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DREAMSCAPES + LOVE STORIES // CHATS WITH DESTINATION PHOTOGRAPHER JAMES WHITE

A photographer with an array of talents and a world of opportunity found solace and beauty in what started out as a hobby on the side of his study — photography.

James White is a photographer based in Hunter Valley, Australia. The devoted father and lover of love and all things fun, quirky, and wild will have you dancing towards your wedding day as he not only captures your day’s romance and celebration but dedicates himself to helping make your daydreams into reality on your magical day.

His heart for people and their love stories is the passion and motivation behind James White Photography, as he was deemed “too compassionate” for the corporate world.

“I absolutely love my couples, I love working with people in love. But on the same wavelength, I love working with their friends and family.”

Get to know James a little more as we are charmed with his quirky, and fun-loving nature and learn more about the story behind James White Photography and his humble beginning.

Tell us about yourself, your background and how James White Photography began.

So I actually came a really weird route to being a professional photographer. When I left school I went to university and did a Law/Commerce degree, thinking I wanted to become a lawyer, but I was told I was too compassionate towards people to make a successful lawyer. So once I finished that, I went back to uni to do a Psychology degree, thinking this way I could help and work with people. At this time I started photographing landscapes as a hobby, and really enjoyed it. At the same time I was a nationally touring musician in a metalcore band, so creativity was something I really prioritised in my life. After 2 years in the mental health industry, I was starting to realise I wasn’t in love with it, but I was really in love with photography. At this point, I was getting some paid jobs shooting couples and a few weddings.

Fast forward to 2018, my wife and I were in England on our honeymoon, and I woke up one morning, and totally realised I needed to push myself headfirst into it and do wedding photography full time. I sent off my letter of resignation and when we returned to Australia, I was officially a full-time photographer, and haven’t looked back since.

Explain the process when booking with you from start to the very finish.

So my process is nice and simple. Generally, people enquire either on my website or via an Instagram DM. You will then receive a video reply from me (I like to show my face and personality upfront). This video has my pricing guide attached to it, and a link to book in a phone or video chat with me. On this chat, I like to discuss your vision for your marriage day to better get my head around how I can help you create that. I also look for any gaps in your planning that I can assist with so you have a smooth planning journey. Once you decide you want to book me, you pay a deposit, and then we either sit down in person if possible or do another video call. On this call, we get much more in-depth about your day and how I am going to bring your vision to life for you. I stay in touch a lot throughout, whether on Instagram, emails, phone calls or meetings. I don’t like taking peoples money and then just showing up on the marriage day. I like to provide value from day 1 right up until after the wedding. So the wedding rolls around, and about 2-3 days after you received your own personalised slideshow (if you don’t know what that is, check out my IGTV), and 4 weeks later, you get your full gallery. We then sit down and design your wedding album as a team, so you have full input on what your first family heirloom looks like. That is, in short, from enquiry to holding your album in your hands

In your opinion what is the best part of a wedding?

Ok, I have 2 answers for this one (I know, greedy, lol). From a photographers standpoint, I absolutely love the first look. It is the pinnacle of emotion. It’s the build-up of the last 12-24 months of planning, all coming out in one split second. It’s totally intimate, something you don’t really get at any other point of your marriage day. As someone married, from a Grooms standpoint, I think the best part of the day was seeing my wife for the first time as she came out from the building with her dad. I burst into tears. It was just pure love and joy. Nothing else that happened on the day came close to being that pure and amazing. Actually, when you read back on that, my personal and professional responses are pretty identical, aren’t they? Good to see I’m not contradicting myself!

What is your favourite thing about your job?

The fact that I get to be at peoples parties for a living. I absolutely love my couples, and I love working with people in love. But on the same wavelength, I love working with their friends and family. The banter is amazing on a wedding day, and it is one of the things I enjoy the most, just talking shit with everyone, acting like I’m also a lifelong friend. It’s such a cool feeling to be invited into someones inside circle of best friends, on the biggest day of their life and treated like you belong. Sounds crazy, I know, I could have said the awesome locations I travel too, or the freedom the job gives me. Still, it’s definitely the communication and highly personalised and intimate engagement I get to be involved with so many awesome lovers.

What is a quote you live by?

“No excuses in life”, and I actually have this tattooed across my entire chest. Basically, in my mind, excuses are human-made and only serve to keep us in our ‘lane’. When I decided I wanted to be a touring musician, I was told I couldn’t. I have a law degree, so I was told to get a good job and get on with my life. But that’s just a BS excuse trying to stand in the way of me living my best life. I had the exact same situation when becoming a photographer, but I still did it and haven’t regretted it once.

In the same light, I see couples do this all the time with wedding planning and traditions. So many couples saying they don’t want to do a certain thing, but they have to because of a bunch of reasons they will go on to list. All of these are just excuses designed to keep us in line and from breaking out of the norm. I’m a huge believer in not letting excuses hold you back and doing what you want to do with your life, regardless of what others will think.

What would be the soundtrack to your life?

Probably ‘Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles’. First and foremost, it is one of the greatest albums of all time. The album doesn’t hold any punches; it isn’t afraid of pissing people off and being honest and truthful. It’s emotive and full of energy, raw and passionate. These are all things I know about myself. Plus, let’s be honest, it’s just a great time; I mean, imagine being in the mosh at Woodstock in 99 when they were playing these jams…that’s a great time!

What has been the best thing and the hardest thing about becoming a father last year?

The best thing is easy; it’s simply – being a dad. My daughter gives me a reason to do what I do. She gives me a reason to push myself to be a better person and a better role model. But my favourite activity with her is swimming lessons or taking her to the beach, she loves water and is a little daredevil baby when she hits the water, it is so cute. The hardest part is watching her in pain and not being able to help. Like right now, she is teething, and I know she has to go through this stage of her life, and it must be so painful, but I can’t stop it or really help her too much. It’s really upsetting when I’m hugging her, and she’s screaming, but I know it’s all going to be worth it because as soon as she gets some teeth, I’ll make her a woodfire pizza!

If you had the weekend off, what would you spend that time doing?

Let’s pretend it was a long weekend, shall we? I would probably head up the coast to a little beach town called Crescent Head with my wife and daughter. Get an Airbnb in the hills amongst the banana and mango trees with a view of the ocean below. We would spend the weekend at cafes, surfing, taking my little one in the lake and shallows of the beach and having a few cheeky cocktails or beers when she went to sleep. If I could fit some sport (Premier League or NRL) into there, that would just be amazing. I’m not into being busy or feeling rushed, so that this weekend would be super chilled, laid back, with no itinerary, just whatever.

Did you see Amie + Matt’s wedding captured by James? See more weddings and elopements captured by Jame White in our Wild Hearts Vendor Collection here and follow James on Instagram at @james_white_photography.

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