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!

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!

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.

Family photo session - In-home lifestyle photography - Albury-Wodonga

I've photographed this family before, and I'm sure I'll photograph them again! I've also already done a blog on them only a few months ago, but that was an outdoor sunset session (with some pretty spectacular skies - if you haven't seen it already, check it out here).

This time I headed to their house to do an in-home session for them, one cloudy winter's Saturday afternoon. These guys are so much fun to photograph, and are naturals in front of the camera!

I love this session for a couple of reasons. How much fun are those kids having?! We stayed and played with their toys, they got to jump on beds and show off their rooms. And this goes to show, in-home sessions aren't just for newborns. It's fun and relaxing for kids and families of any age!

And of course in-home sessions don't have to be stuck inside. Backyards are just as fun too!!

20170708-IMG_7713.jpg

In-home lifestyle photography - Competition winner - Albury-Wodonga Family Photographer

It feels like it's been a very long time since I wrote a blog. I feel like I've been so busy lately!

So I decided to write a little blog about the little competition I ran in July. Thank you so much to all the people who entered, shared and liked my post. It means a lot. My business is slowly growing because of word of mouth referrals made possible through Facebook.

Jess was the lucky winner I drew out at random. I think she was pretty excited to win! As Jess and her husband Zac had only recently welcomed their second child, brand new baby Florence earth-side, we did an in-home family session.

With in-home sessions, I only use available natural light, from windows or doors. I turn off all over head lights. In this instance, I picked 2 of the bedrooms to shoot in. One was very bright and light, which resulted in the lovely bright photos. While the other room was much darker with dark furnishings and much less direct light coming through the window. These photos are much darker and more moody. I love the stark contrast the light from these two rooms created across the images.

As a photographer, I am ALWAYS looking for light. I love using different types of light and the amazingly different results you can achieve. This family session is a perfect example of the dramatic effect of light. Taken in the same house, at the same time, with the same people wearing the same clothes - and this is the result!

Newborn session - In-home photography Albury-Wodonga

Back in February I put a call out for people who were keen to help me build my maternity portfolio. One of those ladies who answered my call was the lovely Sarah-Rose and her partner Shane. So I was pretty excited when they contacted me again in May to do a newborn session in their home following the arrival of their brand new family member.

So I turned up one cold Tuesday morning to their house. One reason why in-home sessions are so good. No need for you to bundle up your baby and yourself and try to get out of the house on time in the freezing winter weather.

Apparently the night before the little man had decided it was an appropriate time to party the night away - a tendency that newborns can have... Yet another reason to stay at home and cuddle on the couch or in your bed!

Scroll down to check out some of the photos from our session

Family in-home session - Family Photography Albury-Wodonga

So I mentioned in my last blog post (you can find it here) that one of my business goals for this year was to incorporate more in-home family sessions into my bookings.

I was lucky enough when a friend recently had her second baby and very kindly allowed me to gain some practice photographing her family in their home on one Saturday morning in May.

If you're not sure what is involved in an in-home lifestyle photography session, here are a few reasons why I love them:

1 - Everyone is so much more relaxed. Kids and adults alike. You're in your own home, kids can play with their own toys, in their own space, you get to sit on your own couch and lay in your own bed.

2 - Kids are often a bit more receptive to a strange person taking their photos if they're in their own space - they usually love to show off their room or their toys. And if mum and dad allow, I'll even let them jump on the bed... all in the name of a good photo of course!

3 - They are so much more intimate than an outdoor session. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE outdoor sessions (I'm sure I'll write another blog another day about those), but in-home sessions have a feel and emotion you can't emulate in an outdoor environment.

4 - We're not as time limited as an outdoor session. We don't have to schedule it to start an hour before sunset, and have it all wrapped up by the time the sun has gone. If you need to stop to feed kids, or take a toilet break, we can. No rush. No hurry.

5 - We can do it no matter the weather. If it's miserable, cold and raining, we can still go ahead and do the photo session. If it's 40 degrees, sunny and there are snakes around (!!) we can still go ahead and do the photo session.

6 - The time of day in-home sessions are done are much more family friendly! During summer, when the sun doesn't set until 8:30pm most kids are asleep in bed. In-home session are usually done around mid-morning or mid-afternoon. We can also schedule them around nap times!

