Cover Photograph by Andrew Harvey.
Recording by the fabulous Miss Bella Hazelton.
00.25 Jesse’s Procedure
00.56 Ideal Timeline
01.38 Favourite Wedding Elements
03.34 Jesse Hisco Photography’s Uniqueness
04.00 How Jesse Hisco Evolved
05.18 Biggest Tip for Brides
06.05 Most Unique Request
07.23 What to Look for in a Venue
08.10 Jesse’s love story
10.40 Jesse’s Brunswick Studio
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Hopelessly Devoted podcast. I’m bridal gown designer Sally Mussared delivering you the inside tips from Melbourne’s top wedding professionals…
[Sally Mussared] Today we’re thrilled to be here with Jesse Hisco, at Jesse Hisco photography, who…principally weddings?
[Jesse Hisco] Yeah, princ…people.
[Sally] Fantastic. Thank you for…being involved the interview.
[Jesse] Aw, thank you. Pleasure.
What happens when a bride first contacts you, what’s your procedure?
For me, generally it’s just that we’ve got to touch base. I think it’s incredibly important that we gel on a personal level. You spend no more extra time with someone on your wedding day than your photographer. So, I find that parts really important, so first thing I do is pick up the phone and have a chat.
Okay. And then?
We arrange to meet, I show them some of my stuff in person. Have a look at what they’ve got planned and what they need to get planned, and then we arrange up a timeline that suits what kind of experience they want to get out of the day.
And what is your ideal timeline?
My timeline really revolves around what they want to get out of the experience. I don’t have a, a set amount of time that I, uh, that I stay on the wedding. I turn up at the start and I leave when they don’t need me anymore. So a lot of the time we just work with them to find out what’s really important, and how we can set up the timeline to suit that experience. So, if they want to spend more time with the guests, well I’m not going to arrange for three hours of us to be spending in a field taking pictures. I want to get them straight into hanging out with the guests. So if that means restructuring the day a little bit and doing something like a first look in the morning so that we can get some of the portraits out of the way. And getting them straight into hanging out with guests. That’s what I’m about.
Favourite Wedding Elements
Okay. Cool. Yeah. What are the elements of your favourite weddings?
Look…it comes down to one thing, it’s gotta be real. I don’t want to see somebody trying to be something that they’re not. I don’t want to see people copying other brides cause they saw something on Pinterest and they thought it was really cool, but it doesn’t really gel with their personality. It’s just got to be real. So I do whatever I can to sort of break down some of those barriers that they might be putting up.
To us, it’s really important that the brides come out in a gown that suits their personality. And it just oozes who they are and comes forth. And we’ve had to build a process where, during the fittings we try and do as much as we can in front of the mirror, so that they actually go; “oh I don’t like that” or “I do like that” or “lets do this”. And that’s where we start to see them shape out of that. How do you draw their personality out?
One of the easiest ways for me is an engagement session. I find there’s no better way to find out what a person’s like than just hanging out. So we just go and hang out for a couple of hours. We do something that they would normally do without a photographer following them. I’ve had ones where, I turned up at 6:30 in the morning, he’s got his dressing gown on, he makes some toast in bed, and they go and hang the washing out, and take the dog for a walk. For them their favourite day of the week was a Sunday. it’s the only day they get to do nothing. So they get to hang out together. They just bought a house together, it’s their first home so I thought, what better chance than to capture that favourite day of theirs. And through that process I find it’s a really good way for them to learn a few tricks in front of the camera. I get to see how they organically move together. So come their wedding day we don’t have to do that, finding common ground on the day.
We’re already friends by then.
Okay. And so how do you manage that with your overseas weddings?
All of my travel weddings, I go for a week. So that we get a chance to just, hang out for a day. Figure out the logistics of what’s going on for the next couple of days. We get a chance to do some engagement portraits, the wedding, and if we have time we do some pictures after. Just a, a nice way to sort of wrap up, before I head off.
Jesse Hisco Photography’s Uniqueness
Great. What makes Jesse Hisco Photography unique?
There’s only one of me! (laughs). Photography’s one of those things that, it’s a teamwork thing. It’s 50% the bride and the groom, and 50% me. It’ll come down to the connection that we can create together. What comes out of that. It has to work two ways. They’ve got to be real, and I’ve got to be comfortable, I’ve got to be inspired. So, I think it’s really important that we, find the right couple for the right photographer.
How Jesse Hisco Evolved
Yeah okay. So where’s your passion come from? Where, how did you get in photography?
It was semi-unintentional. I had a security business, I was putting alarms in houses and thought that’s what I was going to do and then I just thought, you know, I’m not even fun. I just want to snowboard and take photos. So I thought, we’ll pack up everything and move to Canada for six-seven months and try it out, see how we go.
And I came home ten years later, I was a wedding photographer. How it evolved into that? I bought a camera cause I wanted to take good pictures of my holiday. And then I thought, gee I’m really enjoying this. And then I thought ok, well I’m gonna pursue photography, and I thought I’d be a landscape photographer, that seems, finally I get to see all these beautiful places, and, I just felt that the one thing that was always missing was…people.
People’s my jam. People’s what I love, people are the reason I do it. In fact, photography’s only really become a profession for me once I realised how much I could get from people. I helped out for a wedding photographer, in Canada. I did one with him and, then we did two, and then I did three, and then I thought, geez uh, I better get a website. And then…here I am, wedding photographer. (laughs) But for me, it really comes down to people. I would never be able to meet such a vast array of people, and get so much from them if I didn’t have photography as that medium. I think that’s my favourite, the people I get to meet.
Biggest Tip for Brides
When you are connecting those people, what’s your one biggest tip for brides?
