travel photography

A Real Indian Wedding Experience: Brisbane Portrait & Commercial Photographers

It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to travel to India with your Indian friends to be a part of a traditional Indian wedding. When Amit and PJ jokingly said over dinner that we should come, at first we laughed and said “that would be unreal” and then we though more after they said the offer was there. How could we not!

In reflection of this trip, this experience was an opportunity of a lifetime, travelling to India with our friends for 2 weeks of celebrations for a traditional Indian Wedding, their cousins wedding.

Our first stop was Mumbai - Staying in a lovely 5 star hotel and venturing out to explore the streets, to do some shopping for traditional clothing and try some of their famous food.

We then flew to their hometown of Goa - We stayed mostly in Magao with our friends family and each day when we didn't have wedding events, they organised a driver for us! We travelled through North and South Goa, exploring their beaches and most renowned attractions and of course ate at some incredible traditional indian shacks and restaurants.

While in Goa, we got to be part of the wedding events of PJ and Amit's family. Including the Sangeet Dance event, ladies Henna day, traditional male and female religious functions, the wedding itself and the reception. All spread over a 2 week period.

With a gap in the wedding events, my partner, Corey, and I flew to Delhi and booked a fully personalised 4 day Golden Triangle tour - Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. This opened us up to the culture and history of India and some of the unreal monuments this country has to offer.

See an insight into our travels below, explaining some of the wedding events and traditions, some of the memories, food and the indian lifestyle captured on the trip. Each section details where it is in India and some explain the meaning behind the images. I hope you enjoy this visual journey as much as I loved taking it!

Em x


Exploring Goa

During our time in India we were based in Goa with our friends families. We spent some time in South Goa in Margao, exploring the beaches and attractions, markets and shops of this area and then to North Goa to Panjim to explore the Latin area, old Goa and the shopping and monuments.


The Sangeet

The pre-wedding dance celebratory event. This musical night is a celebration of the union of not only the couple but the bonding of both families. The families choreographed 14 dances to display on stage to the family, it was UNREAL!


Mehndi Day

Mehndi Day before the Wedding - A form of body art originating from the Indian subcontinent, in which decorative designs are created on a person's body, using a paste, created from the powdered dry leaves of the henna plant. 


The Wedding

The Wedding is the official traditional religious function where the bride and groom’s families and friends witness the marriage of Sanju and Sohal. There are many traditional processes including the families gifting the bride/groom gold, jewellery and other gifts. The bride and groom do not see each other through these religious events until they are on stage where they are revealed to each other. Watching these moments was incredible!


Delhi

To begin our 4 day Golden Triangle tour we flew from Goa to Delhi. We began the day nice and early at 7am starting at Qutub Minar with no one in site. I was blown away by this building and it’s unique structure and details. We also visited the Indian Gate, Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque), took a rickshaw through Old Delhi, visited the site of Gandhi’s ashes, the Lotus temple and some local shops of craftwork. Our driver then began the 4 hour journey to Agra, stopping at the Akshardam Temple on the way out.


Agra

Arriving at our 5 star hotel Jaypee Palace was incredible! Marble featured throughout, beautiful views over the 25 acre property, surrounded in grasslands, pools and our room featuring an unreal balcony over the views. We rested up that night ready for our 5.30am rise to catch the Taj Mahal at sunrise! Witnessing the Taj Mahal in person was incredible, especially capturing it’s beauty at sunrise. After this unreal experience we also explored the red fort, local craftsman stores and saw a lot of the major buildings in Agra. After a full morning in Agra, we hit the road with our driver to Jaipur, seeing the famous Step Well on the way there.


Jaipur

Jaipur was my most anticipated place to see with it’s pink city, beautiful buildings and unreal monuments. We started our morning with a great buffet breakfast at our 5 star hotel Holiday Inn Jaipur, then took on the day with a tour of the Amber fort, probably one of the most impressive buildings Corey and I have both witnessed. What used to be a palace is now a large fort that is incredible to see! We then ventured through the Pink City seeing the Palace of Winds, we visited a textiles manufacturer and saw how they created carpets and printed clothing and finished the day with a tour through the incredible Jaipur Palace. Corey and I got an Olla around the city and went for a romantic dinner at the rooftop Peacock Restaurant in the city. It was unreal! What a way to end the trip.

