Black and White Portraits that show who you are as a family. The interactions, the love, and the fun.

When is the best time to have family portraits done? episode 3

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Childhood is a very loose term!  Anywhere from 4 years of age through to driving lessons!

 This is when life gets busy and having regular portraits sessions is at its most difficult. This is why we offer a system where we can contact you at set intervals just to remind you that another year ( or two) has passed since we last made pictures. By now there is often other children on the scene, and if you thought having one child was time-consuming…Both parents and children have to adjust to the influences of school, and it is a bitter sweet period for  the parents as you realise that while you used to know absolute everyone about your child’s life,  your child now has a part of their life in which you are not involved. They are learing new skills and wanting to use them, and it is much easier for your photographer to build a relationship and to capture those special expressions and moments. At this stage, we ask the parents to take a step back so that the photographer has a chance to engage with the child in one on one conversation. Once this is happening,  all those emotions and expressions are never far behind. Five years if you have been following our Stages of Life program, it has been two years since your last visit, and there have been many changes. The very structure of their face is starting to change as the round baby face  gives way to a more angular, grown up look. They will be losing their baby teeth soon, and their mature, "willing to please" demeanour means that we can attempt one of our classical portrait studies. Less candid and printed onto our beautiful stretched canvas, this session echos a tradition of portrait painting that goes back through the ages. Visit any of the great art galleries of the world and  you will see a whole genre of portraits  made at around this time in a person’s life. An artwork that will be enjoyed for many years to come and which will be handed down as part of the family history.Seven years  Bridging the gap between childhood and  the next stage  of life -youth,  this is a sensitive age where strong bonds are formed with siblings . A relationship portrait that explores these emotions will provide a range of great images, of the individual children and of their relationships with each other . This can be done in the studio, at home or in the parks and gardens around the city. Any hobbies or passions such as music or sport can also be included.  It is also a good time to create an up to date family portrait
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Dawn at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park in Utah.

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Dawn at  Mesa Arch  in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. The arch is an amazing natural stone arch perched at the edge of a cliff with vast views of the spectacular landscape in the distance. The hardest part about trying to photograph scenery like this is the sheer vastness of the image. The view goes on and on, and trying to make sense of all the elements is quite a challenge. I was travelling with my friend and fellow photographer  Peter Eastway having both been speakers at the Wedding Portrait Photographers International conference in Las Vegas.  We arrived in the dark, the carpark being about 1 km away and set up waiting for the first light the break over the horizon. Never having been there before, we only had our calculations to work out where we were expecting the sun to rise, and set up our cameras using our best guess. As we would be photographing directly into the rising sun, I knew that the window of opportunity to get a decent shot would be very narrow, and that as soon as the sun was fully up over the horizon, the scene would be rendered flat and uninteresting. Our only chance would be to capture the image at the very start of the sunrise. It is nice when you think about a shot before hand, make a plan, and everything works out pretty much the way you thought it would. The light was great, and lit up the landscape to highlight the mountains, and rock structures in the distance, and brought out the texture on the canyon floor. The light hitting the underside of the arch and the rocks below it caused the whole structure to glow and I was very happy with the shot. There was the usual flurry of activity, trying to get as many variations as possible before the light flattened out, but on this occasion, the initial image that I made was the best one. This image looks amazing printed onto a high gloss metallic paper and is available in our Art print gallery here:
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When is the best time to have family portraits taken Part 1

