A Blue Mountains Photographer's Blog
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Father's Day Present Ideas? {Kids Portrait Photographer}

Hmm. Father's Day is coming up, and I still haven't had any amazing gift ideas for my Dad, or for Mr K from the munchkin. We've done the hand painting, the pretty plant in a pot and the surprise adventure. I'm looking for new ideas for what to make, or do this year so if you have any rocking ideas you want to share of your past successes, feel free to share in the comments.

Meanwhile, I'd like to share some of the pics we created last week in the Blue Mountains. A friend of mine asked me to shoot her kids before Father's Day as a surprise for her man, so we managed to find an afternoon when Dad was out to have a secret photo session.

My friend grew up in France and wanted something a little bit creative, and on our windy and rainy afternoon we created some great stuff that their Daddy is going to loooooove! It's always a good sign your client loves your work when they can't pick 'just one'.

He is going to score a number of framed prints and also a small print on the front of their handmade card. I have been working hard over the last few months researching and creating a whole new range of products for my wedding and family portrait clients. I'll be sharing pictures of them and launching the new range very soon, but for now they are going to stay under wraps..

I had such a great time chasing these two little munchkins around, creating little vignettes in their Aussie backyard that captured a little bit of Frenchness. Oui Oui?


A Weekend Stroll in Newtown {Sydney Portrait Photographer}

I woke up early on Saturday morning to see dull grey skies out my window. Grey skies aren't necessarily bad for portraits, so I made my way over to Kate and Dave's house regardless, and while we were sitting around having a cup of tea, the skies cleared and golden rays of sunshine came beaming through the window.

So we decided to get out for an early morning stroll, looking for fun textures and places to stop for the lovers to have a cuddle and canoodle.

I just love being invited on a pregnancy shoot, being with an expectant mum in the final weeks before bub arrives, seeing her warm anticipation.. it reminds me of my own pregnancy and it is such an honour for me to be able to share this precious time.

Seeing the love between Kate and Dave was just wonderful to be around, they seemed totally oblivious that I was even there as they lay enjoying the morning sun, and feeling bub kicking and moving, playing a part in the shoot too.

With such relaxed and easygoing subjects I was in my element, climbing walls and trees to get the best angle, suggesting over here, over there, and totally lost track of time.

Fluffy little Jasper awoke just in time for a quick portait with Mum and Dad before switching off to snooze again, and I think after her awesome effort of a 3 hour adventure that Mum deserved to join him too..

Thankyou Dave and Kate for sharing part your last weekend  before due day with me, I can't wait to share the rest of the images with you, I hope you have enjoyed the sneak peek!



Rains pause for Inner West Photo Adventure {Pregnancy Photographer}

Last Wednesday night I drove down the mountain to prepare for my early morning pregnancy shoot the next day. I didn't realise when Clare said it had been raining and she was nervous about the weather that the rain was actually torrential! The windscreen wipers were on full blast and their affect seemingly non-existent. However, we retained our humour and prepared ourselves for a fun photo shoot with drenched hair, colourful brollies and gumboots in the mix. When I awoke in the morning, I glanced out the window to see light grey skies with patches of blue sneaking through!


We laughed at the wonderful turnaround in weather and after a few shots with Charlie the pup at home, we went off on our inner west photography adventure. Clare has a fabulous energy and flair and we went out hoping to capture her wonderful belly as well as a bit of 'something else'...

I asked Clare to choose a location for our photo shoot that held a lot of meaning for her. She chose Callan park in Rozelle (in Sydney) as she used to walk around the water's edge and through the grounds when she first got together with her lovely man, Rob. So we went to capture the nature of the offbeat inner west with it's rambling old buildings ensconced in rambling gardens.

Just to add a touch more sentimentality, Clare brought along a handcrafted teddy-in-waiting that her mother had given to her at her Baby Shower.

I am always honoured to photograph a pregnant woman, especially at this special last phase when there is so much quiet excitement, an imminent end to this chapter of growth and such a large adventure in the future about to begin. In the planning there always a slight sense of urgency from the wonderful mother-to-be as after 36 weeks there is a chance that baby might choose to come sooner than our booking!

It was lovely to see how much Clare had enjoyed her pregnancy and to see her joy and anticipation of becoming a mother. I just love this photo (above) and seeing her inner strength as an individual and a woman. I think this little person about to arrive is going to be very lucky indeed.


All in all it was a lovely morning adventure with some absolutely beautiful results. Now we have created our artwork baby has permission to arrive ;)


Sensis Launches Free Book on Sustainable Growth {Sydney Event Photography}

2 weeks ago today I was shooting at the official launch of Sensis' new book: Small Business, Big Opportunity: Sustainable Growth. The book launch was held at Doltone House's newest venue, Darling Island Wharf, Sydney. It was an appropriate location to launch such a book as the building is only the second building in Australia to have obtained certification as a six-star green-star building. With concrete made from recycled materials, a black water recycling system that will treat sewage on-site with potable water from black water recycling used for toilet flushing, Doltone House is a leader in sustainable construction. The six-star green-star rating represent best practices in sustainability. For more details on the green-credentials of Doltone House check out The Fifth Estate.

