Mar 15, 2021

I’ve just dropped a free 52-week email course. Pro curiosity, anti-hustle, it’s one insightful morsel per week, and is a condensed, easily-consumable version of all of the good bits of my talks over the years on everything from creativity, to business and marketing.

Simple .

You can get it here:

Free wedding photography workshop

Dec 19, 2020

Since Covid has put a stop to conferences and wedding photography workshops, I wanted to give a little back, and so have created a free wedding photography workshop in an online course format. This contains around 7 years of my workshop content (head over here for wedding photography podcasts), drawn from an award-winning background in design and photography, and I have separated the best bits into easy to consume, bite-sized chunks, and released them on Instagram as a 100 frame wedding photography workshop.

To see these for free, scroll further down.

Free wedding photography mentoring Australia: sign up for my free 12 month wedding photography online course

STRANGE ATLAS – anti-hustle wedding photography workshop: delivered to your inbox, every Monday morning. Sign up for free

Who this wedding photography online course is for:

  • Photographers looking for wedding photography courses online
  • Folks looking for wedding photography education that’s a little bit different
  • Wedding photographers who want some simple education in a format that isn’t overwhelming
free wedding photography workshop

The free wedding photography workshop is divided into three main areas.

  1. Creativity
  2. Community
  3. Business
  4. Editing
  5. light

Each of the 100 frames speaks to one of those. The current climate of workshops I found doesn’t appeal to my style of learning personally, and it made me wonder if other folks out there were the same, so I tried to create something to fill that gap!

I remember thumbing through MAD magazine, comics, and encyclopaedias, and found that a curiosity-driven approach to learning, where you can open a book up at any page and take something away without feeling like we have to complete a full course: the best way to learn for me, personally.

So that’s how i’ve crafted this.

I want this to be useful no matter what page it’s opened up at: rather than me dictating the learning from front to back (there’s plenty of brilliant other options for that out there), so this is something where I hope there’s a nifty surprise useful to wedding photography, and photography in general wherever it’s opened.

The workshop is available from frame 35 onwards on my instagram, and as new ones are uploaded, old ones will be removed, so follow along and catch them (save, screen grab) them while they’re available.

At the end, i’ll be releasing them all, along with a set of bonus annotations totalling 400+ pages. It’s the exact wedding photography workshop resource I would have liked starting out, and has been tailored for both new photographers and working professionals 5+ years in the game.

To see the free wedding photography workshop:

Follow it on Instagram while it’s there.
Sign up for the School of Strange, 52 weeks of free wedding photography mentoring, for access to the full 400+ pages.

Some conferences i’ve had the brilliant honour of sharing this at:

Conferences and retreats this workshop content has previously been shared at:

Wedding photography conference: Way Up North, Rome, Italy

Wedding photography retreat: RURAL Workshop Barcelona, Spain

Wedding photography conference: BODAF Portugal

Wedding photography conference: Midwest Gathering Detroit USA

Wedding Photography Workshops Melbourne

Transplant workshop at Tanglewood Estate

It was such a treat sharing with photographers such as Briggsy, Ashleigh Haase Photography, Sarah Tee, and even inter-staters like Cassie Sullivan at the most beautiful wedding venue in Victoria. Here’s a mugshot of the last ones left standing after it was all done. Tanglewood Estate hosted “Transplant”, my one-day workshop on alternative-thinking strategies for wedding photographers, with a day full of hands-on techniques and follow-up mentoring for wedding photographers. This format is one I have delivered over a period of 5 years all over the world.

Structure of the wedding photography workshop

The day began with roundtables, building community through sharing everyones own current journeys, pain-points and joy-sparkers from the job. Many of the points were known ahead of time as the onboarding process ensured everyone felt heard as an individual and was able to share these things before the day. We then moved into a day of interactive content and thinking strategies and follow up strategies to action the content.

I’ve always had a “eyes at the back of the classroom” approach. I know what it’s like to be sitting at the edges, a little intimidated by the scale of a room and structured offering, and ending up feeling like you weren’t seen. For this reason these workshops have been anti-clique, and pro embracing new faces. So it’s been such a treat to advocate this way in my own courses, and then see students such as Ashleigh Haase (also an attendee of Story and Light in NZ, co-facilitated with Bayly & Moore – it’s incredibly flattering to see folks come along for the ride to more than one workshop) move on to take their learnings from Transplant into their own education offerings, sharing adaptations of Transplant into their own education community.

I don’t look at others work anymore, I’m finding inspiration from lots of things I learnt whilst at the workshop.

Ashleigh Haase Photography, who since Transplant has launched Ashleigh Haase Education!

Transplant wedding photography workshop itinerary

1 – Participant introduction and journey sharing
2 – Context-setting: creative thinking holistically rather than wedding industry specific
3 – Don’t do what you love: servitude and people mindset
4 – Challenging biases: fundamental mindset strategies 101
5 – Bias challenging: 3 specific techniques, and applying them to a small business
6 – Storytelling is dead (also the title of my Los Angeles Field Trip talk)
7 – Anti-storytelling techniques
8 – Separating yourself through community and branding
9 – Practical magic: separating yourself through the art of image-making
10 – An analogue primer: introduction to the world of analogue
11 – From the ad-agency, with love: simplified business and marketing techniques
12 – Actionable follow up strategies

Free Wedding Photography Workshop Melbourne
Briggsy, Cassie, Ashleigh Haase and the rest of the gang left at sunset.

Plus Image n’ Tech Athens, Greece, ABMS New Zealand.

The best wedding photography podcasts

Nov 12, 2020

Starting a wedding photography business involves long hours, and a dash (or twenty) of grit. It’s easy for folks to see the highlight reels on instagram, without considering the enormous work that goes on around it that’s never seen. Pinterest strategies, SEO, editing, outsourcing, upskilling, community building, software and harware testing, accounting, systems… all of the things inherent with running a small business. For us, just a few takeaways from some brilliant wedding photography podcasts have made such a difference in easing the load in any given area of our business.

We’ve been fortunate to be a guest on a bunch of brilliant Wedding Photography Podcasts, which has let us share knowledge back to the community after 8 years of photographing ceremony all around the world, and here’s a selection of them. Thanks to these incredible podcast hosts for supporting both the photography and the wedding photography industry with these diverse and open Wedding Photography Podcasts. More to be added here soon. Or not?

The top 20 podcasts for wedding photographers

NumberPodcast titlePodcast styleWhere to listen
1Make your Break podcastCreative BusinessListen to podcast
2Getting Candid podcastCreativeListen to podcast
3Celebranting podcastWedding industryListen to podcast
4TPJ Wedding photography podcastPhotographyListen to podcast
5Up and Becoming podcastPhotographyListen to podcast
6LXS Wedding photography podcastCreativeListen to podcast
7Baby Got Backend podcastSmall BusinessListen to podcast
8What do you Make podcastCreativeListen to podcast
9Way up North podcastWedding PhotographyListen to podcast
10Six Figure Photography podcastWedding PhotographyListen to podcast
11Anchored Business Podcast podcastBusinessListen to podcast
12SEO for Photographers podcastWedding Photographer SEOListen to podcast
13Bokeh podcastPhotographyListen to podcast
14Flo Insider Wedding podcastWedding IndustryListen to podcast
15The Epic Wedding PodcastWedding PhotographyListen to podcast
16The Bearded Tog podcastCreativeListen to podcast
17Wedding Photo Unite podcastWedding PhotographyListen to podcast
18Building a Storybrand podcastCreative BrandingListen to podcast
19Business Bites podcastBusinessListen to podcast
20Perpetual Traffic podcastSEOListen to podcast
Wedding Photography Podcast Make Your Break Jai Long Briars Atlas

1. Wedding Photography Podcast: Make Your Break

Make Your Break is the brilliant wedding photography podcast from local scallywag Jai Long. We focus on not paying lip service to turning negatives into positives, but actual ways we can do it in our creative business.

The best wedding photography podcasts, feature image for Getting Candid podcast

2. Photography Podcast: Getting Candid

Mason runs Getting Candid, and brings his hilarious and engaging natural game to his own wedding photography podcast. In and around heavy metal and all manner of ridiculous things, we had a beautifully deep chat about all things photography.

Wedding podcast image of a couple smoking for wedding photography podcasts

3. Wedding Podcast: Celebranting

Anthony Cribbes, Melbourne Wedding Celebrant, founder of Celebrant Easy and The Celebrant A-List, and co-founder of Melbourne wedding venue The Altar Electric, somehow found time around these things to have me on his Wedding Photography Podcast, chatting all things wedding industry.

Wedding Photography Podcast photo of a couple in Melbourne by Briars Atlas

4. Photography Podcast: TPJ

A chat with Agustin Sanchez of The Photographic Journal. The Photographic Journal is one of the most brilliant showcases of emerging photographers and bodies of work, so it was an extra thrill to have a chat with eminent curator and founder Agustin. On his Photography Podcast we chat a little about weddings, but more about general approach, personal work, and my trip to Antarctica with Homeward Bound Projects.

Wedding Photography Tips Podcast

5. Wedding Photography Tips Podcast: Up and Becoming

Kurt and I linked up for his Wedding Photography Podcast Up and Becoming. Kurt is a brilliant photographer in New South Wales, and his podcast focuses on Wedding Photographers journeys, challenges, wins, fails, and everything in between. We talk about sharing your work authentically in an ever more saturated industry, and how lifting others up is always the key. Thanks Kurt for having me!

6. Wedding Photography Podcast: LXS

What do you say about Bjorn Lexius? He’s an award-winning photographer out of Hamburg, and we first met at Way Up North years ago, where he somehow was able to pull some meaning from my talk on a stage in Rome after several sleepless timezone crossings. In his Wedding Photography Podcast, we chat about disconnecting ourselves from our brands in an industry where there’s a temptation to “be” our brand.

7. Wedding Photography Podcast: Baby Got Backend

Morgan Roberts. Dark lord, raconteur, and Wedding Photographer. Where there are lots of Wedding Photography Podcasts out there chatting all things creativity, Morgan, in his usual way, bucks the trend and tackles all things dry and challenging: in this case, the backend of business. We discuss the merits of divisive, polarising branding, industry homogeny and more. Morgan also joined me for my Brisbane workshop – see a little preview of what my workshops are like:

8. Photography Podcast: What Do You Make

Another one with old mate Morgan, except this time from a few years ago. In this one, we scratch that esoteric itch, and manage to almost entirely avoid talking about photography.

Wedding Photography Podcast

9. Wedding Photography Podcast: Way Up North

One from way back, I caught up with the crew at Way Up North on their Wedding Photography Podcast, ahead of my appearance at the Rome edition of their conference series. What a treat. These marvels are doing great stuff for our space – that is, the nostalgia space. Thanks Cole and Jakob for having me.

Watch me do a live wedding photo edit with the founder of the international competition, IWPOTY

Sign up for the free 12 month wedding photography e-workshop: 52 Strange Invitations

Find out more about film wedding photography

Film wedding photographer insights here.

What’s the best wedding photography podcast?

