A Stranger Things / 80s horror themed shoot for Dangerfield last Halloween.

Last October I was shooting full time for Factory X, a fashion group that owns a bunch of brands like Dangerfield, Gorman, Alannah Hill and Jack London. It was mid October and I had some free time on my hands and realised we hadn’t planned anything for Halloween- which is CRAZY because Dangerfield (and their lil side label of spooky themed threads, Black Friday) are so well suited to a horror themed shoot. So I got to work planning a campaign.

I’m a huge fan of the 80s murder mystery / horror film aesthetic. Super dark and moody settings, diners, neon signs and some kinda weird, mysterious smokey haze in EVERY scene is such a vibe so I wanted to recreate something like this. The TV show Stranger Things is such an obvious example of this so I drew a lot of inspiration for the shoot from it- the most obvious being the blue and red lighting (we used gels, which is essentially fancy coloured cellophane that we put over the flash to achieve this).

It was the first time I’ve ever had full creative control for a campaign of this size and it was SO much fun being able to have a creative influence over every aspect of the shoot. I recruited my friend Dom, who is not only a killer model but also has a pretty striking resemblance to Millie Bobby Brown/ Eleven in Stranger Things, which was just a weird coincidence that worked out well for recreating the vibe of the show. The incredibly talented Sam, who also modelled for me in this shoot, did the makeup!

I even got to style the entire shoot- I just headed over to the Dangerfield design room and picked out a few bits and pieces that looked a lil spooky themed and threw some outfits together on the day. Dom and I spent the morning hanging out in the studio, listening to tunes and channeling our spookiest selves. My super talented graphic design pal Dan did all the sick graphic edits, like the moon and bat overlays on the banners.

Happy Halloween!

Team Credits:

Model: Dominik Shields

HMUA: Sam Thompson

Graphics: Daniel McQuillen

Creative Direction, Styling, Photography + Post Production: Em Jensen Creative

(as well as digital)

So many people ask me the point of shooting on film nowadays that digital is so easily accessible and reliable. I shoot ALL weddings and elopements on both film and digital- usually I shoot one roll of film (36 photos) and generally a few hundred snaps on digital in the space of one wedding. I could be like every other wedding photographer and simplify my life by just shooting digital and not having to worry about the extra time and money spent on bringing my film camera to everything, but here’s why I don’t.

1.Film makes us slow down and consider every single image, which is really important when we’re capturing a truly meaningful moment

Amongst the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of digital photos I take at your wedding, I normally end up choosing around 10% of these to be edited and sent through. Digital makes it so easy to endlessly and needlessly keep shooting even when you’ve captured the moment, because there’s no negative to just taking more photos (I mean apart from it’s a lil exhausting). But when I capture a moment on film I’m really considering everything and making sure it’s a genuinely honest, raw and real moment that’s worthy of being one of the thirty six moments on the roll of film. I’m so much more present and aware of that shot, and because of this I almost always end up including every single film shot on the roll to be included in your final images, which is a way bigger success rate than the 10% of digital photos that are included.

2. Film has this super rad, retro, old school aesthetic that digital, and even edited digital photos, just can’t replicate (especially when it comes to capturing light)

Unlike digital which is so easy to manipulate, edit and throw a filter on, film has it’s own vibe that can’t ever be fully copied. It’s entirely unique. Digital has a whole lot of other things on film like high resolution (big photo sizes) and more, but it has never ever been able to capture light the way film does. I think this has something to do with the science of film literally translating light being exposed onto a sheet of film into an image rather than it all being a fully digital process, but I’m no expert in camera mechanics. To put it simply it just makes natural light looks super rad.

3. It’s something different

Almost all the weddings I shoot are with couples who are pretty untraditional and their weddings are very much a reflection of this – from Angi + James’ 70s bowls club elopement, to Claire + Andy’s birthday-turn-suprise-backyard-wedding. I’m all about making your own rules and celebrating in a style thats genuinely you as a couple, rather than in a super traditional, expensive and elaborate way. Shooting film is another element to this- it’s something different and a little retro, and it’s something that other wedding photographers don’t do. It’s a little nostalgic and a bit of a throwback to the era your parents got married in (without the corny-ness of most 70s wedding photos), and the simplicity of technology before digital kicked in and kinda started to overrun our lives a little. Most of all though, it’s about being super present in those important moments, and capturing them in a way that’s real and unique.

