The Wheatbelt Way | A Road Trip | May 2018 {Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Documentary Photographer}

With my Autumn weddings done and dusted, I took the opportunity for a three day Roadie earlier this week, heading north-east to the shire of Mt Marshall on the edge of the Wheatbelt, where the Emu Proof Fenceline divides our farmland from station country.  

Late Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year out there.  The days are warm and still, the flies are (mostly!) gone, and the evenings cool.  But it's also the driest time of the year, normally following a long hot Summer, and before the first rains of Winter settle the dust and germinate the newly sown crops. 

Founded on a nomadic pastoral industry, which later included the cutting of sandalwood, the Shire of Mt Marshall takes in the tiny towns of Bencubbin and Beacon, running north to the Emu Proof Fenceline. Nowadays it mostly consists of vast areas of flat, open cropping country, pockets of bush teaming with native flora and fauna, long straight gravel roads, the remnants of small settlements, and some very large rocks.

So, armed with my Fuji XPro2 + 18-135mm lens, plus a few other essentials, like food, water, my coffee machine and a Wheatbelt Drive Trail Map, I headed east to the Beacon Caravan Park, to set up camp - ever conscious of the fact that I was going to be far more comfortable in my Donga than my great great great grandfather JS Roe would have been, when he first discovered and explored this country in 1836! 

  And for the next three days I drove long distances, trekked through bush, climbed rocks with easy to spell names names like Billiburning, Elachbutting and Beringbooding, and watched farmers kick up trails of dust across the landscape with their seeding machines.  I also walked through towns (both existing and extinct), and met a few of the locals, including Bruce and Mal, who offered me a stiff cup of black tea and a rollie, and took me through the Beacon Men's Shed, and a short history of the tractor in Australia. 

But mostly I just hung out on my own.  Sometimes it's good to just quiet the chaos, to switch off and celebrate the simple things in our own backyard. That's what this trip was all about for me. And maybe a little bit about taking photos too, because, well, that's just what I do! 

 

Joe + Nikita | Brookleigh Estate, Swan Valley | 17 March 2018 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Wedding Photographer}

March is my favourite time of the year, and such a beautiful time to get married (I got married in March myself, and can't help but love an Autumn wedding!).  And Saturday was a perfect Autumn day for Joe and Nikita's beautiful heartfelt ceremony and reception, held at the ever stunning Brookleigh Estate in the Swan Valley, in Perth WA.  

And there's something extra special about childhood sweethearts like Joe and Nikita, who have been friends since they were just 6 years old. It creates a bond which just seems to radiate on the day, bringing everyone present into the fold, and creating a vibe like none other.

And so backed by years of friendship, and a similar outlook on life, Joe and Nikita tied the knot in a lakeside ceremony, followed by a fabulous reception on the deck as the sun set over the lake - complete with ducks and horses frolicking in the background - who wouldn't love that?!

Congratulations guys, and thankyou for having me cover your special day! It was truly magical...

 

The Grand Ball | Northam Women in Business Fundraiser | The Grand, Northam WA | 24 February 2018 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Event Photographer}

Last Saturday night the Northam Women in Business hosted their second annual Grand Ball, at The Grand, Northam, and what an evening of glitz and glamour it was!

 The proceeds of this gala event are awarded in the form of a Business Scholarship, to a local woman looking to open and/or continue to run her own business in the Avon Valley. The process for applying includes a written application and interview with a panel of representatives from the Bendigo Bank, The Northam Chamber of Commerce, and the wider business community. 

Applicants are required to demonstrate their desire, ability and readiness to either start or continue a career, venture or vocation that will bring wide ranging benefits to the Northam business and social community.

A huge amount of time and effort goes into creating an event like this, with dozens of sponsors, suppliers and donors contributing to make it second to none. So a big thankyou to all those who donated, especially our Gold Sponsor, the Bendigo Bank, and our Silver Sponsors the Commonwealth Bank, The Grand Northam, SportsPower, West Coast Fireworks, Darren West, Simply Spectacles, and Angie Roe Photography.  