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The number one question we get at our portrait photography studio is "When is the best time to get family portraits done?" Such a simple question that is just so difficult to answer! Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and allows us to see things so clearly, the only problem is that when it comes to family portraiture, by the time you are looking back, its too late! You can’t get newborn pictures of a one year old, and even at 1month, your baby has changed so much from those first few days. We have put together a guide that will help answer that original question, and give you some things to think about when you come to deciding when to schedule your shoots.  The first Year in the first year, time seems to speed up and slow down all at the same time. Days roll into one amid late night feeds, day time sleeps ,and an amazing number of nappy changes. Every day there are ground breaking moments: the first smile, the first sleeping through the night, first steps, words, and teeth. I believe that there are 3 main shoots that you can consider in this first year. It might stemlike a lot, but the change in your baby is so great in these initial stages, with their body totally changing from a helpless little ball, to sitting and finally standing and walking and talking.  Newborn - 3 months Quiet moments just sitting and watching baby sleep. The delight in their eyes when they see your face, the amazing strenght with which they can grasp you finger. This is the perfect age for our Newborn Shoot. Beautiful, quiet moments , captured in black and white, which will capture forever just how tiny this little person was. In years to come, you will look at these images and shake your head in amazement as you pick up size 13 basket ball boots that are lying around  the bathroom floor. We aim to capture the closeness and security they feel when being held by Mum and Dad and marvel in the contrasts in size and texture This is a fleeting moment  that is passed through all too quickly. This is not a time for images of your baby smiling at the camera - it might happen, ( but that could also just  be wind ! ) These images are about the relative size. How tiny she was in Dads hands or how he snuggled into Mums shoulder. 6 months - 9 monthsIt’s amazing what 6 months can do! No longer the snuggling, helpless baby, at this age life is lived at full pace - with lots of naps!!Bright eyes and personality in spades, they have a full time job exploring the world that surrounds  them. Babies at this age don’t eist in the world by themselves, and Mum or Dad are never far away. We like to show this in our pictures , and sometimes  parents are just represented , perhaps just a protective arm or a helping hand. This is the perfect age for our relationships portraits. It is also the perfect oppourtunity to make some beautiful, soft impressionistic portraits of Mother and baby together. 12 months The first year has zipped by, and a cake with a single candle is the first of many more to come. A moving target full of energy and personality, with a clear idea of what they want, and when they want it! This is the perfect age for a candid environmental portrait in your home. This gives us the opportunity to make images that capture them in a time and place, and in years to come, where every you end up living, these images with automatically transport you back to this special time. This portrait session  should include a relaxed family portrait in your home, with cats and dogs and all the wonderful things that make a house a home.
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A visit to Canberra

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A visit to Canberra is always a great experience for a photographer. Not only do you get to feast your eyes on numerous exhibitions and architectural works, but you also get to play with your camera a lot! A visit to the National Museum of Australia has so much to offer. The building and the surrounding grounds are full of architectural angles and interesting juxtapositions so the longer you hang around, the more you see. Whether it is 50,000 years of Indigenous heritage, the story and artefacts of colonial settlement or just a look at Phar Laps heart this place has it all. In an internal courtyard, the  Garden of Australian Dreams is a wonderful subject to photograph. It is hard not to think about Jackson Pollocks Blue Poles ( which we saw at the National Gallery ) or of Jeffrey Smart and his very precise paintings of traffic signs. The square white box in the centre of the garden represents the Australian dream of home ownership with its own palm tree, and the floor is covered with maps of regional areas. This image is one in our Artprint gallery and looks amazing printed as a large square.
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Dad's and Daughters

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I don’t know if it is because I have two daughters of my own, and I miss the little girls that they were, but I really love all the things that are going on in this picture. You can see the connection, you can see the tenderness and the sense of fun, and you know that this is an image that will resonate for both of them for many years to come.  Flower crowns and squishing noses are not things that last forever! All too quickly they grow up and before you know it the discussions are about work and mortgages and renovating the house. Don’t get me wrong, is all great, and I am thankful that we can still have great conversations about the things that are important in my girls lives, but this picture makes me feel nostalgic - and its not even my family! Imaging how this will work for this Dad when his daughter is 30! People come to us for family portraits for a variety of reasons. It is a way to have their family and loved ones close to them even though the realities of a busy, day to day life may mean that they are sometimes physically apart. They come to us so that we can generate a sense of belonging for their children - there is nothing like seeing beautiful pictures of you and your family in the centre of the family home , and to hear everyone who visits your home saying nice things about the pictures of you and your family to build a sense of pride and self worth in a young child’s mind. They come to us in an effort to build a connection to family, capturing memories, and preserve a particular time in their family's history, so as to leave a mark and to create ongoing history for future generations plus it’s fun!  That is a really important point, because if your family portrait session is a time when everyone is really present, and as a family you have a really great time together, the images become a memory trigger to that shared experience and the fun and the laughter and the sense of love and belonging will all come flooding back, regardless of how long ago it happened.  Time moves on, kids grow up and leave home, parents grow old  and pets live their lives 7 times faster than we do. Fnding time to organise everyone for a photo shoot, justifying the expense, knowing what to ask for or what is possible and feeling anxious that somehow you will be tricked or forced into buying something that they don't want, or can't afford are all very valid reasons why people say to us that they have been meaning to do this for years, but just didn’t get around to it. We understand that, and have developed a system that will guide you through every step of the way, answer all your questions ( often before you have formulated them for yourself) and give you the final say in every decision you make. We start with a consultation in our studio where we will show you all the options, and give you a price list  to take away with you so that at no stage are there any surprises ( no one likes surprises! ) At the end to the day we want to help you achieve you goal of having beautiful family portraits in your home that will warm your heart for many years to come.  To start a conversation and to find out a little bit more about how your ideas might be put into action, contact us and let's have a chat!
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Monument Valley

