The first time I met Jess and Nik was at Mandy and Chris' wedding just last month. Anybody with exceptional powers of observation (or perhaps too much time on their hands?) will recognise Jess as one of Mandy's beautiful bridesmaids. Even the gorgeous little Archie made a wee appearance on the blog. And now, because he's just so gosh-darn cute, Archie has managed to wrangle his cute little self into his parents engagement photos!
Check out those little teeth!
But it really wasn't ALL about Archie, Jess and Nik did get a few moments to themselves (thanks to our wonderful Emily and her baby-entertaining powers!)
Jess and Nik are super cool, easy to be with and great fun to photograph! Oh, and more than a little bit good-looking! Bring on next Summer, I say!
And this, my friends, is possibly the cutest Tree silhouette yet!
Thanks Jess and Nik for coming out to play and for bringing that adorable little Archie! See you in February!
Oh glorious Autumn! How much do I adore the opportunity to photograph in your beautiful hues of prettiness! I have to admit, I was pretty stoked when Sarah and Anton chose this time of year to have their engagement session done. We hadn't met before, all contact was done via email and so I was looking forward to putting faces to names and making new friends. We had arranged to meet out at Old St Mary's Convent in order to make the most of the amazing grounds and incredible colour. While I was prepared for the possibility of cold, wind, rain or sun, there was one thing that I wasn't really ready for. Just as we were outside the door of the Convent waiting to meet Sarah and Anton, the ground began to shake. Like, really really shake. The building wobbled and creaked and then there was just this swaying of the path, just a nauseating sway. I didn't waste any time to move AWAY from the building and just then Sarah and Anton came out. And this was how we first met. Nothing like a 6.3 earthquake to make you remember your first meeting!
Thankfully all was well and after some calls to loved ones and the ease of the heart rate we put it all behind us and went to play.
Sarah and Anton met while competing at a UN Model Competition. After they had told me that they had never really been in front of a camera like this before, I was a little bit surprised that they then admitted to being models. Turns out it wasn't that kind of modelling. UN, as in United Nations. It was all about politics, diplomacy and suchlike. They soon became friends and slowly but surely the friendship grew stronger over the years, until cupid took aim and love blossomed.
I could have spent hours with Sarah and Anton, they were fun and friendly and laughed when I said funny things (laughing with me, not at me?) And to top it all off they shone in front of the camera. Sarah, you are seriously beautiful!
Please note: there were also fantails present. Fantails who were very bossy.
So here's a bit of fun. Check out this reflection. Perfect stillness, beautiful light, epic reflection.
This is the image upside down. I quite enjoyed flipping it one way and then the other, so I figured, hey, you guys might like to see it too! Pretty neat!
And this, right here, is 100% reflection. Just as it was.
Sarah and Anton, we had such fun with you both. If this whole lawyer thing gets old, maybe you could pursue your new found skill of modelling, because you guys nailed it! Bring on January!
Gemma and James first met at a soccer game, there were no bells and whistles, no angels singing in beautiful harmony, it was just a chance meeting. Little did Gemma know that the handsome man she just met would one day become her husband. Fast forward about a year later and they both happened to be at the same awards ceremony. James had obviously spotted Gemma and instead of going back to his friends he hung back and became very "interested" in the snacks table, which happened to be right by where Gemma was. It didn't take long for Gemma to see James, and realising he probably needed company, went over to talk to him. Soon after James' phone rang and Gemma overheard him say "Yeah bro, I'm talking to her now". And the rest, as they say, is history. Somewhere between that time at the table with the cold spring rolls and now, James stole Gemma's heart. So much so, in fact, that the two got married on Sunday at Old St Mary's Convent surrounded by their closest friends and family. The smiles were unstoppable, the hugs abundant and the colours of Autumn made the whole day sing.
As Emily and I arrived at the Chapel Suite we were struck with how incredibly calm everything was. Don't get me wrong, there was still the excited hustle and bustle that half a dozen ladies produce, but underneath it all was a lovely sense of calm.
Melissa was the cutest little flowergirl ever.
