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Standing in water, climbing up rocks or balancing on the top of a car or a post are all in a day’s work for the team at Society Photography. Going the extra mile (or rolling up their trousers) for that perfect shot is what Dave and his team excel at. There’s that perfect shot to be had with the light or the scenery just so – and what shots they are – filled with atmosphere, and beautiful light. And yet there is a stillness that is so evident in the love of the landscape, the ability to capture the couple in a moment in time surrounded by nature. Pause and take in the image, the bridal couple and the surrounds with the light always creating the magic, because beyond the image is a story of a newly married couple to be told. Let’s join Dave as he tells us his story.
What was the journey to you becoming a photographer?

Through most of high school I always thought I was going to be an engineer like my Dad. That was until I did work experience in year 10 and realised that wasn’t for me. So I started doing art and ended up doing a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree at uni and majored in photography.

My first job was printing school photos which which kept me going while I started to get some assisting work with a couple of great photographers.
In 1994 I started working as a studio assistant and photographer with Tony Warrilow who started Society Photography. Over the years I became the studio manager and principal photographer before taking over the business in 2008.
Basically I never left 🙂

 

Standing in water, climbing up rocks, standing on top of cars or posts – well, that’s all in a days’ work for Dave and his team at Society Photography.

Why did you decide to specialize in wedding and portrait photography?

I think from the beginning I felt like weddings and portraits were the best match for my love of photography and also people. I couldn’t imagine spending my life photographing inanimate objects all the time. I get so much reward from the people interaction aspect of wedding-portrait photography. Also its such a great feeling knowing you have captured and created a lasting memory for someone. Making people happy is a pretty cool job!

 

What particular qualities do you bring to your wedding photography?

Wedding Photography requires a lot of different attributes, so we not only have to bring solid technical skills in how to operate a camera, but also problem solving, people management, and time management skills. Of course the most important quality is the ability to see and create.

Do you feel that some aspects of the personality of the photographer come through in the images?

In the most basic sense, a fun personality will hopefully allow the couple to have fun and be relaxed. So this is a really important thing that we want to come through in our images.

 

 Your images not only include wide open vistas, but details such as grass, or the waves that form patterns in themselves within the image. What part does nature and its details play in your work?

Nature plays a massive part in our style. There is so much beauty and energy in the environment that meshes so wonderfully with wedding photography. Giving a sense of place to an image is really important which is why epic landscape style images are not only aesthetically beautiful, but also meaningful to a couple.
I find nature just so inspiring and calming which are so important in creating.

How would you describe your style – do you rely on manipulating light to get the most natural shots?

I’m often asked how to describe our style, and I usually point to our work and say “how do you describe it?”.
So often people have different ideas of the meaning of the same word – “candid” for example is often misused and misunderstood.
So I’m more interested in the question of whether the images speak to a couple and if they enjoy them. Because it doesn’t matter what labels you put on an image – it really does come down to the response of the viewer.

In terms of light; light is so important! Sometimes, in difficult conditions like rain or at night, you need to manipulate and add to the natural light with artificial light and flash etc. Most other times though, the ‘manipulation’ comes from simply placing your subject in the best position to take advantage of the best light. Under a shady tree rather than out in the sun, turning around to have the sun backlighting a beautiful dress etc.

 

What are you most proud of with your photography – wedding or otherwise?

I think I’m proud of just being able to make a career out of something I love.
I absolutely love photographing people, however I have enjoyed doing more wildlife photography over the last decade. Being awarded by my peers in this arena has in some ways been more important than for weddings, as for weddings my reward comes from making the couple happy.
Being awarded the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the year a few years ago was definitely one of the proudest moments of my career.

 How do you get to know your bridal couples when you first meet them?

Actually meeting them right from the start is probably the most important thing. A lot of people want to do everything online, but when you’re choosing a wedding photographer it’s impossible to get to know each other unless you have a face to face meeting. Getting them to tell you about their day and help them work through things is always a great way to get to know each other.

Is it important to you to have a connection with them to produce your best work?

I think there has to be a connection – and that connection can simply be that they trust you and love your style. If you have that then you know that you can be free to be you, and that’s how you produce your best work.

 

What are couples wanting/expecting in their wedding photographs now?

I think really in a lot of ways nothing has changed in the last 25 years. Couples have always wanted a beautiful, creative record of their special day. I hope that never changes 🙂
Whilst some couples are happy with simply a digital copy of their images, most realise that having a stunningly designed album will not only be a more valuable presentation, but it will last longer.

Do you offer packages at different levels for couples to choose from?

We offer a range of Collections covering different lengths of coverage and different end results. From 4 hours to all day and all night, with or without an album.

How much direction do you give to the bridal couples and bridal party? Or do you prefer the spontaneous moments?

The amount of direction we give will vary all day. Spontaneous moments are always sought, however without some orchestration and direction, most people simply don’t know what to do and feel uncomfortable. Giving people some structure often makes it easier for people.