Special thanks also to the following event suppliers, for making it such an awesome evening!  The Grand, Northam, Confetti & Co, Chalk on York, and Studio Luxe Candle Company (venue, styling and decorations), Swift Hound Films (videography), Citrons Catering and Confetti & Co (catering), Rosary Floral Design (flowers), Rhyce Toovey, BellyDance Bombshells Perth and Another Fine Mess (entertainment), WestCoast Fireworks (pyrotechnics), Leeson Digital and Jodie Longmire (marketing and artwork), and Spuds Marquee Hire (marquee).

And although I couldn't possibly list you all (there were more than 70 of you!), a huge thankyou to all the local businesses who donated their wares to both the auction and silent auction which were held on the night, and also to the people who bid on them. Your generosity contributes a significant amount of the funds required to make both The Grand Ball and the Business Scholarship possible, and we simply couldn't do it without you.

And the result of all this hard work and vision?  A fantastic night full of glitz and glamour, which saw guests enjoying the incredible grazing and dessert tables (think sweets with names like pear and almond frangipani flan!), and a host of entertainers, including Rhyce and the band, and our gorgeous belly dancers, who even brought their own snakes along - as you do!   

Now all that remains to see is who wins the scholarship!

 

The Wheatbelt Collective | Rustic Boho Styled Shoot | Faversham House & Mt Brown, York WA | 17 January 2018 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Wedding Photographer}

The Wheatbelt Collective has now been established for just over 6 months, with the aim of seeking out the best of our local Avon Valley and Wheatbelt talent, in order to provide both city and country folk with a host of quality suppliers to choose from, when planning a wedding or event in a rural area. 

Founded by myself and the lovely ladies from Confetti & Co and Petallica Flower Co, the Wheatbelt Collective is a collaboration between like minded wedding and event specialists, based in the Avon Valley, just east of Perth in WA.  

The Avon Valley and Wheatbelt offer a stunning backdrop to any style of wedding or event, and being local to these regions, we have an intimate knowledge of rural venues and suppliers, which means that together, we can help you plan a unique and exciting day that runs smoothly, is loaded with personality, and most importantly, reflects you and your event.

We are not a directory of suppliers as such, but rather, a bunch of creatives who love to work together, and who take our recommendations seriously, which is where our styled shoots come in.  The aim of these shoots is to not only have fun creating something awesome, but to allow us the opportunity to work with local suppliers we may not have worked with before, and in turn, showcase both them, and what we can offer you in the country, should you choose to keep it local.  

So in preparation for our summer shoot, we put our heads together to brainstorm something uniquely suited to our region, and invited an amazing bunch of both new and old businesses to contribute. And not only did they all do an incredible job, but they were also totally lovely to work with, which means we'll definitely be recommending them in the future! 

So a huge thanks to Nola at Faversham House for providing such a perfect backdrop (and a beautiful cool room to get ready in, on a very hot, sticky day!).  And to Jasmine Fowler for her incredible hair and makeup work with our fabulous model, Ash, to create a natural, summery boho look.  And to Kimberley from Blue Silk Design Studio for not only providing a stunning gown, but for tailoring it to Ash on the day. Also to Sue from Birdsnest Gallery of Old and New Things for all her gorgeous rustic knick knacks for our table styling, and to Angela from The Knotty Kiwi for her stunning macrame backdrop, flower wrap, table runner and chair pieces.  

And of course, to Sarah and Holly of Confetti & Co for providing the brief for a rustic, summery, vintage boho look, full of natural tones and pops of pink, peach and copper, and for their fabulous table and arbour styling on the day.  And to Sarah from Petallica Flower Co for all the beautiful blooms you see, and finally, to Lauren and Ben from Swift Hound Films for their incredible film footage, which I really can't begin to describe, so seriously, just watch it, people! 

