Just when I thought Australian politics would slide into the abyss of anti-gay wedding mediocrity, I’m pleasantly gob-smacked by the swift and decisive nature the “yes” vote took to manifest late last year. What a triumph! Love is love! Finally!!!! Now the party is over, its down to business. Wedding business. Australia voted and it came to pass, but what does that mean for the wedding industry? Like the statistics reflected by the general populous, the vast majority of wedding vendors are all for marriage equality – at least from a fiscal perspective – but is the Australian wedding industry really ready for same sex weddings?

I spoke with newly engaged couple Sarah and Bec about their experiences planning their upcoming June wedding and negotiating the potential minefield that is the wedding planning journey. They’ve shared the story of their journey and I’ve included a few of my top tips for same sex couples.

Planning a wedding is exciting and terrifying at the same time! For the LGBTI community, it carries even more significance. Many couples have waited, fought and pleaded for their own day in the sun. And now that its here, its real…what the??? Where do you start?!?!?! Just like every couple planning their wedding before them, its impossible not to get caught up in all the excitement and swept along the rapids of other peoples opinions, experiences and hang-ups. You don’t know what you don’t know…right? Right! So asking the RIGHT questions is key when selecting your wedding vendor dream team—not only does it give you an opportunity to negotiate pricing and learn about their process and skills, but it allows them to get to know you better as a couple. I love it when couples come to our initial consultation armed with a list of questions. Mostly they’re the obvious kind of things “how long to I allow for photography?”, “what time is the best light for photos?”…but same sex couples have all these things to consider, PLUS a few more…

Are you OK with same sex weddings?
Hello captain obvious! After having gone through years of justifying your relationship before the “yes” vote, it seems ridiculous to now have to ask if your vendor is OK with same sex weddings. The wedding industry is only just waking up to this brand new day, so you’ll find there’s experts like myself who are “morning people” and are all over the same sex wedding thing, then there will be some vendors who are a bit slow on the uptake. Professional wedding vendors who are experts in their field and who have many years experience in the wedding industry understand that love is love. But, realistically, you can’t ignore the possibility that even though it’s illegal to do so, some wedding vendors may not have the most welcoming attitude towards working on an LGBTI wedding. It’s a shame, but remember, that sometimes this reluctance may come simply from a lack of experience servicing a gay wedding, so you may find a little guidance is just what the situation requires. Just be up front from the get-go so that there are no surprises for anyone. If your dream vendor doesn’t want to work with you, more fool them. But it’s still their choice. Its better to find that out before any money is exchanged rather than have a conservative vendor turn up on your wedding day to a rather nasty (for them) surprise, then you’re stuck with them all day – awkward!

Traditions of all kind go out the window with same sex weddings (hurrah!) so you’re pioneers in a whole new world! The traditional definitions of bride & groom will be re-written for your wedding. So its 100% up to you what you want to call each other – bride and bride, wife and wife, groom and groom, husband and husband? What will we be called before we’re married vs. after? Forget the “partner” thing. You’ve got a fiance now! Dance a little with it. Who’s name will you take? Will you change your name at all? I never bothered when I married my husband Wayne in 2001 and I copped a HEAP of flack for it. But I just didn’t see the point. I have never been one to jump on a bandwagon just because an antiquated tradition and societal expectations told me I should, so I wasn’t about to start. No one was high-jacking my wedding. This is YOUR wedding. Never forget that. You only have one shot at it, so make it whatever YOU want it to be. Don’t make the mistake of generations of heterosexual couples before you and let your wedding day be rail-roaded to suit the agenda of others.


Chat to your celebrant about what are the legal bits of your ceremony and what are the things you have full control over. An industry expert like my good friend Lillian Lyon of Lyonheart Celebrations will guide you through the process and keep you fully informed of your rights and all the details you need to be on top of.

