Wedding Day : Before & Afters

13 Aug 2014            Jessica Ratty

As I have mentioned a few times before in my blog posts, after a wedding day - any images that are ordered by guests or any and all images that go into your wedding album are fully retouched, skin softened and made to pop! Just to make your album look as amazing as it possibly can. On your wedding day, you will already look the most beautiful and glowing that you ever have before, but with a little retouching and editing, your album will be the perfect way to tell people the fairytale of your wedding day!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Wedding Day : Beautiful Moments With Parents

04 Aug 2014            Jessica Ratty

Over years of shooting weddings, I have learned just how important the photos of the Bride and Groom are with their parents, especially capturing meaningful beautiful image, instead of just a straight forward smiley snapshot. For the couple, it is more so a few years or so after the wedding day... when their parents may have passed away and they still have this beautiful moment captured in a photograph to remember that special moment and relationship. Sadly a couple of the fathers that have been photographed below, have since passed away since the wedding day.

Monday, August 04, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Wedding Day : Behind The Scenes

30 Jul 2014            Jessica Ratty

Every now and then a client will ask how I dress for a wedding (usually after a bad experience at another wedding or hearing horror stories). I always wear black to weddings, that way there is no light colours competing with the Bride and there is no bright colours that will draw your guests attention to me. As the photographer, I want to be able to capture beautiful little moments as they happen, so I want to blend in a bit more. I always dress professionally and will NEVER wear jeans to a wedding!! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Wedding Day : Father Of The Bride First Look

25 Jul 2014            Jessica Ratty

One of my favourite parts of a wedding day, is when the Bride's Father see's her for the first time in her gown before she is about to be married. So usually we don't let Dad see the Bride until she is completely ready with her veil and gown on. Then Dad can come in and see his Daughter for the first time as a Bride, it is always such a sweet and emotional moment. 

The next Father of The Bride First Look, is one of the most beautiful moments I have ever photographed at a wedding. They are from Sharon & Kevin's wedding in September. Originally they were suppose to be getting married the January before hand, but unfortunately Sharon's Dad was diagnosed with cancer and was having treatment, so they wanted to move it until he would be better. Just before the wedding, I was told that they don't know what is going to happen and they don't know how long he will have. Less than 3 weeks earlier, my own Father in Law passed away from cancer and he wasn't able to attend our wedding because he was too ill... In the lead up to both of our weddings, Sharon and I were keeping each other updated on each Father's cancer journey and what was happening.

So I knew how important these images would be and how we would have given anything to have them from our wedding. So on the day, I made sure that I captured as many beautiful moments of Sharon and her Father together as I could. This was his reaction when he saw her for the first time... it was a really emotional and beautiful moment. These are some of my favourite photos from their wedding day, just because they are so pure and filled with so much meaning and love. Sadly, since the wedding Sharon's Father has passed away from cancer, so these images have become even more meaningful. 

Friday, July 25, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Wedding Day : Incorporating A Missing Loved One

16 Jul 2014            Jessica Ratty

I saw this video a couple of weeks ago and wanted to share it on my blog. It is such a beautiful video and such an amazing way to remember a missing loved one in your wedding day. It really touched me, as Stuart's Dad was too ill in hospital to be able to be at our wedding and we tried to incorporate him as much as we could. And having him there would have been so amazing and special. This is such a beautiful video.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Wedding Day Tips : An Unplugged Wedding?

02 Jul 2014            Jessica Ratty

Unplugged weddings are becoming quite popular and for very good reasons too! Stuart and I decided to have an unplugged ceremony and we are so glad we did! So what is an unplugged wedding? It is where you ask/tell your guests that during the ceremony (or some people like it during other parts of the wedding as well), they do not take any photos at all - no phones, camera, iPads nothing. This may seem strange, but there are so many reasons to have an unplugged wedding:

1) Your guests will actually be able to watch and enjoy your ceremony and share the moment with you, instead of trying to take photos, get the best angle, figure out why the cameras flash isn't going off etc. 

