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

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)

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.

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.

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!!


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

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!


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"

Cheshire Family Sunset Session - Albury Family Photographer

I've had the joy of knowing this family since Penni and I were brand new mums, with brand new babies, and having no idea what we were doing. We swapped war stories, gave each other advice and attempted to even motivate each other to go running with our babes in prams! One of the most important things a mum can have is a community of people around her, some that have been there, some that are going through it too, some that haven't but are there anyway - because they love you! We met at Mother's Group when our babies were only a matter of weeks old. We are so lucky that we had a wonderful group of women who all came together in that room those winter days 5 years ago, and are still in contact. (You ladies know who you are - and I think it's time we organised another dinner out again too!!!).

Penni was one of the first people to stick her hand up and offer her kids for me, so I could start to practice photographing kids other than my own. That was only last year when I was thinking maybe I could start a business from this thing I loved doing so much. And I even photographed her kids on this same hill almost exactly 12 months ago to the day of doing these photos. Needless to say I've come a LONG way since then!!

Again, we were so lucky to get another beautiful sunset for this shoot. I've been so lucky so far!

I hope you enjoy looking at these photos as much as we enjoyed taking them!

Sunset Family Maternity // In-home Newborn - Albury lifestyle photographer

I had the joy of capturing this beautiful family before and after they welcomed their 6th family member earlier this year.

For the maternity session, we took a short walk along Eastern Hill during sunset and got some great photos of this active, outdoorsy family. This is such a gorgeous part of Albury-Wodonga. Favoured by many locals and their dogs for their morning and evening walks - and the views for both sunrise and sunset are just gorgeous, as the path meanders along the ridge looking both to the east and west.

Then I was fortunate enough to be welcomed into their home after his arrival earthside, to document him, his siblings and parents in a relaxed home environment.

The benefit of in-home newborn sessions are many. The family is generally so much more relaxed in their home, the kids don't have to stay close when they're not having their turn in front of the camera and there is no expectation for the baby to be asleep or awake. Lifestyle newborn photography captures this moment in time, in a more natural way. You don't have to lug baby, other kids (if you've got more) and everything that comes with a baby to a location or studio in everyone's best clothes and hope they don't get them dirty along the way. And these photos can be taken any time within the baby's first few months.

I aim to catch this moment, as you remember (or not, depending on your level of exhaustion!!), in your home, where these memories are made.