Category Archives: Weddings

Palmer Head – Bride with Blue Skies

The second outfit that Kristara and I shot at Palmer Head was a old style lace and satin wedding dress. I bought it some time ago for a “trash the dress” shoot but it ended up not being used. Rather than shoot inside the building this time we shot outside starting with the backdrop of the graffiti walls and then on one of the roofs. The latter location enabled me to bring in a more natural background to the shots.

The days turned out very fine and the shoot was a great practise session for the upcoming wedding session as we ended you shooting at around 1:30pm under blue skies. As such it is was fairly typical of the sort of days that most brides actually want. Ideally I could have done with an assistant to help out as in a number of shots I really could have used a reflector to bring up some of the shadows. Still on wedding days you have to make do with what you have.

Kristara was very brave moving round the site in 6 inch heels, and I think that she real enjoyed herself. The wind came up a little during the shoot and we were able to use it for some advantage to billow out the long train on the dress.LR_Kristara-17 LR_Kristara-19 LR_Kristara-25 LR_Kristara-26 LR_Kristara-29

Bridal Makeup Shoot

The final shoot for the weekend was to help out Grace Krishnan who is an Upper Hutt makeup artist. She has realised that in her portfolio she did not have any wedding makeup images, and given that weddings is actually one of the few areas where makeup artists can actually earn a living they were essential.

I dropped off a wedding dress that I had purchased for a “trash the dress” shoot and Grace found a model. She arranged to meet with the model at 2.00pm and I would arrive at 4.00pm. The original plan was to shoot at Percy’s Reserve in Lower Hutt and then down at Petone beach.

Unfortunately events conspired to work against us. When they put the dress on the model (Jade) they discovered that it did not fit properly and secondly was completely out of style. So they went off to the local SaveMart store and managed to buy another one for $24.00.

That trip however put the whole shoot behind schedule, and given that the light was much better in Upper Hutt than Lower Hutt we entered up shooting down by the river. As the light was quite dull we used a mix of techniques. For some a bare off camera flash was bounced off a gold reflector to give the impression of a warm afternoon glow. For others I put the flash in a Softbox positioned on the end of monopod and held high in the general direction of where the sun should have been.LR_Jade-1 LR_Jade-9 LR_Jade-11 LR_Jade-15 LR_Jade-18

Wedding Bliss (on a rainy day)

On Saturday we had the pleasure of shooting the wedding of Catherine and Mark. Images from the wedding will be loaded once the bride & groom have had a look at them as I feel it is not appropriate to let other people see the images first. So you will have to be content with the front of the wedding car at this stage.

A very shoggy car accessory
A very shoggy car accessory

I really enjoy shooting weddings. While they are incredible tense in terms of the fact that you have to get the shot, the event is so full of joy and it really shows in the images that come through. The combination of killer hair and makeup mixed with an inner happiness that just glows through the skin, it is very easy to achieve great results. Wedding are something that I will never shoot alone so on this shoot I was joined by my wife Vicky and our daughter Samantha.

I have known Catherine for a number of years and she was one of the first models I ever shot, so when I heard that she was getting married I was only too happy to offer to shoot the wedding. Being a winter wedding meant that we had to plan venues that could accommodate any weather, and more particularly rain.

Although we were shooting a full documentary style coverage Catherin was doing her own makeup and did not want that covered so we started later in the day that we have with other weddings. So it was arranged that I would go to her house at the time she was finishing her mother’s makeup and then shoot her getting her dress on. This was laved up the back and it turned into a three person exercise (including me) to get it laced up tight.

They were getting married in an old church in Upper Hutt. I had previously videoed two weddings there so I had an idea of what it was like, but just to be sure we attended the rehearsal held on the Thursday. While this is not something that all photographers will do, I find it is very useful to get an appreciation on any special or different things that may occur in the service. It also lets you look at the angles. If you are shooting part of the service outside it is a good idea to go to the venue the day before at the same time to see what direction to light is predominately from.

It was at the rehearsal that we discovered that the Minister would not allow flash photography for most parts of the service. Finding that out two days before is much easier to cope with than on the day of the wedding.

Getting out of carWe had hoped for good weather but unfortunately that was not on the order and by the time I went to Catherine’s house there was an inch of water on the ground. The rain continued through the service but by the time it had finished there was the possibility that it may go away. It was still too risky to do the family photos outside of the church, and therefore they were moved to later on in the day at the reception.

The reception was being held at “The Back Bencher” which is a pub in Wellington opposite Parliament. As Mark was MC for the night and wanted to be there before any guest arrived we decided that the formals would be shot in the grounds of Parliament. It had the advantage that there were a number of covered areas available should it rain.

As I turned out the rain appeared to be very localised and when we got to Parliament we were under clear blue skies. However it was not much warmer than 10 degrees and with both the bride and bridesmaids in strapless dresses we had to move quickly to get the photos.

