Family Lifestyle Photography Albury-Wodonga - your questions answered

What is lifestyle photography, and what makes it different to your more traditional type of family photography?

Good question, and I don’t have a hard and fast answer. It’s a family photography session, but I try my best to make it as fun as relaxed as possible, and as less awkward as I possibly can. I will pretty much never ask you to look at the camera. I don’t want cheesy, fake smiles. I really want to capture you guys as naturally and as genuine as possible. I don’t want perfect. I want real.


I’m worried my kid will be a brat, can we still get some nice photos?

Ohh, I get asked this ALL the time. And the answer is yes. Yes we can. And I’m not fazed at all my a little (or in some cases a lot of) unruly behaviour. And I’m not judging, I’m truly not. After all kids are kids. Show me a kid who is perfectly behaved for a whole session, and I’ll show you a sleeping baby! I’ve got 2 of my own kids, I’m absolutely used to all types of behaviours. I like to think I’m not too bad at interpreting kids, I know when it’s about to go off the rails and I’ll suddenly change what we’re doing and move on to a new activity. Kids get bored easily so I will keep the session fast paced if we need to to keep attention.

And is it after bedtime, and you’re worried that your kid just won’t cope? It rarely happens. And I get that often sunset sessions are after bedtime, particular in summer. But you’d be surprised at how well they behave. It’s something new, they’re allowed to run free, and they have your undivided attention.

But I do ask one thing - I also do need your help and assistance to keep your kids in check too! After all I can’t photograph them if they’ve run 200m ahead of us!


What should I wear for our family photos?

Quite possibly the number one question I get asked when people are booking. Firstly, I want you to be comfortable and I want your photos to represent you and your family. By all means, use it as a great excuse to buy that new dress you’ve been eyeing off. But don’t go thinking you need to buy a gorgeous flowing dress if you never wear gorgeous flowing dresses. These photos are for you, not to impress the world on social media, and it’s quite an investment, so you want to make sure you love what you’re in. If you usually wear jeans and boots, then go with jeans and boots! Just make sure you’re happy and comfortable!


Do you reschedule sessions?

Yes, I do. Because I know that life happens.

Sickness - either your family or mine. Particularly newborn sessions. I won’t risk coming into your house and passing on any illnesses to your brand new baby! If it’s an outdoor session, I’m usually far enough away that the risk of passing on anything is low, but if I think that my being ill will affect how I feel and shoot, then I will reschedule. And if you’re sick or any of your kids are sick and you just can’t see the session being any fun at all, then by all means call and we can discuss rescheduling.

Weather - lets face it, as much fun as rain is, my camera gear isn’t waterproof and therefore I can’t actually shoot outside when it’s raining! What happens if you had your heart set on a golden sunset and it’s cloudy? Sorry, but that doesn’t constitute a reason for reschedule. Overcast days can still make for some glorious photos! Extreme hot weather? Let’s move the session to the water and shoot away! Wind? I actually LOVE wind - it can make for some glorious movement in photos and unless there’s a galeforce warning, we will shoot away!

What about a family emergency - this is an absolute. Of course I will reschedule for family emergencies.


How do I prepare my family for a session?

Got a husband/wife/partner who isn’t so keen on getting photos done? Kids just don’t want to come along? They aren’t the first and they won’t be the last. You can let them know that this isn’t like your typical photo shoot. My main aim is to create an atmosphere that lets you guys just be together, enjoying each other’s company, spending some quality time together without any distractions like phones, emails or tv (apart from the obvious camera and photographer following you around…). I will probably make some lame arse joke, I will make fun of myself, I might fall over, I will probably swear (sorry), and I might even bring along your favourite Spotify playlist, and if so, I WILL dance like fool!

I suggest that you let your kids know that you’re doing photos, and that you expect a certain level of cooperation and behaviour. I want them to have fun, but like I said above, if they’re 200m ahead I can’t actually get them in the photos. Bribery sometimes works! Promising a treat after the session has been used on MANY an occasion - many families like to make a day of it and head out for dinner or icecream when we’re done. Some bring along lollies - though it’s best not to use these until right at the end. We all know what a sugar high looks like, and it makes my job of getting them cooperative and in the photo pretty darn hard! And I will often have bubbles in my camera bag, which I can bring out if it all starts to go south. After all, who doesn’t love bubbles?!


How long does it take to get my gallery back?

I usually deliver the gallery within 2 weeks. If for some reason I can’t get it done within this time frame I will let you know before the 2 weeks is up that it might take a little bit longer. On a rare occasion, I might have unexpected things happen which means that I just can’t dedicate the time to sit down and get them done - after all I am a one woman work-from-home show, with 2 young kids.

How far in advance should we book our session?

This really depends on the time of year you’re looking to have your photos done, but I do suggest you get in as early as you can. Typically autumn is booked out months in advance (often booked out before the previous year has even ended) and spring and the lead up to Christmas is also a very busy time. Winter does tend to be a bit quieter, but I also offer fewer sessions over winter, so it also can book out as well. Once I’m booked out, I’m booked out!

