Thursday, 27 October 2011

Chantelle and Mack's Hunter Valley Wedding

A Beautiful Hunter Valley Wedding

Today I’m writing about Chantelle and Mack’s beautiful wedding at River Flats Estate in the Hunter Valley last Saturday afternoon.

I always like to check out the venue the day before the wedding, especially if I haven’t photographed a wedding there previously.  I always look for good locations for photo opportunities.  This trip, I took my husband (Rod) along and we stayed two nights in the Hunter Valley.

I visited the venue which was set in the most magnificently picturesque location with the main venue area set on the knoll of a small hill, rolling grassy areas blowing gently in the wind down to a large olive grove and then a small lake with a jetty.  The whole area had a vista of beautiful mountains surrounding the valley.  This was just a wedding photographer’s paradise – offering so many locations for photo opportunities with magnificent backdrops, all at the one venue.

Saturday morning arrived and it was clearly going to be a very hot day.  I paced myself in the morning having a relaxing coffee with my husband and then browsing around a few shops, knowing that I had a big day ahead of me.

When I arrived at River Flats Estate I went to one of the two cottages where Chantelle and her bridesmaids and flower girl were getting ready.  My first priority was to capture some beautiful photos of Chantelle’s wedding gown before she put it on and I hung on a curtain rail in the window which threw beautiful light behind the gown.  Chantelle’s gown was off the shoulder, white with silver/white sequins, a laced back to the bodice, full skirt with a train and to give the gown a lot of body, a hoop underneath it.  I then set about taking photos Chantelle’s jewellery, garter, shoes and bouquet.  I photographed Chantelle putting her dress on with the help of two bridesmaids.  Then I captured one of the bridesmaids curling the little flower girl’s hair, then pouring glasses of bubbly.  When Chantelle was ready I took photos of her looking into a mirror, sitting on the couch and with the bridesmaids.

After capturing many photographs of the Chantelle and her Bridesmaids getting ready, I went to the main house where Mack and the Bestman (Mack’s identical twin brother and I didn’t manage to get them mixed up throughout the course of the day either!), and Page Boy getting ready.

Guests watched as Chantelle was driven across the grassy paddock sitting up high in the back of a red Mercedes convertible up over to the ceremony area.  I always love to capture the Groom’s reaction / emotions when he first sees his beautiful Bride.  The ceremony was beautiful with vows written for each other and I captured one of the “must have” photos, of the Groom placing the ring on his Bride’s finger.

After the official photographs immediately after the ceremony with family and friends, I whisked the bridal party down through the grassy (only ankle/calf high!) paddock for some beautiful photographs and then it was down to the olive grove and over to the jetty on the lake for more photographs.  Once we arrived back up at the main ceremony area it was photographs under the large trees and another “must have” photograph of all the (50) guests together for a group photo.

The Reception was held in a rustic outdoor area which had a roof and clear polythene walls on three sides and was lit entirely by candlelight, giving a lovely ambience and some lovely photograph opportunities.

It was a long day in the heat, but as usual, I loved every minute of it because each wedding is unique.

I am now half way through processing the 800 photographs (I shoot approximately 100 per hour) that I am sure Chantelle and Mack will treasure.

If you are looking for an idyllic setting for a country wedding, then look no further than River Flats Estate, Broke, Hunter Valley.

Friday, 7 October 2011

The Pre Wedding Outdoor Photo Shoot

At the pre wedding meeting I discuss the pre wedding photo shoot with my couples and we usually set the date at that time.

The main purposes for my offering the pre wedding photo shoot included in my wedding photography packages are:

  • I have a chance to get to know the couple more and likewise, they get to know me more!  It is a continuation of the rapport that was developed at the pre wedding meeting.
  • I get to know the couple in front of the camera; how “touchy feely” they are, how they interact together, how relaxed they are in front of the camera.
  • To adapt the way I shoot to reflect their preferences on their wedding day.
  • To provide the couple with a CD of approximately 100 photos which they will love and then they will rave about you!

When do I arrange the pre wedding photo shoot?

For a Winter wedding I like to arrange the photo shoot in Autumn and for a Summer wedding, for the photo shoot to be in Spring.  I like to arrange the photo shoot 1 – 2 months from the wedding date if possible.  Usually by this time, the bride and groom have all plans confirmed and after our photo shoot we can then run through the wedding day again.

Where is the pre wedding shoot located?

Sometimes a couple will want their photo shoot to be at their wedding venue.  Most often they choose somewhere else, whether it is a park, gardens, beach.  Some suggestions I make to my Central Coast couples are:
Mt Penang Gardens.
Japanese Gardens (Regional Art Gallery) at East Gosford.
Long Jetty, using the jetty and the adjacent park area.
Local beaches.

What time of day and how long does it take?

I prefer to shoot in the two hours before sunset to take advantage of the beautiful soft light at this time of day.  Sometimes I have early morning shoots soon after sunrise, but this often isn’t first choice as it means the couple getting up really early and me too!  Usually the photo shoot will take 1 – 2 hours.

What to wear and types of poses?

I advise my couples that the photo shoot is relaxed and fun and they may like to come along in smart casual clothes or, they may like to be dressed up as though they were heading out to dinner for the evening.

I always carry a travel rug, my beautiful white wedding umbrella and a magazine as these can make good props.

I try to encourage a variety of poses and list a small variety here:
- Couple looking at each other.
- Kissing.
- Each on their own, but looking towards their partner.
- Standing in embrace under umbrella.
- Sitting / lying on picnic rug, maybe reading a magazine.
- Sitting / leaning on park benches / steps.

My next blog will cover more about photography poses and styles.

Tips for the Bride and Groom

Always be supportive of your partner – you don’t want any disagreements just before you head out to your photo shoot, as this will reflect in your photos!

Listen to your photographer, I will give direction to you in your posing.  I will listen to my couples and always ask if there is any particular photo they would like and once I got the answer “yes, I would like to be up the tree looking down at my fiance”. 

It is all fun!