Dockside Darling Harbour Hindu Wedding – Part 1

If you got a chance to check out the photos from Niru and Charlie’s pre-wedding celebrations, then you’ve already gotten a glimpse of all the fun we got to photograph over this awesome wedding long weekend. One thing became clear over the course of the festivities: Niru and Charlie’s families were just over the moon for them. Everyone exuded complete joy for these two. There was singing, there was dancing, there were bear hugs, and more excitement than could be blamed on account of all the sweets. Jeff and I agree that being amongst this sort of joy has become one of our absolute favourite things about being wedding photographers. I just love it when you can feel the happiness and hope that both families have for the bride and groom. Sometimes you can feel the enthusiasm in the air at the hotel in the morning, even when the bridesmaids started getting ready at 2:45am. Sometimes it comes through in the speeches that make half the guests teary-eyed. Sometimes you see it in the families’ eyes during the ceremony, or in their energy as they jump on the dance floor. I love it when families are not just excited about the couple joining together, but about the two families coming together themselves. Whether they believe it was destiny or just some amazing good luck, they couldn’t imagine the bride and groom any happier. Maybe Charlie’s friend saw something when, after Charlie’s first awkward introduction to Niru in university, he turned to Charlie and said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if she was the one you ended up with?”

Niru and Charlie have family spread across two cities, Sydney and Brisbane, so they decided to celebrate in both locations! Stay with us for a big three-part peek into Niru and Charlie’s beautiful traditional Hindu wedding ceremony and swank Brisbane reception.

Sydney Hindu wedding details, gold wedding, city wedding, creative wedding photography

The big day began for all before the sun was even up, to make sure that crucial aspects of Niru and Charlie’s ceremony happened at the auspicious hour of 11am. We welcomed the sun as we watched it come up from our high-rise vantage point. Niru’s henna looked amazing!

Indian bride henna pattern, Sydney Hindu wedding, colourful and vibrant wedding photography

Niru chose a vibrant magenta, yellow and orange sari for the first part of the day. What stunning colours!

Sydney bride getting ready at Meriton apartments Sydney

The lovely Fareha from New Look Beauty did Niru’s henna at her Mehndi night as well as her hair and makeup for the wedding day. Didn’t she look gorgeous?!

Sydney Hindu wedding, Indian bride getting ready, Magenta and yellow sari, colourful wedding

Niru had many beautiful adornments attached to her hair to complete her elaborate bridal look.

Sydney bride getting ready, Indian wedding, Hindu weddingIndian wedding jewellery and henna, colourful wedding details, Sydney Hindu brideCreative wedding photography Sydney, colourful wedding photography, Hindu weddingCandid and natural Indian wedding photography, Hindu wedding photojournalism

Meanwhile, Charlie was getting ready across town. In Hindu tradition, Charlie’s family members dressed him for his wedding day.

Candid and natural Indian wedding photography, Hindu wedding photojournalismGroom Hindu wedding details, Sydney Indian wedding groom getting readyFun and natural Hindu wedding photography, groom getting ready

At the ceremony venue, Dockside Darling Harbour, a joyous extended wedding processional known as a Baraat ensued! The groom’s family members and friends danced their way to the beat of the drums all the way to the ceremony site.

Hindu wedding Baraat arrival, Darling Harbour Indian weddingDockside Darling Harbour Hindu wedding processionFun Hindu wedding photos, Sydney Darling Harbour wedding

Everyone really got into the fun!

Hindu wedding photojournalism, creative Indian wedding photographyBaraat arrival, Sydney Hindu wedding processionalIndian wedding procession, guests and groom dance to drums at Hindu wedding

Darling Harbour Dockside Hindu wedding dancing procession

Dockside Cockle Bay Indian wedding Baraat arrivalGuests dancing at Hindu wedding in Sydney AustraliaFun and natural Hindu wedding photography

When the groom approached the door, he was welcomed by all the smiling guests who gathered around.

Niru’s family gave Charlie a warm welcome, sprinkled him with rose water and presented him with a garland. Charlie also gifted a ring to his new brother-in-law.

Colourful and creative Hindu wedding photography, Sydney Indian wedding photosHindu wedding traditions, family welcomes groom to his wedding ceremony, Dwar Pooja

The ceremony musician played the Nadaswaram, a classical Indian wind instrument considered to be highly auspicious. The room was filled with the sounds and with the smoke from the burning flames as offerings were made to various deities.

Dwar pooja, groom prays at his wedding, Sydney Hindu wedding

The ceremony space, or Mandap, was richly decorated with coconuts and other fruits, flowers, and many ceremonial items.

Hindu wedding details, Indian wedding setup, Mandap set up for wedding in Darling Harbour

With the guests seated, it was time for the main ceremony to begin. While this was not the first Hindu wedding Jeff and I have attended, it was the first full-length, fully traditional ceremony we have photographed. We’re no experts on all the intricacies that take place over a three-hour Hindu ceremony, and there were so many beautiful little moments, but I’ll try my best to provide some insight for those of you reading who are less familiar with these ancient traditions.

Dockside Sydney Hindu wedding MandapDarling Harbour Sydney Hindu wedding ceremony

First, the priest led Charlie and his future brother-in-law through a prayer to Lord Ganesha, asking for blessings and a trouble-free wedding.

Sydney Hindu wedding mandap at Darling Harbour

The music, the chanting, the smoke from the candles and the sun streaming through the windows felt so magical. It fills me with awe to imagine how all these rich rituals must have evolved over thousands of years.

Hindu wedding photojournalism, creative and vibrant wedding photographySydney Hindu wedding ceremony, Indian wedding ceremony Darling HarbourHindu wedding in Mandap, Indian wedding traditions and ceremonies

An auspicious thread was tied on Charlie’s wrist, and women from Charlie’s family placed nine grains in a pot of soil, a ritual symbolic of the germination of human life.

Then it was time for the moment everyone had been waiting for. Niru’s lovely bridesmaids led the procession…

In came our bride, looking absolutely radiant!

Beautiful Indian bride arriving at her Hindu wedding, Darling Harbour wedding photosDockside Darling Harbour wedding ceremonyColourful and vibrant wedding photojournalism

The priest led more prayers and the bride’s family broke a coconut, considered a sacred fruit in Hindu culture.

Creative Hindu wedding photographyCoconut being broken at Hindu wedding ceremony, ganesha poojaBeautiful Hindu wedding photography, colourful and vibrant wedding picturesAuspicious thread being tied to bride

Niru and Charlie’s parents joined them in the Mandap for one of the most important rituals of the morning, the giving away of the bride. The parents greeted each other as the priest chanted a mantra.

Parents greeting each other at Sydney Hindu wedding ceremonyParents greeting each other at Australian Indian wedding Kannika Thanam, Kaniya Dhaan, brideBrideDockside Darling Harbour Sydney Hindu wedding ceremony, Hindu wedding Mandap photos

Emotions ran high when it came time for Niru’s father to quite literally give her hand in marriage to Charlie. Some beautiful moments ensued…

Emotional moment in Hindu wedding ceremony, brideBride and groom about to be married in Hindu wedding ceremony, Sydney colourful and vibrant wedding photographyCreative Hindu and Indian wedding photographyDockside Darling Harbour Indian wedding ceremony, emotional moment in Hindu weddingBrideColourful, vibrant and emotional wedding photos, beautiful Hindu wedding ceremonyEmotional wedding images, beautiful wedding photojournalism

As Charlie took Niru’s hands in his, he pledged to love and protect her throughout her life.

