Sep 3, 2020
Babiana Botanic makes incredible, unique floral designs, thanks to the fine-art background of it’s founder, Anna. We worked together on the wedding of Pepe and Sam at The Line (officiated by Nat Sproal), and we chat a little about her incredibly unique approach to Melbourne florals.
To see more of her impossibly innovative work, check out the wedding of Pepe and Sam featured in Hello May, available on news stands today.
I’m Anna of Babiana Botanic. Most people think working with flowers “must be so lovely and relaxing!”
And yeah, sure – I love what I do and it is at times, lovely and relaxing – but its also 3am wake-ups to get the best flowers at market, long days creating arrangements, carrying buckets up and down stairs of beautiful old venues that don’t have lift access, hands covered in cuts, 1am pack-downs – it can be a brutal job – which just shows you’ve got to really love it – and I do!
I have a Bachelor of Fine Art and have always loved flowers and nature.
My love of Art Nouveau inspired me into the floristry industry where I can create works of art with nature, for people on their wedding days or for other amazing events.
I love doing weddings in Melbourne because it is such a melting pot of people. It means you get such a wide range of clients with a diverse set of needs. There are also so many creative people in Melbourne who want a wedding that stands out and is unique to them.
It means that I get to create amazing colourful weddings, weddings with nods to the couples cultures (Indian, Macedonian, etc), and contemporary weddings that are a little different.
What makes Babiana Botanic special is that we are not afraid to use colour and create something unique. We like to think about flowers as an art form and creating works of art specific to each couple.
We’ve been offering flower delivery to people’s homes during this time off so that we are still working with flowers and offering something to brighten people’s days. We’ve also been in contact and working with all of our couples who have had to postpone their weddings and events to ensure we can go ahead when all these restrictions ease.
I think post-covid, there will be a move towards more intimate weddings with just your closest family and friends, and a move away from feeling the need for a big wedding where you have to invite your third-cousin-twice-removed and that friend you haven’t seen since high-school.
I love colour and doing things differently – and that’s the mark I would like to leave. I want couples to come to me wanting beautiful, quirky, colourful and different designs.
Head to this post for more incredible unique florists in Melbourne.
Aug 13, 2020
These are four of my favourite Castlemaine wedding venues, including a bunch of photos taken at each of brilliant couples choosing to have their wedding in this rustic region.
It’s really late at night, and i’m writing this article for you, dear human-person, on the other end, and i’m supposed to use all this coercive langue that apparently makes internet websites more engaging and all that (“you’ll never BELIEVE how rusticly-rustic to the power of rustic these are”), but, let’s skip all that cheap shit and get to the point, because you’re better than that (it’s a Castlemaine thing).
Castlemaine is incredibly rad, otherwise you wouldn’t be on this post or considering a wedding in the area, and I want to share some great spaces from this totally marvellous region.
I’ve spent a tonne of time out there, and as a general thing within the universe, a visit to it is generally recognised as being far more desirable than a slap over the noggin with a wet fish, so have a look at these scallywags that thought the same, and hire me to shoot your wedding.
Providence gully is a gem of the area, an incredible oasis established in 1858. With a rustic barn, olive grovee, pomegranite orchards and an endless variety of native greenery, this understated marvel is a must see.
I photographed the wedding of Amy and Bronson, held in this precious place, and featured in all it’s glory on Hello May.
Providence Gully website: http://providencegully.com.au/
Katie (othewise known at the inimitable Katie Marx flowers – see her here on Melbournes best wedding florists) and Greg run Butterland Newstead, and took it from an historic factory needing a little DIY love, into and incredibly versatile venue just one good road trip out of Melbourne
Iro and Alex got married at this spectacular property, and you can see more of these hilarious, stylish marvels featured here on Together Journal.
Butterland Newstead website: https://www.butterland.com.au/
The Diggers Store is something of an understated gem of the area, and resembles something of an impossible mix of tiny italian clifftop homestead, mixed with rustic outback, and just a couple of hours north of Melbourne.
After their Queenstown Elopement (also featured here on Hello May), Lilli and Jake brought the party, and their beautiful community, to the intimate grounds of the Diggers Store in Castlemaine, and loaded up with a bunch of strange old film cameras (see here why I shoot film at weddings) I came along for the ride to document it.
The Diggers Store website: http://www.thediggersstore.com.au/
This one slipped into this post, just. Even though it’s about 40 minutes outside of Castlemaine, it still qualifies and is well worth adding to the Castlemaine venue consideration pile. Home of beautiful hospitality, wood-fired pizzas, and plenty of beautiful portrait locations in the surrounding regions to run around in. Go for the woodfired pizzas, and get married on the side.
Kara and Marty had their Castlemaine wedding at the Cosmopolitan hotel in Trentham, and we whipped out for a beautiful portrait session in some unique spots nearby. Head here to see more of their Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding.
The Cosmopolitan Hotel Trentham website: https://www.thecosmopolitanhotel.com.au/
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.
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.
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 Golems 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.
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 hilights 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.
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 hilights, and you’re good to go.
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.
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.
This means that our image has a full range of information in it, that translates to a detailed print. Any adjustments we make to the “s” curve in Photoshop or Lightroom immediately throws away information in the image, so it’s 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.
By keeping the shadows rich, we can selectively dodge them out later while maintaining a solid black-point that will print out beautifully.
Dark and moody wedding images, if they’re shot in lower-light situations, inherently have a lot less hilights 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”.
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.
Follow my free wedding photography workshop series, or make an enquiry about joining my mentor program.
Jul 29, 2020
Tess and Sam had their Kangaroo Valley wedding in the beautiful rolling hills of the Southern Highlands, New South Wales. While the wedding venues Kangaroo Valley holds are plentiful, that this was held on Tess’s parents homestead made for a private setting and beautifully intimate and personal backdrop, with all hands on deck from their community putting their day together.
The most special moments in this gig are often less about the kiss/dance/standard stuff, and more about doing justice to the little bits of quirk on the day… family quirk, friend quirk, subtle things that mean a lot.
I bought along a 1980s 3d camera for the ride. See why I shoot film.
Tess’s close friend was assumed as not being able to make it to their wedding from overseas, so naturally, given that he was in fact making it there, he hid himself in a tractor trailer underneath a tarp, and then sprung out in front of Tess in a gloriously divine moment of reveal.
Enjoy their little story below.
Visit New South Wales: https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/jervis-bay-and-shoalhaven/kangaroo-valley
Jul 27, 2020
Putting “Covid wedding Melbourne” at the front of Adriana and Calebs wedding title seems to relegate the marriage part (the bit we’re actually all here for) to the back seat. Sooooo, let’s reword that: Adriana and Calebs awesome little elopement (which happened to occur in the middle of the Covid pandemic that they thumbed their noses at and got it done beautifully anyway while staying well within all of the rules and regulations currently in place including the wearing of masks, social distancing, and limitations on who can be present).
Adriana and Caleb had their first date at this park in Coburg, in Melbournes northern suburbs. So that was where they decided to say their vows, and lock it down, with the inimitable Melbourne wedding celebrant Zena Lythgo doing the honours via I Do Drive Thru. I joined up to photograph it and play one of the witnesses.
Since their dogs can’t hold a pen.
I Do Drive Thru is a brilliant, agile initiative out of Melbourne that has enabled couples wanting to get married to get it done in the middle of this coronavirus pandemic, while playing to all the necessary current restrictions around social distancing and the wearing of a mask.
These two marvels got the important bit done – the marriage thing – with themselves and Adrianas mother, and then enjoyed the rest of the day together. Beautiful.