The best wedding photography podcast is Baby Got Backend and Make Your Break, which each focus on a cross section of business and creativity

Where do I find your workshops?

Head over here for a free wedding photography workshop.

how to take dark and moody wedding photos

Aug 8, 2020

How to take dark and moody wedding photos: a complete guide (apparently this is what i’m supposed to write, but more like my high-school exam output, it’s probably more the “enough to get by, hopefully” guide).

Something i’ve always loved to do is find ways of photographing things in a “moody” way no matter what the scenario. Usually though at a wedding, these sort of images end up representing about 10-15% of what the couple receives, because the “dark and moody” stuff in reality only ever represents a small percentage of a wedding day.

Typically it’s areas like moody preparation rooms, or sometimes indoor receptions with natural light, that sort of thing. Regardless, they’re super fun to make, and nice to celebrate.

Why make dark and moody wedding images?

Weddings are joyous! Full of fun and confetti! Why would we try and imprint some Tarantino, Wes-Anderson-esque painterly vibes into something supposed to be uplifting? WELL.

What qualifies as a moody feel can be just as uplifting as the bright stuff in it’s own way, and it can channel a whole lot of other ways of connecting to the set of images that we deliver. My job is to generate the widest amount of emotional connection with the images as I can. That means tapping not just into the bright stuff, but also providing some images that nudge our brain into another direction, because all of those moments and moods are present somewhere on a wedding day – and we might as well show them for what they are.

So, my approach to dark and moody: photograph things as they are!

If something feels dark and moody, I want to photograph it that way, and edit it in such a way that the qualities of that feeling are brought out in the best way. If someone tosses charcoal-coloured petals in Gollums cave lit by a line of candles, then it’ll be moody. But if theres a bright petal-toss with colours and glory, that should also end up looking as it felt.

In this shot above, two single points of natural light in a bathroom made for a beautiful soft vibe, and the real thrill is making that come alive in the image.

If changing an image, change it gently: see this post about editing.

I wanted to use a photo shoot with Dan and Dre as a main example, who flew down from their hometown of Canberra to have a play over a couple of days for their couples shoot, in some of my favourite locations in Victoria (see these other favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations) as an example.

Before we crack on, this thread on Reddit is worth a look, as it highlights a common misunderstanding of what dark and moody is, and how it can be interpreted as a trend, which is a bit of a misnomer that we can say about anything, and kinda implies there’s a “right” or authentic way of making an image. If we go deep into the real esoterics of photography, pretty quickly we discover there is no such thing as authentic capture: not only that, but the rich, hazy, beautiful colours of overexposed Fuji film for example, look nothing like reality: just a (really pleasant) interpretation of it.

So everything is a trend, and everything isn’t: the key is to nail the vibe in a really careful way, sympathetic to point #2 below: we want our folks in the image to love themselves in it.

How our eyes interpret light, differs from the person next to us. How theirs interpret light and mood, differs wildly from insects and other animals. photography is an act of interpretation, not a way of “taking something as it is”.

The images in here mostly use chiaroscuro, and open-shade.

My tips for creating dark and moody wedding photos

1. Find chiaroscuro light.

This is the MVP (most valuable player) of the dark and moody vibe. Chiaroscuro is, to put it simply, highly contrasted light and shade. This can be found in the most unlikely of situations. Hot tip – anywhere that you have a room with a small window – the smaller the better – you’ve got yourself an instant kit for Chiaroscuro light.

Expose for the highlights, and you’re good to go.

2. Skin is king.

Keep orange out, and flattering tones in. Per the Reddit thread up above, we should probably be more worried about making our couples look like they’ve swallowed a stick of uranium or a bag of carrots than them being too moody necessarily: this means that flattering tones and flattering light are a higher priority than whether the image is too light or dark per-se.

A great way to stay on top of this is to constantly reference where we got colour tones “right”. And for me, that’s any of either cinema, or great classic photo books with anyone shooting on film.

Calibrating our eyes to the skin tones of what we see on Instagram is a bad, bad idea.

Slim Aarons on the other hand? Holy basted badger-balls.

3. Keep RGB curve tweaks to a minimum, because the tool itself in Lightroom sucks

We want to have full, or nearly-full, black and white point in your image to give us the most room to play with in nailing a moody vibe in post-production.

This means that our image has a full range of information in it (as much detail in the darks and lights as possible), that translates to a detailed print. Any adjustments we make to the RGB “S” curve in Photoshop or Lightroom, immediately throws away information in the image: so tampering with it has to be a delicate exercise.

There was a bit of a movement towards really flat shadows some years ago, but my experience with Lightroom these days is that it turns an image to mud, really quick. If the aim is to get dusty shadows or muted highlights, generally that’s better achieved by instead selectively dodging and burning: this way you can raise or lower their brightness, while still keeping as much pure shadow and pure highlight in the image where it makes sense for them to be.

So using the RGB curve graph is not the best way to raise shadows or mute highlights, as it’s not a well developed tool inside Lightroom at all (maybe it will be better in later years to come – Capture One’s version works much better). A good way to think about why we don’t use RGB curves to mute our lights or darks is to imagine trying to cook a souffle in a crematorium.

By keeping the shadows rich, we can selectively dodge them out later while maintaining a solid black-point that will print out beautifully.

4. Spot clean the image

Dark and moody wedding images, if they’re shot in lower-light situations, inherently have a lot less highlights in them. That means the highlights that are there, stick out a little louder than they would otherwise, and can quickly dilute the power of an image.

This means that in order to have a beautifully powerful dark and moody image, we need to exercise a high level of care in spotting our image, and dodging and burning it: you can read about both of those in this post about photo editing.

Spotting is the gentle art of removing unnecessary bits of information in the image – this could be a rogue hi-light or a rogue fly sat perfectly in the middle of someones forehead.

The aim is to clear out unnecessary hi-lights. “If it isn’t lifting it up, it’s bringing it down”.

Here’s why this is also important:

Photography isn’t the art of freezing reality, it’s the art of telling a story through exclusion. Editing an image in photoshop (delicately) is no different than selectively framing things out in the moment. The unique thing about photography is that it “bakes in” things in the frame that our eyes wouldn’t process if it were, say, video. This means that in order to be MORE #authentic, we actually need to remove these things, as they’re causing an unnatural distraction to us and hold our attention more than they did in reality once they’ve been freezed into an image.

I know this sounds incredibly wanky, but spotting is the gentle art of bringing back the purity of how a moment actually felt, by fixing the things our cameras unnecessarily froze into the frame.

Here’s an extreme example first, and a not-so-extreme example second.

Before and After - Newport Substation

5. Take notes from painters

Gain a wide vocabulary in painterly tones, from the source. My two favourite painters are Jeffrey Smart and Zdiszlaw Beksinski – and in a roundabout way they inform my love of moody tones. Dig into some books and find some painters you align with.

Some more of my favourite dark and moody wedding photos.

dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos
dark and moody wedding photos

Learn more about creating dark and moody wedding photos.

Follow my free wedding photography workshop series, or make an enquiry about joining my mentor program.

International wedding photographer of the year

Jul 16, 2020

We all go into this strange old gig for different reasons, but never on that list is “to win xx award” (i’m pretty sure my couples don’t really give a shit about that stuff and nor should they). Regardless, it’s nice to be recognised by your peers as international wedding photographer of the year, and winning awards does help for visibility and for sharing of educational content that I enjoy putting a tonne of energy into.

So at the risk of compromising my desire to be a recluse artiste gnawing on my own fermenting dreadlocks (it turns out that celebrating the wins and actually talking about them is a necessary part of the capitalist empire we all find ourselves in), I thought i’d share some images judged at the International wedding photographer of the year (IWPOTY) competition last year, the same competition that i’m also totally rapt to be judging this year. It’s a ripper competition and has been doing tonnes to rebrand an industry that thanks to being associated with cheese and all that jazz, is generally the first thing folks think of when they muse “I wonder where all photographers go to die”.

For me it’s meant the most stupidly wild quests all over the planet, making stuff that matters for real humans.

Winning the analogue category is particularly special to me as i’ve got a huge love for being a film wedding photographer, and as far as IWPOTY, have a tonne of respect for their judging panel and founder Luke, so it means a lot to be selected.

With this win I thought i’d share a selection of my entries across all the other categories, and I was fortunate to place as a finalist in nearly all categories.

Grandstand, grandstand, look at me me me, here we go.

Actually though, a special shoutout to all my bloody awesome couples who make this happen and (pre covid 19 anyhow) make me well aware i’ve stumbled onto one of the most bloody wonderful jobs on the planet.

I also love that I can look at all of these images and say they were made for them, and not for me, and that’s where it all starts and ends.

international wedding photographer of the year awards
international wedding photographer of the year awards
international wedding photographer of the year awards
international wedding photographer of the year awards
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
international wedding photographer of the year
Blue Mountains Wedding photographer – Zoe and Adam

Thanks again to all the judges, and the IWPOTY founder Luke Simon who puts so much time and personal energy into making this happen, and sifting through the thousands of entries submitted from over 50 countries around the world.

Hire me for your wedding here.

Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne

Jul 13, 2020

Unique Melbourne Wedding Photo Locations: or informally, a list of the best Melbourne wedding photo locations that aren’t already on every other list out there.

  1. Melbourne Treasury building
  2. Treasury Gardens
  3. Collingwood back streets
  4. Carlton Alleys
  5. Thornbury
  6. Northcote Town Hall
  7. That Fonda wall
  8. Portland Lane
  9. South Melbourne
  10. Abbotsford
  11. Fitzroy Gardens
  12. Carlton Gardens
  13. Historic Prahran
  14. Footscray
  15. Best Melbourne Alleys

Here’s a rundown of some of our favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations, organised by the mood they give, to show you what brilliant variety we have in our own inner city for weddings: from gritty industrial, all the way over to the most incredible nature within a stones throw of the Melbourne CBD. Included in all locations are Google Maps pins.

These are our top 15 Melbourne wedding photo locations (I have plenty more hidden gems, but you’ll just have to head out on foot and go exploring yourself to find them, or book us as your wedding photographer).

Be sure to tune in for the very last one – some of our favourite little slices of Melbourne alleys. If you’re getting hitched in the city or inner city or eloping in Melbourne, I know these like the back of our hand as well as a whole bunch of wonderful other little known spots.

These are somewhat more popular locations, but when looking at where to take photos in Melbourne i’ve found they’re ripe for putting a unique spin on each and every time, especially if you’re planning a Melbourne elopement.

1. Classic Melbourne Wedding photo location: Melbourne Treasury Building

Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Natasha and Jacobs Melbourne Registry Wedding
Melbourne wedding photo locations
Melbourne wedding photo locations
Melbourne City wedding photo locations
Melbourne City wedding photo locations
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Melbourne City wedding photo locations
Melbourne City wedding photo locations

The Melbourne Treasury building is the go-to photo location for registry weddings in Melbourne, and one of the most iconic spots for Melbourne wedding photos. With its incredible historic design and layout, it’s one of the best places to take photos in Melbourne. What people often miss though, is that the immediate surrounds of the building have the most brilliant wedding photo locations, perfect for rain-shielded photo sessions, sunset sessions, all of it. If you look closely, you can see some of these at this Fortyfive Downstairs wedding.