Indian wedding photography, emotional moment in Hindu wedding Sydney

The wedding garlands, along with Niru’s other wedding sari, were taken around to the guests for their blessings.

Wedding garlands being blessed by guests at Dockside Hindu wedding SydneyHindu wedding garlands being blessed by family at ceremony

It was time for Niru to change into her newly blessed wedding sari and for Niru and Charlie to officially become husband and wife. Check back soon for Part 2 of this beautiful marriage, their lunch reception, sunset portraits, and more! Friends and family of Niru and Charlie, leave a comment for the happy couple below and let us know what you think of the photos! We’ll notify commenters when the full gallery of images is ready to view online.

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Mehndi & Bhatwaan Hindu Pre-Wedding Celebrations

As you may have noticed, our blog has been quiet for a few weeks now, and that’s because we’ve been very busy with some epic weddings! At last, we’re ready and super excited to start sharing. Today, we feature some of our favourite images from the four days of the absolutely gorgeous, colourful, vibrant, emotional, energetic, fun-filled, and completely epic wedding of Niru and Charlie! Jeff and I are so in love with the vibrant colours and traditions of Hindu weddings. No sooner did we start chatting with Niru and Charlie that we got hooked on the idea of being the photographers for our first multi-day Indian wedding with this super cute, energetic couple! Our playwright groom and classical Indian dancer bride met in university through a theatre production for charity. That really tells you something about them. They are super sweet and full of creativity, so we knew their wedding was going to be something special! The fun all started two days before their ceremony, with a very essential part of a Hindu wedding, the bridal henna. Her lovely henna artist spent over three hours creating the intricate patterns over her arms and feet, in preparation for the upcoming Mehndi celebrations that night with members of her extended family.

Creative hindu wedding photography Mehndi night, Indian wedding photographyCreative hindu wedding photography
As soon as Jeff and I heard the story of how Charlie planned out his proposal to Niru, we knew that this couple were going to go all out for their wedding. The plans were put in motion six months before the proposal and involved a surprise overseas trip to Europe! Family and friends were not the only ones in on the top-secret mission. Charlie also had to involve Niru’s employer! A fake work trip to Melbourne was concocted so that Niru would pack her bags. Niru fell for it, although only because Charlie knew that she would be hard to fool! Charlie went to great lengths to create a fake airline itinerary, even going to the post office to ask a worker to stamp the envelope, so she’d think it had actually been sent through the post! Charlie smiled and sighed with exhaustion at the memory as he said, “Do you know how hard it is to find the Virgin Blue font??”

Bridal henna Mehndi night photography, Hindu wedding photography

Charlie finally revealed the plan to Niru surrounded by her parents. Niru was told she needed to call her bank to verify where she was going. Still assuming she was going to Melbourne for work, and with her bags packed, Charlie said, “you need to say you’re going to France and Switzerland…” The bank teller said “Have a nice trip!” And finally, the surprise trip was revealed. Wow. Other grooms, do you feel like your own proposal was inadequate yet? :)

Creative photography of bridal henna being applied

Thankfully Niru said yes, and a few months later here we were! Niru’s henna was looking amazing…

Mehndi celebration bridal henna creative photography

Niru’s brother and parents returned from the Telwaan celebrations covered in flour from the ceremony with Charlie’s family. Haha!

Bridal henna bride on her Mehndi nightCreative Hindu wedding photography, Indian bridal Mehndi photos

When Charlie finally revealed the surprise Europe trip, Niru was pretty certain the proposal was coming. But Charlie made her wait until they were at the Eiffel Tower in Paris before actually popping the question and giving her this amazing ring. What an epic proposal!

Creative wedding photography, macro wedding photographyColourful Indian wedding photography, Hindu pre-wedding pictures

With Niru’s henna completed, it wasn’t long before the guests began to arrive for the festivities.

Bride on her Mehndi night in Sydney

Indian pre-wedding photography, Mehndi night photosFun and candid hindu wedding photojournalism, Mehndi night photographyMehndi night photography, Hindu wedding photojournalism

The guests were treated to some henna of their own. Even the smallest guests participated!

Mehndi night celebrations, vibrant wedding photography, Hindu wedding hennaSydney Mehndi night celebrations, Mehndi wedding photos

Everyone was also treated to a delicious buffet of Indian cuisine.

Fun and candid hindu wedding photojournalism, Mehndi night photographyVibrant and candid Hindu wedding photography, Mehndi night party

After dinner, there was some important dancing to be done! Niru’s bridesmaid got the guests involved in a cheeky bollywood-inspired lesson on what to expect of married life.

Photos of Hindu Bhatwaan night celebration with groom

Niru is an amazing classical Indian dancer, so of course she got to show off some of her skills! Just you wait until you see her in action at the reception.

Indian bride dancing on her Mehndi night

Niru and her three bridesmaids showed off their individual designs. So beautiful!

Henna at Mehndi night party, Hindu pre-wedding celebrations

What fun we had with all these lovely ladies!

Mehndi night party, Hindu pre-wedding celebrations

The next day, it was our groom’s turn. His family hosted a traditional Bhatwaan celebration, a very festive pre-wedding event! They really went all-out with the decorations, and their home looked amazing and welcoming in the evening light.

Creative Indian wedding photography, Tilt-shift wedding photography, Hindu pre-wedding celebrations, Bhatwaan night partyCreative Hindu pre-wedding photography, Bhatwaan celebrationsVibrant and colourful Indian wedding photography

They also set up a tent in the backyard with these festive decorations.

One of the main events in a Bhatwaan celebration is the spreading of turmeric paste all over the groom! Charlie’s family and friends took turns completely covering him. His reactions were fantastic!

Creative Hindu wedding and pre-wedding photographyHindu pre-wedding ritual for groom with turmericGroom

Love this—what fun!

Fun vibrant and colourful Hindu pre-wedding photography, Bhatwaan turmeric ceremonySydney Bhatwaan celebration, Hindu pre-wedding party

Charlie was given a handful of rice, a gold bangle, and a ball of dough to hold, to symbolise his family’s hopes that he will never be without food and that he and his new wife will be prosperous.

Colourful and creative wedding photography, Indian wedding photos, Hindu wedding photos

Charlie’s family touched him with bits of grass in a ceremony to ward off negative forces.

Indian wedding photojournalismCreative and candid Indian and Hindu wedding photos

The guests all enjoyed some homemade Chai while they watched the fun.

The dancing began as guests presented the groom’s mother with gifts.

Bhatwaan celebration for Hindu groom

Then some of Charlie’s family members popped a bunch of popcorn the traditional way, to be used the next day at the wedding ceremony.

Hindu pre-wedding Bhatwaan party with groom

Bhatwaan popcorn ceremony, Indian pre-wedding celebrations, Hindu pre-wedding photos

After that, the dancing really got started!

Creative Hindu wedding and pre-wedding photography

One of the youngest attendees dazzled everyone with a beautiful solo dance performance. Well done!

Photos of Hindu Bhatwaan pre-wedding party with groom

What a blast! This was only just the start of the wedding festivities, and everyone was up bright and early the next day for the most important event of them all. Stay tuned for all the beauty of Niru and Charlie’s wedding day, up next week on the blog!

