James Frost, 2015 RF Annual Winner, on Photographing Destination Weddings

August 18, 2016

By RF Staff

James Frost’s profession is wedding photography, but he could be just as easily identified as a professional world traveler. After shooting in his younger years with his photographer grandfather, Frost rekindled his passion for photography as an adult by traveling. A professional wedding photographer for the past five years (and named an Rf 30 Rising Star in 2014), he has shot a myriad of weddings in his current home base on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia, in addition to destination weddings in countries such as the U.S., England, Fiji, Iceland, Indonesia, New Zealand, Scotland and Spain.

Frost often faces challenges that, literally, come with the territory of being a destination wedding photographer. “My biggest challenge is always light, as every country is slightly different,” he says. To circumvent this issue, Frost shares that he will get to the destination a few days beforehand to shoot a bit of personal work. “This allows me to get used to the light and scout for locations.”

But while there are challenges, the rewards are certainly greater.“My favorite thing about destination weddings is shooting in incredible locations and always being presented with a new location,” Frost says. While he has had the pleasure of visiting exciting locations around the globe, his favorites, he says, have been Iceland, Scotland and New Zealand.

Photo © James Frost

James Frost won the Grand Prize in the Rangefinder Photography Annual Competition last year, for "Mountain Love," taken at Lake Wanaka in New Zealand. Photo © James Frost


It was his breathtaking series shot in New Zealand, featuring Olympic skier Jossi Wells and wife, Hannah, that garnered him the grand-prize win in the first Rangefinder Photography Annual competition. Frost’s winning images feature various moments with the newlyweds set against stunning mountain views of Lake Wanaka, New Zealand. One of the images from the series is a personal favorite of Frost’s: Shot from behind, the image shows the bride and groom, hand in hand, looking out over the surreal snow-capped mountains as the bride holds her bouquet in the air. “I wanted to show the grand scale of the landscape and the excitement we were all experiencing,” Frost explains.

It is moments like these that the wedding photographer attributes to consistently shooting personal work. “Shooting personal work really keeps me inspired, as it takes my mind away from weddings. I’m always learning new stuff shooting in different light and locations,” he says. “When I shoot weddings, I’m trying new stuff out that I’ve learned shooting personal portraits and landscapes.”

When discussing his overall aesthetic, Frost notes that his approach to photography is photojournalistic. “I work very discreetly,” he says. “My aim is to create honest storytelling images that are timeless and creative. I have learned not to think stuff over too much, and that if you have an idea just go for it. If it does not work out, then at least you tried.”

This year's Rf Annual competition—comprising wedding, portrait, fashion, composite, fine-art and filmmaking—is open through September 1, 2016. The Grand-prize winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize, a $500 gift card to B&H and a two-page profile in Rangefinder. All winners will be published in the magazine's November issue, and one select winner will get the cover.