It’s been especially interesting in Melbourne, as our state has been… not playing ball with the restrictions, which has meant the pandemic has had several new clusters of outbreaks, further locking things down.
So the fact that initiatives like I Do Drive Thru and other small wedding venues such as The Altar Electric exist, has been such a brilliant thing for couples putting love and marriage first, and opting to save the party for later.
If you’re looking at getting it done in the middle of the Covid pandemic in Melbourne, head over here for more information on Melbourne City Elopements.
The Altar Electric have been the other frontrunners in this Covid pandemic craziness, and their brilliantly unique wedding venue warehouse space in Collingwood has seen all sorts of celebration playing exactly to all of the rules and requirements in place in the middle of this pandemic.
Head over and read more here: Melbourne city elopements.
Jul 24, 2020
I don’t know much about hats (or much about fancy things some would argue). But. I suspect this hat on a guest at this The Deck at Circa wedding is, fancy.
Jul 22, 2020
Will and Jac are the agile Melbourne wedding planner duo made up of Catherine and Clare, who as well as being event planners of all sizes and styles, are portable transportation units for infectious smiles. We’ve worked together with brilliant couples in venues from historic Melbourne stables over to bluestone homesteads in northern Victoria.
Clients approach us at all stages of their planning journey – some 2 years out, others with only a month or weeks to go (when things might have turned a little more ‘tense’ – we are counselors too!).
Typically with private property Weddings, couples and their families realise from the outset that it’s a bigger ball game and that professionals are needed to ensure the process is well executed – not only on the day, but in the days leading up when suppliers commencing setting up, as well as when the celebrations are over and you need to return the space as it was originally.
With venues it can be early or late in the piece, with some locations offering more hands-on planning via their onsite coordinators, while others leave it completely to the client to make the space and Day exactly as they wish.
Life has curveballs and with this, there are numerous scenarios when people realise they need help – perhaps work hours have increased, the couple don’t know where to start (this is absolutely normal), the client want to start enjoying the days prior to the Wedding and move from “planner” to “getting married” and like all of us, sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day!
Absolutely! And we prefer to approach the planning with our couples by having them make and decide who they wish to engage – we do all the leg work to provide them with options and our industry experience, but at the end of the day it’s their celebration, we just make it all reality.
We believe that generally people still foresee Wedding Planners as those referenced in movies like The Wedding Planner and Father of the Bride – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
We get our hands dirty and have completed all manner of duties to get our Weddings in tip-top condition – our role includes horticulturist duties (repotting plants for styling), seamstresses (being underneath a Brides dress and re-hemming gowns on the day), Sous Chefs (plating up in the kitchen when extra hands are needed), Accountants (budget management) and everything in-between.
We are also both meticulously painful in terms of attention to detail, and will create multiple scenarios for our Weddings so that no stone is left unturned that we can’t then manage on the day.
We are Chief Fire Fighters too and on the day we effectively ensure we have a calm and positive disposition and manage numerous underlying curveballs that pop up – such is life! – while ensuring no-one (except us) are any the wiser.
We can’t go past Private Property Weddings – they are all unique and we love the experience of a blank space going from ‘nothing’ to ‘something’.
These occasions are a logistical beast, the time that we spend curating a working event order and communicating between all parties can’t be imagined, but at the end of the day when we see magic form in-front of our eyes, it’s worth every minute.
Venue wise yes, Melbourne has unlimited options for every celebration, but a few we love are Polperro Estate in Red Hill, The Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, Tanglewood Estate and Alfred Place by Rockpool Events.
We’ve received many a phone call from concerned parents who have noticed that the somewhat ‘simple Wedding’ picture that their child had wished for has been hijacked by concerns, so they call us to find out how we could elevate these doubts, and then we meet directly with the couple to showcase our services and story.
We generally then join their planning and they are able to start re-enjoying their engagement journey. We’ve been brought on-board to manage family dynamics and play the role of mediator. It’s one scenario where we are “good cop” and “bad cop” (guess who is who?!) and take any unwanted strain off the couple.
But mostly couples realise after the fact what our services are worth.
It’s the ‘big picture’ stuff that we specialise in – we are all about making the day not only seamless for the couple and their guests, but also for their contracted suppliers, as together, the day is all the more memorable!
We can do as little or as much to assist with a Wedding Day. But to be honest we’re both control freaks, so Full Planning is our preferred option.
Personalised service is paramount. We are all about ensuring their peace of mind, bringing their story to the Day, and exceeding expectations at every turn.
These were also concepts that we had as individual planners therefore when brought together as Will&Jac, this has doubled and is exactly why we do what we do!
1. Ensure your quotes are reflective of your needs
2. Utilise what’s at your location as much as possible – repurpose furniture, ensure event conclusion times/noise limits are in line with your wishes
3. Planning a Wedding is a full time job, so allow a professional to manage your process and keep your ticking towards your date in the right manner. A ‘relaxed’ Wedding Day comes from months and months of planning, it doesn’t just happen!
1. Consider public holidays/special events (surcharges etc)
2. Always have a Plan B for your Ceremony and Reception – you just never know!
3. Ensure you ‘click’ with your supplier tribe. You need lots of positivity and stressless spirits with you towards and
Will and Jac website: http://willandjac.com/
Jul 20, 2020
At Sam and Pauls Thornbury wedding (featuring the iconic Kenny Lover), I linked up with their DJ’s One More Song Entertainment, who carried a ripping vibe across the day and into the evening. You know you’re on a good thing when the crew carrying your tunes are having the time of their life themselves. The duo are Eddy and Aleks, and they filled me in on what makes for cracking music at your wedding and how to plan your wedding music.
These legends are also featured on my list of the 5 best wedding bands in Melbourne.
65 floors! I feel sorry for them. I could talk about what I do all day. In a nutshell though (and as this is a blog!), I’m a business co-owner (with my partner DJ Eddy Mac) and wedding DJ. Eddy and I run One More Song. We’re not a “booking agency” – we’re a wedding DJ business. Weddings are front and centre for us. We just love them!
As well as DJs, we have awesome musicians like saxophonists who play with us. Both Eddy and I run all aspects of the business and work with clients in the lead up to their big day. If one of us isn’t personally DJing at your wedding, we’ll pick one of our rockstar DJs.
I say we’re not an agency because we only work with a small – but AWESOME – group of entertainers (all experienced in playing at weddings) and we’re both so hands-on with the business. There are no desk-based entertainment managers at One More Song – you’re always dealing with someone who lives and breathes weddings!
Is there a better party than a wedding? You have an excuse to get super dressed up, you get fed, watered and spend all night dancing with your favourite people. There is a special energy at weddings that you just don’t get anywhere else. And you definitely feel that behind the decks!
I love DJing at weddings because you get to play epic tunes from all eras and genres. I love so many different types of music – disco, funk, old school RnB, classic house, 90s dance, Motown, 80s synth, hip hop – the list goes on! Getting a pumping dance floor at a wedding involves really mixing it up to get old and young dancing. I truly love seeing people from all walks of life coming together to dance and for those few hours, forget about the mundanities of everyday life.
The one thing that constantly surprises me (but probably shouldn’t) is how much people of all ages love older music. There are just so many artists that have truly stood the test of time (think Queen, Prince, Bee Gees, Marvin Gaye) and always get the party going.
We’re always super upfront with our clients about the process so we can set their expectations. We always tell them that there’s only so much we can prepare – 80 per cent of the work is done on the night. Apart from the key moment songs (first dance, etc) and some “must-play” song requests from the couple, we just need an idea of what our clients DON’T want to hear and some genres/artists they love. Also importantly, we ask them what their friends and family will be into as well.