If you’re thinking about booking me to take some film (and digital) snaps of your elopement or wedding, hit the button below to get in touch. I still have a little availability left for December – March 2020 – but get in quick sticks because they won’t last long!

Every now and then I get a lil sick of being in the city and plan a mini adventure to the country. Last weekend was one of those times so I decided to road trip out to the Grampians, stopping along the way at Ballan (for their amazing ops but more on that later), Ballarat for their annual international Foto Biennale, and then on to Dunkeld and up to Halls Gap to drive up the mountains. The plan was to take a bunch of photos, spend some time planning a few exciting upcoming shoots by the creek and then trek into the waterfalls – but as always I got distracted by the charm of country towns and their amazing op shops. So instead of writing about the mountains and forest and nature adventures I thought I’d share a couple of my favourite op shops if you’re heading out towards the Grampians on a road trip and feel like doing a lil vintage shopping on the way!

  1. Ballan Op Shop ~ 111 Inglis Street, Ballan

right in the centre of town is this crazy, wacky old house covered in plants and mosaics and that’s exactly where you’ll find some of the coolest, cheapest second hand in Ballan. I was way too excited and overwhelmed to take a snap but if you’re heading into town from Melbourne you’ll find it on your left as you hit the main strip. Make sure to check out the back because there’s a huge courtyard filled with vintage furniture. They also have a really good shoe rack!

2. Mill Markets – Ballarat ~ 9367 Western Hwy, Ballarat 

If you know much about thrifting you’ve probably already come across the Mill Markets- they’re MASSIVE warehouses filled with tens of tiny vintage stores and sell everything from vinyl to furniture, clothes, books and film cameras. There’s one in Daylesford and Geelong and Ballarat, and they all have the cutest lil cafes with the best ever scones. The Ballarat Mill Markets are literally visible from the highway as you head into Ballarat from Melbourne and I think might even be a little bit cheaper than the other Mill Markets. They’re not as cheap as op shops but not as expensive as vintage stores or anything vintage from the inner city. Definitely worth checking out – also while you’re in Ballarat you should really check out Mid City Hotel in town, just for the mid-century vibes.

3. Beaufort Big Garage Sale ~ 31 Neill St, Beaufort

I stopped at Beaufort on the way back to Melbourne – it’s a tiny lil town you’ll likely pass through and there’s a couple of op shops but the highlight of the town is Beaufort Big Garage Sale. It’s a huge warehouse filled with quirky antique and vintage furniture and random bric-a-brac like lamps, vases, bar trolleys and a bunch more. It’s MASSIVE and really pretty well priced. Also the owner is a real cool guy who loves to chat about Melbourne’s food scene and reminisce his younger days living in the inner north.


A couple of other things you should checkout:

Ararat

About fifty minutes out of Halls Gap on your way back to Melbourne is Ararat, one of the bigger country towns out that way and it’s filled with mid century architectural gems like this one- the Ararat Pub. The highway takes you right down the main road and there’s a bunch of cool old buildings to check out.

The Actual Grampians (a.k.a. why I went in the first place)

Despite all the rad op shops The Grampians are actually still the highlight of my roadtrip- they photograph really well, are normally not super busy and have some unreal views if you go on a clear day (which I did not). My favourite spot is Mackenzie Falls- a huge waterfall in the middle of the red dirt that you can follow all the way down to into a canyon. If you sit at the top of the waterfall, drink a beer and watch the sun set down into the canyon you won’t ever want to leave. Also Halls Gap is a really sweet little town at the bottom of the mountains and worth a visit too!

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to photograph the wedding of Amy + Bruce! I met Amy at their lovely lil Coburg North home in the early afternoon while the super talented Killer Queen Creative was working her makeup magic and hung out around the house taking some snaps while the boys hung bunting and fairy lights just down the road at the amazing Fawkner Bowls Club (wood panelled 70s heaven!)

We took some snaps in their front yard (featuring Polly, the most adorable cat ever who was not having any of it and kept escaping) before heading down to the bowls club. A couple of early arrivers helped Amy + Bruce as they set the tables with vintage thrifted tablecloths and native florals from their front garden.