I take so many couples around here, and it can’t be overstated how beautifully soft and moody the light is around the structures themselves. Head down Treasury place and explore, it’s all an easy and quick whip around, especially if you’re then heading south to somewhere like The Deck at Circa.

Melbourne Treasury Building photo location on Google Maps.

2. Heritage Melbourne wedding location: Treasury Gardens

Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Melbourne Registry wedding – ft Tash and Jacob.

Just west of the Melbourne Treasury building, is the Treasury gardens. While the gardens themselves are beautiful and lush, what I personally prefer from this photo location is to use them as context against the treasury buildings behind it.

Walk about halfway up Treasury Place, head down the paths inserting themselves into the gardens, turn around, and you’ve got beautiful lush greenery depending on the time of year, with the incredible heritage buildings right behind you as the backdrop.

Treasury Gardens Photo Location Google Maps pin.

3. Urban wedding photo location: Collingwood back streets

Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Find this Collingwood photo location on Google Maps here.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Find this turquoise photo location in Collingwood on Google Maps here.
Collingwood wedding photo locations
Find this corner on Google Maps here. / Tim and Alix at Rupert on Rupert.
Collingwood wedding photo locations
Find this Collingwood Wedding Photo Location on Google Maps here.
Collingwood wedding photo locations
Find this Collingwood photo location on Google Maps here.
Collingwood wedding photo locations
Find this Collingwood wedding photo location on Google Maps here.
Fitzroy wedding photo locations
Find this Collingwood wedding photo location on Google Maps here.
Fitzroy wedding photo locations
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Find this Collingwood building here on Google Maps.

The Collingwood and Fitzroy back streets contain some of our earliest historic houses, since they were the first suburbs inhabited when Melbourne did, well, what we did back then, clear everything and everyone in sight and build lots of stuff.

As a result some of the architecture in the surrounding streets is particularly cute and interesting in equal measure, and make for some of the best Melbourne wedding photo locations.

As a general area, this is a personal favourite and one of the best places to take photos in Melbourne and a go-to for all the best wedding photographers doing their thing.

4. Historical wedding photo location: University Lane Carlton

Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Carlton wedding photo locations
Carlton wedding photo locations

Something more of a sleeper wedding photo location (ie: more classic, and not immediately striking), Carlton has some understated alleys that are beautiful soft backdrops without fighting the rest of the frame, and an ideal subtle place for Melbourne wedding photos.

Enormous stonework, subtle signage and fittings, the laneways here are worth exploring and just a small dash out of the Melbourne CBD.

One of the best lanes. Find this photo location on Google Maps here.

5. Urban wedding photo location in Melbourne: Thornbury

Thornbury wedding photo locations
See more from Sam and Pauls Melbourne gay wedding.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
See this wedding photo location here on Google Maps.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
This wall is just outside Little Henri. See it on Google Maps here.
Kenny Lover wedding photo
Kenny Lover wedding photo
Check out their Kenny lover wedding photos.
Kenny Lover wedding photo
Find this Thornbury photo location on Google Maps here.

One of our favourite general areas in Melbourne, and a brilliant wedding photo location to explore. Further north we hit Thornbury, which has an endless amount of textures, historic structures, and all sorts of weird and wonderful signage and exteriors – oh, and Kenny Lover.

30 minutes here will be spent pretty quickly heading up, down and around High St, with art-deco design left right and centre.

See more of Sam and Pauls wedding on Instagram.

6. Art Deco wedding photo location in Melbourne: Northcote Town Hall

Northcote wedding photo location
Northcote wedding photo location
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne

Find Northcote Town Hall wedding photo location here on Google Maps.

Northcote Town Hall is a must visit for simple Melbourne heritage vibes, beautiful columns and light. If Fitzroy Town Hall isn’t accessible, then this isn’t a compromise as a wedding photo location, and it provides the same kind of feel, shelter from rain, and beautiful soft light, with no chance of being disturbed, and super close proximity to bars, cafes, and all of the standard Northcote glory.

There’s also plenty of beautiful textures and walls to find on Eastment st and Westbourne Grove, down the side of the town hall.

7. Colourful Melbourne wedding photo location: Fonda Collingwood

Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Collingwood wedding photo location
Collingwood wedding photo location

This one gets a header all of it’s own. The incredible artwork on the side of the Fonda building is a joy to walk past and pop off some frames in front of, and one of the most distinct wedding photo locations around. Punchy, colourful, geometrically satisfying, this is located just off Smith st, with spades of bars and other historic streets right near it.

A great little stopover if you’re getting hitched at Panama Dining Room or Rupert on Rupert.

Find this Collingwood photo location here on google maps.

8. Quirky Melborne wedding photo location: Portland Lane

Melbourne wedding photo location
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Find this moody photo location on Google Maps here.
Melbourne wedding photo location
Find this brutalist photo location on Google Maps here.

I’ve had so many couples stay at the QT Hotel on Russel St, and turning just around to the right of it’s entrance, down Portland Lane, is a no-brainer for some quick portraits when exiting the building to head to the ceremony.

The wall of the Portland Hotel is painted a rich black, and feeds down into deep bluestones below, creating something of an impossible infinity-wall, where it feels like the bluestone is a shelf at the edge of the universe. One of the more unique wedding photo locations in Melbourne.

As if we’re about to lean into the ether, or into Gandalf’s embrace, etc.

9. Green Melbourne wedding photo location: South Melbourne

South Melbourne wedding photo location
South Melbourne wedding photo location
South Melbourne wedding photo location
South Melbourne wedding photo location
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Enter St Vincents park at the corner of Ferrars st. See it on Google Maps here.
Half Acre Wedding photos
Outside Half Acre. See here for more unique wedding venues in Melbourne.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Find this South Melbourne Wedding Photo Location on Google Maps here.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
See this beaut little spot in South Melbourne near Half Acre on Google Maps here.

Until fairly recently, sweeping sections of South Melbourne have somehow managed to mostly avoid being exploited by our general lack of regulation around architectural design for a suburb so close to the city, and so unlike other heritage suburbs, still has plenty of great things to explore without yet looking like a second-year students first foray into geometric design elements.

As a result, as well as easily feeling like it’s a jaunt into the old world, the entire area around the Town Hall, Clarendon St, and industrial back areas have plenty of textures to explore, and is an ideal wedding photo location just 5 minutes out of the Melbourne CBD.

10. Urban Melbourne wedding photo location: Abbotsford

Abbotsford wedding photo location
Find Dr Morse – an industrial photo location on Google Maps here.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Abbotsford wedding photo location
Enter this spot of Victoria Park at the corner of Turner and Rich st. Be sure to go into the turnstiles. Find this Abbotsford Photo Location on google maps here.
Abbotsford wedding photo location
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
This is at the Yarra Bend Park lookout at sunset. There are incredible little trails hidden all around here with outlooks to the city, it’s worth spending half an hour scouting around.
Find this unique photo location on google maps here.

Abbotsford may just be our closest answer to anything resembling the back streets of New York or Brooklyn (see these Melbourne wedding venues). Abbotsford has it all: incredibly close proximity to Yarra Bend Park (which doesn’t seem like it should or could sit so close to the city), old heritage streets, imposing industrial buildings, and everything in between. Abbotsford is a brilliantly diverse wedding photo location.

A 30 minute session in Abbotsford can get chewed up very quickly, and that’s without stopping off at any of the beautiful little cafes littered around the place. One of the best photo locations in Melbourne, at just a short jump outside of the Melbourne CBD itself.

11. Jungle wedding photo location in Melbourne: Fitzroy Gardens

Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne

Looking at the map, Fitzroy Gardens almost sounds ripped out of a Tolkien book. The Faeries tree, Tudor Village, Temple of the Winds. These are all great, but the best parts of these gardens aren’t etched on the map.

Enter from the midwestern paths along Lansdowne St, and some of the more incredible tree-tunnels are visible, then head further in to a couple of “secret” little jungle areas with tight greenery, stone stairs and more. Gorgeous wedding photo location resembling a jungle.

One of our favourite places for Melbourne wedding photos.

12. Classic wedding photo location in Melbourne: Carlton Gardens

Carlton Gardens wedding photo locations
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne

Carlton Gardens join the Royal Exhibition building. Carlton Gardens are more known for the aisle of trees leading up to said building (and a water foutain) but the best parts of these gardens are actually around the northwestern edge of the exhibition building.

Architecturally there’s a bunch of textural options around there, but what I like most is the setting sun against some of the smaller characterful pieces of garden around there.

Find this Carlton photo location on Google Maps here.

13. Unique Melbourne Wedding Photo Location: Prahran

Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
This spot is at the rear of Prahran Town Hall.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Prahran wedding photo locations
Swanning down Green St Prahran. Find this Prahran photo location on Google Maps.
Prahran wedding photo locations
Simple concrete – see this quirky photo location at Green St Prahran.
Prahran wedding photo locations
Prahran wedding photo locations
Prahran wedding photo locations
Prahran wedding photo locations
Prahran wedding photo locations
Check out this post about how to take dark and moody wedding photos.

Prahran isn’t necessarily the first place you’d think of when looking for the best Melbourne wedding photo locations, but when I lived there, I made a point of taking any couples eloping here from overseas there, for two reasons.

Firstly there’s more than it’s fair share of architecturally stunning historical charm, and secondly, while there’s the allure of taking portraits in the CBD, in our opinion Prahran punches above it’s weight, and saves all of the regular hassles associated with parking in the city itself, while allowing folks spending a little bit of time here to explore a neighbourhood they might have otherwise missed.

Also, don’t miss this moody art-deco gem. Add Prahran to the list if you’re planning a Melbourne City elopement.

14. Gritty Melbourne wedding photo location: Footscray

Footscray wedding photo locations
Footscray wedding photo locations
Footscray wedding photo locations

First stop from the Melbourne CBD as we head west, Footscray is a gritty gem, and enormously misunderstood suburb (especially from our dear friends of the east). All the right ingredients for a subversive photo location.

Footscray has buckets of charm in it’s back streets, and as you head over to Seddon (i’d never heard of it either until I moved there), you’re hit with some of the most incredible cottage-style residences you’ll see in Melbourne.

15. Alley Wedding photo location: Melbourne Alleys

Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Crossley St in Melbourne CBD. See this photo location on Google Maps.
Melbourne Alley wedding photo locations
Same place as above, directly opposite Ginger Boy.
Melbourne Alley wedding photo locations
This beautiful stone wall is in Guildford Lane, about #5. Find it here on Google Maps.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
This is down heape Ct, Melbourne CBD, where the old Church of Bang Bang Boogaloo (RIP) was situated. Find this Melbourne lane photo location here on Google Maps.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
This is a lane to the right of 91 Spring St. A little obscured, follow it down and it feeds into all sorts of other interesting little bits. Perfect urban open shade and lines. See this best photo location on Google Maps here.
Melbourne Alley wedding photo locations
Melbourne Alley wedding photo locations
Melbourne Alley wedding photo locations
I can’t remember where this is. Soz. Follow wherever office workers are having smokos.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Ridgeway Place, Melbourne CBD. See this unique photo location on Google Maps here.
Best wedding photo locations in Melbourne
Can’t remember where this is, but, I mean, just pick any driveway really.
Pellegrinis wedding photo
Pellegrinis wedding photo
Opposite the inimitable Pellegrinis, same as #1.

