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 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 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 10, 2020
Mar 16, 2020
What do less stress, more money left in the account, and rampant good times have in common? They’re just three of the (many) glorious benefits to either having an elopement or small wedding. At Briars Atlas Elopement Photography Melbourne Services Pty Ltd (let’s run with that name for now) i’ve photographed so many beautiful small weddings and elopements in Melbourne and in greater Victoria including the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley.
I’m a Melbourne elopement and small weddings photographer, and one of the great joys of this job is working with smaller intimate weddings, with just you two, and maybe a tiny crew. It’s a chance to enjoy the meaningful part of the whole wedding thing (the marriage bit) with so much more calm and clarity.
The other great thing about a small wedding or elopement in Melbourne or greater Victoria is that there is usually more flexibility to have it all happen any day of the week. Generally though, they happen on a Wednesday through Saturday, but it can of course be any day you like.
Pair one of our brilliant locations with one of Melbournes best wedding celebrants, and you’re off to a flying start. In my experience, elopements can be anywhere between 1 and 10 hours long, however the average length of elopement photography is probably somewhere around the 2-4 hour mark: enough to capture your beautiful ceremony, and then some portraits and gentle anarchy afterwards.
Take a look at the beautiful couples below, and if you feel like the way I see things could be the right fit for your small wedding or elopement, i’d love to have a chinwag (/shiraz, etc).
I’ve photographed nearly 200 beautiful weddings of all sizes across Melbourne, the Yarra Valley, Geelong, greater country Victoria, and beyond. I’ve got plenty of advice i’m happy to share.
If you’d like to make an enquiry to me, you can reach me here:
Aug 10, 2019
Back in 2016, Steph, a brilliant photographer in her own right, reached out to see if I’d head over to Fremantle to photograph her Quarry Farm wedding to the debonair Zac (who has an uncanny resemblance to old mate Westley from my all-time favourite film, Princess Bride).
After musing on it for all of 0.0413 seconds I said yes, and one of the joys, apart from the general brilliance of spending a day with these to maestros, was discovering a gem of Fremantle – Quarry Farm.
Enjoy the images from their day – and what was the first ever wedding hosted at this glorious venue outside of Perth. It’s always a wild honour photographing an artists wedding, and it’s crazy to me that over half of my bookings these days are from fellow wedding photographers! It raises the stakes a little bit, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Steph and Zacs Quarry Farm wedding was featured on Polka Dot Bride. Head over there to see their full day and beautiful story.
Steph and Zac didn’t see each other beforehand, but shared a prayer together with a dash of touch on the morning.
I imagine that when the bridal designers were creating this gown, the exact thing they had in mind was “bridal peace ninja”.
See more kids at weddings here.
The classic Fremantle walk – one of my favourite areas to shoot Fremantle wedding portraits in. The historic Fremantle back streets make for a marvellous backdrop to have a stroll through.
Steph and Zacs reception dance floor began with a dance-off between herself, her dad and brother.
Quarry Farm has a little lake at the base of the reception room, brilliant for a secluded little spot to escape to for some evening portraits.
Quarry Farm call themselves the best rustic wedding venue in Perth and it’s pretty easy to see this holds up, with a huge diversity of usable areas and natural surrounds on over 200 acres.
Quarry Farm website: https://www.quarryfarm.com.au/
1475 South Western Hwy, Whitby WA 6123
I regularly photograph weddings in Perth and Fremantle, and there are no additional costs or complexities involved. Reach out to me via my enquiry form over here.
Looking for an incredible Perth wedding gown designer? Check out Jaime Lee Major.
Jul 17, 2019
Emily and Tony had a beautiful, stylish wedding at St Kilda’s iconic wedding venue, the Prince Hotel – the Deck at Circa. With a room full of their loved ones, floral styling by the mastermind Katie Marx florals and a ceremony run by the inimitable Gina Liano celebrant, this was an evening of colour and brilliant love.
Photographing a wedding at The Deck at Circa always means a wedding where no-one misses a beat: there’s a beautiful seamless transition from the ceremony (held either indoors our outdoors) into the reception, with the space morphing perfectly as you please between the two.
