Its hard to me to think back to before I was a wedding photographer. It just feel so natural to be in this position and it is a job that I now know is just one part of what I have been called to do in my life.
After finishing school, I floated from idea to idea trying to find my purpose and in the process I started to walk along paths that I now know were temporary side routes to set me up for what I was meant to do with my life. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
I started a secretarial traineeship at 19 and those skills now help me to manage my finances and the administration of my business. At 21 I worked as an Administration Assistant with a heavy focus on customer service which allowed me to connect with people from all walks of life. At 24 I worked as a Personal Assistant with one of the top retailers in the country and learned from the best about branding, marketing and merchandising.
In hindsight I can see that all of these jobs helped to shape me so when I did find photography at 28, I already had skills in business and could spend more time focussing on my craft. Being a self-taught photographer, I can see how important this freedom was now.
As I am the thick of wedding season in a haze of albums and editing as I create beautiful photography collections for my clients, I just wanted to take a moment to remember why I feel this is my calling.
I am a wedding photographer because it makes my heart beat faster and my eyes wander.
I am a wedding photographer because I love people and am curious about their lives.
I am a wedding photographer because I am fascinated with how light bounces of the earth and filters through the clouds and trees.
I am a wedding photographer because I love love and I believe I was born to bring attention to the beauty to the world and the beauty in our relationships. It is a blessing in my life to be able to do this and as I hand over my work to my clients, I hope that they feel it as a blessing in their lives too.
Whatever path you’re currently on; don’t be discouraged if its not where you thought you should be. You may also be on a side route, gathering skills or building relationships to help you when you do discover what your purpose in life is too. Once you get there, you’ll be all the more prepared and ready to pursue your passion with all you have.
Flowers by Natural Art Flowers // Gown by Pallas Couture
Our little girls. This month, they both turn 10 years old with Lulu’s birthday on 16th January and Lily’s birthday is on Monday, 26th January. 10 years old which is of course, 70 years old in dog years which sounds much too old, much too soon.
Lily is obsessed with fetching balls and being with her soft toys. She always has a toy on rotation that she cuddles up to and nurses on and at the moment it is a tiger with long legs that drags between her body as she carries it around the house and into the back yard, looking for a patch of sun to lay in for the afternoon. She trots rather than strolls – always getting to her destination as fast as possible.
She is a people dog and will magically appear on your lap without any invitation. I can remember when Lily had her 2nd eye operation to avoid blindness in one eye and with a rather large cone on her head she couldn’t get around easily at all. As I lay in bed that night I heard her crying – desperate for the closeness of someone to ease her discomfort. I slept on the couch that night, holding her tight with the cone uncomfortably between us.
Lulu on the other hand is the quintessential lap dog that prefers to lounge and sleep. She is my shadow that will follow me from room to room. She will watch me leave the house through the office window and still be there at the window when I return, even hours later. She is my constant companion who meanders through the garden slowly – sniffing, licking and watching what is happening around her at a leisurely pace. She is soft and fluffy to touch, loves her ears being scratched and snores gently as she sleeps. She will also miraculously appear the moment you open the fridge or the pantry, hoping for a small morsel to tide her over until dinner.
Unfortunately, Lulu has been very unwell for the past 6 months and her presence in my life is something I’ve been thinking of for some time and I am not sure how much longer she will be with us. Her heart is enlarged and struggling to pump enough oxygen through her body and last November she collapsed after our return from Noosa. I took her to the vet that afternoon and held her close as I cried when the vet explained her health problems that were not curable but hopefully treatable. She is a bit of a time bomb that could go off at any time so I am trying to remember to cuddle and tell her how much I love her every day.
Not long after she collapsed I realised that I had been putting off getting a portrait session with our family. I have plenty of photos of my family and the dogs, but of course none with me in them so I contacted my friend, Jemma Keech, who was kind enough to fit us in. I didn’t realise at the time that the dogs would be turning 10 years old so soon after so it has turned out to be a happy coincidence to celebrate this moment in our lives.
We plan on spending our Australia Day playing fetch with Lily in the pool and giving Lulu lots of treats and sharing a peanut butter doggie cake in the afternoon to celebrate them and our little family. Happy birthday girls!
Photos by Jemma Keech
Towards the end of 2014 I wanted to do something to thank my clients. Something to say I am truly grateful for their trust but in a way that would also be a symbol of this incredibly unique time in their lives. Whether they are newlyweds from 2014 or their wedding is coming in 2015, I wanted to create a symbol of romance just for them.
My light bulb moment came when I was walking through the shopping centre and saw the most amazing coral peonies for sale. By the time I got home, I had decided I wanted to photograph them individually, as each was simply beautiful in their own way and I envisaged the end result as a limited edition signed print to send to my clients and a handful of my favourite vendors that supported me through 2014. It was such a great morning taking my time to photograph them slowly and quietly, thinking about the angles, the light and my choice of lens and settings. I set myself a limit of 2 shots per flower to make myself truly slow down and be deliberate in pressing the shutter.
I began with a Macro 100mm 2.8 lens on my Canon MK III camera body assembled on a tripod to be able to get a very small aperture (f32) to retain as much detail as possible in the flowers. After a short while I decided to try the 50mm 1.2 lens instead and found a look that I preferred at f/16, 1/4sec, ISO 200 (which all of these photographs are shot at).
Then came the time to edit. I can’t tell you how hard this was as each one spoke to me in some way and but I selected 1 of each flower and edited them in Lightroom with Totally Rad Actions Replichrome Fuji Pro 160S preset. Then I exported the JPGS and I needed to decide on which image would be “the one”. I then adjusted the levels and finishing touches with RadLab in Photoshop to get it perfect for printing.
For a while I fell in love with the flowers in black and white as you can see here. I loved the depth and texture that going monochrome gave the flowers but tried to stay true to my initial vision of a coloured print.
Ultimately I chose Peony #5 (below) and had 60 limited edition prints made by Neve Albums. The photograph was printed on Hahnemuhle 300GSM 100% cotton rag paper at 5×7″ which I then signed and mailed with a personal note. I have loved receiving emails and text messages from my clients of them showing me their new piece of artwork in their homes.
I loved the whole process of creating a piece of art and when you see the print in person it is easy to mistake it for a watercolour print rather than a photograph. I hope to do more personal projects like this through 2015 and this project certainly got my creative juices flowing.