The pièce de résistance. Melbourne has bucketloads of beautiful alleys, and the main choices become things like how much heritage do you want, vs graffiti, vs tourists, vs calm.

All of the major alleys have their own character as a wedding photo location, and at any quarter of the CBD there’s a good handful within walking distance, and are usually crowned as the best Melbourne wedding photo locations.

These aren’t necessarily the “main events” here (sorry), i’m instead sharing some of our favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations containing simple light, and simple texture.

For more of our secret ones, keep an eye on our melbourne wedding photography workshops.

Love these Melbourne wedding photo locations? Hire us to photograph your Melbourne wedding

Briars Atlas – Wedding Photographer Melbourne – enquire

Black and White wedding photos

Jul 10, 2020

A set of black and white favourites over the years from here, there everywhere.

New Zealand Blizzard
See this location in Best Melbourne Wedding photo locations.
Melbourne wedding photographer reviews
Analog wedding photographer
Zoe and Adam – Blue Mountains Wedding and Elopement Photographer
35mm film wedding photography
Black and white wedding photos
Steph and Zac – Quarry Farm wedding – more Fremantle weddings.
Black and white wedding photos
Steph and Aleks – I Do Drive Thru
Rupert on Rupert
Alix and Tim – Rupert on Rupert wedding
One Day Bridal wedding dress
Alex Perry Wedding dress
Suzanne Harward gown for Melbourne Registry office wedding portraits
Best modern wedding gowns - Brooke Tyson Ritual
Best modern wedding dresses - Brooke Tyson Ritual
Black and white wedding photos
Fran in Brooke Tyson
Melbourne wedding photographer reviews
Humdrum Films Cost
Hannah in Paolo Sebastian
analogue film wedding photographer
Wedding on a Family Property
Dancefloor - Rupert on Rupert
Alix and Tim – Rupert on Rupert wedding
Black and white wedding photos
Black and white wedding photos
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Black and white wedding photos
Yashica Rolleiflex TLR film wedding photography
Black and white wedding photos
Check out more like this at the deck circa.
Rupert on Rupert
35mm film wedding photography
Yashica Rolleiflex TLR film wedding photography
Jenelle on Parker – film wedding photography
family property wedding
Black and white wedding photos
Analog film wedding photographer melbourne
Kids at weddings
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Destination wedding photographer
Black and white wedding photos
Black and white wedding photos
Black and white wedding photos
35mm film wedding photography tri x kodak
35mm film wedding photography
Black and white wedding photos
Black and white wedding photos
Suzanne Harward Bluebird Gala Gown
Tash and Laura in Suzanne Harward
Dogs at Warehouse Wedding
Suzanne Harward bridal gown
Melbourne wedding photographer reviews
Black and white wedding photos
New Zealand Blizzard

Shot on Kodak Tri-X

To see how I edit black and white images, head over to Melbourne wedding photography workshop.

analogue film wedding photographer

Jul 6, 2020

An image of genius photographer Lucy, in front of a genius-designed mirror, stolen mid-application of lipstick midway through Lil and Jakes reception.

This image shot on Kodak film, and found amongst incredible company over here at IWPOTY.

35mm film wedding photography

Shot on Kodak Tri-X film.

Visit this post to see why I shoot film at weddings, and keep an eye on my wedding photography workshop for info on how I edit.

Pic Time Art Galleries

Jul 4, 2020

I’m super pleased to be releasing my own Pic Time Art Galleries as an online print shop, through a new platform recently released by the brilliant mob over at Pic Time.

I’ve wanted to have a place to share and sell prints for going on 8 years, but the task always seemed to arduous and riddled with pain-in-the-ass complexities that stopped me from leaning right in.

Why sell prints?

Selling prints is a great way to give your bodies of work the respect they deserve! I guess a secondary stream of revenue doesn’t also hurt, but what I think is most important is that this is a way to let someone else create future-nostalgia out of something else you have made.

Additionally, selling your prints makes you lean into your own work more, and think more critically about who you want to be from an artistic point of view. There’s nothing quite as challenging or humbling as trying to reduce tens of thousands of your images into a concentrated body of work that might just contain ten.

For the last few months, Pic Time invited me to be a tester of their new gallery functionality.

This functionality is a part of their existing platform – so if you’re already using Pic Time as proofing software for your clients (as I am), this simply bolts on top via a separate subscription fee, and from there you can enjoy all of the additional functionality that an art gallery requires.

Pic Time Art Galleries
Pic Time Art Galleries

David Foster Wallace #1 will be available on my print store.

Find out more about Pic Time art galleries here

Find out more about my print lab here.

Melbourne Wedding photographer

Jul 3, 2020

After a chat with IWPOTY on a livestream yesterday, I wanted to write up a post on the topic of editing, how I edit, and as a judge of the International wedding photographer of the year 2020, what little bits of TLC our judging panel will be looking at as we go over your submissions.

As our beautiful craft has become democratised and we can all be photographers, the by-product of that is a temptation to lean away from the craft-centered approach that held up all the photography that defined how the 20th century was recorded: one of careful capture, and attention to detail and the creation of the finished image, and that’s the reason those images stand the test of time.

If you can’t be bothered reading my word-vomit (not an unreasonable stance to hold), this is the contents:

  1. Spotting
  2. Dodging and burning
  3. Blemish clearing
  4. Find the feel
Wedding photography before and after
Also see this post about dark and moody wedding photos.

This isn’t just a post about editing, as much as it is about the idea of “truth” in an image, because the whole industry seems to be in a little state of confusion at the moment, and left right and centre we’re hearing “authenticity” and “truth” screamed from the mountain as objective poles at the top of a single summit.

Actually, it’s been in this state of confusion for the better part of 5 years to my eyes, or as long as I’ve been invited to talk about the identity crisis of the whole “authenticity” thing with my big fat mouth.

We’re not in the business of “truth” or “authenticity”, we’re in the business of nostalgia: whatever truth we think is in an image is going to be interpreted differently by the person looking at the image, or the person that’s in the image, and that itself is going to change in 5, 10, 20 years as details get forgotten or change shape.  

Wedding photo before and after

As soon as we frame an image, we’re excluding what’s around it, and that process of putting ourselves into the image is something we can’t avoid even until we send the final files off.

So our job is to be there and give to what’s in front of us, and give ourselves the best chance to make the most amount of future nostalgia for the couples.  

Just look at any Magnum gallery, which is (rightly) considered the yardstick of photojournalism, or for a more prescriptive example, the Steven McCurry photoshop scandal, which gave a bad name to editing, while then distracting from the fact that it’s a very necessary part of what we do and what he does, and that the slamming was mostly unwarranted.

(But… maybe he could’ve just cleaned it up a little more).

So from an editing point of view, the things I’m looking for as a judge are the level of care made in bringing that nostalgia to the highest standard it can be on a case-by-case basis, and how that level of care is restrained enough so that it still stands out as a photograph, and not a piece of computer art.

Wedding photography before and after

Editing isn’t everything, but it’s importance is downplayed and often tossed aside, and I think it plays a huge role in how we turn a moment into it’s best representation as a finished image.

What it comes down to is this: Are we gonna let a hunk of pixel-making plastic do the seeing, or our eyes and intuition?

Everyones got a DSLR, everyone can be a photographer. Nearly every photographer I meet is friendly, is invested in a great client experiences and uses down-to-earth in their marketing as a point of difference. So if everyone is creating good work and is equally good company, where does that leave us as more folks jump into the trade, and what are the parallels to making work that will stand apart in a competition?

There’s a whole bunch of answers that I’ll look into over time, but one thing that can’t be faked, is investing love and care into the craft of the finished images, and looking back to what it means to take a craft-based approach to the creation of the work itself.    

This is a roundup of 4 wedding photo editing tips that can be thrown into your editing workflow to leave you knowing that your images are finished properly, and with love.  

First up, let’s delve a little more into why I’m interested in this, and why this is important as craft-centred photographers: this classic James Dean image.  

James Dean Darkroom

Taken shortly before his iconic star blew up, some of the words that come to mind mind from this Dennis Stock photograph are “simple”, “romantic”, and that feeling, on the tip of our tongue, that there was a little bit extra fantasy back in the day.

All of this rings true, but it does so because of how simple and digestible the image is – in it’s purest, most concentrated self – thanks to an experienced darkroom operator, Pablo Inirio, knowing where to take it.

Specifically – removing the deep-shadows from everywhere in the image except for James and the leading-lines of the curved fence.

How a camera views a scene, is one thing. How we feel a scene, is another. And thanks to camera manufacturers (understandably) indulging in a race to the top for perfection, we’ve given away a few traits that we now associate with analogue photography: ambiguity, imperfection, and anything just a little bit “off”, that we can’t put a finger on.

And the goal with any great image, should be to bridge the gap, between how a scene feels, and how the final image looks. It’s not popular to talk about this gritty technical stuff. It’s especially unpopular amongst professional storytellers, who might have us believe that gear and editing don’t matter, but they do, and have an enormous partnering impact on our voice and point of difference as photographers.

#1: Spotting

This is in the number one place, because it’s the single biggest thing I see constantly skipped by photographers, but at the same time, simplest technique to throw into our workflow.

That big header image draped across your website. Spotted it? If not, it might not be as strong as it could be, because while the person looking at it is trying to inhale the story and vibe you’ve created, their subconscious is distracted by all those little specks. I see it all the time, even on successful photographers portfolios, and it’s so quick to correct.

Not spotting our images is like being an opera singer and cramming sand in the audiences ears. Clean that stuff out: not only is that a very strange thing to do, but now no-one can hear what you’re saying.

Spotting is the gentle art of removing “spots” in an image that a camera sees, but that we don’t notice until it’s baked into the final image.

And I don’t mean skin blemishes, or stars: spotting means removing spots of (usually) hard-light that show up in an image caused by random sun reflections, or micro-textures that can subconsciously dominate a frame.

Spotting isn’t about distorting reality or removing things that should be part of the image: it’s about making an image easier for the viewer to consume, and easier to understand the heart of the image (we’ll deconstruct that esoteric clap-trap in just a minute).

It’s hard to understand the benefits of spotting, until we see an image that has had a simple 10-15 seconds of spotting work, against one that hasn’t. And this is the part where we get to decide whether this even matters. One can argue it doesn’t – this is for folks who like myself can justify going the extra mile.