2) You have paid a professional photographer to capture all of the special moments on your Wedding Day, so you want them to be able to do their job, the best they can. Your images will be so much more beautiful if your photographer has more flexibility and doesn't have other guests trying to compete for the best "photo spot".

3) Most professional photographers don't use flash during a ceremony as their cameras are professional enough and high enough quality, they can use a lot higher ISO - which means they can shoot in darker areas without using flash. But most guests have the flash on their camera and always use it. There are some churches and priests that do not allow flash photography inside a church... If the guests are taking photos with the flash on, this can cause issues as the priest may believe it is the photographer. It also means that during your ceremony you will have flashes of light going off. If your photographer happens to take a photo exactly when a guest takes a photo with a flash, it will completely overexpose the professional photographers photo and blow everything out to a white light. What happens if this is a crucial part of your ceremony? The kiss? Your Dad giving you away? Or even just a little look from your Groom. The moment is missed.

4) The main parts of the ceremony that have the real issue with the photography by guests, is when the Bride and her Father walk up the isle.... The photographer and videographer are usually behind the Bride, so they can capture her walking up the isle, her gown and veil trailing behind her and to see the Groom's reaction... A lot of guests don't realise this and they lean out of their isles to get a better shot... or even worse which there is nothing we can do about, is when a guest completely steps out of their row and stands directly in the centre of the isle "to get a good shot"... the only issue is they step right in front of your professional photographer or videographer, blocking our entire shot. By the time we can get to them and tell them they are blocking the isle, it could be too late, you have missed the moment, your Dad has already given you away and we have missed the handshake with the Groom and the entire beautiful moment. The next main issue is when the Bride & Groom are officially married and are walking back down the isle - it is the first images of them as a married couple, they are usually beaming with excitement and love and the images are gorgeous... But again your photographer will be photographing you as you walk towards them... Guests often step out in between so they can take a shot as well.

5) The other downside to all of your guests bringing along their cameras, phones and iPods, is when you have this amazing full wide shot of the entire ceremony with the guests and setting - the first thing you see is a sea of screens in the air and it unfortunately really ruins the image and takes away from the Bride and Groom. 

But it is a completely personal choice and some couples like to do it, so their guests can enjoy the ceremony, or some couples prefer to let their guests take photos throughout the ceremony.

It is just something you need to consider before the day, as unfortunately those things cannot be edited out of your images later on.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Liam & Jasmin : Wedding Album

27 Jun 2014            Jessica Ratty

Liam and Jasmin were married in December at the gorgeous Caversham House. After their wedding day they loved their images so much, they ended up having an 80 page album! So there was quite a few pages to share, so I thought I would share a few of my favourite pages. 

When some people are planning their Wedding Day, they don't think about just how important the images from that day are. There is only 1 chance to capture all of the beautiful moments that happen during the day and create amazing images for you. If the images are not perfect or you don't love them, there is no going back and redoing it. Photography is one of the few vendors that you will book, not being able to see the finished product until after your wedding day, when things cannot be changed. 

There are so many beautiful moments that you don't want to miss on your day. You have spent so much time and money planning and dreaming of your perfect wedding, the gown, the flowers, the venue, the hair and makeup.. all of those things are only there for the day. Your gown will be stored away and kept safe, the hair and makeup is taken off, the flowers dry out and the venue closes at the end of your reception. After the Wedding day, the only thing that you will have to remind you of all of those beautiful details and special moments, are your wedding photographs. From the place settings, to the bonbonnieres, the centrepieces, your wedding cake, the details in your dream wedding gown, your flowers, the shoes, the jewellery - all of these special details should be captured and remembered. 

Some couples think that they won't want an album after their wedding day. But it is something that definitely finishes off your images, it tells the beautiful story of your wedding day, it shows all of the details you put time and money into, you can show your family and friends easily and it will become your first family heirloom. 