Then it’s up to us on the night! We use our experience to read the room and build the energy at the right level. You can’t go hard with bangers at dinner and then play ambient jazz during the dance floor. You also can’t play one genre all night or guests will fatigue. It’s a fine balancing act!
We’re blessed as our vibe attracts clients who get all of this and are more than happy to leave most of the work to us. Building that trust with them is essential to us doing the best job possible on the day. We have heard of DJs who are provided with a list of 300 songs to play. That just doesn’t get the best results, so we let our brides and grooms know how we operate nice and early!
Our gigs are not fixed at all! All of our DJs live mix. Yes, we’re organised – we have thousands of tunes catalogued in every which way (folders for different parts of the evening, different decades, genres, sub-genres, etc), but we’re totally flexible and play to the crowd. Sometimes I’ll cue up a song to play and then 20 seconds before I’m about to mix out, I’ll change my mind – it definitely keeps it interesting!
I’m happy to take requests and happy to play Horses (no Nutbush, Macarena or Chicken Dance though… the line has to be drawn somewhere). BUT the caveat is that the request needs to be a song that the newly married couple will be happy with, and it needs to be played at the right time. If someone drunkenly requests Horses and guests are just finishing their mains, well, it ain’t happening!
The flashing knobs and buttons are designed to make us look very skilled, important and intimidate all who try to talk to us. 🙂 No, but really, technology has come such a long way and really helps when it comes to DJing at weddings. For example, we can cue up tracks at different points for key moments like wedding party entrances and use different effects and functions to help smoothly transition between genres – a very important part of being a wedding DJ.
As for the robot with good taste in music, its name is Spotify. The clients I’ve spoken to who had a Spotify play list for their engagement parties have always regretted it. I’ll only be threatened if the robot develops so much that it can read the tiny flicker of excitement in a guest’s eyes when you play a tune they love while they’re still having their entree, or be able to deal with an inebriated uncle who wants you to play The Angels all night. Then MAYBE I’ll be out of a job.
When a couple enquires with us, they receive our shiny “party pack” – an easy-to-digest information pack that has more about how we work, our sample mixes, videos, etc. Then, some couples will either lock us in or book in a phone or video call (or in-person meeting, depending on what lockdown stage we’re in). During this chat, we talk about everything wedding-related and ask the couple about their wedding timeline, music likes/dislikes, their guest demographic, the vibe they’re after, etc! And of course, we go into more detail about how we work and offer some suggestions. After that, it’s a 50 per cent part payment to lock us in!
A packed dance floor is obviously the ultimate goal, but people do need breaks – they might grab a drink, powder their nose, chat to a friend they haven’t seen in a while – it’s all part of it. And you need to provide something for everyone. Generally we’ll make sure the oldies can enjoy the dance floor earlier on in the night and leave the late night sing-alongs for those who are really letting their hair down. As a wedding DJ, you need to respond to what’s happening in front of you. If you’re about to play the bride’s all-time fave song but see she’s heading off to the bathroom, you better find a different track pronto!
This does happen quite a bit (which is why we came up with the name!). It’s hard to pick one track as it really depends on the couple and the vibe, but normally it’s got to be something that has broad appeal, known and loved by both the couple and guests. An upbeat remix of a classic seems to work well – maybe an edit of a disco track. At one wedding last year I played Don’t Leave Me This Way by The Communards and it went off!
One More Song Entertainment website: https://onemoresong.com.au/
Bigger picture stuff? Check out these Melbourne wedding planners.
Jul 19, 2020
Endless amusement, joy, theatre and chaos in little humans.
Fix up, look sharp.
For more images of the theatrical little world of humans south of 3 feet tall, head over to kids at weddings.
Jul 18, 2020
Jaime Lee Major is one of Australia’s brightest design stars. Her bridal collection has grown over the last 10 years making her one of the most sought after dressmakers to come out of Australia. Jaime Lee Major wedding gowns are meticulously crafted pieces of art.
A while back I photographed the Perth wedding of Sarah and Dave, which started in a majestic ceremony and ended in an actual rave. Throughout all that this wild Jaime Lee Major creation weathered all the wild glory.
I wanted to do a piece on her because I am inspired by her wild design talent and outer-space way of approaching bridal gowns for folks wanting something a little more on the edge. Her designs are for the fashion-forward bride (the exact words that came out of David’s lips all day at their wedding).
Born and raised in Fremantle (Perth), Jamie Lee Major rose to fame after she designed a gown for Kimbra at the Grammys in 2013. Her blue tulle and Swarovski encrusted dress was seen by 40 million people and she gained a mighty whack of international fame, and said in an interview for VOGUE that she hadn’t really thought about bridal couture but had so many enquiries that it ‘just sort of happened’.
She’s won WA Designer of the year, been featured in VOGUE, dressed Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Rita Ora (to name a few). Major has since left the red carpet behind her now to focus her creative genius on wedding dress designs.
Jaime Lee Major wedding gowns are priced from $5000 to $24,000, but worth every cent. They are pieces of art that she carefully wraps around a human body, and have endless hours of labour put into every last little detail. There are hundreds of thousands of beads, crystals, pearls and stitches in her creations.
The bridal collection features a lot of tulle and exposed flesh, lavishly covered with luxurious embellishments. They’re a Pinterest board dream. You can forget the classic silhouette or cathedral length train.
Jaime Lee is talking frills, cuffs, ruffles, sparkles and bespoke demi-couture tailoring. The materials tend to stray away from classic whites and ivories and delve into lux golds and silvers. Something I’m excited to see more of in contemporary weddings.
If you’re a bride who wants to do things differently then Jaime Lee Major’s collection is awe-inspiring. See-through trouser suits and everything covered in Swarovski will certainly turn some heads and take your Grandmothers idea of the traditional wedding dress for a glorious golden ride. The way the light catches the sparkles and the overstated glamour is perfect for any bridal shoot.
There is no end to this gifted woman’s creativity. She is such an exciting element in Australian wedding scene. One of her recent catwalk gowns used the most insane floristry to bring her ideas to life.
I love capturing everything that makes the day special, the bride’s dress is at the top of my list. Be over indulgent, be bountiful, be sumptuous. It’s a wedding, nothing can be too amplified! Your dress should make you feel like you’ve never felt before and there is no way in hell you can’t feel $1million dollars in a Jaime Lee Major wedding gown.
Jaime Lee Major on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaimeleemajor
Jul 17, 2020
Since Covid has put a stop to conferences and workshops, I wanted to give a little back, and so have created a free wedding photography workshop. Using design as the main tool, this contains around 7 years of workshop content, and have separated the best bits into easy to consume, bite-sized chunks, and released them on Instagram as a 100 frame wedding photography workshop. Yours, for free! Boom.
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.
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 syllabus, the best way to learn for me personally.
So that’s how i’ve crafted this.
Using typography and a particular style of writing, 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), 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.
Some conferences i’ve had the brilliant honour of sharing this at:
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 shooting film, 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.
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.
Jul 15, 2020
Bangin Hangins are a category unto themselves – who knew that somewhere between “wedding photographer” and “wedding stylist” there was a standalone category entitled “awesome majestic aerial shit from another dimension that hangs from the ceiling before eventually being whisked away and leaving you wondering how you’ll ever deal with the room being it’s regular dull self”. Etc.
Bangin Hangins make installations that are installed in (/on, with, either-or-and-the-other) the ceiling. Installed TO the ceiling. Take your pick. Whatever the correct terminology is, it results into your ceiling being morphed into some impossible colourful, textural playground.
