There are so many talented wedding photographers around so it’s no surprise that it can be majorly daunting to lock down one for your special day. Also, not only are your wedding photographs a super personal part of the experience, but your photographer is one person who will be with you most of the day so you’re really going to want to choose someone who resonates with you best. We’ve covered hopefully every question you’re begging to know from your photographer short-list… so we invite you to read on and simply really get to know 10 of Byron Bay’s finest lens masterminds!
What is your photographic background?
Asher King: Photography was always my hobby. I’m a filmmaker first and foremost and spent years filming documentaries on all sort of subjects from environmental issues to action sports. Photography was my escape when I needed a break from filming. After 5 years travelling the world, filming the world tour of Surfing and coming close to burn-out, I decided I wanted to stay home. A friend suggested I try weddings and the rest is history. I’m proud of my skill-set I have formed over 15 years behind a camera, with 10 as a full time professional.
Carly Tia: I decided to study photography after years of setting it aside as just an interest that I had. I was studying photography for myself rather than looking to find a job, and I honestly didn’t think it would lead to anything. It wasn’t until I was asked to capture a friend’s wedding that I saw how much fun it was and that I could be doing this full time! I’ve now been photographing weddings for nearly 5 years in the Byron Bay area and around Australia.
Possum Creek Studios: I completed a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) with Honours at QUT in Brisbane, then worked full-time for 2 photographic studios over the course of 10 years shooting weddings, portraits, events and fashion. I then launched my own photography studio in 2010 and the rest is history!
Shane Shepherd: I started out taking photos on an old Pentax film camera 15 years ago, whilst touring as a guitarist for a punk band. I loved the documentary side of photography, shooting behind the scenes stuff. Funnily enough I never really shot bands performing, I was always more interested in shooting the tour manager taping something up or fans waiting in line to get in. In 2009, I decided to study photography and here I am 10 years and 400+ weddings later.
Ivy Road Photography: I completed my Bachelor and Honours degrees in Visual Communication at The University of South Australia back when photography was studied with a film SLR and developed in a dark room. I photographed my first wedding in 2011 and haven’t looked back since.
Nina Claire: I’ve been in love with photography since I can remember. I had a darkroom at home from the age of sixteen and was developing my own film, shooting mostly black and white. I’ve dabbled in lots of different styles of photography and then had a ball studying Fine Arts at COFA. I was shooting documentaries and making music videos for a while too, until I found weddings and fell in love. Weddings are my thing! Making meaningful images for people gives me purpose. It’s pure joy.
Beck Rocchi: I was always known as the girl with a camera in her bag. I have loved photography since my early teens. My dad was a fantastic photographer. My three brothers and I spent our childhood having our picture taken by him and complaining about it – but we love sifting through the boxes of prints now… the film so red and hazy and effervescent of the 80’s and 90’s. I studied interior design at RMIT. After a little time working in the corporate world I decided to run away on a three month road trip with a girlfriend up the east coast landing in Byron Bay. Corporate life wasn’t for me baby. We planned the perfect adventure. At 23 I had no plans from here… so I decided to stay on in Byron Bay. I had been there when I was 19 and fell in love with its vibrant community and exquisite bounding beaches. I started taking photographs of everyone and everything. With the help of Facebook these images circulated into people’s eyes with out me doing much. I started shooting weddings that summer. Must be 8 years ago now. And I found it! The exact type of photography which was suited to my personality and style of shooting. Now, after 8 years I have travelled Mauritius, NZ, Bali, The UK, The Greek Islands, France and all over our beautiful country to capture weddings!
Lucas & Co: I grew up in Tasmania as a kid experimenting with my dads camera equipment. I think the excitement of film, waiting to see how it all turned out when you get a roll back from the lab, was a big draw card as a kid. My first job was with a family run photography business in my hometown. Colin my boss was the first person to show me the ropes and a deeper level of the technical aspects of photography. He had his own wedding photography business since the 70s and turned out had photographed my parents. I learnt a lot from him. From there it turned into a greater obsession of capturing everything and that meant taking a camera everywhere I went. Which evolved into my passion for street and travel photography which is what you’ll find me shooting when I’m not at a wedding.
Stories by Ash: Photography has been a passion of mine for the past 20 years, starting with old film cameras and many days spent developing photos in the darkroom. Since 2010 I’ve been photographing weddings, I fell in love with documenting people in real, significant moments in their lives… I never looked back.
Figtree Pictures: We’re a small team of wedding creatives who’ve been shooting weddings in the Byron Bay region for nearly 10 years now.