What is the best age for my baby to be for photos?

Any age!! This is one of the best things about lifestyle photography. If you’re after newborn photos, you can book them in from as early as you like - from days old, up to any age. But obviously at some point they stop being ‘newborn’ photos and become ‘baby’ photos! But it doesn’t affect me, or how I run my sessions. Some people prefer to get photos done when their baby is still teeny tiny. Other people are happy to wait until life has regained some semblance or routine or normality. Some people feel 100% days after giving birth, other people might have had a traumatic experience and just want some time to recover. If you’re unsure I will usually suggest booking a date 2 weeks after bub is due, that will give us enough time to reschedule if you happen to go over. Or if you do have your baby and find that you just can’t face up to having photos done, just contact me and we can discuss alternative dates.

If you’ve got an older bub I actually get this question a lot. There is no perfect age. If you’re doing in-home photos or outdoor photos there are some things to consider. What time of year will it be, how cold/hot will it be, how late in the day will it be (hint - if you’re after sunset photos they occur at sunset - which in summer is late!), if bub is walking yet, or will you have to hold them the whole time? These are all things for you to consider, but I don’t have a perfect age - any age comes with their advantages and their quirks!


What is the best time of year for family photos?

Any time!! Albury-Wodonga and North East Victoria, as you’re probably aware has some pretty distinct seasons! In truth I really do love shooting all year round, I love the variation that we have in our seasons here, and how distinct they are. I love how the light changes from one season to the next, and colours of the outside world change, and of course the temperatures changes!! All seasons have their advantages and disadvantages.

Summer - it’s bloody hot, there’s low chance of rain, you can pick a location near water and splash and swim, if you want long grass there’s a chance of snakes! The sunsets are super late in summer - sessions don’t start until 7:30pm.

Autumn - it could be hot, it could be cold, it might rain… Who knows?! The sunset is earlier than mid summer, it’s generally cooler, but usually not freezing (thought sometimes you get the odd freezing cold day), the sunsets can be SPECTACULAR, particularly if there has been some burning off and there’s some smoke in the atmosphere, there is often some cloud, which makes for gorgeous sunsets and much nicer light than the harsh summer sun.

Winter - I won’t lie, it’s often bloody cold. BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t do photos. I adore photos of families all wrapped up in woollen beanies and snuggled under a warm blanket - sunset is way early - sessions start around 4:30pm. I often find a lot of families choose to book an in-home session during winter. It means staying inside in the warm and dry, heater on and family snuggles on a bed! And then there’s snow… If you’re a keen skiing or boarding family, hit me up! I’d love to take your photos in the snow!!

Spring - it can be deceptive. Honestly, I usually have most reschedules due to poor weather in spring. It is the season of unpredictability. It can be windy, raining, sunny, hot, cold and all of the above in one day. But I LOVE shooting in spring. Everyone always seems energised, happy to be outside and exploring during spring. The grass is green, there are flowers everywhere!


Imperfection in photography and life - Albury Wodonga lifestyle Photographer

So here’s the thing. In case no one has told you - perfect is a a big, fat, stinking lie. It doesn’t exist It’s not real and it’s definitely not who I am.

In so many ways, I am NOT a perfectionist. I don’t strive to have the perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect body or the perfect life. And nor do I strive to take the perfect photo.

What I do do though, is celebrate the real. With a real family. In a real house with a real body (in all it’s squishiness). And I live a real life. It’s real in that I’m here. I show up every day. Some days I struggle to show up. Some days I show up in tears, or yelling. Some days I show up dancing and laughing. And yep, though I do strive to improve a little bit every day, I don’t aim for perfection.

Despite this, we seem to think we need to be perfect, and it’s something that is socially programmed into us from an early age. But perfect isn’t real. OR achievable. Or fun! In fact it’s the complete opposite. It creates more worry, more anxiety and we are never left feeling like we have achieved, because perfect doesn’t exist. My kids have come home from school saying the mantra ‘practice makes perfect’. It makes me really sad and I’ve stopped them and said no, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes better. There is no such thing as perfect, but there is ALWAYS better. We can always improve on who we are, what w'e’re doing, how we treat others, how we parent our kids, but to aim for perfection sets us up for failure. Every. Single. Time.

So why am I writing a blog about this? Because I aim to take real photos. Not perfect photos, but real photos of real people and real families. I will take out of focus photos. I will cut someones feet out of the photo, and someones head. And if you’re lucky, someones feet AND head. And all you’re left with is a feeling and an idea. Do you know that I will also capture? You. Your family and your unique love for each other. I fully expect to see toddler meltdowns, babies will cry and need feeding, and need a nappy change. Kids will run away, or yell, or throw something, or won’t listen to what you or I say. And that’s normal. And that’s real. And I wouldn’t expect any less. And you know what? It’s ok. I want you to know that it really is completely normal. And almost every family have their moments. But what I want is for you to enjoy the time with your family and not stress about trying to be perfect for the camera. Or for me. Because I really actually don’t want to capture perfect. But I really, really want to capture real.