Meanwhile, Paul is with the boys as they get ready to come to the convent as well.
Gemma, you are just so so pretty!
Gemma has the kind of smile that you just want to preserve in a jar to let out on bleak and dreary days, because hers is the type of smile that can make it all better. You can tell how much James loves that smile every time he looks at her. He is totally besotted.
As I was perched near the front of the church and waiting for the girls to walk down the aisle, I couldn't resist grabbing this shot of James with the light bulb. James, if ever you need an image of yourself having a good idea, go ahead and use this one.
And here they come!
As Melissa makes her way down the aisle the entire church full of people melt just a little bit.
Gemma just kept on smiling that beautiful smile of hers, in fact, she was so happy she turned to the congregation to announce "I just can't stop smiling!"
And they're married!
James decided to propose to Gemma during a snowy holiday with friends down in Queenstown. They were there for a week, and while the first four days were all about the snow, James had big plans for day five. He made up some excuse that the weather wasn't good enough to go snowboarding and so instead they headed into town together. There he planned a day of luxury, with massages, a beautiful lunch and finally a surprise stop at a private hotpool with a beautiful view of the night sky and candles all prepared in advance by James. Down on one knee James admitted that there was a very good reason that this day was particularly special and he asked Gemma if she would marry him. She said yes. I sure am glad she did!
I love kids at weddings because they are so gosh-darn unpredictable. While we might have liked to have Melissa in more than one bridal party photo, she had other ideas that involved running and playing.
So we all know how much I love Autumn weddings, right? And with good reason. Colour, light and general amazingness all around.
Even if it sometimes is a little damp, it's really no drama.
Hellooooooo pretty Convent!
This bridal party was so good looking, I think you could probably rent them out as a ready-made bridal party!
This image also contains a bride. Just sayin'.
I think it's fair to say that James is pretty easy on the eye. A fairly nice looking fellow. A handsome lad. While I might like to lay claim at discovering him and being the first to photograph James, I have to admit that I'm really not. Turns out, in fact, that James was Cleo Magazine's Bachelor of the Year in 2013 after they spotted him as Mr August in the fireman calendar. So ok then, he's a good looking fireman, surely it must be all skin deep (says me, who tries hard not to jump to conclusions!) But nah-ah (you've got to say "nah-ah" with kind of an attitude if you want to say it right). Anyway, Nah-Ah, James has got to be one of the friendliest and most genuine guys around. This guy, right here, is the whole package.
I'd say there are three main types of images we create, completely candid, natural posed and highly posed. Generally we tend to swing towards the candid side of things, and when we do pose people we try to make it look as natural as possible. But sometimes we're asked to branch out and try a different style, and Gemma and James' wedding was just that. We've actually been seeing some pretty snazzy highly posed and carefully lit wedding images around lately so when we were asked to create something similar we jumped at the chance! Old St Mary's convent lends itself perfectly to this style too.
The rain stopped just long enough for us to dash outside again. In case you forgot, it's Autumn (I like to bring that up whenever possible. Autumn. Right there.
It's still Autumn.
Then it was off to Wither Hills where an evening of fun and laughter awaited us!
Also a Haka.
It was starting to get pretty dark, but not wanting to let go of the fact that we were among vineyards, so hopped on over to the vineyard and made the most of the last smatterings of light.
We're always on the hunt for something new and different, particularly when we photograph the same locations over and over again. I'd not seen these lights on the wall before. So here we are mixing things up again.
Then inside the snug and warm atmosphere of Wither Hills the fun started.
And the food was good. Of course.
The speeches were great.
And the MC sang a Queen song. In fact, I'm pretty sure we all sang that Queen song together.
There were several people who couldn't make the wedding, but that didn't mean that Gemma and James weren't thinking about you.
Gemma and James, thank you ever so much for inviting us into your amazing day. We so very much enjoyed getting to know you both! Wishing you miles and miles of happiness!