Amy + Bruce’s friend Davina did the hitching and once the legals were out the way the bowls club brought out a feast of food and everyone ate and drank and celebrated. The cake was some kind of profiterole/ croquembouche dream and once the cake cutting was over the chairs were cleared and the band played some tunes while everyone danced. 

SUCH a fun day! 

You can check out a whole lot more snaps of their day here!

The Team:
HMUA: Killer Queen Creative
Venue + catering: Fawkner Bowls Club

Florals: Vasette

Wow, Em, we are completely blown away by your photographs!!!! They are so wonderful. Even better than we could have possibly hoped for! You have captured so many beautiful moments here. I can’t begin to describe how much we love them.
A thousand thanks again! ~ Amy + Bruce

Last Summer I worked with total marketing legend and all round babe Penny of Two Pence Social on a fun lil campaign celebrating ten years of Gorman collaborating with artists. We gathered a bunch of props- from confetti to giant letters, mid century furniture and florals, and spent the afternoon hanging out in the studio shooting.

To celebrate ten years we shot ten of our favourite artist collaboration collections. Inspired by each individual artist (they’re all incredibly varied), we used props to give a lil personality to each collection.

I never got around to posting these snaps because they’re probably a little more ~commercial~ than a lot of my work, but I still totally dig how they turned out and thought they deserved a blog post! You can check out the amazing Penny from Two Pence Social’s work here.

A coupla’ months back on the only sunny Winter’s day of the year, Claire and Andy decided to throw one hell of a 30th birthday/ housewarming party in their incredible Geelong home that they’d just finished renovating. Jac and I played the roles of undercover pals until everyone was sufficiently tipsy and Claire and Andy announced that they were going to get married on their back porch right then and there, and that Jac would be performing the nuptials and I’d be taking the snaps! 

Jac told the story of Claire and Andy’s love which featured many a Pulp Fiction reference in her signature style, and Rigby the pug (the lord of the rings) brought forward the rings which he’d hidden in a lil bowtie on his collar. Then they opened the bar, ordered some pizzas and turned the music up.

While everyone was busy dancing Claire, Andy and I snuck off to take some snaps around their home- on their dreamy front porch and in front of their local neighbourhood lemon tree. The two of them couldn’t stop laughing (which always makes for THE BEST snaps). We took a bunch of film snaps too which are always my fave and then rejoined the celebrations. What an absolute dream wedding hey!?

You can check out a whole lot more snaps of their day (including some super cute snaps of Rigby the Pug) here!

“Thanks again Em, your photos are beautiful, and I couldn’t imagine a more perfect summary of the illest party ever. If anyone is in need of a top notch photographer, look no further!” – Andy
“You were so amazing and such a fantastic addition to our day! Our wedding photos are SO gorgeous!” – Claire

Been thinking about getting some professional snaps? Maybe you need some fresh photos for your insta, bio, facebook, or maybe you just want some for fun. I’m all about portraits that feel more like a fashion shoot and I’m also all about that warm, grainy, 70s vibe and SO into portraits that DON’T scream “commercial white-wall headshot with perfect artificial lighting”. If your vibe is more Moonrise Kingdom tones meets Almost Famous styling but shot in something not too dissimilar from a Mad Men office then I think we could work something out. 

So how does a portrait session work? Let me answer all your q’s so you can book in and feel totally chill knowing exactly how it all works.

1. HIT ME UP
send me an email and tell me alllll about your dream portrait shoot. Into natural light and want to shoot somewhere pastel coloured at sunrise? Done. Want something dark and moody with cool coloured lights but have NO IDEA where to shoot? That’s what I’m here for. I spend WAY more time than I care to admit exploring the suburbs of Melbs for rad 70s locations.

2. LET’S MAKE A PLAN
We’ll work out the locations- based on what you’ve told me and what I’ve found that suits this vibe (and is within your budget if it’s a location we have to pay for). We can chat about colours and what you could wear that compliment you and your chosen location. You can even send me some snaps of possible outfits and I can help you pick the best ones- or I can bring some rad styling pieces like fur coats and go-go boots along. It’s totally up to you whether you want to book in an HMUA- I recommend it because I think you always feel more confident when you’ve had a professional make you look 22/10. But if you feel comfier doing you own or coming makeup free I totally dig that too.