Working in the snippets of time - Family lifestyle photography - Albury-Wodonga

I read a blog post once - I think it was written by photographer Dana Pugh, about working from home with young kids and all that it entails. It talked about working in ‘snippets of time’. The more I do this job, the more I realise that is exactly what it is.

Snippets of time.

I do bits and pieces of work between getting up and having breakfast, between getting my daughter dressed for school and getting her on the bus, as I steal a quiet moment while my other daughter is distracted with something else but me, when I stick a movie on to entertain the kids so I can get 45 minutes of editing done, and sometimes midway through cooking dinner I’ll find myself sitting at my computer to quickly send an email. I’m lucky enough to have 2 full days (well, 6 hours each day) when my youngest is at preschool - these days are absolute bliss - and it’s amazes me some days just how much work I can get done during these 6 hours. And my second biggest chunk of uninterrupted time is after the kids have gone to bed. A lot of my previous families can probably attest to the fact that they have received their gallery link emailed to them late at night.

This is in no way a whinge. I absolutely love what I do. I chose not return to work after I had my eldest. I chose to stay home and be with her. I chose to stay home and while I was there, may as well have another kid to add to the mix. Then after 4 years at home my business slowly grew shape and form, and it was a conscious decision to not return back to my old life in an office job, and try to make a go of working on my own business from home. This suited me perfectly, I had 2 young kids at home and what better way then to be able to work around them. Except that as the business grew and my kids grew it was no longer really possible to just work during nap times - especially as my kids dropped their day naps at the ripe old age of 2.

Which leads me to working in the snippets of time. Often I’ll open up my email only to find a half written email to a client, which I clearly got distracted - likely by one of my kids and completely forgotten that I hadn’t hit ‘send’, or in this case, I logged into the backend of my website to write a blog, and found these photos which I had uploaded 3 months ago and never ended up actually writing the blog… So here it is. Finally. 3 months later…

And would you believe that I’m writing this while my youngest is at her gymnastics class - and I find myself with a whole hour of an uninterrupted snippet of time, with my laptop on my lap I sit here tapping away.

My brain is like an internet browser with 1000 tabs open part way through all the things I need to doing, and usually get distracted or interrupted before they get closed. Thanks some good systems in place, thankfully I don’t have to rely on my brain to actually remember all these 1000 things I have to do.

I’m going to leave you with these gorgeous photos, taken last Spring at Black Barn Farm of Jade and her family. This was such a fun shoot, with one of the most genuine families I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with. Incidentally - keep an eye on their socials - they will be opening up their apple orchard for pick-your-own pesticide free at Stanley starting mid February 2019

Geyer Family - Sunset session - Albury-Wodonga Family Photographer

How lucky am I that my families love my photos enough to come back again and again?! And even better when it’s a fellow local photographer! This is the third time I’ve photographer Carris and her family - Carris herself is a successful local newborn and family photographer here in Albury-Wodonga - running Captivated Photography and to say that I’m chuffed she keeps picking me is an understatement! First time with 2 kids, second time with a newborn, and now as an active growing family. I love documenting how families grow and change.

We both decided that we didn’t want the top of the hill sunset location that I’ve done many, many times before, with Carris and her fam being one of my first sessions up there. So location scouting I went (fancy name for lots of driving and lots of stopping) around our beautiful region and found this more than perfect spot along the might Murray River near Rutherglen. The weather was perfect, the sunset was perfect, and I think we got some pretty damn good photos of this family too!!

So take a scroll and check out some more from their session:

Horses, horses and horses - Jodie tackles 1000km solo ride - Albury-Wodonga photographer

This is Jodie. She’s tough, determined and about to tackle a mammoth effort on her own.

On Saturday 3rd November she’s heading off on a 1000km ride from Healesville to just north of Canberra, solo with only her horses for company. Initially planning on riding the 5500km all the way to Cooktown in FNQ, her plans were thwarted by the current drought in NSW. Undeterred, she's still heading off as planned, but only going to complete the first 1000km, once completed she’ll plan her next strategy…

She’s doing it to raise awareness and bring about discussions around mental health. Jodie has experienced first hand the awful effects of what happens when mental health goes untreated, unnoticed and undiscussed. She sadly has lost 2 people close to her within the last few years, and so rather than sit around and dwell about it, she’s decided to get out of her office chair, onto the backs on these magnificent beasts and do what she does best. Ride and talk.

And in preparing for her ride, she’s experienced set back after set back and overcome each one with grace and determination that won’t stop her achieving what she’s set out to achieve.

You can follow her ride over on Instagram , Facebook or website under the name Green, Gold and Blues

Welcome Baby Harvey - Capture by Karen - Albury-Wodonga Newborn and Family Photographer

Newborns and toddlers! What’s not to love?? They’re simultaneously calm and chaotic. A reminder of how fleeting that newborn phase really is, and what lies ahead. Newborns don’t move, don’t whinge, and are very obliging. Toddlers are.. ahem, not any of those. And I LOVE photographing the unexpected combined chaos of them!!

