Wedding: Mobolaji + Chakriya

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There’s something about small ceremonies that yell, “It’s you and me baby against the world!” They no longer carry the rushed ceremonial vibe they once used to, they now have taken on a new feel of intentional intimacy.

However, beyond the unique nuances of tiny ceremonies, this union in particular was unlike any other. Sure, each wedding day has its own personal touches but I say that this one was unlike any other because it holds a special place in my heart - it was the union of my twin brother and sister-in-love.

The day’s start felt like any other but as the morning continued on the buzz of excitement grew and grew. It was Mo, the groom; Chakriya, the bride; and Vira, Chakriya’s brother and myself acting as “the best people”. We started out at home and called an Uber towards the city.

The ceremony itself came and went like a dream.

After, as we proceeded outside to take photos the rain that poured down gave us time to break and take in all that just happened: My twin brother was now married and I just gained a new sister. The moment was a beautiful one that was full of so much magic.

 

Bride’s Side
Jacket - Forever New
Top: KOOKAÏ
Pants: Zimmerman
Shoes: Novo
Earrings: Lovisa

Groom’s Side
Suit: H&M
Shoes: Aquila
Hair: Fadez

A Birth Story: Audrey Elizabeth George

 
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It’s been a year since your birth and my oh my, what a year it has been.
That’s 365 days full of joy, laughter, long nights, milky burps, and a whole lotta love. In celebration of your first year, here are moments from your first day. Happy Birthday lovely Audrey.

While I wouldn’t classify myself as an expert birth photographer I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone when my beautiful friend Joice, your mum said she wanted to document the birth of you, her first child. 

For the last three months of her pregnancy I had been anticipating the day you would be a part of this world. As the weeks dwindled down and the day got closer I was on high alert. My camera was ready and my phone was forever by my side just in case I got the call from either Joice or her husband, Joe, your dad. 

The morning of your due date, April 7th came. Nothing. 

The afternoon came and went, still nothing. 

The evening passed and not one phone call came through. 

About a day and a half later on Sunday, I got message from your dad saying your mum was in labour. Frantically I scurried around trying to make sense of what was going on only to have the father-to-be be the one to calm me down and say “Don’t worry. She’s only just begun. There’s no need to rush or stress since it’s our first.” 

Joe, an already calm guy was particularly calmer this day. I guess if you’re bringing in a new human being into this world no other emotion could be more perfect. 

Following his lead, I calmed down and took my time as a I travelled from church to the hospital to meet him and your mum.

When I finally arrived, just as Joe predicted there was no need for the rush. Because Joice was not yet dilated enough, the doctors encouraged her to go home and rest. 

Off we went. 

While home Joice took a warm shower to help her relax and I took a nap on their couch. Not really sure of how long I nodded off for, I was awakened to the sound of Joe telling me it was time.

While we arrived just before evening, you wouldn’t do the same until a little over twelve hours later. 

The night was an overflow of nurses flowing in and out to check the status of you and your mum’s vitals. Doctors came in to administer an epidural but secretly I think it was your dad’s constant presence by your mum’s side through it all that did the trick. 

Finally, daybreak came and so did the active labour. 

Having recently studied as much about pregnancy and the birthing process as possible, as well as even watching What To Expect When Expecting, I can say NOTHING will ever prepare you for the real thing. 

I genuinely want to take this moment out to commend your mum for being an absolute rockstar throughout the whole birth. Yes, it was a painful process but she handled it with such grace, poise, strength, patience and love - incomparable to anything I have ever seen before! She blew me away.

Both your parents had planned for a non-operational birth but there was a moment during labour when it almost didn’t go to plan. While your mum was fully dilated and you were ready in position, the doctors  were not able to get you through.The experience was scary but like I said, your mum handled it all with grace, patience and an unresolved strength incomparable to anything else. 

After what seemed like the longest moment ever, at 9:59am, you, Audrey Elizabeth George entered this world all of ours have been forever changed since. 

