getting the best from your portrait session

I don't quite understand how it originated, but whoever thought the best way to get people to smile in photos was to yell 'SMILE!!!' at their subjects repeatedly was just a little bit off-track. The best way for you to look good in photos is to be relaxed, which isn't always easy if it's not something you're used to doing. Portrait sessions are basically an excuse for you to spend some time in front of a camera so that it's smooth & easy on the actual wedding day.


I shoot portrait sessions year round. They can be straight after booking, just before the wedding, or any time inbetween. If there are months of the year you know will be more suitable for you, let me know early on so we can pencil things in.

A key point is that portrait sessions can only be scheduled on weekdays. The best time of day for lighting is almost always across sunset, and I like to start roughly 1h 15m before then (depending on location). If you want to know the sunset time for a given date, simply Google it, i.e 'sunset newcastle nov 7'. Remember that daylight savings runs from the first Sunday in October to the first Sunday in April in NSW - many couples find this time easier, as they can capture the sunset without taking any time off work.

If you're having a hair + makeup trial, scheduling this for the same day is a great idea.


I'm based in Newcastle and am happy to drive up to around an hour for most sessions. I love shooting in new locations if my schedule allows for it, and have shot portrait sessions all over the place. My most distant portrait shoot was in San Francisco so if you have something further away in mind, it never hurts to ask!

Choosing your location will have a big impact on the look of the photos. Have a think if there is anywhere special to you as a couple, if there's anywhere you like to visit, even something nice near the area you grew up or currently live. Do you or someone you know have access to suitable property? Does your work or sport have something available? I shoot many sessions in parks & beaches, but have also used cities, farms, sand dunes, warehouses, pubs, vineyards and couple's own homes.

what to wear

Generally speaking, wear whatever you feel comfortable in. For the best results :

- leave everything in the car. If we're constantly fiddling with sunglasses, phones, keys or bags, it really kills the flow of the session. Many of the photos I take are also when we're 'in between' photo spots, so anything extra will still be in the photos anyhow. I bring a small bag with me that can hold your wallet + keys, but that's about it.

- avoid large lettering or logos, they tend to be distracting.

- it doesn't matter if you'd like to go formal, casual or somewhere in between. Do try and match your partner though - it's going to look weird if one half is dressed to the nines and the other is rocking thongs.

- it sounds obvious, but make sure your footwear fits the location. If we're walking across sand, rocks, long grass - pick accordingly. 

- choosing something with a bold, prominent colour can really add to the feel of the photos.


If you'd to include your pet(s) in the session, I'm all for it. It's nice to have a mix of photos both with and without them though, and I've found this works best one of two ways :

- I can come to your place first to get some shots together. Once we're done there, we can leave them at home before going to our other location.

- If they're coming with us, it's super helpful to have an extra person on hand. It's hard to completely relax and focus in on each other if you have to keep one eye on them, especially considering that I'm usually shooting in public spaces around other people and roads.
Above all else, the aim of the session is to leave you more confident at the end than you were at the beginning. Don't worry if your first 5-10 minutes feel a bit weird, the best stuff always happens at the end. My experience is that every time I do a portrait shoot, the wedding photos are far more natural and enjoyable.

Final images take around 2 weeks to be edited, after which they're available in a secure online gallery. If you'd like to print or use any ASAP, they're available for download from there. A copy is also included on the wedding USB in due time for safekeeping.