Danielle Knight And Co., Austinvilla, Helena Couture Designs Bridal And Our Love Story

Danielle Knight & Co. Photography And Film – Chapter Two Of Three

What Was The Inspiration Behind This Shoot Concept?

As discussed in part one of Austinvilla, one shoot turned into three, but this was the mother of them all! It was a full day shoot that involved four models and imagery that has a great story to explain.

When I hiked Austinvilla, I saw so many areas to shoot, which started to form a story for how I hoped the imagery to flow.  It ranged from the tree-house, chook pen, creek, tree stumps, massive fallen trees, main suite and spa, to the pool!  Anyone who knows me, knows, if there is a large enough body of water and the models are game, I love ending up with the couple in the water.  I prefer to find models, who are a couple, especially for the water scenes, as they are often more intimate, and our models Emily and Hayden were awesome!  The water was freezing but the images were worth the cold water and these images will be treasured for all, especially Emily and Hayden.

It was when I saw the tree-house that my story began for the imagery, which is very loosely based on me. There was a little girl who loved dressing up and Cinderella was her favourite story.  She loved dressing up in dresses – all types of “princess” dresses (OK, yes this might give away my age a little, but I don’t care, I’m young at heart).  This little girl used to look at all her mother’s evening dresses and heels in the hope that she would one day be able to wear them when grown up.

Our young model Maya, who is the daughter of Danielle, our Photographer from Danielle Knight & Co. Photography and Film, starts the story in the tree-house.  She is a child who is all dressed up and having a tea party.  (Later the imagery is of the “grown up” Maya, which is played by Emily, with partner Hayden).

The journey of imagery shows Maya on her family farm, going from the tree house to the main suite, where she is then jumping on the bed.  I wanted her to act her age, which she did to perfection!  She then meets up with Bentley, the son of the owners of Austinvilla, and together they climb trees, go to the chook pen, climb fences and “run-a-muck”. The imagery shows them having fun and being carefree.  Who said you should not work with kids and animals?  They did an awesome job!

There is one part of the story, where Maya is sticking her finger in the cake and then really enjoying eating it.  We then had Emily do the same thing.  Anyone who knows me, knows I love my sweets, but I’m fussy and the food must be great and the cake from Gareth Keenan Catering, did not disappoint.  With a latte from Austinvilla, it was afternoon tea for some of us.  Did I say how great the cake was!  It really was so divine, and it was a few days old by the time we ate it too, but that’s another story, answered later.

What Are Some Of The Highlights You Had During The Shoot Process?

One of the highlights was meeting and working with new creatives, who were just as excited as I to be back doing what we love.  Due to COVID-19, our industry ground to a halt, almost overnight and for several months many of us were unable to practice our craft.  I know the isolation was required to flatten the curve, but it also flattened the spirits of many.  I felt doing these shoots would bring the positivity required to show all involved that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and it did exactly that, and new work colleagues were formed.

I’ve worked with Emily on several shoots, so we both know how each of us work and this shoot was at a whole new level.  I wanted it to be better than any we had worked on together previously.  In the main suite there was so much inspiration and within the space of just under two hours we had captured many different scenes, showing the intimacy Emily and Hayden share.  Danielle and Jaz (photographer and videographer) were so easy to work with and we seemed to be thinking of similar ideas.  The results were nothing short of awesome, with a lovely story through imagery and videography.

I also did a fare bit or running back and forwards to the salon for items we left behind by mistake.  Kris from Austinvilla offered to buggy me back and forth but I needed and enjoyed the run.  It also meant I could have another piece of cake. YUM!  Thank you, Gareth

Did You Face Any Challenges On The Day? If So, How Did You Overcome Them?

Ah challenges – yes, there were several, but I did not break!  I was very bendable, but never broke.

Challenge One
Let’s start from when I woke up the morning the shoot was originally meant to take place, Thursday 9th July.  I hardly slept, the rain poured most of the night and the weather forecast changed from seventy percent rain the previous day, to ninety percent chance of rain that morning.  I needed to decide by 7.30am that day, as to whether we postpone the shoot to Monday 13th July, which was the only day the weather report looked to improve and the only day everyone was available.  I decided it was better to wait and fortunately everyone was available that Monday.  The cake ready for Thursday’s shoot was the one we used on the Monday, and the flowers from Pollinate looked as if they were only picked that day.  Challenge one diverted!