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Bradleys Head Engagement Session: Cathy & Stewart

Today we have a gorgeously romantic engagement session to show you, featuring one of the sweetest couples you’ll ever meet! We were so excited when Cathy and Stewart contacted us about their wedding, since Stewart is the brother of not one but two of our past couples that we just adore: Jen (of Jen & Ben) and Chris (of Melissa & Chris)! Sweetness clearly runs in Stewart’s family tree like syrup in a sugar maple, as they are all some of the kindest people you’ll meet. We were delighted to meet Cathy, in whom Stewart has found his perfect match. During the photo session, while helping Cathy avoid some mud, she said, “don’t worry, I’m not a princess… he just treats me like one.” I think that about sums it up!

Bradleys Head engagement photos, pre-wedding pictures at Bradleys Head Mosman

When they first met, Stewart asked Cathy if she wanted to grab a cup of coffee. Cathy said she was feeling bored and liked Stewart’s smile, so went straight for suggesting dinner. Surprised but pleased, Stewart agreed to meet her for dinner that evening, but was in a hurry and had no time to iron his shirt, which Cathy picked up on! Thankfully, their conversation went well and Cathy forgave him. Of course, she says, now she makes sure he has an ironed shirt wherever they go! ;)

Pre-wedding photo session in Mosman, Sydney

We decided to go to Bradleys Head for their engagement session. The parkland around the harbour was looking absolutely beautiful on this winter’s afternoon. The light was just dreamy! Cathy was looking gorgeous in her super-cute sundress, and Stewart, of course, was looking great in a freshly pressed shirt for the photo session (good job, Cathy)!

Sydney harbour national park engagement photos with beautiful lightSydney harbour national park engagement photos

The kookaburras were out and laughing in the sunshine along with us.

Bradleys Head engagement session in park with kookaburra Couples portraits in Bradleys Head ampitheatre, Mosman

Aren’t they so cute together?

Engagement session in Sydney Australia harbour park

Mosman Athol Bay engagement session photos

Just beautiful!

Engagement session near Taronga Zoo, SydneyBradleys Head Chowder Head engagement session picturesRomantic couples portraits on Sydney harbourAthol Bay pre-wedding photos MosmanRomantic engagement photos at Bradleys Head Mosman

Clifton Gardens Bradleys Head pre-wedding engagement photos

Bradleys Head Park engagement session

In Taylors Bay, on the east side of Bradleys Head, the lowering sun was creating some magical light.

Taylors Bay engagement session pre-wedding photosTaylors Bay Sydney harbour couples portraits

Taylors Bay Sydney harbour engagement session

I love these! Cathy and Stewart, you guys look so in love!

Romantic photography Bradleys Head engagement sessionTaylors Bay Bradleys Head SydneyNatural and romantic pre-wedding photography Clifton Gardens Taylors BayTaylors Bay beach SydneyEngagement session photos with flare

Soo cute! Love it! :)

Bradleys Head beach pre-wedding picturesSydney Taylors Bay couples portrait photo session

Stewart popped the question while he and Cathy were on holiday in Fiji last year. They had already selected the ring together, so Cathy knew it was coming eventually, but Stewart picked the time and place on his own. He proposed on a small island towards the end of their trip. How romantic!

Macro wedding photography engagement ring and seashellsCandid and natural pre-wedding photosSydney harbour national park Bradleys Head engagement photos

I love these too and these cool, jungly stairs.

Mosman Sydney harbour engagement session

Down on the small beach near the Bradleys Head ampitheatre, the incoming tide and setting sun provided the perfect dramatic backdrop! The Sydney skyline is gorgeous from Bradleys Head. Our happy couple had a quick outfit change and Cathy put on a cute winter coat as the warmth of the day began to fade.

Bradleys Head Sydney Harbour engagement pre-wedding photos

And look, Stewart even made sure to stop by a florist on the way to the session to pick up some sunset-coloured roses for his bride-to-be. How sweet!

Sydney harbour engagement session

Love the light on the water! Beauuutiful!

HDR wedding and portrait photography, Sydney harbour beach engagement session pre-wedding photos

Cathy and Stewart brought along their brand-new wedding bands, which we couldn’t resist photographing a few months early!

Macro wedding photography wedding rings on sandstone

Sunset on a perfect Sydney winter day! Click to view this panorama larger:

Bradleys Head Sydney Harbour panoramic photography

Sunset over Sydney Harbour Bradleys Head

A romantic moment at twilight. Love!

Romantic couples portraits Sydney Harbour sunset

Cathy and Stewart, we’re so happy to be following you on your journey to becoming husband and wife! Thank you for letting us be a part of another happy chapter in the story of your extended family. Friends and family of Cathy and Stewart, leave a comment for these lovebirds below, and let us know what you think of the photos! We’ll notify commenters when the full gallery of images is available to view online.

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Fiona King Celebrant - Sensational as usual you guys… the light (and the cuties too)

Rushcutters Bay & Paddington Engagement Session: Adrienne & Danny

Living half way around the world from where we grew up, it’s funny when we’re reminded what a small world we actually live in. Adrienne and Danny are another fabulous American couple that we’ve had the pleasure of meeting this year. They are currently on a working sojourn here in Australia, and we were amazed to find out that they have family in Palm Springs, the tiny corner of the world where I grew up. These two are planning to have a big wedding celebration with friends and family in Palm Springs later this year, after first having a little celebration of their own here… but more on that in a few months! ;) For their engagement session, we started at Rushcutters Bay Park, right where these two are (currently) calling home. Don’t they make a cute couple?

Rushcutters Bay park engagement session photos

Adrienne and Danny make good use of the beautiful areas around their home, frequently jogging and exercising in the park, visiting the outdoor public pools to swim laps, and of course, running the occasional half-marathon or Iron Man around the city! Geez guys, thanks for making us feel even more slovenly! Hah, just kidding… you two are looking great!

Rushcutters Park couples portraits, Rushcutters Bay photos

Adrienne and Danny told us they love the giant fig trees around Sydney, and as a fellow native of the American southwest, where the largest trees resemble phone poles, I completely get it. This is also a little hint about where they will be tying the knot later this year… can you guess where it will be? :)

Rushcutters Bay photos, engagement wedding photos, Edgecliff and Paddington engagement session

The winter light was so beautiful this afternoon, and was certainly welcome after the wettest June in six years.

Pre-wedding photos in Rushcutters Bay Park, Edgecliff couples portraitsPaddington engagement session, pre-wedding pictures Rushcutters BayElizabeth Bay engagement photos, Rushcutters Park pre-wedding session

I loved Adrienne and Danny’s choice of stylish-casual outfits. Love the boots, Adrienne! Looking good, you two!

Rushcutters Bay Elizabeth Bay Potts Point pre-wedding engagement photos

Rushcutters Bay engagement wedding photos

Rushcutters Bay park Elizabeth Bay couples portraitsPotts Point pre-wedding sessionSydney eastern suburbs pre-wedding engagement photos

There were so many sailboats packed into Rushcutters Bay. What a nice scene to wake up to every morning!

Rushcutters Bay couples photos, Sydney eastern suburbs photographyElizabeth Bay Potts point pre-wedding photos

Rushcutters Bay park pre-wedding engagement photo session

Our next stop was one of Sydney’s most stylish suburbs, the perfect place for a Sunday morning brunch and a great cup of joe: Paddington!

Paddington urban engagement session

There is a cool spot in Paddington with some great cafes and lovely buildings where five streets intersect, aptly named “five ways”. This is a favourite spot for Adrienne and Danny to hang out and catch up with their lovely friends Laura and Ben, whom we also had the pleasure of photographing recently!