Back to the book. Sustainable Growth outlines ways that small to medium enterprises (SMEs) can create opportunities for their business, by introducing sustainable business practices into their workplace. As the owner of a small business (as well as photographing the event) I received my free copy of the book and have been finding it relatively easy to read. It has been written in a way that is very clear to understand. It also has a thorough glossary of business and sciency eco terms in the back, as well as how to move into sustainability with integrity, and not greenwashing your clients unintentionally. There are lots of links and resources for businesses to take advantage of and I am excited about implementing some of them and sharing the results as I go!

I think Sensis has done well, Jill Riseley, the Head of Sustainability for Sensis spoke about the many things Sensis are implementing in their business practice to not only save money and resources but also make a positive change for the future of the planet. I was impressed.

Jaye Radisich, CEO of Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA), spoke of how SMEs can benefit from the book for various different reasons and congratulated Sensis on employing NSW Australian of the year 2010, Jon Dee to author the book.

Jon Dee was a pleasure to photograph, a down-to-earth and charismatic person who has been the co-founder of various groups, action days and organisations that I have admired or been involved in as volunteer without knowing who was the instigator. As well as founding National Tree Day with Olivia Newton-John he founded Planet Ark and as well as his recent organisation, Do Something which is running a number of campaigns to inspire regular people to take action, to do something in regards to environmental and social change in the world.

I know many people feel that the climate change issue is too big for them to make a difference, or that world hunger will never end, or that they will leave it to their kids to do because they are too old to make a difference, but having seen all of the initiatives that Jon Dee and his friends and colleagues have started and how many thousands of people around Australia have contributed to their community in a small way, the conglomeration of these fabulous volunteer actions has meant that over 15 million native trees have been planted around the country and whole towns are committing to ban the sale of bottled water, these are massive achievements. Needless to say, I am in awe of Jon Dee, reinvigorated to continue my involvement in community and eco-actions, and was stoked that he signed my book.


Best time of day for location portraits? {Blue Mountains Portrait Photographer}

Many people tend to think that we need the bright sunny days of your gorgeous Aussie summer to take great portrait shots, and although that bright sun is wonderful for photos, so is the soft diffused light of autumn and winter. Generally portraits shot in the midday sun produce dark shadows in the eyes of the subject we are wanting to capture.

I am excited to have a whole new location to explore and challenge me, having relocated recently to the Blue Mountains. With 4 seasons in one day I am loving using the bright contrast of one day's midday light, and playing with the subdued softness of another.

It really depends on what result you want to get from your portraits as to when you head out for your portrait session though. Autumn is a great time of year to create family portraits, I shoot most location family  portraits in the early morning or late afternoon to get the sunlight shimmering through the autumn leaves at the right angle, and a softness that supports gorgeous family photos without too much squinting and heavy shadows. Always try to make time for a location scout before hand so as to know the way the light will be travelling before you take the family there for those special pics.

The portrait above was shot in Ashfield Park in Sydney on an overcast afternoon at about 5pm. I had seen the blooms on my favourite tree starting to fall, and every afternoon made a detour past the park on my way home... watching and waiting for the perfect light and the perfect moment to execute a simple yet powerful portrait with minimal styling and maximum connection and cuteness. Our shoot went for under 3 minutes, due to planning and patience.

 Let me know if this tip was helpful to you and I will post more tips for you to improve your photography of your family and pets..


Cute Lil Beans in Tees {Kids Fashion Photographer}

Before the green leaves change their hues to an autumn red, we visited a location in Katoomba for a kids fashion shoot. April, the Director of Lil Bean is about to release her autumn range and just in time for layering tees and long sleeves!

I love finding the right location for portraits, whether it be for family keepsakes, fashion or business. It is so much fun matching personalities, products and places to get something that is fun, vibrant and gets us fabulous results!

These little beans had such a fun adventure being out in nature and exploring their surroundings as well as playing together, it summed up what Lil Bean is all about perfectly.

April has sourced Australian made tees made from organic cotton and prints every shirt by hand with non-toxic dyes in her Blue Mountains Studio. I'm very impressed by this busy mother of 2 indeed. I'll update when her new website is up so you can see the rest of the pics from the collection.


Business can be Sustainable.. {Environmental Photographer}

Today I sent out the very first of my new design Portrait Photography Session Gift Vouchers, I am so excited to get the feedback from my client when she gets it in the mail! It is a voucher with an Easter theme (obviously), with Mother's Day Vouchers on the way soon.

I got the inspiration for my new vouchers from our wedding invitations. Our wedding is happening in under 3 weeks, and for a number of weeks (months ago now) we visited paper stores, researched online, did the rounds of some more markets and stores, and then decided to purchase from 'Amazing Paper' on Enmore Rd, Enmore, Sydney. The 'ingredients' of our delicious invite were from various sources, as sustainable and suitably matched as we are to each other.