We feel the extra simplicity and strength of a correctly spotted image, because there are less small little pieces of distraction that dilute the main message of the image. Spotting needs to be done because when we’re looking at a real-life scene through our eyeballs, our brain is able to filter out the little hard spots of light, as the scene moves naturally in front of us: but when we take an photo, those little imperfections are frozen, burned into the sensor, and take the centre stage in the final image, which to me is less real than proactively spotting them out, and having the purest version of the image.

Spotting your images is the quickest way to tidy things up and have a great, print-ready image.

Spotting an image is a simple exercise: “is this thing in the image lifting it up, or taking away from the story”?

wedding photography before and after

A correctly spotted image of a Newport Substation Wedding – all of those hi lights aren’t adding to the story of the image, aren’t clear what they’re attached to, and are taking away from the power of the image as representing a gathering in a majestic room. So, off with their heads.

Lean back from the image, let your eyes haze, and let your hand wander with the stamp-tool – it’s remarkable how quick you’ll autonomously clear little specks from one corner of the image to the other.

#2: Dodging and Burning

Dodging and burning is the art of making something lighter (dodging) or darker (burning) in an image.

wedding photography before and after

There are many reasons to dodge and burn an image, but start with the following as a foundation, and it’ll pretty much inform how and when you use this technique:

Dodging and burning is used to solidify a truth in an image.

I used “a truth” rather than “the truth”, as there’s no such thing as objective truth in an image: every image we make is influenced by our vision, what we include, and what we leave out, but we rabbited on about that already.

By having conviction in our own vision, we can make each image align with our own version of the truth in that image – this is something I also wrote about last year.

Whatever that truth turns into once we’ve given it over is then out of our hands.

Back to our dear friend, James Dean: the reward for investing a little elbow grease, is the reward of a classic image. How a negative and a camera-sensor interprets both light and the key elements of an image is nearly always at odds with how we interpret it as a human: the goal of thoughtful dodging and burning is to bridge this gap.

Bring up skin that needs to sing, burn out hi lights that are taking over the airwaves, and gently make it so that the most intense points of contrast are happening at the main “story” areas of the image.

And more importantly, ensure this is just augmenting and reducing the natural light play that is already happening within the image.

#3: Blemishes and wrinkles

My mantra with skin blemishes, is this: if it’s not likely to be on the skin after a week, then it can probably go.

This isn’t about creating unreality, or an unreasonable expectation of beauty: this is about showing up for our couples and putting in that little bit of extra elbow grease, knowing they’ll appreciate that little bit of extra work.

Here’s the other reason we clear blemishes and other kinks (within reason): the only reason we can see them, is because light is creating the shadow on them. And the biggest reason that’s happening, is because the light we’re placing someone in for a portrait usually favours the part of the portrait we connect with most (the eyes for example), and so everything else takes second place.

If you don’t believe me, put a beauty-dish, soft-box or some other highly diffused light directly in front of someone, and watch most of them disappear, as no shadows are created. Further, if someone is in the middle of an action that causes veins or other things to be augmented beyond how they regularly would, there’s no real reason for those to be taking centre-stage, so we should be happy to reduce them to simplify the image to the things that we want to be connecting with.

This can be done at the same time as the regular spotting pass.


For spotting and blemish removal, I find the Lightroom healing tool too slow and clunky. So what I do is, after I have my final exports out of Lightroom, I open up the library of finished JPG’s in Photomechanic. From there, it’s a pretty quick exercise of tapping through the collection, and hitting “CMD+E”, which immediately opens the image in photoshop. Tap the “J” key for the spot healing tool, hit “CMD+S” to save, then “CMD-Q” to close the image, then “Alt+Tab” to go back to Photomechanic. Practice the routine, and you’ll have the most efficient way to go over that final pass at your fingertips.

#4: Find the feel

How did the scene feel, and how can you bring that out? Sometimes just asking this question will lead the edit down a path of it’s own, all by itself.

If composing in the moment to make the most of the situation wasn’t possible, then correcting course in the edit is nothing to be ashamed of.

This is just a general note to keep in mind whenever looking at an image, and in most cases by just asking the question of “how did this feel when I was there”, the small, gentle tweaks required to tell the best possible story of that image become self evident pretty quickly.

wedding photography before and after
wedding photography before and after
wedding photography before and after

Some final words.

Now, if we’re delivering 1000 images for a wedding, it’s an insane proposition to spend 10 minutes on every single image, and not viable, unless we like the idea of not paying our rent and delivering our images to our clients 3 years after their day.

Some of these principles (spotting, etc) can be applied to nearly all the coverage. But these are mostly for the images where there’s a little something else in them that begs to be brought out. You always know it when there is, and it’s always worth spending that little bit of extra time: for you and for your couple.

We get to decide whether we’re going to be hands-off in our editing process, let the camera do the seeing, and let some arbitrary idea of “truth” be the driver. And maybe that’s ok.

Or, we get to impart a little bit of the original magic of photography, recognise the value of truth-bending and white-lies as a way to creating something that ironically creates a better and more relevant truth, and how through that, we give the people receiving our images a little bit of magic that comes closer to how it felt.

To see occasional image-edit time lapses, follow my instagram.

A live-edit with Luke, founder of IWPOTY

If you take away just two things from all of this wedding photo editing tips gassbagging, it should be these points:

  1. If it isn’t lifting it up, it’s bringing it down
  2. Don’t add what isn’t there, augment what is there
Analog wedding photographer

Jul 2, 2020

In all the flurry of things happening fast movement not stopping click click go go get it all don’t miss a moment…

It’s nice to hold back, strip it all away, and wait,

for just, one.

Jenelle and Parker, one frame each, one click each, on film that expired over half a century ago, and processed at Atkins lab.

Whatever happens along the way, I reckon it’s nice if everyone can come outta this little plane of existence with just one image like this.

And in case you were wondering, the rest of their day was as inversely colourful and upbeat as these were moody and sedate.


This post here goes into detail about why I shoot film at weddings.

Analog film wedding photographer melbourne

Jun 28, 2020

Every once in a while at a wedding, you’re graced with a little moment where the thing happening in front of you, the environment itself, the weather, and the gear you’re using all come together in perfect harmony.

Jake here writing his vows at The Diggers Store, the morning he married Lilli, shot on old Kodak classic black and white film.

Analog film wedding photographer melbourne

You can read more about being a film wedding photographer here.

How to do a wedding champagne spray

Jun 27, 2020

How to spray a champagne bottle at your wedding: everyone’s seen it, everyone’s had a crack at it, and everyones experience ends with one of “nailed it”, “nearly took my head off”, or “fizzled out to a flaccid wisp like Creeds record contract” (I bought a few of their albums back in the day so this is all fair game, and I guess that makes me fair game).

Also file this under – things you can practice at home in a pandemic. Great for your serotonin levels, not so great for your lounge room walls, so maybe one to take to the streets.

How to do a champagne spray (condensed version):

  1. Put on your champagne spray face
  2. Pre-shake bottle, flick off the cork
  3. Press your thumb firmly over the hole while shaking
How to spray a champagne bottle

There’s a gentle art to the champagne spray, and it’s both easier than you might think in the moment, while at the same time requiring of a bit of careful strategy and forward-thinking so that the proceeds don’t resemble the unfortunate scene of a garden hose with no pressure at a kids water-fight birthday-party in the middle of summer.

How to do a champagne Spray

Why we do it

Because if we’re gonna have a day of beautiful debauchery and anarchy, contributing to the carbon(ated beverage) atmospheric trust-fund – and surrounding garments – is one of the cheaper thrills we can have on the day, with a mighty power-to-weight ratio as far as thrills gained, and dollars spent on cheap wine.

Fun for everyone – even me as my camera-gear gets gloriously soaked in the stuff (tips for photographers: if you want to get the best champagne shots, sorry – but you need to be right in front of it – and if you don’t come out needing a dry-clean, you haven’t shot it right).

The theory behind the perfect champagne spray

In order to get a wild spray going that lasts as long as the winners ones do on an F1 podium, we need to consult our dusty “armchair teenage physicist” manual, and brush up on the “why” before we get to the “how”.

If you want to know how to spray a champagne bottle at your wedding, the aim is to reduce the gap available to the champagne to flow through, once the cork is off, as soon as we can. The number one reason that a champagne spray does not work, is because that the champagne-spray Director of Operations at the time does not immediately apply pressure once the cork is removed and continue shaking.

This means we need to press our thumb against the hole, as soon as the cork is removed. This in turn keeps extra pressure inside the bottle, which means it’s going to try and force it’s way through the available gap. If the champagne has pressure that is mostly kept in by your thumb, that means that in order to release that pressure, it’s going to have to push it’s way through that gap – and fast.

And when you maintain that while continuing to shake it – that’s where it all starts going beautifully bananas. If I had a dollar for the amount of times i’ve seen folks not immediately apply pressure and then watch the contents dribble out like Sam Newmans Twitter musings, i’d have enough clams to lift his face even higher.

How to spray a champagne bottle in three steps:

Luckily for us, we have everyones favourite rainbow anarchist (well, the other favourite to this wonderful mob) Dee Brinsmead, wedding celebrant and co-owner of The Altar Electric, to help run us through how it’s done.

Step 1: Put on your champagne face

Bring yourself into a state of maniacal glee. This should be fun, you should have your crew around you (if they’re part of it), and you should be prepared to make a mess, take an eye out, blow a hole in the photographers expensive lens, all the good stuff.

Here, a friendly neighbourhood cat takes part.

Champagne spray tutorial

Step 2: Pre-shake and dislodge

Acquire champagne, twist and remove the wire cap, so just the cork remains.

With your thumb over the cork, pre-shake it enthusiastically.

Begin to undo the cork until it’s nearly off. Brace your thumb against the base of the cork, and flick it into the heavens above, or at your photographers head.

Tip: if the cork is tough to remove, grip it with #intention very tightly, and carefully rotate it and “unscrew it” out with your hand.

How to do a champagne Spray

Step 3: Immediately apply pressure, and shake.

At this point, you should immediately cover the hole with your thumb: in fact, trying to completely block it – and shake the bottle like a maniac. I promise you the champagne will begin to escape, no matter how robust you think your thumb-bottle sealant game is. This is where a champagne-spray often fails, and this is the step to nail correctly.

Every second of champagne-exit where the hole isn’t blocked, is precious pressure lost.

From here, just gently remove pressure very slightly, in the direction you want to spray, being conscious of where it’s coming out as you pivot your thumb. Continue to shake with maniacal glee.

Tip: As the contents and pressure in the bottle deplete, you can squeeze as much out if it as possible by increasing the pressure you’re creating, and pressing your thumb against it more firmly and closing the gap. The little pressure that’s left in the bottle will be amplified by having the gap made even tighter.

How to spray a champagne bottle

Voila! You’ve successfully emptied the contents of a bottle in the manner in
which was truly intended by the manufacturer, but can’t be claimed as such on fancy champagne labels.

Just know that you’re doing your winemaker countrymen proud.

Special thanks to Dee Brinsmead, one third of Collingwood wedding venue The Altar Electric, for being a most excellent Champagne Spray Scientist today. Hire this legend for your Melbourne elopement, and be sure to check out these unique small wedding venues.