How many times have you taken photos on your phone or had them on the computer, but never got around to printing them or having them up for display? With technology changing everyday you need to be careful with digital only photos. As years ago they used floppy disks, now you can't even read them on a computer, videos were on VHS, but we are now moving to DVD. But all of the new Apple computers are designed with no disk drive, so is that an indication of where technology is heading? No more DVDs or disks? If all of your images are only in digital form, what happens if one day you can't access them? Or the disk fails? At least you know your album will last forever.

Friday, June 27, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Wedding Day Tips : The Morning of The Wedding For The Bride

24 Jun 2014            Jessica Ratty

The morning of your wedding is the most exciting, nervous, sometimes stressful day of your life. But if you follow a few tips and are nice and organised, you will be able to completely relax and enjoy every minute of it. There should be no stress or rushing, if you keep to a schedule and everything is well organised, you will be glowing the entire time!

So here are some of my tips (From being on both sides of the situation - a photographer capturing the day, to a Bride experiencing it all happening). In order for the morning of the wedding to run smoothly, you have to be pre-prepared as there is many things that need to be done and organised, which you don't want to be worrying about on your wedding day!

1) Get To Know Your Gown : When you go in for your wedding gown fittings or even the final fitting, make sure you take a couple of your bridesmaids with you, or your mother etc. That way the gown boutique can show them exactly how to do up your dress (as this can be quite tricky and if the girls are unsure of what they are doing, it can take a long time too). Make sure they also show them where the Gowns Bustle is and how to do it up. The bustle is on most gowns that have a train, it basically ties the train up to the back of the gown (for your reception) so you can dance and not worry about people standing on it. It will also make it a lot easier to do your Bridal Waltz!

2) It Is All In The Details: Have all of your details ready before the morning of the wedding and have them all together - shoes, lingerie, jewellery, garter, perfume, veil, deodorant, anything that you will need while getting ready. That way you aren't worrying or rushing around to find them on the morning.


3) Be Organised And Have A Plan: If you need to have a night bag packed for a hotel stay that night, make sure the bag is already packed and near the front door, you don't want to be trying to organise what you need or packing while you are being pampered. It also helps to have a list of things that need to be done, things that can be done the week before, the day before or the day of the wedding. You want as little as possible to do on the morning of the wedding as you just won't have time. You can also make a list of things you need to take with you, when you leave for the ceremony, so there is nothing you forget! Also a rough timeline for the morning is a good idea, so you can make sure the hair and makeup is running on time. You can also designate jobs and tasks - that is what your Bridesmaids are for! Before our wedding I would tell my Bridesmaids that they were my Bride-slaves! They are there to help you and make the day fabulous for you and stress free. At some point, you need to let the control go and let them sort some situations out.

For my Bride's I like them to be ready - gown on, two hours before they need to leave for the ceremony. That way they can relax and enjoy the morning, getting lots of gorgeous images, drink champagne and take in the day! As the Bride - you DO NOT want to be the last one getting your hair and makeup done! You either want to be close to the start or somewhere in the middle. This is one of the most important tips that you can take! If hair or makeup is running late and you are last, you are the one who is running late and stressing out over time. Which means, you get stressed, you are rushing to get ready, you don't get all of the beautiful images that you see in our display albums and you don't get the chance to enjoy it all. At least if they are running slightly behind schedule with the bridesmaids or mother of the bride, we can start getting you in your gown and photographing you - after all the day is all about you! Then if something does happen to your hair or makeup - the artists are still there to do touch ups and fix anything. 

4) The Shoes Are Important : If you are wearing new shoes on the day - make sure you wear them in before the day and can comfortably walk in them. It is also a good idea to pack some flats, as it is a long day and usually by the reception (if not before) you will definitely be wanting to swap to flats. Usually your guests won't even be able to tell and you will enjoy the night so much more - pain free!

