Thursday, 28 February 2013

Lizzie and Mick Get Married

On a beautiful summer's day at the beginning of the year, I had the pleasure of photographing Lizzie and Mick's beachy vintage-inspired wedding day.  

Lizzie and I met some years ago when we were both living overseas, on a "Sail Croatia", a beautiful sailboat that wandered around the Adriatic Sea as those onboard ate, drank and made merry.  After a few years of living abroad in London, Lizzie returned to Australia and met Mick at a weekend retreat run by their church.  Lizzie could only stay for half the retreat as she was running the Gold Coast Half Marathon that same weekend. But on that one night, Lizzie and Mick talked and talked and knew they could be great friends if nothing else.  Apparently, Mick thought Lizzie was pretty cute and there was something about her eyes ... he couldn't wait to see her again.  Lizzie felt the same way and had an extra spring in her step for the half Marathon!  As you can guess, this friendship blossomed into a beautiful love, and before long these two were planning their march down the aisle ...

Lizzie's stunning flowing wedding gown was from Flower Girl Fairy in Tweed Heads, shoes by Aussie favourite Novo.  Ashley Moir from Lennox Head was recommended to Lizzie by a friend and did a fantastic job on the girl's make-up.  And in a lovely touch of keeping it in the family, Lizzie's sister-in-law-to-be, Lisa Levick, took care of the hair.

Mick's father and step-mother visited Lizzie while she was getting ready, to deliver Mick's gift to his blushing bride - a stunning pearl jewellery set for her to wear.  This was accompanied by a very sweet cards ...

Father of the Bride looking fairly impressed with his beautiful daughter
The wedding ceremony took place in St Anthony's Catholic Church, Kingscliff; a beautiful light-filled church only a stone's throw from the beach.  

When asked what the most memorable moment of the day was, Mick replied "For me, the day was all about my beautiful bride. I have so many great memories of friends and family from the day but nothing can compare to the moments in the church when we put the rings on each others fingers and got announced as Mr and Mrs Levick for the first time. Words can not express how it made me feel when Liz officially became my wife...".  

Introducing the new Mr and Mrs Levick!

After the ceremony, the newlyweds hosted an afternoon tea with friends in the adjoining parish hall.  Friends and family had baked and cooked, putting on a delicious spread.  The afternoon tea was a really nice spin on traditional wedding timing, allowing the new Mr & Mrs Levick to linger with their guests and receive congratulations in the moment, rather than be whisked off right after the ceremony for their bridal shoot.

For the bridal party shoot, we drove to nearby Fingal Head, a lovely piece of the world just north of Kingscliff.  We had fun with a number of props and the natural backdrops provided the perfect contrast to the bright and beautiful bridal party, who were lots of fun to work with!

After a few group photos, I left the bridal party to their drinks and whisked Lizzie and Mick away for some Bride & Groom shots.  Even if a couple isn't shy about PDAs, having this time alone is a great opportunity for me as photographer to capture some beautiful tender moments.  It also gives the couple some much-appreciated quiet time, after the hype of the ceremony and before the whirl of the reception.

When Lizzie first told me about Mick, this is what she said:  "Mick is great.  I'm head over heels in love ... He is my best friend, my partner in crime and my sanity!!!  I can't imagine life without him!!".  You only had to see the way Mick looked at Lizzie all day to know that he feels exactly the same way.

After the bridal shoot, it was onto Kingscliff Surf Club for a cocktail reception, which was full of fun!  Lizzie and Mick described their wedding day as "relaxed, special, us".  They wanted to have a party with all their friends and share the special moment with them, thanking them for being part of their lives and looking forward to a new chapter.  

When planning, Lizzie and Mick strived for a relaxed atmosphere where the company of family and friends could be enjoyed.  They definitely achieved this goal - guests drank and danced, laughed and cried at the heartfelt speeches, and then drank and danced some more.  

Mick pulled a rabbit out of the hat when, after his speech was finished, he instructed Lizzie to sit down.  She sat down with a rather confused look on her face while his groomsmen joined him with instruments and he broke into song - Romance with a capital R!  For Lizzie, this was her most memorable moment, saying "On our wedding Mick performed Everything by Michael Buble. I had no idea he had been planning and practicing it for weeks.  His speech was so beaufiful and then he sang to me, and then we danced... It was so beautiful and I felt like the luckiest woman alive."

Congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Levick!  Thank you both for inviting me to be a part of your special day and allowing me to share your story xXx

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Louis & Emma's Albanian Wedding

As teenagers, my friend Emma and I were bored out of our brains, the way teenagers are no matter where they are in the world.  For us, it was Allora, a dot on the map in country Queensland with a population of 1000 and no traffic lights.  We regularly talked about getting away and all the adventures we would have.  Despite all this talk, I never expected to be at Emma’s wedding to Louis Kovaci in Albania some 12 years later, a little country in Eastern Europe of blue mountains, moping donkeys and bright sun.

Emma met Louis in London, spotting him across a crowded bar and pointing him out to her friend.  “When we started talking and he told me he was from Albania, I asked 'Where is that?'.  I had no idea.  I found him very interesting”, she remembers.  Their love was born among the streets of London, where Louis would meet Emma after work for wanderings around the city’s old streets and parks.  Emma knew her feelings were strong when she embarked on a three week trip around Europe, leaving Louis behind in London.  “I seemed to spend most of the time wishing he was there instead of actually experiencing where I was at the time - not how I pictured my travels to turn out”.

After Emma’s UK visa expired, she returned home to Oz.  With Louis in Albania, they continued their relationship for months in that most dreaded way – long term.  “I would not recommend it to anyone, still not over yet - internet is a life saver.

The proposal was subtle and occurred about an hour before Emma was due to fly home to Oz after visiting Louis.  “He knows I have marriage phobia”, Emma remembers.  “He did not say do you want to marry me, he asked: do you want to be my baby forever.  I said yes of course”.

10 months later, an assortment of Emma’s family and friends gathered in Albania during a hot and sunny August for the wedding.  Convention wasn’t a high priority and Emma and Louis’ wedding was a glorious blend of Albanian and Aussie traditions.  They rejected the customary Albanian four day celebration for an evening reception.  “I wanted to incorporate a few traditions that I felt were important, Dad walking me in, a speech and a dance with my Dad”, Emma says.  “I knew it was important for Louis to have a lot of his traditions … but we also made the wedding ours by moulding both cultures”.  

Dancing takes centre stage in Albania and tables of guests were up on their feet from the beginning of the night – in stark contrast to Aussie weddings where dancing only commences after the bridal waltz.  At the wedding, my table of Australian guests watched with interest as each table got up in turn to do a dance to traditional Albanian music, co-ordinated and rhythmic.  We soon realised that this meant we needed to do a dance as well, and so to the randomness of Florence & The Machine’s “Dog Days are Over”, we got up and shook our tail feathers.  Our self-conscious shuffling was the polar opposite of the composed and choreographed Albanian dancing, but they cheered enthusiastically when we finished – Albanians are nothing if not hospitable!

The Albanian version of a bridal waltz involved Emma and Louis turning around the dance-floor while family and friends took turns to approach the dance floor and throw money on the couple, providing a prosperous start to the marriage.  The last dance of the night was a pyromaniac’s dream, where Louis lit a handkerchief on fire and danced with it while it burned.  This is known as the “bachelor’s” handkerchief and is doused with alcohol to encourage the flame as it is not a good sign when it stops burning midway through the dance.

The wedding truly was a labour of love.  Emma’s mother – a dab hand at crafts – helped create all sorts of delightful handmade treats for the reception, such as heart bunting and table centrepieces featuring raffia and hand-sewing (above).  Family and friends pulled together to set up the reception venue. A friend did Emma’s hair and make-up and another friend (me) took photographs of the day. 

The language barrier was immense.  A number of the young Albanians, cousins and siblings of Louis, spoke English quite well.  However the older relatives spoke none and let’s just say that my Albanian is slightly below par!  Despite this, I’ve never felt more welcome than I did at Louis’ family home.  We may not have been able to communicate verbally, but there is a global language of emotion – and at a wedding, there is no shortage of that.
As for where Emma and Louis are today, they are living in Albania and planning their next move.  And I am living in Sydney, having returned a year ago from three years in London.  Looks like we both managed to have some adventures, one way or another.

Many thanks to the gorgeous couple, Emma and Louis, for allowing me to share their story.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Two Heads Are Better Than One

They say that two heads are better than one; and in the creative world, this comes about by way of collaboration.  There are many collaborations available to photographers and I have been very lucky recently to work with Little Birdie Events, a fabulous little events styling business based in Brisbane.  
This is a mother-daughter team with the daughter component of the team, Gerri, being an old university friend of mine.  "Old" as in having been friends for a while - not "old" as in grey hair and giant underwear.  Just needed to clear that up ...