5 reasons why you MUST visit the Southern Downs & Granite Belt Region: A Photographers Journey

In the past month, both Andy and I have experienced just a small taste of what the beautiful Southern Downs & Granite Belt has to offer and we are BLOWN AWAY! Find out why below....

Only recently under the LP Commercial Photography brand, Andy photographed for the Southern Downs & Granite Belt Council as part of a new marketing campaign, opening my eyes to its beauty. As a result, I ventured to the region for the weekend as my partner is now working in the Tenterfield area for the next 2 years and I wanted to explore some of the amazing things the region has to offer! See some of my top reasons why you must visit the Southern Downs & Granite Belt Region below.  

1

The Amazing Tours: Sit back, relax and enjoy the numerous wineries, breweries and beautiful food tours on offer around the region.

Southern Downs & Granite Belt: Brisbane Portrait and Commercial Photography

You can base yourself from a number of towns in the region - Stanthorpe, Ballandean or Tenterfield and be within close proximity, 30-45mins, to many of the highlights of the region! There are some breathtaking cottages and homely accommodation in these areas, however you have to get in quick as everything sells out quick! We were based in Tenterfield and due to the sell out in Stanthorpe and close by, we organised a tour from Tenterfield to the winery region. 

I was very lucky to get in contact with Kevin from Tenterfield Tours, who picked us up from Tenterfield and took us for a private half day tour of 5 wineries in the region (only a small portion of the nearly hundred on offer!). This was the best experience and Kevin had so much knowledge and his customer service was 5 star! He's definetly worth contacting if you want to explore the region as he offers winery tours and nature tours!. Here's a little look at the 5 wineries we got to see, experience and enjoy taste testing at below.

BALANCING ROCK WINES





2

The National Parks: The perfect place to explore with the family for the weekend

There are so many national parks in the region, however we were able to explore one while visiting for the weekend, Girraween National Park. Known for its 'The Pyramids' and 'Balancing Rock' we had it down as a must see. 

Located outside Stanthorpe in the Ballandean area, Girrawean is known for its huge granite boulders, it's 30km of walking and bike trails and Castle Rock or Bald Rock Creek camping areas.  We parked at the Bald Creek Day Area and walked to the amazing Granite Arch, followed by the climb up the hill to 'The Pyramid' (not for the faint hearted, it's a steep climb!) for breathtaking views over the region! 

Bald Rock National Park is next on our list with the natural beauty of their smooth rock formations as well as Boonoo Boonoo National Park and falls.

3

The beautiful locations and scenery for photography: The entire Southern Downs and Granite Belt Region and Tenterfield Shire is filled with the most beautiful photographic locations and lookouts!

Between the Stanthorpe to Tenterfield regions is just glorious! Crossing the QLD border to NSW to explore another beautiful region. See some of the beautiful locations below. 

 

4

The Breweries: Explore the new craft breweries around the region

My partner and I are brewery lovers and on a mission to visit all the breweries across QLD. The Granite Belt Brewery was on our MUST VISIT list! Set in the outskirts of Stanthrope with beautiful cottages alongside the brewery for your weekend stay, winery vines and the natural forestry surroundings, it was just beautiful! Stepping inside the brewery was like being transported into a ski lodge in Canada with the high roof wooden, cost feeling with lovely couches and welcoming feeling. Corey and I had to try the tasting paddle and ordered 4 of their beers to test the palatte. A MUST DO if you're travelling to the region. We missed out on booking here due to being sold out, but we plan to return to stay in their homely cottages with spa bath and fire! The perfect romantic weekend away!

On our next visit we plan to visit the Deepwater Brewing near Tenterfield and explore this area and national park, as well as Brass Monkey Brew House near Stanthorpe. 

5

The Food: With so much on offer between the wineries, cheese factory and local restaurants you can't go wrong in the Southern Downs & Granite Belt region for food!

Find out all the best places to go HERE.

Coffs Coastal Adventure

As a yearly tradition, my partner and I escape to somewhere new in Australia from boxing day until New Years. This is our time to relax, watch the cricket, explore, read, reflect on our year, cook beautiful food, photograph landscapes, relax at the beach and enjoy each others company. 