 

What is your favourite part of photographing a wedding – the day and moments, or the processing and presenting the images to the couple?

Without doubt the actual capturing of the day. Being there with them, celebrating and creating, witnessing all the joy and laughter, and being able to help a couple navigate the day as smoothly as possible and helping them to have a great time. That really is awesome.

Do you find that your bridal couples come back to you for family shots over the years? What does that mean to you?

Absolutely! It means everything to us when we are invited back into our couples lives! Such a special feeling being able to continue to tell their life stories visually. Its the best.

 

Photographing weddings is a very labour intensive profession and involving weekend work! How do you ensure you have a work/life balance?

I have got a lot better personally at creating a good work-life balance. I now actually have two days off in a row which is amazing! (Unless I’m shooting a Sunday wedding of course!)
Having a dedicated studio office has always helped as don’t feel like I’m at work when I’m at home. So I don’t answer emails at 10pm at night etc – we try to keep some boundaries in terms of opening hours etc like most businesses.

How do stay grounded when life is such a rush?

Spend time with my wife and kids. Or head outback to chase some rare bird I haven’t seen or photographed 🙂

Thank you Dave for sharing your story. Connecting with, and trusting your photographer is key to loving the beautiful photographs they will make of your day. To find out more about Society Photography visit the website.

Headshot by Society Photography

Photographer: Society Photography

It’s a time for the Aussie flag to be celebrated – and don’t we Aussie’s love a party?! It seems fitting with Australia Day on the horizon to delve into this wonderful Country of ours’ hottest and newest additions to the Australian venue crew.

From gardens to rooftops and from city to country, we’ve rounded up 12 brand new (or beautifully revamped) wedding or engagement party venues from right around Australia! Some of these diverse event spaces and locations may even take your fancy as your bridal shower, hen’s or buck’s party venue too.

1. Butler Lane – Richmond, Victoria

Can’t decide between an industrial warehouse or a garden party space for your wedding? You can have both at Butler Lane. Deftly combining indoor and outdoor celebrations (and the added bonus of zero stress if Melbourne’s fickle weather decides to turn), this new space boasts a foliage-strewn masonry backdrop for your ceremony, a mostly blank canvas to style as you wish, plus a delightful menu by Peter Rowland (yes, you can have their famous chicken sandwiches).

Capacity: 180 seated, 200 standing.

2. O Bar and Dining – Sydney, New South Wales

O Bar and Dining now welcomes couples dreaming of an intimate-yet-luxurious wedding to their exclusive salon; the Louis Roederer Private Dining Room. Not only will your guests enjoy the spectacle of the glittering, panoramic of views of Sydney and beyond, but you’ll have a team dedicated to creating the wedding reception menu of your dreams and styling the already lustrous space.

Capacity: 28 seated, 45 standing.

3. Bert’s Bar & Brasserie – Newport, New South Wales

If a little heritage is what your wedding is crying out for, Bert’s might be the reception venue for you. Decked out in 1930s-by-the-seaside style – complete with cane furniture, plush booths and ornate period antiquities –  we already know Bert’s can make a mean martini. We just can’t decide whether we like the bayside views or the Champagne bar the most! Let’s discuss the matter over oysters and the aforementioned bubbles here, shall we?

Capacity: 150 seated.

4. Beresford House – McLaren Flat, South Australia

Nestled amid sprawling vineyards you’ll find Beresford House. They’re all about luxury here, with furniture imported from Europe, world class McLaren Vale wines and lush on-site accommodation for the bridal party. There’s a grand gallery room, a choice of al fresco terraces and the house itself to take advantage of for your special day. But if you want it you’d better get in early, the owners only accept a limited number of weddings each year.

Capacity: 140 seated, 150 standing.

5. Brighton Receptions – Brighton, Victoria

Formerly known as the International of Brighton, Brighton Receptions has reopened under new ownership for a very limited time. Until April 2019 and June 2019 respectively, the venue is hosting classic weddings in their Georgian Room and Ballroom. With a monochromatic colour palette and period features, the space is making memories that will linger for far longer than it physically will. Get in quick. Capacity: 550 seated, 800 standing.

6. Rathborne Lodge – Sydney, New South Wales

Nestled in the leafy surrounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, Rathborne Lodge has recently become available for small-scale special events, including weddings. Built back in the 1850s, the lodge’s sandstone walls were once home to the Governor’s gardener (lucky gardener!). With both inside and outside options for your ceremony and/or reception, imagine celebrating in the carefully restored boardroom or under the stars out on the terrace.

Capacity: 22 seated, 50 standing.

7. The Stables – Buttai, New South Wales

If you’re dreaming a rustic, country or farm style wedding ceremony, the new Stables at Buttai Barn might be just the spot for you. You’ll just have to travel to the Hunter Valley to find it! Envision the old timber construction strung with thousands of glinting fairy lights and strewn with hay bale seating, barrels for cocktail tables at pre-reception drinks and wreaths of gum leaves.

Capacity: minimum 85.