5) Where To Get Ready: Think about where you are going to get ready on the morning of the wedding. There are a few things to consider - is there enough space for everyone to be? Bridesmaids, Parents, Hairdresser, Makeup Artist, Bride, Photographer and anyone else that may be there. Also you want to make sure there is room to have photos taken, as if all of the rooms are filled with boxes and things, then there may not be space for photos. So you want as much space as possible. You also want to aim to be getting ready somewhere that has quite a lot of window light - not only is it beautiful for photographs but it is also preferred by the makeup artists so they can get the colours exactly correct. Another thing to think about is how many people do you want there in the morning? Don't forget, you have a lot to do and there is so much happening... Sometimes if there are a lot of people around, they can stress the Bride out more and cause delays. You really want to have only people who need to be there, to be there. On the morning of the wedding, everyone will have lots of questions... and you being the Bride... everyone wants the answer from you.. so the less people there, the less tense you will feel. Also while you are having your photos taken, if you have a lot of people there staring and watching you, a lot of Brides tense up and don't relax in their images. But if you can have photos away from everyone, you will be able to relax and just breath and have some time to yourself. Another thing to think about, is if there are going to be young children there, who is going to be looking after them? As if it is one of the Bridesmaid's she will already be busy doing her hair, makeup, getting dressed, having photos. So make sure there is someone there who's job is to look after the kids.

6) The Beautiful Veil :  If you are wearing a veil on the day, make sure you cut off the little ribbon loop that is attached to the veil comb.. As it is only there to help hang it before the day.. if you leave it on, it can stick up during the day and be very noticeable in photos etc. Also if you are wearing a veil, make sure it is secured in firmly.. don't forget it has a big day to last through, after the ceremony - hugs and congratulations (guests have a tendency to yank the veil without realising), walking down the isle, getting in and out of cars, dancing, the wind and just overall enjoying the day. So make sure you have bobby pins to help secure it... and even pack some extras incase during the day it starts to come loose, you can re-secure it. 

7) Hair And Make-up : When it comes to your hair and makeup - make sure you have had a trial before hand and in the trial they have given you exactly what you want and how you want it.. as on the day it is too late if there is any confusion or miscommunication. Make sure it is definitely clear what the hair and makeup plan is on the day. While you are getting pampered and primed, make sure you are either wearing a robe or a button up shirt... the last thing you want is to have the perfect hair and makeup and then go to pull your t-shirt over your head and it catches your hair and rubs against the makeup. Then when it is time to put your beautiful gown on - again you want to protect your hair, makeup and not to mention your brand new white gown! So it depends on your gown, if you can step into your gown to put it on, then there is no issue... if you have to put it over your head to get it on... a pillow case over your head is a perfect solution. It will protect your gown from getting makeup and foundation rubbed on it, it will also protect your hair and makeup from getting caught or damaged.

8) Rest And Refresh : Get a good nights sleep - you want to wake up refreshed, not tired or in a grumpy mood. If you wake up refreshed you will be excited and relaxed for the entire day. You don't want to wake up tired, because trust me, the wedding day is a very long and full on day, you will be completely exhausted by the end of your reception, so SLEEP as much as you can the night before.

On the morning of the wedding make sure you drink water and EAT BREAKFAST trust me - I give this advice to all of my Brides, but even on our wedding day I found myself so excited and so wrapped up in what was happening that I kept saying I didn't need to eat... Luckily my Mum is Italian and very persistent! It is really important you drink and eat during the day... There have been quite a few weddings, where Brides have been so caught up in the excitement, that they forget to drink or eat anything... then when it comes to the reception they are physically sick and can't enjoy their night!

9) Drying Your Flowers : To keep your bouquets fresh, most florists will drop off your flowers in a big box and each bouquet has its own water source.. this is great for the morning so it keeps them nice and fresh. But have a towel or tea towel ready to go - because before you need your flowers (for photos etc) you want to make sure the stems are completely dry! If they aren't and they happen to touch your gown/Bridesmaid gowns - depending on the fabric, even the water will stain and leave a mark. 