Urban pre-wedding photos Paddington

Paddington couples portraits

Creative and urban pre-wedding wedding engagement photography

Paddington has some amazing terrace houses. It’s easy to get jealous just walking around in this neighborhood! We took a stroll down some of the pretty streets.

Paddington engagement photo session, creative pre-wedding picturesPaddington lifestyle couples photo session

Love these next few. Such a nice little neighborhood…

Urban and creative wedding engagement photographyUrban creative grungy offbeat engagement session photos Fun creative urban documentary lifestyle photo session

The tiny laneways in Paddington are also fun to explore!

Urban grungy pre-wedding photos, creative engagement session photography

Urban laneway creative engagement session

Offbeat grungy unique couples engagement portraits

Urban laneway creative engagement pre-wedding photography

And of course, a photoshoot for an American couple is not complete without the requisite iconic Sydney shots! I love the shiny red shoes that Adrienne switched into. Hot!

Sydney Opera House creative photography, pre-wedding wedding photos

Adrienne and Danny were super patient as we navigated around the usual Opera House crowds to wait for the perfect moment for the shots. I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but the Opera House seems to have had an extraordinary number of visitors even in the winter this year. Well, we don’t blame them…

Creative Sydney Opera House images, engagement session Opera House

Sydney Opera House unique couples photosSydney Opera House unique engagement session photography

The Opera House was beautifully aglow with the winter sunset light. Love!

HDR wedding photography, Sydney Opera House creative unique vibrant engagement photos

Tilt-shift engagement session photos, creative unique Sydney Opera House pictures

You guys are too cute together! Love these!

Sunset at Sydney Opera House photos, pre-wedding couples portraits Sydney CBD

Natural pre-wedding photography at Sydney Opera House

Vibrant sunset photography couples engagement session

Adrienne and Danny had spoken about how they loved our sunset photos (thanks, guys!) so of course we were delighted that nature cooperated with us this evening and gave them a stunning show!

HDR pre-wedding and wedding photos, Sydney harbour bridge vibrant sunset photography

Ahhh… we’ve yet to meet any Sydney visitor or local who has tired of this view. Click to view this panorama larger!

Panoramic pre-wedding and wedding photos, Sydney Opera House and harbour bridge engagement session

This is another one of my favourites. Gorgeous!

HDR engagement session photos, colorful sunset photos Sydney harbour

And a last panorama at twilight, overlooking Opera Bar. Click to view it larger!

Sydney Opera Bar harbour panoramic photos, HDR panoramic photography Sydney harbour

Adrienne and Danny, thanks so much for a fun afternoon! We are SO excited for your wedding celebrations later this year and can’t wait to capture what will surely be a very unique and special day… everyone else, watch this space! :)

Friends and family of Adrienne and Danny, leave a comment for the soon-to-be-newlyweds below and let us know what you think of the photos! We’ll notify commenters when the full gallery of images is available online for viewing.

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Ken and Mimi Salber - Really great photos of a really wonderful couple. What a memorable backdrop for the pictures. Love you guys!!!

Katie Salber - SOO beautiful!! You guys look SOO happy!! I am SOO excited for you both

Kami Kendrick Seivert - Beautiful scenery, landmarks and of course, Danny and AA! Amazingly beautiful photos. Glad they are so happy.

Marilyn Tichauer - Beautiful pictures!! I’ve never seen our son Danny look so happy!!

Laura Fuller - love the pics! looks like you guys are so in LOVE!

Vaucluse, Shark Beach & Vivid Sydney Engagement Session: Gia & Matt

Jeff and I love that so many of our couples adore photography as much as we do. During a caffeine-fueled meeting last year, we discovered the very enthusiastic duo of Gia and Matt happened to share our love not only of photography, but especially of sunsets, cityscapes, and vibrant colours. We were thrilled that they chose us to capture their fabulous city soiree later this year, and were pretty excited about the plans we had for their engagement session. They had chosen to do half their session after dark, at Sydney’s annual winter festival of lights, Vivid Sydney:

Vivid Sydney 2013, Sydney Opera House, purple opera house, blue opera house, Sydney Festival of Lights, Vivid Sydney Engagement Session

As photographers shooting an engagement session at Vivid Sydney, we were like kids in a candy store! But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

We started the session out in Vaucluse near Nielsen Park. On the day of the session, however, things were not looking so good. Gia and Matt win the award of most eager couple of the year, because on the scheduled day it was windy and cold, bucketing down busts of sideways rain. Despite the wintry weather, Gia and Matt had high hopes that the weather might clear, and were still gung ho to continue even in the rain! So off we went, and as you can see, their sixth-weather-sense proved to be pretty spot-on. To our amazement, by the time we reached Vaucluse the rain had suddenly abated, and the sun was back out in full force!

Vaucluse engagement session, Vaucluse portraits, Strickland House pre-wedding session, Nielsen Park pre-wedding photoshoot

Aren’t these two such a cute couple? Gia and Matt met back in their uni days and are similar in many ways, though Matt is the one to remember all the details in their relationship. When we asked when they first met or when they got engaged, Gia drew a blank face and looked to Matt, after which much giggling ensued. Matt remembers all the dates and numbers, though Gia is the accountant! Go figure. :)

Vaucluse park engagement session, Nielsen Park engagement shoot

Gia and Matt are like two peas in a pod. They love doing things together, like their weekly ramen-and-a-movie date nights at their favourite theatre. They look so relaxed and content with one another!

Milk Beach engagement portraits, Vaucluse pre-wedding photos

We walked down to Milk Beach in front of Strickland House for some harbour views. Though the rain was gone, the wind was not and the beach was quite eroded from the many recent days of heavy rain. Despite the conditions, a group of children had set up a home-made slip n’ slide on the hill behind us. Hey, as long as the sun is out, it’s always nice in Sydney!

Strickland House engagement session, Vaucluse couples portraits

Gia was looking beautiful! It’s pretty clear how much Matt is in love with his happy, spunky, energetic bride-to-be.

Sydney harbour skyline engagement shoot, Milk Beach pre-wedding photos, Hermit Bay couples pictures

Love these—you guys are so cute together!

Creative pre-wedding photography at Milk Beach, Hermit Bay Vaucluse

Engagement photography at Strickland House, Hermit Bay Vaucluse Sydney

Vaucluse engagement session, Nielsen Park pre-wedding photos

The area around Strickland House had so many cool features, including this cute little boathouse, and some beautiful stone walls. What an awesome location!

Vaucluse Park pre-wedding photos, Strickland House Nielsen Park couples portraitsCreative pre-wedding photography at Nielsen Park, VaucluseStrickland House engagement session, Vaucluse couples photos

What gorgeous winter light!

Winter photoshoot in Vaucluse, Sydney Harbour park engagement photos

Vaucluse Sydney harbour pre-wedding photo session, engagement pictures at Strickland House

We continued to be amazed that the storm had completely disappeared. To say we got lucky for this shoot is a bit of an understatement… and even though we did get completely soaked later, as you’ll see, we definitely made the most of it and used the weather to our advantage! But more on that later…

Fun and natural pre-wedding photography, Sydney harbour engagement sessionCreative engagement session photography Sydney harbour Vaucluse Hermit Bay Shark Bay Rose Bay

I’m quite in love with these next two!

Nielsen park Vaucluse engagement photo session, creative pre-wedding photographyCreative and vibrant wedding and pre-wedding photography, Nielsen Park Vaucluse Hermit Bay

Our next stop was Shark Beach, one of our favourite harbour beaches. With the unpredictable skies, we had it all to ourselves!

