Introducing: Ali Mitton, Our Wedding Photographer!

Drumroll please…

I’m so excited to introduce to you the incredibly talented lady that will be photographing our wedding day, Ali Mitton. We seriously could not be happier!

I mentioned here that changing our wedding venue meant changing our wedding date – which also meant that the photographer we’d booked was unavailable to shoot our Big Day.

I’ve had a picture in my head for so long about how I wanted our wedding photos to look, and the words that kept popping up for me were things like “dreamy,” “summery,” “magical.” It’s always been more about a feeling than a style – I wanted the photos to represent both the lightness and depth of our love, while distilling the essence of warm summer days, soft afternoon light, a touch of whimsy and daydreamers with hearts in their eyes.

I think you’ll agree we’ve found our perfect match.

Ali – who’s possibly the most humble person I’ve ever spoken to – has this magnificent way of capturing beauty so effortlessly and with a sense of honesty that completely blows me away. Her portraits are nostalgic and wistful and I don’t know about you, but I’m left wanting more each time I pore over her beautiful work. Every image has a story to tell.

Gleaming Credentials


Undoubtedly cementing herself as “one to watch,” Ali’s work has been featured in magazines like Peppermint, Monster Children, Antler, Astonish, Culture and Cake, as well as in her own sold out exhibition at the Retrospect Galleries which the Spell and The Gypsy Collective girls wrote about on their blog.

She also was selected as 1 of 5 national finalists in Projections, ‘Australia’s Best Emerging Photographer’ award, and joined the Element Eden family to shoot their Summer 11, Hi Summer 11 and Winter campaigns and the stunning Element Eden Inspired By Daydream Lily collection.

Google her name (make sure you check out her pretty site Afternoon Dreams) and you’ll find a bunch of her images to swoon over. She’s been featured around the web, including a write-up on Oracle Fox, which is one of my favourite fashion blogs. I’m telling you, the girl is a star!

To give you all a little bit of an insight into the master behind the magic, I sent a few interview questions Ali’s way and here’s what’s she had to say…

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a photographer and daydreamer. I’m 26 and, at the moment, I’m on the Gold Coast.

What age did you start taking photos? Are you self-taught or did you study (and if so, where/ what?)

I’ve taken photos for as long as I can remember! I think I got a camera from an op shop when I was very small, and chased my cat around with it. I studied a Diploma of Photography, and then went to Griffith University.

When did you start to feel photography was your “thing?”

In high school I did photography, and that was pretty much all I did. I didn’t care about much else.

What was it that drew you to a career in photography?

That is still something I’m trying to figure out to be honest. I’m a very sentimental person, I attach a lot of meaning and feeling to imagery and memories. I’m pretty overwhelmed with life most of the time, and photography allows me to express that.

What are your tools of the trade?

I shoot Canon 5D, 7D and the 50mm 1.4 is my one and only lens – my true love!

Current inspirations?

Ohhh India! Travel and summer time. Freckles and beards. Northern New South Wales. Ryan McGinley.

If you could do a shoot anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Hmm that is such a hard one! Iceland… or the Sahara.

What do you wish you knew five years ago?

I wish I knew my own worth and what it meant to truly love someone. I wish I reminded myself to experience each moment completely, instead of worrying about the future and feeling bad about the past. I wish I was more patient. Oh the list could go on!

Quick tidbits

I’ve always wanted to… shoot on the top of a tall building.

If I could raid anyone’s closet, it would be…I  should be able to answer this, but I’m not terribly fashion savvy! Yours? You have pretty clothes! (haha, thanks Ali!)

I’m obsessed with… fairy lights, pretty coloured smoke, film photography.

All-time favourite book… too many! The Source, Shantaram, The Power of Now.

Photographers/ artists/ creative I admire… lately I’ve been loving the work of Tamara Lichtenstein. Ryan McGinley is my all time favourite photographer, and I also love Sally Mann.

Words to live by… Be here now.

Big thanks Ali!

+ Now over to you guys – what do you think? I’m dying to know!


