Distiller Open Day! - Event Photography

So last Tuesday The Distiller hosted their first open day. The idea was to raise the profile of the space, and hopefully attract some new residents. 

With over 150 new faces shown through, four hours non-stop cooking, music pumping and over 300 sausages given out, it's safe to say it was a roaring success. 

After getting a few images to document the event and capture the energy, I jumped behind the table and ended up on the BBQ. Although I did spend a good part of the morning standing on the corner and enthusiastically promoting our sausage sizzle! 

What to have ready for me on your wedding day - How I photograph.

I get a lot of funny looks when I request things like shoes, ties and cufflinks at weddings. They are the first things I photograph on the day of a wedding, and there is good reason for this. 

Firstly, it gives you a chance to relax with your friends, it gives the guys a chance to get into their shirts and pants, and it often passes the time while you get the finishing touches on your hair and make-up (or in some cases, while that portion gets started). 

Secondly, they help tell the story of your day; each part is so important, those little details you have carefully picked, and they all contribute to the overall story of your day. 

Mainly, I ask that the guys have their jackets, shoes, ties and cufflinks ready for me to photograph; plus any cologne or special presents the two of you have exchanged. 

I will ask the girls to have their shoes, perfume, veil, and jewellery ready for me to photograph, as well as their invitation. 

I also photograph the dress, flowers and rings; but I'm going to do a seperate blog on those. 
I hope you enjoyed this, and I hope it helped you to understand why us photographers sometimes have odd requests for your wedding day! 

TEDx Dunedin - Event Photography

Last weekend I had the privilege of running a photobooth at the TEDx Dunedin event.  One of my friends was talking on stage, so I also decided to do some stage photography as well (and lets be honest, I can't resist good light). 

The theme was 'making a difference', so we decided on Atlas pages for the background, as making a difference involves a) everyone on this earth and b) saving the earth itself. 

For the stage photography, I decided to shoot in monochrome and really utilise the stage lighting. There were some fantastic speakers and performers there! Heidi from Innov8 HQ was the main MC, and Ray was the organiser and licence holder for TEDx Dunedin!

Ashleigh spoke about the importance of involving youth in youth discussions; an incredibly important and relevant issue, and I totally agree with her. Our world is forever changing and evolving, and nobody except the current generation understands what it's like to grow up right now. She had some great metaphors involving a sponge. 

These perfomers are a duo, that 'jam' together by drawing to the beat of the others guitar. Quite cool to see in person I must say. 

Richard talked about high sporting achievements.

As part of the TEDx event, Hena ran a small workshop called 'quick ideas', where audience members had to write down what they would do a Ted talk on if they were asked too. There were some super awesome ideas (which we will see the conclusion of later!) She did an awesome job of getting the audience involved and was also part of the organising committee. 

During the break, attendees had snacks and coffee for mingling, canvas' to write messages to the speakers, my photobooth they could jump in (see above), or they had this absolutely stunning canvas they could colour in. Not to sound like a broken record, but you need to check this girls page out; Cenara Davies-Bell Artist. This is hand drawn!

After the break, we had George talking about why all generations suck. He provided a very entertaining speech and the crux of his talk was about the need for generations to listen to and work together, rather than blaming each other for various issues. 

Next up we had Emere entertaining us with songs in fluent Te Reo. She had an absolute stunning singing voice; this is one of the ones that to get the full idea of, you really need to wait for the video. 

Next up we had Casey from Geia talking about the power of your dollar, and how the spending decisions you make everyday are you voting with your wallet. 

Barbara spoke about the importance of knowing your history so you aren't doomed to repeat it. 

Fi, who started her own brand Senorita Awesumo, talked about the importance of knowing where your clothes come from, the perils of fast fashion (including the shocking 2013 factory collapse of the Raza Plaza in Bangladesh where 1129 people died), and making the most of out of your clothes (mending, re-suing and recycling fabric, and utlilising textiles). 

Before the dinner break, we had Hena back with the conclusion of her audience activity, and her winners gave a brief description of what they would talk about if they had to give a Tedx Talk. 

After the dinner break (and in case you are wondering, the food was amazing), we had Scout speaking about Gender, politics, the importance of fighting for what you believe in, and how minorities are often likely to be systematically disadvantaged. 

