DIY Wedding

diy weddingDIY Wedding. As a visual story teller, I have been thinking a lot lately about the type of weddings I really, really want to photograph in New Zealand and abroad.

Two types of weddings come to mind - a true DIY wedding and a rustic wedding.

The DIY wedding appeals to me for a couple of reasons:

1. Jane and I had a true DIY wedding.

Yep, we did the DIY thing. From the moment we decided to get married to our actual ceremony, was a mere two-weeks. Friends helped us organise our wedding in record time and it is a day I wish I could experience again. Did I mention it was in another country? (I'll save the rest of that story for another post).

2. DIY weddings bring out the creativity in people

As a visual story teller I am a creative person. And because of this I love being around wedding events with creative elements. DIY weddings tend to be a little bit more about creativity, in part because it helps keep the final wedding bill down. I'm totally into that and I love to photograph it.

So here's the deal, if you are doing a wedding on a budget and are looking for a DIY wedding photographer, drop me a line. I'm keen to photograph one and I'm happy to do a deal in the spirit of your wedding being a true DIY wedding.

And if you are after some cool and hip DIY wedding tips to help keep the wedding spend down and the creative factor high, check out The Top 10 Tips to Throw a DIY Wedding from Green Wedding Shoes.

As for why I want to photograph a rustic or vintage wedding, I'm going to save that for another post.


Christchurch wedding photographer - Hot Tip #7 Book Early

christchurch wedding photographerChristchurch wedding photographer - Hot Tip #7 Book Early There is a lot of advice floating around in cyberspace around wedding planning, what you should do and when. Some of it is good and some of it not so good.

Case in point.

I was reading a wedding planning site the other day and it advised that couples should start looking for a wedding photographer six-months out. As a Christchurch wedding photographer and a destination wedding photographer I would say this isn't early enough.


Well, there is only one of me and there is a finite number of weekends over summer. I'm not sure why, but November 2013 is already filling with wedding bookings and only last week I turned away a wedding inquiry for a date in November this year.

If this leaves you wondering when you should book your wedding photographer, I would say as soon as you have decided to get married. So if you have made that decision and your big day is eighteen-months away, find your photographer and book them.

If you've decided to get married and your big day is only a month away, stop reading this - right now! - find your wedding photographer and book them!

If the wedding photographer you want is not available, ask them for a recommendation. If I'm already booked, I always recommend another Christchurch wedding photographer who I know and trust. Ditto for destination weddings in places like Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

The earliest I have ever booked a wedding was Jenny and Justin's Thailand destination wedding in beautiful Koh Mak Island. Jenny contacted me some thirteen-months out and booked me the following week. The latest I have booked a wedding was one-week out.

The couple - Isabelle and Andreas - I actually met on the beach while photographing Jenny and Justin's wedding. Turns out they had eloped from Europe to Thailand for their wedding. That random encounter led to me photographing their very private wedding two-weeks later in the heart of Bangkok. It's funny how I meet clients sometimes.

The take home message: if you have decided to get married and you want a wedding photographer, don't delay in finding your photographer and booking them. Wait too long and your wedding photographer may have already taken another booking.

Read more hot tips at the following link:

Christchurch wedding photographer - Hot Tips Archive.


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.

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Christchurch wedding photographer - Hot Tips Archive

Why I Love Being a Christchurch Wedding Photographer

christchurch wedding photographerChristchurch wedding photographer - I never planned on being one. Ever. I remember studying for my Diploma in Photographic Imaging at CPIT in Christchurch, meeting our wedding photography tutor Tony Stewart and rolling my eyes at the idea of having to photograph a 'fake' wedding for our class assessment. Looking back now, I can't believe I had such a clueless perspective on wedding photography.

Two months after starting our wedding photography class I handed in my final 20-wedding photos for the class assessment. In my mind, wedding photography was done and dusted. I was never going to point a lens at a bride and groom again, let alone become a Christchurch wedding photographer!

At year end I graduated. Not long afterwards Tony sat me down and convinced me to come along and see what photographing a wedding was really all about. I was reluctant, but what did I have to lose?

As they say, the rest is history. Six years on, I am more than happy being a Christchurch wedding photographer. And here's why...

1. Weddings are amazing events

No two weddings are ever the same. The bride and groom are always different; the guests are always different; the locations are different; the decorations are different and more often than not, the ceremonies are different. This makes weddings a visual smorgasbord to photograph and I love the visual variety it provides me.

2. Being chosen as the photographer

I'm always humbled when a bride and groom choose me out of all the other wedding photographers out there. It's a big responsibility and it comes with serious karma.

3. Capturing wedding day stories

Weddings are stories unfolding before my eyes. Being tasked with capturing those stories is amazing.

4. Witnessing a celebration

For me a wedding is really a celebration of two people's lives coming together. Being able to witness that is pretty special.

5. Meeting wonderful people

You meet some amazing people as a wedding photographer, doing some really interesting things with their lives. Even today, I still have some past wedding clients who I stay in touch with.

6. Choking up

Yeah, it's happened. I've choked back tears at a wedding.

7. Spending time with the bride

I never realised this until I began photographing weddings, but as the photographer you often get these quite moments with the bride that no one else gets on the wedding day.

8. I became a better photographer

Technically speaking, photographing weddings can be tough. You can go from being inside a church which is really dark (like ISO 3200 dark), to bright, mottled outside light in the space of 90-seconds. Being able to deal with that on the fly and still capture good photos, is a learned skill.

9. I became a better business person

Running my own wedding photography business taught me to stay true to the type of wedding photography work I like to create and that my brand is me. The sooner I realised these two things, the easier my life became.

10. Creating memories

When all is said and done, I'm in the business of creating memories. Wedding photos forever connect a bride and groom to one of the biggest days in their lives. Knowing I created those photos is a great feeling.