Last weekend: The day started with a surf check at Tallebudgera. The conclusion: no surf. Me: hooray! Ramai: sad trombone.

And so the road trip adventure began, but before we got our adventure boots on, there was a quick stop at the new Miami farmers markets to drool over organic goodies and to pick up a few bits and pieces.


It was literally an in ‘n’out mission, so once the shopping was done, we hit the road for our day down south. Next stop: Bangalow (then Broken Head!)

We left our phones at home which was the smartest thing we’ve done in a long time, and with all the extra time that wasn’t being taking up checking Twitter/ Facebook/ AFL scores (me, not Ramai – obviously) (haha… AS IF!) we had the funniest conversations, talked about our big dreams for the next year and rocked out some major air guitar epicness.

My favourite moments with my fiance are when we are both in fits of laughter. It might sound funny, but I love looking at him when he’s laughing those deep, belly laughs – that sparkle in his eye gets me everytime!

Of course, like pretty much everyday, when I glanced at the clock it was 11:11. It haunts me! In a good way. I use it as a reminder to make a wish or focus on something positive in my day. 11 is also my lucky number so, to me, seeing 11:11 means “The rest of the day will be amazing.” And it was.

I snapped these shots at an amazing antiques shop in Station St, Bangalow (I believe it’s called Vintage, Retro, Antique & Collectables). The wares are a little on the expensive side, especially if you are a hardcore op shopper and you’re used to picking up your treasures for next to nothing, but there was definitely some cool stuff in there that I’m going to go back and look at for our wedding. Also, the guy that runs the place obviously has great taste, or knows a woman who does – would you look at those Manolo’s perched upon that leopard print chair!

Handy resource: If you live on the Gold Coast or Northern NSW and you love secondhand/ antique/ vintage collectables, add this Local Trail guide to your Favourites. I know I’ll definitely be using it for our next visit down that way!

Heath’s Old Wares is overflowing (literally) with trinkets, collectables and recycled bits and bobs – everything from tools to typewriters to glass bottles. It’s fair to say my eyeballs were popping out of my head when I saw this place. Actually, I can’t quite believe I’d never stumbled across it before (it’s tucked away up a lane off Station St if you’re looking for it).

Little known Rach fact: I have a small obsession with animals doing funny things. Seriously. It’s become almost a hobby of mine to email Ramai a silly picture of a dog pulling a face or a cat with a mohawk. Or dressed in superhero costumes. Captions or commentary? Even better.

Anyway, I spotted these cheeky girls on the drive from Bangalow to Broken Head (where all the pics below were taken) and I couldn’t resist getting a few happy snaps. How funny is the last one… she’s like ‘Excuuuuuse me, girlfriend, but what the HELL do you think you’re doing?!’ If she could wave her hand/ wag her finger, she so would.

The last series were all shot at the beach at Broken Head. You might remember me saying that we were going to go camping last weekend at Broken Head? Well, although we didn’t camp we still made it down there… the pull was too strong obviously! We read magazines and chilled out on the sand, then went for a wander around the headland to snap some beachy shots. How cute is the natural archway along the track!

All in all, the day was perfection – and just what we both needed. There’s something so rejuvenating about getting outside and embarking on a creative mission. Grabbing a camera (or notepad), letting go of to-do lists and just rolling with the rhythm of the day is an amazingly freeing experience. It might sound simple, but it unlocks the parts of us that get pushed down and ignored when we’re caught up in (supposedly) more important day-to-day tasks. I know I always come home from days like this feeling like any feelings of overwhelm have instead been replaced with clarity and a healthy dose of motivation. It’s the best!

+ I hope you enjoyed seeing a little insight into our day, we had a ball!
+ I’d love to know: what’s your favourite way to ‘get creative’?
+ Tell me in the comments below about how you unleash a bit of your creative spirit onto the world!