Emily had an iconic walk down a gauntlet of their family and friends, before respect was paid to loved ones passed, and a gently boisterous ceremony (in a way only Gina Liano can do) weaved their story through the room before they carried on the party into the evening.
The Deck at Circa is a brilliant blank canvas, and a light filled space with an enormous deck area (as the name lets on) to host Melbourne wedding ceremonies indoors or out.
The area of St Kilda offers a tonne of beautiful wedding photo locations, from the foreshore nearby, all the way over to the beautiful heritage art-deco architecture of the area. Usually i’ll take couples out for a 15-20 minute loop, and in that time you can cover all the art-deco hotspots, spend some time on the foreshore, and also enjoy some of the gardens around where those two worlds meet.
The Prince Hotel is one of our more known rooftop wedding venues, and has seen every type of celebration under the sun. The expansive deck overlooks Fitzroy Street, and enjoys brilliant sunsets bursting through the steel cladding around the windows.
A 300 space carpark takes care of all the guests, the venue has plenty of accommodation, and the rest of the St Kilda surrounds take care of everyone for the next day.
Get yourself a Melbourne wedding celebrant, Katie Marx (see her handiwork at the venue just up above), C2 films (Melbourne wedding videographers super experienced with The Deck at Circa), a Melbourne wedding band AND a Melbourne wedding planner and off we go.
For another beautiful Melbourne rooftop wedding venue, check out South Melbournes Luminare.
Apr 10, 2019
Depending on who you ask and what their personal experience has been, raising the question of kids at weddings might be akin to asking “should we invite the early-onset of armageddon or the vertically-challenged apocalypse to our wedding with open arms?”.
It’s a bit of a contentious and polarising one, and a conversation that’s well-documented already out there in internet-land as far as the pros, cons, and how to manage the decision either way: everyone’s had their own experiences, and everyones personal situation is wildly different.
With all that said, having seen my fair share of weddings with the glorious little scallywags where nobody ended up dying, i’m just going to step into the ring as a raving advocate of our dear little humans being present at your wedding, from a different point of view.
Let me explain my heavy bias, over a few key points.
Straight up – in front of a capable photographer, the magical theatre of vertically challenged humans is a sight to behold, and one of the greatest gifts you can get back in image-form when all is said and done.
Excuse my French, but kids, again, bless them – just don’t give a fuck (or they did, but then came across a certain bright book at the airport bestseller stand when their parents weren’t looking).
This wonderful quality that we systematically try to rid ourselves of as we enter adulthood is responsible for them colluding, doing their thing, and in turn, giving you the photographic gift of this wonderful little human theatre that you were too busy to notice happening.
That’s worth celebrating, and the irony here is that due to the Theory of Small-Human Close-Proximity Exponential-Collusion Effect (sorry, I made this up – if you google it you’ll find nothing – yet), the more kids there are present, the more they’ll be too busy being wrapped up in their own awesome world to cause any trouble.
Stake your otherwise rapidly-diminishing claim as household power-holder before your spawn exercise their terrifying muscle of independant-thought by making sure that any moments of cacophony are properly captured and stored.
In this way, if there’s any delusions of grandeur in those teenage years, you’ve always got record of some of some of their not-so-fine moments, should those be displayed at your wedding, or in front of their friends at their 13th birthday party.
This is also a tool you can really apply to any areas of your wedding.
Worried about getting drenched in the rain? Flip it. Celebrate it. Make sure you have a spare outfit, head out with your photographer, get drenched, and enjoy the awesome images that come from it.
Worried about kids being underfoot? Celebrate it (and keep sharp objects away from the edges of tables).
Worried about them bellowing over the vows? Celebrate the quirk and discord that brings, and know that the little scallywag can almost always be gently taken away and cared for out of earshot.
And before that happens, you’ll have some wonderful images of the glorious little deathspawn in full-flight.
Ultimately, it’s your day: whether kids have a place or not is entirely your decision, and if you do invite them, simply go all the way and make sure there’s enough logistical things that let them fall into their own world. But consider this: where there’s a positive for every negative, there’s also another perspective: looking at that negative, and instead asking – is the day about being perfect, or being memorable in it’s imperfect glory?