Shark Bay engagement session, natural pre-wedding photography, Shark Beach couples portraitsCandid and natural pre-wedding photography, Engagement session at Shark BeachShark Beach engagement photos, beautiful sunset Sydney harbour beach couples portraits

Gia and Matt both decided to get engagement rings, with Matt’s featuring a secret tiny diamond on the inside of the band. Engagement rings for grooms seem to be becoming more popular, and we think it’s a great new tradition!

Panorama of Shark Bay Pre-Wedding Photography

With the clouds’ sudden return to the sky, the beach was bathed in pastel light. Beautiful! Click to view the panorama above larger.

Shark Beach engagement photoshoot, natural and romantic pre-wedding photos Vaucluse

We weren’t expecting too much of a sunset, but all of a sudden we took our eyes off of Gia and Matt and looked up to see the cotton-candy clouds absolutely glowing.

HDR pre-wedding photography, HDR engagement photos, colorful and vibrant engagement session photos

The water looked like a fiery opal. Love!

Creative artistic vibrant wedding and pre-wedding photography, Shark Beach sunset photos

Since they are such photography fans, of course Gia and Matt couldn’t resist taking out their phones to snap a few of their own photos… haha!

Fun pre-wedding photography, colourful and vibrant wedding photography, Shark Beach Vaucluse

The colours were absolutely breathtaking!

Amazing Shark Beach sunset HDR wedding photography, HDR engagement session photos

No sooner did the colour in the sky fade, back came the rain. Talk about perfect timing. We dashed for the car and had the windscreen wipers going full on before we were out of the carpark! Our next stop was a very unique location for an engagement session: the Vivid Sydney Light Walk! Jeff and I have been fans of Vivid Sydney ever since the first one in 2009. Now in its fifth year, the light sculptures and technology have become much more advanced. Evolving from fixed, changing images, to brighter lava-lamp style projections on the Opera House, Customs House, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, this year the projections looked more like a 3D video game or abstract music video. Many light “sculptures” and interactive exhibits are also featured around the harbour. The Festival has gotten progressively larger each year, with installations expanding to other nearby areas of the city, and of course lots more people. It was so busy this year at times it was difficult to move around! The rain worked in our favour on this night though, keeping a good portion of the crowds away. Gia and Matt hopped on this interactive installation called We See Saw. You’re never too old to see-saw…

Pre-wedding photography at Vivid Sydney We See Saw

The projector for the Opera House this year was relocated from its previous home in the Overseas Passenger Terminal to a giant tower constructed in front of the Park Hyatt Hotel. It featured a giant pink “V” that you can see below. Everything was glowing and sparkling in the neon lights.

Vivid Sydney, Vivid Sydney 2013, rainy day at Vivid Sydney, Sydney winter festival of lights, engagement session The Rocks

This giant screen displayed continuous oscillating colours.

Sydney winter festival of lights, Vivid Sydney engagement pre-wedding session

How gorgeous was the Opera House looking? It’s too bad they can’t display these beautiful flickering lights more often!

Sydney Opera House engagement session, Vivid Sydney engagement pre-wedding photos, colourful and vibrant wedding photography

Did we tell you Gia and Matt were gung ho or what? The rain was really streaming down here!

Rainy day at Vivid Sydney 2013, couples portrait session at Vivid Sydney, creative photos Sydney harbour Opera HouseVivid Sydney Opera House wedding photographers, engagement session at night

Then we convinced Gia and Matt to pose in the rain without their umbrella! Haha…

Running men at Vivid Sydney couple photography, nighttime pre-wedding photosVivid Sydney running man light installation, pre-wedding photography at Sydney winter festival of lights

It was fun to watch the 15-minute cycle of colours and images on the Opera House and pick out your favourite bits. I particularly liked this section of the morphing video:

Romantic rainy day photos at Vivid Sydney, creative and vibrant Opera House photos, engagement session at Vivid Sydney festival of lights Couples portrait session at Vivid Sydney, Engagement session at Sydney Opera House, nighttime pre-wedding sessionCreative and vibrant pre-wedding engagement session at Vivid Sydney

This was also the first year that they put lights on the bridge! We thought it was a great addition.

Sydney Harbour Bridge at Vivid Sydney engagement shoot

During a particularly heavy bout of rain, we snapped this gorgeous shot. Great job Gia and Matt, we think getting soaked was totally worth it! :)

Creative pre-wedding engagement session rain photo, night time engagement photoshoot

Congratulations on your engagement Gia and Matt, we can’t wait for your big day! Friends and family of Gia and Matt, leave a comment below for the happy couple and let us know what you think of the photos! We’ll notify those who comment when the full gallery of images is available to view online.

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Harry Wong - Dear Matt and Gia,
The pictures are amazing!
Lots of luck to you guys.

Best regards,

Love Uncle Harry and Auntie Amy.

Raven - Love these y’all! They are fantastic!

Ken - Great photos Matt, I remember when you two first met, infact i remember it invovled Uranus!

Gia - Love the photos! Can’t wait to see what magic you produce for our wedding.

Sharon - These photos look amazing! Congratulations again Gia and Matt for your engagement and also for choosing the talented photographers to capture your journey together. I loved the sunset photos and the last one in the rain, it just shows how much enthusiasm you guys have in your relationship and that you can do anything together no matter what the weather is like :) X see you on your big day!

Kyoto & Beyond: Our Love Affair with Japan, Continued

After our amazing introduction to Japan, we took the opportunity to venture outside the mega-metropolis of Tokyo to Japan’s former imperial capital, the culturally and historically rich prefecture of Kyoto. Erin previously described Tokyo as a city of contrasts, but we were beginning to see that perhaps Tokyo was a microcosm of Japan itself as a whole. After boarding one of Japan’s famous high-speed bullet trains (Shinkansen) and whizzing by Japan’s countryside at 300 km/hr (186 mph), we found ourselves at the doorstep to historic cobblestone streets, serene gardens, and ancient enchanting temples. We’ll start by sharing one of our favourite photography-subjects in Kyoto, the aptly named Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji):

Kyoto Golden Temple, Temple of the Golden Pavillion Japan, 金閣寺

The upper two floors of this shimmering Zen Buddhist Temple are covered in pure gold leaf, giving the temple a brilliant luminescence when touched by the golden rays of the late-afternoon sun.

金閣寺, The Wong Couple photos of Japan, Kyoto Japan Golden Temple, Kinkaku-ji Temple

The meticulously landscaped gardens surrounding the lake were so classic Japan. When a slight breeze passed, the water ripples throughout the pond reminded me of Japanese Zen rock gardens. I wouldn’t be surprised if the patterns in the rock gardens were actually inspired by meditations around such ponds.

Temple of the Golden Pavillion Kyoto Japan, Kinkakuji, landscape photography Japan, 金閣寺Kyoto landscape photography, Golden Pavillion temple Kyoto, Kinkakuji 金閣寺 Kyoto gardens, Kyoto zen temples

At night, Kyoto felt like a charming village compared to the bustling streets of Tokyo. The small laneways were dotted with tiny restaurants and izakayas, most announcing their presence with the warm and welcoming glow of paper lanterns in place of bright attention-grabbing neon signs. It wasn’t just the people in Japan who made you feel welcome; it felt like every doorway was beckoning you to discover what awaited inside. Below is the famous alleyway known as Pontochō, where we spent most of our nights in Kyoto.