I’ve been fortunate to see the handiwork of this maestro at three weddings now: an incredible at-home wedding with Sam and Paul (ft. One More Song Entertainment – see their piece here on how to plan your wedding music), Pepe and Sam at The Line in Footscray, and at a Tanglewood Estate elopement were we installed our futuristic neon arbours.
Enjoy this brief little peer into their founder Sarahs fireworks brain.
With Covid forcing us all indoors and all manner of brilliant doorstep portrait projects happening, I wanted to kickstart some convos with my local community and find out how the time and strange space is being used, as it’s never been more important to stay connected and sharing.
I am Sarah. AKA Queen of the Bangers. I’m an events based installation artist. My mates generally get the concept, although a few call it Hangin Bangin instead of Bangin Hangins. Which has the potential to be completely misinterpreted.
I like to think the kind of couple we attract are our kind of people. Its nice to work with like minded people who like something a bit left of centre.
My take on colour / form / placement and proportion. All important when putting together a Bangin aerial installation.
We’ve been working on shoots and ideas for future pop ups once its safe. Once these shoots are released, couples might draw some inspo from these.
For the very near future, boutique. So forget inviting that second cousin and cling (at distance) to your favs and let loose. This is my kind of party covid or no covid. Much more fun. I hope we can help make it a Bangin memorable party.
I reckon Bangin Hangins would look bloody ripper draped all around The Deck at Circa.
Jul 14, 2020
I spent 5 minutes with the brainchild behind Australia’s most awarded and highly reviewed wedding videographers – C2 Films – who also doubles as the facial recipient of the best moustache in the southern hemisphere – Marcus Theodor.
By “spend 5 minutes with”, I mean I sent him an email saying “Mate – fill these questions out (if you can see past the ‘stache down to your keyboard)”, but, same-same.
C2 Films have been around a long time. If C2 were not a group of videographers but instead a human at conception, they’d now be a rowdy teenager telling you why your taste in music sucks.
In videography-terms, that’s about three triple-sentences worth (it’s a challenging, high-turnover field). Somehow Marcus hasn’t aged, I suspect it has something to do with being a backyard Wim Hof practitioner.
So it’s safe to say they know their stuff, instead of telling you your music sucks they put it with love into your video, and because of all this are some of the busiest videographers going with a wild diversity of styles they execute on.
Couples love my dedication, they love that I’m all in, all the time. Approachable and make them feel at ease almost immediately.
I live by the motto that the ‘sun rises and sets with the couple’ and if anyone tries to fuck with that, I’ll burn them.
That I was handsome, strong, dark and moody… creative genius battling inner demons.
That I can’t sit still, that I cannot change or affect my world from my keyboard at home.
I need to move, thus taking up a tradie job (renovation) to throw shit around… and discovering that the boys onsite do it hard for very little, and that I’m fucking blessed to get paid for what I do in the wedding game.
Samsara (daughter) would be my go-to movie, for I’m not at the beginning or and the end, I’m just here…
Jul 13, 2020
Here’s a rundown of some of my 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 my 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).
Be sure to tune in for the very last one – some of my 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 my 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.
The Melbourne Treasury building is the go-to spot for registry weddings in Melbourne. 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 portrait 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.
Just west of the Melbourne Treasury building, is the Treasury gardens. While the gardens themselves are beautiful and lush, what I personally prefer 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.
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.
Something more of a sleeper 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.
Enormous stonework, subtle signage and fittings, the laneways here are worth exploring and just a small dash out of the Melbourne CBD.
One of my favourite little lanes. Find it on Google Maps here.
One of my favourite general areas in Melbourne. 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.
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, 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.
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. 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.
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.
And we’re about to lean into the ether, into Gandalf’s embrace, etc.
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.
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.
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 places to take photos in Melbourne, at just a short jump outside of the Melbourne CBD itself.
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.
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.
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 my 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.
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).
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.
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, 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 my favourite Melbourne wedding photo locations containing simple light, and simple texture. For more of my secret ones, keep an eye on my melbourne wedding photography workshops.
Jul 12, 2020
Jul 11, 2020
The Fyansford Paper Mill (otherwise known as Site 3a by Truffleduck) hosts weddings and events just outside of Geelong in the historic corner of Fyansford at Provenance Wines, in what is an absolute little treasure of the area, just minutes from the Geelong city centre. Take a look at this Fyansford Paper Mill Wedding Pre-enactment with the inimitable Georgie Boy.
I spent half a day in it’s incredible stone walls with Melbourne florist Gina (Georgie Boy), making use of the space and each of us following our noses in our respective crafts, with no end-goal in mind but to make something together in the 3 hours spent there. More from this shoot and a little short-film we created at the papermill to be released soon.
Scroll to the bottom for information on hiring for a Fyansford Paper Mill Wedding (or epic battle, midnight ritual, the world’s your oyster).
Fyansford Paper Mill is something of an internet enigma, and has less of a presence than you might expect for a venue that resembles an impossibly beautiful run-down italian castle, just sitting at the edge of Geelong.
Dating back to the precincts industrial era, the Fyansford Paper Mills look like something more likely to have been plucked from the minds of Peter Jacksons set-design team than a venue just outside of Melbourne that you can actually hire for your wedding: enormous wooden beams, an impossibly high entrance divider between the two main stone rooms and a unique blank canvas unlike anywhere else.
Anyhow, you don’t need me frothing over it’s incredible blue-stone walls and regurgitating information you can find readily available on the Truffleduck website, but I will say that outside of an old palace on the side of an Italian cliff, there aren’t any venues i’ve been to that feel anything quite like this.
Lower Section – 200 guests
Upper Section – 160 guests
Cocktail Style – 380 guests
For venues like the Paper Mill outside of Geelong, see Alternative Wedding Venues in Melbourne.
Jul 10, 2020
Jul 9, 2020
Charis white is a Melbourne wedding celebrant with an enormous amount of experience in weddings large and small all over greater Melbourne and Victoria, for every type of couple you can imagine. With all her experience in running brilliant ceremonies, Charis shares her thoughts on how to write a wedding ceremony, how to write your vows, and how to ensure that it’s a smooth experience – especially for the shy and introverted.
Getting to know the couple well means they will have a great ceremony. At a wedding I did recently, a guest asked if I was a friend of the couples. This is the best compliment ever as it shows I really know them and reflected their story in an awesome way.
I ask them if they have an idea about what they want to talk about. If not, then I give them some vow inspiration to look over and guide them along. I also read over the vows and offer advice and guidance.
I tell them to face each other, that way they are only seeing the face of their bestie. If you are nervous, a reassured look can calm you down. I am also up there with them to reassure them and guide them through the process.
When I meet my couples, we have a chat about their day, their expectations and the overall vibe they want their ceremony to take. Once we have chatted through their story, I send them a questionnaire with more comprehensive questions. I also give my clients the draft to look over, it reassures them.
In terms of their vows (see Jake writing his wedding vows), I cast my eyes over them to make sure they are both semi aligned. EG, if one vow is very funny, then I will go to the other person and tell them to weave in a little humour.
That way they are both balanced.
I talk about family and friends in the ceremony. I also love engaging with people prior to the ceremony, especially the oldies and kids.
If there is a way to weave a few friends into the ceremony story, I love to do this and love the relatability of it.
Laura and Walker looking super cinematic. See why I shoot film.