8. Ciao Cielo – Port Melbourne, Victoria

Now here’s a courthouse wedding with style! After moving into the old Port Melbourne courthouse, upscale Italian diner Ciao Cielo is all set to host weddings. Inside, their dining room looks like a million bucks (well $1.5million to be more accurate) and with those banquettes they’ve got your “something blue” already covered. Next door is the “bocce garden” which we think would make for a cute ceremony location.

Capacity: 65 seated, 120 standing.

9. Hi-Line – Burswood, Western Australia

Rooftop bars are having a moment so why not get hitched while perched atop one? The spacious Hi-line rooftop bar at Crown Perth is available for private bookings. This airy venue comes dressed with chic seating, greenery and natural timber. Plus twinkling Perth city skyline views by night add to the summery on-top-of-the-world vibes. This one’s only open during the warmer seasons of the year though.

Capacity: minimum 80.

10. Marnong Estate – Mickleham, Victoria

There’s over 1,100 acres of farmland at Marnong Estate including 35 acres of grapevines – so you’re sure to fit all of your friends and extended family in here! The only problem is choosing where on the property to celebrate! Do you choose the classy, glass-y atrium room, the leafy courtyard, the modern Angliss dining room or even out among the vines? Or choose a few spaces on the historic estate for different stages of your day – it’s up to you.

Capacity: 250 seated, various standing.

11. Half Acre – South Melbourne, Victoria

Looked after by the dream team caterers at Food & Desire, Half Acre was a former 1900s-era mill now well and truly transformed into a glorious events space. It’s industrial but not too industrial. Urban but not too urban. A blank canvas that’s not boring. But it’s definitely big! The cavernous ceilings and open floor plan here are warmed up by exposed brick, natural wood…and all of your favourite party people.

Capacity: 264 seated, 400 standing.

Photography by Sayher Heffernan.

12. Sunlover Funlover – Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Now here’s something really different! No need to settle for a plain old beachside wedding when you can literally get wed (and wet) out on the ocean. Sunlover Reef Cruises have opened up the Arlington Reef floating platform for special events. There’s an underwater observatory, space and sound facilities for live entertainment, power and even a pool for your littlest guests. Yes, you can now take the plunge and then take a plunge!

Capacity: 300.

Ms Zebra Says: WOW! How incredible do all of these great spaces look?! Only thing now is to decide which one…!

 

Minimalistic neutrals have been a mainstay of many 2018 weddings. While we love this classic go-to, it can be fun to mix it up with a bit of colour now and then! As we launch into the New Year, we’re petitioning for the return of the bold and bright colour palette. Queensland weddings are especially suited to a tropical vibe with their temperate climate and sun-soaked year-round weather. Often when you think of a tropical theme, you imagine going a little overboard on the flamingos, pineapples and coconuts. Here we’ll show you how to modernise this balmy and fun, summer styling favourite.

Keep it classy by mixing textures and finishes to soften the bright shades of hot pink, orange, yellow or green. Golds and raw textural elements such as an unclothed wooden table or rattan place setting will elevate a tablescape instantly, so be sure to include these in the mix.  The styling here uses colourful tropical florals and monstera leaves by Clara Jean Events pared back with neutral tableware and gold cutlery.

Alternatively, if you have your heart set on a few coconuts and a flamingo or two, why not select a feature colour and keep everything else super sleek and simple? This will allow your theme to shine without falling into the garish category. Here you can see a mix of both pineapples and coconuts are toned down with the help of rich greens and gold finishes. Showing restraint with these classic tropical items will really modernise your styling.

Continue your theme into your personal bridal style by asking your florist to craft a floral hairpiece. These pint-sized pops of colour can be positioned off to the side or even centred over a low bun. Now is also the time to be a little extra with your earring choice too. Don’t be afraid of opting for bold gold statement earrings or even a bright tassel! However, be sure not to over-do your hair and makeup with this combination. This look by Rachael Harris Makeup Artistry uses soft waves and a dewy bronzed-up glow mimicking the effect of serious sunshine time.

The cake featured in this zesty and fun shoot by Milk & Honey Cake Creative was a deliciously on-theme tiered passionfruit and coconut cake. The top tier was covered in gorgeous gold, the mid layer in a coconut flake ruffle hand-painted with a gold trim and the base layer stamped with a beautiful ornate pattern.

Ms Zebra Says: Who doesn’t love a pop of colour against a pure white background?! Especially in those wonderful destinations with warm climates, colour adds so much to the reception aesthetic.

 

 

Photographer: Bulb Creative Co / Venue: Ancora / Bride's Dress: White Lily Couture / Creative Concept: White Lily Couture / Hair & Makeup Artist: Rachael Harris / Styling: The Gold Coast Bride / Flowers: Clara Jean Events / Wedding Cake: Milk and Honey Cake Creative / Furniture Hire: Memorable Moments Hire / Gift Boxes: The Bridal Box Co. / Signage: Neon Republic / Model: Stacey McGregs / Model: Daisy Morgan / Model: Kate C