BE YOURSELF! (laughs) There’s no one more better qualified for it, than you, being yourself. So many times when I’ve done the engagement session, and I mean it doesn’t take long a lot of the time, to break down what they think they’ve got to be in front of the camera, rather than just being themselves. I believe everybody, without exception, everybody photographs beautifully if they’re given the right environment, good light, good composition. Everybody deserves, at least one picture that when they look at it they feel themselves. They don’t look at it and go “Oh that’s me smiling in a field.” I think everybody deserves that, so when I get the opportunity to photograph people, that’s my aim, just to give them that one picture.
That’s really special.
(Nervous giggle) Uh, thanks!
Most Unique Request
So, what’s the most unusual request you’ve ever had?…
Unusual? I did a wedding up in a, far north Queensland, last year. And when the couple came to me they said okay we’re not going to be exchanging rings on the wedding day, instead we’re going to tattoo each other, (laughs), and then we’re gonna give free tattoos to the guests for the rest of the night. So they had a really good friend of theirs, Luke Bishop, he has a mobile tattoo parlour. So instead of exchanging rings, they tattooed each other, on their ring fingers, and then, if you’re up for it, which about 30 or 40 of their guests were, you could pick a tattoo out of a flash sheet and when your name got called throughout the dance floor night, they would call you up, and you’d jump in the van and you’d get a tattoo. Yeah, so that’s probably about my most well not unusual, but the most unique.
And I know you’ve, you said before you love travelling.
And you don’t like going to the same venues.
Yeah, well I prefer to not shoot the same venue more than once cause I believe everybody deserves a fully inspired photographer and if I need to shoot the same things over and over and over you go a little bit into auto-pilot, or you repeat photos that you’ve done with other couples, and, I don’t want to give them half of me, and I’m sure they don’t want photos that are copied off of other couples, so, for me I think it’s just important that I come in fully inspired.
What to Look for at a Venue
Okay. And so, when you go to a new venue what are the things that your hoping will be there?
The first thing I look for is good light. In fact the only thing I’m really looking for is good light. As long we’ve got good light, the couple’s there, and we get some genuine interaction, it really doesn’t matter where we are.
And what do you define by good light? What do you mean by that?
Well, I mean there’s certain lights that I look for, which are flattering on skin, I’m an ‘Available Light Photographer’ for the most part. There is a time and a place to use flash when we don’t have light, but for the most part I want things to be, really natural, I want to keep the process really fluid. So I look for things like back light, window light, shade, sky light, once the sun’s gone down we get a little bit of residual light left in the sky… they are the types of lights that really are more flattering, for my style of photography anyway.
Jesse’s Love Story
I’m a hopeless romantic and I’ve discovered over time that lots of us in the wedding industry are actually soppies. (laughs) Yeah (laughs) I agree with that. And, we’ve started interviewing brides and their now husbands to find out how they met, and what’s their love story. And we’re enjoying it so much we’re going to turn it into a book. What’s your love story?
Ah, well I guess you’ve got to wind back a little bit. So I’m 35 this year, and I’ve been with the same girl since uh, I was 11. Uh, so…
Yeah, we grew up in a, in primary school in Adelaide. We’ve travelled a lot we’ve been everywhere together…
So how did you meet? When you were in class together?
Primary school. In fact, I threw her favourite backpack, onto the basketball ring, and it got her attention, so yeah. (laughs) I can’t say it’s anything crazy romantic, cause I didn’t really know… I just wanted her attention, so
Fantastic. So you moved to Melbourne together, did you move to study, or?
I actually moved separately. When I was about 14 I moved over, to live with my dad. I was raised by my mom in Adelaide, and she had to finish private school back there before she was allowed to move over, with me. But that was about 15 years ago she moved across. Yep.
Fantastic. And you said before you have an amazing clients love story too..
Well I have one really beautiful one, Courtney and Terry, was a couple I met while I was setting up a styling shoot in, Canada about 7 years ago. What sort of style shoot was it? We had a wedding styling shoot for a magazine in the states…
I wanted a slightly more fine arts, or something that was a little more designer, focused. So I thought the only way to get it is to create it. So I got a dress, a ring, and I got a ranch, it was able to give us their location, and so we put the shoot together, but I still needed a couple. So I went to the closest town which is Banff National Park. I found the closest couple that looked like they were still in their honeymoon stage, it was actually very much honeymoon they’d only been together for three weeks.
So we put the shoot together, it went fantastic, it was on a ranch, right in the middle of the rocky mountains. It went to blog, went to magazine, which is great. And then, 7 years later, I get a phone call, from Courtney, the now to-be bride. And she says “You know that shoot you did 7 years ago? Well, we need you to do it again, but this time for real.”
(laughs) Fantastic. ‘
So New Years Eve we’re gonna be photographing their wedding in Margaret River.
In WA so, I’m really looking for to it. My partner Elena actually stood in as the stand-in-celebrant, so she’s going to be coming along to this wedding too.
Jesse’s Brunswick Studio
And today we’re in your new studio.
Here, in Brunswick, which is awesome
Duh-nuh! Thank you!
What prompted the move here, and, do you meet couples here? How your studio space work?
The space is really to get closer to the rest of my team, so I have videographer and photographer Andrew Hardy, and Raphael Rick, is also going to be in here. And then we’re filled with these beautiful makers, these painters, and, woodworkers, and metal workers, and we have a plant specialist in here. It’s just a really great environment. Momentum creates momentum. Being around creativity, you can’t help it but, be more creative.
Well thank you very much for having us Jesse, it’s been fantastic.
Aw, pleasure. My pleasure. Thanks for coming.
If you’d like more information, please have a look in the show notes.
Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for listening. I’m Sally Mussared. Remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away…