Anticipation & Timing at Cape Lodge Wedding

This was an intimate wedding gathering at Cape Lodge Luxury Hotel in Yallingup. Luckily for me I could see there was enough emotion within the guests to share amongst twenty weddings. Emotion is something I am passionate about capturing. It’s when we shed our day to day veneer and reveal our feelings without a care in the world. In the context of families and life these moments are rare and valuable and lead to photographs that will be treasured.

This photo is of the brides Mum (laughing her head off), who, with her hubby had flown over from the U.K. Now there had already been some tears, some fighting back tears, lumps in throats and the whole works. Now laughter, sometimes explosive bursting out laughing is what usually comes after tears, it’s the release valve that lets off some tension. I like to identify who is more likely to be emotional at the ceremony at the bride getting ready stage. There’re a few indicators that I have seen over the years.

Now the anticipation part is knowing who is going to be emotional and having a sense of when it’s going to happen. I was ready and waiting for a trigger to set Mum off. The trigger can be one of many things, it could be a funny line from the celebrant/priest or a fumbling and panic attack by the best man searching for the rings. Whatever it is it will come and be over in a second and that’s where the timing comes in. Grabbing that split second moment is IT for me, that’s my slam dunk moment as a photographer. As I have refined and improved my timing I have now added context and composition to these photographs.

In this photograph the main subject the brides Mum is highlighted by being within a hidden “rule of thirds” dividing line that draws your eye to her eyes. This makes her significant to the viewer and draws your eye to her face. I also have chosen to include the many other faces and expressions, some are not as engaged with this moment and this further heightens the others that are enjoying a laugh.

Rim lighting bride and groom at Bunker Bay

Early afternoon light is typically harsh to work with but can be used advantageously. Selecting a nice dark foliage in the background gave me the chance to use an old portrait studio technique called “rim lighting”. This is when your main light which in this case was the sun is behind your subject and highlights the shape of the subject. The sun added some lovely light rays and flare entering the picture. Exposing for that brighter light means that the subject is darkened and more dramatic, the highlight from the sun runs around the edges of Travis & Rebecca as they kiss.

Rice throwing tradition at weddings

It really must be great fun to chuck rice at people, personally being partial to an occasional family food fight, I can see this being awesome.

A serious rice showering created some interesting photographs capturing the bride and groom trying to take cover. The tradition of throwing rice is to symbolise rain, which is said to be a sign of prosperity, fertility and good fortune. As you can see in this photo there was an element of surprise as to how it actually feels to be showered with rice. Certainly check whether you are allowed to throw rice as I imagine a lot of churches and venues will not allow it. This wedding was on a private property overlooking the river at Peppermint Grove so they had no restrictions at all.


Here you can see eager guests waiting with packets of rice in hand, lets just get to the rice bit guys….hehe.

Champagne break

I love this photograph of Nicole relaxing with her bridesmaids and brides man before getting into her dress. Once your hair and make up is all done it’s a great idea to plan a little bit of a break, pour yourselves a champagne, get together and relax. If you have organised matching robes it’s a nice time to get some photos of you in those, just in the moment laughing and hanging out.





Boranup Forest Wedding

Impressive scenery in this ancient Kari forest. The giant trees stretch into the distance catching the warm sunlight. Richard & Lynsay love my landscape photography and were not overly keen on the idea of having a photo of them in their home of just their faces staring back at them. It’s something that I talk about with my clients a lot. They would rather me include them within a really beautiful natural scene, something with awesome light filtering through trees or a vineyard or at the beach. If it was me I’d want the same too, I get it and I know my wife Shannon would agree.

I vary the distances to subject to give some variety, in this photograph the subjects are quite far away but the next shot I’d walked four paces closer and they had a closer option to choose. I like the distance in this one myself because it emphasises the vast scale of the giant trees stretching into the distance. I do this with outdoor ceremonies as well, walking right away and photographing the ceremony setting is another unique look. I get a lot of positive comments about how much I move around searching for varying angles and perspectives to photograph.

Telling a story with humour

It’s the little subtle moments like this that combine to create a sense of your personal wedding story. Outside the shackles of “the photo shot list” lie many instances like this one. I like to add humour to my photography and there was something fun about this photo that I am sure the bride and groom will enjoy in years to come. The happy and content expression on the bridesmaids face while ironing a shirt is fabulous. The bride and her bridesmaids were so calm, happy and relaxed it was a real joy to move around the space and capture moments like this. There are a couple of details that I love about this photo, the house where we were getting ready overlooked Grunters surf break at Gnarabup and the surf painting gives it that context, it was important to include that painting to add balance with the blue bridesmaids dress. The other detail is the stylish form of the bridesmaids left hand which counter balances her other hand which is doing all the hard work, it’s reminiscent of the English tea cup etiquette of having your little finger trailing slightly.