You might surprised to find that a lot of my newborn families don’t actually book their sessions until after bub is born! I’ve never actually asked why, and to tell you the truth, I really don’t mind. The great thing about my style of photography is that it doesn’t matter what age your bub is - they can be 3 days old or 3 months old. Asleep or awake. Settled and content or whinging and needing a feed. I go with the flow. I embrace the chaos. I capture what is happening.

Mikala contacted me on a Friday in August, and I had a spot available so we did their session on the following Wednesday!! It was a cold, wet, grey, drab day outside. Yet inside was cosy and warm.

I’m totally a last minute lady, so I’m absolutely on board a last minute decision to book! However, as we move into the warmer months, my calendar gets decidedly booked out in advance… I have only 4 (yep FOUR) midweek sessions left for 2018 - these can be either in-home or sunset, and only 1 (O.N.E!) weekend session (again either in-home or sunset) remaining between now and the New Year!

Baby Freya - In-home newborn photography - Albury-Wodonga

These guys were lucky enough to receive a gift voucher for Christmas last year, from Candace’s sister to put towards their session with me. They booked in for August to capture some of those precious and fleeting moments of being home with a brand new baby…. except they weren’t quite!

They were in the process of renovating their house in central Wodonga, and as these things happen, sometimes deadlines get pushed out! They were only a few weeks off being finished and moving back, but we went ahead with the session anyway. I love being challenged, and none more so than walking into a partially finished renovation. Candace and Mark had pulled some of their furniture out of storage and set up one half of their loungeroom and the nursery.

So one one cold, grey winters morning, I took some gorgeous photos of baby Freya, Candace and Mark (and some special guest appearances) in their half complete house.

If you’ve been putting off your photos because you don’t think your house is photo shoot worthy - think again!!

A long post about me and motherhood (I'll let you in on a secret - I struggle) - Albury-Wodonga family photographer

So, I'm about to be really vulnerable for a minute and I'm going to be brutally honest. I find motherhood hard. Really hard. Really fucking hard. Sometimes I feel like I have more days that I dislike it than days that I like it. I struggle to give so much of myself, hour after hour. Day after day. Year after year. I'm grumpy. I can be horribly angry, for no reason. Some days I want to walk away and not return. I have days where I feel so flat I can barely get out of bed. Sometimes I cry. A lot. And yes, before you ask, I have been diagnosed with depression.

Last week for example - I don't know why, but I was just sad. My kids were tired because they seem to have forgotten how to sleep (which probably explains my current exhausted state), so they were whinging. And whining. And fighting. About E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. I'm not proud, but by the time it got to bedtime, of course then they wouldn't go to sleep. So I lost it. I yelled. I screamed. I said things I wish I hadn't. Which is probably the worst way to get you kids to go to sleep... and just between you and me, it doesn't work!

They eventually fell asleep. Then the guilt kicks in. How can I find it so hard? How can I be so angry at these gorgeous little girls, who are always so incredibly happy and vibrant. The last thing I want to do is stop them being those amazing little people that they are. So I climbed in bed with my sleeping child and I cuddled her and I cried. I kissed her sweet cheeks and told her I was sorry.

I find it so incredibly hard that my kids need me. I sometimes feel that I almost have contempt for the impact that they have on me. Not my girls themselves - I love them dearly, but at what I have to sacrifice to be a mum. Which feels about as selfish as you can get. And then I'm struck with incredible guilt that I can even think that about these 2 lives that I brought into this world. Who need me. And always will. Because that's what mothers are for. They need to be there for their kids. Even when they've become a mum themselves.

Don't get me wrong. I love them. And I would do anything for them (but push them on a swing... that's another blog for another day). I also have this very strong desire to raise these girls as independent, strong willed women, able to fight their own battles, able to stand up for themselves, able to forge their own way in the world. But this vision seems to come to odds with my ability to give them all of me. I want for myself that vision of what I want for them - and for that I don't want anything or anyone to have to rely on or depend on me all the time. It's a constant battle going on in my head. It's one I try to work on every day. I'm pretty sure my girls are going to be independent, strong willed women... at least they're well on their way already. Which also comes to odds with me and my parenting style. I love that they are so strong willed and independent. But just not when I'm trying to parent them!! Please!

I've struggled with this battle the whole time I've been a mum. Since my eldest was born, I was adamant that I was going to teach my kids how to sleep. As much for me as for them. Yep, I've rated sleep as one of the most important things I could instill in my kids. For mental health, for brain development, for all those things. But it was also a selfish decision - I needed them them sleep so I could have 'time off' from being a mum. Damn it if it was going to kill me, but my kids were never going to sleep in my bed. And I think it almost did kill me. That first year was a battle. Pretty sure though, that kid was not going to sleep anywhere. Still doesn't... She refused to fall asleep in my arms, or in the pram, or in the car, or feeding, or anywhere. I often wonder if my eldest was one of those miraculous babies who slept, whether I would have started motherhood a little less stressed and enjoyed it a little more? Which came first? The non-sleeping baby or the tightly wound mum? I used to have people tell me all the time 'oh just enjoy them while they're young' or 'the days are long, but the years are short' which never helped me nor my mental state at the time. I wanted to throw my daughter in their arms and say 'you do it then - and hand it back when the days are a bit shorter'. I struggled every minute of every day while taking on this role of motherhood, where I was required to give myself over wholeheartedly to it.

