Rakaia Country Wedding - Sneak Peek | Cally & Matt's Wedding

Rakaia Country Wedding - Sneak Peek | Cally & Matt's Wedding

I first spoke to Cally and Matt over Skype, as they were working in Western Australia at the time. They were returning to New Zealand to have their wedding at their parent's property down near the Rakaia River, in south Canterbury.

They were having a true DIY wedding, and as a result were only really spending money on the photography. Their brief to me was very clear: they wanted documentary style wedding photographs, with just a few bridal party photos.

DIY weddings are pretty special for me, in part because my wife Jane and I, had a DIY wedding ourselves. There is something really wonderful about family and friends coming together to help set up, then celebrate a couple's weddings. This day was no different. 

When I arrived dad was just finishing mowing the lawn where the ceremony would be and friends were adding the final touches to the reception marquee, they had set up on the lawn.

By the time the reception came around I was due to leave, but when the family invited me to stay for lunch, I couldn't say no. Though I was paid for my services, I did take some extra images of the reception as a way of saying thank you for their hospitality.

[In the fourth photo, Matt isn't blinking - he is choking back tears.]

Christchurch Farm Wedding

Christchurch Farm Wedding Nicola and Nathan's Christchurch Farm Wedding still ranks as one of the most enjoyable weddings I have photographed.

From the moment I turned up to photograph Nicola getting ready, to when I left late in the evening, the day was non-stop laughs and good fun.

Every wedding is unique and this was no different. Here are just a couple of things I remember about this wedding:

The ceremony was in the smallest church I have ever photographed in. It was standing room only to the door.

Whitebait fritters were served at the wedding reception.

Nathan gave the shortest and funniest speech during the wedding reception.

Below are a few photos from this wedding. You can view more photos of this wedding at this link - Nicola and Nathan's Farm Wedding

Drop me a line if you are planning a farm wedding and need a wedding photographer.

Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.
Christchurch wedding with Nicola and Nathan.

Arthur's Pass National Park - Personal Work

Arthur's Pass National Park - Personal Work. Situated just two-hours drive west from Christchurch, the township of Arthur's Pass sits just below Arthur's Pass proper. The pass was named after Arthur Dudley Dobson, the first European to go over the pass back in the day.

There is a lot to see and do in and around the township of Arthur's Pass. There are a number of short walks to places like Punchbowl Falls (pictured below), Otira Valley (pictured below) and the viewing platform looking out over the viaduct (pictured below).

Arthur's Pass is also a place where you are bound to run into the local Kea's.

Kea's are the only mountain parrot in the world and are endemic to New Zealand. Kea's are naturally curious birds and in places like Arthur's Pass, they become accustomed to visitors very quickly. With a population a fraction the size of what it used to be, Kea's are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Whatever you do, please do not feed them, as the food you may give them could kill them.

Arthur's Pass National ParkArthur's Pass National ParkArthur's Pass National ParkArthur's Pass National ParkArthur's Pass National ParkArthur's Pass National ParkArthur's Pass National Park

Punakaiki - Personal Work

Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand is one of my favourite places on the West Coast. Here's why:

1. It's only a four-hour drive from Christchurch by way of the spectacular Arthur's Pass National Park.

2. I love the drive through Greymouth and then onto Punakaiki proper. Snaking along the coast, the road is a stunning one to drive.

3. I love driving ocean roads and catching glimpses of the ocean and the various surf breaks.

4. I love the wildness of the West Coast. Thick, jungle like vegetation comes all the way down to the road.

5. The West Coast is a relatively empty part of the South Island.

6. The pace of life is just a little bit slower on the West Coast.

7. The West Coast and Punakaiki in particular are swell magnets, all of which means waves a plenty for a surfer like me.

8. The surf breaks are never crowded.

9. Punakaiki Rocks are a really amazing geological feature with great access thanks to the Department of Conservation.

10. The people of Punakaiki are laid back and friendly.

Punakaiki is exactly the sort of place I'd love to photograph a West Coast wedding. If this is you, then drop me a line. I'll gladly wave the travel expenses to photograph your wedding if it is in Punakaiki.

Some photos from a recent weekend visit to Punakaiki.



Christchurch wedding photographer - Family photo albums

Christchurch wedding photographer - Family photo albums When I was growing up, I'd spend every summer and winter holiday up at my aunt and uncle's place in a small coastal town called Old Bar. Located on the northern New South Wales coast, Old Bar is a tiny town perched on the edge of the ocean. The day the school term finished, I'd hop on the night train from Sydney up to Taree, where my uncle Fred would pick me up at 1.00 am in the morning. Next morning my cousin Paul and I would get up before dawn and ride our bikes to the beach and go surfing. We'd surf the dawn session, go home and have some breakfast, then go back to the beach and if conditions were good, go out for another 2 to 3-hour surf session. Sometimes we'd do a late afternoon session if the winds were favourable.