A very important but un-publicised detail that affects you and your ceremony is that from March 9th 2018 all celebrants without exception must declare whether they are a “Marriage Celebrant” or “Religious Marriage Celebrant”. If a celebrant defines themselves as a “marriage celebrant” they by law cannot refuse your booking based on gender preference. Only a religious marriage celebrant can refuse a same sex couple based on their religious beliefs. All celebrants MUST by law display exactly the words “marriage celebrant” or “religious marriage celebrant” on all business material including business cards, advertising, online and social, letterheads and all correspondence. The terms “celebrant” or “civil celebrant” alone are no longer legally accepted. Same sex couples will be able to identify whether a celebrant supports marriage equality or not based on these definitions.

Two dresses? Two suits? One of each? There’s no rules here. If you decide to go with two of something, you could potentially negotiate a better price. But be aware of lead times. Making one gown to a deadline is one thing, preparing two is something else. Work with your dressmaker to set a realistic fitting and delivery schedule.

Floral Artist
Having two bouquets? Two button-holes? Many floral packages come with one bouquet and one boutonniere so make sure to ask if their floral packages are flexible and priced accordingly before signing on the dotted line.

Hair and Makeup
Particularly if you identify as female, hairstylists and makeup artists may assume you want a traditional bridal “natural beauty” look. Communicate exactly the style you’re going for (photos help) and ask if they can provide images of similar looks they’ve created in the past, so you can feel assured you’re both on the same page.

DJ or Band
Entertainment pros are terrific resources for day-of music recommendations, but clarify if you’re seeking tunes that aren’t boy-meets-girl ballads.

For me, shooting a same sex wedding is almost identical in format as a hetero wedding. Sometimes both want photos beforehand, some don’t. EVERY wedding is different from the next so its important to find a shooter that has enough experience to be able to be flexible and deal with changes on the fly. If you’re both getting ready in the same place, do you want photos of you getting ready together? Or separately in different rooms? Are you going to go for something more traditional and not see each other for the 24hrs beforehand? For day-of photography, many photographers either jump back and forth between the couple’s rooms if they’re getting ready separately or have a second shooter capture one while they capture the other. If like me, they mostly shoot solo, talk to them about the getting-ready timeline so they can capture key shots with both of you separately (example: make sure you’re not slipping into your outfits at the same time so the photographer is able to photograph both). If you’re having two photographers, make sure that both shooters are well versed in taking bridal detail photos if you’re two brides. “Second shooters” are usually the ones that get sent to shoot the grooms all the time, so you don’t want to be the first bride they shoot.

By Samantha Halpern
B. Visual Communications (Photography & Digital Imaging)
Dip. Fine Arts (Photography)
Fully Accredited Member of the AIPP since 2008

Owner and Principle Photographer at JettyBlue Photography

Email me for a copy of my wedding mag “Forevermore” with loads of wedding day tips and an article with the delightful Lillian Lyon. There’s a very special offer on the back too 😉 0414 412 069.

One of the things I love about my job is when I get to meet business owners who are passionate about what they do and I get to help them tell their story to their customers using images. I do this through personal branding.

In these times of modern technology and advanced information age means that with a decent website, being active on a few social media platforms and a mobile phone just about anyone can call themselves an expert. Brilliant! Right?

So, in this multitude of opportunities for consumers, how does one find the ‘right’ person that has the solution to solve my problem? And how will I know they are the right person so I don’t end up wasting my time and money?

How do you search for a vendor? Google? Yellow pages? Trading Post? Facebook? Most often our first port of call is their website. What are people looking for when they’re on your website? PROOF! Proof that you exist, proof that you have similar values to them, proof that you have credibility. This search for proof extends way past your website, its communicated in your emails, blog posts, books you write, facebook posts, print marketing, Traditional media.

Do you have professional Headshots for LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter and the other Social Media platforms? You know that your prospects will only want you, and your products & services, when they know, like and trust you. This is why your Personal Brand is vital, to position yourself as a professional who’s credible, authentic and is the real deal.