Van Middleton: I began shooting, like most people, for fun. At first it was with my dad’s old minolta film camera, and then i moved on to digital compacts and DSLRs. I studied journalism at university, and also film and photographer, specialising in cinematography. All of this study helped inform the way I shoot.
How would you describe your photographic and editing style?
Asher King: Documentary, I’ve got a strong skill set in capturing this type of imagery so I might as well use it. I don’t shoot fake, I don’t pose you weird, I hang back always observing, and waiting for the moment. whether that’s a cuddle from gran, kids running around being kids or waiting to stitch your drunk mate up with a funny photo cause, well, drunk people. All these moments are what makes the day and I make sure I capture these images for my couples. When it comes to editing, I don’t have to do much to my images, I shoot quite high contrast in my scenes always playing with shadow and light rather than exposing perfectly. I prefer a bit of a darker editing style, bright and white just isn’t who I am. This doesn’t mean you’ll look at my work and feel depressed, it means you’ll feel a lot more soul and connection with what’s happening in the scene rather than looking at a sterile image. I also only have one preset I created that I use on everything. Its a style of edit that will stand the test of time. Be careful of photographers who use the latest and greatest presets, remember when Instagram first came out and we all used the filters, if you scroll back now your kind of embarrassed right! Well, the same goes for your wedding photography. The editing style that’s all the fashion now probably won’t look good in 5 years time. Stay with a classic look and you won’t be laughed at by your kids when you show them your wedding photos 15 years from now.
Carly Tia: My photography is usually described as a candid and documentary style, which lends itself well to weddings where there are so many beautiful moments that are best captured as they unfold throughout the day. I also try to edit with a natural and timeless style to keep the true atmosphere of the day.
Possum Creek Studios: Having lived in Byron Bay for over 7 years now, I’m strongly influenced by the stunning scenery and positive outlook on life that the region is renowned for. My photography and editing style is therefore colourful, up-beat and relaxed, with a love of light, human connection and nature.
Shane Shepherd: Good vibes. Absolutely everything for me in life has had a sense of fun and I think my photography captures the joy of just being alive. Weddings are one of those pinnacles of human existence where our closest most loved friends and family converge into one space for a day and celebrate with you, your love for your husband/wifey. When I’m shooting a wedding, I’m looking for personality, connection, and the raw stuff too. It’s all very organic, relaxed and definitely no posing. My editing style is film-like, I particularly love kodachrome film from the 70’s and 80’s, so you see that influence my work, I love lots of colour!
Ivy Road Photography: Editorial with a ‘natural’ editing style. Over the years I have seen so many fads with editing styles that I now know not to follow what other photographers might be doing. Stick to what your style is.
Nina Claire: I like to document things as they are but I have an artful eye. I see beauty in life and frame things in that way. I edit with a natural style… I steer clear of tricks and trends and let the natural beauty of the images show through.
Beck Rocchi: Long before I started photographing weddings I fell in love with documenting people and their lives. I travelled so much as a young 20 year old and this is where my passion for storytelling began! Shooting documentary style travel photography was real, it was accidental and it was spontaneous. I didn’t make them do anything but literally framed the moment they had created themselves. Honest and exposed, untouched and full of verifiable existence. This is exactly my approach to weddings…. Everyone is having the greatest day, looking fabulous and the vibe is GOOD!!! I capture this fun and love to get involved to make it a very memorable experience! My editing style is colourful and bright! My captures are casual and fun – the couple having a laugh and being themselves! I do help by positioning you in the right light at the right time, however the rest of the magic just unfolds organically.
Lucas & Co: I find it difficult to describe my own style. Similar to musicians when asked what genre they are, it can be hard to define yourself. I often find other people can describe my work better than I can as its hard to critique your own work in the third person. Eclectic is one word that comes to mind as I’m influenced by so many different styles and approaches that my work can be very diverse depending on the circumstances which I’m shooting in. As for editing for me it’s all about finding the right vibe and the colour tones that retell the story and do it justice. Whether it be colour or black and white I don’t want viewers to be distracted by the editing but go beyond to be drawn into the emotion of the image.
Stories by Ash: My photography style is joyful, natural and honest. I seek out real interactions and emotion, and all the beautiful, intimate details and moments that are unique to each wedding. I’m a relaxed person and my presence on the day is unobtrusive and friendly. Rather than a silent observer, I’m part of the day, blending in with guests and documenting what it feels like. When we take some time for portraits I create a relaxed atmosphere where my couple feel they can be themselves and I can capture their real personalities. My images are edited with richness and warmth, in a timeless way that won’t date in the future.