To say I have strong memories of the years' I spent at Sue and Fred's place with my cousins Paul and Yoni, would be a serious understatement. I wouldn't have traded those holidays for anything.

christchurch wedding photographer

Fast forward to 2010.

I'm back in Australia, this time for a funeral. My uncle Peter has passed away after a 7-month battle with cancer. After the funeral, I hop in my rental car (I was living in Bangkok Thailand at the time) and drive 5-hours south to Old Bar. Sue and Fred are still living on the same block of land. I've come to Sue and Fred's place because I need space after Peter's death and I want to spend time in a familiar place with familiar people.

During my stay I come across Sue and Fred's family photo albums. They have a stack of them about four-feet high. Four feet high...

I sit down and start going through them. An hour turns into two and before I know it, I've fallen into a rabbit hole of memories. All because of some photographs my aunt and uncle have taken over the years, printed out and put into a photo album.

As a Christchurch wedding photographer I know some of the photos have a lot to be desired aesthetically, but they have a magic all their own. Looking at those printed photographs links me to times in my life that I can never experience again.

That's the true magic of a printed photograph in a family album.


Christchurch wedding photographer - Hot Tip #6 Photojournalistic wedding photography

Photojournalistic wedding photography is wedding photography created by a photographer who captures real moments as they happen, without engaging or directing the subject in the photo. It is also known as documentary wedding photography, candid wedding photography and real wedding photography. If you are looking for a wedding photographer who creates photojournalistic wedding photography, then there are some things you should consider when looking at a photographer's work:

1. The percentage of 'posed' versus 'candid' photos

The Wedding Photojournalist Association, of which I'm a member, clearly stipulates that WPJA photographers can have no more than 40% of images on their web site from these two categories:

Portrait and camera-aware subjects, which are photographer controlled situations, with subjects performing for or looking at the camera;

Details photos, such as flowers, cakes, rings etc..

This is important for two reasons. Firstly, it is pretty normal for true wedding photojournalists to create some bride and groom portraiture as part of the wedding day. Ditto for taking some detail photos. Both of these things help create the story of the wedding day. These photos link the other 60% of the photos, which are the real moments captured throughout the wedding day.

Take these three photos I created at Katie and Tim's Thailand wedding.

photojournalistic wedding photography
photojournalistic wedding photography

Posed or candid?

I hope you said candid! Tim and Katie giving alms to a group of monks is a photojournalistic wedding photo. I captured this moment as it happened, without any direction or interaction from myself.


Posed or candid?

This one is harder. It could have been set up by me or I could have seen Katie's four sisters lined up, positioned myself for this photo and taken it.

It was the latter. I saw this photo and took it, without any direction or interaction from myself.

photojournalistic wedding photography
photojournalistic wedding photography

Posed or candid?

This photo is candid by design. I set this photo up, so it specifically looked like the guys are sharing a 'real' moment with each other.

Like many wedding couples, Katie and Tim wanted some group shots of their friends. While I always get a shot of each group looking at the camera, there was an incredible energy to this wedding and I really wanted to show that in my group photos too. To get the guys laughing and joking, I simply asked them to look at each other. It's such a ridiculous thing to do, that they all started cracking up. And that's when I captured this photo.

Though the guys are having a 'real' moment with each other, it is a set up photo. This is not a photojournalistic wedding photo.

2. Wedding photographers that insist on an hour or more for bride and groom photos

Here's the scenario: you've found yourself a Christchurch wedding photographer and you believe they create photojournalistic wedding photography. You meet with them and they insist that you must put aside at least an hour between the ceremony and the reception for photos of you, your husband and the bridal party.

Here's the rub.

In my mind, if you are meeting with a wedding photographer and they really do shoot in a photojournalistic wedding photography style, then such a person won’t be insisting on an hour of your wedding day for posed photos.

Now this is just my opinion, but think about it.

Why would a wedding photojournalist insist on an hour or more of your day to set up photos of you both, when the photographer in question, is marketing themselves as creating 'candid', 'documentary', or photojournalistic wedding photography?

For the record, if you contact me about being your wedding photographer, I will always recommend that we do 15-20 minutes of bride and groom portraits between the ceremony and the reception. These photos are important as there is really no other time in the day when I can create some environmental portraits of just the bride and groom. And whether you realise it or not, these are the photos that some members of your family will inevitably want.

I keep the session short for two reasons:

One, I'm a wedding photojournalist and these shots will only form part of the wedding day coverage.

Two, I completely understand that there are couple's who don't want to spend ages with a photographer creating photos on one of the most important days of their lives.

If you are after a New Zealand wedding photographer that creates photojournalistic wedding photography, then please view my wedding portfolio. Thomas.

Read more hot tips at the following link:

Christchurch wedding photographer - Hot Tips Archive