Interview with My Wed

I recently joined My Wed and one of the optional things they do is ask you (me) some interview questions. I don't normally complete these type of things, but after looking through the questions, I thought I could have some fun answering them.

I've reproduced the interview below.

MyWed: First and foremost – whom can you name as the best wedding photographer in Christchurch? :)

Me: I can't go past myself, though I'm not used to being so upfront.

Are you photogenic?

Surely a trick question?

How did you get into wedding photography?

Reluctantly. While studying for my Diploma in Photography, my tutor said I should come along to a wedding with him. I said 'no', he said 'yes' and the rest is history.

What are the most important components of a good photo in your opinion?

Great light; an authentic moment between the couple and sweet design.

Are you fond of travelling?

Oh yeah. I've lived in four countries – The Cook Islands, The Maldives, New Zealand and Thailand. Did I mention I have worked for four summers in Antarctica? Or I have travelled to 50-countries?

What do you like most about your profession?

Meeting new people and being entrusted to create photos of a couple on one of the most important days in their lives.

What do you like least about your profession?

Marketing. It isn't my strength.

What will be the future of wedding photography?

If I knew that, I wouldn't be typing the answer in this interview.

What is special in wedding photography?

It is about the people. People are what make weddings great. That and great light.

How do you handle criticism?

What? Got a problem with my work?

Are there any trends in wedding photography?

Yeah, everyone with a camera thinks they are a wedding photographer these days...

Just because I have some tools, doesn't make me a plumber.

What should be the criteria for a bride and a groom to choose their wedding photographer?

One, they love the photographer's work. 
Two, they like the photographer's personality
Three, the photographer's prices are within their budget.

What things are to be avoided when shooting?

Standing still. Always change your viewpoint and your focal lengths (great way to hide annoying background elements).

What things that common people don't usually see can a wedding photographer notice?

Where to start? How about the light and the moments between people.

What influences the value of a photo? What are its elements?

Great photos are about great lighting, wonderful visual design and in the case of wedding photography, real moments between people.

What person can be the symbol of the 21st century in your opinion?

Just one person? That's a tough question. I'd start with Barack Obama, though I'd be happy to name more.

Who do you want to take photos of?

Your next wedding (so stop reading this and head over to my website and contact me). Right. Now.

Do you have any professional taboos?

No full on nudity. Sorry, it isn't you, it's me. Just not my cup of tea.

Do you believe that you replicate the soul of the person you are shooting?

That's a bit deep for me.

Who would you like to shoot with?

My shadow. I rarely use a second shooter, but when I do, I have a reliable go-to.

What do you worry about, and why?

Donald Trump being re-elected. Don't you?

What is the most impressive moment in your life?

Delivering my second child. It'll take a lot to surpass that moment.

If you were a cartoon, book or movie character, who would you be and why?

Always loved Road Runner...

Who inspires you in your life and why?

My wife and kids. They see the joy and wonder in everything. Makes me happy to be a dad.

How do you define success? How do you measure it?

Being happy and having a healthy family.

Would you rather be liked or respected?

Respected. Is this another trick question?

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made at work?

I applied for a job once and misspelt a person's name, three times. To be fair though, it was a really tricky name...

When you're going to travel, what do you take with you and why?

Earplugs and a first aid kit. Camera. Passport.

Is there anything that you wish you hadn't bought among the gadgets that you own? Why?

I have the bare minimum. Gadgets don't last long and I consider them a waste of valuable money.

How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?

A year studying for a Diploma in Photography was a good start. Working alongside other working photographer's, has helped too.

Whose work has influenced you most as a wedding photographer?

Jonathan Ong.

What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

I would get better at creating photos very quickly.

What do you want to say with your photographs?

I want people to actually stop and look at them.

What motivates you to continue taking pictures?

Couple that keep wanting images that they will cherish forever.

Should your parents have been more or less strict?

Dad – less strict. Sorry dad if you are reading this.

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?

Buy a sporting almanac, put down lots of sporting bets and retire to an island in the Pacific somewhere. Wouldn't you?

What about life on other planets?

It's out there...

Who are your heroes?

My wife.

Who do you have no respect for?

Racism and treating people poorly.

What do you do in your spare time?

Surfing, sea kayaking and camping with the kids.

When are you completely satisfied with your work?

When my couple's love their wedding photographs.

Do you believe in the traditional roles for men and women?

Nope. I bake our bread; I cook; I clean; I wash the clothes. It's all about sharing the workload.

Do you develop friendships easily?


Where would you like to live?

Where I'm living right now. Two blocks from the beach, in beautiful Christchurch, New Zealand.

What's the stupidest thing you've ever agreed to do?

Photograph weddings....It turned out okay though.

Is there life after marriage?

Another trick question? I've been married for many years and don't plan on being non-married.

Do you have a favourite joke? Tell us.

It's R-rated. It'll never be published. So pass this time round.

Do you like dogs or cats?

Dogs, but we don't have enough space for a dog.

Who or what do you hate?

Hate is such a strong word and there is enough hate in the world. I'm not a hater.

Do you take nothing but wedding photos?

I used to do a lot of magazine photography work, prior to getting into wedding photography.

The best thing in life is:

Lazy Sundays after a wedding shoot on Saturday.

The most annoying thing in life is:

People rushing around.

Is there anything around you that you would like to change?

Could be a bit warmer in Christchurch during winter.

What would you like to change in yourself?

Getting older.

What would you like to alter in the world?

Reduce child poverty to zero.

Can you give a few tips for wedding photographers who are just starting out?

