“Every couple shows love in such a different way,” says Sophie Berard, and learning how a couple expresses that love is a key part of her process. Getting together with couples before the shoot helps her “connect with what people value,” which enables her to “hone on the little moments of the day that make up the big picture,” she explains.

Her style, Berard says, is “documentary with a hint of cinema…. Heavy on observation and minimal interference.” The exception, of course, are portraits, for which Berard leans into a traditional approach, using a vintage Minolta and black-and-white film. She also does a bit of directing for her getting-ready images, guiding her couples toward the best lighting.

Berard developed her understanding of dramatic light while photographing mostly indoor weddings in New Orleans, and since her move to San Francisco, she says, nature and natural light have influenced her style as she’s developed “a fuller understanding of my surroundings and how I can manipulate them…without having to actually control the lighting.”

Check out the official announcement of this year’s 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography, along with the editors’ observations on the list of 2020.