feel a deep connection and relationship with me - they trust me. And the photographs of their day are the most important thing to them because they know that when all is said and done, that's all they are left with to pass down and to hang on their walls. They know that these images are what they'll have to remember where they started - in good times and in bad. That those close to them will look at them ten years down the road, and say "wow, they still love each other THAT much.". Even when marriage gets hard -the first thing they know they will reach for are their wedding images. My brides value their story and the heirlooms we're going to create together.
Trends are going to fade, but knowing that I've taken the time and effort to build a friendship with my couples first so that they will allow me to capture their day in truth, THAT makes me feel like I'm doing something right.
What do you feel makes you unique and different from other wedding pros?
I believe to my core that as a wedding photographer or wedding professional of any kind, the day is not about us. It is not about 'getting the shot', it is not about staging something that is going to be blog-worthy or take time out of the biggest day of their lives to create portfolio work- Instead, I believe deeply in being a witness. They built a love that got them to the top of the aisle, and they have a story worth telling. I really believe that by not telling that story exactly how it happened, I wouldn't be doing the work they've put in to their relationship justice. It's just not about the publications for me, nor is it about the 'instagram worthy' image. Trends are going to fade, but knowing that I've taken the time and effort to build a friendship with my couples first so that they will allow me to capture their day in truth, THAT makes me feel like I'm doing something right.
What is your favorite wedding related memory?
It's kind of a funny story but my husband is from the UK and I'm from the US, and we got engaged October 1st 2016, and married with 65 people in attendance from all over the world on October 22, 2016. Yes - 22 days later I pulled off an international wedding. We were just two kids who had no business planning a wedding - knew nothing about how to do it but our love was bigger, we were really crazy about each other and there was never a doubt in our mind so we cared about very little during the planning process. It was so meaningful for us to have our friends and family there from all over the US and UK, but I think the most meaningful thing of all was finally seeing my husband at the top of the aisle - crying. That was the first time I'd ever seen him cry and I just about lost it. Everything else fell away, and none of the decor, meals, or outfits mattered. It was just me and him. I realize it now, it really was always just me and him.
What is one thing you wish more couples knew about wedding planning as a whole or your specific role in the wedding?
I feel a bit like a broken record, but it's so important that you have a deep connection to your photographer. You spend 90% of the biggest day of your life with them in tow. There really aren't limits of what I'll do for my brides and grooms. I'll hold your dress while you pee, pin boutonnieres for the groom or groomsmen, dance with your bridal party AND your grandparents at the reception - you name it. *hip thrusts*
As far as the planning process - I'm very hands on and believe that we should be! I want to help you with whatever you need. Don't feel like once the contract is signed and the deposit is paid that I don't want to be involved - text me all the details, send me pictures of your dress!
I love feeling like you're excited for me to be a part of your day - because I'm INCREDIBLY honored you chose me!!
Share 3 fun facts about you and/or your business!
- I shoot ALL OVER the USA and am working on building myself a place in the international market! WOOHOO DESTINATIONS!
- I can't say no to wedding cake --- ever.
- I'll probably lose it and start blubbering during your daddy daughter dance, I do every single time.
How do you help your clients "keep their chill" during the wedding planning process?
I'm there every step of the way. Need a step-in planner for an elopement? I'm there. Need someone to go scout locations? I'm your girl. Do research on portrait locations for your destination wedding? I have you! I remind all of the brides that when it comes down to it - the only thing that will ultimately matter in getting married is your love story, your promises and your marriage certificate. You don't need anything else really - and if you WANT more, do what is feasible and comfortable and reflects YOUR personality. I'm going to treat my brides as if I'm another bridesmaid because I deeply believe they don't need another person to worry about on their big day - they need someone who will be worried about THEM.
A lot of my couples opt for an elopement where we can craft their day to be an experience - and this often is SO relieving for them. Whether that's getting up at 2 AM to hike to a summit where you change in to your dress or suit, or spending the day skiing or rock climbing, or just exploring a new city in your best dressed - adventure elopements are ALWAYS an option!
Also, I make sure that my bride and groom get quiet time just for them, especially if they're having a traditional wedding. Whether that’s sharing a plate of chicken wings tucked away on the staircase with a beer in secret after the ceremony, or a quiet few moments alone for your first dance in a beautiful and remote location - the entire day is about you and I think it's easy to forget that amongst the noise of planning a wedding. Take time for you. I have my brides and grooms make a playlist of their favorite songs to listen to during our portraits, we treat it like a mini-date. Just you two and all the feels.