Destination wedding photographer

Jun 25, 2020

2017, overlooking the Cathedral of Porto: running a small portrait session for photographers at the Bodaf conference. Great time to pull out some gear well past it’s useby date in one of the most beautiful little cities I’ve been to.

Melbourne Film Wedding Photographer - Yashica TLR

This frame taken on a beautiful piece of 1960’s engineering (Yashica 635 twin lens reflex) on Kodak film.

If you like this, check out more black and white wedding photos.

Yashica Rolleiflex TLR film wedding photography

Jun 23, 2020

Something I teach when lecturing about the strange bastard art of photography, is about segmenting our brains and our time when there’s a “thing” happening, so we can gracefully and intentfully photograph the “thing” from more than one angle, and in the process, gift that “thing” with more variety in how we see it.

Got it? No? Perfect.

Yashica Rolleiflex TLR film wedding photography

A “thing”, is defined as a block of time where there is no deviation in the fundamental arc of the event by other contrasting events or alternative measures of some-such otherwise.

Canapes hour? That’s a thing.

First speech block? That’s a thing.

Portraits hour? That’s a thing.

Righto – glad we got that cleared up.

Case in point: the “thing” here, was about a 2 hour block, where Jenelle and Parker and all their guests were partying together on some ten houseboats that were tied together, off the eastern coast off the edge of Canada.

2 hours is a lot of time where there’s just partying, diving, and BBQ’ing going on. This means a lot of opportunity to intent-fully divide the time up, and try and extract some more wondrous things out of it that test both us and the narrative that’s there.

So, I divide my time into “laps”.

I’ll spend, for example, 25 minutes moving around doing photojournalism on digital cameras, and then, i’ll gift myself a calm lap, on a camera half a century old, to try and see this scenario (previously referred to as “thing”), in a different way.

In this lap, i’m extra slow, watchful, and, deliberately, not particularly worried about missing moments en-masse, but rather, more concerned with getting “a couple of good ones”.

Staying in a state of “fomo” and shooting like a maniac on digital is good for content creation and capturing opportunity in a sometimes thin way, but then the tradeoff is you’re watching less intentfully at what’s happening – and maybe missing the opportunity to show an event in a better light.

I walked along the edge of one of the houseboats, turned a corner, saw a bit of commotion, held this 1960s bucket of bolts to my eye, and breathed in.


One of my favourite images ever, let alone wedding ones.

Shot on Kodak Tri-X film, and developed by Atkins Pro Lab.

See their full wedding day featured on the USA’s largest wedding blog: Jenelle and Parker’s rustic week-long wedding featured on Wedding Chicks.

Melbourne wedding photographer reviews

Jun 20, 2020

Atlas Singles is a little peek into some of my favourite images, along with some lyrical wax from the last bits left in the jar.

Here’s one from wayback.

Two humans.

A little cabin on a lake in the Blue Mountains.

A clunky, 50 year old camera, that just a few days later, i’d have to jam a stick into it’s front to trigger it.

Barely nailed focus.

Said god-knows-what to them which generated a reaction, took a wild guess as to when the right moment to click was (you only get one chance when you’re using a camera you have to wind-up).

Missed the “moment”, and got some ephemeral in-between.

For me, more perfect than perfect.



Shot on a Yashica 635G Twin Lens Reflex on Kodak Tri-X for Zoe and Adam, before they did the wedding thing out at the Hydro Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains, NSW.

If you like this, check out more black and white wedding photos.

heide museum of modern art wedding

Jun 19, 2020

The perfect wedding setting for thoughtful, contemporary couples who know how to appreciate a great piece of art, Heide Museum of Modern Art allows for both a stunning ceremony and an inspiring reception. The Museum boasts spectacular photography opportunities throughout the grounds and the Gallery. Let’s take a sneak peek at this amazing, artistic space and check out some photos from a recent Heide Museum of Modern Art wedding I was fortunate enough to capture.


Heide Museum of Modern Art brings an air of sophisticated creativity to Banksia Park in Bulleen, a north-eastern suburb of Melbourne. It’s not too far at all from the CBD – only around a 20-minute drive. It practically oozes convenience.

The Yarra River flows, snake-like, through Banksia Park, just a short walk from Heide Gallery. Bulleen Art Gallery and Garden is also within the vicinty. Another interesting point, Bulleen Hungry Jacks is only a short way down the road. Post-wedding burgs? Count me the hell in.

You’ve got a golf club nearby if there’s time to fit in a quick game with the lads (or ladies) the day before the wedding. And, as mentioned, Melbourne CBD is a short Uber ride away. You can get up to all kinds of mischief, eat some amazing pre-wedding noms and pick up any last minute bits and pieces for the wedding that may have slipped your mind.

heide museum of modern art wedding

Heide Museum of Modern Art wedding venue

As a wedding venue, Heide Gallery is the gift that keeps on giving. From the picturesque, natural grounds to the vibing Gallery and sculptures, this place is a photographers dream. Seriously. There are almost too many spots that are perfectly suited to capturing stunning images.

The Heide grounds and gardens span majestically across the 15 acres this Gallery calls home. The heritage gardens contain sprawling lawns, gorgeous flower beds and huge trees with trailing limbs that form cosy hidey-holes.

A river glade with towering trees and shrubs provides a shady spot for an intimate ceremony, or a wonderful photography or videography location.

The views from various sites throughout the grounds sweep across the surrounding park and provide a truly awe-inspiring atmosphere.

Upon gazing around the venue, your view will be obstructed slightly – for good reason – by contemporary sculptures and architectural wonders that are dotted throughout the grounds.

heide museum of modern art wedding
heide museum of modern art wedding

Catering & Extras

All your wedding catering needs will be taken care of by the Heide Cafe, the exclusive catering service for Heide Gallery weddings. Both the wedding ceremony and the reception are able to be covered. The cafe has an amazing range of seasonal produce with a huge variety of menu options to choose from.

The Cafe is also a great place to swing by for a pre-wedding brunch with the bridal party or a post-wedding coffee if you’re feeling a little worse for wear (horrifically hungover) after the previous night’s celebrations.

The Museum itself is an awesome place to spend any spare time and fight off any pre-wedding jitters. A range of indoor exhibitions including the Main Gallery and the Modernist House are home to some amazing collections of contemporary art. Wander the grounds to experience Rick Amor’s Running Man, Neil Taylor’s Theoretical Matter, and the rest of the outdoor exhibitions and sculptures that add an artistic, modern flair to the sweeping, naturalistic elements of the grounds.

Heide Gallery Wedding Photos

heide museum of modern art wedding
heide gallery wedding photo
heide museum of modern art wedding
heide gallery wedding venue

It’s safe to say that this Melbourne wedding venue is the perfect place to celebrate love, serenity and an appreciation for delightful modern art.

Have you visited to the Heide Museum of Modern Art? What was your favourite installation? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Embrace your swirling inner teenage angst! Find out how to take the best dark and moody wedding photos in my complete guide.

For more images of a decadent art space, check out this piece by Firecraker Event on grazing tables.

35mm film wedding photography tri x kodak

Jun 17, 2020

This is one of my favourite images from Lil and Jakes wedding. Up close and personal with my characteristically well-dressed friend John at The Diggers Store (nestled just over an hour outside of Melbourne) who probably thought he was the feature of the frame, who looked aside with furrowed brow, while I actually focused on old mate to the left, deep in a state of existential ponderment.

35mm film wedding photography tri x kodak


It was such a treat photographing this wedding on old, banged-up film cameras. This was the wedding of a couple of dear friends, and I somehow managed to high-tail it back to Australia the day after delivering a talk in Vancouver, landing the morning of their wedding, and catching a few hours sleep in my hire car.

And then at midnight, I hit the road again, to deliver another talk in Rome.

Small wonder none of the Italians could understand my blubbering, jetlagged Australiana, but it made the translators of Way Up North earn their fee.

I love this image, and it’s still strangeness takes me right back to that very odd few-day whirlwind.



Shot on god-knows-what camera, on Kodak Tri-X film.

Visit this post to see why you should shoot film.

Jun 15, 2020

35mm Film Film Wedding Photography: should you have your wedding photographed on 35mm and medium-format film? It’s no secret that film is having a massive comeback, and in this post we’ll share out love of why you should consider some or all of your coverage being captured on the inimitable nostalgia of real Kodak film: the ethereal colours, the grit and grain, and the enormous variety of formats available to us from over a century of the craft of photography being in existence.

A decade of experience in film wedding photography

We’re not new to film wedding photography: 35mm and medium format film have been an essential part of our toolkit for a decade. We’re thrilled that film has been experiencing a major revival, and that more couples are asking for their entire wedding to be photographed on 35mm and medium format Kodak film.

(See these full weddings photographed entirely on Kodak film: Alexa and Alex’s Scotland elopement, Lucia and Carter in Sydney, and, the one that got us most known for photographing weddings on film internationally, Lilli and Jake.

An island elopement by film wedding photographer, Briars Atlas
From Parker and Jenelles canoe wedding in Canada. Photographed on a Yashica TLR from the 1960’s, on Kodak Tri-X film. Featured on Wedding Chicks.

For a brief moment there in the late 00’s, opportunistic young-things were meeting the cries of the old-guard lamenting “film is dead!” with “yes, i’ll take all that old processing gear off your hands for free, thankyou very much”. All of the beautiful analogue film processing gear that had seen so much love, had been decommissioned and retired, before being snapped up by enthusiasts for a song.

As a result, more film-labs began to open than they did close, and now there has never been a better time to shoot analog at weddings.

Film has been a key part of my look and approach since I became a melbourne wedding photographer, and an ongoing reason why creative folks and even other wedding photographers book us – even if in some cases I just channel the look of film photos in my digital images.

Film wedding photographer portrait of Lucy
International Film Wedding Photographer of the year winning entry.

In 2019, we were awarded the analogue international wedding photographer of the year award, and in this post we want to discuss why we shoot film, what it’s benefits are, and why you might consider the use of 35mm analogue film as part of your wedding coverage.

35mm film wedding photography
For Rachel and Bens Melbourne Registry wedding, they wanted the day shot on film. I then processed and scanned the entire shoot by hand.
Shooting film at weddings
35mm wedding photos: Lil and Jake. See their Analog Film Wedding on Together Journal.

Being a film wedding photographer means being comfortable with all things slow.

Film photography slows you down, and photographing on film costs you money. In a generation of excess, our freewheeling brains need to be reined in. Historical patterns show that the more Tik-Toks and short-form content (ie – catering to short attention spans) there is entering the arena, the more room is then created for long-form content, and things warranting pause and stillness, as we collectively look for a space to make us feel something again.

When something forces you to respond slowly and consider the cost, the by-product of that is that you give yourself to the medium more. Where there’s tonnes of advantages in firing off thousands of frames on digital, there’s just as many advantages to having the costly walls of constraint around us (constraint being the only true useful tool in creativity that continues to stand the test of time).

35mm film wedding photography
Also see this post here about how to shoot dark and moody wedding photos.