Of course as you’d expect once the bridesmaid had sensed that I was taking her photo she adjusted her hand and looked at camera, laughing, probably thinking why on earth would you photograph me doing this. The simple reason is that I listened to my clients for over twenty years of photographing their weddings and the truth is they have valued photographs like this as much or more than the some of the more expected traditional photos. 

Wedding at Sir Thomas Moore Church Margaret River

This photo was taken at a wedding at Sir Thomas Moore Church Margaret River. I chose this one purely because the bride and groom had not seen this happen on their wedding day. They were not far away but of course they had a lot going on.

I am asked from time to time by my clients if I have eyes in the back of my head. I capture lots of little interactions between wedding guests that the bride and groom have not noticed on their wedding day. So when my clients come to the studio to see their photos for the first time, I find that there is a lot of spontaneous laughter and comments like “wow look at uncle Peter there!”….”I’ve never seen her so happy”….”oh that’s so cute”.

The wedding day is unreal, so many people come out of their shell and live the moment. I love that. I really love photographing it too. Throughout my twenty years of photographing weddings I have repeatedly had comments about how often I am on the move to get a different angle or react to a moment about to unfold. The great thing now is that I have photographed so many weddings that I can see things coming before they happen. I even have time to get the best composition, exposure and light before I grab that split second moment when five guests suddenly erupt into laughter.

This photo was taken outside Sir Thomas Moore Church in Margaret River. It is one of those wonderful times when family can not contain their excitement for a new super cute addition to the family. This baby knows how to work a crowd and this is one of many photos that recored this time. First one person noticed the little baby smiling away and then more and more people came to see and share the moment. A few metres away the bride and groom are relaxing chatting to guests and collecting themselves after a very pressured start to the day.

My style of photography is about collecting lots of small stories like this one and putting them together. Whilst the bride and groom are certainly the main characters of the day, my clients love how I do not focus solely on them alone. Giving them time to chill is important and offering them memories like this one to enjoy and re live.

Wedding Photography at Clairault Streicker Wines in Margaret River

Wedding Photography at Clairault Streicker Wines

Clairault Streicker Wines  is located just off Caves Road in the beautiful Margaret River wine region. I photographed Steve & Marianna’s wedding there recently. As it was a first wedding for me there I popped in to take a look at locations for photos.

Bride and groom holding hands walking across a field of grass towards a lake at Clairault Streicker Wines

Fuelled by an amazing coffee that the lovely Katie made me on arrival, I was really excited to take a look around. We jumped in her car and headed up past the endless rows of gorgeous grape vines to the original cellar door which is an old timber weather board style property. Amazingly, this building was moved by hand at least five hundred metres up hill to it’s current site. The workers somehow found a way to roll it up the hill, what! That’s crazy.

Wedding couple at Clairault Streicker Wines

The rows of vines fade off into the distance, the lines create it’s own pretty, natural perspective and the soft green colour washes out in the sun. Originally I was a landscape photographer from England, so to say I was a tad excited by what I was seeing would not be doing my feelings any justice at all. Lets get to the wedding day already!! I want to start photographing now. Katie then showed me the beautiful cork trees.

Groom with his groomsmen in a cork tree at Wedding couple at Clairault Streicker Wines

The cork trees are perfect for my style of photography, if there is an opportunity to create a group shot with different levels and spontaneity I will. The texture of the bark is really cool and the light filtering through the trees can be really nice if you choose the right angle to shoot from.

natural photo of bride with bridesmaids laughing at Clairault Streicker Wines in Margaret River

This area was nice and easy to get to by car and would be a five to ten minute walk from the cellar door. Once there, everything is nice and close by. The lovely cork tree, row upon row of grape vines and a cute old weatherboard cottage. This takes the stress out of a bridal shoot. Not jumping in and out of cars rushing here and there. Just hanging out with close friends and family and enjoying the moment.

The photo below is showing some funny banter going on between Steve and Marianna and the bridal party. I love to be around the bridal party photographing moments like this. It’s them being themselves which is fantastic.

bride and groom opening bottle of champagne in Margaret River vineyard at Clairault Streicker Wines

The rows of grapevines are wonderful for nice small group shots, it’s cosy and a bit of fun. Framed by the lovely soft greens this is perfect for a formal wedding photo or like the one below something more chilled. I always shoot both but I do lean more towards the fun style myself.

bride cuddled up to her bridesmaids laughing in a vineyard at Clairault Streicker Wines

Photographing through the grapevines is a really nice way of framing it with blurred leaves. At this time the sun was still quite high up and as we needed to photograph at this particular time I had to make the best out of what the light was offering. Finding the right angle to position the bride and groom so the light is nice and soft is the most important part. Prior to selecting this spot I had been running around checking the best row to use for lighting. Steve and Marianna were having a great time with their friends and I did not call them over until I had everything set and ready.