 

Engagement Session: Mobolaji + Chakriya

It’s funny how when you’re busy making plans, life gets in the way and makes its own. That exactly what happened between these two. Both of them told me that they had no plans for relationships before they met but then in walked Chakriya to a Sunday night church service and Mobolaji was essentially smitten.

From there it their friendship caught fire and turned into something more. They were together more times than not and even though they still remained friends, a deeper love was added into the mix.

I thought it fitting to have their engagement shoot at one of the most iconic places in their relationship: Coogee Beach Cliffs. They have spent many hours walking hand in hand while talking and getting to know each other here. So why not take it back to where it basically began?

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Wedding: Matt + Steff

This love affair isn’t the stuff that fairytales and rom-coms are made of - it’s so much better. It’s authentic, laid-back and real. Photographing Matt & Steff’s wedding day was just that too. From the morning mimosas as the bridal party got ready all the way until the laughter (and tear) filled speeaches at the end… I’ve never seen a couple joyfully welcome terrential rain and be so accepting of last-minute schedule changes.
Through it all they made everyone feel like family and every moment feel like magic. What else is there to say about or to them other than congratulations!
Matt & Steff, here’s to your special day and all the very, many ones to follow!

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Wedding Dress - Tara Lauren from Love Marie Bridal Boutique
Shoes - Nine West
Headpiece - Love Marie Bridal Boutique
Bridesmaids' dress designer - Rodeo Show
Bridesmaids' robes - Boohoo
Groom’s Tux - Peter Jackson
Shoes - Julius Marlow
Groom’s Men- Roger David
Wedding Ring/Groom’s Band - Meakins Jewellers
Bouquets - Leah Mitchell Florist
HMUA- Gather and Stitch Beauty // Hair by Kirsten Ward // Backstage Salon
Ceremony - Ss Peter and Paul Parish, Kiama 
Reception/Caterers - The Grange Golf Club, Kembla Grange
Dessert - Gelato Messina
Stationery - Minted

Wedding: Eric + Julia

Erica and Julia chose to have their intimate ceremony at the Handpicked Cellar Door, a venue with a name that seemed like the perfect testament to who they are as a couple. In my time spent with them it was so visible that this was more than just a ceremony but a confirmation of the bond between two beautiful souls. When he moved, so would she and vice vera. If she smiled it was because of him and vice versa. 
Although they were surrounded by just a few friends and family, there was more than enough love and warmth to fill up the room more than ten times over.

It was such an honour to be counted amongst the privileged few who got to bear witness to your wedding. May you both live out the rest of your lifetimes together with love, joy and so, so much laughter. 

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Engagement Session: Matt + Steff

Matt and Steff knew they wanted something that represented them so when I brought up the option of doing their engagement photos along the Wodi Wodi trail down in Stanwell it didn't take long for them to agree. I met up with them on an early afternoon and it was all downhill (and uphill too!) from there. Being in their element, I didn't have to say much but simply follow their lead and snap away. 

I think this is about as personal as it gets. Just two people out in the middle of the woods doing what they love doing: hiking and spending time with each other.

Congrats to you two on your engagement. I'm so stoked to also be doing your wedding in only a week's time!

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Engagement Session: Eric + Julia

No couple will ever be the same as the next or the one prior. That can definitely be said for this pairing right here. Meet Eric and Julia. It didn't take long after being in their company to know the love they have for each other is something fiercely unique. 

When they approached me and said they wanted to create something colourful and artistic for their engagement session, I was all too excited and honoured. Wanting to do their vision justice, we spent the early afternoon on a Friday in the Royal Botanic Gardens. The weather called for rain but thankfully the skies held up just in time for us to get the shots, admire the scenery and enjoy the fresh air. 

2017, What A Year.

