Gordon and Niki are partners in both life and in their photography business. Their creative skills blend effortlessly to ensure those magic moments on your wedding day are preserved forever …
Hi Gordon and Niki. Share with us a bit about yourselves and how you came to call Forster your home?
Gordon: I was lucky enough to grow up in Forster. Shortly after school I moved to Sydney, where I studied and worked to build a career in photography. I met Niki, my partner in life and business and we’ve had three beautiful children together. We always talked about raising them outside of Sydney, and eventually made the move. I am happy and lucky to call Forster home again; it really is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Niki: From the moment I met Gordon, we spent a lot of our holidays in Forster. Once we decided to have a family together, we loved the idea of raising our children in Forster. Since moving here, I have always said it was the best decision we have ever made. We love it.
Who or what sparked your interest in photography originally?
Gordon: My father, Gary Cooper, was a motorsport photographer, so I started learning the craft alongside him (he also inherited his love of photography from his father). Whilst I loved taking motorsport photos, I found myself drawn to the personal shots of the drivers – capturing the emotion of the drivers out of the cars and through the visors of their helmets. The human eyes can show so much! After that, my interest and passion for photography had taken over my life, so I decided to study portrait photography and expanded the business to weddings and portraits. I am lucky to say twenty years later, the interest for photography still grows every day.
Niki: I have always painted, and from very early on I found myself surrounded by oils and canvases. However, it wasn’t until 2009 when I met Gordon that he showed me the workings of a camera, and my interest took a turn. I found myself telling people’s love stories through the lens of a camera. I have been incredibly lucky over the past 10 years to be working alongside a person as enthusiastic as Gordon.
Your wedding pictures are truly stunning. Why do you love doing weddings?
Gordon: Love is the most powerful thing in the world. When two people decide they want to spend eternity together and share this moment of celebration with their families and friends, it is my favourite thing in the world to capture. The day has so many emotions to it – from the bride and groom, who have been planning the day and are now living it, to the parents watching their children start another chapter, to the guests who can remember their own special day, or are still looking forward to planning this day one day themselves.
The excitement and nerves of the bride and groom preparing for the ceremony with the closest people in their lives … The love shared with all of the guests during the ceremony and the fun of the reception afterwards. It all comes together for such an amazing celebration.
Joan Miro once said, “You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second, and think of it all your life”. On our clients’ wedding day, we try to capture pictures they will think of for all their lives.
Niki: In some ways, weddings are very orchestrated events; you know where people are going to be at what times and what is going to happen. However, in some ways – you know nothing. Every wedding is completely different, and everyone has a unique and wonderful love story to tell. It is our job as the photographer to tell the story of your day honestly and naturally as it unfolds. You won’t find me at a wedding telling people how to stand or where to look or making sure the father of a bride kisses his daughter before he walks her down the aisle. These moments are real and will happen. Instead, you will find me in the background, capturing real smiles, real emotions and moments shared between people.
What tips do you have for couples when they are looking for a photographer to shoot their wedding?
These are my top three:
1. You need to have a photographer who you have a good rapport with – they spend so much time with you on the day, you need to be comfortable with them and be sure you have a connection with their vision for the day.
2. Pick someone who respects your ideas and style and can build on them – who will place importance on all aspects, both the big details and the little ones.
3. Someone who will give an honest cost evaluation. Some photographers you hire by time and some by the number of images you will receive. A passionate photographer will not put limitations on the day, but will work with the couple prior to the wedding so the day runs smoothly and everything can be captured from the day, start to finish.
What have been some of your most memorable shoots?
There have been so many over the years. The Channel Ten Bondi Rescue boys were probably the most popular photos we have taken on social media. Through Runners Magazine we photographed a lot of people who were running for good causes, raising money for illness or picking up rubbish for the community. It is always so inspiring meeting amazing people committed to helping others.
Weddings vary so much; it would hard to single one out. We have photographed beautiful weddings in Tasmania and even Europe. One that comes to mind right now is the last one we did for 2016 at Mansfield on the Manning, because it really was such a beautiful local venue with an amazing countryside as the backdrop.
You don’t only photograph weddings … can you tell us about the other photography services you offer?
We can shoot anything you need. We love doing portraits as well, whether it be couples, families or newborns. We also photograph Santa on the Beach – Forster, which people from the community and outside love. This year we had so many people from the local community excited about getting their Santa picture on top of Forster’s iconic sand dune. We even had people from the UK, Newcastle, Tamworth and Sydney travelling up to Forster, just to get a photo with the big guy. I often joke that the motor sport photography was a good start. Once you can shoot something travelling at 340km/hr, everything else is easier to capture!
Some fast facts about you:
The camera you use? Canon 1D X: it’s the best.
Favourite time to shoot? Anytime. When the camera is in hand, we are having fun and doing what we love!
Prefer indoor or outdoor? Depends on the subject. We love the outdoors, but the studio is also fantastic.
Something you can’t live without? 85 mm 2.8 lens. It’s an amazing portrait lens.
Your favourite place to take photos? Burgess Beach: it has the water, sand and beautiful rock formation, so a lot of variety in the one area.
Where can our readers find more information about Cooper Photography?
Our website is www.cooperphotography.com.au
Facebook – @CooperPhotographyForster
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org