I struggled then.

And I still struggle now.

And do you want to know why I'm telling this story? Because I know how hard parenting is. And I know how vulnerable having your photos taken can be. You can be assured of one thing. I won't judge you for not being perfect or not having your life together. I won't criticize. I won't romanticise your life for the camera. I want you to you to show up and be you. And I'll show up and be me. And together we'll take some photos.

(First 2 photos are from my family session with Andrea Sissons last year - the rest are taken by me of my muses. My girls. My constant source of love, noise and frustration)

Hamilton Family - in-home newborn session - Albury Wodonga family photography

Life with a baby and toddler. Who's been there? What a mind f**k!

I remember having my first and thinking there was no possible way I was ever going to cope with more than one child. I will be the first to admit that newborn parenthood and I didn't sit too well together.

I struggled.

Big time.

Though I definitely didn't admit that to anyone back then. On the outside I tried to keep it all together and tried to remain calm but in the safety of my own living room it all fell apart regularly. I had been a capable human my whole life up until then. I'd completed a uni degree, travelled overseas, had a career, bought a car and a house. Surely having a baby was going to be easy. Right? Right?

I had visions of calmly walking down the street with my baby serenely asleep in her pram. Hahahaha! I don't think anyone was game to break my little bubble, or if they did, I didn't listen. But in truth there is NOTHING that anyone can say that can actually make you realise how much your life is going to change. And probably for good reason. Some times it's best not to know too much. Though it probably would have been a good idea for me to know a little bit more than I did...

Fast forward to number 2. You think 'I've been there, done that' I know what I'm doing. Except you now already have one child, who is likely still in nappies, can't communicate too well, still needs day sleeps and lets face it, still needs you a LOT. And you now have a brand new baby, who surprise, surprise has a different temperament and personality to your first and apart from knowing how to swaddle and put a nappy on, there's actually a whole lot you need to either re-learn or start from scratch learning again. The same anxieties are there - are they getting enough milk, do they need to be burped, do they need a nappy change, when do I start solids again?, except this time, instead of being to the soundtrack of your own tv show, or radio station, it's to the soundtrack of Peppa Pig or Play School, or if you're unlucky something even more annoying. And instead of just concentrating on your brand new baby, you're also worrying about why all of a sudden has it gone quiet, and did I accidentally leave the Sudocream within reach...

So to all the parents in the trenches of newborn babyhood and toddlerhood - I salute you. 

These are some photos from my latest in-home newborn session with some good friends from BC (before children) who have returned for their 3rd session with me!!

The Real Florist - behind the scenes - Albury photographer

Ever wondered what it's like running a business from home with small kids?

It's tough.

Really tough.

There's never down time. You never get to switch off. When you're not parenting, you're working, and when you're not working you're parenting. And often you're doing both at once. There is ALWAYS something to be done. Invoicing. Washing dishes. Making lunches. Replying to emails. Putting kids to bed. Ordering supplies. Changing nappies. The late, late nights just trying to get some work done after the kids are FINALLY asleep. And I think we'll all admit - a little too much telly time for the kids some days. But you know what? Our kids also get to see us working our butts off to see us doing something that we love, achieve our own dreams, making our own money, pay our own taxes and save our own super!

I was once told that it was a really brave thing that I did when I started my business. My response? I didn't think it was brave. And if I had known how hard and relentless it really was I possibly wouldn't have done it. But I'm so glad I did. As tough as it is, it is also SO rewarding. I started with my head in the sand a little, and didn't know what I was getting myself in for and that truthfully for me was the best way. Each time you hit a hurdle, you work on that one hurdle until you've overcome it, and push towards the next one. There's always going to be a next one. Each one gives you chance to learn something more about business or yourself.

And in terms of self employed ladies. This one is one of the hardest working ladies I've met. This is Renee from The Real Florist. And she's kick a*se!! If you want some gorgeous blooms look no further than her.

Life Unmade 2.0 - The Sequel - Albury-Wodonga family photography

I reckon it was late 2015 I was browsing Instagram one day and I'm not sure even how this photo came up on my feed, but I remember it stopping me in my tracks. I can't even remember the content of the photo, but I remember clicking onto the photographers account and being in awe. THIS was family photography! I'd recently re-ignited my passion for photography and a few friends had planted a seed in my head that I should start a business photographing kids and families. At that time, all I'd really seen was the more traditional posed style, studio portraits and I had zero interest in doing that. I've never been about perfection and that style just didn't stir my soul. It wasn't until I saw this account that I realised family photography could be so much more than that. The account I was obsessed with was Amy Rushbrook, so I then jumped across to see who she was following and opened up a whole new world of what I'd been missing out on.