Fortunately the venue had a room away from the main dining room so that we could set up an umbrella and shoot the family groups. As with lots of wedding after I thought I had finished shooting the groups (and has started packing the gear away) a cousin showed up who wanted photos.

You can view other wedding we have been involved with from the weddings link at the top of the page.

Love on the Rocks

I have known Colleen for the best part of 22 years so when I learned that she was getting married I offered to shoot the day as a gift to them. They were chuffed but unfortunately earlier that day they had selected another photographer and paid their deposit.

I had intended to go to the ceremony without my camera but on the night before got a call from another friend who told me she was putting together a scrapbook of photos from the day and would I please take some for it.

As I had no desire to be an “Uncle Bob” I actually contacted the official photographers and told them what I was doing.

The wedding was to be held on Eastbourne beach (which has pebbles rather than sand). Despite earlier forecasts to the contrary the day ended up brilliantly fine, which was great for the wedding but not so great for the photos.

The first announcement of the day was a request to not post any images on Facebook until after the Bride & Groom has released official ones. That was fine with me as I figured it would mean that there was no rush on getting images out.

I ended up taking around 150 images in total which were whittled down to an initial selection of 109 that I thought were worth taking further. Then on Monday I got a phone call from the Brides mother telling me that they wanted to release some images to Facebook and could I send some over to them. No problem I said.

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Trash the Dress Workshop

“Trash the Dress’ is a concept that arrived from America a number of years ago. Basically it is a series of photo taken of the bride in her gown well after the wedding in which she does things that would send her into major fits if they were done on the wedding day. They do necessarily involve water, but given our proximity to it they generally do.

Some months ago a Facebook group was set up to encourage photographers to get together and stage some shoot. The closest one to me was organised for Greytown in the Wairarapa by Masterton photographer Liz Rikiti. Liz really excelled arranging for 7 models, hair and makeup and an excellent venue fully catered that gave up a wide range of different locations to shoot in. She spent months buying dresses on TradeMe.

In the morning we concentrated on shots that were slight more traditional in that the dresses did not get too soiled but then after lunch it was all on with our “brides” ending up in a pond, in mud and in the creek. At the end one was even covered in paint, which unfortunately I was not able to stay around for. All of the girls were great and all seemed to be having a lot of fun, which ultimately is the whole idea behind a TTD shoot.

Although the images below were taken in a workshop situation, so it is likely you will find similar ones on the internet, in all cases the models were posed by me.

Adrian & Lydia

Adrian and Lydia are a couple I have known for quite a few years through my church. Although they had hired professional photographers to cover their ceremony, they asked me to take some shots of them at their hotel after the festivities were over.

They were staying at the Brentwood Manor in Upper Hutt which is a lovely setting. As they got married after lunch and their reception was an afternoon tea, these shots were taken around 5.30pm just as the evening light was coming in.

Tia & Naisa

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.

Amit & Manjit

I agreed to act as a second shooter for my friend Peter McDonald on the wedding of Amit & Manjit which was a very modified Indian wedding.

We started on the Thursday shooting the Henna party which unfortunately I couldn’t attend the whole event and ran a lot later because the bride was late.

On the Saturday I went to the hotel where the groom and family were staying and got shots with him. That was very easy going.

The venue for the wedding was the Pines Cabaret in Houghton Bay, and the starting time was advertised as 4.00pm so I made sure to leave the groom in plenty of time so that I could scope it out. The moment I arrived I saw problems. Firstly the wedding was take place in a small conservatory on the corner of the building with glass on every wall. To make matters worse this part of the building faced directly into the afternoon sun. Only one row of seats was placed for old people and the rest of the congregation would be standing so there were no nice aisles to shoot down.

I decided that the best thing to do was to get a meter reading of the place where the wedding party would stand and not worry about the background blowing out, so I grabbed a willing guest and did just that. The problem was that rather than arriving at 4pm the bride arrived an hour later by which time the sun had changed positions dramatically. There was nothing I could do. I just had to shoot and hope for the best.

We had planned to shoot the formals on the beach below the venue. With the main ceremony late our time was severely shortened so it was very much a rapid fire affair.

At the end of the day I was exhausted but the bride and groom were happy with the images and that was the main thing.

Trevor & Lerun

I acted as second shooter for the wedding of Trevor & Lerun that was held at the old church in Makara. Trevor’s great great grandfather has helped build it so there was a family connection to a really lovely old building.

The day was very cold and with rain threatening we had to be quick. They wanted shots down at the beach but with the temperature less than 5 degrees that part of the shot was done in one take.

The day was not without other challenges as well. Lerun’s family were from China and spoke no English so trying to organise family shots was interesting to say the least.

It was also quite funny at the reception that when Trevor went to remove Lerun’s garter her family had not idea what was happening.