In the moments that present themselves daily, in the routines that sometimes become hum-drum points in my day I always want to remain thankful. I am living the life I always wanted to live. I guess I have been so busy planning and going that I forgot to stop and take inventory of all that has actually happened. I forgot to rejoice and give thanks to God for it all. But now that I am doing just that I remain in awe.  Yes, I have a lot of work before me but all this is still everything I asked for.

Morgan Harper-Nichols reminded me to never take the year for granted. In her own words she reminded me that this time last year I would not know how I would get to this point in time but by grace I would definitely make it here. And look, here I am! These last 365 days have been doosies but I can't believe that I sit here now before this computer writing about the testimony that was 2017. 

  • I moved into an apartment with my twin brother. 

  • We bought our own Christmas tree.

  • I found my calling and have ventured towards it everyday since.

  • I left my job to pursue more of that said calling (Boy, I've always wondered what it would be like to say that and honestly mean it). 

  • I started my own business. 

  • I cut my hair. Not just a trim but like, "New hair, who dis?".

  • A few family members and friends made their way home.

  • Those losses still hurt but they taught me to love more. 

  • After months of blank walls I finally put up real art in my room (Hey Ms. Lauryn Hill. Thank you Just and Wesley). 

  • I tried online dating.

  • Learned to trust and lean on God more. 

  • Cooked dinner for my friends in my apartment. 

  • Turned 26! 

  • Drove without any fear for the first time since my accident.

While there a lot of things I have still yet to do I can't beleive all that I have done and how far God has brought me. And to think, I almost let all that joy and celebration slip away because for a good part of this year I let myself cower to the fear of not being good or worthy enough. I almost let a lie tell me that everything I did was insignificant. 

But yet, here I am! Oh my days, here I am! To say that I am so blessed would be putting it lightly. 2017, you have been the best year yet and still, the best is yet to come. It is for that I remain grateful for this here and now but expectant for all that is to come. 

Like I said on New Year's Eve 2016 and will say again for the upcoming 2018 year: I could not imagine having gotten through this year without the help of God and I can't imagine being able to look forward to this next one without the hope of Christ. 

So, from me to you, Happy New Year! And even when it get to August, September, October, etc, Happy Year to you still.

Wedding: Thomas + Ruth

 
 

I believe that marriage is more than just a bond between two people but a connection made between two families, communities and cultures. Tom and Ruth's beautiful ceremony proved to be just that. To see their love on display for each other was inspiring but to see their love on display for all the ones that came to join in their day was something else. 

 
 
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The weather report called for heavy rain all throughout that Saturday but thankfully the skies cleared up to let the sun shine through and we were blessed with nothing but perfect wedding weather and the most gorgeous light to produce the beautiful images you see before you. 

 
 
 
 

Tom and Ruth, a warm congratulations goes out to the both of you. I wish you nothing but love and laughter for all your years to come!

 
 

Wedding Dress & Veil - Amarage Bridal Leichardt
Shoes - Kurt Geiger
Headpiece - Anna Marguerite
Bridesmaids' dress designer - Shona Joy from The Iconic
Bridesmaids' robes - Cotton On Body
Groom’s Tux - The Suit Shop
Groom’s Cufflinks - Rembrandt
Shoes - Aquilla
Groom’s Men - Institchu
Engagement Ring - Courtesy of the Artist
Wedding Ring/Groom’s Band - House of K’dor
Bouquets - Crazy About Flowers
Men’s Flowers - Rembrandt
HMUA - Rumbie & Co. // Makeup by Mimi
Ceremony - C3 Darlinghurst
Reception - Doltone House Jones Bay Wharf

Short and Sweet: Fight For Good

Regardless of the view before you or the angle at which you stand if you pick up a small coin and draw it close to your eye, pretty soon that coin will be all you see. 
Funny how life is also like that. No matter how good things look or how good your current situation actually is, the smallest of problems have the power to eclipse all that is going right. 
Yes, focussing on the good and looking away from the bad may be easier said than done but don't you think it's a fight worth fighting for? 
Today and every day, look towards everything good. Even if it  was a tiny blip on your screen or a fleeting moment that has already passed - focus on it. Let that eclipse everything else. Let that tide you over until the next good thing and let it give you hope that no matter what comes your way, good is always worth fighting for. 