Film wedding photos contain variety & real timelessness

People throw the whole timeless thing around in association with analogue film, but I think that only really holds true for black and white (Tri-X) film.

Most colour stocks actually have their own distinct look and feel that, when processed by a modern lab, aren’t what I’d necessarily call timeless. I don’t say that in a bad way – but the timeless colour we’re perhaps used to, is more the Kodachrome, stuff from the 60’s-80’s that our eyes more closely align with timelessness.

The rich, punchy colours of beautifully over-exposed Portra film aren’t any more timeless than digital, and are actually very distinct in their own right.

The sheer variety of looks in analog film stocks, lenses, and camera bodies is staggering, and each link in the chain imparts it’s own little flavour on the end look of the image.

So for me, shooting analog film is less about timelessness, and more about variety.

35mm film wedding photography

Film wedding photos might be a better experience for the muse.

In my own tests, shooting analogue film is an objectively better experience for the person in front of the camera – if for nothing else, because we’re slipping into a loss of generational memory of those old cameras: and so these crazy old things bring on a strange sense of removed nostalgia and wonder, simply because it’s assumed that they’re just mantlepiece decorations, rather than fully capable image-making machines.

Having someone use an archaic piece of engineering with all the romance of a past-craft makes them feel valued in a totally different way. Even if the whole shoot isn’t being done on film, having some gear in the bag to switch things up can completely change the tone of the shoot.

David Rees is a good point of reference for the question “can the intrinsic value of a thing be increased or amplified by wrapping some old-world artisan air of craftsmanship around it”.

Typically, there are two main approaches that a photographer will take when choosing to use film as well as digital during a shoot, and they are either hybrid shooting, or separatist shooting (I made that second label up, but I can’t think of another way to title it).

Will we get less wedding photos on film?

You can generally expect there to be slightly less wedding photos delivered when we’re photographing on film, but the trade-off is, they’re all on film. Something that we’ve found in doing this over a decade, time and again, is that the volume that you receive is kinda neither here nor there. Where you might receive 800 wedding photos if we do it all on digital or 500-600 if we photograph your wedding entirely on film, it’s all really a much of a muchness. We tend to think quite strongly too, that the more volume there is, the more that kinda gets lost in the mix. Some might say it’s quality (if you appreciate the magic of film wedding photos) over quantity, but we can explain more about that if you make an enquiry.

Hybrid shooting: film wedding photos vs digital photos

Hybrid film photography is when the photographer shoots analog film, but aims to have the feel and tonality of the images completely in tune with the digital coverage. Often the aim of the preset applied to the digital images is to have them look as close as possible to the film ones. In this way, hybrid shooting is a process-based approach to film photography, rather than an output based approach: which is to say that it’s used mainly to provide variety to the photographer, rather than to the couple. This is not how I shoot film.

35mm film wedding photography cinestill
35mm wedding photos Melbourne – Lil and Jake in Castlemaine

Separatist shooting:

Separatist shooting is when the differences in the two mediums are celebrated, and no effort is made to create consistency between the digital images and the analogue images, meaning that the photographer gets to enjoy the process of shooting with different cameras, as well as providing something unique to the couple, and extra variety in the images they receive. This is how I choose to shoot film.

Separatist shooting is my preferred approach, and this is why: over the last 100 years, we’ve had hundreds of beautiful, differing formats used to create images. Different analogue film-stocks, and different lenses that all interpret light and render a scene, differently. I think those differences should be celebrated. It also keeps us more entertained pushing to find the deeper uniqueness of a particular format, rather than agonising over getting a perfect match between analog and digital, which for us, defeats the purpose of enjoying analog film as a medium.

Mixing things up is probably the number one reason why I shoot analogue film at weddings.

Why I shoot film at weddings
Lou on Cinestill 500T

I don’t necessarily think consistency is overrated, but I do think surprise and intrigue is underrated. And as a film wedding photographer, there’s no greater joy than delivering a set of images where couples get the chance to swoon over that sprinkle of images that seem to just have something… else, to them.

The downsides of film wedding photos

Sure, I could go into the all the impractical bits of it, but for me, they’re joys. The only prolonged implications of shooting this stuff, is that it costs. It’s easy enough to throw in a roll here and there, but with analogue film and developing costs, we’re looking at about $70 for a couple of rolls – or about $3 per shot.

That’s fine when it’s a small part of the shoot, but a full-day analog wedding shooting only film can run past $1500 in film and developing costs alone very quickly, and that’s where it has to be considered as an add-on, rather than something that can be thrown in.

35mm film wedding photography cinestill
Head here for a ripper wedding florist

If you’re considering having your wedding photographed on analog film, I can recommend a bunch of ways in which it can be approached: whether having your entire wedding photographed on film such as Lil and Jake here, or doing what I do much of the time, when I detect that the idea sparks joy: bringing along some weird, wonderful gadgets, and making some images on them over the course of the day.

If you like, you can see some of what’s in my camera bag over at Shotkit, although it’s in need of an update (i’m pretty sure all the kit there hasn’t survived my anarchist hands for half a decade).

Are you sure our wedding on film wont get lost in the mail?

We personally deliver all of your film to one of the best professional labs in town. If we are photographing your wedding internationally, then part of our meticulous level of care when photographing your wedding on film includes researching labs nearby and doing the exact same thing.

The film photography gear we use currently:

Hasselblad 500 film wedding photography. Why I shoot film at weddings

Yashica 635G

The poor-mans Rolleiflex, this little beauty is quiet, a marvel of engineering, dream to look at, and a pleasure to carry around.

hasselblad 500cm film wedding photo

Hasselblad 500CM

This is my “good afternoon, i’m making some serious work” camera. A little heavier, a lot louder, but due to having an enormous mirror inside it, what you see through the ground-glass is what you get: whereas with a Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera, there might be a very slight difference in what you end up with.

Crown Graphic 4×5 camera

The grand-daddy of common press-cameras in the 1950’s. Extremely portable, lightweight, invites curiosity, and the looks of it alone are good enough reason to be a film wedding photographer.

If I had to take one to a desert island, it would be the Yashica. If I got to take a tripod too, it would be the Hasselblad. My favourite film stocks are Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Tri-X, although these days i’m taking a leaning towards the rich colours of Ektar.

Why I shoot film at weddings
Why shoot film at weddings

If you’d like us to shoot some analogue film at your wedding, you can connect with us here or on instagram, and maybe for a doubke-whammy of awesome, let’s get our analogue on at one of these Melbourne wedding venues.

For more of my film-only work, you can follow my personal account here.

If you like this, check out more black and white wedding photos

Film wedding photography questions answered

Do wedding photos on film cost more?

All of my packages include some film. To enquire about the cost of having your wedding photographed on 100% analog film, make an enquiry on the contact page.

Can anything go wrong on analog film?

I use a mix of old cameras, as well as the very latest analogue film cameras that were ever made. All of them are regularly serviced by the leading analogue film camera technicians. And I carry backsups on backups, so there is never any risk of anything going wrong. In fact, since I’m not simply shooting everything on one digital SD card, you could even argue that having your wedding photos taken on analog film is even safer than digital.

Will we get less photos on film?

Shooting your wedding on film means being even more careful when capturing moments. This means that i’ll typically come back with a fraction of the photos that I would for a wedding photographed on digital. With that said, you’ll still come away with a minimum of 300-400 finished film photos of your wedding, sometimes even more.

What is the best film to photograph my wedding on?

We use only the best stocks from Kodak and Cinestill. Typically, we can be seen waving our very favourites around: Cinestill 800, Ektar, Portra variants, and TMAX or Tri-X. Occasionally, we’ll even bring some special sauce that has become a unique part of my look and made us one of the most sought after film wedding photographers on the planet.

Is there a course on analogue film wedding photography?

We’ve been planning one for years, and will be releasing a short course on how to be a film wedding photographer soon. Check back on our education here for photographers.

Wes anderson style wedding photography

Jun 11, 2020

One of the constant themes in my enquiry inbox is a reference to Wes Anderson styled wedding photography.

Ok. So. There’s something a little (wildly) gratuitous about drawing any connection between a prolific director (for the kids playing at home, that’s Wes Anderson) and the owner of a humble wedding photography business in suburban Melbourne (that’s me).

Wildly, of the level of wildness entertained by 18 year olds who put racing stripes on their Toyota Corollas back in the 90’s thinking it boosted their engines horsepower (I wasn’t one of those, but I *might* have lowered and tinted a 20 year old family sedan). But since I’ve started photographing humans around the world at their weddings, folks keep drawing a connection between the two, without my prompting.

Which is really humbling, as he has a massive body of work, and excellent hair.

So because of that bring raised, I wanted to open up a post about cinematic shooting, symmetry, and how I “find the feel” in seemingly simple situations, show a few images, and cut through to breaking that down: what DO people mean when they say “yeah, that’s got a real Wes Anderson vibe to it”?

Halfacre Melbourne receptionIn a nutshell, it’s overwhelmingly about, simply, symmetry. 

What Sony’s Walkman did to the CD-player back in the 90’s and what Apple’s iPod did to the “portable music player”, Wes Anderson has done with this one enormously broad, fundamental design element.


It’s usually, (nearly) as simple as that, and it’s what I look for at every wedding. In fact it exists, whether we like it or not – we might just have to crank our neck a little.

Looking at painting - Wes Anderson wedding

If we extend it all a little further though, for me, the elements that give something a “Wes Anderson Vibe” in a broader sense, are:

1: Symmetry
2: A sense of calm/apathy
3: Unification via a thoughtful palette

And that’s without even touching on the intricate ways he weaves a story or creates a particular sense of theatre out of the characters. We could talk all day about the level of formula that his imagination uses, but we’ll just stay in the symmetry & composition saddle for the moment.

For me, I want to bring in a little bit of unique cinema into my Briars Atlas images, without getting too complex. Just a dash of… “I can’t put a finger on it, but when I look at this image, I feel like i’m peering inside a movie”/.

That means having an eye towards what it means to photograph with symmetry and finding calm in the chaos, so that within the set of images I deliver, there can me moments of calm and beauty in seemingly mundane situations.

Here’s a small selections, of my favourite “Wes Anderson” style wedding photos.

