Harmony & Liam. Gum Gully Farm. Victoria.

“We are coming down the aisle together. With a swing band. Is that your kinda thing?”

HELL YES my dude.

I caught up with these guys a few months before the wedding, when I was down for another shoot in Melbourne. We had burgers and beers and hung out with their dog.

Here's the thing.

My couples  tend to trust me, know me, so when I rock up on the day all their friends ask "so are you mates with the guys?"

I always have to reply “that I am now”.

I think this process is pretty unique to wedding photography, like, it's a strange mix of art, trust, technical, a pretty intimate access to people on an important day... and a little bit of luck and other special sauce. But that key element is the access. Making new relationships and new friends.

--

"Every single time I look through our wedding photos I get goosebumps, I laugh and I cry! Such an amazing day that was captured spectacularly by Morgs. His style of photography and the way he captures all of those special moments is second to none. We wanted wedding photos that were real, raw and captured the emotions of the day - this is exactly what we got.. We couldn't have dreamt of a better photographer. And aside from his extraordinary talents, he's great to hang out and have a beer with! If he's booked out for your wedding day, move the date of the wedding! He's seriously that good!!!"

--

Aleesha & Tom. Little Bay, Sydney. The Elopement Collective.
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Boxing Day, 2017.

Josh Withers and I get in a plane, as I recall, too early, and tried to check out a really sweet hipster instagrammable venue, but it was closed. So we went to the chemist instead and also got Starbucks. Because, Boxing Day isn't Boxing Day unless you engage in consumerism, right?!?

So, a pretty normal, beige start to the day. 

Tom was waiting for us when we got to the chapel at Little Bay. A little nervous. The family trickled in and then Aleesha arrived.

And then this happened.

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Cloud & Sam. Riverlife. Brisbane Wedding Photographer
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Kicking of January like this was pretty amazing. Claudia (Cloud) and Sam found me at the last minute before they moved overseas, and on a hot January afternoon by the river, they married each other. I'm so amazed how "me" they were. There's a photo in here of Cloud getting her earring caught in someones necklace, mid embrace, and her friend remarked "oh don't shoot this!" 

She replied "Nope, we hired Morgs so he could shoot this"

Once again, I had found my people.

-

Last year when the legislation passed, I felt a little bit of a mania come over the wedding industry. And the wedding industry loves mania. I've never seen anybody get that excited about fucking chair covers, for starters. Anyway, it really bothered me and I realised that some people were becoming fixated on same sex marriage for all the wrong reasons.

There were entire magazines being produced. There were deals being run, specials, offers. All done, I'm sure, with the best of intentions. I mean, not many people are going out of their way in this industry to be difficult, but we've all got different perspectives.

Careful about bandwagons.

You see... I believe that being a champion for something also means not fetishising it, not “othering” it even more. It’s very easy to run around in circles shouting out what needs to happen - and loud is ok - but It’s ok to quietly put out in to the world what one values, without trying to elevate one thing up over another. And I hope that this counts as quiet - and not too self aggrandising - but do not mistake this as gentle politics.

This is a strong opinion.

I’ve been asked so much this year if I’m any busier following the changes to the marriage act last year. At the risk of stepping on some toes, I’m actually happy to say that I’m not. I can’t suddenly have more time to photograph weddings. I can, however, take on awesome couples to make images with. Just like I did least year, and the year before that, and I will continue to do that.

We have to be careful as an industry to not shout so hard that we simply create more boxes and categories. 

This is Sam and Cloud, proudly making their day their own.

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Don’t Panic.
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I met with a couple of mine last night, to chat and hang out but also sort out some logistics stuff. I asked them how the planning was going and what they thought of the wedding industry as a whole.


“It sucks. It’s so broken”, they said.


Now, I’m instantly gong to have to make concessions for literally all my wedding industry friends, so you’ll keep reading, and also because you’d probably not be a friend of mine (industry or otherwise) if you didn’t share some of my values. However, anyone that disagrees with me that runs a business (not just in weddings) could do well to listen to where the conversation went.


Here are some words and phrases that were thrown around:


Inflexible

Stagnant

Boring

Reluctant to new ideas

Lack of passion

Stuff stuff stuff to buy buy buy

Lack of understanding others

Lack of diversity

Lack of vision


And perhaps the most dangerous:


Seemingly Monomaniacal in the pursuit of all these things!


How has this industry survived?


Because they perpetuate the idea of an imaginary rulebook, and their customers simply don’t know any better.


This is our issue to fix.