Then we had the absolutely amazing performer Josh; Josh is a dancer that does fire spinning in his spare time, and he provided an incredibly cool performance with some LED lights. He also talked about the importance of being brave and trying new and cool things, so I took his words to heart and tried out some slow motion photography for the first time in years. 

Last but certainly not least, we had Mark talk to us about the importance of having conversations that matter. He touched on some of the issues talked about by Ashleigh and George; such as involving youth and the importance of inter-generational communication. 

And that's a wrap. If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend attending a TEDx or TED event. Watching them on youtube just doesn't have quite the same effect; being there, living the experience and hearing the talks live is an unforgettable experience. 

Hitting 500 likes on Facebook! - Wedding + Portrait Photography

So a couple of weeks ago, I hit 500 likes on my Facebook Page!

Although it's a relatively small achievement in the grand scheme of things, it's still something that I wanted to celebrate.

I wanted to say thank-you to my long time fans, my new supporters, and at the same time encourage new fans to my page. 

So I created a giveaway! 

I just want to say one big thank-you to everyone that has ever read my blog, supported me, encouraged me, hired me for their photographic needs, or bought something from me. Thank-you so much for helping my dreams come true!

Building a Community - Part 2 - Portrait Photography

A few months ago I chatted to you about the importance of building community. 

That work for me has being continuing; as the community here at the Distiller grows, so does the community board. 

Photographs help create the community. They put names to new faces for new residents, they educate people passing by about who we are and what we do, and it helps to instil a sense of pride in residents; pride for themselves, for their space, and for their friends. 

Geia added some of their employees to the wall - for now this cool company is just taking over the community wall, but tomorrow it will be the world! 

These guys are all doing cool things too, and all out of the Distiller, how cool is that! 

A letter to my student self - when I was on the cusp of my beginning.

Right now, you are a student.
You are in your third year. 
You are putting the final touches on your Iris award Prints. 
You are getting excited about attending the NZIPP conference, spending time with your friends, seeing amazing prints, listening to inspirational speakers and having the time of your life. 

You are excited about seeing some of your 'heroes' in person but terrified of speaking to them. 

But what if I told you that two years from now, when you next attended, those 'heroes' are now your peers. Some are even your friends. You will be sitting at their table, sharing jokes and clinking glasses with them. 

You are nervous about whether your prints will do well. But what if I told you that you got a bronze this year (see image on the right), and in two years you are going to come back and get your first award in an open category, and it will be for a wedding image (another first). You are going to get re-assured that you are at an industry standard with your wedding work when you walk away with two 'professional standards' for your work. 

You are nervous about starting your business. But what if I told you that, even though it might take a while, you are going to end up on a journey you never thought possible, and your work will take you to the most amazing places. 

You will shoot weddings in the stunning central Otago on crazy hot days. You will photograph a wedding in Queenstown with the Remarkables as your backdrop. 

You will make contacts you never could have dreamed of. 

You will get to wake up and know that you are doing what you want to do in life. 

Mondays will be so good they feel like Fridays. 




10 Facts about me that you may not have known

So as you may have seen last week, I am doing the #feelgoodblogging challenge. It involves writing a series of blogs surrounding a theme. 

Technically, I'm jumping ahead to number four. Number two was about why I do what I do, which I've touched on three previous times; How I got started and why I do what I do, The first day I called myself a photographer, and Exist in Photos

Number three focuses on teaching you something, and I've got a cool tutorial planned for that next week; how to create gorgeous, instagram worthy flat-lays with your camera phone! 

So this week I'm jumping ahead to number four, going behind the scenes a little bit, and giving you 10 facts you may not have known about me. 

1. I have two bachelor degrees.

If you've read my about me, you may know about my Visual Imaging Degree. But before that, I was studying Expressive Arts and Journalism at Massey. Expressive Arts focused on Creative Writing and Drama. My favourite subjects was Writing Poetry, Advanced Fiction Writing and Drama/Creative Processes. 

2. I was a huge Drama nerd at High School. 

I took drama throughout my senior years, and was in every single school production. I even took private lessons as a kid. Anyone who knows me personally may not be surprised; or it may give clarification for where my enthuisium and general exuburence comes from. 