Kyoto laneways, photos of Kyoto by night, Kyoto restaurantsCreative photography Kyoto, travel photography, Pontocho Kyoto JapanPonto-chō, pontocho Kyoto Japan, travel photography

The charming ambiance outside was just the beginning. Inside, every establishment felt cozy and just as atmospheric. It was always a treat to escape the cold spring air and step into a warm hole-in-the-wall to be greeted with a chorus of “Irasshaimase!

Dinner on Pontocho Street, Kyoto Japan

Here we are at a Japanese grill where we got to try a specialty of the region, Okonomiyaki (above left). We had tried this savoury grilled pancake-like dish before in Sydney, but weren’t overly impressed. In Japan, however, it was a different story. We couldn’t get enough of it! It’s a bit of a hodgepodge of ingredients, mixed with a special batter, grilled, and then drizzled with some yummy sauces and toppings. Yum!

Kyoto alleyways, Ponto-chō, pontocho Kyoto, traditional Japanese streets

Japan travel photography, Kyoto pontocho district

Kyoto was such a fun place to wander around and get lost! We managed to stumble upon this cool little underground music venue amidst the Japanese izakayas.

Underground music venue in Kyoto Japan

After wandering around the laneways of Kyoto by night, we wandered around Kyoto’s temples and gardens by day. As you’ll see, it rained a lot during our trip to Japan. But at least we had the rain to thank for all the lush green gardens that the Japanese love so much! Here we are at Ginkakuji, or the Silver Pavilion, the more modest sibling of the previous temple.

Ginkakuji, Kyoto gardens, traditional Japanese architectureJapanese zen garden, Ginkakuji, 銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion

Ginkakuji is also home to a unique dry sand garden (above) and a beautiful moss garden (below).

Ginkakuji, 銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion, Japanese garden, nature photographyGinkakuji, 銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion, Japanese garden moss

Ginkakuji Temple, 銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion, Kyoto Japan

Kyoto gardens, Japanese garden, nature photographyGinkakuji, 銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion Kyoto, nature photography

All the sight-seeing made us hungry, but luckily, there was no shortage of cool little ramen joints to try!

Pets in Kyoto Japan

After the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, it was nice to find places of such tranquility in the temples of Kyoto. Here is Erin enjoying a peaceful moment overlooking the Hojo Rock Garden at the Nanzenji Temple. In Kyoto, you could easily close your eyes and travel back in time to experience what Japan must have been like hundreds of years ago.

Nanzenji Temple, 南禅寺, Hojo Rock Garden, Kyoto zen garden

Despite all the amazing temples and gardens, I’d have to say my favourite sight in Kyoto was here, an endless tunnel made up of literally thousands of vermilion torii gates, known as the Fushimi Inari Shrine.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, 伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, 伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto torii gates

Something about meandering along this maze-like pathway of gates, toward the summit of the mountain, was absolutely mesmerizing. Every torii gate along the entire trail was donated to the shrine, which has been around since the year 794, predating Kyoto’s time as the capital of Japan. There are so many of them! We stayed for hours… it was quite magical.

Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto torii gates, 伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, 伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha Creative travel photography, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, 伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, 伏見稲荷大社, Fushimi Inari Taisha, creative travel photography

In Kyoto, we also took the opportunity to stay at a Ryokan, or a traditional Japanese inn. The sliding interior doors were literally paper-thin and the floors were lined with rice straw “tatami” mats. We sat on the floor, slept on futon mattresses on the floor, and bathed in very hot communal baths.

Ryokan in Kyoto Japan, Kyoto Watazen Ryokan, traditional Japanese hotelDinner at a traditional Japanese hotel, Ryokan Kyoto

But of course, the big treat of the stay was to enjoy a traditional Japanese meal of Kaiseki, served to us in our rooms as we relaxed in our robe-like yukatas and toe-socks.

Dinner in room at Kyoto Watazen Ryokan

As you can see, there was plenty of food! The meal was quite delicious and soporific. Afterwards, we were both suffering from severe symptoms of post-prandial somnolence.

Shopping in Kyoto JapanRamen in Kyoto JapanStreets of Kyoto, creative travel photography

How cool is this cobblestone street in the historic district of Higashiyama?

Historic district of Higashiyama in Kyoto Japan

More rain meant perfect weather for wandering the various shopping areas in Kyoto and frequently ducking into various tea rooms to dry off. Erin got a kick out of the umbrella lockers that you could find in front of many an establishment. There seemed to be a limited number of umbrella styles being carried around in Japan, with a huge number of people opting for the popular clear plastic ones. These clever little lockable stands ensured that you’d always know which one was yours, and you’d never be the victim of umbrella theft!

Historic district of Higashiyama in Kyoto Japan

Once when the rain got particularly heavy, we couldn’t resist this little ice-cream-and-cake shop that served up Japanese style ice cream sundaes, this one appropriately “sakura” (cherry blossom) flavoured—or at least, coloured. Mmmm.

Kiyomizudera, 清水寺, entrance to Kiyomizudera Buddhist Temple Kyoto

We had to visit the Kiyomizudera (literally “Pure Water”) Buddhist Temple, a massive wooden structure built without using a single nail! Impressive. Even with all the tourists, you could almost imagine what it was like back in the quiet days with no electricity, as the sounds of the giant gongs resonated around the hall and clouds of incense billowed through the damp air.

Kiyomizudera Buddhist Temple, 清水寺, KyotoYasaka Pagoda in Higashiyama District

At night, the wet cobblestone walkways reflected the glow of the paper lanterns, enhancing the ambiance.

Traditional Japanese laneway in Kyoto Japan

After learning about the rich culture and history of Geishas from our guidebook, and the rarity of real Geishas in modern Japan (there are estimated to be only 1,000-2,000 left compared to 80,000 a century ago), we were delighted to spot a rare glimpse of a Geisha making a quick dash from one of the nearby establishments to another.

Real geisha in streets of Kyoto, 先斗町, Geisha in Pontochō, vibrant travel photography

Geisha in streets of Kyoto, 先斗町, Geisha in Pontochō

For dinner, more okonomiyaki was on the menu at this steamy little restaurant with an open kitchen.

Okonomikayi in Kyoto, お好み焼き, travel food photographyOkonomikayi in Kyoto, お好み焼き, travel food photographyRainy day in Kyoto JapanSmall hole-in-the-wall bar in Kyoto Japan

Kyoto was just so darn cool we wished we could have stayed longer, but our time was up and we hopped on the train to the nearby town of Nara, Kyoto’s predecessor as capital of Japan.

Plum blossoms JapanPlum blossoms Kyoto Japan, sakura Kyoto Japan

Nara also has some beautiful gardens and we spent a very rainy morning wandering the quiet paths of this one, the Yoshikien Garden.

Yoshikien Garden, Yoshikien pond garden, Nara Japan, Nara zen gardens

After we realised the buildings that looked like old tea rooms were actually real functioning tea rooms, we couldn’t resist yet another snack we decided to escape the rain for a bit! How relaxing sitting on the mats with a hot cup of tea watching the rain outside through old hand-made glass windows.

Yoshikien garden tea house, Yoshikien tea ceremony garden, Nara Japan

Yoshikien zen garden fountain, Yoshikien moss garden, Nara Japan

Yoshikien pond garden, Nara Japan

Nara is famous for its population of deer that wander everywhere around the town. One day, Erin was tempted by yet another street vendor selling biscuits of some kind. She very nearly bought one to eat, but was very glad of her momentary bit of willpower when we later realised said vendors were selling biscuits to feed to the deer! Haha.