Learn visual design. 
Shoot a lot. 
Find a mentor. 
Be patient. 
Practice and practice some more.

If aliens come to the Earth and you are the first person they meet, what will you tell them?

I knew you guys were out there!

If you are called to shoot a movie, what genre will it be?

Adventure (think Indiana Jones)

Tomorrow I will go and...

Photograph a wedding. Might see you there...

Wanderlust | Part 1

Wanderlust | Part 1

The main reason I got into photography, was because of wanderlust. 

As a kid, I loved nothing more than coming across that yellow bordered magazine called National Geographic. Opening an issue of National Geographic made me feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. As I turned each page, I was presented with far off lands and exotic customs and rituals. The magazine fuelled my curiosity about the world and the power of an image.

It was after a summer working in the Northern Prince Charles Mountains in Antarctica with the Australian Antarctic Division, that I decided to pursue a career in photography. It wasn't something I needed to do. It was something I had to do. To become a travel photographer, working for magazines became my siren call.

While I was very fortunate to spend a number of years' working as a freelance photographer for various magazines, there came a point in my life where I just wanted to travel more and explore the world. I wanted to do it without a client brief and a deadline. 

In 2012 I embarked on what turned out to be a 10-month trip. Together with my wife, we travelled from Istanbul, Turkey down through the Aegean Sea (crossing into the Greek Islands), back into Turkey, through Georgia, through Azerbaijan, over the Caspian Sea to Kazakhstan, into Kyrgyzstan, across the Tien Shen Mountains into Kashi in western China, then across China to Shanghai. We then headed north into Mongolia. 

To summarise such a trip in words is really hard. We met wonderful people. We had some long, tough days. We came as close to being mugged as I have ever been. And we had days of absolute joy. To travel overland, without a time frame is one of the most rewarding things I have done. 

Along the way, I took some photos. 

[These photos are from our time travelling through the Greek Islands. Up next is Istanbul Turkey, which I'll post next week].

Rosemount Estate Wedding Sneak Peek | Sonya & Kelvin

Rosemount Estate Wedding Sneak Peek with Sonya & Kelvin

Sonya booked me as her wedding photographer over the phone. After going through the various wedding packages and pricing options, Sonya advised me that she would be going with Package Three.

Package Three provides coverage from the bride and groom getting ready, all the way through to the reception end. Given I will be photographing the entire wedding reception, it is important for me that I have lots to photograph - think cake cut, first dance, live band and a bit of a party.

As such, I always ask people booking this package if they are going to have some music and do they think it'll be a bit of a party. 

When I asked Sonya this, she replied:

My wedding guests are a mix of Kelvin’s car salesmen friends and my midwife friends. There will be a party alright!

I have to say, this was one of the best wedding receptions I have ever had the pleasure of photographing. It was one hell of a good wedding party and it was wonderful to be part of it. 

Lake Tekapo Wedding - Have you got the rings?

Lake Tekapo Wedding - Have you got the rings?

One of the things that keeps me interested in weddings, is the simple fact that every wedding is totally different to the last. 

Take this little wedding I photographed down in Lake Tekapo a while back. The couple - Candice & Jenghis - booked me as their Lake Tekapo wedding photographer, after a Skype call to see if I was the right fit for their special day. Not long after, they flew out to Christchurch from Singapore, before renting some cars and driving to Lake Tekapo for their wedding at The Church of the Good Shepherd. 

The day I arrived, it was overcast but calm. By the time I arrived at The Church of the Good Shepherd, the car park was nearly full with visiting tourists and the actual church was cordoned off from visitors, so Candice & Jenghis could have their wedding ceremony without being interrupted. 

Fast forward to the actual wedding. Jenghis is at the alter, waiting for Candice to enter the church with her father. Their small group of family and friends are seated, waiting to watch the ceremony, when suddenly someone asks "have you got the rings?". 

After everyone checks their pockets, bags and the car in the car park, a guest ducks back to their rental house to find the rings. Twenty minutes later, they re-appear at the church with both rings. Turns out they had been accidentally left on the ironing board as everyone was walking out the door. 

If you are having a Lake Tekapo Wedding and love my wedding photography, then drop me a line. I'd love to talk with you about your wedding day photography requirements.

Annabelle & James Engagement | Canterbury Weddings

Annabelle & James Engagement Shoot | Canterbury Weddings

Had a great little pre-wedding engagement shoot with Annabelle and James, prior to their wedding. Taken on their parent's property in Canterbury, we had a bit of wind to deal with, but they were both great in front of the lens. 

If you are having a Canterbury Wedding and you love my wedding photography, then drop me a line. I'd love to talk with you about your wedding day photography requirements.

Gear Homestead Wellington Wedding | Jo + Nicola Sneak Peek

Gear Homestead Wellington Wedding | Jo + Nicola Sneak Peek

This was a very special wedding for myself and my wife Jane. We had met Jo and Nicola while living in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands a couple of years ago. Along the way we all became good friends and shared many good meals and laughs along the way. 

When Jo called me out of the blue to ask if we would attend their wedding and if I could photograph it, I only had one answer - absolutely. 

The wedding was held at Gear Homestead, just outside of Wellington. Gear Homestead is a beautifully restored old building and a perfect venue for weddings. You can hold the ceremony on the front lawn surrounded by trees, while the reception area on the second floor offers commanding views out over Porirua Harbour. If you are having a lot of friends coming from outside of Wellington, the Aotea Lodge is a 10-minute walk away and has plenty of accommodation (it is where we stayed). 

I'm often in Wellington, so if you love my wedding work and want to discuss your wedding day plans, then drop me a line.