10) Relax And Enjoy : Things may go wrong on the day or plans may change, do not stress yourself about it, just move on and forget about it - you have plenty of time after the wedding to sort things out or be mad. On the day, there is nothing that can be done and you do not want it to ruin your special day! The day will be amazing no matter what, so don't let things stress you out or ruin your day! Just keep in mind what the day is about and what is important. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Our Wedding Day : Incorporating A Missing Loved One

16 Jun 2014            Jessica Ratty

As many of my clients know, in the lead up to our Wedding Day, Stuart's Dad was quite ill with cancer. But he always insisted that he would definitely be at the wedding and there was no way he would miss it. So we never had a back up plan, or ever thought he may not be there. Everyone just stayed positive and thought he would be okay for the wedding day. And about a month before the wedding, it seemed like he would be okay for the day. But as we got closer (a few weeks out) he was admitted back into hospital. He was quite sick and weak, we had discussed that maybe he wouldn't be strong enough to come to the wedding (especially as it was in York - about an hour and half away). But he stayed positive and said to the Doctors that it was our wedding he had to be out for and he has to be there. So again while it was in the back of our minds, we just thought he would be there. We had no plans in place incase he wasn't, we had booked his accommodation, we had made his place setting, we had ordered customised cufflinks for him to wear on the day (he LOVED golf) so on one it said "Father of The Groom" and the other said "I would rather be golfing", we had chosen the song for him to walk up to do his speech to, we had him to witness and sign our marriage certificate. 

We never thought for a moment that he wouldn't be there. About a week and a half out from the Wedding Day, Peter was moved from the normal cancer ward, to ICU. His condition changed very quickly and all of a sudden he wasn't even allowed to have visitors unless they had masks on and no germs what so ever. It was just over a week away from the wedding day and I remember being in my office and getting a call from Stuart saying that his Dad had just told him, that the Doctors said there is no way he will be at the wedding and they wouldn't even let him out for the day. We were devastated, all of a sudden, realisation hit that his Dad would not be there for our wedding day, we wouldn't be able to have a photo with him, he wouldn't be able to do his speech. 

We were going to postpone the wedding, but Peter insisted that we didn't and said he still wanted us to go ahead as usual. With the entire wedding planning, I had all of these random things I wanted to have and to organise and at that stage it all seemed so important.. But in the last couple of weeks before the wedding, our priorities completely changed. What had seemed important for the wedding a few weeks ago, was crossed off our list and seemed ridiculous all of a sudden. We spent every day before the wedding at the hospital and all of the details and plans we had for the wedding, seemed so insignificant. Not only could he not attend the wedding, but at that stage we didn't even know if he would make it through the week.

So in the last week before the wedding, I realised I needed to change the details I was planning and try to incorporate Peter in our wedding, as much as possible. He was definitely one of the most important people, that we wanted to be there with us. 

I had no idea what I should do to "have him still at the wedding"... I didn't want us to have no photos from our wedding day that didn't have his face in them. But we only had a week to get things organised.. so there was a few things that we did to have him incorporated at the wedding. 

The one thing I really wanted, was for Stuart to have something about his Dad on him during the day and something he could keep forever. So I decided to get him an old style pocket watch, that opened up on both sides. On one side I put a photo of him and his Dad when he was only little and on the other side of the pocket watch, was a recent photo of them together. 

Images by Jerry Ghionis

I had already decided that I wanted silver pendants hanging from my bouquet with black and white images of my Grandparents who have all passed away. They were already on my Bouquet and ready for the day.. So I had the idea to add a photo of Peter to my bouquet, but I didn't want it to be the same as my grandparents, as he was still here. So I managed to get the same pendant in gold and had his photograph printed in colour. So they were all present and remembered on my bouquet.

I also wanted a big photo up so that all of the guests could acknowledge him and think of him while they were at the wedding. 

When it came to the ceremony, my Sister in Law's partner was kind enough to set up a video camera and a web link - so Peter could watch our ceremony from his hospital bed. 

Peter had already written his speech, so Stuarts brother read out his speech on his behalf. While he was reading Peters speech, we had a photo of Stuart & Peter projected up on the screen behind him. 

The reason why I wanted to share this on my blog, is because I have had a couple of Brides who have had very ill parents or close family that they weren't sure would be okay to make it to their wedding. Luckily, they were both able to be well enough to be at their weddings in the end. 