My advice is totally against this. Actually, I bully them into giving them to me prior. JK. If the couple wants me to have their vows, so they do not need to carry anything on the day of their wedding. I ask for the vows prior to the ceremony. I then populate them into the final draft.
My timeline on this is at least two weeks prior to the ceremony. Sometimes I get them the morning of.
However, most couples are pretty good with getting them to me on time. I also look over their vows prior to the ceremony.
Long story short – don’t leave your vows until the last minute!
Follow your gut, trust the process and believe in your team.
See here for how to plan wedding music.
Jul 8, 2020
I Do Drive Thru is a worldwide wedding startup, helping couples get hitched in the middle of Covid19 while adhering to the restrictions and saving the partying for later. Since launching in Melbourne, it’s spread nationally, and has since popped up all over the USA. Melbourne wedding celebrant Mel (who also moonlights as The Ceremony Store) runs us through why it started and how it’s helped couples all over the world.
I’ve been a Marriage and Funeral Celebrant for 15 years and own the companies, The Ceremony Store, The I Do Drive Thru and The Last Time. I am also a Celebrant Trainer with Australian Celebrations Training, Furniture Maker, Writer, Mother and Wife but I have always wanted to be an Electrician.
I am obsessed with learning as much as I can in this lifetime, I am perpetually curious. I try one new task every year until I get good at it, then I move on: I have learnt lock-picking, languages, carpentry, metal-detecting, and written a book.
When COVID 19 became a part of our world I was given medical advice to isolate which meant I could no longer do weddings. The next day I gave away/rescheduled 17 weddings and it was, to say the least; devastating, not just for me, but for my couples. Not only that, I felt horribly guilty giving my weddings to other Celebrants who could possibly get COVID.
That night I lay awake thinking about how I could keep those Celebrants safe and keep working from home during COVID.
To digress, I have always been a bit obsessed with Vegas style weddings and in my early Celebrancy career, I used to ride my red postie motorbike to weddings dressed as Elvis. It just seemed pretty natural that Vegas-vibed drive thru weddings and getting couples to stay in their cars while getting married and keeping the Celebrant distanced was the answer to all of my problems.
The next morning I texted 3 of the most awesome Celes I know, said let’s start this business, and all of them said yes without hesitation and 8 days later, we had a business name, logo, website and a press release. On our launch day we had over 32 calls from the press, 10 enquiries and booked our very first wedding.
Just by chance, my co-founders Kate, Zena and Klara were the perfect combo to get everything going, and the main driver between all of us was the passion to continue working while this crisis was going on around us.
We all love what we do and while we all kind of felt like sitting around grieving for what we had lost, we forced ourselves to build something new to fit with the changed times. Our catch cry became ‘we will work that out later’ as the business moved so incredibly quickly.
I honestly believe that anyone can do anything they set their mind to, impossible isn’t in my vocabulary. Any skill can be learned, any work can be completed no matter what limits there are, so we worked 19-20 hours days for that first week and we pulled it off.
The most rewarding thing about starting the business was the instant gratification we got with the media interest, we knew that our idea was good and the public interest confirmed that.
My gorgeous co-founders put so much trust in me right from the get go. We organised everything via phone, zoom and email, we have only sat in the same space once since we started the business, which is pretty incredible.
On launch day, seeing Klara on the 6pm news launching our business was such an achievement and then to replicate that model in each state over and over and then in the US has been amazing!
We now have 21 Celebrants working Aus wide with us and 2 in the US.
Celebrants weren’t the only people affected by COVID, it’s also the photographers, venue owners, car hire companies, florists, everyone has been affected in our industry. We worked hard to create a model that could encompass as many of these suppliers in local communities as possible, so they could be involved too.
A huge benefit to our business has been that we managed to snag some of the best photographers in Australia to work with us and these artists have provided some of the most epic photos of ceremonies.
Having these professional images to share with potential couples so they can see that tiny weddings can be so intimate and beautiful and moving has been incredible, a professional picture really is worth a thousand words.
Bringing work to all types of wedding industry professionals, while they were feeling pretty down about losing their own work, has given us all the warm fuzzies.
Our couples really range in age, we have had couple in their 20’s to couple’s in their 80’s. The similarity between them is that they really want to get married, but feel like they don’t fit into the white wedding dress/getting given away by Dad/first dance scenario. We have had couples that have stayed in their car for the ceremony, gotten out and married under trees, created convoys so family and friends can come and watch and couples have arrived via cars, helicopters, motorbikes and bicycles.
My fave couple so far is a couple where the Bride recently became paraplegic and she is still getting used to navigating new places and feels a little self-conscious.
Her Fiancé just wanted to marry her, because in his words, ‘she is the most amazing woman in the world’. When they heard about the Drive Thru and she saw that she didn’t have to get out of the car and worry about wheelchair logistics, she cried, because this was the only way she felt comfortable getting married.
COVID is going to be here for a while. It’s not going to magically disappear, and I honestly think this will impact the wedding industry for years.
In the short term we have the uncertainty of not knowing when we can go back to booking big celebrations and it makes planning pretty impossible.
Then when restrictions are lifted then yes, technically, we can go back to bigger celebrations, but is it a celebration if you can’t hug your Nan when you walk back down the aisle? Is it a celebration if you can’t share a shot glass or eat bread out of the same breadbasket?
The effects of social distancing will continue to live on, especially when it comes to celebrating that way that we are used to.
A surprising side-effect to this whole COVID scenario, is that suddenly eloping isn’t taboo, eloping makes you responsible, kinda like a hero, you are protecting your community by having a small wedding and that shift in thinking has been kinda rad.
People have been eloping because there isn’t the stigma attached to it anymore, heck the government practically endorsed eloping when you were only allowed to have the marrying couple and two witnesses present.
My advice to couples during COVID has been to follow your heart and remember that there is a huge difference between a marriage and a wedding. (Check out Will and Jac for Melbourne wedding planning).
If you wanna get married, get married, do it, commit to your lover, that’s so important, don’t let COVID stop you. There is literally no better time to love and be loved than right now, having companionship during a crisis is what will get you through it.
When people ask what you did during COVID how totally romantic is it to say that you married your honey and then shacked up in iso together? (Side note – like this Blue Mountains Elopement).
If your heart is set on a wedding that encompasses family and friends, then wait, but wait until COVID is dead and gone and we can hug again. Have a huge wedding down the track, when you can handshake and dance, but you will have to be patient.
And for those that want both, do it! Have the most romantic, sweet tiny ceremony now and make it all about each other, then have a huge wedding party later on-best of both worlds.
Running a business during a pandemic is tough. Terms and conditions/your contract/Statement of Fees documents are everything. Mine was pretty broad but certainly never covered a killer virus!
I always say to other Celebrants be tough on paper, but soft in reality. You have to have your rules in place, but be flexible, don’t forget everyone is going through something and creating relationships, and word of mouth recommendations in this business is what it is all about.
I always rule with my heart and not my head, so I certainly don’t set the best example for other business owners, but I find if you treat people with kindness then that’s what you will get back.
I have always gotten more out of what I do for others, than what I do for myself, so to create a business that has helped so people feel good and have a bit of purpose during COVID has probably been one of the most rewarding things I have done for a long time.
To have your small Melbourne City elopement filmed by the best wedding videographers in town, check out Bottlebrush Films as they’re doing filming for overseas guests and relatives who can’t make it.
Jul 7, 2020
I had a chat with alleged government agent/assassin Carlo, otherwise known as the the genius artistic brain behind Lunar Red Films. We’ve been lucky to work together on the wedding of Pepe and Sam, featured on (… info on that one soon), with none less than Nat Sproal, Torte by Mirjana, Killer Queen Creative, and Good Day Club.
