Blue Skies Wedding Day

One of the best things you can hear when you deliver images to a client (especially a wedding couple) is when the bride says that she loves all of the photo and that they were exactly what they wanted.

That was Chloe’s reaction when we delivered their wedding photos last week. The wedding happened on January 24 but with their honeymoon and then the death of grandmother the actual delivery of the images was a week later than originally planned.

As we were recording the whole day, the shoot involved my wife (Vicky) and daughter (Samantha). Samantha was officially second shooter but as she hasn’t got her licence yet needed her mum to run her between locations.

Final preparation was done the night before with chips formatted, all batteries fully charged and the clocks in each camera synched as this would make it easier to work through the shots later especially in the church.

The Groom (in Red) with his Dad, uncle and Grandfather on the 18th

For the day I stayed with the groom and Samantha stayed with the bride. It is quite amusing when you look through the images and see how long each side takes to get ready.

We knew from the rehearsal that the church was very small and shooting angles would be tight. Having three shooters did leave us with an advantage that I could cover the front, Samantha shot from the back, and Vicky stayed outside. That way we had all of the areas covered.Snapshot-5

The ceremony went without a hitch and we managed to capture all of the important elements (first look, kiss, rings etc.), exactly as they happened, rather than resorting to faking the shot later.

Samantha managed to capture Hayden's look as Chloe came down the aisle.
Samantha managed to capture Hayden’s look as Chloe came down the aisle.

As a guest you would not have said that the weather could not have been better as it was clear blue sky without a single cloud and warm. As a photographer I was wishing for the cloud because I knew that the moment we moved outside we were going to face issues with the light.

The family group shots had been planned to occur on a small grassed area outside of the church and we had positioned a car there to ensure that it didn’t end up being used for parking. While it normally would have been a perfect location, the light was creating such strong panda eyes and squinting that we moved everyone to the shade of a hedge.

The location of the formals offered no such shade and so I had work with using the sun at the couples back (with fill flash) or shading them in some way using a diffusion panel.  During the practise shoot my wife had been very concerned about the safety of everyone shooting so close to a main road and certainly on the day in question the cars were all travelling at 60kph. As it turned out on once you put a girl in a white wedding dress and surround her with bridesmaids the cars all slow down for a closer look, and in fact at one point the traffic stopped completely to let me get the shots. Chloe was having a great time acknowledging the toots she was getting as the cars and trucks went by.

Formals under full sun are always going to create issues.
Formals under full sun are always going to create issues.

The formals ran perfectly to time and we delivered the couple to the reception at exactly the agreed time which really surprised the management there as they were used to photographers running late.

Vicky had gone straight from the church to the reception and had photographed the venue before the guests had a chance to play with it. With the reception we tried to shoot the main elements. During the speeches I concentrated on the speaker while Samantha photographed reactions.

Once all the formalities were over we gathered on the dance floor for the first dance which started out traditional and morphed into something completely different.Snapshot-14

We ended the day around 10.00pm and headed home. Once I cleared the cards to the computer there was 1915 photos to worth through. They were taken into Lightroom and before anything else was done to them a backup was taken on a removable drive.

The next morning I did a very quick selection and chose 16 images that provided a snapshot of the day. These were given a quick edit and sent to the couple so that they could post on Facebook.

It was a really long day, but very enjoyable. With the planning that had been done everything went pretty much t

The final shot of the day
The final shot of the day

o plan and time, so everyone enjoyed themselves.





Trash the Dress in the pool

The evening that I had shot the milk water set I saw a Facebook post from Megan wanting a photographer to do a trash a dress shoot with her. She had got married on January 24 and wanted to use the flowers from the wedding before they were thrown away. I thought the small pool would be perfect and so we arranged to meet after work on Tuesday 3 February at her new place in Miramar.

It wasn’t too difficult to find the place but immediately I saw two issues with the location. The major one was that the whole section was on a slope so placing the pool would be difficult. The second was that the house was on the shadow side of the afternoon sun which meant that we would lose the light fairly quickly.

We found the least amount of slope and filled up the pool the best that we could. In reality this was no where near its capacity. When the water reached the top of the side at the lower end, it had only just managed to cover the bottom at the other.angledPool

This limited how we could shoot and therefore there were very few full length shots taken. Rather they were close ups in the deeper part of the water.

As it turned out the light was an issue in that there was too much and so there was quite a difference between full sun and shade. This meant more positioning to try to mitigate the issue.

We ended up with a series of images that both of use like although I would have liked more full length shot down images but the slope really prevented those.MeganTTD-10 MeganTTD-8 MeganTTD-7 MeganTTD-3

Milky Waters (mildly NSFW)

Those who have looked through this blog will realise that water tends to play a major part in my outdoor natural light shoots. The issue that you run into though is finding a place that is safe for the model as well as not too public so that you can try out options without offending people.