In-Home Session: North Family

I spent some time in the the eastern part of Sydney at the lovely home of the North family where I was able to photograph Ash, Adam and their two littles Liam and Frankie. One of the cutest and down-to-earth families I have ever had the pleasure of knowing
(But don't take my word for it, I'll let the photos do the talking).

They'll be moving next year so it was my honour to give them this keepsake session to remember one of their first homes by. 

 

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When it's silent
and you feel like you're all alone, don't
mistake that for loneliness or neglect.
Take the ripe opportunity to realise and acknowledge
God's peaceful presence in your life. 
Know that this moment is not you being left out, 
this moment is you being called out.

 

Engagement Session: Tom + Ruth

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Tom and Ruth’s engagement session was nothing less than magic. A day of strolling within the quiet weekend streets of Surry Hills mixed with witty and cute banter, laughter-induced tears, eyes for only each other and a few soft touches on and off camera made for a set of enchantingly fun portraits.

Cheers to Tom and Ruth on your soon-to-be wedding nuptials. 

Short & Sweet: Give Up

Give up the false security that playing it safe and staying small offer you.
There's no security, humility, or purpose in diminishing yourself out of fear - or any other reason for that matter. 
Be you. Authentically. Unapologetically. Fully.

Short & Sweet: The Wonder Years

These are our wonder years. Not because we believe that we are young, indestructible or invincible but because these are the years we learn who we are. In this time we will try and try and try again wondering how if will ever make it through these paths driven by love and passion rather than wealth and accumulation. 
And then, years from now when our trials have turned into successes we will look back and really wonder at the creation of how we became the grown adults we will be then.

There's no love without grace

This is to all the over-thinkers and the over-achievers. This is to all the people that put in time, energy and effort to get the best. This goes out to all the people that strive for perfection, and if not that, the next best. This is written for and to the ones who finish, recheck, finish, recheck and finish only to recheck again so all goes without fault. This, this is for the perfectionists who don’t think they themselves or what they do is perfect enough. To myself and every other similar being out there I say this: what you have, who you are and what you present is good enough. Not only so, but it is needed. 

I wrote a piece a few years ago called Be-you-tiful on accepting who you are as an individual uniquely incomparable to anyone else. While it garnered quite a few views, stirred a bit of conversation and left me - and hopefully others - feeling better about themselves, I sit here years later almost back at square one battling the same thoughts that plagued my mind all through out high school, college and up until that point of publishing Be-you-tiful: 

Am I really good enough?

How come I don’t feel fully confident and comfortable in my own skin? 

It feels like I’m the only person going through this problem. Am I the only person going
through this problem? 

Will anyone ever see me to be as gorgeous as the other people around me who seem to be floating on a cloud of effortless good looks? 

Why does putting together a simple outfit turn into the biggest battle in the morning? 

Can [ insert x body part here ] just look like [insert other person's body part here] so I can feel
and look better? 

How come I couldn’t think of that? 

Why can’t I speak like that? 

Oh man, should I have done it the way I think they would like it to be done? 

Why didn’t I just stop talking after that point? 

How come I didn’t say that? 

Did I do enough?

Was I good enough? 

In the years since writing that piece I began forging my own path into an industry  that I absolutely love, so it’s safe to say my life has not been void of some challenges. Even though I have faltered and fallen I have risen and learned, as well as coasted through and between many lessons that got me to where I am now. Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with the best community - work wise and personal - and they have been most generous in passing on what they know using premeditated words of wisdom and unknowingly through their regular day-to-day actions. 