3. I took Violin/Viola lessons for three years. 

Why did I do both? I started off with the Violin in Year 7, then halfway through Year 8 I switched to a Viola, as I'm quite tall with long arms, and my teacher thought it may be better for me. 

4. I become instantly obsessed with any cat or dog I meet. 

I must make friends with any and all pets I meet; especially when they are cats and dogs. I love animals, and I sincerely believe that every dog is a good dog. 

5. I am a huge Harry Potter nerd. 


I have read the entire series a multitude of times (and currently re-reading it and on the Deathly Hallows), and have watched the movies so many times I have lost count. I'm on Pottermore, I've been sorted into my house (I am in Gryffondor, cheers for asking), my patronus is a Silver Tabby cat (see above fact), I've read every Harry Potter fact there is, no matter how small or inconsequential, I devour every new piece of reading on Pottermore, and I am a massive fan of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

6. I am also a huge fan of A Series of Unfortunate Events. 

You know that crazy fan that spends hours reading on theories and analysing how the smallest details are linked? That's me. The world of ASOUE is incredibly large and intricate, and is growing. Just as I am with the world of Harry Potter, I am the same with ASOUE. If you haven't read it, I highly suggest checking it out. The series on Netflix is a pretty bang up screen version. 

7. I would love to live in Canada. 

I love New Zealand, but for some reason, the thought of Canada has always drawn me. I've never actually been though!

8. I might be addicted to curry. 

Honestly, the hotter the better. 

9. I love to swim

I mean I'm not good at it at all, but I love being in the water, I feel right at home.

10. I've never travelled further than Australia

This kills me; I'm absolutely itching to travel. Another trip to Aussie is on the cards first to see my family, but I have to go to the UK and Europe sometime soon. Then Canada, then maybe somewhere hot; then I'll just let my heart take me where it takes me. 

A re-introduction of sorts - Portrait + Wedding Photographer

I decided I would partake in what is called the #feelgoodbloggingchallenge. Basically, I get a list of questions that I have to answer, to help you understand who I am and what I do just a little bit better.

Who are you?
I'm Kat, of Kat Hill Photography. I'm a photographer, and a designer. I'm a wife, a daughter, a sister, a niece, and aunty and a friend. I have the privilege of being married to my best friend. I also have the privilege to capture life's most important moments and milestones through my lens. I have three cats and a dog, who I love to bits. I love to read, and I'm a totally Harry Potter nerd. My favourite bands are Breaking Benjamin, System of a Down and Nirvana. I collect Vinyl and wear far too much flannel. 

Why did I start blogging? 
I started blogging to open my world to my clients and my followers. To give you a peak behind the scenes, a hint to my inner self. To show you my work, my style, and an insight into how I run my business. I strive for authenticity and transparency. 

Who is my blog for? 
My blog is for anyone who needs a milestone captured. They are for future clients that need their family beautifully captured, an updated portrait after a new addition or family growth. They are for anyone that needs a milestone celebrated, a celebration captured, and a moment in time frozen. It's for future clients too see a hint into my personal life, or for past clients to stay in the loop. It is for you. 

What's something you have been working on lately that you are really proud of?
I have been continually working on and updating my website, to ensure it is the most authentic reflection of my work and my style, and I am extremely proud of it. 

What's one message you want people to take away from your blog.
Follow your dreams and don't give up on them. Don't give up on yourself. Celebrate the milestones, share love and laughter with those who matter most, and exist in photos. 


The first time I called myself a photographer

Now, that's a hairy question! 

If I'm honest, it's actually hard to remember, as now it so casually falls off the tongue. 

Halfway through second year, our lecturer told us to start referring to ourselves as photographers, rather than 'student photographers'. However, as I was in second year, I was incredibly relunctant to do so. 

I distinctly remember at the end of second year, he addressed as a class and told us that we were photographers now. Third year was about refining our portfolio, but we had the skills to call ourselves photographers now. 

That still wasn't enough for me. 

Third year came, and I was getting a little more confident with it, but still hesitatant. I was scared people would call me out. 

I'm a photographer, I would say. 

You mean a student photographer, I would hear back in my own head. 