From Ryan and Alan, featured on Martha Stewart
Melbourne Jewish Wedding
wes anderson wedding photography
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Wes anderson style wedding photography - palm springs wedding
From Kate and Toms Palm Springs Wedding, the cover-couple of Together Journal issue #17
Wes anderson style wedding photography
From Jenelle and Ragan, featured on Equally Wed
Looking at painting - Wes Anderson wedding
Wes anderson style wedding photography - gather and tailor
groom and groom melbourne
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Wes anderson style wedding photography - smoking at wedding
From Maria and Ingos wedding at Pumphouse Point Tasmania – featured on Together Journal
Pumphouse Point Tasmania
Pumphouse Point tasmania
From Maria and Ingos wedding at Pumphouse Point Tasmania – featured on Together Journal
From Sarah and Pauls wedding at Zonzo Estate
From Tim and Alix, featured on Ivory Tribe
From Jenelle and Parker, featured on Wedding Chicks
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Wes anderson style wedding photography - kids on trampoline
From Matylda and Shane, featured on Nouba
Wes anderson style wedding photography - kid peering
Brunswick wedding
Wes anderson style wedding photography
From Dan and Dre’s engagement shoot
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Wes anderson style wedding photography
From Ryan and Alan, featured on Martha Stewart
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Wes anderson style wedding photography
Wes anderson style wedding photography
From Ryan and Alan, featured on Martha Stewart

hydro majestic wedding

Feb 1, 2020

I’m honestly at a loss for words trying to introduce this Blue Mountains wedding venue. The Hydro Majestic Hotel lives up to it’s name and is a turn-key wedding venue that really does offer everything you need to pull off the most extraordinary wedding. The hotel itself presents some phenomenal photo opportunities, with a refined art-deco style. The real magic though is in the view. It really does have to be seen to be believed. Luckily for you, I managed to snap a few wedding shots at this larger-than-life Blue Mountains wedding venue a little while ago and I’m more than happy to share. Enjoy!

The Hydro Majestic Blue Mountains Wedding Venue

Ok, this is the part where I blab on and on about how incredible this venue is. It is definitely for good reason though, there really isn’t a single downside. So, if you’re not thinking of booking The Hydro for your upcoming nuptials, maybe turn away if you don’t want to know what you’re missing out on.

This wedding venue is an absolute BEAST. It is a towering ode to the dreams of businessman Mark Foy and his drive to install Australia’s very first Health Retreat. That’s what The Hydro is, first and foremost – a retreat. And a mighty enormous one at that.

In 1903, Mark oversaw the construction of the Hydro, pulling out all the stops. A generator imported from Germany, artworks from all across the globe, a dome shaped roof that was built in Chicago and shipped all the way to Australia, and a Swiss health professional to run the joint. He even renamed the township The Hydro was situated in to “Medlow Bath” to make it suit the overall vibe of the hotel. If that isn’t a baller move, I don’t know what is.

The venue has hosted a plethora of famous guests over the years including: Dame Nellie Melba the magnificent Aussie Opera singer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Australia’s first Prime Minister Sir Edmund Barton who actually died in the hotel in 1920. Sure, it’s a morbid claim to fame, but it’s a claim to fame nonetheless.

If the grandiose of this venue isn’t apparent in its history, then allow the photos below to show you just how remarkable this place truly is.

hydro majestic wedding view
hydro majestic wedding
See more of these Elle Zeitoune Fontaine dresses.
hydro majestic blue mountains wedding

The Ceremony

If you’ve been pining after a wedding ceremony with a view, there’s no better way to do it than right here in the Blue Mountains. The Hydro Majestic boasts a breathtaking lookout with a viewing platform that’s perfectly suited to hosting a wedding ceremony in the natural surrounds of the serene Australian bush.

Honestly, whilst capturing photos for this wedding I was constantly picking my jaw up off the floor. I couldn’t believe just how ridiculously gorgeous the entire place was.

The ceremony was backed by a tremendous valley that held an expanse of native bush lands. The Blue Mountains really is one of the most naturally beautiful places in Australia – it’s no wonder this spot was selected to host the grandeur of The Hydro Hotel.

blue mountains wedding ceremony
hydro majestic wedding ceremony
blue mountains wedding

The Services

When you book your wedding venue through The Hydro Majestic, you’re basically covered for everything. And I mean, everything.

  • A dedicated Wedding Coordinator
  • On-site accommodation (overnight complimentary for the happy couple)
  • Design guidance
  • Welcome dinners
  • Spa sessions
  • Delectable meals and canapes
  • 5+ reception sites to choose from

The list goes on, my friends. I truly cannot recommend this venue enough, not only for weddings but for other events, photography shoots, high teas – anything that requires a spacious site that oozes class and style.

I’m going to leave you with a few more photos from this gorgeous Blue Mountains wedding venue. Once you’re done browsing through them why not check out this post on the awesome I Do Drive Through?

hydro wedding
hydro majestic wedding
hydro majestic wedding

For more beautiful rural New South Wales weddings, check out this Kangaroo Valley wedding,

Rupert on Rupert Alix Tim

Mar 30, 2019

When Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the Joker broke ground as one of the most radical performances in recent memory, you’d probably be forgiven for not believing that one of The Dark Knight writers, Jonathan Nolan, was, like the production studio and most of the population, in vocal opposition to the casting choice.

Originally published in pulp for the Rangefinder NYC February edition. Available also online.

Ledger defied critics in the loudest way, broke any subtle typecasts he had and built himself into a Joker that dismantled what it meant to revive an established character. This is what’s revealed when you test the edges of who you think you are, or are told you are, and lean away from one of the most popular pieces of recycled advice: “Just be yourself.”

We’re in a narrative-driven culture competing for ideology air-time, and we’ve never been bombarded with so many different ones at such frequency and so forcefully. It’s “be yourself” one minute and “always step outside of your comfort zone” the next, with a scarcity of roadmaps available to navigate how and when to switch on each of those oppositional states. A convincing counter can be found for just about any mantra out there at the moment, and mentally sifting through competing narratives is nearly a full-time job in itself.

One of the most charged narratives out there right now for creative professionals and freelancers is around the intersection of our identity and our craft. Identity, and therefore artistic voice, is often presented as that fixed construct and something that should be reflected in all parts of our work. But aligning ourselves with this narrative does two things that can potentially cause us grief: It makes the assumption that we’ve taken proper stock of ourselves and know “who we are,” and it can create unnecessary tension around the idea of being truthful to that identity in our work and telling truth in our images.

“Who I am” is a construct built by everyone I’ve ever had around me and every story I’ve ever told myself, about myself.

And now, this construct is supported by every digital touch-point in our lives. Without sounding like an apocalyptic defeatist, online social platforms are exactly engineered to create more confirmation bias and solidify your already-presented identity. Through a system of carefully engineered notifications and filtering, they bind us to this presented identity with a high rate of frequency. This has a profound subconscious effect on how we go about living in the small-business world and producing the work that we do.

Ryan Muirhead with Mirrors

What finding (or hiding) yourself looks like feat. our dear mirrored aides.

The candid photography and authenticity movement that is driving the story heavily on social media currently is less an objectively good way of going about doing things and more of a response to our perception of photography in the ‘90s. Whether we like it or not, we all leave our own, new mark on the historical proof we’re creating somehow, and it’s near impossible to get an idea of how that will hold up in 30 years. This is an ambiguously freeing thing, and while we should celebrate that as makers, we should also do it with the context that this isn’t better. It’s just different.

Before, during and for a long time after the Industrial Revolution, we didn’t really consider concepts of our work and self being too intertwined. We got the damn work done because we had no other choice. We had to support our family. Thankfully, the general employment climate and standard of living is better, which affords us more choice, but an abundance of that choice has presented its own set of challenges. In this case, it’s the challenge of excess and that identity magnifying glass we’re placing on ourselves because we now have the time and space to do so.

In a world where you can do anything and be anything, we’re now told to be authentic, to wind things back to what’s real and truthful. And this is particularly potent in photography, where we’re tasked with keeping historical record of real things happening in front of us.

However, authenticity and truth don’t exist—not in the way they’re sold to us, anyway—and perhaps the pursuit of those things isn’t the most useful way of finding our curiosity. When the broader online think-tank promotes a thin, arbitrary idea of authenticity, it all starts bearing a striking level of similarity. We see this most obviously in how that authenticity is manifested into branding design, but that’s a conversation for another day.

So when engaging with the precious task of bringing out our voice into our work and brand, and being true to ourselves or our clients, in an industry heavily steeped in the idea that we have to “be” our work and live out binary authenticity through it, where does this leave us?

Toddlers at a wedding

If you’re gonna thieve a cupcake, be authentic about it.

Various studies report that 70 to 80 percent of people lament not having their dream job, and a problem lies in the idea that we’re putting that dream job a yardstick ahead of a greater goal: exploration. Fundamentally, we are liquid, not stone—we just forget that as we go through school and the workplace, and find ourselves having to set a fixed identity relationship with everything around us, cemented with our job title stamped on paper.

You don’t have to “be” your work. Treat your business more like a pet piglet by your side. Walk it, feed it, let it roam. Give it a hot bath occasionally. Feed it a strawberry (no, seriously, Google “piglets eating strawberries”). Most importantly, be open to the idea that it can have an identity of its own. You can treat it like a game while still serving people in a beautiful way. That does not have to be a state of conflict for you.

I never hide the fact that I wouldn’t book myself, or anyone like me, for my wedding. This isn’t to say I don’t believe in the work that I do; I’m deeply engaged with my way of producing images and finding couples who like it. I’m surrounded by lush imagery, intimacy and end-to-end storytelling. But me? I don’t want that for myself.

I’d hire a gritty, jaded ‘90s photojournalist to photograph my wedding day on grainy film and a super wide lens. No prep, no portraits, no “storytelling.” I’m very present to the fact that our powerful imagination can fill in the gaps; I don’t need prescriptive images of every last micro-event doing the heavy lifting for me. There’s amplified value in scarcity, and that’s where my values lie for what I’d hire (subject to my wife’s input, of course).

Does that make me inauthentic in the product I choose to sell?

There’s a lot of power locked up in words, and even though we’ve passed the madness of the loud hipster application of authenticity (I’ve waited patiently for six years for the fad to pass so that I could grow this damn man bun currently sitting post-pretentiously atop my middle-class noggin), we’re still in the middle of an ideological gold rush to show our B-side instead of our A-side, to move against heavy curation and to be “real” with what we post. But curated A-sides were never disinteresting or damaging—they just got hijacked by #influencers and advertisers. There’s nothing wrong with someone’s work or personal identity being shrouded in curated mystery, with all the rest left private, for them, like it used to be.

The next movement will be a middle ground and our ability to induce magic in the people that view our work by turning how we live and how we craft into a character. Perhaps not the Joker or any other folks also sporting a Glasgow smile (your bookings might suffer), but something more in line with human anthropology and ritual in all of its forms—the real, the fake, the tacky, the authentic, the staged, the awkward. This is the wonderful human circus, and we owe more to it than gratuitously pretending we can capture its whole, objective truth.

Show me any wonderful, iconic body of documentary work, and i’ll show you a body of work by an individual, with a vision.

And never forget that there’s an enormously wide range of ways in which to reach the hearts of people through our identity and craft, beyond moose-antler logos and slideshows accompanied by the indie acoustics of José González.

Homeward bound projects Antarctica

Mar 20, 2018

I know this is all about weddings, about love, community and all that. But it’s not every day you find yourself shipped to the very bottom of the planet, on the Antarctic peninsula, sharing a month with 80 of the most brilliant minds in science, tech, education, medicine and maths. This was for Homeward Bound voyage #2.

Homeward bound projects Antarctica

The places this gig takes me. A huge thanks to Kodak for sponsoring me, and loading me up with what must have been the largest ever case of camera film hauled to Antarctica. More on this later.