Ask What Makes You Come Alive

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman


Images: Spell Byron Bay’s jaw-dropping ‘Castaway‘ shoot

Inspiring Through the Lens

When three of my favourite things combine – the great outdoors, photography and inspirational words – you can bet I’m going to get ridiculously excited. Which is precisely what happened when I discovered the work of photographer and graphic designer Julian Bialowas, who has taken the ‘365 project’ (snapping a photo to document each day of the year) to a whole new level, adding powerful, motivating words alongside his stunning imagery.

I’ve got itchy feet to take off on a travel adventure at the moment and finding these photos has totally amplified that. Looks like I might have to live through these gorgeous shots for a while!

+ For more of Julian’s awesome work, check out his site here.

An Ode to Summer


Long, languid days. Deep crimson sunsets and glimmering rays of light dancing across the sky. Twirling in a floaty, see-through dress, a tiny bikini peeking out from under a loose singlet. Bronzed skin, freckles smattered across noses, sand between toes, nectar on lips and tangled, salty hair.

This is summer.

Where I live, the weather gods have blessed us with plenty of sunshine over the past few weeks (despite the fact it’s still winter!), and as a result, I’ve been doing more than my fair share of summer dreaming.

To me, summer is light, airy, full of hope, optimistic. It brings with it celebration and relaxation in equal measure. I must apologise to my international readers here, who will now be staring down the barrel of autumn (fall) and then winter, but the point I want to make is, summer is more than just a season – it’s a state of mind. And essentially, it’s a feeling we can draw on at any moment in time, wherever we may be.

With that in mind, here’s my Ode to Summer. A little reminder, if you like, to keep my cup overflowing with joy and to create the space I need to feel free in every situation. I’ve printed it out twice (for my purse and my diary) to re-read when I need it. Love vibin’ straight off the page.

An Ode to Summer


Magic, laughter and soul-swelling adventures.
Delicious kisses; love wrapped around everything.

Game-changing, gigantic dreams becoming a reality.
Taking everything to the next level.

An all-encompassing warmth beaming from the inside out, and back in again.
Feeling beautiful wearing nothing but sun-kissed skin and a smile.

Electrifying enthusiasm and belly laughs.
Sparkly secrets shared between friends.
Looking desire in the eye and whispering ‘I love you’s’ to the unlimited being within.
Writing it down.
Ushering in mind-blowing success.

Starting each day with the question: “How can I make this day worth living?”
Giving… wholeheartedly.
Lowering expectations.
Slowing down.
Inhaling and exhaling.

Knowing that the Universe has my back… always.
Choosing to shine my light.
Doing more of what makes me happy.

This is my summer.

+ What about you? Do you agree that summer has a certain ‘vibe’?
+ Does it inspire you? Tell us in the comments below!

Images: 1. Note to Self 2. Johan + Francoise 3. Indie Jane 4. Simone Le Blanc 5. A quieter storm 6. Johan + Francoise  7. 4th and Bleeker 8. The Wolf Cub Annual 9. Endless Simmer 10. Tyler Florence 11. From moon to moon 12. I love wildfox 13. Green Wedding Shoes 14. 4th and Bleeker 15. It’s kind of a sheep thing 16. A little hamster 17. Note to Self 18. Pinterest  19. Free People 20. Dust Jacket Attic 21. Endless Spell 22. Flickr 23. Style Me Pretty  24. Tumblr 25. Oracle Fox 26. Souvlaki for the Soul 27. Two Bare Feet on the Dashboard 28. Legs and Runways 29. Fat Mum Slim 30. Max Wanger 31, 32. The LANE


Mind-Blowing Portraits by Lee Jeffries

How haunting are these images by Manchester-based photographer Lee Jeffries? Seriously. WOW.

Jeffries started taking photos of homeless people in Europe and the United States after an encounter with a young homeless woman on the streets of London. As you can see, his portraits are all incredibly expressive to “reflect his compassion his homeless subjects.” If you’re intrigued and want to see more of Lee’s impressive work, check out his Flickr.

The Ultimate Guide to Your Dream Wedding: Photography

To us, finding the perfect photographer for our big day has always topped our Most Important Things for Our Wedding list.