Challenge Two
Monday morning I received a message from Austinvilla that the tree-house and main suite were booked for guests from 2pm, which meant we needed all the tree-house and main suite shots done by 2pm at the latest!  The flower girl wasn’t meant to arrive till after 2pm and the page boy at 4pm.  Even though I originally organised Jenna, from Jenna Leigh Styling, to arrive an hour later then Nicole, from Nicole Peterson MUA, she arrived early, which saved us from running late.  Emily’s hair and makeup finished early and they were able to start on Maya.  As Emily and Hayden were ahead of schedule, we were able to head straight to the two areas where we had limited time and get all the shots done, along with Maya when she was ready.  We only needed a small amount of extended time in the tree-house, which Austinvilla were able to organise.

Challenge Three
Doing two shoots on the same day.  Monday was originally set aside for Leigh Warner Weddings and the crew, but DK & Co. Photography and Film were also moved to the Monday.  I needed to work out how I was going to oversee two shoots.  Leigh’s shoot didn’t start until 3pm, so that was awesome, (the DK & Co. shoot was due to finish at 5pm).  Jenna was able to stand in for me and help Leigh and Matt (Leigh’s videographer) out.  I wasn’t too worried about the models, as they have modelled for me before and I knew they would be fine.  I had already shown both Danielle and Leigh my image inspiration and as I loved both their work, I knew the shoots would be in very capable hands, without me.  I know the photographers only really needed me to check hair and makeup and fix the dresses, but I feel I often see things differently and that’s why I like to always be with them at the time of the shoot, to voice my ideas.

Challenge Four
Changing the dress Emily was going to wear, as the original selection was not the best fit.  Luckily, I am a person who would rather check more times than required to make sure everything is correct. I had decided it was best for Emily to try on all the dresses beforehand, instead of hoping they would fit her on the day – and that turned out to be vital, as at the fitting on the Thursday before the shoot, the dress selection changed.

What Led You To Decide On This Venue/Shoot Location?

Austinvilla Estate is a family run private estate set on 111 acres in the Gold Coast hinterland. It has a vintage inspired homestead for the events and functions, a dreamy rustic pavilion for ceremonies and boutique style accommodation so the guests can stay.
Waking up the morning after and enjoying a hot cooked recovery breakfast with all your guests is one of the most memorable experiences they offer. The regal suite accommodation was voted best in QLD by the ABIA AWARDS and is the perfect backdrop for the bride to slip into her stunning HCD wedding dress in Brisbane. One lucky guest will get to experience the tree-house perched high in the trees and may even be visited by our resident koala.
With many photographic opportunities available including creeks, streams, bush land vistas and sweeping manicured lawns, not to mention the majestic mountains, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to your photos.

I wanted to use Austinvilla Estate, because during the COVID-19 Isolation I found that the outdoors had a very calming effect on me, even if it was being seen through glass doors or while relaxing during a lunch break on the veranda.  I am lucky enough to live in Maudsland on an acre of land, with a small lake and parkland behind us.  While I was creating my COVID-19 Dresses, I was imagining where I wanted to shoot them, and Austinvilla has always been one location I’ve wanted to shoot at. When you are there, you feel like you are miles away from everywhere, yet so close.

I originally only wanted to shoot one of my new dresses created during COVID-19 Isolation at Austinvilla Estate, but after I saw Danielle’s style of imagery and all the areas we were going to shoot at the venue, I decided on a different dress, which has seen very little limelight.  BYRON, is again another modern, carefree, ‘happy’ dress and one that suited our model Emily well.  It also suited the softer imagery and story I was hoping to tell.

What Was Your Favourite Detail About The Shoot Day?

My favourite detail from the shoot is hard to narrow down, as I just love Danielle’s style of imagery.  I loved the tree-house scene, the spa, the chook pen and Maya jumping on the bed. How can I choose just one? I love them all.  I would have to say I love Danielle’s style and feel she just knew exactly what I was hoping for and went that one step further.

Favourite Moment/S From The Day:

I had many favourite moments of the day but being able to rest on the veranda of the tree-house for a short time, while sipping on my latte and eating cake, was very relaxing.  Unlike some, the shoot didn’t feel too hectic. Running back and forth was also very freeing and helped burn a little of the calories I was eating in cake.

Being back doing what I love, with other creative people who are also excited to be back working and building new friendships, was the most rewarding aspect for me personally. Precious memories.

Thank you, Helena xo

I would like to thank my team of creative industry professionals, who helped turn my dream, this shoot, into a reality…

Chapter One, Tom Judson
Chapter Two, Danielle Knight & Co. Photography And Film
Chapter Three, Leigh Warner

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