Now the weather in the Wellington region is not really conducive to outdoor swimming pools so it is not that easy to find one. However just before Christmas i saw an ad for a kids paddling pool that was 1.6m long, 600mm wide and 400mm deep. It sounded like it would be perfect as you could shoot full length in relative safety, and at only $20 was pretty cheap.

I had not actually planned any shoots with the pool when i was contacted me by Rebekkah (who I had shot before) who wanted to do a water shoot with Kristara (who I have shot on a number of occasions). They wanted the water to be cloudy so that it was only an implied nude as well as there being flowers in the water.LR_Pool-1

I filled the pool up two days before the shoot in the hope that the sun would have a chance to warm the water because I knew that in unheated water there is a very definite amount of time before the goosebumps start growing on top of other goosebumps.

We had had a really dry January so it was a little bit of a downer that it was planning to rain on the day of the shoot. We decided to proceed because the girls were going to get wet anyway and I knew that shooting with overcast conditions was actually better for the colours and light control than a clear blue shy day.

LR_Pool-3Now the pool holds over 500 litres of water so I was really not sure what to add to get the desired milky effect. Google was absolutely no use as it kept bringing me to examples of using a slow shutter speed to make moving water appear milky. In the end the suggestion was that simply add milk, but how much was the question. I bought a three litre bottle of full cream milk and just before the shoot starting to add it. Just over a litre produced the desired effect.

Both girls were wearing black which when we went to fuller length showed up to well so I suggested that they be removed and replaced with Grape leaves which covered very well.

LR_Pool-7 LR_Pool-12

Rebekkah had also seen some shots of water running down a face so we tried that. Getting the correct amount of water flow and the angle of the head was a bit of trial and effort and it is not something you can do without an assistant.

LR_Pool-18 LR_Pool-15

Kristara and I had planned a nude shoot in the past which never quite timed right so before she froze I shot a full length in the water.


You may have noticed no pool edges in the images. Basically they were removed in photoshop.

I am really pleased with the way that the pool performed and the models appear happy with the finished results.

What’s happened to the wedding

Regular readers will know that I was booked to shoot a wedding at the end of January and may be wondering what has happened to the images. Well I have a policy that I don’t publish any images until the bride & groom have seen them and due to family circumstances that is not scheduled until next week. In the meantime I though I would share one of the snapshot that we processed the morning after the wedding so that they could share them on Facebook.

Snapshot-12I will post the full story of the day once the happy couple have seen the rest.


In Print

Hangers_3_brickI was super stoked over the weekend to learn that my image “The role of the model” had been accepted for inclusion on the 2015 issue of “New Zealand Camera” which is the annual publication of the Photographic Society of New Zealand (PSNZ).

I understand that over 900 images were submitted and only 175 were accepted so having one in at my first attempt was very pleasing.

The whole story behind the image can be found in this blog post.

At the Rehearsal

I am always amazed when I hear about wedding photographers who simply show up on the day and are very inflexible in the timeframe that they will cover.

Now I will admit that we do not photograph that many weddings a year and we certainly don’t shoot the ones we do solely for the money. As such I am willing to give as much effort in order to ensure the couple get the best service on the day. And for a wedding that starts with attending the rehearsal.

For the wedding of Hayden & Chloe the rehearsal happened on February 22 and as with most rehearsals I have attended it was a fun and happy event. Unlike the nerves that will kick in on the big day the rehearsal is often very relaxed.Rehearsal-3 For me these are the main reasons why it is important to attend the rehearsal:

  1. It give you an opportunity to meet and discuss your requirements with the person performing the service, and to get agreement on such things as the use of flash, where you can and can’t go. Better to find this out two days before the event than 20 minutes before.Rehearsal-1
  2. If they are present it also lets you talk with the videographer so that you can determine the best angles for both of you.
  3. It gives you a real opportunity to view the venue and work out the best angles for shooting that will both give you the images you want but at the same time not block key people from seeing the events. It also lets you work out where you and your second shooter will stand.

    From the previous visit to the church I knew that the angles were tight. When you got the couple , minister and 8 attendants at the alter it got really crowded.
    From the previous visit to the church I knew that the angles were tight. When you got the couple , minister and 8 attendants at the alter it got really crowded.
  4. It give you the opportunity to see what the plan of the service will be so that you can ensure adequate coverage.Rehearsal-4
  5. It lets you play with settings in the camera when if you fail to get a clear shot it really does not matter.Rehearsal-5

From this rehearsal I realised that it was going to be very tight at the alter and realistically the best angles for many of the activities would be from the rear which meant that my second shooter would take care of those. The Minister made no unreasonable demands, and video guys were very co-operative. We did have an issue with one camera not giving us the best results so that ended up being used outside the church only.