I was very fortunate to be invited over to Australia to photograph a very close friend’s wedding on Philip Island near Melbourne in Victoria. This was only days after flying in from Pakistan and taking pictures for the traditional wedding there. This would be very different and more akin to the weddings I am used to except for the location and setting, being based by the beautiful pounding Australian surf.
The couple were very well organised and put together a strict timing sheet and had given suitable time periods during the day for photography. It is vital that in order to get good pictures of your day you need to set aside time for this. It is very hard to get pictures that will stand the test of time in five minutes, and so this couple showed that they value the art of achieving a good picture.
In the morning were the bridal preparations shots, which I managed to have a nice period of time to be creative with the still shots of the flowers, ring and shoes, as well as the bride getting ready and capturing the emotion of the brides parents when seeing their daughter in the dress for the first time. Although these shots might form many pictures for the album it is important to capture the details of items like the shoes or flowers and really helps to tell the full story of the day.
On to the ceremony and we were treated to a beautiful 1903 white weatherboard privately owned chapel. It was located on top of a hillside with sweeping vistas out to sea. It was a stunning Australian sunny day, which also caused complications with the sun high in the sky bringing high contrast and harsh shadows. What was very technically hard though was inside the chapel; it was a small dark room with large windows placed directly behind the altar. This meant shooting towards the couple in very dark conditions and bright windows behind. It was an emotional ceremony, and even though technically the pictures might not be what I would be used to, it is more important to capture the moment and the emotion.
The couple wanted pictures at a separate beach away from the chapel and reception, and again this was well thought out as it was timed with the golden hour of the sunset and gave the bride and groom some time to reflect on the day away from the guests. Time was running over a bit, and we did not achieve some of the pictures I had imagined, but with the golden glow of the setting sun, it really captured the feeling of the day.
We moved onto the reception which was held at a stunning surf club, perched upon sand dunes falling away to the waves crashing onto the beach. The groom used to carry out surf live saving patrols at the club so had an emotional connection with the venue. We managed to get a couple of shots in the remaining minutes of the sun on the sand dunes. The light was then too dark, and in order to get a few more shots I set up my mobile flash stand using the sunset as a backdrop, to good result.
It was truly one of those perfect weddings that the couple and guests will remember for a lifetime, and it was an honour to capture their day and do it justice they it deserved.