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.

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!

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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"

A Stormy Summer Evening Maternity Session - Albury Lifestyle Photographer

These gorgeous expectant parents answered my call out earlier this year for a request for some couples and families expecting babies, to help me build my portfolio for maternity photos.

We booked this date weeks and weeks ago - just assuming as it was still summer than we would be getting a lovely golden sunset. Apparently mother nature had other ideas! I checked the forecast and radar and I reckoned that we had about 20 minutes before the rain hit - and I think I was pretty close in my prediction! But those stormy skies provided those subdued tones. I do love a dark, stormy sky to add another dimension and some atmosphere to the session.

In my mind, I was imagining some gorgeous rain drenched images at the end of the shoot when the rain finally hit - however I did not foresee it hitting us with such force and the very quick temperature drop that came with it! We grabbed a couple of quick photos in the rain before both humans and camera equipment got too wet and cold! It was a very abrupt end to our session. Despite the much quicker time than I would usually take, we got a great variety of photos from this session. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as we enjoyed taking them!