3. SHOOT DAY!
We meet at the chosen location and take some snaps. I’ll guide you through posing so you feel comfortable and not too posey- so not into that super posed vibe. I’ll bring the tunes and we can spend an hour or two hanging out making magic! You can have a look at the snaps as we go too- I’ll be shooting both on digital and film!

4. EDITS
So editing works in two ways- 1. I choose the snaps of you I think are the best and send them to your for approval for editing (a fave because sometimes other people can see our best angles better than we can ourselves. Plus way less stress/ deliberation on your end) or 2. You choose the snaps for me to edit.
I’ll send through the snaps within 5 days of the shoot for this selecting process, and then edits will be done within 7 days of selects being made. They’ll all be sent via dropbox for you to download at high resolution and keep forever. If you want any changes made just let me know!


And OF COURSE I have a super special deal for anyone keen to book in between now and the end of July for a shoot in the coming months. For a TWO HOUR portrait session, including location scouting, concept creation, all film costs and FIFTEEN fully edited snaps is only $450!

Just mention this post when sending me an email (hello@emjensencreative.com) to book in at such a super discounted rate. I’m so keen to hear from you guys and make some magic with you! Here’s a few snaps from past portrait shoots to get you all inspired ~

Recently the rad folk over at Heartbreak Hotel, Melbourne’s coolest Photo Booth asked me to create a campaign with their groovy props- sunnies, caps and wigs. The props inspired so many retro, Gucci, sporty vibes so I decided to create a lil series about a 70s skater girl. Dominik modelled and I grabbed some furry coats, some fluorescent tights and some roller-skates to style with the props. 

We shot in June and had to wait three weeks for a sunny day which happened to be on a Sunday. We shot at a few rad local spots – a DIY’d skatepark in an abandoned lot in Preston and then Coburg Drive-in. We started shooting around 9am so it was totally freezing but Dom is a pro at embracing a theme and pretending like it’s a Summer’s day. The skatepark was totally abandoned- apart from a makeshift house which was home to a friendly local skater who woke up to find us hanging out in his backyard. I’d totally forgotten that Coburg Drive-In is home to the trash and treasure market on Sunday mornings- so when we got there the place was packed with vendors selling vintage wares from their car boots and families shopping. We decided to work with it anyway- the diner was open so we grabbed a milkshake and skated around the parking lot. So many people stopped and stared, confused at what we were doing. Having an audience kind of just made the shoot more fun though. On the way home we spotted a retro bus in a parking lot so we took some snaps there too. 

Snaps on film and digital. I styled, directed and snapped the shoot, and Dom modelled the clothes. Props (sunnies, caps, wig) are from Heartbreak Hotel. You can checkout the whole series here.

Let us show you a little somethin’ somethin’. A pretty groovy wedding took place on April 12th, 2019 in Melbourne and boy, are we keen as mustard to show you the outcome…

Recently a bunch of the edgiest wedding vendors were working in cahoots and gave away a killer wedding for one lucky couple. The team of industry misfits, if you will, wanted to create something that hadn’t been seen for…well… 50 years. They put on an elopement-style wedding that was a total time-warp; a 70’s inspired wedding at Melbourne’s iconic Thornbury Bowls Club. Angi and James, two cool cats from Brisvegas, were the lucky couple that got to lay down their vows and in a helluvalotta style to boot.

I was lucky enough to take some snaps (on film and digital, as always) of the day and Till Death, the most badass videographer straight outta Freo, filmed the entire thing.

The bowls club looked cute as hell zjooshed up with plenty of bunting and fairy lights. A dinner table for 10 was topped with retro glassware and crockery from Betty May Vintage Hire. An empty wall with shelving was transformed into their personalised ceremony backdrop. “Happily ever after” neon and disco balls by Good Day Rentals were surrounded by a stunning floral display by Bloom Boy; plenty of daisies, Billy Buttons, Babies Breath and dahlias. The shelves were filled with beautiful photographs of Angi and James as well as treasures and nick-knacks from their own personal collection… and how could we forget the shagpile rug?

Killer Queen Creative primped and preened our couple – a real master of mod eye shadow and big Farrah Fawcett hair. After putting daisies in Angi’s hair for the finishing touch, man she was a total daydream.

