jennifer + sam | beloved in paris, france

When a beloved engagement session that was meant to happen in Sydney, Australia ends up taking place in Paris, France you know without a doubt that it was meant to be. I can’t even begin to express what creating images like this means to me as a photographer, as a person! The entire experience becomes this moment in time that bonds you forever, creates memories like nothing else I can imagine. Memories of the most romantic image I have ever taken to my tired and grumpy 9 year old daughter waiting, rather impatiently, on the stairs as you photograph the Eiffel Tower at sunrise and everything in between.

Jennifer and Sam met me under the Eiffel Tower just after dawn in order to beat the crowds and summer heat. They arrived with sweet gifts of Ladurée macarons for my daughter (well they may have been for both of us but she ate them all) and a lock with my entire family’s names engraved on it for us to lock onto the Pont des Arts for ourselves. Such an incredibly touching gift that I won’t ever forget.

Like a magical dream we explored the city for hours, roaming the streets of Paris and making our way to the Eiffel Tower, Pont des Arts, the Jardin des Tuileries and Lourve with a little stop for a breakfast of pastries in between. It was so hard to stop and call it a day with such an amazing couple, in such a gorgeous city, in front of my camera.

Being busy has certainly kept me from sharing this session with you sooner, but more than that I felt no rush. Simply because these images are so precious to me. I wanted to keep this feeling of having something so special and beautiful to share with all of you as long as I could, but it’s definitely time you got to experience just a little piece of the magic that I did on this day.

by Leah

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no greater love workshop

In May this year something that has been on my heart for a long time finally became a flourishing and beautiful reality. For the past few years there would be moments in my life, a place I was staying, a beautiful candle, a conversation with another photographer and each time in the back of my mind a little whisper would tell me it was something I should share. I should share the things that bring me joy and the knowledge I have been so blessed to receive since I started my journey as a photographer when I first held a camera in my hands 6 years ago. Not because I thought I knew it all, but because I felt there was something. Something in me that was worth sharing and could encourage people to do what they love. That combined with a deep desire to care for people and make them feel valued is how the no greater love workshop was born.

I didn’t jump in straight away. Each time I tried, something in life would force me to put it aside and let it continue to grow and form in my head and I am so grateful for every single day it didn’t happen. In that time I met some amazing people, many who not only accepted my invitation to be a part of the team I put together to bring this workshop to life, but did it with enthusiasm and joy. They believed in me and wanted to be a part of what I was creating and I can’t ever thank them enough for trusting me enough to put their lives on hold to be a part of my dream.

And then there are the attendees. 11 incredible women who have blessed me beyond words. To see what I had to share as a something worthy of your investment of time and resource. Travelling from out of town, out of state, out of the country! I am so grateful and so honoured to have been a small part of a much bigger, more beautiful journey that each of your lives will take you on, both professionally and personally.

In the end we met for three full days in one of my favourite places in the world, Blackheath in NSW. It was autumn, my favourite season. I roamed back and forth in the house the night before and the morning of, placing flowers, wrapping gifts, lighting candles, moving furniture just like I would if I was having any of my closest friends over because I wanted them to know that this was important. That THEY are important and so worth everything I could possible give.

I want to give an extra special thanks to Kate Holland of Magnolia Rouge who travelled all the way from New Zealand to style the wedding shoots and speak to the attendees and Luisa Brimble, food and lifestyle photographer and founder of Alphabet Family Journal, who took time out of her INSANE schedule to also sit down and chat to the attendees. Both women kept it totally real and showed just how important it is to be authentically you and how beautiful that can really be. Also to my gorgeous friend Rosalie who left her family for several days just to help me pull everything together, make sure it all happened while I was busy teaching and generally kept me sane.

Thank you also to some awesome companies, Visual Supply Co. and Photo Mechanic who sponsored the workshop and provided some awesome discounts for all the attendees.

And if you see anything else you love above then you can absolutely thank the incredible team below. I will share the other shots that took place during the workshop over the next few weeks but I wanted to make sure the entire team was listed here so you could see just how amazing they are. It is beyond humbling that a dream in my heart would inspire each and everyone of the team below to take part. There are no words for that other than thank you and I love you.

Styling (wedding): Magnolia Rouge
Styling (engagement): Sorry I’m Late
Floral Design: Sarah Loves Poppy (Sarah answered a call I put out on instagram for a florist and came all the way from Singapore to take part. LOVE HER!!)
Hair & Make Up: Evy’s Beauty Parlour
Gowns: The Flower Bride & Jennifer Gifford Designs
Stationery: Laura Blade
Hairpieces: Three Sunbeams
Cake Design : Yummy Cupcakes & Cakes
Catering: Red Pepper Catering
Candles: The Little Flame Co.
Models: Rosie & Matt, Evy & Damien and KC & Carlo

by Leah

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annie + greg | beloved

These two deserve a medal for everything they went through to make their engagement session result in the images you see above. Annie and I spent the entire morning on the phone trying to decide what to do given the weather forecast. The original plan was to shoot this session in the blue mountains, but the forecast was cold, windy and rainy (possibly even a little snow) so we thought that driving hours for that might not be the best use of our time. “A place in Sydney then”, Annie suggested, only to check the forecast and see that rain was even more likely to occur in the city. What now? A little known place called the Mt Annan Botanic Gardens in the south west of Sydney. Yes unknown and relatively unassuming, yet the day before I had accidentally missed a turn off and had used the entrance to make a u-turn. In doing so I had seen a roundabout filled with flowers. At the time I thought nothing of it and yet, 24 hours later, I would be tentatively suggesting it to Annie and Greg as the new location for their beloved session. It was, after all, meant to be a sunny afternoon in the south west of Sydney.

I arrived at the gardens about 20 minutes ahead of Annie and Greg. It rained and stopped twice in that time and certainly kept my emotions in a state of flux. When Annie and Greg arrived the rain was holding so we started without delay. Within about 10 minutes though the rains came down and did not let up on us for more than a few minutes over the next two hours. In almost every shot above I can tell you where the umbrella is secretly hiding, just out of frame. We huddled under one umbrella, my camera hidden in my coat as we talked about each shot and then made a run for it to shoot it as fast as we could before huddling under again. It was certainly an experience that brought us all very close, very quickly.

Today the sun is shining and appears slightly mocking, but yet we have these images and an experience none of us will ever forget. I wouldn’t trade that for all the sunshine in the world. Well, maybe just a glimmer ;)

by Leah

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