This year we had the company of our friends for a few days which was a lovely experience. We stayed at the most amazing Airbnb in Coffs Harbour that had 2 bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, laundry facilities, a beautiful patio overlooking bush land, a BBQ, comfy beds, not to mention our hosts Bill & Marie were such lovely people! Check out their Airbnb here, well worth a stay!

The Coffs Coast has so many amazing places to explore..... See below for a visual insight into our trip away. <3

See more great things to do in Australia with RV Lifestyle - 100 Best Things to Do in Australia

Look at Me Now Headland, Moonee Beach

Dorrigo

Just an hour west of Coffs Harbour along the delightful Waterfall Way driving route, Dorrigo is on the doorstep of the World Heritage-listed Dorrigo National Park. Enjoy spectacular lookouts, enchanting waterfalls and exhilarating walks in the beautiful rainforest on the North Coast of NSW. We visited Dangar Falls, Skywalk lookout, Crystal Shower Falls Walk which are shown below :)

Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve

 

 

 

The beauty of the Northern NSW Coast: Ballina, Lennox Head & Byron Bay

Being a Central Queensland country girl, I never really ventured out of QLD throughout my childhood (except to the other side of the world to Ireland to see my family). Only in the last 3 years have I started to explore this beautiful country. With 5 days free between Christmas and New Years I couldn't resist the opportunity to get in the car with my partner and explore a new area I hadn't seen before. So... I did some research around the NSW coast, booked a flat on airbnb and away we went.

The NSW coast is an unbelievable location with prestige beaches, breathtaking lookouts, fresh seafood and a mix between the beach lifestyle and relaxed country living. Only a close 2 hours from Brisbane, this is easily a weekend trip away. Below are the places we visited and some of the highlights, also featuring a video of our little adventure. 

Ballina

We stayed at Ballina Heights at a lovely house (through airbnb) overlooking the countryside. This was a close 2 min drive to the Ballina Shopping Area with all the shops you would need - Woolworths, Target, Kmart, BWS, Anytime Fitness etc. On our first day we visited the stunning Killen Falls which was only 15 mins from Ballina at Tintenbar and only a short walk down to the water - well worth it!

That afternoon we drove to Shaws Bay and walked the North Wall scenic walk. Capturing a glimpse of some young boys jumping off into the deep waters where the ocean and the Richmond River meet as well as capturing a glimpse of some dolphins swimming in from the ocean. At the peak of the break-wall is Lighthouse beach which seems to be a popular spot for the surfers and also has the Lighthouse beach Cafe and Life Saving Club. There are information plaques along the walk about the history of Ballina for those that like their reading - we did!

We enjoyed some fresh prawns and barra from the local seafood shop and got to see the giant prawn, we played some cricket at the sports field and we even still went to the gym (thanks to Anytime Fitness being all over the world). 

Lennox Head

My favourite place was Lennox Head, it's a hidden gem! Tucked away close to Byron but much more quiet and relaxed. Not only did it have a number of beautiful beaches, it is blessed with Lake Ainsworth, a tea tree brown coloured lake right next to the coast. The water is beautiful and warm, calm water for stand up paddle boarding and we made the most of a cheap blow-up radio inflatable from K-mart to enjoy sun-baking in the lake. We admired the views from Pat Morton lookout, where tandem hang gliders were taking in the views of Lenox Point from above. There were locks lining the fences at the top of the lookout which was beautiful, we even found one from a wedding! We went to Sharpes Beach and took a boogie board to ride the waves and enjoyed some fish and chips at Fishy Fishy on the main street. 

Byron Bay

This time of year was very busy for Byron due to Falls Festival and the Christmas period. We ventured out at 5am to get to the lighthouse before things got busy and enjoyed the early morning sun, wind and beautiful lookout. We went to the Byron Bay beach for an early swim and packed our own lunch for a picnic. For those wanting to explore Byron I would take advantage of the hop on-hop off bus that goes around Byron from 10am-5.30pm so you can explore all of the town without having to worry about parking. 

A big thank you to Discover Ballina: Ballina Coast and Hinterland for their amazing visitor guide that helped us plan our journey - https://www.discoverballina.com.au/visit/