The seed which had vaguely been planted began to grow. So I found an online photography school (Clickin Moms) and started absorbing everything I could. I did several work-at-your-own-pace courses and one active participation courses and without too much actual thought for how, I started a business mid 2016. Then in late 2016 Amy announced that she was going to run a 2 day workshop. Life Unmade. I was eager. I was in. It was March 2017. I turned up with my rented camera and a $200 lens. And felt totally out of my league. But I tried to absorb everything I could. The house was a truly magical space on the Mornington Peninsula, the other ladies who were also there were super lovely, and Amy was an amazingly humble human and an open book with everything from how she photographs to how she runs her business. I learnt so much in the space of 2 days and my business went from bumbling along to flourishing. I suddenly booked out from July 2017 through to Christmas of 2017. I was producing work which stunned myself at times and was so much more confident in where I wanted to steer my business and my photography. Within a few months I'd made enough money to buy myself a brand new pro-level camera and a brand new lens.

So naturally, when Amy mentioned she might run another workshop mid 2018 - a Life Unmade 2.0, open only to the people who had attended her previous workshops or mentoring, I was in!! Again, super eager. I felt like I was at a place in my business where I was starting to feel a little stale and needed something extra to push and boost me along again. I needed some more direction.

Then Amy announced that by some will of the gods, the workshop was going to held at the exact same house as the last one, if just felt like it was meant to be! The workshop content, and the house, and the amazing sunny winter Melbourne weather and sunsets and the other ladies who were there...  It was all exactly what my soul was craving. I came away feeling renewed, lighter, with a bit more of a plan of attack. I got some verification that I was tracking along in the right direction, but with some more goals. I know where I want to improve, to aim, to grow.

So thanks Amy. And thanks Liane, Kim, Delanie, Kirstyn and Jess! I had a blast!

Cochrane Family - Albury-Wodonga Newborn and family photographer

Well, who knew I could write 2 blogs in a week!! Look at me kicking those goals....

Most of you reading this might be familiar with my work. Most people are aware that I do golden sunset family photos with a gorgeous vista and maybe a dandelion for good measure. And I LOVE those sessions - I mean who doesn't love a good sunset? But my other passion is being welcomed into someone's home to capture their family and their life in the space that means the most to them.

I can definitely say I don't prefer one over the other. Outdoor sessions are fun, energetic (especially with kids!) and those sunsets are just magic. But in-home are just so unique. Every session has such a personal feel to them. Every house is different. Some are brand new and have huge windows and massive amounts of light. Others are from another era, glorious in their age, with little pockets of lights, and so many stories hidden among those walls. We are so lucky to live in this area, Albury, Wodonga and the surrounding areas has some wonderfully unique homes, both old and new.

As a photographer, I LOVE the challenge that each different home gives me. I LOVE being welcomed into someone's home and (after handing over the coffees of course) being asked for a tour and looking at the light in each room, how the rooms have been furnished and how best I think I'd be able to capture the family in their space.

This session was done earlier this year, on what can only be described as one of the darkest days I've had the joy of photographing on!! Thankfully cameras these days have an amazing ability to capture images in low-light!

If you've ever thought about an in-home session I've love to hear from you! And despite what most of the photos in my portfolio show, you don't have to have a newborn to book an in-home session! During winter when the weather is a tad more unpredictable is a great time to book!!

The faceless, headless and legless shots - Albury-Wodonga lifestyle photographer

Ok, so title might not explain itself very well, but stick with me here...

When I scroll through my Instagram feed I'm bombarded with so many images from the hundreds upon hundreds of photographers that I follow, but the ones I stop and look at are the ones that hit you in the gut. The ones that knock the wind out of you. I'm always drawn to the emotion, the feeling in it. The photos I love the most are ones where you just feel. You can feel exactly what you see. Sometimes you feel exactly what you can't see. I knew I was drawn to those images, but what I didn't realise was there was something else common to almost all the photos I love the most. They are almost always faceless, headless or at least there are some limbs and body parts cropped off. And what I also didn't realise was that the photos I loved the most of the ones I've taken myself are exactly the same thing.

So this is my ode to my headless, faceless and limbless shots!

In-home newborn family photography - Albury-Wodonga Lifestyle Photographer

So, I had GRAND plans of blogging every photo session as I did them.

That hasn't happened.

Then I was going to blog every session in order, slowly making my way through my sessions.

That hasn't happened.

Then I realised that it's been literally MONTHS since my last blog and I should probably just write something. So, rather than dwell on the fact that I haven't been keeping my promise to myself, I just decided to blog my latest in-home session. Because, well I'm in LOVE with these photos and I just have to share. So out with the chronological order and in with these photos!

Want to know my favourite thing about in-home photos? It's not snuggling with a brand new baby. Though that is pretty fun. And it's not seeing parents love and learn all over again. Though I also love that part. It's that every single home is different. Every single family is different. Every day the light is different. And I love being challenged to think on the spot. I walk into a room and I notice how the light is hitting the wall, or how the car parked outside is shining a weird colour through the window, or how the light looks as it's coming through some blinds. I'm still learning every day how to best use the available light in each house, and I think that's something I'm never going to stop learning.

