Mid-way through 2011 when my work colleagues learned about the awards I have achieved I was approached by a staff member in our Auckland office to photograph her cousins wedding (as she was paying for it as a gift). Being based in Wellington I was somewhat reluctant to do this as there is a lot of preparation work needed before a wedding to do it properly and that is best done at the location. Plus the fact that apart from the movie “Sione’s Wedding” I had no experience of what a Samoan wedding would be like.

My son David is a very keen photographer as well and he happened to live in Auckland so I asked him if he was interested in doing the shoot. I would let him take lead and I would act as second shooter. This was all agreed and we set about planning.

The first surprize was the size of the wedding party (and I am not meaning their dress sizes). I am used to parties of 8 maximum. This one had 16 and that did not include the pageboy or flower girls. It was fairly obvious that we need to find an outdoor venue as the size of the party meant we needed ambient light to effective light the group. We decided upon the Auckland Botanical gardens which then brought the second surprize. They charge you for wedding photos.

On the day I went to the grooms place at 8.30am to find the whole wedding party already fully ready. He told me his mum had made sure of that.

The church service was quite long which was not helped by the fact that we hadn’t a clue what was being said and we also had to deal with an “uncle Bob” photographer. Then Auckland’s weather decided to be difficult and we were forced to shoot the family shots inside of the hall. Fortunately by the time we had finished it fined up and we went to the gardens and got some lovely shots.

The reception was held in what used to be the foyer of a movie theatre. This was where surprize three came in. At Palagi weddings there are definite breaks in the proceedings where you can take a break (and eat). At this one the entertainment was pretty constant so by the end of the day we were shot.

I learned heaps along the way and most importantly the couple love the final images.