Posts tagged rant
Human first, wedding photographer second.

A couple of weeks away from work is enough to get me in to my ‘philosophy pants'. 2015 was such a wonderful year for me, connecting and strengthening relationships with so many wonderful people that I’ve lost count. The more time I spend in this industry, the more I carve out my own niche and the more I learn about weddings in general.

I never considered making a career out of being a “wedding photographer” because I never wanted to think of myself as a product. The last thing I wanted to make with my photography was a transaction based upon what someone told someone they needed for their wedding.

Of course, transactions are a core tenet of any business.

Increasingly, I find my best experiences in retail, service and other types of business have nothing to do with the product I’m purchasing. Discussing the finer points of Steve Smith’s batting technique with my barista, current happenings in politics with drivers (mostly Uber these days) or even just asking the woman at Telstra how her day is going and actually meaning it.

Clearly, I have a small stake I have in the cafe I frequent as I call them “my” barista. You can see the trend.

These things end up positively affecting my mood, and quite possibly theirs, without having anything to do with the product. Just the simple process of having a genuine, human connection. With my business, things get a little more muddled, but to tie this together I’d like to share some feedback I received recently from a bride:

“Morgan has the smoothest, coolest, humorous yet professional characteristics that just seem to bring a sense of calm to the day – he made people feel great, and suddenly everyone loves being photographed - which has never happened before.”

After wedding planners and celebrants, photographers are amongst the best “wedding consultants” you can talk to, because not only have we been to a lot of weddings, we see how the sausage is made. I could call 5 of my friends in the industry and we could have the raw material for a NYT Bestseller “How to Fuck Up a Wedding”.

Well, maybe a BuzzFeed top 11 list.

The most important thing for me is to keep getting feedback like the one I just shared. I would hate to just be “the guy that did the photos” next to “the person that stacked the chairs”. I know plenty of wonderful humans in a variety of professions in this industry who feel the same, and some of them I work with regularly.

So, Too Long, Don’t Read: I love being human, and it’s wonderful to be recognised as one first, and a photographer second.

Happy 2016 smile emoticon

These two photos by Best Bridesmaid Ever Keyna Roberts wink emoticon

*end rant*

I don't really know what the 'kinds of weddings' I do are. I've been thinking a lot about this. In our industry, there's so much talk about 'your client' or 'your photographer' and finding the 'ideal' one of these. 

I've shot so many different weddings. 

I've done first looks and I've done communication lockdown until the aisle. I've done Anglican and Atheist. I've done backyards and beaches. I've done chapels, cathedrals, car parks and conference centres. Farms, fields and (reimagined) factories.

I don't think any of these things define the kinds of people I like to work with or the 'weddings I do'.

When I photograph something, I am a part of it. I take selfies with the Grandma that doesn't like having her photo taken. I will sing the harmonies to 'Africa' by Toto. I'm still learning to do bowties but I'll do your button holes. I regularly play chauffeur.

I want people to look at my photographs and understand what it felt like to be there. If that's the kind of photography you want, then you are my ideal client. It doesn't really get any more complex than that.

On photography.

I've been wanting to write something about the importance of photography for a while. A whole bunch of other people have done it, photographers and non-photographers, talking about how they got started, what it means to them, all that. Some describe how they picked up a camera and 'I was hooked, and didn't look back'.

As creative humans we romanticise things like that. It's actually what photography is about for me, after all I'm here writing a big 'thing' about it. Anyway, that simple statement isn't enough. Whenever I hear that, it's like someone is glossing over a much larger period of time where they discovered they loved something so much they had to make it their life. 

It's never just one moment.

I assume people just say that to simplify. Perhaps to efficiently explain to others. I'm guilty of it too, but nearly every day I see something that perpetuates the notion that photography is simple, photography being the act of picking up a camera and pressing the shutter release.

Photography isn't fucking simple.

My son Harry, approaching 18 months.

My son Harry, approaching 18 months.

I'm a pretty simple person in many ways. I love sleeping in, playing xbox, beer and football (soccer...) and cricket, I love travel, fancy cameras, pretty girls. I married a pretty girl. We made a gorgeous kid! Relatively simple things one would talk about over a drink. I don't take myself seriously.

But...  that photo just above of my son, see it's not about being taken with a Nikon D3s and a Sigma 35/1.4 and processed with VSCOFilm to make it look like I shot it on Kodak Tri-X film (all correct stats, FYI). To some, photography is all about that. It's all about them saying that I needed more than 12mp to make that photo, or that VSCOFilm is just a fad for hipsters, or that the lens isn't as sharp wide open as their brand, or that the AF is... you get the picture. Pun not intended. Just for the record, 12mp is plenty and my lens is fucking sharp.

This photograph is about family, childhood, growing up, memories and love.

So is this one.

So is this one.

People sometimes forget that when we had film we had to write down our exposures if we wanted to remember them all. Film stock was a creative choice that was as much about feeling as it was technical. We didn't have all this data on hand to compare how big our apertures could go, how many megapixels we had and how my brick-wall-lens-test photo is sharper than yours, and why don't we just whip our genitals out and compare them while we're at it? 

Technology has both democratised and commodified photography more than ever. We can't change this. But people who explore photography, amateur, professional, beginner, whatever, need to understand that there is more to it than data.


I'm a simple person. I love fondling the latest f/1.rediculous lens that someone brought out, and I love camera porn, and I love new toys. It's ok to have just that little bit of Gear Acquisition Syndrome. But I've discovered in myself that once I agonise over gear choices and methods that I just forget about it all. I use it to make photographs that are about how I see the world, and how my clients want their world to be remembered, even for just one day.


For me, photography is about memories first and foremost. Just like it was to my parents, and my grandparents, and even my great grandparents. When my Great Grandfather died I had a photo of him that I wanted to print for his wife. He was sitting in his lounge room on the chair he always sat on. It was fucking beautiful. It was the first roll of Ilford Pan F I had shot, iso 50 film that had the most beautiful subtle and soft tones. I was at photo school at the time and I was planning to print it in the darkroom. She asked me at the funeral when I was going to be able to do it, and I said soon, and smiled.

I never 'got around' to making that print. She's gone now too. She didn't know what Ilford Pan F was.

If that was a digital photo perhaps she would have received her print...  film is not better or worse than digital, it's just different. The point is that I was lazy about photography, and as a result there was a place on a wall where a frame was meant to go that never was filled.


Every day we get our fill of noise on our facebooks, twitters, RSS readers and instagrams. I make plenty of it and receive in kind just the same, but most of it is just noise. Photography is amazing because even though an image is totally silent it has the potential to scream. It has the potential to speak to you and tell you that even though there's a lot of shit going on, some things are ok. Life is ok. Your family is ok. There is still good in the world.

Or something like that.