Keepers of Our Craft: Bri Woolnough, Photographer

As part of our Mixed Six Cider and Mixed Six Seltzer launch celebration, we’ve teamed up with six creators across a range of industries who inspire us every day. We wanted to know more about them and their craft, what inspires them and how they make space in their busy lives to connect with the people who matter most to them. Let us introduce you to Bri Woolnough.

Bri is an incredibly talented photographer who has honed her craft over many years while shooting across the country, exploring all corners of New Zealand and sharing her adventures along the way. We've been lucky to work with Bri a number of times and really value her commitment to her craft and her adventurous spirit. She's also committed to living a kind and conscious life, and we appreciate and share her commitment to sustainable living.

Read on to learn a bit more about Bri, what inspires her and how she came to know Zeffer! And if you'd like to follow her adventures too (we highly recommend it!), you can find her on Instagram at @briwoolnough.

We’ve been very lucky enough to work with you a bit over the past year or so, so we feel like we know your photography a little now too! But we’d love to hear more about how you got into photography in the first place. Can you tell us what your path looked like and how you got started?

Photography was an interest of mine that sparked when I was a kid, a couple of disposable 35mm film cameras and my summers were spent capturing memories. Through college and the years that followed afterwards, I picked up a camera again; booking myself on photography workshops which fuelled my passion for adventure, a trip to the Kaimanawa Ranges to photograph wild horses, and flying solo to the South Island for the first time to capture the landscapes around Mt Cook. The adventures involved with photography is what started it all, the places it takes you, the people you meet along the way who share the same stoke for it all as I do. Somewhere amongst all the adventures I taught myself about photography and how it can become a business, though I’m self-taught, I did not do this alone, and I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by an incredible group of friends and family who encourage me to be the best version of myself and I’m forever learning more.

At Zeffer, we try to be keepers of our craft and champions of innovation. Do you relate to this? Or do you feel more strongly aligned to one or the other - keeping tradition alive or pushing to innovate in your craft?

I absolutely relate to this. Photography started off as a tool for us to document something, a piece of history. A face, a memory, an event. It was a physical snapshot of a moment in time. I think it’s so important to capture the story in it’s most natural and rawest state, remembering the moment for what it was.

With my photography, my favourite part is capturing the in between moments, life unfolding before your eyes with no interference, the smiles, the laughter and the tears. The perfectly timed once in a lifetime photos and the unplanned ones that turn out to be your favourite. In saying that though, there’s a beauty in the spontaneous and there’s something incredible and rewarding about an idea for a photo that can be brought to life. Understanding both, keeping true to tradition and seeking out new ideas, working alongside each other to create something incredible. It’s about using the knowledge and tools from the past to bring to life new opportunities and challenge the way we have always done things. We are constantly growing and pushing the limits of what we thought was possible, and photos have so much more meaning now, and entire stories and ideas that make the world think can be seen in a single photograph.

We love following your adventures online and all the amazing places you travel with Sunny! Any favourite spots or places that inspire you in your craft?

If I had to pick between the Mountains and the Ocean, I honestly couldn’t. Both of these places inspire me in a million ways. Sunny and I have parked up in some beautiful places for the night and I’ve been fortunate enough to see a whole lot of New Zealand. The places that hold a special place in my heart are The Catlins, Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, and my old home beaches Te Arai and Forestry. When you see a snow capped mountain, or perfect off-shore waves, you notice the magic that is constantly around us, and that inspires an unstoppable happiness inside.

When you’re not busy working as a photographer, how do you like to spend time with those who matter most to you?

When I lived in the North, surfing was my go to, I never feel more present with myself than when I’m out in the ocean. I have an incredible group of friends and as often as we can we are out exploring and adventuring. Camping trips are common, hiking and more recently 4wding missions are how we spend our days and nights. Since moving to Wanaka I’ve been trying to get out at least once a week and find somewhere new. I think I’m my happiest when I’m on a road trip with a group of friends, sitting around a campfire at night, looking up at the stars and yarning all night. I live for the moments like this.

Do you have any words of wisdom for other aspiring photographers looking to get started?

Just get out there and find what you enjoy most! Message other creatives to go out and shoot, be a shameless self promoter of yourself, have fun with it and don’t compare yourself too much to others. Find inspiration from them but remember you are unique, you have your own style and your magic will shine through when you are completely true to yourself and your art. Things take time, so everyday just work on being a better version of YOU and you will never stop growing.

What would be your favourite product from the Zeffer range?

I remember a few years ago, my best friend and I were sitting at a restaurant in Matakana and ordered an Apple Crumble Cider, had never heard of Zeffer before but that was the best thing I had ever tasted. I said to my friend “I wanna work with these guys one day.” And I’m so glad it happened. Have managed to turn all my friends into Zeffer loving fanatics and the Apple Crumble will forever be my fav. Though I absolutely love the Alcoholic Ginger Beer too! In the past year or so, these ciders have played a huge part in the adventures I’ve been on, shared amongst friends in insane places; the reward after the gruelling hike, and it tastes just that much better amongst good company and when you’ve worked hard to enjoy it.