With Covid forcing us all indoors and all manner of brilliant doorstep portrait projects happening, I wanted to kickstart some convos with my local community and find out how the time and strange space is being used, as it’s never been more important to stay connected and sharing.
My name is Carlo. My friends think I’m a government assassin (can confirm this is a generally held opinion – BA). Me mum thinks I’m handsome, but really I’m just your friendly, neighbourhood wedding cinematographer.
Melbourne is just chock a block full of wonderful, loved up weirdos, who are willing to break convention and tradition and just do their own thing. It means that each couple has brought a sense of heart and soul into their weddings, and have given it a stamp that is all on their own. I don’t know any other city where that happens.
Some people use the term “minimalism” (cue the air wank motion) – I prefer to say “steak and veg”. That’s how I like to shoot – as simple and as free of gimmicks and other fanciful shit as humanly possible. What that leaves me with is me, the camera, and the moment happening directly in front of me. I’m not here trying to manufacture someone else’s feelings, I’m not attempting to set up a moment that isn’t real. Everything I point my camera at is genuine and, hopefully, the couple remembers the feelings they have for each other in the moment as opposed to me yelling at them to behave a certain way.
I like to cap my weddings per season at a certain number. It means that I’m able to give each wedding my creative focus without being snowed under by work and burn out. When covid hit, I only had a handful of weddings left to shoot down the line, so it gave me a little extra time to edit the weddings I had already shot to perfection.
I feel like weddings and celebrations will continue to get more and more. unconventional the more couples and future clients realise that they don’t have to do what’s come before to have a good time or to profess their love out to the world. More colour, more rule breaking, more heart. Basically just more of the good stuff.
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.
Shot on Kodak Tri-X film.
Jul 6, 2020
Brooke Tyson Ritual – some of the most incredible bridal designs on the planet, with delicate contours and flowing textures, and what a treat it was to photograph them in a (real) blizzard, atop a volcano in New Zealand, draped over our incredible model, Fran, for the Story and Light photography workshop hosted by the genius wizardchildren over at Bayly and Moore.
Featured here is the Brooke Tyson Ritual Luna gown, as well as their Flora gown.
Story and Light was sponsored by the brilliant Australian film-lab Atkins, who kindly developed and scanned all of these images, shot entirely on Kodak Film. More on analogue wedding photography.
Removing herself from the perilously wild volcanic blizzard (despite the hardy protection of the Luna gown), here, we see Fran emerging from a more friendly forest, in the Brooke Tyson Flora gown.
Above and below is the Flora gown. Anyone that has ever met a New Zealander knows that the Ritual collection benefits from the classic kiwi ingenuity, developed in and around curious brain-zaps that test the edges of what bridal gowns should look like.
Celebrating free-spirits and with inspiration taken from cinema and folklore, the Brooke Tyson Luna gown was pretty much made to be draped across Franc and then whisked by a blizzard in on top of a volcano.
Brooke Tyson are also featured here on my top 5 best modern wedding dresses.
For more wedding dress designs from another planet, check out Jaime Lee Major.
If you like Brooke Tyson, you might also like these incredible wedding jumpsuits.
Jul 5, 2020
Melbourne wedding celebrant: finding a great one is challenging, and it’s hard to get an idea of whether their vibe is gonna fit your tribe ahead of time. The Celebrant A List is an initiative put together to help solve that, and their Celebrant A-List Ball which I joined majestic celebrant-ey forces with last year, brought together a whole swag of the industries best under one roof in Melbourne.
Since we had so many luminaries of the industry packed into one of Melbournes best bars, it would’ve been rude not to set up a Vanity Fair style photo-corner.
I’ve been super lucky to work with many of these maestros, so read on and enjoy these community marvels and a little insight into the Celebrant A List, and then hire one for your Melbourne elopement.
Lord of the dark-funk, Jac the Hitcher lives here.
If you want to skip the gab (not recommended, but hey, it’s your life), here’s a run-sheet of some of the best Melbourne wedding celebrants that are featured here (in no order):
Lord of all things neon and dark in the wedding celebrant world, find Annie here.
As well as being found under an excellent hat, you can find Sean here.
On paper it’s a directory with some hand picked celebrants. Maybe it’s also an antidote to the ‘come one come all’ sites that I find just end up causing us much confusion and anxiety for couples who are by and large going through this process for the first time.
BUT what it actually is a chance to be a little different in the market. All of the directory members are people from my own and some other close confidant’s personal networks.
These were people we already were swapping leads with. So whilst it’s not the definitive and finite list of who’s a quality melbourne wedding celebrant, I can definitely say that all members are quality people and celebrants.
As well as being found wrapped in curtains, Megan can be found here.
Megan is pointing over there, and to find her we’re pointing here.
So the Celebrant A List is also a little community group. We all know which other members are better suited for which kind of couple just based on the initial enquiry.
So my advice would be to get on the directory, to find the kind of wedding celebrant you think fits the bill and send them an enquiry.
If they’re not available, we work as a group to find you someone that is not only free but will also fit what you are looking for.
This legendary Tasmanian wedding celebrant can be found here.
This totally debonair devil can be found here.
Is Brian Jones or David Koresh a funny or poor tasting joke?! Nah but in all honesty, the crew on the Wedding Celebrant A List is from the network of wedding celebrants who were already naturally jelling together.
Everyone on the list is vouched for – we avoid cult like activities, thinking and environments, we feel the market for that is already catered for!
Not just a good looking rack for short-shorts, find him here.
Haha, what a question! If I was to say what was the mission of the Wedding Celebrant A List, it would be to address exactly this challenge.
We have moved from a world where once upon a time we had to wait until every Thursday night at 7:30PM before our favourite show would be on…now I can binge watch whatever I want, whenever I want.
This is how society works now, so the Wedding Celebrant A List is the kind of place where people can come and not only can we help them feel less overwhelmed we also support each other’s businesses.
With her name an homage to Fleetwood Mac, find Erin here.
It’s for this reason alone why we don’t have hundreds and hundreds of members as we genuinely feel like in the end that helps no one – the couples or the celebrants.
As I already mentioned, just by enquiring with one us, we’re kind of all there to help you find not only the right celebrant but also many other vendors.
We all buy based on people giving us recommendations, it’s kind of the same approach over at the Wedding Celebrant A List.
Well before good ol’ Rona hit the plan was to try and host an event in each major city where we have representation. But now we’re focussed on our big event next year, Hitchmas.
We plan on making this the best business workshop/networking/party kind of event ever hosted in the wedding world.
This cartwheeling legend can be found here
Finding a Melbourne wedding celebrant can be a bit of a massive task – fortunately, the Wedding Celebrant A List has been assembled to take some of the legwork out of it. Verified legends, take a look and find your Melbourne wedding celebrant below, and then get them down for your Melbourne city elopement.
Link one of these legends up with a brilliant Melbourne wedding planner.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jul 1, 2020
Occasionally the wedding industry has someone move in from another branch of the broader arts and design sphere, and the spin they have on things is always a little different to what else is currently around. Enter Nathan Kaso weddings, mastercraftsman of moving image, sometime viral-video maker, and now your friendly local wedding videographer.
With Covid forcing us all indoors and all manner of brilliant doorstep portrait projects happening, I wanted to kickstart some convos with my local community and find out how the time and strange space is being used, as it’s never been more important to stay connected and sharing.