bride and groom laughing in a row of grapevines at Clairault Streicker Wines in Margaret River

The weatherboard cottage is really cute and full of character, again with a great understanding of light you can achieve a wide range of lovely effects to mix it up. Below is a really lovely moment again with Steve and Marianna enjoying themselves.

wedding photo at cute old weather board cottage at Clairault Streicker Wines in Margaret River

So three or four different scenes in one short drive, having the car there was great as all the food and drink was 10 metres from where we were shooting. Now the interesting thing is we did not get to all of the locations at Clairault Streicker Wines. Other ones on the shortlist were a lake with a jetty, there is also some beautiful natural forest with old established banksia trees and gum trees.

The location below is on the driveway into Clairault Streicker Wines. I noticed it because of the amazing light falling on it at the time we arrived on the wedding day. The venue loved these shots and they are using them for their promotional material.

Wedding Photography at Clairault Streicker Wines


John Rice Photographer at Clairault Streicker Wines in Margaret River photographing bride and groom walking toward beautiful lake


Amazing beautiful light as bride and groom walk through landscape looking at one another

So as you can see one of the skills of a wedding photographer is having the eye to see something amazing and direct pictures spontaneously without any preparation. I have found that over years of doing this style of photography I have become really good at this.

Amazing landscape scenery, huge trees, long grass, lakes and all easy to get to. Clairault Streicker Wines is a perfect venue to have your wedding. I will update this blog soon with pics of the reception space and table decor shots.


Winter Wedding at Voyager Estate

Winter Wedding at Voyager Estate

Well, Elizabeth and Russell sure know how to celebrate a wedding in winter. It all started with a gorgeous and snuggly lunchtime ceremony inside Voyager Estate by the fire. The ceremony was a special and intimate celebration involving close family and friends and boasting Elizabeths mother as the celebrant. As you will see the story unfold in the photos below you will see a gorgeous, warm and welcoming winter wedding. That is a lot of w’s.

The colour in the leaves and trees at Voyager Estate at this time of the year are fantastic. With a few dark moody clouds thrown in for good measure, what a glorious day for taking photographs.

A special thanks for having me as part of your day Elizabeth and Russell.


Voyager wedding ceremony. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateCeremony by the fire at Voyager estate. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateVoyager Estate wedding ceremony. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateWedding Voyager Estate Margaret River. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateThe Boys at Voyager Estate Margaret River. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateFamily portrait at Voyager Estate Margaret River. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateVoyager Estate wedding photography. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateWedding photo shoot at Voyager Estate Margaret River. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateWedding photography at Voyager Estate Margaret River. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateWedding photography at Voyager Estate Margaret River. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateWedding reception at Voyager Estate. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateTable settings at Voyager Estate. Winter wedding at Voyager EstateTable settings at Voyager Estate. Winter wedding at Voyager Estate


Photos like this mean so much to me

This is Melanie looking amazing in her wedding dress at Caves House in Yallingup. She is getting ready in a beautiful room upstairs, the balcony overlooks the wonderful terraced gardens where she will be married. Guests are arriving and her fiancé Michael is greeting friends and family in the gardens below.

At this point I think it is fair to say that a lot of wedding photographers would be shooting portraits of the bride, lots of portraits of the bride. My clients want some really nice portraits of them but not tons, they know that I can see more to the story of their wedding day than just them, them and more them. They do not want to experience photo fatigue as they are preparing for one of the most important, exciting and nerve racking moments in their lives.

Twenty years of photographing weddings does not always make you a better photographer than someone that has been shooting weddings for three years. What I do believe is that with that twenty years of experience comes an understanding of what is important to you as a person and what you choose to look for and photograph. For me family is the thing, it’s it! Our relationships with family, our connections and history together is so interesting and important. Add to that the fact that life is never mapped out quite as we think, that the people that we plan on being around forever are not always so. This makes these key moments in life even more important to be present at and to let yourself enjoy.

This is what I am looking for during every second of a wedding and if I see it I will shoot it there and then or wait for the context to deliver a more fitting moment. Within in five minutes of arriving to photograph Melanie getting ready I was aware that her parents were completely present and connected with what was happening that morning. They were also bursting at the seems with pride. Dad was dressed and ready and Mum just could not stop smiling with excitement. I hung around pretending to take photos of Melanie and caught this gorgeous shot. I love the pride on their faces, that’s a long journey right there, my eldest daughter is sixteen and I can feel where they are in this moment. A disbelief that they are there already, it has all gone so quick but there little girl is now a beautiful young woman about to go on an amazing journey.

This is what I get from this photo and why I wanted to share it with you. I would love to know your comments about it.

Brides parents sharing a proud moment