Angi and James sourced their own threads and they did not disappoint. The bride wore bold purple floral flares and bell sleeves showing off her tatts in all their glory. An outfit change later saw Angi in a green shift dress and those white knee high vinyl boots, oh my! The groom rocked a pale blue Safari suit, slick hair and black shades – like a total badass.

Soul queen, Francesca Li Donni, dragged the bowls club’s old upright piano into the ceremony space and played “Didn’t I (blow your mind this time)” by The Delfonics as Angi walked down the aisle to her beau – swoon. Fran switched it up from soul to disco after the sun went down and the energy was electric.

Jac the Hitcher performed the nuptials in a velour disco tracksuit – she never shies away from a theme. The ceremony was 100% Angi and James – beer skulling, plenty of swearing, cheering and laughing and they sealed the deal by exchanging tattoo VOWchers designed by Frankenrot, the friendly resident graphic designer who also created their gnarly wedding invitations.

Far out, the food… ALL the party food from back in the day from devilled eggs, steak Dianne vol au vents and of course cheese fondu then Blue Lagoons to wash it all down -what’s a wedding without something blue?

Fat and Skinny Catering whipped out the “Margaret Fulton: Dinner Party” 1972 edition and put on a spread that was outta this world. Meatloaf, jellied vegetables, Spam-burgers and would it even be a 70s dinner party without those toothpicks with a trio of pickled onions, cabana and tasty cheese stuck into a pineapple? Let’s be honest, did it really ever go out of fashion?

Finally, the most beautiful wedding cake from Miss Ladybird Cakes to end the night; white chocolate and passionfruit mud cake iced in a colour palette not too dissimilar to your grandma’s 70s wallpaper. Can you dig it?

(most of these words are by Jac The Hitcher (slightly tweaked) because she sure can sum up one hell of a party)

Check out the full series here!

Here’s the legendary team that put it all together – it was a trip!

Celebrant: Jac the Hitcher (@jacthehitcher)

Photographer: Em Jensen Creative (@emjensencreative)

Catering: Fat and Skinny Catering (@fatandskinnycatering)

Tableware and Décor: Betty May Vintage Hire (@bettymayvintagehire)

Neon: Good Day Club (@gooddayclub_au)

Videographer: Till Death (@_tilldeath_)

Florals: Bloom Boy (@bloom.boy)

Hair & Makeup: Killer Queen Creative (@killerqueencreative)

Musician: Francesca Li Donni (@francescalidonni)

Cake: Miss Lady Bird Cakes (@missladybirdcakes)

Custom invites: Frankenrot (@frankenrot)

Venue: Thornbury Bowls Club (@thornburybowls)

From classics like Bianca Jagger’s suit, to June Carter’s pastel blue lace mini and Cilla Black’s red velvet dress.

You all probably know by now I am NOT big on the whole traditional wedding vibe- and this applies to wedding attire too. I have no issues with a white gown, but only if it’s really you. I think it’s super important not to change your personal taste on your wedding day to suit others or tradition, and your outfit should definitely be a reflection of yourself. So I’ve compiled a list of some of my all time favourite wedding looks- where the bride’s totally embraced their individuality and went for something a lil different.

Jane Fonda

Jane wore a classic mini to her wedding to Roger Vadim in the mid 60s. Paired back with lil suede boots, such a simple and classic 60s look.

Bianca Jagger

A universally agreed upon wedding icon, Bianca Jagger rocked up to her 70s wedding to Mick in an all white suit, styled with a veiled wide brim hat.

June Carter

June wore a lace, pastel blue mini dress with a floral headpiece to her wedding to Johnny in 1968.

Pattie Boyd

Pattie looked so cute in a fur coat and white tights at her wedding to George Harrison.

Cilla Black

English singer and TV presenter Cilla Black’s wedding outfit might even been my favourite of all. She wore a red velvet mini with ruching and lantern sleeves. The cutest!

Yoko Ono

John and Yoko win when it comes to the most casual, low-key wedding attire. She wore a mini with socks and sneakers. John recounted the lyrics of his song “The Ballad of John and Yoko” to Yoko at their ceremony. Love!


For more alternative wedding inspo you can check out some of my absolute faves on the website – Dom + Javier‘s quirky Castlemaine elopement and Emily + Ben‘s shoot in Trentham. Stay tuned for the wedding of the century – The Kitsch Hitchin’ of our 70s wedding winners Angi + James – Their wedding is coming super soon!