Generally my couple’s say they forgot that I was even around, which I take as the ultimate compliment. A very wise man (a certain Oli S, no wait that’s too obvious, O. Sansom) once taught me that when shooting weddings, having a small-footprint is the way to go. So I’ve stuck with that and do my best to stay out of the way and capture all the natural feels. It must be working because most couples aren’t sure if I’ve even turned up.
I put a fair amount of effort into my hair (head and facial)*, not going to lie. By the midway point of the ceremony it’s generally turned into a sweaty mess, but I’m hoping people take note at the start of the day and tell their friends
It takes a lot of effort to look like you’ve made no effort.
I actually quite enjoyed ISO. Once I got past my business crumbling to pieces, I really enjoyed spending time with my kids. But it wasn’t just the usual routine, we got right back to basics (as it seems a lot of folks did) and went bike riding, kite flying, walked along the river, simple things that we normally don’t seem to find the time for. Honestly it was bliss, and the break that I didn’t know I needed.
When the apocalypse hits, I’ll go Superman style with a fortress of solitude in the snow.
Provided my kids are old enough for M15+, I’ll be bringing with me the 1996 classic Fargo, because the Cohen Brothers and Roger Deakins and Steve Buscemi in a woodchipper will never get old.
Jun 30, 2020
In the middle of classic Australian expanse, about 2 hours west of Brisbane as the crow flies, sits Australia’s second largest inland city, and recipient of “most vowels in a city name” award. Welcome, to the gloriously rural region of Toowoomba, Queensland. Known for it’s Carnival of Flowers held annually in September, and having recently installed it’s own airport more and more people are getting to know this hidden gem of a town. Today though, we’re here to focus specifically on the BEST Toowoomba wedding venue, Gabbinbar Homestead.
Read this post if:
The majestic diversity speaks for itself. It’s the perfect middle ground between country wedding and city wedding. While Toowoomba isn’t a bustling hub of activity like Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne, it has the most endearing rustic charm that you can’t quite find in those larger cities. This rustic charm honestly makes for the most heartwarming, down-to-Earth wedding ceremonies.
Shooting at rural wedding venues like this just make you feel like you’re part of something special: and part of that here owes to the almost total seclusion from the outside world of it’s private garden edges.
I’ve shot at countless wedding venues and no place quite makes you feel at home like the gorgeous Gabbinbar Homestead. There are so many hidden gems scattered throughout the venue, and the mystique of it all is something you have to feel to believe. You find yourself weaving in and out of the trees, snapping pictures of family and friends of the bride and groom in such a relaxed, magical atmosphere. Rural wedding venues just seem to bring out the best in people.
Gabbinbar’s all-inclusive wedding package, aptly titled ‘The Gabbinbar Experience’ is just that. It’s basically everything you need to experience the exact wedding day you want to bring to life. Specifically:
Plus all of those often overlooked, finer details that go into executing a flawless wedding that come with the territory of having everything in the one place.
Outside of this theres 3000+ rooms a stone’s throw away for guests and family.
So, if you’re thinking of escaping to the country for your wedding, short of the rural expanses of the moon there’s no better place than Gabbinbar Homestead.
From a Toowoomba wedding venue abundant in charm and heart to a completely unique shotgun-style Melbourne wedding venue, visit this post featuring The Alter Electric.
Jun 29, 2020
I don’t know much about cakes, but I do know that beyond being face-plantingly delicious, there’s a bunch of love that has to be artfully weaved into the process, lest it ends up just resembling an attractive piece of cardboard, and Torte by Mirjana is the local bees-knees of the taste game.
Apart from Mirjana being an absolute magnet personality and culinary wizard, the thing that stood out to me most is that everyone who talks about her work, talks about the taste. That might seem like the most ludicrously obvious talking point, but it never occurred to me that in a space where so much of the work looks good, what really matters it the drooling gob that it’s ending up in, and what that gob then says about the experience #goblife.
We had a little mid-iso chat, so if you haven’t been introduced to her work stick around and hit up her links at the bottom to check out her majestic work online.
I’m Melbourne’s Punky Brewster version of a cake lady
I get to make a whole bunch of mess in the kitchen, and then somehow miraculously end up bringing an edible art piece into existence.
I think my ability to make a personal connection with my clients and establish a relationship during the cake designing process its that or the msg version of sweet sugary love I put into each cake.
Torte took a little break during covid and I grew a new title which was homeschool teacher… didn’t really like that, so I started making mini heart cakes that were inspired by my love of Wes Anderson and all things vintage, and they were a real hit with lovers who were in lockdown – so I’m hoping to see some baby shower cake orders soon!
Nostalgia you can taste!
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.
You can read more about being a film wedding photographer here.
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):
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.
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 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).
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”.
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 bananas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jun 26, 2020
Good Day Club are your friendly neighbourhood Rainbow Anarchists. Good Day design the most wild, colourful, bombastic, insert-synonym-here wedding celebrations in all the lands of/including/but not limited to, Melbourne and it’s surrounds.
Since one hand is loaded up with shiraz these days, we figured we’d load up the other with a keyboard and have a bit of a chinwag about all things celebration.
I’ve been lucky to share a couple of shoots with these maestros, from Tanglewood Estate all the way over to The Altar Electric where their stylish hands mark is laid permanently, onto it’s peach-pastel walls of eternity. Etc.
Read this post if:
I’m Kate Forsyth, creative director and co-founder of Good Day Club. I steer the ship and set it’s creative direction, but I also do pretty much any and all things from changing lightbulbs and fixing broken chairs to buying milk and cleaning the toilet.
I’d say my friends think I am constantly doing lots of glamorous and creative stuff and swanning around at parties and weddings, whereas the majority of the time, ship steering is where it’s at. If I do get to attend a party or wedding, I guarantee you if I do get to go to a party or wedding, I shall end up crawling on the floor sorting out bung neon sign plug or rectifying one thing or another.
The creative part of my job is pretty ace though – from working with ace clients to create their dream event, to making + building, meeting fellow vintage lovers and passionate people and collaborating in heaps of way.
They’re unique and people feel empowered to do whatever the heck has meaning for them. Melbourne weddings are less about what’s trending and more about what floats the boat of the couple.
Personalisation, colour, fun, personality, boldness and the unexpected.
My high levels of weirdness. The fact that I have like 30 tonnes of furniture and props at my fingertips. The number of Potato Gems I consume.
For want of a better term, we’re a one-stop shop because we can design your wedding, furnish and light it, create your graphic design, set it up, style it and take it all away.
And we’ve leaned very hard into our niche of a wild mix of old and new. People tell us our work is immediately recognisable and that makes me feel so happy, that I eat some more Potato Gems.
We were already looking at efficiency this year, so it’s been a supercharged version of that. Efficiency with our costs but also with our processes – making everything work better and easier for our customers (and staff). We’ve also looked at doing less things better, cutting out a few services and we’ve added our first digital product (video call backgrounds).
We’ve always prided ourselves on our rad designs but what we talk about less is that we are a smooth AF operation as well.
And we just got smoother.
Our clients are always telling us that they loved how easy we make things and that is our mission!
Look, who bloody knows. Honestly, while we’ve been busy improving our offering and efficiency, I’ve been interspersing that with having semi-regular existential crises/breakdowns about what is going to happen to celebrations.
If I leave the ‘why are we here’s?’ and ‘what is the purpose of all this?’ at the door, I’d say that celebrations will continue to be more and more unique and personalised, and a reflection of the couple and what’s important to them.
Couples have had a LOT of time to think about what’s important and so while wedding size is currently mandated by the government (srsly, how weird is that sentence?!?) I think smaller celebrations with more of what the couple want will continue to be all the rage, even once bigger weddings are allowed again.
