On this blog you’re accustomed to seeing images because, well, I am a wedding photographer but today that isn’t my game.. This blog post is about more than that and about more than one bride in my my mind so excuse the lack of imagery but I want the words to stand on their own.


I was sitting in a pre wedding meeting a few months ago when for the first time in a long time my heart broke.

My bride - who shall remain nameless - looked at me shyly. She told me she was “really nervous..” in between fiddling with the pages of her notebook.
“About what?” I asked. Imagining it was excitement not nerves that had her so coy.
“Being a bride.. I’m just.. worried..” but before she finished she had stopped talking.
I looked from her to her hubby to be who shook his head before answering my unspoken question. “She’s worried she won't be beautiful enough.”


What the actual f**k!? (Excuse my language!)

It was like my heart had just dropped out of my body and if you’ve never met me the first thing you should know is that I wear my heart on my face so you can only imagine my expression when I heard that!
“What do you mean!?” I asked, absolutely flabbergasted (as my Nanna would say).
She shook her shoulders and replied, “All of the brides you’ve photographed on your website and Instagram are just so gorgeous and I’m worried I won’t be.”

ALRIGHTY, let me preface this blog with with saying that I have been meaning to write one like it for a while and if you aren’t in the mood to hear about my inner thoughts on the subject you should probably find the exit now, if you haven’t already because imma’ bout’ to get ma’ preach on ya’ll!! *clicks fingers in a sassy manner*


Over my years of being a wedding photographer it has been my mission statement if you will to make women and brides in particular feel as beautiful as I possibly can! Now.. I started my photography journey just after high school photographing young women for fashion and editorial style photoshoots and spending a lot of time in the studio. I remember constantly feeling inadequate and like a serious ‘uggo’ everytime I stepped onto set and next to the models and looking back now I can’t be more grateful to have stepped off that path.. Even though I loved the work at the time, it just wasn’t enough human interaction for me. There was no relationship between myself and the client and once the work was done that was it. The other downside to studio work was that it involved copious amounts of retouching. Tucking and nipping here and there, changing skin tones and pore sizes, making certain things lighter or darker to seem thinner.. Hours upon hours of making my subject into something and someone they weren’t. It honestly makes me mad just thinking about it which is why when I started photographing brides and grooms I made the decision that I wouldn’t be that wedding photographer. The wedding photographer or studio that delivers three hundred images where the couple doesn’t even look like themselves because of how retouched they are and NOT in a good way! And I’m not. I don’t retouch any part of my couples faces or bodies and in fact the most “editing” I actually do do is to enhance the already beautiful photograph with colour and artistic framing!

In saying that, don’t get me wrong, I know that there are couples out there that want that kind of service from their wedding ‘tog’ and that’s totally fine but it’s just not what I would want as a bride.. When I photograph brides and grooms and they shine it isn’t because of some filter or that I’ve slimmed down their face.. No.. it’s because I’ve taken the time and effort to get to know them, to know their story and most of all to make them feel comfortable in front of the camera, so comfortable in fact that what you see in the images is their personality and natural beauty - what you see is them.

Another part of this blog is the fact that your hair and make-up artists know their shit! There has never been an instance where I have had to retouch a bride because let’s be honest hair and make up artists are wizards.. by the time you are having portraits taken you look and feel like the polished bloody diamond you’ve always been!! (Only with longer lashes and your hair is done!) On top of that a beautiful bride is a confident one! A beautiful bride is one who FEELS beautiful! Let me say that again.. A beautiful bride is one who FEELS beautiful. As Roald Dahl said,


“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”



These reasons and so many more are why the comments made above by my bride made me so shocked.. So I’m here to set the record straight.. I do not and never will retouch my couples faces so that you don’t look like themselves!

Being a “millennial” (I’m still not sold on that term.. Whatever happened to good old GEN-Y?) most of us grew up with Mother’s who were part of the “weight watchers” generation. You know what I’m talking about? The generation that constantly looked for the quick fix and never felt like they were enough? The generation where size 0 women in hot pants with sweat bands did aerobics on TV to dance music whilst eating wafers and cottage cheese to get thin. Yeah, that is who raised us and it makes me soooo furious that my Mum has never been able to see how perfectly and incredibly stunning she is because in her mind, there has always been something she could and should fix (even though there wasn’t! My Mum is a total babe..! Love ya Ma!)


This is also what makes me so glad that as Millennials we are changing the status quo in what is the ‘normal’ body type and thank heavens we are because it’s horse shit what our Mother’s went through! If you had a Mum that didn’t give a crap and always knew how gorgeous she was then give her a hug and a high five from me!

Anyway.. Moving on..

I have always been told that I look like most like my Nanna out of all the grandchildren in my family. And when we were looking over photographs from when my she was in her early twenties - her wedding photos especially - looking at her face it was clear that it wasn’t so unlike my own. It was almost freaky.. I’d looked at these images in my childhood but now that I've grown to be the same age it was like looking in a mirror and I absolutely love that!

Now.. throw yourself yeaaaars into the future when your grandchild picks up your wedding album or looks at the photos on your walls of you and hubby looking like absolute foxes.. Imagine that grandchild always being told they looked like you but not being able to see it because those subtle and unique qualities had been edited out.. All for the sake of that “arm fat” or “big nose”. Mmmmmmm.. Doesn’t sound quite as nice as them saying “Look! We have the same nose Nanna!” does it? Nope. See what I'm saying here ladies? Don't let what you think is ugly or not normal make you feel any less beautiful than you actually are (man, beautiful is my new fave word, hey?) and for my Instragram fam.. it's time to stop following the people that make you feel like crap.. Instragram is a highlight reel and you hold the power to who and what you see! Love you and stop comparing yourself to the retouched versions of other imperfect girls who are just like you! Can I get an AMEN!? AMEEEENNNNNN!!

To the gorgeous lady mentioned at the beginning of this novel of a blog post, you know who you are, I hope when you read this you understand how I felt when we had that conversation and that you never ever feel that way again. You are beautiful and I know that comes through not only in your wedding gallery but everyday of your life because of what a gorgeous person you are!

To all my brides, past, present and future..
You are gorgeous!
You have always been gorgeous and you will always be gorgeous.. I am simply there to document it on one of the happiest days of you life and it is a privilege to do so. Thank you so much for letting me in and making me feel "normal" -  as imperfectly perfect as that is and we all are.



Lauren Olivia