Hank's Blog

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The Freedom Hub Wedding – Cliff & Tim, Sydney NSW

sydney wedding photographer

Cliff and Tim were married at The Freedom Hub in Waterloo, Sydney. A cafe by day, The Freedom Hub makes an exquisite wedding venue for the modern Sydney couple. With 100% of their profits going towards ending slavery, this wedding venue gets a big ethical tick from me!

The wedding itself was an intimate and gentle celebration of the most two kind-hearted men who have built an incredible life and community for themselves. It was no surprise that Cliff, an acclaimed cake artist and baker, designed his own wedding cake. And the incredibly vibrant florals were designed by their dear friend, Frannie from Francis Floristry.

The guests of honour were Cliff & Tim’s two French Bulldogs, affectionately known as the Ward Brothers – Howard and Edward. Together with the two grooms, the Ward Brothers complete this beautiful family of four, thus it made total sense for them to be the ring bearers for the day.

The Freedom Hub, Sydney Wedding Venue

The Freedom Hub in Waterloo is Sydney’s first ethical wedding and events venue, with its business model committed to donating 100% of its profits to support people who have experienced modern-day slavery. The Freedom Hub team is passionate about building awareness around the ongoing humanitarian crisis of human trafficking and slavery. The idea behind The Freedom Hub is to provide a space where people can come together, celebrate authentic creative expression through local artists and traders, all while doing good for humanity.

wedding styling at the freedom hub in Sydney large floral arrangement by francis floristry wedding cake by clifford luu

Wedding cake designed by the groom, Clifford Luu.

walking down the aisle at the freedom hub wedding venue sydney wedding venue the freedom hub

Before the wedding, Cliff and Tim answered a few questions about their relationship and what being married meant to them.

What does marrying Cliff mean to you?

Tim: It makes me feel loved even if I don’t know why. It means I can give him something that he wants. It means that I get to grow old with someone that will help father more animals, keep me grounded and encourage me to do what I need to do to make myself happy. It means that I have someone to care for, that examples/models the same, in a way that is rare.

What does marrying Tim mean to you?

Cliff: It means that Tim will be “my person” – the first person I call for good and bad news. Learning to compromise and to put him first. To continue to learn and understand why he does things the way he does.

wedding ceremony with two grooms at the freedom hub sydney the freedom hub wedding venue the freedom hub wedding photos

After the ceremony at The Freedom Hub, I walked around the streets of Waterloo with the wedding party (the grooms and their dogs) to take a few wedding portraits. Even in the middle of the day we managed to find some beautiful locations with gorgeous lighting to make for some soft wedding photos.

And of course, to keep things interesting, I always like to experiment with some high-key lighting for a few more eclectic wedding portraits.

the freedom hub wedding portrait photos cliff and tim married at the freedom hub wedding venue

If you’re looking for an ethical and sustainable wedding photographer in Sydney, visit my contact page to enquire about your wedding.

7 Ways to Manage Pre-Wedding Jitters: Strategies for the Big Day

When I became a Sydney wedding photographer, I was most excited by the prospect of getting to take photos for a living. But it didn’t take long to realise how much of the job revolved around building relationships with the couples I serve. In some cases, the most critical part of my day happens when I arrive to take the “getting ready photos” an hour or two before the ceremony is due to begin.

I arrive at the hotel/house/wherever the action is happening, and I walk in to find that my clients are overwhelmed with pre-wedding jitters. My definition of pre-wedding jitters is the sensation of nervousness or anxiety that people feel in the hours leading up to their wedding ceremony.

For better or for worse (see what I did there!) the pre-wedding jitters are sometimes an unavoidable aspect of the day. You may not be able to avoid pre-wedding jitters completely, but here are 11 strategies that I have found to be effective for pre-wedding jitters on your big day.

1) Delegate

In the final days of the planning process, try to delegate some of the important decisions to a close friend or family member so you don’t feel overwhelmed with too many choices and options. It’s a great way of taking the load off yourself.

2) Get ready with your fiancé

I know it might be a radical suggestion for some couples, but the reality is that oftentimes the person who is most calming in your life is the person you are about to marry! So why torture yourself by actively staying separated in some of the most stressful hours of your life? Plus, it’ll make for some hugely intimate and romantic getting ready photos.

3) Name your jitters

Call them out and name your jitters for what they are: a physiological fight-or-flight response that boosts adrenaline production in your body. When you begin to notice things like your heart beating faster, or quickening breath, then you can logically rationalise those experiences and allow your body to just do its thing.

4) Have a pre-wedding brunch

If you’re planning to get ready with your fiance, instead of spending the morning prepping separately, consider having a pre-wedding brunch and getting ready together. Whether it’s pancakes or avocado bagels (my personal favourite), feed yourselves a nourishing meal before the madness ensues!