Figtree Pictures: Our photographic style is natural, relaxed and filled with joy. This is paired with our editing style which is contemporary and timeless.
Van Middleton: Natural, simple and candid.
Do you work with a second shooter?
Asher King: Yes, my brother Tui is also a talented photographer and I like to shoot with him by my side if the budget allows.
Carly Tia: I generally capture weddings on my own, but there are times when a second shooter is a valuable addition to your day. It’s best to chat more about your plans to see if a second shooter might be a good idea or not.
Possum Creek Studios: I mostly work solo however if a second shooter is required I can call upon a number of experienced photographers due to my extensive connections in the industry.
Shane Shepherd: My ridiculously talented wife Dee is my main second shooter when I do need someone, but most of the time I shoot weddings solo. I tell couples that unless you’re having 150 guests, or the both of you are getting ready quite far away from one another, then there’s really no need to have a second shooter. Same goes for video too. I think it’s best to keep the number of photographers and videographers to a minimum. I heard about a wedding that had three photographers and five videographers, which in the words of everyone back in 2016 is ‘cray cray’.
Ivy Road Photography: Brendan and myself are first and second shooters for each other and we have Matt and Kirra second shooting to complete our little team.
Nina Claire: I mostly shoot solo but have shot with seconds many times. I usually recommend a second shooter for larger weddings of over 150 people.
Beck Rocchi: This is an additional add on if the couple has it in their budget. I do LOVE working with a second shooter to have a second angle and a second pair of eyes!
Lucas & Co: Sometimes…. it really depends on the situation and if it calls for it. I quite often prefer shooting by myself as it helps my style to be discreet. The less aware people are of the camera the better photos I get. More photographers (and videographers) make our presence on the day more obvious. But in saying that, having a second eye always brings a perspective I don’t have which really does enhance the storytelling aspect of the day. And more involved the day is, different locations for ceremony, reception, getting ready etc. a second shooter makes the day so much easier for everyone as I can’t be everywhere at once.
Stories by Ash: Mostly I shoot on my own, after photographing 300+ weddings I love it that way and will confidently capture the day. For weddings with 200 guests or more, or multiple locations with some distance between them, a second photographer can be helpful. I’ll happily organise for someone amazing to join us if needed.
Figtree Pictures: Yes, almost always to ensure every beautiful little moment is covered.
Van Middleton: Sometimes, but more often I shoot by myself.
Do you follow a shot list or do you prefer to have free reign to capture as the festivities unfold?
Asher King: If you want to give me a shot list I’m 100% not the right person to choose for your wedding photographer. However, don’t worry, I get all the details and more of the day. My job is to capture all the important things from the day. Just sit back, relax and enjoy your day, I’ll worry about covering the festivities and getting all the little moments as they happen.
Carly Tia: I like to capture weddings as each moment naturally unfolds. This way, you are surrounded by a much more relaxed feeling on the day and there is minimal fuss about it all. I’m always looking to capture candid moments between people throughout the day, along with keeping an eye out for the little details too. A shot list is great for the family photos part of the day, but I don’t need one for the whole day as each wedding is entirely different.
Possum Creek Studios: A bit of both! I mostly love to document things as they happen rather than be too intrusive, however there are certain shots I make sure I don’t miss. For instance, I believe a photo of the Bride/Groom with their Mum/Dad/Siblings/Besties is a must-have!
Shane Shepherd: Both. I ask for couples to give me a bit of an idea of anything out of the ordinary e.g. the bride is wearing her grandmas wedding shoes, but mostly I just want to know what humans are most important to you so I can make sure I get some amazing shots of them. 90% of the time though I’m roaming around and capturing the good times.
Ivy Road Photography: Most wedding days tend to run similarly, so we know what to expect to some extent and we capture it all as it happens organically. In a way we have a ‘shot list’ that we work off in our minds that are the must-haves ie. bride with bridesmaids together and singularly, same for the groom, aisle walk, groom’s reaction, ring exchange, first kiss etc etc, but for the couple photoshoot we try and keep it fairly natural, as for lots of couples it’s their first experience in front of a camera. We want it to be fun and easy and not be a part of their wedding that they don’t enjoy. So we don’t focus on being overly posed or staged, we like to keep it fun, natural and full of authentic moments.
Nina Claire: I usually shoot with the idea in mind to capture what unfolds. It would be a shame to miss a really special moment between you and your grandmother because I’m busy photographing the napkins. keeping that in mind I also like to make sure I cover all the lovely details that have often had a lot of thought put into them. I strike a nice balance.