I mean, do you really want to spend $150 to feed and water your cousin’s boyfriend or your work friend’s partner you’ve never met?
Cutting that guest list gives you heaps more freedom to go all out on the things you love.
The mark I want to leave is a big, bold and cray colourful one where I’ve contributed to a movement of couple’s feeling super empowered to do whatever the fuck they want for their wedding, dumping traditions that mean nothing and other people’s expectations.
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.
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.
Jun 24, 2020
Anthony Cribbes – recipient of the most debonair hair-sweep, occasional farmer (only, or mostly during pandemics), wedding celebrant, founder of The Celebrant A List, and one part of the trio behind the iconic Collingwood Wedding chapel The Altar Electric.
Read on for all this and all the other things he does that didn’t fit in this sentence.
Man what a time ISO LYF has been! I live in the country but for the last 5 years it feels like the road is more my home. Being able to stay closer to home has made me realised that I will be putting a priority on focussing my business in a more local sense.
It’s almost like I guess you could say that I am becoming a business cliched bourgeoisie and opting for a ’tree-change’ or ‘downsizing’… only I promise I am doing it in a non-pretentious way, not so I can start a new Insta account of: ‘My journey from big city life to self discovery’ kind of crap.
Before ISO I was passionate about community and quality over quantity. I see weddings now moving from a ‘bigger and better’ world to one where people are placing a premium on the connection.
This means I can see a lot more smaller weddings happening. We actually made a change to the Altar Electric around 6 months ago for this very reason, we didn’t just want to be offering registry style weddings, we wanted people to be able to have a small wedding celebration.
One that was about creating great moments but didn’t bring with it the anxiety inducing costs.
Haha…I’ll leave the Wizardry stuff to my mates out at Hogwarts. Altar Electric is actually Dee and Sarah’s (my amazing business partners) original concept, I just helped give it the nudge.
Initially we were thinking it would be about Registry Weddings…but in the end we realised what we were actually tapping into was a whole new vein of thinking from pockets in the community. We didn’t realise just how under served the small wedding market was.
From our understanding that wasn’t due to a lack of desire but more a lack of supply from an industry that was focussed on large groups only essentially.-
Oh so many! I think the biggest thing anything Celebrant can do is to not get carried away with their own ego, I see it all over the place and could also be accused of being guilty of it myself.
I think once you start telling yourself you’ve made ‘it’, things will turn, because it’s at this stage when people stop evolving, adapting, learning and improving.
I am definitely a way different Celebrant in terms of my style now then I was 5 years ago when I first started. How I win my work is also drastically different.
We can always learn from anyone… right now the people I am learning the most from are the Celebrants who are only 1-2 years into the business but are completely slaying it…also avoid having a gimmick, it will run dry very quickly, just be genuine.
There’s 9,500 of us in Australia, so just know that there’s the right kind of Celebrant out there for you.
I always think it works best as a Celebrant when I work with couples who I can genuinely go and have a beer with down at the pub and talk about other things than weddings.
That’s the kind of fit you are hoping for, so make sure you try and find that kind of person for you.
A feature on Melbourne wedding celebrants is also here.
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.
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.
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.
Jun 22, 2020
Danee of Killer Queen Creative is a feel-good merchant, personal branding genius, and resident rockstar of the Melbourne hair and makeup scene. We took over The Line for the wedding of Pepi and Sam, and now she’s taking over my internet space (and so too should she take over your makeup and hair for your Melbourne elopement).
I’m Danee, founder of Killer Queen Beauty. My friends think I play with pretty things and put on eyeliner all day and swan around at weddings.
In reality, like all small biz owners, my craft is only a very small part of what I do- the rest is all about running the show and keeping the wheels turning.
I’m a one woman creative show, offering makeup, hair, and education. I help rad rebel brides to have the non-traditional day of their dreams by giving them advice, support and expertise for wedding day beauty that is non-boring, non-conventional and as unique as they are.
I like to think of my brand as the punk maverick of the beauty world. I do things differently, I love to smash beauty stereotypes, and I despise conformity!
I LOVE being part of the wedding industry in Melbourne and feel like I’ve really met my people- weddings in Melbourne have such much scope for creativity and there are so many amazing venues that are all about being flexible to couples’ wildest desires. And there is so much ridiculous talent in this city.
I’m stoked to be part of the more alternative side of weddings because that’s where I feel all the creativity and the envelope pushing happens.
To me, a wedding is a really big opportunity to express who you are and create some amazing art, experiences and memories.
I think it’s heart and magic. I put everything into my weddings- they’re not just jobs for me but magical celebrations and connections.
I like to bring a creative approach and lots of feelgood vibes to someone’s special day; being part of the planning process and connecting with the bride on the morning before all the mayhem starts is petty spesh. Weddings are a bloody big deal and your wedding day is one of the best days of your life- why not spend it with rad people who get a buzz off creating the best day possible for you?
I spent the time in lockdown helping couples reschedule their weddings and navigate a nutso time!
I also opened up a lot of digital offerings, and took the opportunity to have a good shake up of all my systems and processes; as a result of that I ended up overhauling a lot of my systems including my website, so it’s all much more kickass and easy to find what you want.
Through the whole time, I’ve learned that I’m heaps more resilient that I thought- and I also learned to surrender control over things that were bigger than me, to ride the wave a bit better. As a result I think I became more adaptable and more chilled about chaos.
I think those qualities make me pretty well placed to deal with any wedding fiascos, and help you through any hiccups.
I might drink all the wine but I’m a good companion to have if the seas get rough.
People want to create celebrations that are unique as they are. It’s not about cookie cutter anymore; people are really putting their stamp on their big day and making it all about an expression of them and their love story. I love that couples aren’t as concerned about tradition, but more about celebrating their love.
I want to be part of as many out-there and wild weddings and make people feel larger than life on their day. I’m all for encouraging radical self expression and defying convention so I’m more than happy to be an enabler of that.
I want couples to look back on their day and ecstatically and fondly remember everyone that was part of it and how magic it all was. Like, when they’re in their 80s they can look back at their wedding photos and say they threw one hell of a memorable party.
Also! I want Melbourne to be a standout destination for out of this world nuptials!
I want to be part of a wedding revolution going forward, pushing for diversity and change in the industry. Helping and mentoring younger vendors in the industry to develop their brand to find their niche and their people. Being part of a wider network of mavericks turning tradition on its head, and bringing innovation into the wedding space.
If you’re having a Melbourne city elopement, get this girl on your team.
Jun 21, 2020
From small, intimate duos, to full, scaleable big-bands. Here is a roundup of 5 of the best wedding bands, DJ’s and musician duos you can possibly get your ears around in Melbourne.
Booking a wedding band or musician has a little more gravitas on it than you might imagine. Far more than being just background music – it’s the difference between your guests having a ripping time or not, and in no small way, they are often the glue between all of the other elements you’ve booked.
If you’re going to book an artist, they might as well be top of the tree and genuine lovers of what they do: music!
Here’s 5 Melbourne wedding bands that fit that bill – read on for a little more detail:
5 of the best wedding bands in Melbourne (not in order):
Like This band leverage something entirely unique that can’t be bought or imitated: they’re all real-life friends, and have played together as a unit since forever.
What this means for you, is this: no awkward referring to sheet-music or scenarios with band members not being in sync with each other, which is far more common than you might imagine, and affects how authentic and on-point the music comes across to your guests. And this translates to them partying hard.
Like This Band are a well-oiled machine, and having seen them perform at several weddings, it’s something special to see.