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.

Uschi & Davina. Monochrome wedding photographer.
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The low down

 
 
 

I keep threatening this, a whole wedding in black and white. I just feel that what draws me are the moments and the moments speak louder with no colour.

Also, I've got to stop using "just" apologetically.

I make zero apologies.

I've been thinking a tonne about creating and where the work I make sits in that space. I don't feel I'm a creator. What I do is creative but I'm such a reactive person with photography that to take ownership of the photograph is something very strange and disingenuous. Maybe I should go back and read some Sontag again. 

Uschi and Davina made such an amazing day, and when I was looking back over the images the ones that drew me back in the most were these ones.

Please enjoy the story x

 
Claire & Nathan. The Old Dairy. Sunshine Coast wedding photographer.
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Black & white is alright

 
 

I'm really proud of this wedding I was a part of back in April this year at The Old Dairy Maleny with Erin Woodhall. We lucked out with the weather, the catering was impeccable, and the location obviously stunning... but what I remember the most were the moments. I've only shared black and white photos from the reception part of this wedding - I get that colour is real, and nice, and wonderful and all that. But moments are louder in black and white. One day, I might shoot a wedding in all black and white... save for maybe some details that need to be in colour. My friend Natasja Kremers has done this before and I found that work really beautiful, and it suited the couple and the wedding. 

Anyway. This isn't all in black and white. 

This was featured up on White too!

 
You do so much more than take photos at weddings.

You were hands down our best vendor to work with - we felt you were invested, you cared and you took the time to check in with us throughout the whole experience, and you were so great to have around on the day. We received loads of comments just after the wedding saying what a pleasure it was to have you amongst the crowd.

I’m sure you get it all the time, but hopefully, you don’t tire of it - thank you for all that you do.
— Claire & Nath.