Jessica Higueras is originally from Lima, Peru. She started business in Auckland 8 years ago, based in Half Moon Bay but covering all NZ and International. Her services include: Portraits, Weddings, Families, Lifestyle, Food, Interiors and Photojournalism.
WW: Tell us a bit about your history and how you got into photography?
JH: Back in 1997 I moved to Guatemala and decided to try photography. I started with a basic course and loved it right from my first assignment! A few days later I already had my business cards and started shooting portraits.
Then I moved to Mexico and did the same. In those days there was no internet so I needed to search the yellow pages for a photography course. It was tricky to find something for the right period of time.
When I moved to Wellington I found The Photography School in the Kapati Coast. We were supposed to stay only 9 months but I enrolled for the one year course and finished it with honours and best portolio! I was following ‘potential models’ (pretty girls) on the streets and asked them if I could photograph them.
WW: What got you interested in photographing weddings after you finished photography school?
JH: When I lived in Guatemala, I was very lucky to assist one of the top wedding photographers over there. To be honest I really didn’t think about it until I got a job as a second photographer for a studio in Auckland. Then I realised how beautiful New Zealand weddings are. They are totally different than South American weddings. Here weddings are mostly during the day and photos are on location – in stunning scenery. In SA weddings are at night and couple’s photos are mainly in the studio!
WW: What are some of your favourite styles and trends in wedding photography right now?
JH: For me it’s always been about getting the connection with my couples. The trends will change more with the tones when editing. At the moment I’m using soft colours but also more matt and film finishes.
WW: How would you describe your photographic style?
JH: I describe it as getting that amazing connection with my couples to make them feel relaxed and natural, incorporating beautiful NZ landscapes, and using some soft vintage retouching. At the same time I like doing a photojournalistic style.
WW: What differentiates your style or process from others?
JH: I try different things on each job. The same style of editing will not suit all weddings. I customize my editing process to each couple and location. Same as my shooting – I experiment and try different things. I put a lot of effort into my photos on location to get to get what I have planned ahead. I love using props.
WW: You have a knack for capturing really comfortable candid moments. How do you make your couples relaxed and truly connected to each other?
JH: It is really important to make them feel relaxed. Couples are not models and those photos on location are so fast, there’s honestly not much time. I just need to keep talking to them and telling them to have fun!
WW: Trust is a key factor in making couples comfortable in front of the camera. How do you build trust with your clients?
JH: I like meeting with them ahead of time at the locations where they would like to be photographed. I do my homework and arrive on the day with a plan. They feel I am the director and they follow my guidance. To be honest I think something special happens with me at that time… hahaha! ... I truly love it. I really connect with my couples.
I also think that having an engagement photoshoot helps a lot. After the engagement shoot they realise that it is super easy and fun! Then they are totally relaxed and confident on their wedding day because they know what to expect.
WW: Can you tell me a bit more about your favourite weddings you’ve photographed? What kinds of venues, landscapes, and locations get you most excited?
JH: Long Grass for sure is one of my favourites… Coromandel, Waiheke, Taupo, beach weddings, rustic, rural, modern… everything! I just had one where we took a helicopter ride and stopped on a rock between Bethels Beach and Piha… Amazing!
To be honest any photography job. Recently I just had my first food photoshoot. Totally loved it. Also Interiors. I thought that I was mainly people photographer but was wrong! Each job is unique and different. I take each job as an adventure and challenge – to push my limits. The other day I did some corporate for the CEO of a NZ Bank – that was different, very exciting – loved it
WW: Do you shoot alone, or with a partner/team?
JH: Most of my weddings are with second photographers. I am the director of the day. My second photographer shoots from different angles so my couples can have different options.
WW: What are your lighting techniques? Is there a certain style of lighting that you try to capture, or time of day with your favourite light?
JH: With weddings you basically have to shoot with what you have and with the timings that are given.
For example: Mudbrick ceremonies are after 5pm, so sometimes we have photos prior to the wedding ceremony to make the most of the light. It’s a collaboration between couples and my recommendations based on my experience with the location.
Most NZ ceremonies start at around 3pm-ish so we have the perfect ‘lighting’. I mainly use natural light and minimum flash. I just shoot none stop and try to give the most that I can to my couples.
Sometimes I only have an hour or sometimes even less than that! You just need to deliver no matter what gets thrown at you: rain, thunder or not enough time! I’m not just happy and bubbly; I have to be organising, liaising, directing and shooting. I also have to be concentrated on what I am doing and what needs to be done. I love it!
WW: What advice would you give to couples to achieve the best wedding photos?
- Book a photographer you feel you click with and who’s style you love.
- Do your research. Wedding blogs are a great place to start. Look through the WeddingWise Lookbook and the real weddings on your favourite blogs, check out the photographer’s directory listings and website and make a shortlist.
- Try to have an engagement photoshoot or meet as much as you can with your photographer before the day of your wedding – preferably at your photo location so you can formulate a plan together.
- Be expressive! ... as much as you can.
See some of Jessica’s images below…