One of the great things about living in the Albury-Wodonga area is the sheer number of different types of houses and different areas. Some with views. Some not. Some are brand new, only months old, bright and shiny with huge windows. Some are almost a hundred years old, with gorgeous dark, moody rooms and intricate window designs. And there is everything else in between.

One statement I hear over and over again "my house isn't photo worthy, like all those other houses you take photos in'. Guess what? Almost everyone who has booked with me as told me that. And almost every house is photo worthy and do you know why? Because that's YOUR house. That's where YOU live. With your family. And that's where your MEMORIES are made - between those walls. Not every house is worthy of a Vogue Living double spread - I know mine isn't!! But I still love my quirky house, and I'm so glad that I've got hundreds of photos of my family taken within it's wonky walls. Because one day we won't live here anymore, or we'll end up renovating and I want those memories kept and I want my girls to remember this house. 

So if you've been contemplating booking an in-home session but you're just not sure - ask me! I'm more than happy to pop over and take a look and let you know if I think it'll work. I've never met a house yet I haven't been able to photograph in!!

And you don't have to have a brand new baby to book an in-home session either!! And as an added bonus, if your session is in the morning, I arrive with coffee...!


My little insight from my own experience about running a photography business. At home. With kids! - Albury-Wodonga family photography

I started this little business of mine about 18 months ago, on a whim. I was at home with 2 kids, bored and wondering what I was going to do next. I hadn't worked since I was pregnant with my first. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go back into the industry I was in. I wasn't sure if I should do more study in another area. Then a couple of (very kind) friends suggested that I start a photography business - I possibly laughed in their faces! But those couple of small comments set a seed, and over a few months of quietly thinking about it decided 'what the hell, why not? What have I got to lose?'

I'm glad I didn't over think it. I'm also glad I didn't realise how much I had still to improve, and how much I had to learn!!

Anyway, so here I am a little more wiser and experienced and I thought I'd write this little blog post about running a business from home. With kids.

This is not a whinge post. Or a woe-is-me post. I love my business. I love my kids. Some days are just a little crazier and busier than others! Pretty sure we all know that feeling.

When I first started to get enquiries from people wanting to know more about booking a session. I used to try to write a response as soon as they came in, regardless of what I was doing - and to the detriment of both everyone and everything around me and the quality of the email I was writing! That was a little easier when it was all still new and not too busy. Now, not that I'm flat out all the time, but I do get enquiries at random times of the day and night, some times via email, sometimes via Instagram. I've learnt that for my sanity, my kids sanity, my partners sanity and everyone around me, that it's much better off if I dedicate time to sit down at my computer and give each and every enquiry a quality response. Some days, that might mean I just don't get that opportunity! And I apologise. But well, kids happen. Stuff happens. Appointments happen. And some days pure exhaustion happens and I just don't get to them that day. And some days I don't get to them the next day either. But I will, and I do.

Same goes for following up on invoices. I have a very nifty booking system, which some of you have noticed sends out a little payment reminder if a payment hasn't been made. And sometimes I need to log into it to check off that in fact a payment has been made. Some days I don't get to that either. So some days you might receive that little reminder email that you haven't paid, when in fact you have. I apologise. Again. 

I also have all those photos to edit... and a website to maintain. And social media to try to keep on top of. And BAS statements to figure out...

This little business of mine is just me. At home. I run this whole thing by myself. I have 2 days where both my girls are at school and preschool to try to get as much done without interruptions. On those other 5 days of the week I'll be doing bits and pieces during the day while my kids are busy doing something else. I also sit on a preschool committee as president, I help out in my daughters classroom one morning a week, I have appointments I have to get to some days, I also have shopping, and washing, and general house stuff, and well - my kids! They need a fair amount of my time too!! Some days I'm up until very late at night when the house is quiet when I know I can dedicate hours to my business without interruption.

So, if you're waiting to hear back from me, or wondering why you're getting an invoice reminder. It's probably just because I've had a busy few days. By all means, shoot me through an email to check if I've received your payment or email - sometimes I need a little reminding too! But I do eventually get to all those tasks!

I'll leave you with some personal photos from a recent family holiday to the beach!

Hicks Family and Farm photos - Albury-Wodonga Family Photographer

So I was planning on writing more blogs over January, but you know. I haven't. Instead we've been spending our days at the pool, making biscuits, making crazy art, finding every toy in the house and spreading them everywhere. You know what school holidays look like? You think you've got more time then you do - then you remember you've got kids and they kind of need entertaining occasionally!

So, onto my next blog post. I've known this family since our oldest 2 kids were brand newbies and Tegan and I were in mother's group together. When we met at mothers group, we then remembered we'd actually sat for those really fun 2 hours together in the waiting room at the pathology while doing the Glucose Tolerance Test. From memory, Tegan quite liked that gross sugary liquid. I think I did pretty well not to throw it back up again (damn morning sickness)! During those 2 hours we talked and discussed many things, baby names being one of them. 