Deer in Nara Japan, baby deer in streets of Nara

One of Nara’s most famous attractions is the incredibly massive Tōdaiji, The Great Eastern Temple, the world’s largest wooden building. Tōdaiji was an incredible sight, and it was difficult to capture the true scale of the building in photos. The beginnings of the structure have been dated to the year 728, back when Nara was the capital of Japan. Naturally it has endured numerous earthquakes and fires over the centuries requiring it to be reconstructed. The current building was completed in 1709, and incredibly, is 30% smaller than the original!

Todaiji, 東大寺, Tōdaiji, Great Eastern Temple, WorldTodaiji 東大寺, Tōdaiji,

The cavernous Big Buddha Hall features a huge bronze Buddha and requires a lot of neck straining! It is really hard to imagine how people in the 6th century managed to construct any of this without modern scaffolding or tools. Amazing!

Todaiji, 東大寺, Tōdaiji, Nara Japan, Big Buddha Hall, 大仏Bronze Buddha, Daibutsu, Todaiji, 東大寺, Tōdaiji, Great Eastern Temple, VairocanaTodaiji 東大寺, Tōdaiji, Great Eastern Temple, Ancient wooden buildingTodaiji Temple, 東大寺, Tōdaiji, Nara JapanLandscape photo of Ukimido Pavilion in Nara Park, Nara, Japan

After a pleasant walk through Nara Park, we finished out the day at another cozy izakaya restaurant. The wooden walls looked stained from absorbing decades of steam and smoke. We must have stumbled into a joint for the locals, because we got a few curious looks from other patrons, but the usual friendliness and welcoming nature of the Japanese was there again.

Cozy Izakaya in Nara JapanCozy Izakaya in Nara JapanSake in Nara JapanSake and Izakaya in Nara Japan

Our trip was nearly over, but we got to take one last ride on the bullet train to Osaka, where we’d board our flight back to Sydney.

Shinkansen, 新幹線, bullet train JapanMt Fuji Japan, Landscape Photography

Kyoto and Nara weren’t the only places I escaped to during my visit to Japan. With the extensive network of super-fast bullet trains connecting distant parts of Japan, it was too tempting to take a short trip to the ski resort of Kagura during my first free weekend in Tokyo, before Erin arrived. Having only snowboarded in California and Australia, I was excited to see so much snow and such beautiful snowscapes!

Snow in Japan, snow landscapes in JapanYuzawa, Kagura ski resort Japan Niigata prefecture JapanPanoramic view from Kagura ski resort, Yuzawa, Japan

I lucked out with some really clear weather. Despite being late March, there was still more snow and powder than I’ve ever set foot on before. It was amazing!

View from the top of Kagura and Mitsumata ski resortSkiier on the slopes of Kagura, Yuzawa, JapanSnowy hillside in Yuzawa JapanYuzawa, Kagura/Mitsumata  ski resort JapanPanorama from top of Mitsumata and Kagura ski resortSnowboarder at Kagura/Mitsumata ski resort in Yuzawa, JapanLandscape photography of snowy mountains in Japan

That concludes our short adventures in Japan, a land that we may be, now, mildly obsessed with. We hope it’s not long before we can return to the land of the rising sun and explore more distant areas.

If you enjoyed the photos of Kyoto or Tokyo, please leave us a comment below and let us know. And if you’ve traveled to Japan before, let us know where we should venture next time!

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Alison Randall - Just love, love your photos. We are heading for Japan in April, I can’t wait ! All those wonderful little laneways and streets in Kyoto look ideal for wandering and by the sounds of it, eating. Great site.

Centennial Park Anniversary Session: Laura, Ben & a Dog Named Sydney

Attention all you dog lovers out there! We’d like to introduce you to this adorable, energetic young pup and her loving “parents”, Laura and Ben! This friendly trio joined us for a fun day in the park recently to celebrate several fun events in their lives. Laura and Ben moved to Sydney three years ago, and it didn’t take long for this wonderful city to work its spell on yet another couple of yanks like ourselves. Laura and Ben have lived all over the USA and, also like us, love to travel. As they fell in love with this great city, they also fell in love with a little Hungarian Vizsla puppy… and decided to take her home and name her Sydney! Now they’re completely inseparable, and this cute doggy is destined to become almost as well-travelled as Laura and Ben, when all three of them make the big move back home later this year. Laura and Ben wanted some photos to celebrate their love for Sydney the Dog, and especially to help them remember their time in Sydney the City. And on top of that, Laura and Ben recently celebrated four years of marriage together! Congratulations, guys! Here are some of our favourites from our afternoon together:

Central Park couples portrait session with dog

I just love the cute Australia-themed bandana collar that Sydney wore! Is she adorable or what? And what a lovely couple you two make, Laura and Ben! :)

Centennial Park anniversary session with dogCute anniversary photo session with pet dog

Despite a few momentary bursts of energy when she encountered her other regular doggy friends in the park, Sydney was a great model!

Dog park couple

Sydney was sooo excited to be in the park. Too cute!

tilt-shift photography engagement session, landscape inspired portrait sessionDog park portrait session, lifestyle portrait session in parkHungarian Vizsla portrait sessionHungarian vizsla puppy and couple engagement session

The sun peeked out from behind the clouds a few times, giving us some beautiful warm light.

Cute dog and couple anniversary engagement photo session

How cute is this one of Sydney licking Ben? Awww.

Central park couple

I love this one of them huddling together amidst the tall grasses. How sweet!

A couple and their Hungarian Vizsla dog celebrating anniversary

This series here was pretty hilarious to photograph. We tried to distract Sydney so we could catch snaps of her running around while Laura and Ben snuck a smooch in the background, but Sydney kept coming up to them like a curious kid demanding attention. Haha! That, and she ran around like mad catching sticks. What an energetic little pooch!

CoupleFun and natural lifestyle portrait session with dog and coupleCreative portrait photography, fun portrait session with dogCute Hungarian Vizsla puppy portrait session and her family, cute dog with bandana

That bandana really is too cute! Will she need a USA flag bandana too in a few months?

Dog named Sydney with Australian bandana, CoupleDocumentary style coupleCreative portrait photography, fun portrait session with dog, landscape inspired portrait photographyCreative portrait photography, fun portrait session with dog, landscape inspired portrait photography

We all giggled at the idea for the hands-and-paw photo below and we wondered if Sydney would cooperate. And she did! Haha, so cute.

Adorable dog and couple anniversary photos, engagement photos with puppyCentral park couple

Sometimes, there can be unexpected perks to shooting on a cloudy and gloomy day. Right as we were wrapping up our session in the park, the clouds suddenly parted just a bit and surprised us with this amazing rainbow! It was SO vibrant for just a few short moments. We were all giddy with excitement as we ran toward the clearing to get a better view.

Rainbow in Centennial Park couple

After dropping Sydney off back at home for a rest after all that fun in the dog park, we headed down to the harbour for some of those must-have iconic Sydney shots! Jeff and I shoot at the Opera House quite a bit, so we always try to get something just a little bit different for each of our couples. It can be a real challenge with so many tourists and theatre-goers around, but I think we did pretty well this time! What do you think?

Sydney Opera House anniversary portrait photo session

Sydney Opera House engagement photoshoot

Creative photography Sydney Opera House coupleCreative portraits at Sydney Opera House, couple

Laura was looking just beautiful in her metallic sweater and gold accessories! Ben was looking pretty sharp as well in his coordinated button-down. Nice choice of outfit, guys!

