Hank's Blog

How To Have Wedding Photos That Are Relaxed, Beautiful And Full Of Romance

Whether you like it or not, someone will be taking photos at your wedding. If it’s not a professional photographer, then it will probably be your Great Uncle Jim on his super-ultra-zoom lens. Regardless of who takes the photos, after the wedding is over, you’ll want to look back at all of your photos and remember how you felt; relaxed, beautiful and bursting with love for your brand new spouse! Hiring a professional photographer to capture your wedding day is not just about the photos themselves, it’s also about making sure you have someone there who will make you feel comfortable and help capture the joy and celebration from this special day.

Here are three tips to ensure that your wedding portrait photos don’t feel awkward, look amazing, and tell the romantic story of the day.

Number One: Pick your wedding party people

Don’t underestimate how important your “crew” is in making the photos relaxed and enjoyable. By surrounding yourself with high-quality humans in your wedding party, you’ll have plenty of banter and jokes to share around the group.

As a photographer, I love bouncing off the chemistry between a couple and their besties. Here is an example of a prompt I would use with a wedding party:

“Everyone get in close together, and look down at your feet. Now, on the count of three, I want you to look up at the person who you think is the loudest in the group”

This kind of prompt almost always ends in laughter.

Number Two: BYO Music

Launching into a portrait session with your Bluetooth speaker blasting Katy Perry or Beyonce is sure to get everyone feeling pumped up and celebratory. Play some songs that make you feel like dancing, singing along loudly, or just plain having fun – it’s going to show in every photo.

Hot tip: Marry You by Bruno Mars is the perfect mix of “mushy romance” and “party time!”.

Number Three: Trust your photographer

A big reason people choose to pay a professional photographer is so they don’t need to worry about how the photos will turn out. That’s why it’s worth taking the time to research photographers and their approach. When a couple trusts their photographer, there’s a special kind of magic that happens on-camera that is hard to articulate. It’s as if the couple is saying to the photographer “we trust that you see us, so we are letting you into our little circle of love”.

Someone with 8 years of experience shooting weddings will undoubtedly be able to make you look and feel amazing, capturing all those special moments between you and your spouse.

Henry Paul Photography is a Sydney-based wedding photographer specialising in sustainable and inclusive weddings. To check if Hank is available to shoot your wedding, head to the contact page.

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I Took My Wedding Photography Business Carbon Neutral

I’m a wedding photographer who has always been passionate about the environment. Even back when I was a student in school, I attended several environmental and sustainability conferences in Canberra. I’m constantly looking for ways to take my business further in terms of sustainability, and have spent a lot of time thinking about the enormous amount of carbon emissions the wedding industry creates. After learning how much pollution is created by weddings, I decided to take on the challenge of making my business completely carbon neutral!

1. My personal values

A few years ago I sat down with my business coach to set out what my mission, vision and values were for my life and business. One idea that kept popping up was that I wanted to “have a positive impact”.

I’m holding myself to a high standard as an entrepreneur. I want my business choices to have long-lasting, positive effects on my community and planet. I have an innate desire to leave this place better than I found it. Thus, the questions of semantics arise: “What exactly does ‘impact’ mean?” “How does one quantify their impact?” “Can we define ‘positive’?” and so on.

Here is the conclusion I have come to: Climate justice is one of the clearest, most accessible ways for someone in Australia to have a positive impact on their world. By choosing to eat a plant-based diet, I have already significantly reduced my daily carbon footprint. By making my business carbon-neutral, I can rest assured that my passion for photographing weddings is not negatively impacting the planet.

2. Conscious capitalism in the wedding industry

To be 100% transparent, I believe being carbon-neutral is good for business. I am hoping this decision will help brides and grooms find me in an oversaturated market. Love it or hate it, we live in a capitalist society, where consumers have choice and agency. After 8+ years in business, here are two things I know:

  • The wedding photography market is very very saturated and;
  • Couples are increasingly looking for more sustainable choices for their weddings.

‘Conscious capitalism’ is a phrase that was coined by John Mackey (Founder of Whole Foods in the US) and Professor Raj Sisodia. It refers to the idea of “socially responsible economics”. If this is something that you’re interested in, I also highly recommend reading Donut Economics by Kate Rawworth.

As a business owner, I also believe the onus is on me to provide sustainable and ethical business services to my clients, which in turn has a positive social impact on my community and planet. In doing so, the feedback loop means my business will benefit from it as more and more couples identify themselves with the values I have set out for the service I’m providing.