For a peek into the level of “baller” that can only come from a 5 year old while delivering the rings, check out this Fortyfive Downstairs wedding.
Mar 24, 2019
Head on my Melbourne wedding photographer instagram to see updates on weddings photographed all around the world, and in and around Melbourne. From Immerse Yarra Valley to Rupert on Rupert, Gather and Tailor and everything in between (if you haven’t picked a venue yet, maybe my post on the best melbourne wedding photo locations might help), I have the beautiful honour of documenting love and ceremony all over the planet (and Australia).
Head to my instagram to keep up to date with what i’ve been photographing and where, here: Briars Atlas Instagram.
Mar 25, 2018
Not only is the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham, Victoria a top-notch, classic Aussie hotel, it’s also one of my favourite low key wedding venues in Melbourne. Located right on the corner of High St and Cosmo Rd in Trentham, this unsung hero of wedding venues really does put on quite the show (also check out this post on rustic wedding venues that features Cosmo).
The best part? It’s only just over an hour north-west of Melbourne’s CBD. Let’s check out the awesome Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding venue and all it has to offer!
The team at the Cosmo are absolutely wonderful, for one. They place such pride in their venue that they can’t help but go all out for their wedding clients. The level of care shown for even the tiniest of aspects of every wedding is astoundingly endearing.
The event team know their venue inside and out which allows them to perfectly place each and every decoration. They’ll also suggest the best locations for photographs and assist with any and all queries leading up to and during the big day.
The venue itself is absolutely perfect for an intimate country wedding because it holds such a warm, rustic air about it. If you want your wedding to bring back memories of gorgeous gardens, rural charm and warm firelight, this is definitely the Melbourne wedding venue for you.
The two main locations within the hotel grounds that are used for wedding ceremonies and receptions are the picturesque gardens and the charming stables.
The gardens truly are a sight to behold with their vast expanse and varied species of flowering shrubs and trees. Because of this they make a wonderful spot for wedding photos. They’re also honestly just a wonderfully calming, peaceful place to hang out.
The Stables, deary me, they are simply magnificent. Picture an old, weather-beaten barn built by hand from wood and other old-school materials. It’s well-kept enough to house up to 125 guests for a sit down dinner and a good old fashioned barn dance.
Fairy lights adorn both the interior and the exterior, adding a delightfully magical air to the entire event.
Even the simplest of decorations transform this venue into a lively, homely, spirited place to host a truly wonderful wedding.
The package includes delicious, local seasonal produce and a drinks menu featuring only the best wine, beer and cider from the region. So, the Cosmopolitan Hotel wedding in-house catering team is a force to be reckoned with.
A Cosmo wedding pays tribute to Victoria’s heritage in the most charming of ways. Events held here seem to draw on the historic nature of the pub itself. As a result, there’s no better place in Trentham to tie the knot that this majestic, historical venue.
And that’s the tea.
Jul 15, 2017
Fremantle is one of the most marvellous places to have a wedding in Australia, and benefits from the incredible natural beauty of the surrounding areas of WA being at the fingertips, as well as the beautiful heritage architecture and layout of the old city itself. I’m hired every other year as a Fremantle wedding photographer, and you can see some of the wonderful wedding i’ve photographed there here.
While you’re here, for the best wedding dresses straight out of Perth, check out the inimitable designs of Jaime Lee Major.
Some of the historical streets of Fremantle look like they were plucked straight from a movie set. A quick stroll around them can get an incredible diversity of Fremantle wedding photos.
And, just around the corner, it changes again… from heritage, historical Fremantle streets, to beautiful old decaying urban walls.
Most of these were taken at the incredible Quarry Farm wedding of Stef and Zac. Quarry Farm is located in Whitby, slightly southeast of Fremantle and Perth. If you’re having a wedding at Quarry Farm, the beautiful Fremantle wedding photo locations above are a quick and easy diversion on the drive out there.
Here are some of my favourite wedding images that i’ve photographed from weddings here, there and everywhere.
Quarry Farm website: https://www.quarryfarm.com.au/
1475 South Western Hwy, Whitby WA 6123
I regularly photograph weddings in Perth and Fremantle, and there are no additional costs or complexities involved. Reach out to me via my enquiry form over here.