The search for “The One After You’ve Found The One” (The Two?) is one of those things that you’ll no doubt deliberate over for a while (and yes, you’ll probably come to the conclusion that it’s a little more difficult than you first anticipated, just like we did). Most brides will tell you that their wedding day passed by in a blur of big smiles, thank you’s, cheek-kissing and champagne, and I think it’s fair to assume that we all want to be left with breathtaking photos that capture the moments, the characters and details to pore over for eternity.

With that in mind, I thought I’d kick things off in the right direction by presenting a list of my favourite wedding photographers and a few handy hints that will ensure you’ll look back with pride at your wedding photos.


Good thoughts to have when looking at your wedding photos: “Holy eff, these are freakin’ amazing, artistic, brilliant, beautiful – they totally capture our personalities and the energy of the day, I LOVE THEM ALL!” etc etc.

Bad thoughts to have when looking at your wedding photos: “Eek, who is that girl, WHY are we posing like that, OMG-where-is-the-photo-of-our-kiss?, I don’t remember the sky looking like that and the grass being fluro green… nooooooo! ” Basically, if your photos look like these, burn them. Immediately.

So without any further ado, here are the photographers that blow me away with their ridiculous talent. These guys are beyond awesome and totally ahead of their game. Take a peek below and head over to their respective sites to say hello. Awe-inspiring stuff.

The Magic Makers


Jonas Peterson – Brisbane 

Why I think he’s rad: Jonas is a story-teller. His story, his exceptional talent, rouses something deep in the heart. He has an authenticity and commitment to capturing those precious ‘moments between’ – a stolen kiss, a secret smile shared between lovers, a tear in the eye or a squeeze of the hand – that has earned him a reputation (and official recognition) as one of the top photographers in the world. And rightly so.

What I really love about Jonas is his images are raw and completely void of the Barbie-face post-production favoured by many a wedding photog. And as if his talent behind the lens isn’t enough, he’s damn good writer too and gives us an insight into his life on the road on his site. Read this and this and you’ll get what I mean.

Sarah Yates – Los Angeles  

Why I love her: Sarah is not only a supremely talented photographer, she’s a lovely person to boot. I got in touch with Sarah (that’s her in the image up top) to enquire about her international rates for shooting weddings (seems I like to tease myself!) and her email response was so full of energy, enthusiasm and bubbly goodness I wanted to jump on a plane immediately and become BFF’s with this girl.

Sarah’s style encapsulates that quintessential sunny-California-summer feel with ethereal, romantic effects and a focus on the intricate details.

Simply stunning.

Sarah, move to Australia, please?!

Max Wanger – Los Angeles

Why he rocks my socks off: I discovered the breathtaking work of Max Wanger on The Lane and one of my favourite shoots ever is this AHH-mazing bridal shoot he did for the site. I also talked about him here.

Like Sarah (one of his friends), Max has the innate ability to conjure a range of emotions through his absurdly cool images. They have an almost expansive feel, like it’s up to the viewer to fill in the gaps and interpret the story their way.

I love that.

There’s certainly no one-dimensional, cardboard-posing, fake-smiling about it… Max’s shots are all about soft light, gorgeous colours, simplicity and an offbeat style that is totally endearing.

Jose Villa – California

Why he’s amazing: Jose Villa shoots images that people tend to go a little gaga over. OK, a lot gaga.

Soft, organic and spectacularly stunning, he manages to completely distill the essence of the magical weddings he shoots into each and every photo – which I’m certain is no mean feat. Lauded as a visionary of the wedding photography industry, Jose’s fine art photography is omnipresent and you can see that his almost poetic style is an inspiration for many.

Flawless, captivating, epic. I could go on, but I’ll let you take a look for yourself.

Homegrown Heroes


The wonderful photographers below are just a small sampling of Australian talent that I’ve stumbled across in my travels. Click through to their respective sites, dig around, fall in love, book them to shoot your special day! I’m sure you’ll adore them as much as I do.

