On Set with Emily Gangell - Owner of Forever and A Day

Shaped by a mix of adventures, Emily's journey has been full of wild experiences, from growing up in nature to excelling in martial arts and running her own businesses. Now a photographer based in South Australia, her recent shoot with ÀME at Villa Rica Estates reminded her why she loves capturing moments. Transitioning from a job in customer service to running her own wedding photography business, Forever and A Day, felt like a natural move for Emily, driven by her love for storytelling. Despite juggling family life and work, she stays committed to both. Looking ahead to 2024, Emily is excited about new wedding trends, like candid photos and collaborations with content creators, which add fresh twists to celebrating love. Read long to hear more of Emily's journey.

What interesting experiences or hobbies make you who you are and drive your journey?

Great question, it’s hard to answer things like this because I have had SO many wild, weird, wonderful life experiences in my short 29 years. I grew up spending most of my time in the bush, a place that seriously makes my soul feel at ease, camping, riding dirt bikes, catching reptiles. You know, all the real girly girl things.15 years of mixed martial arts instilled a huge amount of confidence & discipline in myself. Competing professionally & taking out an Australian Female Junior championship by the age of 15.I started working and earning my own money at 12 years old, I’ve always been incredibly independent & driven.With a recent ADHD diagnosis it made a lot of sense to me as to why I always needed to be creative, in my 29 years I’ve owned 3 businesses, I’ve always become incredibly good at my hobbies that they’d always turn into businesses. But photography wasn’t just a hobby, it was & is my absolute passion. I can’t see a time in my life that I won’t be working as a photographer.

Share the story behind your recent shoot with AME. What sparked your creativity?

Working with the legends from ÀME was a total dream, so many talented knowledgeable creative humans spending the day together was the absolute best. From the moment we pulled into Villa Rica Estates driveway my jaw hit the floor. One of the most dreamy Tuscan inspired locations you’ll find in South Australia.The team went above and beyond this day, everyone involved absolutely hit my expectations out of the park, I just remember saying all day “this is the best day ever”We shared such a beautiful Italian dinner in the front garden where we shared stories, gave warranted advice and genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. That was probably all of our favourite part of the day. Networking with like minded people is just the best.I really loved working with lighting this workshop, moving models in a way light would gently dapple their face or highlight certain points. Shooting in full sun, framing our subjects with the gorgeous arches throughout Villa Rica was epic.Really just bouncing off of each other was SO much fun, being vocal and taking turns posing our models and getting other photographers point of view opened my eyes to so many opportunities for great shots.

How did you switch from customer service to becoming a wedding photographer in South Australia?

I started photography around 10 years ago, my husband raced motocross and I became super keen on being an on track photographer, this was just a hobby that I enjoyed doing on weekends.However I have always been one to capture life on the daily, I love photos and the memories they hold. Ive always been one to go to my parents/ grandparents houses to flick through their old albums especially old film!I finished up my full time job in customer service in 2020 to go on maternity leave and I just knew that I wanted more for myself and my family. Thankfully I have the most wonderful supportive husband Phillip & a booming carpentry business we decided that I would be a “stay at home mum”. But being the creative I am, I knew I would have some sort of work that needed to be done other than mum life. Phillip has always encouraged me to follow my dreams.I had my son Brady in 2020 and after a maternity shoot I had whilst pregnant with him it sparked my interest again to pick up a camera and start documenting life on a DSLR. From there I started a little page called “forever and a day images”. At first it was just a hobby until people started reaching out asking me to capture their growing families, which of course I jumped at the opportunity!I have now been photographing professionally for around 3.5 years.My love for wedding photography came from my own wedding honestly, I had the best time designing our perfect day & then watching our fabulous photographer Ash Jones (Jones & Jagger) work her magic, it clicked to me that this was something I wanted to lean in to.. SO I DID!! and although I’ve only been in the wedding industry for around 1.5 years I can absolutely tell you that this is where I’m meant to be. So I separated my Instagram pages, created my wedding only page “The Knot, by forever and a day”.My empathetic big bold personality makes me a great asset to have at your wedding with years in customer service my goal is to serve, create and most importantly make my clients have the most magical wedding day possible. Fun fact, my business name comes from how I would sign off on messages to my loved ones. “ I’ll love you for forever and a day” and I love how images are one thing in life that’ll never fade which once again leads to keeping a memory for forever and a day.

Juggling a growing family and a successful photography business can be tough. How do you manage both? 

I think it’s all about balance honestly, some days parenting can absolutely kick your but! Now that I’m expecting another baby boy in the next coming month I will have to relearn what that “balance” looks like for me.Whilst I love my job so much, truly if I wasn’t being paid to do it, I would STILL do it.It sets my soul on fire. But at the end of the day nothing comes before my family so I’m sure there will times where I will have to lean more into being just Em the Mum but knowing there will be time again for Em the photographer. It’s my passion, my outlet & I will always make time for things that make me, me. We are incredibly lucky that both my husband and I work for ourselves so although it means we are insanely busy we do also have some flexibility where if need be my husband Phillip will make time to support our family needs.The beauty of photography is that the time spent behind the lens is far less than the time spent behind the computer, so that means I’m able to edit at home whilst my children sleep. I try my best to be as present as possible whilst my children are awake so night time is my, let’s edit & listen to podcasts whilst eating chocolate time!

What exciting wedding trends are you noticing as we dive into 2024?

So many epic trends coming in this year I’ve noticed a lot of flash in full sun shots. Documentary style photos especially for the morning of, brides getting organically ready with their bridesmaids, doing the small things; like having a relaxed chat on the lounge, steaming dresses, coffee and biscuits in bed. Just girls being girlies and doing what we do best! Linen signage with hand written lettering, I’m obsessed with this trend, cute silk bows also.I’ve noticed a lot of simple flower bouquets like a single stem Calla Lilly, lots of green and white. Also I’ve noticed a massive increase in content creator style businesses coming through, capturing your day on phones along side your photographer & videographer. I think this is a super cool idea because at the end of the wedding the business can literally just airdrop you bulk loads of images and video they captured throughout the day straight to your phone’s that you can instantly flick through! Perfect for making reels and so on! I’m so excited to see what other trends pop off this year.

Check out Emily's work here & follow her Instagram here.