It wasn't until I was photographing my first wedding. They addressed me as one of the 'photographers'. "Oh, ask the photographer", "Oh, where is the photographer". They knew my friend and I were still in tech, yet, not once, did they refer to us as student photographers - guests and family only found out when they were making small talk with us. 

After that, my confidence increased significantly. I was no longer hesitant when I called myself a photographer. I corrected others when they referred to themselves as student photographers. 

So what's the lesson here? 

Be confident, own those skills, own your profession and shout it from the rooftops. 

Building a community - My current project.

At the moment I am working on something very special - A community wall for my shared office! 
I've been the lead designer on this project - which means creating and designing the wall, how it looks, how it will be mounted, arranged, etc.

I've also had the priviledge of photographing a number of buisness' for the wall. 

Which also means a bunch of new head-shots to share with you! 

Angus runs Lucidus, a company who create strong customer relationships by connecting through social media.
Beverly runs Dunedin Literary Walking Tours, a company that provides walking tours through the historic University of Otago campus, alongside stories about famous past and present New Zealand Writers. 
Varsha and Hena work for Weta Capital, a company that invests in Real Estate and Start-ups. 

These four boys work for Geia - a company who helps business' make sustainability easy, clear, and profitable. In order from left to right we have Casey, Alax, Michael and Tapabrata. 

This is an ongoing project - so I'll have many to share with you in the coming weeks! I love this wall, and I love the sense of community it is helping to build. 


What Happens after your wedding - my workflow

When you book your photographer, you don't often get a look at behind the scenes. Letting you take a sneak peak behind the scenes not only helps you gain an insight; it installs faith in your photographer. 

I know many people worry that we leave behind or hold back beautiful photos of you, this is not the case! 

First things first, when I get home from a wedding, I back up your files, and no files are removed from their cards until they have two back-ups! I go to great lengths to ensure your files are protected. 

Secondly, I go through your files and pick which ones you will recieve. When eliminating photos, what I'm looking for is out of focus shots, shots where your eyes are closed, or shots that aren't properly exposed. 

After this, I start the editing process. I like a clean, minimal edit. I try and frame my images and do most of this in camera - eg; I would rather move you, or something from behind you, then to eliminate distracting elements in photoshop. But when I edit, I colour correct, fix exposure, remove blemishes, and edit out any distracting elements that weren't able to be removed at the time. 

After editing, I package up your beautiful wedding, and send it out to you! 

Depending on the time and the busyness of the season, this process can take between 4 - 6 weeks. 

How to save money on your wedding - Table stationery and decor.

Last week we chatted about invitations - this week we are talking about table stationery and decor! 

My first advice would be to read my last blog about saving money on your stationery - much of the same advice applies here - don't feel the need to upgrade your paper to a fancier one, and consider getting something from an 'off the shelf' or 'pre-made' collection. 

Secondly, consider your numbers. Everyone doesn't need a menu each - consider having one menu to every two people. Or, consider having one large menu printed up and have it beside your seating chart or welcome sign.

While name cards look awesome and lovely, consider having dedicated tables, but freestyle the seating - so assign people to just a table, rather than a seat. This will negate the need for name cards all together. 

Now, the decor. You might be sick of hearing this, but seriously, keep a really good eye on Buy and Sell pages, and TradeMe. I see countless, barely used decorations all over Facebook all the time. 

As far as the head table goes, your bouquets can double as flowers for the head table - have a vase ready, and put your bouquets in them when it comes time for the reception - and free up your hands for eating, drinking, and dancing the night away! 

I think I'll leave it there - I hope you have found these helpful. Let me know if you feel I have left a topic out that you want some tips on! 

What's a lifestyle portrait?

A lifestyle portrait is a documentary style portrait shoot. You get a beautiful mix of candid, posed portraits and documentary shots. They are taken in nature, and can be anywhere that holds significance to you, or simply a place you find pretty. 

It captures the in between moments, lots of cuddles, and kids at play. 

We also get those all important, big smiles shots that stay on your wall and are treasured for a lifetime. 

They can be captured in any season, and suit families of all ages. 

Check out my Pricing page for more information, or contact me for your no-obligation consultation. 

Behind the Scenes - Before and After your shoot.

Whether it's an engagement, a wedding, or a portrait shoot, the day of isn't the only work involved. I'll talk about Weddings another day - today we are focusing on portraits.