This is actually the 4th time I've photographed them. I first photographed these guys just after the twins were born. Tegan very kindly let me practice some of my early in-home photography on her family. Then they booked me late 2016 for a family and farm business shoot. I also did some behind the scenes photos for an ad they were making for one of their businesses. I should note, Tim and Tegan run Hicks Country Beef where they deliver the tastiest beef around! They are also co-founders of Cultivate Farms. Because 4 kids just isn't busy enough!!

So I was pretty chuffed when Tegan booked me again, for family and farm photos in late 2017. These guys are such a great family to photograph. This time we headed out to the property they are currently leasing for their stock, with some pretty amazing views of the Hume Weir in the background. Not a bad way to spend an evening!

In-home Newborn and Family session - Lifestyle Photography Albury-Wodonga

So following on from my last blog, on the same weekend as I photographed Bec and her husband, I also photographed Carris of Captivated Photography and her family in an in-home session on the same weekend! How lucky am I?!

In late 2016, Carris contacted me to photograph her family, at that point a family of 4. Since then we've become friends, and catch up on a semi regular basis for coffee or dinner with several other local photogs. So I was pretty chuffed when she asked me if I could photograph her family for an in-home session after her son was born!! Of course I would!

We had such a fun session, and my usual 1 - 1.5 hour session went out the window - I think I was there for almost 2.5 hours! But when there's so much to do, and play, and talk. We started inside, ended up running around the house on makeshift blanket sleds, outside for some sandpit action, and back inside for pancakes - of course I'm going to stick around and keep taking photos!!!

These guys were so much fun to photograph. There is something quite different in photographing another photog and their families. They 'get' what we're trying to achieve, often without direction - and photographers kids? Well they're generally so used to a camera being in their face all day, they I don't think they even notice it most of the time!!

Needless to say this gallery was quite a big one!

Photographing a fellow Photographer! Albury-Wodonga family photography

When you get an email from a friend and fellow photographer asking if you can please take her photos there is a certain emotion which comes along with that. It's a weird emotion to describe. Sheer terror is one. Proud is another. And the rest fall somewhere on the spectrum between these two.

So when Bec of Forever Pixels Photography asked me if I could take photos of her and her husband for their wedding anniversary I was quietly proud that another photographer would ask me to take her photo, while quietly panicking that I would fail and be judged and be exposed for being a fraud and all that self-talk which goes along with feeling exposed and vulnerable!!

Pretty sure everyone feels like this at some point! Those moments when I feel most exposed are those moments when the self-talk is at its peak - I can almost convince myself that I'm going to fail, that I don't belong in this field, that I'm not a real photographer... Then I remember how much I absolutely love photography. How when I see the perfect combination of a great sunset and a fun loving family or couple which have asked ME to take their photos, and it just makes my heart sing!! Once I start a photo session these fears disappear as I get myself completely lost in the moment.

Of course, none of those worst fears actually happened. We had a glorious sunset along my favourite hill, and lots of laughter and fun and ended up with a gorgeous gallery of images for Bec and James!

Family photography - in-home session - Albury-Wodonga photographer

So, recently I've been doing a bit of soul searching. Nothing too crunchy, just working out some things in my head. Mainly, trying to figure out the direction I'm want to steer my photography. Where to direct my learning, and start to push the business towards...

At the moment, I'm feeling a need to create photos that are more than just of people. I want to take photos of feeling and emotion and to paraphrase the photographer Jesh de roux 'people think photos are about what they see. To me photos are about what you feel'.

Photos allow us to see a time gone. Whether that time was 5 minutes ago or 5 year ago. And the reason we take photos is to remember something. Why do we want to remember something? Because maybe it was of someone we love? Because we were having a great time and we want to remember how much fun we were having? Because we saw something beautiful and it made you stop and catch you breath for a second and look. Because something made us laugh. Or cry. These are emotions. We take photos because we want to remember that feeling. At least that's what I do.

So to get to my latest blog! These photos were taken during a gorgeous in-home family session in Albury earlier this month. Nicola booked me months ago, excited because she had stumbled across my website on Google! Yay! I was pretty excited that someone had found me out of the blue on the internet! She booked me because she saw my portfolio and loved what I do. Hearing that someone else also feels that about my photography is a pretty good feeling!

These guys were a breeze to photograph. They absolutely got what I do. I don't think I ever had to utter the sentence 'stop looking at me, look at each other'. They were naturals. Even down to talking about what they were going to cook for dinner - which if anyone has been photographed by me, has probably heard me say that as a prompt to talk to each other! Thanks James for stealing my line!

I deliver all my sessions in a combination of black and white and colour. Some days I'm really drawn to black and white photos. I think they show so much more connection and emotion than colour images. The take away distracting backgrounds and you find yourself focusing on faces, not the colour of the walls or a cushion behind. Don't get me wrong, I also love colour too. But there's something so timeless to a black and white.