For a while I was considering getting a DIY package to put together, or buying specifically designed invites printed in recycled materials from someone far away on ETSY, or generally, online. I personally love being creative, in my photography and in other areas such as craftiness.. so we made our invites and I am so proud of them, you can see why I would continue the theme every chance I get in my business.

The deep brown backing card is called 'Bier Bock', at 250gsm it was the perfect weight for a backing card and is made from recycled beer waste. What Australian groom would not relate to that?  I mean, even I think that is an awesome usage of waste products! The divine top sheet is 'Via Felt Cream Text Paper' and is 30% recycled and made using wind generated electricity. I am proud of the research and commitment we put into our invites, and that I can make top quality, even luscious gift vouchers for my clients to give to their families, each handmade with love, and finished with a personal seal. Even following the invitation theme each voucher has a magnetic strip on the back so recipients can post it on the fridge as a reminder to get their family organised for an adventure in their favourite location with me!

I feel each lovingly handcrafted gift certificate represents an aspect of who I am as a person as well as a photographer; committed yet not abrasive in my commitment to the environment, creative and passionate with a quietly understated sophistication..


Small Businesses in online news {Location Photographer}

Well, I am pretty happy to have 2 of my photographs in the papers over 2 weeks running. Last week I had a shoot for an electric bike hire company, Hire-au-go-go in Blackheath, and one of the images featured in the Special Report on the Blue Mountains in the Metro section of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Today a portrait I took of Gillian Milne at the 2009 Organic Expo featured on the SMH website in a story on small businesses. The story is worth a read. More on Hire-au-go-go and Gillian coming soon..


Finders keepers, Losers weepers

In the lead up to Christmas I have been scouting out events, markets and other groovy avenues of sourcing thoughtful, quality and original gifts for my friends and loved ones. So with this in mind, on the last weekend in November I went along to the Powerhouse Museum's Young Blood Designers Market.

Even though it has been going since 2005, this was the first year that I had actually gotten there on the right day at the right time! I had been really excited to go fossicking among what the website implied was a bustling, thriving, somewhat elite designers market. Maybe I had created unrealistic expectations for myself but the experience was a little underwhelming. The parking situation was time consuming and costly, and on a hot day with a munchkin in a pram I just wasn't prepared to tackle Sydney's impoverished public transport in that area. When I was directed to the counter, the staff member stood talking on the phone to a friend until I was asked by another staff member to their counter. That can happen anywhere, so munchkin and I caught the lift to the lower level for our designer shopping experience.

I stumbled across some good buys that were all reasonably priced and fit the brief. Handmade, unique or short-run giftwares with lovely design elements, AND practicality. One of my favourite stalls was Laikonik, polish inspired designs for cards and wrap on recycled papers, and another favourite was Queen B beeswax candles. I was somewhat uninspired by my Designer Markets experience as a number of designers I had already seen at the finders keepers art and design markets a number of months ago. That was fine but it didn't really have a new, fresh or even bustling atmosphere. In the courtyard the play equipment was made of metal and in direct sun so none of the children could play on it without losing a few layers of skin.

What saved the markets for me, was stopping and chatting to Cate the founder of Queen B candles. She shared with me her story of how she began her business initially as a means of stress release, and her personal philosophy about the need for nurturing ones self during the festive season as well all year round. As a new mother I have been finding it difficult to devote time to nurturing myself and then use that time for that purpose. I also loved the smell of the candles, all lovingly handmade. So I bought a bag of 'Thins' for my secret Santa, a cute little bag of 6 hand-dipped candles that burn for about an hour each. And then bought a bag of the same for myself!

All in all, I think the finders keepers independent art and design markets may have surpassed the Young Blood Designer Markets. With music, wine, and a space with so much character, and easy parking and great public transport options, I am thinking the finders keepers is where the shoppers will get to see a much broader range and larger number of designers under the one roof.

I didn't get to the fk markets last weekend as I was at my grandmother's 80th birthday celebration so if you have any comments please share!



Are you harvesting your dancefloor energy?

We went on an adventure to the Australian Museum to see the latest Climate Change Exhibition earlier this year and it was a great exhibition to visit.

I love an exhibition that has various ways of interacting with the information being presented. There as video, sculptural installations, computer generated interactive programs, and a nightclub dancfloor where you could dance your butt off and make the energy that lit up the dancefloo beneath you. Cool. Always the scientist, Mr K made sure to monitor how much energy he could generate.

The wall of postiive affirmations was a cool idea and it was great to see how many young people wanted to write on a card and share what they were going to do for their environment.

As it was a realistic exhibition I could see many would come away feeling quite grim although there were plenty of suggestions of small things that would make a small difference if people chose to take action.

I was surpised the exhibition was somewhat empty, I don't know whether that was because it was such a lovely day outside and Sydney was a the beach or the public are just a little tired of hearing about it. I'm not sure. I am definitely happy I went though. Well worth it.