Firstly, after our initial consultation on the phone/email, we will have an in person consultation. You get introduced to some of my print products, have a thorough chat about my prices so you know exactly how much everything is, and most importantly, we chat about your needs and wants out of the shoot. Having my print examples there helps you to decide on products you want in your home, which in turn helps direct our shoot. 

At the end of your shoot, we book your reveal appointment. Apart from your sneak peak on facebook, this is the first time you get to see your images. You see them real, printed, and in person. You get to hold them and admire them.

Then you get to pick your favourites. 

Once your products are finished and have arrived at my studio, I deliver them in person to your home. I provide thorough information on care to promote the longevity of your images. 


Why I did Start-up Weekend and why you should too.

I was a little hesitant at first, but I've heard about it for a few years and I was always curious. I thought at best, I might make something cool, make a few new friends and meet inspiring people.

What I got out of it was far more valuable than that.

I was reminded of how much you truly can get done in a short space of time, if you have the motivation. However much time you allow yourself to do something, is usually how long it will take. It truly reminded me how valuable and precious each second really is. 

I didn't just make something cool, I contributed to something truly valuable. I'm not slightly bothered if we never make a dime off it. I contributed to something that made me feel warm from the very depths of my soul, and you can't put a price on that.

I made some very cool contacts and had the privilege of spending my weekend with awesome people. Everyone has their own story, and it's always awesome to hear a new one.

As for meeting inspiring people, I absolutely, without a doubt did.

I am so incredibly proud of how my team did, the work that was put into it, and I'm super proud of the design work I did for our app and our presentation. Our presenters did an incredible job. I couldn't be prouder to be a part of my team.

Whilst our team didn't win the weekend, we did win peoples choice, and we had so much good feedback on our product, presentation and design. So that's a win in my book. Below is the logo for our app.

If you are thinking of participating in Startup Weekend next year, do it. If you are hesitant, do it. If you don't have a business idea, don't see yourself as an entrepreneur, it doesn't matter, still do it!

How to save money on your wedding - Stationery

Being a designer too (If you want to check out my stationery you can find it here), I have a fair bit of knowledge when it comes to wedding stationery. So today, I'm here to tell you how you can have beautiful stationery without compromising on quality, whilst saving money. 

Firstly, don't feel the need to have a RVSP card. I absolutely adore RSVP cards, but if you are on a budget, I do suggest they are the first things to go. That saves you not only on the physical card, but the extra postage for the stamped envelopes for your guests to send them back. 

Secondly, don't feel the need to have fancy envelopes - whilst matching printed envelopes, lined or metallic envelopes look beautiful and awesome - they often aren't kept (whilst heaps of people might keep a pretty invitation as a keepsake, I know I do!). 

Added to that, don't feel like it's necessary to upgrade to fancier papers. If you want to, by all means do it - linen, metallic or textured papers are awesome and absolutely stunning - but most invitations also look great on a good quality, thick white matte card. I design all my stationery to suit a white card - that way any paper upgrades are absolutely optional. 

Another tip for saving cash, consider getting something already designed from your chosen designer; these are sometimes called 'off the shelf' invites, or 'from the collection', 'pre-made', etc. This will save you custom made fees. 

Lastly, consider a digital invite! I provide digital versions of all my invitations, as well as custom made ones, which are more affordable than it's printed counterpart. This not only saves you on the actual invitation, but it saves you a bundle on postage. It's easy as to attach to an email for most of your guests, and because you have the invite, it's easy as to get a few printed for your elderly guests that maybe don't have access to a computer. 

I think that's enough text for today - next week, table stationery! 

How to save money on your wedding - Accessories

Knox008 copy.jpg

Hello and welcome to my 'how to save money on your wedding' series - today's tip - accessories!
I'm going to be talking all accessories - your accessories, (Jewellery, shoes, perfume), your bridesmaids, the groomsmen, and the Groom. 

Let's start with the shoes! My first tip, as previously talked about in other parts of this series, is to consider buying second hand. I see scores of white shoes on buy and sell pages, in op shops, and on TradeMe, and most are only lightly used. Once you have your feet in them, you cannot tell the difference. 