And following is the result. Which I have no words for.  Except to say that I feel immensely proud (and lucky) to be surrounded by so many wonderful personalities, and such talent, right here where I live.  This is what we are capable of out here, and I think you'll agree, there's really no need to go to Perth, or to source your suppliers from the city, when planning a wedding or event in the Avon Valley or Wheatbelt!    

 

Nic + Tenielle | Rustic Farm Wedding, Merredin | 16 December 2017 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Photographer}

It was a typically warm and windy summers day for Nic and Tenielle's rustic farm wedding, held on the family property in Korbel (between Kellerberrin and Merredin), in Western Australia, a week before Christmas. 

With the ceremony held in a paddock surrounding historic Massingham's Rock, and a machinery shed converted into a stunning reception venue, this wedding had all the elements one could hope for at a rural Australian wedding.

A host of gorgeous details, including eucalyptus table runners, blackboards, wine barrels, hay bales, packing crates, vintage suitcases and crockery, hessian bunting and festoon lights, all came together to create a rustic, DIY vibe, perfectly suited to Nic and Tenielle's big day.   Add to that a full selection of drinks from the bar in the corner of the shed, some amazing food by the clever folk at Supper Road (all the way from Margaret River in the southwest!), and a close circle of family and friends, and you have everything you need for a totally awesome day.

A huge thanks to vendors Leanne Meldrum (celebrant), Bloom Tribe (flowers), Tenielle's sister Emma Growden (cake), Lush Hair & Makeup (makeup), Nicola Richards Hair Studio (hair), Tuscany Bridal (gown), MJ Bale (suits), and Supper Road (catering), who all helped make the day so memorable. 

Congratulations Nic and Tenielle, and thankyou so much for choosing me to cover your beautiful wedding for you, it was such a fabulous way for me to end the year!

 

17 From '17 | A Snapshot of 2017 {Avon Valley & Perth Wedding, Family, Event & Commercial Photographer}

As 2017 draws to a close, it's time to reflect on what an amazing year its been for me, with a random selection of some of my favourite images from the past 12 months.

So here they are, seventeen memorable moments from 2017, in no particular order.  An eclectic mix of images from the incredible weddings, families, events and commercial work I've been privileged to shoot throughout the year.  And a few from my own collection too, including a self portrait of me towards the end (yep, in my car, of course!).  Because its important for photographers to make time to document our own lives too.

So a huge thankyou to all of you who have made 2017 so rewarding for me.  Because without you, my amazing clients, friends and family, I wouldn't have been witness to these moments, or had the opportunity to create these images.

Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year, and I'll see you all again in 2018!

 

Tim + Bonnie | Backyard Festival Wedding, Toodyay | 21 October 2017 {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Wedding Photographer}

It was an overcast and stormy day for Tim and Bonnie's rustic, festival styled wedding held in Toodyay, in Western Australia last month.  With a ceremony on the side of a hill in the bush, and a marquee nestled amongst the trees in the backyard of Bonnie's family home, this wedding had a beautiful, rural Australian feel about it.

Add to that a gorgeous rambling cottage garden (created and lovingly maintained by the brides parents), a host of DIY touches (including the boys belts, who were made by groomsman and saddle maker Simon, the couples daughters dress, which was made by Bonnie's Nanna many years ago, the garden sculptures and signage by Bonnie's dad, and the flowers by her sister Ellen), some amazing food by the clever folk at Kazoomies, and a close circle of family and friends who returned to Toodyay to celebrate, and you have the perfect recipe for an awesome day!

Big shout out to vendors Lynne Lawson (celebrant), Petallica Flower Co (brides bouquet, flower crowns and wine barrel arrangements), Bonnie's sister Ellen Putland (bridesmaids, cake and reception flowers), Bonnie herself (cake), SJW Hairstylist (hair), Daniella Piscopo (makeup), Samantha Wynne (gown), Kazoomies (catering) and Swan Event Hire (marquee & furniture), who all helped make the day such a success. 