Sydney harbour bridge, bridge climbers at sunset

For some reason I’m really digging these next two! Which are your favourites?

Creative portraits at Sydney Opera House, artistic engagement and pre-wedding photographyArtistic photography at Sydney Opera House, creative couple

Another beautiful day comes to an end over Sydney Harbour. Click to view this panorama larger:

Creative and artistic couple

Opera House creative photo session

Personally this is one of my favourites from the second-half of the session! I love the sunset reflection in the windows. Looking good, you two!

Engagement session in San FranciscoLuna Park photo session, creative harbour photoshoot

And finally, here’s one last panorama as the city lights came on. Click to view bigger!

Sydney skyline panorama with couple

Laura and Ben, thank you so much for hiring us; we loved meeting you both! We hope these images help you to remember your time in this beautiful part of the world. We wish you all the best as you make the big move home. Happy Anniversary!

Friends and family of Laura and Ben, leave a comment for the lovely couple or let us know what you think of the images! We’ll notify commenters when the full gallery is ready to view online.

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Lombok wedding photographer - beautiful moments, beautiful place and a great photo, perfect

Teresa Hartley - Lovely pictures! Can’t wait to see you again. Sydney is as beautiful as Vee. Sorry they won’t meet.

Georgia Shebay - These are amazing, especially of the opera house. I remember well. More happy days ahead, Cant wait to keep Sydney! Georgia

Suzie Scattergood - Great pictures. Looking forward to seeing you when you come to UK.

Louisa Greenacre - Gorgeous pictures. What a lovely souvenir of your Australian adventure. That’s a very pretty dog you have too!

Lavender Bay & Aqua Dining Wedding: Eleanor & Phill – Part 2

As we mentioned in our last post, for Eleanor and Phill, their wedding was all about the views! They chose an absolutely stunning venue for their Sydney Harbour reception, Aqua Dining Restaurant in Milson’s Point. Aqua Dining boasts some of the most amazing views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House, perched atop the beautiful North Sydney Swimming Pool. Jeff snuck in a bit earlier in the day to capture some of the setup for their cocktail-style reception. Click the image to see the view bigger:

Aqua Dining Restaurant, panoramic wedding photos, Sydney Harbour wedding venue photos

This beautiful yellow and white flower arrangement was waiting to greet the guests upon their arrival.

Aqua Dining Wedding Reception photos, yellow and white wedding

Eleanor and Phill sourced the glass jars which you can see below, adorned with yellow and blue ribbons, from the wonderfully friendly Sam at Just Jars Australia. The jars added the perfect candle-lit touch for the reception later that evening!


At the end of the long restaurant lies this atmospheric outdoor patio, with views out to the harbour as well as overlooking Luna Park.

HDR wedding photos, sydney harbour weddingAqua Dining wedding Sydney Harbour

Such a gorgeous place for guests to mingle and toast the bride and groom! Click to view this panorama larger:

HDR wedding photos, sydney harbour wedding

After their ceremony, we headed down to the gorgeous Lavender Bay for some photos with our newly-wed bride and groom!

Aqua Dining Wedding Reception photos, yellow and white wedding

Weren’t they looking so elegant and lovely?

natural and elegant wedding photography, colourful and vibrant wedding photography

I just love the way Eleanor’s long veil blew in the wind. Beautiful!

Elegant wedding portraits Lavender Bay

And this one below just might be one of my favourites!

Beautiful wedding photography Sydney harbour, sunset wedding photos Sydney harbournatural and elegant wedding photography, colourful and vibrant wedding photography

Eleanor and Phill, you two make such a lovely couple!

HDR wedding photos, sydney harbour wedding


black and white wedding photography, elegant wedding photography

black and white wedding photography, elegant wedding photographySydney harbour wedding photos, Milson

Sydney harbour bridge wedding portraits

What a good looking bridal party!

MilsonSunset wedding photos Sydney Harbour Bridge

With such an epic view at their reception venue, there was only one way to capture it all together… with a panorama! Eleanor and Phill’s guests cheered them on from the patio at Aqua Dining as we took this panorama. What perfect sunset light. This is definitely one of our favourite shots of the evening! Our blog width doesn’t do it justice… so click to enhance!

Panoramic wedding photos, colourful and vibrant wedding photoraphy, sunset wedding portraits Sydney harbour

All the guests lined up along the sides of the restaurant to welcome Eleanor and Phill to their cocktail-style reception. The fun was only just beginning!

Aqua Dining wedding reception, Milson

Luna Park was brightly lit and the outdoor patio provided great views over the famous grinning, toothy face at the entrance.

Aqua Dining Restaurant wedding reception, Luna Park wedding photos

The guests were all having a great time mingling and enjoying the live band!

MilsonAqua Dining wedding reception, creative wedding photographyAqua Dining wedding reception, creative wedding photographyAqua Dining Milson

As Jeff and I love to do, we had to get a macro shot of Eleanor and Phill’s stunning wedding bands. Gorgeous!

Macro wedding photography, vibrant wedding photography, The Wong Couple photography

Eleanor’s father started off the speeches with some heartfelt words for his little girl.

Colourful wedding photography, creative wedding photography

Eleanor’s brother was getting some great reactions from the guests!

Jeff and I hinted in our last post that at Eleanor and Phill’s reception we heard possibly the greatest wedding speech performance that we’ve yet witnessed. The beautiful love story of Phill and Eleanor was recited in an amazing poetic parody with the rhyme, form, and metre of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”, but rather than quothing “Nevermore”, the poem instead told tales of “Philleanor”! It was SO well written and recited, and had the guests in stitches!

Black and white wedding photography, wedding photojournalismFun wedding photojournalism, candid wedding photographyColourful wedding photography, creative wedding photography, fun wedding photos

Phill was next up, offering some sweet words of thanks and love for his family and his new bride.

Black and white wedding photography, Aqua Dining cocktail-style wedding reception

Then it was time for the party to really get started!

Fun wedding photojournalism, candid wedding photography

Eleanor and her dad were so cute dancing together!

Creative wedding photography, wedding reception dancing photos

Their guests cheered them on as Eleanor and Phill cut into their lovely blue and white chevron cake.

Creative macro wedding photos

Love the enthusiasm of these ladies!

Fun and candid wedding reception photosColourful and creative wedding photographyAqua Dining Restaurant wedding reception

The wooden initials of the bride and groom became quite a popular photo prop by the end of the evening!

Creative wedding photography, wedding photojouranlismFun wedding photojournalism, candid and natural wedding photos

So cute. Eleanor and Phill, you guys look adorable dancing together!

Aqua Dining Restaurant wedding reception, Milson

What a beautiful end to a beautiful night. Eleanor and Phill, thank you for letting us be a part of your wonderful, beautiful, fun wedding day! We were honored to be your photographers and hope these images bring back many happy, fun and special memories for a lifetime. We wish you all the best on your journey together as a married couple!

Friends and family of Eleanor and Phill, leave a comment below for the happy couple and let us know what you think of the images, and we’ll notify you when the full gallery is available to access online.

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Eleanor - Thank you Jeff and Erin, you truly did an amazing job, we couldn’t be happier. That last photo captures exactly how I felt at the end of the night. Elle

Just Jars Australia - In love with ALL these incredible shots of stunning Eleanor & handsome Phill! Awesome work as always guys, and thank you so much for the mention! ;o)