Guys often already have dress shoes for work or past social functions - but if not, wait for a good Hallensteins sale, or again, look for second hand. Unless he is likely to get great use out of them, don't feel the need to buy new. 

Next up, Jewellery! I wholeheartedly believe that the best jewellery has some significance to it. If you can, take the opportunity to wear something that has been in your family for generations. I promise you will treasure those images and that memory for years to come. For dressing your bridesmaids, ask them what jewellery they already have - you don't need to be one hundred percent matching - matching style is enough (Eg - all pendants, all chokers, etc).

Don't feel the need to buy brand new perfume. By all means, splurge if you want, but there is absolutely no need for a new bottle of perfume, especially if you already have a favourite at home! 

I'll leave it there for now - next week I'll chat about stationery - table stationery, invitations and save the dates! 

Finding the love in everyday - Week One

Week One in my March photo challenge has absolutely flown by! I'm loving the challenge of actively going out everyday and photographing something that I love, whether that be one of my pets, a hobby, or a building I find particularly cool. 

How to save money on your wedding - the dress!

Welcome to the second blog in my series of 'how to save money on your wedding - the right way'. 

Today's topic - the dress!

If you are looking for a blog that was going to tell you the best aliexpress buyers to use, or how to buy a dress off DHGate, I'm sorry but you have come to the wrong place. 

I believe in buying quality. Dresses on Asian emporium websites are cheap for a reason. They take the designers image, claim to be selling that dress, then replicate said dress with cheaper materials, and likely slave labour. 

Tip 1: Keep an eye out for sales and take advantage of them. In the last three months alone, two bridal stores I follow have had brilliant sales, as they have been clearing out their old stock to make way for new collections. Many a bargains were scored in these sales by budget savvy brides, next time, make that you! Locate the bridal stores in your area, follow them on facebook, wait for the right time of year and grab yourself a bargain - if you want one! 

Tip 2: Browse TradeMe - TradeMe and Buy and Sell pages have a flood of good quality, amazing dresses after every wedding season. Keep an eye on these pages, and you never know what you may find. Get the most out of that dress and pass it on to another bride when you have had your turn too! 


Tip 3: Buy from a retail store. If you are looking for something a bit different than your average wedding dress, I would seriously recommend checking out some clothing retail stores - I've seen some seriously cool white dresses on ASOS and Modcloth - I've even purchased from Modcloth myself for a styled shoot! These dresses are often perfect for a budget friendly, low key wedding - see the image on the left for the dress in question. 

How to save money on your wedding - the right way - general tips.

Being in the wedding industry, as well as being married myself, has given me some interesting and rather useful knowledge of wedding planning. One thing that I hear time and time again, whether it's conversations with brides, general chit chat, or exploring wedding forums, is the dreaded budget. 

Whether your budget is $5000 or $50,000 - everyone has one. But I want to tell you right now, you can have a beautiful wedding that is an absolute reflection of you, no matter what your budget. You just have to be willing to compromise

I'm turning this into a series, the next one will be about the dress!

Firstly, plan and keep track of your spending. The little things can sometimes spiral out of control, like accessories and decorations, so make a plan at the start and record everything. 

Secondly, if you are sticking to a budget, compromise. Figure out what is most important to you, and concentrate on that. If you have a dream venue, compromise on the food. If you have a dream dress, find budget friendly shoes and bridesmaids dresses. If you have a dream photographer, find a free ceremony option

Consider a 'Pop-up' wedding. There are plenty of pop-up wedding packages now that keep costs down, and give you a celebrant, venue, cake and photographer, sometimes more, and sometimes a mixture of said vendors. Simply google 'Pop-Up Weddings (City or region)'

If saving money is important to you, learn to let some things go. You don't have to have THE shoes, THE jewellery, THE veil, THE bunting. 

Sales! Take advantage of online shopping, sales, etc. You can save a bunch on your decor, bridesmaids dresses, suits, accessories, if you take advantage of sales. 

Shop 2nd Hand. I guarantee there will be some great finds on TradeMe or Wedding Buy and Sell pages. Take advantage of these, and keep your eye on them in wedding season. 

I'm not into walls of text so I will leave it here for now. I'm looking forward to writing this series, and I hope it helps you!