It was late last year that Gerri and her mother Carole got Little Birdie underway.  I was very chuffed to be let in on the secret when Gerri and Carole asked me to photograph for them.  I was paid for my troubles in cupcakes, which is really quite a fantastic way to be paid.  

Although living in Sydney makes it difficult for me to be at every event, I love to help out when I can.  My last trip up to Brisbane coincided with a 1st birthday party that Little Birdie had been booked for, and so I headed to Clayfield on a sunny Sunday morning to photograph their sweet table stylings.  I then stayed on to photograph the party itself and I will share those photos with you another day.

To have a look at my delicious photos, check out the blog post on the party by Little Birdie Events .  Do not do this if you are hungry!  The photos are mouth-watering!

This event was also featured in the blog of event styling guru Amy Atlas Events .  It was a bit odd at first to look at the photo on her blog and go "Oh, I did that!" - and then it was just fun!

I am neeeeaaaarrrrrrllllllyyyyyy finished editing the photos from Sarah and Ben's wedding and I cannot wait to share them with you here.  There are some beautiful candid moments and some fun tomfoolery with the bridal party.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A Day at the Zoo

A few weekends ago, Scott, Faye and I went to Taronga Zoo.  Sunday was a beautiful sunny day and so we lined up in a sea of prams to get our tickets and our maps, to navigate our way around!

I never realised that Taronga Zoo was on such prime real estate!  These animals have some of the best views in Sydney. 
First up were the koalas, and it was evidently nap time.  Faye had previously told us that there was some sort of koala union which determined the 'working hours' of these furry fellas.  By 'working', I mean 'being cuddled by tourists' - apparently this can only occur for 30 minutes in duration, and then the koala needs 3 days off.  Tough life!

 It was apparently nap-time at the chimpanzee enclosure also.

These mountain goats look pretty pleased with themselves - wouldn't you, with a view like that?

This Sun Bear was happily lazing in his/her hammock - imagine if you were just having a kip on a Sunday and woke up to see a whole bunch of people peering at you over your back fence, and pointing?  You'd probably do this ...

Or you might consider jumping for safety and making a run for it ...

I have a special soft spot for meerkats.  Advertisements for "Compare the Meerkat" abounded when we lived in the UK - if you haven't already, go and compare a meerkat!

The gorilla enclosure was probably the highlight of the day.  We were watching this little fella munch on some tasty green leaves and were a bit suprised when Big Daddy lumbered out of the door!  One of the other little gorillas was intent on 'playing' and was trying to incite a bit of rage in an older gorilla - tactics ranged from leaping onto the older gorilla to picking up entire handfuls of sawdust and dumping them on his opponent's head!  Hilarious! 

Away from all the chaos, this mini gorilla was happy to hang out with mum.

This little fellow was a lot more chilled out than the gorillas and seemed quite pre-occupied by his banana.

There were a few enclosures where we could walk around quite close to all the animals and that was great - had fun trying to spot even half of all the creatures that were apparently there!

We could not find a platypus all day, not even in the platypus enclosure.  Lucky we found this guy instead!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Hello Blog World!

Welcome to my blog!  A blog is an odd concept ... "I am so fabulous that I must write about myself and everyone must read about me!".  My objective in creating this blog is to challenge my creativity on a continual basis, and never stop growing as a photographer.  
I will be more inspired to set out on photo walks or to set myself mini projects if I know that I have an audience to share my efforts with.  It is also nice to be able to provide the story behind a set of images, beyond that which the images themselves can provide, and that is where a blog can be so useful.

To fill in the gaps ... it was an overseas move that kick-started my passion for photography.  I lived in London for three years and would venture to Europe or within the UK on a monthly basis.  Photos were my way of capturing the memories which would otherwise have slipped through my hands.  

I discovered a bit of a knack for this and went on to study a Diploma of Photography, along with numerous day-courses.  A natural eye is essential for photography, but knowing the nuts and bolts behind an image is important also.

Now I am back in Australia and my photography focus has shifted from travel to people.  People photography is so enjoyable and I am most satisfied when I have captured a fleeting moment or emotion - an expression on someone's face that is "so" them.  Weddings and children/baby photography are great examples of this! 

I have recently made a wonderful partnership with Little Birdie Events, as their product & event photography.  I’ll post images providing evidence of their event styling genius, but feel free to head on over to their page and have a squiz also.

I intend to post about once a week, or whenever I have a shoot to share.  Upcoming projects include a stylish park wedding, and a Little Birdie event.

To discuss procuring a piece of wall art from my extensive selection of travel photographs, or to discuss my photography services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – I’d love to hear from you!