The good news is that it’s getting a little easier to break the rules. Couples are coming to us with their “crazy” ideas and we are saying yes. “Crazy” in inverted commas because they’re not that crazy - they just don’t fit inside the narrow scope of what a wedding looks like to many in the industry. I’m talking about things like this:


Shorter ceremonies

Longer personalised ceremonies

No ceremonies

No chairs or arbours

Getting ready together

Non-traditional venues

Walking down the aisle together

Walking down the aisle separately

Not having an aisle

No White dresses

No dresses at all

No portrait sessions for hours

No group shots

No sit down alternate drop

Eloping

Inviting your pets

Not inviting kids

Inviting all the fucking kids

Not inviting everyone who expects an invite


And here’s another thing... literally doing nothing apart from hitting up the registry and going out for private dinner to celebrate. Or Netflix and takeaway. Or inviting a celebrant friend over for takeaway and just doing it there. Not even hiring a photographer.


It’s up to you.


Because here’s the thing - people find it hard seeking permission to do stuff. And when the industry as a whole presents them with the option of “scale the Great Wall of tradition” or “no wedding”, it’s not surprising that they battle onwards through stagnation, lack of vision and the seemingly endless stuff to buy.


It’s not surprising that words that become associated with weddings are stress, busy, needlessly expensive and overwhelming.


It’s not surprising that on the day, some people say things like “it was over so quickly, we barely saw everyone and we were so tired”


It’s not surprising that some in the industry are trying to change.


I don’t believe anyone in this game is out to give people a hard time, or make it harder than it needs to be. However, we need to see the forest through the trees.


Why do people get married?


It’s actually not really our concern why, but they want to, and they have values that we as vendors should reflect.


Give people the permission to make something amazing for themselves, and everything else will fall in to place.


Hopefully, imperfectly, just so.

Morgan RobertsComment
Charlie & Emily. Mornington Peninsula. Victorian wedding photographer.

I often go on about couples who really make their day theirs. Emma and I got married in her parents backyard, surrounded by family and friends. Charlie and Emily did the same. There always seems to be a wonderful sense of calm, a sense of place around weddings like this one.

It's just meant to be here.

We're just meant to be here.

I find it so crazy sometimes that people could fly me all over this country to make photographs. Whenever I'm having a week that's not as great, snowed under with work or other stuff, there happens a conversation with someone who I've only recently met, where they're surprised that people fly me around the joint to do this job. 

"That must be such a great feeling though, you know?", they say. "That they loved your work so much they went to that extra expense. Must feel good".

It always seems to happen at just the right time.

This was a good place to be.

 

Shona & James. Brisbane. Queensland wedding photographer.

When half of your guests fly over from England, during the ashes, for the wedding.

When your veil is so big, before you're dressed you have to carry it around in a bag.

When you get ready in the family home and marry each other on the tennis court.

When you let the kids run wild.

When you catch a city council bus to Stokehouse.

When you dance until at least 11pm.


I met with Shona at her parents house what feels like an age ago, before the wedding. We sat in the gazebo adjacent to where her and James would eventually be having their ceremony, and she told me the plan. "We're cutting the fence down here, so people can see straight through", she explained, gesturing to the the tennis court fence. "Dad's really looking forward to making the garden look the best it ever has... I know it sounds kind of crazy but I think we can pull it off!"

It's funny, because I get asked a tonne what venues are my favourite, and there's no real right answer. It depends on what feels right for your wedding or elopement. For these guys, I can't imagine this happening any other way. Drinks on the lawn, portraits in the lounge you've known for 30 years, and Stokehouse for the reception via council bus.

As far as weddings go, this is far from spartan... but if you distill the elements down to what it's really about, it's people and family. Everything else is just a conduit for those things. 

That's my pro tip for the day.


And then we got on the bus


Married by Anthony Lewis

Shona wore Catherine Deane

With shoes by L K Bennett

James wore Hackett

Hair and Makeup by Isabis Hair

Flowers by Lesley Strong and Fig Flowers

Music: Nick Trovas

 

Terri & Ham. Bali Hai. Queensland wedding photographer.

Where do I begin with this. I got an enquiry from Terri with this message that went something like: 

I found your work! And then I fucking lost it! I was looking for you everywhere and then a suggested post came up on Facebook, and I grabbed Ham (Graeme) and said “this is the guy, the one I found!” and your booking form let me book you so I assumed you were available and that was lucky!”

Or, similar to that. And I explained in our Skype session that my booking system isn't that advanced but I was super glad they liked my work, and I was also glad that a facebook ad had done the last 5%, and that I'm available.

"So, where's the wedding?"

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"Up in Far North Queensland at this retreat called Bali Hai outside of Port Douglas. About 15 family and close friends. Just us, getting married with our closest. No fuss. We think it's right up your alley"

Far out.

They didn't have a celebrant, so I asked my mate Josh Withers to come along, and it was a surreal, beautiful, intimate day full of joy. 

Right up my alley.