Waiuku wedding photographer | Matt and Kim

I feel so honoured to have been invited along to Matt and Kim's wedding! The ceremony was held in Matt's parents back garden, and it was glorious looking out over the estuary while they exchanged vows.  I don't know if this is a common thing for wedding photographers, but I kinda fell in love with these guys who really looked after me throughout the day and were so down-to-earth and friendly.

Heading away with Matt and the groomsmen in the morning to their bach down the river to shoot clay pigeons was a whirlwind adventure, and I had so much fun at their hunting man-cave. Coming back to see Kim get her dress on with lots of help from her mum and bridesmaids, then to document their first look made me so happy! Then we explored old sheds and fields of a family friend and had a picnic (all with Kim wearing high-heels after just recently healing from a broken ankle) and came back to all the guests arriving for the ceremony. The speeches all had me grinning from ear to ear and I was enjoying them so much I had to keep reminding myself to take photos. It really felt as though the bridal party, and all the guests were one big family which I suppose is what happens after 10 years of being together before tying the knot. I really find it so hard to choose just a few images from such epic wedding days. So here is a selection... (a few hundred).

Auckland family photographer | Armishaw family | Stanmore Bay

This has fast become one of my favourite sessions. I love lifestyle photography. It's these kind of real photos that draw me in. But it's hard to just let things go and to NOT set up group poses. So while I threw in a few suggestions, I mostly let this family lead the way. And there was no way they were staying out of the water, so half the session they were just playing in the water. And climbing the trees. And jumping off the branches. And building sandcastles. And the necessary morning KeepCup coffee for mum and dad (and fluffies for the boys).

Auckland wedding photographer | Myles and Emma | Kumeu Valley Estate

I wanted to photograph a wedding. I had no intention of becoming a wedding photographer, being quite content with my family-life photography sessions. But a very close friend has asked me to photograph her wedding in August, and I suddenly realised I needed to get some wedding photography practice under my belt before then. I have been to weddings before... I have had my own wedding... but I don't think anything really could have prepared me for photographing a wedding. I am beyond grateful to Marie Richards Photographer for allowing me learn from her, and so honoured that Myles and Emma were happy for me to tag along and take photos of their most historical day.

Myles and Emma were set to get dressed and ready for their big day at locations very far apart, so Marie asked me to photograph the groom and groomsmen getting ready while she stuck with the bride and bridesmaids. 

I showed up at Myles and Emma's home without ever having met them before. Emma was already somewhere else, and had probably been getting ready for hours. Myles welcomed me in a friendly but distracted way, too focused to worry about me.  I told the groomsmen (and groomswoman and page boy... aaand mother and father of the groom) to go ahead and pretend I wasn't there.  In the space of time from entering the doorway to leaving for the ceremony, I had learnt a lot about their story, and their love which was reflected in the home they share, and in the closeness of their friends and family and ease in which they expressed their emotions. The hand-made wedding ring box, the puzzle Emma made for Myles with a secret message on the back, the music, the whiskey - it made me feel like this time, at their home, was the most significant part of the day for me, even though it's not  part of the day that is usually focussed on. It was the part that was real; the part that came before the show. Oh, and it was HOT... really hot. 

The rest of the day was stunning of course, and Emma was a beautiful bride. The ceremony itself was held at the Kumeu Valley Estate, at the end of a meadow under some pine trees - a magical place. The reception was in the cutest building in the most fairytale setting. We left after the bridal party entered for the reception, but I would have loved to stay and join in the festivities.  My body probably wouldn't have held together though, even if we had been able to stay. I felt as though I had run a marathon and not eaten for two days. 

My aim was to document the candid moments of the day in a way that had substance and meaning. I have always loved a more journalistic style of wedding photography, so wanted to set myself the goal of telling their story with the photos I took. I also felt connected to Myles after hanging out with him before the ceremony, so stuck with him a bit more during the day, rather than taking heaps of photos of Emma who I never really had the chance to meet properly. Marie and second shooter Gemma Flay Photography worked their magic with all the key ceremony and portrait aspects. I just learnt so much from the day. Here are the photos I took that represent their day through my eyes...