Ceremony and Portrait Venue: Old St Mary's Convent
Reception Venue: Essence Events, Wither Hills Winery
Minister: Doug Pa'u
Hair & Makeup: Locks & Lashes
MC: Luke Bird
Videographer: Le Films Videography
Cake: Debbie, The Cake Company
DJ: Sonic Soundz
Car: Regal Rolls Royce
Yes, you read that right. Studio Portraits! It's been a long time coming, many many months of dreaming, planning and building, but it's finally here. We have a studio! While it's still a bit of a work in progress on the outside (ahem, landscaping....), we're all good to go on the inside! So just in time for the chilly weather we've now got somewhere warm you can bring yourselves, your Nana, your toddler and your baby!
To be honest, I'm so excited about the studio that I still walk in and stroke the walls and tell it how much I love it when I open it up for the day.
So may I present to you, our fist official studio attendee, the adorable Claudia, whose birth I was able to photograph the week before. Here she is at only 6 days young. Check out the dimple. Melt.
Any mother of two or more children is looking at this image and sniggering to herself, because when do all of your children ever sleep ALL at the same time? That would be never. Good thing these boys were absolute stars and just pretended to sleep for me. All I needed was 200th of a second.
Lisa and Matthew have the perfect little family! Wouldn't you agree?
So there you have it! The studio is up and running, so if you're keen to stay in from the cold and get some snazzy images of you or your loved ones, drop me a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org
There's nothing like that moment that you meet your baby for the first time, is there? It's authentic, raw and utterly life changing. I wish I had these moments recorded for my six babies, but I guess it just wasn't a 'thing' back then. Or if it was done it always seemed to be kind of hippylike. Don't get me wrong, It's not that I have anything against hippies, it's just that it always seemed to be that everyone had to be in a state of undress, with large beards (the Dads I mean, not necessarily the mum or baby...), I dunno, birth photos always felt odd and uncomfortable back then.
These days photographing birth has become far more mainstream, and those without excessive facial hair are also enjoying having those first moments captured. Families like Lisa and Matthew's. I've been photographing for them for years now, and I do a little happy jig every time Lisa calls me to take photos. But this, my friends, this beats all.
I have never attended a calmer birth than this one. While I tended to cry and apologise during my births, Lisa was just an absolute rock. Quiet, solid, she just got it done.
And this was the moment Lisa and Matthew realised that after two beautiful little boys, they have themselves a DAUGHTER! I have to admit at this stage there were a few tears scattered in the eyes of those present, and one of the nurses and I had to have a quick hug. Just because we were THAT happy for them. I guess that's one way to make friends!
World, meet Claudia.
Then it was time to call the grandparents in so that the big brothers could meet their new sister.
And don't these faces just say it all!
Lisa and Matthew, what a fantastic experience. Putting the words 'thank' and 'you' together hardly sounds like enough, but thank you nonetheless!
If anyone else is keen to talk to me about birth photography here in Blenheim, give me a call, or drop me an email. If you have a beard, that's ok too.
(Come back soon and you'll see Claudia's newborn studio portraits!)
When Chris asked Mandy's Dad for his blessing to marry Mandy, he knew he had to plan proposing very soon after, or the excitement could reach critical levels. After the blessing was wholeheartedly given, David only had to hold the secret in for a few short minutes as he lit the candles for a joint family dinner. At dinner Chris asked Mandy to become his wife, and while some couples get engaged to the sound of the ocean or calming birdsong, Mandy and Chris heard only the excited screaming of all of the family present. While not being able to hear her answer through the cacophony of excitement, Chris just went ahead and assumed it was a 'yes'. On Saturday his suspicions were confirmed as Mandy put on a pretty white dress and walked down the aisle as his bride.
Mandy and the girls got ready at Locks and Lashes, which, as always, proved to be the perfect little retreat to be pampered.
Mandy's Mum, Kerry, had a huge part in helping with the wedding plans. Kerry said that Mandy looked like perfection in every single dress that she tried on. And while I understand how mothers can be biased about these sorts of things, I actually believe her 100%. Mandy could have turned up in an old hessian bag, look amazing and start a hessian bag trend. But instead of abusing the power of the pretty and making the rest of us wish that we too could look that good in a bag, she chose a gorgeous Maggie Sottero gown.