After the wedding, we planned on getting redressed in our wedding attire and have a photo with Peter as if it was on the wedding day. Unfortunately Peter never got well enough to do that. Less than 4 months after our wedding day, Peter passed away, so we never got to have a wedding photo with him. Even though I am a wedding photographer and know how important photos are and have always tried to explain to people how important they are... I never actually appreciated how much 1 image could mean.. especially when it was an image that wasn't taken. 

We have both discussed how much we wish we could of had that one image from the day. So for our one year wedding anniversary, I did the closest thing I could to that and had a painting done of Stuart and his Dad, as if it was taken on the wedding day with Stuart in his wedding suit. 

Stuart had no idea I had organised it to be done and was completely surprised. 

Monday, June 16, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


Wedding Tip : Online Wedding Gowns

11 Jun 2014            Jessica Ratty

This blog post is not written to scare you! I just want to make sure that all of my Bride's are properly educated on some issues with online ordering, before they do it.

Quite a few Bride's I speak to say that they are thinking of ordering their wedding gown online as it is a lot cheaper.... PLEASE BE CAREFUL!! I have heard many and most horror experiences, I don't think I have ever had a positive outcome. A few years ago, I had a gorgeous Bride who decided to order 3 wedding gowns off the internet as they were quite cheap, so she thought that at least one would come back okay... All three dresses arrived and they were not like the images displayed, they did not fit properly at all, yet she had an amazing figure. She took them to an alterations place and showed the seamstress. The seamstress got her to try on a professionally made gown that they had there and asked my Bride if she would like her dress to fit like that... My Bride was very excited and said yes, this is exactly how I want you to make my gowns fit... The seamstress then had to tell her that there was no way that any of the dresses could be fixed enough to fit the way she wanted them to fit, they were made poorly to begin with, so she couldn't save them. My Bride had to then go out and buy a 4th dress in Perth at full although she originally thought she would be saving money, she ended up spending a lot more than just getting a custom gown that you know fits. 

I had another client who ordered a wedding gown on a website she found, she paid for the gown (it wasn't a really cheap dress either), the dress never arrived... she tried to contact the phone number but it was disconnected, the website then disappeared and she lost all of the money she had paid for that gown.

I have had other Bride's who have seen a gown in a boutique in Perth, then gone online and found what seems to be "the exact same gown" (as these websites often use the exact same photos that the gown designers and gown boutiques use, so Brides assume that it is exactly the same gown). This usually is not the case at all... There are many websites out there that show you the stunning gown that you have been wanting, but the gown they send you is a far cheaper and low quality version, they usually use cheaper fabrics and it arrives looking very different and not fitting very well.

So especially when it comes to Wedding Bridal Gowns, please be careful, while you think you could save money, it may end up costing you more, wedding gowns just have so much detailing and beautiful features, that it really needs to be made right. 

This is your wedding gown, your one wedding day to wear your dream gown, make sure you are in love with your gown and 100% happy with it, the last thing you want, is to look back at your images and regret your gown. It is your one special day... why not spoil yourself?

I will admit though, I did order my Bridesmaid gowns online... BUT.... I used a very reputable site that many people I knew had used before. Even one of my clients had ordered her Bridesmaid gowns from there - she showed them to me and they were such high quality, the seams were perfect, they were custom made to each girls measurements and were beautiful! I was still quite nervous though as I was having 5 bridesmaids, so I didn't want to order and pay for 5 gowns and then they arrive and look terrible! So way in advance, I ordered the exact gown I wanted, but in red so I could check the quality and wear it to our own Engagement Session Shoot. It arrived and was gorgeous. It was so well made and the fabric was beautiful. So I ordered all of my Bridesmaid dresses - the exact same gown but in black, I put them all on the same order. ***This is really important to put them together in the order, as different fabric batches may have a slight different colour tone or depth, so you want all of the dresses to be made from the same batch.. Otherwise a dress or two could be slightly a different shade or tone. My Bridesmaid gowns arrived and they were perfect, a few of them just needed to get them shortened for their heels, or added darts into the bust so there was no gap. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 comments (0) post comment 


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