3. It’s easy to do

I’m writing this in the year of our lord 2021 when it’s easier than ever to take your business/home/car carbon-neutral. The process is called “offsetting”, whereby a delegated organisation invests in “green” projects around the world that compensate for your carbon emissions. Projects like planting trees, seaweed farming and wind farming can easily be accessed through dedicated offset organisations.

The first thing I did was get a Carbon Report from Offsert, which is an organisation that my friend Nathan Pereira started. In determining my business carbon footprint, I was asked to complete a form that identified all of my energy and polluting habits. People much smarter than me then calculated how much my CO2-equivalent emissions were.

The second thing I did was jump online to carbonneutral.com.au and purchase my carbon credits, per the tonne. My Carbon Report from Offsert approximated a realistic figure of 7.1 CO2 tonnes per year. I got to choose which projects I wanted to support, and create a custom carbon package for my business. You can see my offset certificates here and here.

Here’s the crazy part in all of this! It’s incredibly affordable! For less than one hundred dollars a year, I can rest assured that my entire carbon footprint has been accounted for.

If you want some more information about taking your business or your wedding carbon-neutral, please get in touch. I’d love to have a chat!

 

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How to do an Acknowledgement of Country at Your Wedding

Disclaimer: I do not identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. I have drawn upon various Aboriginal-led resources, as well as my experiences as a wedding industry professional. If you are looking for more ways to be inclusive and anti-racist at your wedding, I would encourage you to do your own research.

Both a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgement of Country are statements of recognition to the continuing connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have with the land. They often take place at the start of events, particularly formal ones such as weddings, and are done in the spirit of reconciliation.

What is “Country”?

Professor Mick Dodson, member of the Yawuru peoples, describes Country as “a word for all the values, places, resources, stories and cultural obligations associated with that area and its features. It describes the entirety of our ancestral domains”

Acknowledgement or Welcome? What’s the difference?

A Welcome to Country is a ceremony performed by Indigenous Traditional Custodians to welcome visitors to their traditional land. It can only be done by Traditional Custodians of the land that you are on. If no Traditional Custodian is available, an Aboriginal person from a different nation, or a non-Indigenous person, may do an Acknowledgement of Country instead. A Welcome to Country normally takes place at the beginning of an event. The ceremony can take many forms, including singing, dancing, smoking ceremonies or a speech, depending on the particular culture of the Traditional Custodians.

An Acknowledgement of Country is a statement that shows awareness of and respect for the Traditional Custodians of the land you are on and their long and continuing relationship with the land. Unlike a Welcome to Country, it can be delivered by anyone – Indigenous or non-Indigenous. This means you can ask your celebrant, minister or even a friend to open your wedding ceremony with an Acknowledgement of Country.

What to say for an Acknowledgement of Country:

Liaise directly with your celebrant to ensure the wording feels appropriate and genuine. They might also want to do some research through your local land council into the history of the land you are getting married on to see what special significance it holds.

Here is some suggested wording:

“Before we begin, (Name) and (Name) have asked me to to acknowledge that this wedding is being held on the traditional lands of the (appropriate group) people of the (name of Aboriginal nation) nation, and they would like to pay their respect to Elders both past, present and future.”

or

“(Name) and (Name) would like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. It always was, and always will be Aboriginal land. They would also like to pay their respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge any Aboriginal people who may be with us today.”

 

Resources:

https://www.reconciliation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Welcome-to-and-Acknowledgement-of-Country.pdf

https://www.commonground.org.au/learn/acknowledgement-of-country

https://www.indigenous.gov.au/regional-network

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Jess & Liv – Blayney Wedding

A party for the ages. Jess & Liv wedding was full of excitement and anticipation, as it was one of the first full-scale weddings in NSW to be held without any restrictions in almost a year. And what a way to celebrate!!

I was instantly fond of the couple, as they each embraced me upon meeting me and welcomed me into the fold. Escorted by their all-female wedding party, this has got to have been one of the cheekiest, most rambunctious groups I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I was pleasantly reminded about the generosity of strangers (even when they couldn’t comprehend two brides getting married to each other!) and was inspired by Jess & Liv’s attitude: nothing could get in their way of having the best day ever.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the entire day was taking time out of the reception to climb to the top of a wind farm, and experience the turbines in all their glory. I’ve never stood so close to a wind turbine before, but my god, they are truly majestic. Being there with two loved-up women was even greater, as the sun shone on them in a way almost akin to the heavens blessing this sacred union.

It was an honour to spend a day with such wonderful humans, doing what a love the most: photographing people in love.

Henry Paul Photography acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. I pay my respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and to Elders both past and present. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

 

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