Before Nina's flowers were even out of the box they looked amazing!
Oh Mandy, words fail me. You are just THAT gorgeous.
To be honest, it was quite an unrealistically pretty bridal party!
Paul arrived to the boys and found Chris rehearsing his speech out in the open air with only the vines to hear. It's always a good idea to practise something like a speech out loud, it helps clear the nerves and prepare you for how it's going to sound. The vines, however, were not nearly as responsive as the guests would be about 5 hours later!
Chris, you rocked this whole modelling thing!
The boys got ready not far from MVH and so made the most of the beautiful day and the stunning autumn colours and walked to the ceremony.
Back at Locks and Lashes, Dad has turned up to escort his daughter to her wedding.
I love father-daughter moments!
It's been a pretty dry summer, in fact so dry we've had a drought here in Marlborough. But it had to end sometime, and so the rains came. Well, it was more of a threat really. With an outdoor ceremony planned, some smart thinking saw a marquee set up so that if and when the rain did come, no one would get soggy. The night before the ceremony, it poured with rain. The kind of rain you lie awake and listen to and feel happy that there is a solid rainy day plan for the ceremony. The rain came and went and left us with a beautiful sunny Autumn day to enjoy, bonus!
Chris was happy to marry Mandy. Like really, REALLY happy to marry Mandy. I love that about Chris.
As the bridal party left the marquee there was great joy. So much joy, in fact, that each couple boogied and jigged and twirled and finger gunned all the way out the door. These are the occasions that I wish I was a videographer!
Ok, so now comes the spiel about how much I love Autumn. I will continue to sing it's praises year after year, so bare with me here. Autumn is by far the most beautiful season to get married in. There. I said it. The colours are amazing. The light has a quality that no other season has. The sun is low, so not nearly as harsh as it is in Summer. The sunset is early, so we can make the most of the golden hour. It's much fresher than summer, so you're less likely to sweat off your makeup or have your groomsmen faint in their suits. It's dark in the evenings, so receptions are cosy and sparkle with candlelight. It's almost like Autumn was invented for the sole purpose of making the wedding photographer happy. You're not guaranteed a sunny day, of course, but you aren't in summer either. Maybe I'm being 'seasonist', but if you're still on the fence about whether Autumn is a good time to get married, hop off that fence and come over to the pretty side.
And if you're just a little bit on the chilly side, don't worry, I'll get you dancing!
Back in the day Chris was a superstar rugby player, and knowing that makes this image make a whole lot more sense, right?
I love it when groomsmen will do what they're told without hesitation.
So Autumn presented us with this patch of light, and when you add someone that looks as gorgeous as this, well, that's when the magic happens!
Oh Nina from Pink Poppie, how countless are the ways I love thy floral creations....
Hello heavenly light! Honestly, I think Heaven might look like Autumn.
Thank you so much to Old St Mary's Convent for allowing us to roam your pretty, pretty grounds!
And then we rejoin the guests at MVH, and surrounded by pretty sparkly lights and candles, the happy faces and laughs, fuelled by the clever and heartfelt speeches, finish the day off marvellously!
There's nothing like a surprise Haka! Nick had the entire room at a standstill as he delivered one of the most heartfelt and enthusiastic Hakas I've ever seen!
It's the little touches at a wedding that can mean so much. Like this knife that has been passed down the generations, from wedding to wedding, and engraved each time. So beautiful!
Mandy and Chris, what an amazing wedding! Thank you both so much for inviting us to capture it for you. You are both an absolute delight to be around, beautiful both inside and out.