The solution to building credibility and trust with your clients is to have a strong personal brand. After all, people only do business with other people they like, respect and trust.

So what is Personal Branding??? Unlike Corporate Brands, simply put your personal brand is who you are and how you show that to the world both online and in person. CLICK HERE to see for yourself!

First, let’s talk about personal branding. Think celebrities: Who do you like? Why do you like them? Who do you identify with & why? The reason you love or hate a celebrity is because of the image and elements of their personality & values they put out for us to see – after all, that’s all we’ll ever get to know about them!

These are personal brands. Why the Kardashians always wear black, white, silver and gold. Its why Richard Branson comes across as a likeable larikan, and why everybody loves Jimmy Fallon.

Anyone can and should have a strong personal brand. Who are you? What do you stand for? What are you known for? Do you express yourself with your wardrobe? Are you Kmart or Armani? We all like to be defined and feel understood and to understand others. It is human nature to categorize the world and people around us. Heard of stereotyping??? So, why not make a stand for what categories you are willing to be put into. No one can please everyone so commit to being proud of who you are. That way you will be attracting the kind of people you want to like and repelling those who never stood a chance with you anyway.

This is why you need to you build and maintain your Personal Brand to create a point of difference over your competitors. To successfully leverage your Personal Brand you need a well laid out plan on where, when and how you’re going to use your photos. But for today, I’m talking about using photography to communicate your personal brand.

Did you know??? the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees in as little as 13 milliseconds! That means that you’ve already seen this photo, processed it in your mind and decided whether you want to trust this person or not.

How does this information help you to build your Personal Brand?

1. Use images (photos or graphics) more than anything else to communicate your message. The information transfer is faster than video or the written word as both take some time to watch or read. Facebook photos generate higher engagement than posts with just text. That’s where I come in!

2. Use them frequently and in various mediums to maximise your exposure. Such as your website, on social media, in print and traditional media.

3. Do it right all the time because with every image you publish you are either enhancing or damaging your brand, so be consistent and use high quality imagery.

Your customers want to know about you! what makes you tick, your story and your personality. Focus on what problems you solve for your clients, why you are the right choice for them. Show more, tell less. It’s easier to absorb visual content that’s authentic and you’ll hold the viewer’s attention.

Your personal branding shoot images need to communicate to your customers:

1. What problems do you solve???: Show how you deliver on the problems you solve.

2. Keep it real and authentic: No stock images, Keep it real with actual photos of you and your team, in action, having fun at work so you can show some of that awesome culture you have created.

3. Toot your own horn: photos of you and your big name clients, sponsorships, promotions, exhibitions, VIPs, the people you associate with you at events.

4. Include your staff: At a minimum include a headshot of all your team and a short description of what they do for the customer and their role in the company. Go one better and show your team in action during their working day. If you’re a Solo Entrepreneur include photos of you in action – photos that give people insights as to who you are and what you do.

5. Keep it on brand: Keep the look and feel of what you present, on brand. Show your personality, your character, something quirky about you and always keep it professional. No drunken team building shots.

7. Tell your story with photos: Include where you came from how you started show some depth and volume in your history so that it gives people a sense of who you are as a person (people if you have a team) which adds huge amounts of trust and credibility. This will help fast track the Know-Like-Trust journey.

8. Include photos not of you: your office, your awards, covers of magazines, the media you’ve been featured in (TV, Newspapers magazine or Radio), articles you’ve written, books you’ve published (contributed, co-authored or fully written) plus products/services.

So how does JettyBlue Photography deliver you a solution to your personal branding problem? CLICK HERE to download my FREE Personal Branding E-Book!

If you want a world class brand, you just need to call in an expert. My Human Icon Alchemy Shoots are not just about pretty pictures for instagram – they are all about YOU. Being immersed completely in the experience and enjoying yourself is key to my process. After all, its my time too and I like to have FUN at any opportunity I can! Professionally directing every shoot, I work together with professional makeup, hair and fashion stylists to capture your perfect look and make your brand message sing.