5) Stay busy

I’m not talking about avoiding pre-wedding jitters by getting drunk the night before your wedding (I actually highly discourage this approach), but rather, try to keep preoccupied with other activities. Whether it’s a morning yoga session or catching up on Stranger Things Season Two (yes please!), anything you can do to preoccupy your mind will help you to overcome pre-wedding jitters.

6) Keep a pre-wedding to-do list

The best way I’ve found for staying preoccupied is by creating a pre-wedding to-do list that you can refer back to throughout the day. This will not only help keep your mind occupied on productive tasks, but it’ll also give you something solid and tangible in front of you when pre-wedding jitters start to creep in.

7) Take a pre-wedding nap

When you can, it’s always good to get some sleep before your wedding day. And if pre-wedding jitters are fuelling insomnia, then try taking a pre-wedding power nap. It’ll do wonders for your pre-wedding jitters!

Pre-wedding jitters are a feeling of nerves or anxiety that engaged people feel in the hours leading up to their big day. This article discussed strategies and tips on how to manage pre-wedding jitters, such as delegating decisions, getting ready with your fiancee instead of separately, naming pre-wedding jitters for what they really are (a physiological fight or flight response), keeping busy throughout the day by taking care of other tasks like making a pre-wedding checklist, having a pre-wedding brunch with family members and friends before the big event starts.

All the best with managing your pre-wedding jitters, and here’s to a joyful and memorable wedding day ahead!


Values Statement

I have built Henry Paul Photography on the foundation of 6 core values that guide how my business operates. These values are not only what make me who I am in this world, but they help me hold the business to a high standard. I believe that by clearly stating my values, potential clients will be able to make a better judgement about whether I am a good fit for them.

Value 1: Justice

I am committed to being a photographer that is guided by my passion for justice. To me, justice is generosity. It is advocacy. It is living for someone other than yourself – kinda like marriage.

From a young age, my parents taught me the importance of empathy and compassion. My whole life they opened our home up to some of the most vulnerable people, giving them the headstart they needed to thrive in a society that was working against them.

I am passionate about climate justice, deconstructing colonialism, and queer visibility. As a queer person myself, I have seen how hard people have fought for the right to marry the person they love most. It is the greatest privilege to watch and document these lives joining together, and it would an honour to do the same for you.

Value 2: Impact

Being a business owner, I aim to build a brand that can impact people through what I do. Wedding photos have a unique way of affecting how people feel. The right photo taken at the right time can evoke an emotion that sticks with people long after the hype of the wedding day. I love how my photos can have this impact, and that people contact me years after their wedding to tell me how much their photos still mean to them. It confirms to me that photos of the people we love only increase in value as time goes on.

Value 3: Relationships

People have always been at the centre of why I do what I do. Humans are social creatures, and I recognise within myself a deep desire to know and be known by people. One of the biggest privileges I’ve had as a wedding photographer is the opportunity to meet so many incredible couples from all walks of life, and develop a deep, trusting relationship that results in some of the most intimate moments I have ever witnessed.

Value 4: Growth

My hope is to never stop learning and listening. I want to be a better ally tomorrow. I want to be a better photographer tomorrow. I want to be a business owner tomorrow.

Value 5: Adventure

I have a motto – “always say yes to adventure.” This keeps life interesting, unpredictable and fun. If you’re getting married on the side of a cliff or flying to the Top End for an elopement, then I am totally up for it.

Value 6: Wellbeing

I’ve lived with anxiety for the majority of my adult life, and recognise how much of a role it plays in how people think and act. After 8 years as a wedding photographer, I have perfected the art of keeping things stress-free for my clients with systems and processes that walk them through every step of the wedding planning journey.

For some side reading, click here to find out about the arts mental health charity I co-founded in 2018.

My business is deeply connected to my values, and orient every decision I make. These values help me hold Henry Paul Photography to a high standard and ultimately give clients a clear idea of whether or not I’m a good fit for them. I love how wedding photography has given me an outlet to live out my values in a meaningful way and share my worldview with other beautiful humans.

How to Plan a Carbon-Neutral Wedding

When I was a kid, my school spent a lot of time teaching me and my classmates about looking after the environment. We had a weekly Bokashi rotation (kind of like composting), we went on excursions to the recycling centre, and we had an annual “Clean Up Australia” competition for who could pick up the most rubbish in the neighbourhood.

Millennials are the most climate-conscious generation, so it’s no wonder more and more engaged couples are opting for greener weddings. However, it’s important to have realistic expectations about what is achievable. It would be almost impossible to plan a wedding that emits close to zero carbon. That’s where carbon offsetting comes in…

Carbon offsetting is a way for you to invest financially in a project that sequesters CO₂ out of the atmosphere to counterbalance (or offset) your own carbon emissions. Every purchase of carbon offsets goes to fund activities such as planting trees or building renewable energy infrastructure.

