Coast wedding photographer named Queensland's best
A SUNSHINE Coast wedding photographer has been declared the best in the state by a prestigious bridal industry group.
Lee Burgess is the face behind wedding photography business Life and Love Photography, after 11 years in the business.
Last week she took home the Australian Bridal Industry Academy's Queensland photographer of the year award.
The Buderim mother said her love for the couples she works with was the key to her success.
"I don't book people unless we get along, because I know that won't be best for them," she said.
She said that means when she does make a booking, she becomes the couple's friend.
"They're hanging out with me, their friend, instead of hanging out with a stranger who's taking photos of them, and I think that makes them more relaxed," she said.
"I think that's really important in photos, so that when they're looking back on them, they're looking back on themselves and not just a picture of themselves."
Clients usually make contact with Mrs Burgess about a year before the big day, and start to finish she puts in about 50-60 hours planning, shooting and editing photos for each wedding - and that's for the "bare basics".
As one of the few people wearing a watch at the wedding, Mrs Burgess goes above and beyond the duties of a photographer.
"It's so much more than taking photos - it's being there and making sure they're on time," she said.
"I'm known to iron shirts, I'm often putting the flowers on the guys.
"You don't just rock up with a camera."
Her insider tip for brides was to hire local transport if they were being driven to the wedding ceremony or reception.
"There have been instances where drivers from outside of our area got the brides lost on the way to the ceremony," she said.
Her second piece of advice was to "be prepared for the unexpected".
"You've just got to go with it."
Mrs Burgess learned her craft in a photography course in San Diego, and worked in Sydney as a commercial photographer for Disney and the Royal Australian Navy.
"Friends were asking me to shoot my weddings, and I just fell in love with it," she said.
She moved to Buderim four years ago, continuing her passion on the Sunshine Coast
Since then she's photographed hundreds of weddings, getting through about 50 each year.
"Every wedding's different, every couple is different," Mrs Burgess said.
"They've all got their own stories and I just love capturing them."