And here’s a few real life examples of my imagery working hard for my clients:

All of these websites were created by the amazing team at

Lastly, if you haven’t already checked it out, I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram and I’d love for you to connect with me so you can keep up to date with what’s happening in JettyBlue land.

If you are considering investing in the best personal branding images, lets connect over coffee and workshop your very own Human Icon Alchemy shoot!

Samantha Halpern
B. Visual Communications (Photography & Digital Imaging)
Dip. Fine Arts (Photography)
Fully Accredited Member of the AIPP since 2008

JettyBlue Photography
0414 412 069
+612 9575 7542






We’re soooo excited to announce our awesome competition exclusively for new brides attending this weekends Different Wedding showcase at Luna Park!. Carly Rose and JettyBlue have combined forces to put together an amazing competition that can only be entered by visiting one of our stalls this Sunday…

WIN a Wedding Photography and PhotoBooth package!

4hr JettyBlue Photography Wedding package*


2hr Carly Rose Wedding PhotoBooth*

So get on down to the Different Weddings Showcase this Sunday March 3rd at LunaPark, visit our stands and fill out an entry form to enter! We can’t wait to meet you!

OK, now here’s the boring bit – the T&C’s:

Winners will be announced on social media and by email no later than COB 08/03/19. 4hr JettyBlue Photography package includes photography, post production, facebook highlights showreel & private online web gallery. No prints, albums or print ready files are included | The winner’s wedding must be booked within 3months and completed within 12months of competition draw | Wedding location to be within Sydney Metro Area, $150 travel fee applies for other areas | Not available with any other offers, not transferable or redeemable for cash or other vouchers | Wedding photography & Photobooth subject to JettyBlue and Carly Rose availability | No extensions will be available.

What is family??? Many have tried to answer this question. Many more have failed. I prefer to leave it to those poets and scholars that know how to better articulate its nuance much better than I…

“In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.” —Friedrich Nietzsche

I was most fortunate recently to meet the delightful Sarah and Ali when they visited the studio for their very first family portrait with their gorgeous son, Harrison. They have been interviewed for the next edition of LOTL magazine where we will be featuring in each edition, a same sex family telling the story of their journey to parenthood in all its wonders and trials. Their story is amazing and inspiring. Grab a copy of LOTL via their website to read all about it, but in the meantime, here’s their perfect family portrait. Sarah’s Mum even made it into a few shots too…

By Samantha Halpern
B. Visual Communications (Photography & Digital Imaging)
Dip. Fine Arts (Photography)
Fully Accredited Member of the AIPP since 2008

Owner and Principle Photographer at JettyBlue Photography

Email me to connect and book a family portrait session. 0414 412 069.


My Journey with the Wayne family started way back in 2011 when I shot the glorious wedding of Jodie and Mark. Their groomsman Adrian, who is Mark’s bestie from school, happened to be at the time, national sales manager for Porsche (nice friend to have), so he dutifully arranged for a brand new Panamera Turbo as Jodie and Mark’s wedding car.

Fast forward a few years, and I’m now shooting Adrian’s very own wedding at the beautiful Chateau Elan in the hunter valley, where I met Adrian’s brother Alex, who was his best man.

Over the years, I’ve had the delight of capturing Josien and Adrian’s growing family…

So I was delighted to again capture a moment in the Wayne family story. This time, Josien had purchased a family portrait voucher for her brother-in-law alex (Adrian’s brother) which I captured just last week…

So thank you to the Wayne family for again having me along to capture your amazing family stories. I can’t wait for the next installment 😉

Karen from the print society contacted me to arrange some product shots of her hand-printed cushions. “No sweat” I said to her. So down to the studio she came , bags in hand. Once she opened the bag, the true mastery of her creations was revealed! Each cushion is hand made using exquisite materials such as silk and hemp that has a gorgeous texture. Then each cushion is hand designed and hand printed using a unique block-printing technique. Silk sections are laminated on and zippers are deftly placed as design elements. It was a joy to photograph this collection – I can’t wait for the next installment!