In this article, you’ll see how easy it can be to plan a carbon-neutral wedding.

Step One: Making Conscious Choices

The first step in planning an environmentally friendly wedding is to continually and actively make conscious consumer choices. This means doing research on how sustainable your wedding products and services are. For example, when choosing a wedding venue, find out what energy sources the venue uses or how far away it is from public transportation. Buying pre-loved items such as wedding gowns or shoes will also lower your upfront carbon footprint. When picking vendors for your wedding day, speak to them about your sustainable values, and ask what they do in order to reduce their own business carbon footprint.

Step Two: Wedding Footprint Calculator

Once you have chosen the perfect wedding vendors and locked in all the details of the day, the next step is to calculate your wedding’s carbon footprint. Usually, you’ll want to do this about 3 or 4 weeks before the wedding itself. This can be done with Wedding Footprint Calculator, from Less Stuff More Meaning, which estimates how much CO₂ will be released into the atmosphere based on a variety of wedding-specific factors like travel and the number of guests you have.

This calculator can take a bit of time to get exactly right, but if you get stuck then it is generally safer to overestimate than underestimate.

I am a proud Ambassador for Less Stuff More Meaning. To learn more about how LSMM can support you on your eco-conscious journey, please visit their website.

Step Three: Purchase Your Carbon Offsets

Once you have completed the calculator, you will be given an overall carbon footprint, which is the amount you need to purchase in offsets. There are many ways to do this, but I recommend CarbonNeutral.com.au or Green Fleet because they let you go “shopping” for which projects you want to support. You could pick to plant trees through reforestation, build wind farms, or replace cookstoves.

I hope this article has been both informative and inspiring. If you’re looking to plan a carbon-neutral wedding, I encourage you to take these three steps: make conscious consumer choices; calculate your Wedding Footprint with the help of an easy calculator; and purchase offsets for your wedding emissions. These tips will ensure that your efforts towards sustainability are successful!

Hank Paul is a carbon-neutral wedding photographer. He specialises in sustainable and inclusive weddings. Visit the contact page to hire him for your wedding day.


What is your Wedding Planning Archetype?

Planning a wedding is like creating a piece of art. It’s not just about the final product, but also about enjoying the process. With enough time and creative planning, you and your fiance can create something beautiful that captures your personalities and represents what it means for you to be married.

Every wedding is different and the creative process begins on a blank canvas. The medium, tools and techniques used are unique to each couple. However, most weddings and couples share a few things in common, in their approach and style I have called these the Wedding Planning Archetypes.


The Sketch Artist – no frills

The Sketch Artist wedding planning archetype refers to couples that want a quick, no-frills wedding planning experience. Many Sketch Artists choose to elope or have a micro-wedding with a select few guests attending. These types of weddings are often extremely affordable, intimate, and don’t come with a lot of stress.


The Woodworker – DIY 

The Woodworker archetype refers to the casual, cool and comfortable wedding planners. They are very hands-on with their wedding plans and incorporate a lot of creative projects into the day. Woodworkers are often budget-conscious and typically choose to have their weddings at venues such as vineyards, country manors or even their own backyard.


The Painter – traditional

The Painter archetype is for the couple who draw their wedding inspiration from generations past. They usually like to stick to traditional formats for their wedding and incorporate religious or cultural elements into their celebrations. Painters often have weddings in a church, mosque or other significant locations.


The Architect – formal, highly detailed

The Architect archetype is for the couple with big dreams, but little time. Architects are often time-poor and choose to outsource some of the planning to wedding professionals in order to see their grand ideas come to life. Many Architects will hire out lavish wedding venues in the city or with exceptional views.


The Sculptor – extravagant

The Sculptor archetype is for the elaborate, multi-day wedding festival. Sculptors work with three dimensions to make a dynamic masterpiece. Sculptor weddings often have several key events taking place over the course of a few days and are known for getting loud and boozy. Many Sculptor weddings include glamping, or booking out adjoining rooms of a hotel.


The Photographer – destination, memory maker

The Photographer archetype is for destination and luxurious weddings. We’re talking all-out-over-the-top-no-expense-spared. This type of wedding was born to be photographed. Budget is no problem, and the most important thing is that everyone is having a blast!




You might fit one of these archetypes neatly. Perhaps there’s some crossover between 2 or 3 of them. There are no rules with wedding planning, but choosing which archetype you fit will help you make faster, less stressful decisions about the wedding moving forward.

Henry Paul Photography is a place where everyone is welcome and affirmed, regardless of their gender identity, sexuality, race, age, religion, body size or disability.

I will work my hardest to make you feel safe, seen and celebrated.

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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