Marissa Fleming, The Simple Things Studio – Sydney


Justin Ealand, Bushturkey Studio – Byron Bay


Christine Pobke, Pobke Photography – Canberra


Hailey & Andrew, You Can’t Be Serious – Brisbane


Dan O’Day – Sydney


So, there’s the inspiration and now for the nitty-gritty – how do you actually go about choosing a wedding photographer who will perfectly capture your day? Below are some of my tips and I’d like to open this up for discussion in the comments. If you’re a photographer, a bride-to-be or a happily married, I’d love to hear your advice!

1. It’s about personal preference


Any photographer worth considering for your wedding will have a website or online presence, so start your research by trawling around the web to see what style of photos you like. Check out the directory sections of wedding websites, get a feel for the “look” that will effortlessly reflect the vibe of your wedding. Are you into dreamy, washed out effects, sharp and crisp photos or something a little moodier and a bit more raw? Fashion-y shots or natural shots? The great thing is, it’s totally up to you! Define the parameters of what you’re willing to spend on the right photographer and start making a list of options, locally – and if no-one tickles your fancy – from interstate or overseas. Most photographers are willing to travel, so get emailing and ask the question.

Then, once you’ve had a bit of back and forth communication and you think you’ve found The One Two…

2. It’s about connection


The relationship between a photographer and the bride and groom (and wedding party as a whole) is an intimate one. As a couple, you’ve entrusted this person to capture all the moments that make up your wedding and it’s important that you connect prior to the big day. That human connection will undoubtedly affect the final photographic outcome of your photos and I really believe getting to know each other face-to-face is invaluable. Set up a coffee date, pop into their studio for a chat, Skype if you’re in different states/ countries. Like any good relationship, the getting to know each other part is essential.

3. It’s about style


When you’re meeting with your photographer, bring with you a range of ideas of the style you’re after (photography-wise) and the theme or feel for your wedding. Create a moodboard, be descriptive when you’re talking about how your perfect day looks in your head. Talk about colours, details, your venue, whether you’re thinking of doing a “first look” (where the bride and groom share a special moment and see each other before walking down the aisle) or whether you’re planning on doing the cutting of the cake or not.

Share your plans and if anything dramatically changes, be sure to update your photographer so that they can plan accordingly. The most important thing is that you work as a team – there needs to be a level of trust there so that you’re willing to take their advice on what will look good and what probably won’t work. If the love isn’t there, or you’re feeling like things aren’t quite right, make a decision to move on and choose a new photographer. Weddings are a once in a lifetime event and you want it to be picture-perfect.

4. It’s about other little things


Will there be a second shooter?* What are the options regarding packages? What are your travel fees? Will you provide digital files and how much do albums cost? These are all questions you need to speak to your photographer about. Find out if he or she has a cancellation policy and what the process is after the wedding, as you can bet once those grainy shots of you at the end of the night start with bloodshot eyes (haha!) start popping up on Facebook, you’ll be desperately wanting your professional photos back to remind you that you did look pretty damn incredible on the day!

* Just a note on having two photographers on the day – when there is more than one photographer, generally one will be taking the “set up” shots of the people, while the other will be taking the more spontaneous, party shots and little details. There’s definitely considerable benefits in having a team there on the day, but in saying that, a professional photographer will be more than capable of managing it alone if that’s the way you want to go.

Final Thoughts


These are the things I’ve taken into consideration while searching for a wedding photographer:

1. Every bride wants to look their best on their wedding day and I can assure you I’m no different. I want that to be important to my photographer too and I want them to work with my fiance and I on finding the most flattering angles for our shots. I also want their retouching skills to be top-notch but not overdone (never overdone). I want to look like me, just… better.

2. I want someone who I’ve connected with (as mentioned above) and that we feel 100% comfortable with on the day.

3. Creative skill is important, and in this case, I’m after quality AND quantity. I want shots of the details and the decor as well as the spontaneous moments where we’re laughing and having fun. Call me greedy, but I want to remember it all.

+ So, over to you guys now – do you have any tips to share on choosing a wedding photographer? If you’re already married, were you happy with how your photos turned out?