Beck Rocchi: Having done over 200 weddings I definitely don’t need a shot list anymore – however I do help the couple work on their timeline to make sure they get the best photo’s possible on their day! I love the feedback from the couple after they receive their wedding photos as I capture so many moment which they did not see! Having so much experience at weddings is great because I can give so much advice to the couple to help them have the best day ever.
Lucas & Co: I typically don’t follow lists, mainly because I don’t want to be caught up in trying to capture everything on a list that I miss real moments that are happening throughout the day. It’s the real moments that can’t be pre planned at a wedding that tell the real story. It’s those moments that makes your day unlike anyone else’s.
Stories by Ash: Being able to photograph a wedding as festivities unfold naturally means I can capture photos that hold true emotion and significance. Though a shot list is not needed I do love to know of anything important to my couples before the big day. Family traditions, cultural elements, special gifts, moments or people… tell me everything! I’ll keep these things in mind as I capture the day naturally unfolding, with particular focus on candid, in between moments and friends and family having a great time.
Figtree Pictures:We document the day as it unfolds, although if there are any “must haves”, we’re happy to receive advice from our couples. We’ll make sure we have a list of the all important family/friends photos that the couple wants, but other than that we’re there to capture the day that’s presented to us in our own creative way.
Van Middleton: I prefer not to refer to shot lists. For me it’s more about authentic images than manufactured ones.
What do you aim to shoot on the day that would be included in the edited wedding photos?
Asher King: The best image you’ll ever have taken of the two of you. The portrait session is the most important for me. I want you to have an epic image that you’ll happily hang above the mantelpiece for years to come. I never allow the bridal party to come watch the portrait shoot, cause, well, drunk people. Once we have the bridal party shots I send them off on their merry way back to the bar. I ask for 30 minutes minimum with just the two of you, this is so I can create something epic you will cherish when your both old and not that hot anymore.
Carly Tia:It’s hard to list what I aim to shoot on a wedding day as it differs so much from the special moments (big and little) to the little things that you may have missed. But overall, I like to try and capture the feeling of what it was like to be at your wedding and hopefully the photos will transport you back to the time and place that you celebrated it all.
Possum Creek Studios: Gosh, so many things. Basically for me it’s about telling the story of the day in the most honest way possible. A combination of the big moments and small, the people, the places, the emotion, the details, all being captured with beauty and grace so that you get to re-live it over and over.
Shane Shepherd: It should just feel like when you get your photos back, that the photos give a representation of the day, so that it feels like a story that’s being told. I usually provide around 800+ individually edited images, so there’s a lot of moments in there.
Ivy Road Photography: I think I’ve answered that above, we shoot everything as it happens and provide around 100 edited images per hour of photography coverage.
Nina Claire: Hugs, smiles and tears. I shoot what’s happening on the day. So much happens on a wedding day it’s full of emotion and I aim to capture the feel and tone of the day. There’s standard things I’m sure to capture too… like the kiss. That’s all par for the course. I really do take so many pictures on the day. A huge part of creating your collection is curating the images together to tell the story in an honest and beautiful way. My collections are meaningful and thought out.
Beck Rocchi: Each wedding I try and tell the story of the day from start to finish. This means EVERYTHING. All the big stuff (like the kiss, the cake cutting, the first dance) as well as all the in-between stuff…the flowers girls twirling in their dresses, the guests tearing up the dance-floor and laughing hysterically during the speeches, the hilarious moments when the bride cannot get her ring on during the ceremony because she is too hot, and the touching moment as a father sees his daughter in her wedding dress. I deliver 1000 images which are raw and real! It still blows my mind that these images will be passed down through generations to children and grandchildren. It is an absolute honour to have the opportunity to do this for people!
Lucas & Co: Everything that tells the story. Starting from details such as what the bride and groom are wearing, dresses, shoes, jewellery. To all the typical moments, first kiss, first dance, all these moments are important moments in the day. Delivering lost of candid moments of guests is always a big part of what I do, it’s those little moments brides and grooms aren’t aware of that looking back tells the story from their guests perspective. While some people will disagree, I really see value in family photos. They are an important element to a wedding day as it’s a unique moment in time when two families come together and might not all be in the same place at the same time again. It’s those photos that grow in value to you in years to come so it’s always something I see as important. I shoot very candidly on the day but bride and groom portraits are another important moment that I try to balance with some causal direction but still keep it free so it doesn’t feel awkward. My priority is to get amazing photos but never at the expense of the bride and groom having a great day. There’s no point taking hours off on a photo shoot somewhere when all you want to do is be having fun with your guests. I always try to balance getting great portraits with what a bride and groom wants and if that’s a short or long session it’s completely up to them.