Celebrant: Dawn Allen (Christchurch)
Flowers: Nina, Pink Poppie Designer Florist
Hair & Makeup: Deirdre, Locks & Lashes
Stationery: Lucy Magill
Dress: Maggie Sottero
Suit: Platinum Menswear (Perth)
Cake: The Sweet Kitchen (Christchurch)
Cars: Shorland Holden (Rotorua)
Sound System: Marlborough Light and Sound
Music: Puree (Christchurch)
Reception Details: Sarah, Got it Covered
Video: Velvet Cinema (Christchurch)
There had been a little bit of plotting, some match making and a lot of hoping that Hamish and Trina would hit it off. Tracey, Hamish's sister, had thought that her friend Trina might make a good match for her brother. It took about a year for a plan to be hatched and for the two to cross paths. Hamish was sold pretty early on and agreed that he should take Trina out on a date, but it would need to be a double date. But no fuss and no expectations. As the date drew closer 'no fuss' turned into a hired limousine and a home cooked meal. I don't know what Hamish cooked, but whatever it was must have been pretty spectacular because Trina came back the next day, and then the day after that. She was smitten. You can't let a man who cooks out of your grasp, so on Saturday Trina married him. And that, my friends, is a match-making success story!
Emily and I arrived at the house where Trina was getting ready and heard the sound of the sea of little girls, inside giggling and getting ready and outside twirling and dancing around in their pretty dresses. You see, Trina loves kids and simply adores her nieces. So why just choose one or two? Why not have all of the nieces, on both her and Hamish's sides, to be her flower girls? So they did. All 12 of them.
And it was utterly delightful!
Check out this shot on the left where they've all been herded onto the stairs by parents, I love their grouchy little faces!
Trina was easy going, relaxed and utterly happy.
I'm loving the audience!
Trina, you are so so pretty!
One of the things I love about kids is their honesty. I love looking through this series of images and seeing all of the different personalities, some thought the funny lady with the camera was ok, and others took a little longer to warm up....
Hamish got ready at the Old Barn, which was also where the ceremony and reception were held.
You never want to have a tummy bug, not even on a work day. You don't want a tummy bug on your holiday. You absolutely don't want a tummy bug on your wedding day! But Hamish did have a tummy bug, and on his wedding day, but you'd never know it! This guy was so besotted with his beautiful bride that not even a tummy bug could stop the smiles!
Like a boss, Hamish. You totally owned it.
All of the guests gathered under the oak tree behind the Old Barn and waited for the beautiful bride to arrive.
So this was the image that I loved. I blew it up huge on my screen and rejoiced at my success, then Paul walked in and I boasted at my image taking prowess. Paul said I didn't take it at all. After some stern insisting on my part that I DID in fact take this, it was proven to be Paul's image taking greatness that captured this after all. Then I was sad.
And while we're at it, this was Paul's image too.
Sometimes it can be a little bit overwhelming walking down towards a sea of people looking at you.
And then there was great gladness for the newly married Hamish and Trina!
With all of the rejoicing below, there was air show acrobatics going on up in the sky. As much as we'd like to think it was in honour of Hamish and Trina, it was actually the Classic Fighters air show.
Nina from Pink Poppie made us all go "ohhhh" and "ahhhhh" about the gorgeous flowers!
A little trip around the corner to the Malthouse and the bridal party were told to 'own' a piece of wall, which they did very well indeed!
And while I'd love to also claim this image, it was, in fact, Emily's.
Hamish is a friendly and no fuss kind of a guy, who is not in anyway camera hungry. So when he sat in this dusty old building and absolutely blew us away with his modelling skills, everyone erupted. Hamish, you are seriously good at this!
Back at the Old Barn and the guests enjoy the cocktail hour and await the return of Hamish and Trina.
I loved the fact that they had provided pizza for the kids and teenagers. That would be a win. A really big win.
Did you know that the inside of the Old Barn can look like this? Aha, it's rather spiffy wouldn't you say?
We all know how I feel about cute kids at weddings. Somehow they draw me in with their cuteness powers.
Girls dancing at sunset. You just can't loose.
After a change of outfit Trina and Hamish arrive back to their guests.
As the sun set I dashed inside to see if Trina and Hamish were feeling up to a quick play outside. I'm so glad they said yes!
Check out the pretty dress!
Hamish and Trina, thank you for having us as part of your amazing day! I loved the kids and the atmosphere and all of the love and laughter. We wish you guys every happiness for many decades to come!