The Central Coast, NSW, is a haven for creativity, and it seems the force is strong in the White Lane Studio team. Ali and Sam combine their photography and film skills to offer all inclusive packages, and now they even have an eco-wedding venue in the works!
We chat with Ali, earth mother, dreamer and doer, whilst sharing her son Darcy and Bella’s wedding held on the family property, turned venue, Peach Berry Farm.
Welcome to the Less Stuff family! You have a unique duo going on, tell us more about you story.
I met Sam when I was his art teacher at high school. He created a film during the HSC which was a cathartic exploration of the feelings of grief he was experiencing after losing his dad. I took him under my wing and jokingly adopted him. Throughout the process I was able to encourage him and give him belief in himself to see the talent he had. After helping him set up a photography business, he asked if I would come and shoot weddings with him… and White Lane was birthed. We used to meet at a cafe each week just to brainstorm ideas. He finally convinced me to quit my teaching job and do it full time. So now he runs the Film side of things and I do the Photography and Design. We have grown a lot since those days and now have an amazing team of photographers, film makers and editors, who we couldn’t survive without! I love our little team and we have the best fun shooting weddings together.
You’re brewing a dreamy Central Coast venue, tell us more!
We recently had my son’s wedding at our place and realised what a wonderful space it is for people to gather and celebrate. So we decided to open it up as a ceremony venue called Peachberry Farm. We thought we would just start with ceremonies, with the option to have a time for food and festivities afterwards. Not quite a reception, but the type where people might serve a cocktail hour/afternoon tea/canapes/grazing tables/drinks kind of affair to a large group of their friends and then possibly have a smaller intimate reception at an alternate venue.
Weddings, as we know, can be super expensive, so its a way that people can hopefully save some money and still be able to celebrate with people that they would love to have at their wedding, but can’t perhaps afford (or want) a really large reception.
Couples can book our land for the day and have people here enjoying games while the bridal shoot is happening. There are also some great places to take photos along our road, with country lanes and lovely trees (in Autumn it’s a dream). We are building an eco toilet and most things we use will be recycled where possible. We have an area where the elderly can be driven in and can sit overlooking the land – if it is difficult for them to walk down to the bottom area where weddings will take place.
We have 120 chairs and an arbour that people can decorate, tables for food and drinks, a caravan and access to electricity. We know some great vendors that set up fun food trucks or coffee and gelato bars. People can also set up a Marquee if they are concerned about the weather.
We are also setting up the downstairs area of our home as an Air BnB so either the guys or gals can stay here the night before and use our home as a place for their morning preparation.
How do you infuse your values of living whole-heartedly into your photography and business?
Oooh I think everything I do is whole heartedly! I’m a passionate over do-er. If I see a cause worth fighting for I want to jump on board. My biggest problem is learning how to stay no or just direct my energies into a few important things. With photographing weddings I am 100% attentive to our couples. I love guiding people through the planning process and helping them find like-minded vendors. None of our team stop on the actually day, we photograph every moment we possibly can as we are very aware that these images will last for generations. I have been known to cry while editing just knowing that one day the couple’s grandchildren will be looking at these photos and see the love shared in their family. It also means that I usually give back WAY more photos than we need to. I really find it hard to cull anything that I know a family will appreciate. We really try to make the day as special as it could be for our couples. All our team are very grounded people who are respectful of a diverse range of people and feel honoured that we can be part of a couple’s day.
What can couples expect when they book you? What is something unique to your business?
A totally dedicated team who will push themselves to produce the most creative images possible. We are daring and hate anything cheesy, so anything that is adventurous that couples would like to try, we are up for it!
I think providing Photo, Film and Design means that couples can come to us and have many of their needs met in one place. It saves a lot of stress, rather than dealing with a lot of different suppliers. I’m a graphic designer too, so love having the opportunity to design a couple’s wedding stationery.
We spend a lot of time helping couples to plan their day and also have some great vendors we recommend. We never mind how many questions are asked and try to do everything possible to help the couple achieve their wedding dreams.
We are always present, but not intrusive – and love capturing all those candid expressive moments. We don’t go in with a massive plan, just watch and feel for the best light and surroundings. We are aware of the sacred day that this is and capture it as truly as we can.
What would you like to see more of in the wedding industry?
Simplicity and less stress! You don’t have to spend a lot of money on things that are wasteful. Couples can carefully consider what is important to them and not just spend on things that might be done for tradition’s sake. I love people thinking outside the box and doing their wedding just the way they want it!
How can wedding photographers provide a more sustainable service?
For photographers our footprint is pretty light. We are trying to do most things online now. We provide a high-resolution gallery of all the couple’s photos so clients can download any or all of them. We are phasing out USB’s – but we still believe in prints and photobooks!! As nothing compare stop seeing your photos printed. We are source the most eco friendly printing we can find.
What are your hot tips for couples to get natural photos?
It sounds cliche – but be fully present n the moment. Many couples are so worried about how the day is going or sticking to schedules, that they forget to stop and enjoy it. The bridal shoot is a great time for you to take a breath, have a little time out away from everyone and reflect on what they have just done. Sometimes we play some music and just let the couple have a little intimate moment together and this always allows us to get some lovely photos. We will give people a bit of guidance with different poses (most people like this as they aren’t sure what to do in from of the camera) but we just do things that hopefully let the couple feel relaxed.
Also make sure someone from your bridal party packs a hamper of food and drinks. No one is happy when they are starving!
How do you interpret living purposefully?
Being mindful to live a life of love and generosity in all my thoughts and actions, caring for people and our planet in the best way I can.
Knowing that the work I am doing is providing very precious memories for people for years to come. I also love mentoring people and seeing their dreams and creativity come to fruition.
I am so inspired by all the other vendors involved with ‘Less stuff, More meaning’ and constantly want to learn ways to improve and think more ‘green’.
What’s your mantra for 2018?
I was thinking it would be BREATHE but we’ve booked so many weddings this year I forgot to include some breathing space! possibly even more important to create that time. I will be trying to spend some days on my back deck soaking up the sun, listening to birds, with a warm cup of tea in my hands – and also want to enjoy some getaways with my tribe.
And some more of Darcy & Bella’s wedding held at Peach Berry Farm.