Congratulations Tim and Bonnie, and thankyou so much for having me along to cover your beautiful wedding day for you.  It was awesome!

 

5 Tips For Avoiding Wedding Photos You'd Rather Forget | Polka Dot Wisdom | Polka Dot Bride {Perth, Avon Valley & Wheatbelt Wedding Photographer}

A little article I wrote, published recently by the lovely ladies at Polka Dot Bride...

1. Ask Your Friends and Family For Referrals
 

Despite the rise of social media, and the abundance of wedding photographers that can now be found online, personal referrals are still (and always will be) the best way to find a photographer who will produce amazing images, and gel with you on the day. If your friends were happy with them, there's a good chance you will be too.

Plus you can ask them lots of questions that you might not feel like asking the photographer directly, like whether they were cool and easy going, or loud and overbearing on the day! And if you've found someone whose work you love, but you don't know anyone who has used them previously, try asking around in Facebook group forums, or searching for testimonials online - you'll soon find out what they are like to work with!
 

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2. Get To Know Them
 

This doesn't necessarily mean meeting in person - I get it, we're all time poor!  But there are a number of ways you can get to know the photographer you are considering booking, before you part with that hard earned cash. Follow their work on social media. Read the comments and any reviews and testimonials. Give them a call, or Skype them for a chat. Or send them an email - all will give you an idea of what they are like both personally and professionally.  And then if it's possible, arrange to meet up for a coffee and chat in person.
 

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3.  View Their Work
 

Most photographers will have a portfolio full of gorgeous images on their website, as well as individual client galleries, which show a larger number of images from recent weddings. Have a good look through their work, and ask yourself if the images look consistent (in both shooting and editing style), if they appear sharp and correctly exposed, and if the colour and overall toning appeals to you.

Then when you contact them, ask to see a couple of full wedding galleries, showing all images which were delivered to the client.  This is the best way to see how they shoot a wedding from start to finish, and to get a feel for the storytelling aspect of their wedding photography.  It's also a good way to get a feel for what 'x' number of images delivered looks like - you'll soon realise that 300 beautifully edited images covering all aspects of the day, is way better than 1000 poorly edited images with parts missing! 

Viewing their images online will often be enough to help you decide whether or not they are for you, but if you do meet in person, ask them to bring some example albums and/or prints along, so you can see what their work looks like in print.
 

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4. Check Their Level of Experience
 

A glance at the portfolio on their website should give you an idea of whether or not they've shot many weddings, but if it doesn't, ask them.  Weddings are fast paced, and often throw curveballs, like rain (and sometimes lots of it!).  Wedding photographers need to know their gear, and they need to be able to work quickly and effectively in stressful situations.  They also need to know how to direct and pose non-models like yourselves, so ask them how long they have been shooting weddings for, and roughly how many they've done.
 

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5. Check What Equipment They Use
 

This is a great way to start an argument amongst photographers, who generally fall into one of two camps - either Canon vs Nikon, mirrorless vs DSLR, full frame vs cropped sensor, or whatever. I firmly believe that it is the photographer who creates the image, not the camera, so I don't really think this is a big one for you to worry about. Whatever their choice of equipment, they are producing the beautiful images you have just seen on their website.

But what is important, is that they bring a backup of every piece of equipment they'll be using to capture your gorgeous wedding images, on the day.  This means at least two camera bodies (I prefer three), two flashes, or lighting systems if they use lights, multiple lenses, batteries and memory cards. 

And their camera bodies should most definately have dual card slots.  This allows your photographer to write to one card, and backup to the other, so if a card fails, your images will be safely stored on the other card. It also allows them to keep one card in the camera, and one elsewhere once they have finished the job, which reduces the risk of loss through theft or fire.  Which means your images will always be safe - phew!

So there you go, my five tips to get you started on the hunt for the perfect wedding photographer. Have a totally awesome day, and enjoy those photos, both on the day and in years to come!
 

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