All that time, every lesson, challenge and all those words spoken unto me has lead me to believe that even though I am far from the human being I wish to be, the one I am now is something to behold. That is a statement I do not say lightly, with a prideful heart or in comparison to anyone else. 

I got to this point because I have finally figured out how to love myself - how to love who I am, imperfections, blunders, gaffes, unwanted surprises, differences and all. It’s called grace. 

 

  • Grace has taught me to realise that I and my mistakes are not alone.

There are six billion nine hundred ninety-nine million nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine other people on this planet and they mess up just like me. It’s called being human and having faults is part of the package of being one. Whether you are a day-old intern or a seasoned Managing Partner, mistakes are bound to happen. Know that it doesn’t make you any less of a person or any more of a loser if you find yourself in the midst of one (even on a regular basis).

  • You are different and that is more than OK.

I don’t say this in the way your mum said it to you in primary school to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside but as a stark and need-to-know truth. There will indeed be days where you feel like everyone else knows or possesses something you don’t but there is no shame to be had in that. Your natural and nurtured character act as evidence and a forewarning that your moments of feeling like the odd one out are highly probable. Take me for instance. I am a twin. My twin and I were created, born and raised in the very same environment but yet we couldn’t be any more different at times. Instead of forcing ourselves to be the exact same we embraced our differences and celebrated them as great additions to who we are as individuals and as a pair. I hope you can do the same no matter who you are with. 

  • The term good enough is actually not too good to be true, it's just plain true.

There will be moments when a life-related or work-related deadline hits and you will beat yourself up because you weren’t as close to completion as you would have liked to be. Know this: Wherever you’re at you just need to simply put it out there for what it is, own it and take pride in it. Imagine this: If every time someone asked for more time and the world heeded to that request you think we'd have the same Nike logo we all recognise today? Carolyn Davidson, the designer of the Swoosh asked Phillip Knight, Nike’s co-founder for more time to revise it because she was unsure about her work. However, Phil brushed her tentative comments aside, took her unfinished draft and ran with it. So now here we are! One of the world’s biggest brands with one of the most recognisable symbols. Who knows what it would have looked like or if it would have been as memorable as it is today if she didn’t hand it over because she was too afraid to show her work. 
Your good is so good enough. No matter the stage it’s currently at, you have to take it and own it. 

  • Don't dismiss the love from others or yourself.

Why is it that it’s more likely for one bad comment to stick with us than it is for countless uplifting and encouraging comments to actually sound like truth? Why is it so easy for us to be fooled into believing the negative than to simply see ourselves for who we truly are: intelligent, kind, tenacious, cool, gorgeous, handsome, mindful, creative, lively, independent, wonderful, and amongst many other traits, confident. THAT is who we are and so much more. The existence of other people who are also intelligent, kind, tenacious, etc. should not diminish your level of the same traits. It would be similar to saying the more diamonds you have the less each one then becomes in value. You my friend are a diamond without the rough (Yes, men are included in this too). We all are diamonds. So when someone points out your uniqueness, accept it and thank them. Don’t try to diminish it by attempting to explain away they’re words. Do not give the unnecessary and negative thoughts the time of day. 

The same goes for if the roles were reversed. Noticing what you like about yourself should not be affected if no one is there to agree or if the people around don’t make an attempt to notice the same thing. Speak on your strengths even when no one else will. It’s not being haughty or prideful but confident and grateful. Yes, there are six billion nine hundred ninety-nine million nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine other people who carry similar traits to you but you, dear diamond will always be uniquely incomparable to anyone else. Stand firm in that and take joy knowing that you don’t have to follow anyone else’s steps but your own. 

So go on, accept thyself. Embrace thyself. Love thyself.    