Stories by Ash: What it really felt like to be there on the day. I’m most interested in creating images that will matter to people and that will be treasured by couple and their families for many years to come. This means I’m seeking real emotion, the true connection between a couple, unposed moments and loved ones celebrating. It’s often the quiet, fleeting moments I’m drawn to… a glance, a hug, a touch or a smile.
Figtree Pictures: Like most photographers, we love to capture those raw unscripted moments, beautiful displays of emotion, creative use of light. We’ll photograph each component of the day so that the couple has a complete ‘wedding story’.
Van Middleton: Everything, from getting ready through to the dance-floor. Natural photos as well as portraits.
What do you love about shooting weddings in the Byron Bay region?
Asher King: It’s such a stunning part of the world, I grew up in the region so I have a deep connection with the community and its surrounds. I know where to go at any time of the year to create images with my couples. Certain times of the year offer different things, Summer has storms, so you want to go to the hills to get those dramatic skies as the clouds roll in. Autumn, the colours are mind blowing down the beach. Winter, the days are so clear, the view to the lighthouse from Fig Tree Restaurant or up at Byron View Farm can’t be beaten, and Spring is the jewel in the crown, a perfect temperature so your not cooking all day and the colours are perfect no matter where you end up for photos. Byron is the perfect place to either chill or party, it all depends on what you want your wedding to be, Byron can offer it all and more. A lot of my couples end up moving to Byron a few years after their wedding, I think that says something for how special our little part of the world is…
Carly Tia: I absolutely love the relaxed vibe of weddings in the Byron Bay region. Who wouldn’t?! Not only is the atmosphere relaxed and fun, but there are so many beautiful locations that are perfect to explore for photos!! We are so lucky to have some incredible venues, the most friendly and passionate vendors to work alongside, and some pretty darn good photo locations whether it’s on the beach or in the hinterland! It’s perfect!
Possum Creek Studios: Byron Bay is my home and my heart. I feel connected to couples who get married in Byron because they tend to be more relaxed and focused on the things I love too – good food, good family, good friends. Also, the scenery just simply KICKS BUTT!!
Shane Shepherd: Having travelled all over the world shooting weddings, I have to say Byron Bay has some of the best wedding venues anywhere. It’s just a very special place, the Byron region. We have the hinterland, the ocean, a quirky town, we are the most easterly point in the country, whales and dolphins hang out here, the sunsets are an insanely nice purple/red… there’s plenty to love!
Ivy Road Photography: I love the natural environment, whether it be the hinterland, orchards, fields or the beach, the Byron Bay region has it all and has managed to keep its charm while becoming a bustling tourist hub.
Nina Claire: Byron bay is such a special part of the world. It’s beautiful and full of magic. What I love about Byron is the people that come here. This place attracts my kind of people… adventurous souls who have a passion for what’s awesome about life. Good times, friends, family and connection. Throw in some amazing landscapes and it’s a pretty special place to be a photographer.
Beck Rocchi: FIRSTLY – I love the people. Byron Bay has always had my heart, and I think it is the same for a lot of people! The minute you enter this town you slow down, enjoy some sunshine and forget about the fast paced rat race of the city. Because of this, the couples’ who chose Byron for their weddings are all lovers of this vibe. Their guests are always in serious holiday vay-cay mode wearing their favourite tropical outfits and a tad bit sunburnt. They are here to have a good time and soak up and the good energy! And THIS is what I love! SECONDLY – I love the natural beauty of this place! Whether it is the hinterlands, or the beach/ocean settings we have ourselves a lot of beautiful backdrops to work with!!
Lucas & Co: Byron is unlike anywhere in the world I’ve ever been. It’s one of the most beautiful regions of Australia but more than that it’s the vibe of the people that makes it my favourite place to shoot. And I think it’s that vibe combined with the surroundings that makes it one of the best places to get married in the world.
Stories by Ash: I’ll always love the diversity and natural beauty of the region. Between the beaches, rainforests and hinterland it’s a photographer’s dream! But the people and Byron Bay wedding suppliers are what I really love. There’s a passion and level of personal care, attention to detail, and experience I find very special. It means my couples are relaxed, they can focus on each other, have fun, and enjoy an incredible day with loved ones.
Van Middleton: The natural surrounds and locations make for a beautiful canvas. It’s a very photogenic region, especially for shooters like me, that love to incorporate the natural environment and character of the venues.
Enquire with these Photographers here:
Asher King // Possum Creek Studios // Shane Shepherd // Ivy Road Photography // Nina Claire // Beck Rocchi // Lucas & Co // Stories by Ash // Figtree Pictures // Van Middleton