Life Unmade Workshop with Amy Rushbrook

I started this little business of mine midway through last year, on a bit of a whim, without too much thought. I had no idea how to start or run a business. But I figured I'd learn as I go. I knew how to take photos, I didn't really know how to take the lifestyle type family photos I love looking at on Instagram. My plan was to let the business pay for itself, so if it failed, I wasn't at least going to be out of pocket. I wanted to do as much learning as my budget would allow. This probably sums up my attitude to life a little bit. Don't think too much, jump in head first and figure it out as you go...

So after completing a couple of photography workshops online through Clickin Moms I decided one of my major business goals for 2017 would be attending an in-person workshop - I learn so much better in person, talking, watching and being able to absorb it all in and be in the moment. I reckon it only a matter of days after I decided that that was my goal, Amy Rushbrook announced she was running a workshop in late March on the Mornington Peninsula... needless to say I jumped at the chance to be able learn off one of Australia's, if not one of the world's best lifestyle photographers at present (just go check out her stuff and her recent achievements if you think I'm exaggerating).

When Friday afternoon finally came around, I was bursting to tag team the kids with my significant other when he got home from work, and get out that door on my way to Melbourne. What better way to start off a weekend away on my own without kids, but to have a 3 hour drive by myself listening to Myf and Zan podcasts, and a beautiful dinner in Port Melbourne with some old school friends.

On the Saturday morning when I arrived at the most beautiful the Airbnb house in McCrae I was greeted with a van bogged in the driveway - and everyone trying to push it back up the hill, on loose gravel. Team bonding exercise Number 1 completed!

Once the workshop started proper, it wasn't long until Amy had managed to make pretty much everyone cry. Thanks Amy! Best way to start off a workshop with a bunch of beautiful creative souls. She opened up that bucket of vulnerability early on and broke down those barriers so no one had any walls to hide behind. From then on there was nothing but a sense of safety and security, more tears, laughter, coffee, more laughter, yummy food provided by Merowyn of Plate Got Ate, more coffee, and so much more laughter that my cheeks were hurting. And of course so much photography and business talk that my head was spinning.

It was such a beautiful space to occupy for a weekend, both physically (the house was amazing!), mentally and creatively. Amy was an open book for us for the weekend. Any question we had she answered honestly, without pretense. There was so much to take in I wasn't sure if I would walk away and remember anything. I couldn't wait to get my head around everything I'd learnt and take it into my next session. And in testament to Amy's teaching, I can see a huge distinction between my pre-workshop photography and my post-workshop photography.

And also, a huge shout out also goes to the other beautiful souls who shared that weekend space with me. Hannah, Julie, Alice, Peta, Yvonne, Kasey, Maddison, Liane. Without you ladies, this weekend wouldn't have been the same. Everyone was so open to sharing their stories and experiences, their own life lessons, and sleeping spaces... Thank you for making this workshop as awesome as it was!

And of course, when I finally arrived home to my cherubs on the Monday morning, I was greeted by my youngest with gastro...

And thanks to this workshop, My newest goal for my business is to nail in-home photography sessions this winter and make them another feature of my business!

2017-06-04_0002.jpg

Autumn Leaves Family Session - Albury-Wodonga Family Photography

I'm not sure there's any better way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon in late Autumn, than playing in the fallen leaves of some of the biggest oak trees I've ever seen. At least when you're 5 and 2 year old brothers!

What a spectacular autumn we've had on the Border. Very little wind and rain has meant the leaves have been hanging around, turning every shade of autumn. The piles of undisturbed leaves under these trees was like nothing I've ever seen. We ventured ever so slightly off the beaten track to get to some of these trees and it was so worth it! I reckon in places these leaves were almost knee deep - if you're 5, and making tripping over unseen sticks a high possibility. Thankfully we had Millie dog along to help us find all the sticks...

I've known this gorgeous family since Sarah and I were in mother's group together with our tiny babes and I practiced my photography on these boys under some of these trees almost 12 months ago! It was so nice to have both Sarah and Trent in the photos this time as a family. As much fun as photographing kids is, I love being able to capture the whole family playing and interacting together!

I hope you have as much fun viewing these photos as we did taking them!