Check out Karen’s amazing work:

Last week I had the enormous pleasure of (finally) shooting the delightful Dasha McGee of Dasha McGee Property. Dasha already had a very strong brand identity which she was using all over the place, but she wasn’t quite leveraging its potential becuase her imagery wasn’t current and not consistent with her brand in its look and feel. This inconsistency can make some clients feel uneasy about your brand, like they can’t trust it, and they might go elsewhere.

So, we worked together to craft Dasha a gorgeous personal brand collection for her to compliment her existing brand identity. Dasha had a firm idea of what she wanted and how she wanted to use the images along with a plan in place for her existing collateral such as a billboard that was in desperate need of replacement. As a local real estate agent, there’s nothing more important than “trustability”. Your clients decide on your trustability before they’ve even engaged with you, by your personal brand. Don’t underestimate the power of your personal brand. Don’t be put off by the new fancy moniker “personal brand”. Its always been there. Its just now that the interweb has sent our accessibility into hyper-drive that it has become a “thing”. What was it before the internet??? Reputation.


By Samantha Halpern
B. Visual Communications (Photography & Digital Imaging)
Dip. Fine Arts (Photography)
Fully Accredited Member of the AIPP since 2008

Owner and Principle Photographer at JettyBlue Photography

Email me to connect and book a personal consult to discuss your online business branding and how JettyBlue Photography can give you the tools to compliment your content marketing strategy. 0414 412 069.

JettyBlue is often called upon to shoot food for a load of different kind of clients. A recent one was Mike’s Grill at Gymea Bowlo and The Royal at Sutherland. I’ve also shot loads of restaurants and even food wholsalers such as Teys beef (you’ll see my image on their slow cooked beef in Woolies). I love shooting food so much, I even started my own food blog called Skiersgottaeat. If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a die-hard skier, forever chasing the winter, so I thought I’d combine my photography and my love of all things skiing by shooting and reviewing eateries in and around the snowfields of NSW and VIC. Check it out on Facebook and Insta

For all the fella’s out there who think that personal branding is just for the ladies…think again. Don’t be put off by those who say things like “personal brand is just a fancy word for wanker”. Personal branding has always been there. What did we call it before the inter web sent our accessibility into hyper-drive? Reputation.

I had the pleasure of capturing David from OzLocal Australia for his personal branding on the eve of his flight to Cannes for a marketing industry event. The deadline was tight, but with the right tools and a space at the Pier 1 bar, I was able to process and supply a handful of images for him to take away that evening. Here’s the rest…

Not sure if personal branding is for you??? Check out my guide for the menfolk.

If you’re an online retailer, having an awesome interface with your clients is key. Whether it be a killer website or eCommerce portal, client experience online is everything. Imagine you’ve spent a considerable amount of time and money (and energy) crafting an amazing shopping cart…and now what??? At the very least, your customers need to SEE your product so they can purchase it (well…duh!) but how do they know how they will experience your product without actually touching it??? To compliment your static images, JettyBlue also specialises in editorial style shoots for your socials to compliment and drive traffic to your shopping website.

JettyBlue has its own professional photo studio with a selection of backdrops and professional lighting and camera equipment. We also have a gorgeous hamptons style deck and manicured gardens for those editorial shoots in a hurry. You can ship your goodies to us and we’ll arrange your model, hair and makeup artists. You don’t even need to be here! We’re also fully equipped to shoot on location.

By Samantha Halpern
B. Visual Communications (Photography & Digital Imaging)
Dip. Fine Arts (Photography)
Fully Accredited Member of the AIPP since 2008

Owner and Principle Photographer at JettyBlue Photography

Email me to connect and discuss your online fashion business imaging needs and learn how JettyBlue Photography can give you the tools to move serious amounts of stock online. 0414 412 069.