Here are my two cents:

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I got mad love for you. Whether you voted Blue or Red, I love you. No conditions or clauses about it. Some of you reading this might believe me to be naive but I’m not. Of course people are going to have differences and seeing eye to eye will seem so near impossible but I just have to believe that whoever you are you voted with the best intentions for our country at heart. In each of our own mad little ways we want to see our home grow and thrive, so let’s go for it! Let’s do it! Let’s come together not as opposing sides who need to have their individual voices heard but as a people with the desire to better our lives, as well as the lives of others and the future of our kids’s too. It’s not gonna be easy, it’s not always gonna be comfortable (in fact 60% of the time it probably won’t be), and there won’t be one straight and narrow path to get there but rather a bumpy one with loops and curves that we can actually be proud of because it was forged by the perseverance of our hands. I believe that we can take our tiny common ground of hope and grow it into something tangible and real. It’s gonna take some laying down of pride, pushing of limits, and giving of self but I’m game if you are. 
And even if you’re not, I'm still in.

My Last Day Before 25

I remember being 7 and not being able to wait until I got to high school. 
I remember being 14 and wanting to be a few years older so I could have my license.  
I remember being 21 and just eager to finish school so I could "finally" get on with my adult life. 

But now, as I turn 25 tomorrow I want nothing. My lack of desire does not come from actually having everything but simply realising all I need is right here with me. 

Not too long ago a few friends and I went to dinner and while waiting for them to bring back their food to the table I sat alone for a few minutes and looked around at all the other groups of people eating. 

In doing so I was reminded that it was only a few years ago that I would walk home from school while passing by restaurants and see the similar types of people inside, desiring what they had. 

Looking at those moments that other people were having meant more than just being seated around a table with a group of friends eating good food, it surfaced my fear of missing out on the good life mixed with my unnecessary need to look like I had it all. 

But now, that fear of missing out has disappeared altogether. Now as I turn 25 in a few hours I realise that even though I still miss out on a lot of social events due to work or my personal choice not to attend, even though I don't have it all figured out and there's so much I still want to do, it's all good! I'm all good! 

Sometimes it's not always about getting to an over-glorified point in life but just enjoying the now. Yeah, it might sound extremely cliche but who cares? Wherever you're headed in life, trust me, you're gonna get there sooner rather than later if you just stop trying to make the later come sooner. No need to rush towards perfection when you only but realise how everything has been perfectly and uniquely placed all around you: family; friends; career; love; adventure; hobbies; home; whatever. 

It's all happening now in ways you don't even know so enjoy it. 

PS. To those who have not yet turned 25, I did not write this an ode to the milestone but simply an observation because you don't have to be the same age to realise what I now know: we all have everything we need right before us (it just took me 25 years to finally be aware of that truth). Additionally, to those that are later on in their years, there is no shame in still figuring it all out. Remember, you are a completed work that is still in the process of completion. 

Legacy.

Getting older has made me more aware of life and everything that happens within it. People come and go, you move and you grow, homes change and as all this happens our bodies continue to age. You can be the strongest person in the world, the most beautiful being on the planet, or the richest but none of that stays. 

My grandpa passed passed away a week ago and all I can remember about him was the ferocity of how kindly he treated everyone he encountered; how he cared more about how he acted towards others and respected himself than potentially looking foolish, naive or silly. Thinking about the legacy he left behind has encouraged me to continue on with my life in such a way that reflects what his life taught me: It's not so much what you put on but rather what you pour out. What are you pouring out that will be a benefit to others and yourself? Take time to invest in something that will stand tall well into your 90s and long after you're gone: love, happiness, peace, forgiveness, kindness, trust, and patience.

 

Engagement Session: Ben + Celsie

I've known Celsie for years so when she told me that she had recently got engaged I was all too excited when I was given the opportunity to shoot their engagement photos. Their love for each other was shown through their inside jokes, reassuring embraces, quick glances and a few reenactments of the Pulp Fiction dance scene between Uma & John.  Ben and Celsie are some of the kindest and sweetest people you will ever meet. I'm excited to see what the future has in store for the both of them.