This one is for all the Mum's of the world - Albury family photographer

Remember back in B.C (before children)? When we thought we were tired? Working all day at a job outside the house, then coming home, cooking dinner and going to bed. And sleeping through until the sun rose?? I do. I thought I knew what exhaustion was. I used to work a 55 hour week in a job I didn't really love and would collapse with exhaustion at the end of the week. Back when weekends were for sleeping in and catching up with friends, reading a magazine and going out!

Then we got pregnant. Some planned, some as a surprise (yep - that was me!). You still have no idea how much your world is about to change. No amount of talking and hearing the stories can prepare you for it. Because at the end of the day you used to go home to your quiet, warm bed and sleep. Through. The. Night.

I remember when I was pregnant with my first and talking to friend who had just had her first, and the realisation slowly dawned on me of the sleepnessless that was about to happen. I was petrified. For some reason, not of being responsible for another human - but of not getting a full nights sleep...! Ha!

We push our bodies to the limit during pregnancy. Some suffer less than others. The morning sickness set off by the most random things. Frozen bread would make me run to hug the toilet every single time I opened the freezer. I didn't even know bread had a smell when frozen until I was pregnant! Our bodies stretch and strain for 9 months (give or take). The feet in rib cages. Indigestion and heart burn. Constantly needing to pee. Hips and pelvises that feel like they're falling apart. Feet and ankles that swell. There was no pregnancy glow here. It might have been a residual glow from throwing up for the 5th time that day.

Then labour. Again, some suffer less than others. I was so very fortunate to have 2 quick and easy labours. But I've heard so many stories of others that didn't. And we thought our bodies had been stretched to their limit during the previous 9 months... think again!

Of course, once we hold them in our arms and breathe that sigh of relief that it's all over, we forget about it so quickly.

Then comes the feeding. Whatever way we choose to feed. All night long. And all day long. And all night long. Until we don't actually know if its day or night, can't quite remember if we showered today or not, and eat pretty much whatever looks like it might be edible. Including oh, so much chocolate.

And don't get me started on sleeping. Apparently there are some babies that like to sleep... My first did not. At all. Ever. Wouldn't even sleep in my arms. Then when she finally did, she would fart herself awake again 5 minutes later. At age 5 she is now a wonderful sleeper, so persistence pays off. Or she's just catching up on all the sleep she didn't get as a baby. My second was the best routine baby ever. Slept and fed on schedule like an angel. Then she turned 2 and decided enough with the predictability. And now at almost 3 I can't actually remember the last time she (and I) slept through the night...

There's lunch boxes to fill. Dinners to be rejected. Tantrums over the wrong colour cup. Emotional meltdowns in the middle of the supermarket. Inappropriately timed toilet accidents. Ear infections. Broken bones. Drawing on walls. Painting themselves. Waking up in the middle of the night because a sock came off...

Some return to work. Because they have to. Some because it provides a welcome relief. Some because they dearly love their careers. Some don't go back to work and choose to stay home. Some run a business from home, between getting dinner ready and nap time. Everyone single mum has challenges to face and guilt to overcome.

And each day we get up and do it again. We don't get weekends off anymore to sleep in and read a magazine. We survive off a heady mix of coffee and wine. But we wouldn't change it for the world. When those little chubby fingers grab you around the back of the neck in a hug so tight you can feel their soul crush against yours. When you get woken up at the sparrow-fart with 'Dood morning mamma. It's a bootiful day today'. When a cuddle from you can fix their biggest problems. When they look at you with those eyes and tell you how much they love you - and you know they truly mean it.

And some mums have had to deal with the most unbearable devastation and loss. I can't even begin to image the pain. I know all our hearts go out to those.

And of course we can't forget those that help us along the way. If we're lucky enough to have them: our significant others. Our parents and in-laws. Aunties and uncles. Neighbours and friends. Those who help us pick up the pieces when it all feels too hard. Those who cook dinner or drop off a much needed coffee when we couldn't get out of the house. The ones who appear when we need a shoulder to cry on, or to down a bottle of wine with us. Those who we know we can drop a child or two off to at the last minute to do a mad dash to an appointment. Those who offer to take our kids overnight so we can get some much needed sleep. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts, because without you, we'd be a mess.

And then, after some time has passed, some of us choose to go ahead and do it all again.

"To the world you may be just one person, but to one person, you are the world"