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Between the ages of 8 and 15, we lived in Sri Lanka, where , at the time, there was no TV, so going to the cinema to watch the latest movies out of Hollywood was a regular part of our weekly routine. The movies that we all were most excited to see were the westerns. The Good The Bad and The Ugly,  in fact anything with Clint Eastwood, Chatos Land with a non speaking Charles Bronson, John Wayne, Allan Ladd, and so many more. So it was with much excitement that I finally visited Monument Valley. I had been speaking at the WPPI conference in Las Vegas, and at the end of it, my friend and fellow photographer Peter Eastway and I hired a car and set off to explore the 4 corners region around Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado   This one area of Navajo land was the set for so many of the epic Hollywood blockbuster westerns that I had grown up with. It had all the elements that the movie executives thought were required to set the scene, and in the process helped form a very clear picture in the minds of the world of how the American west looked during the time of Sitting Bull, General Custer and the Wells Fargo stage coach ( I can imaging it now tearing up the road, chased by a band of Indians on palomino ponies with the horses at full gallop and the wheel looking like it might fly off at any second! ) We arrived before dawn ( as all good photographers should!) only to find that there was a gate and an entry fee and worst of all, the office didn’t open until 8am, long after the light was of any use for photography.  Luckly for us this had obviously happened before, and waiting patiently at the gate as this lovely Navajo guy with a van who offered to take us in via his village and give us a tour of the area.  The asking price was fair and we had an amazing tour of the area, along with expert commentary. The images we got were just what we had hoped for so much so that we decided to hire him again the next day, start even earlier and get to some of the other stops in this great landscape.  John Ford Point, named after the famous western movie director gave us a stunning  sunrise, and it was so obvious why they should want to shoot movies in this wonderful location.  For all the pictures that I got over the 3 days that we were there, the enduring memory for me is a moment when I found myself all alone in this landscape. The van and guide where down by the road, Peter had wandered off to photograph something and I looked around and all I could see was the desert, the rock formations and the clouds above me. At that point, I realised that recording everything on my camera was going to be impossible so I put my camera down, lay flat on my back in the cool sand, and soaked in the  experience. 
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some days you just need a picture that makes you smile every time you look at it!

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some days you just need a picture that makes you smile every time you look at it!  there are so many aspects of this image that I love, the fact that we were obviously trying for a straight studio portrait of everyone looking at the camera, looking relaxed and happy, and the fact that somehow or another, I don’t remember the exact details, but the giggles snuck in and that was the end of it! The two older kids on the ends are doing their best to hold it together and look at the camera but you can tell it is going to be a lost cause. In the centre, things have already  collapsed into fits of laughter, but through it all you get to see the real relationship that exists within this family. As I shoot Black and White, choice of clothes colour is not as important as the tones ( Light or dark ). While I don’t want everyone to be dressed identically, we need to avoid having 4 people in dark and just one person in light ( unless we are trying to make them stand out in the group). We also want to avoid big patterns, stripes and logos, so your Hawaiian shirt is probably a not go unless you all have one. At the end of the day, I want the clothes that you are wearing to melt into the background and not compete with those beautiful expressions and the interaction between the people in the photograph
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Tasmanian Books

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Ebooks and audio books might be fine for novels and books with lots of words in them ( not my type of book!) but nothing beats the feeling of settling down with a lavish book to lose yourself of an hour or two . The physical weight, the feel of the pages, and the vibrant colours that jump off the page are all elements that add to the delight. Because Vicki and I publish these books ourselves, with no outside interference or demands, we are free to make a book that is exactly what we are looking for in a coffee table book. First the subject needs to interest me - no problems there, each year we look at our list of possible topics for our next book, and decide what it is that we want to spend the next few months concentrating on. Because Vicki does the design and layout side of things, she is happy to go with whatever I am interested in photographing. The majority of my books deal with some combination of Tasmanian travel and adventure, food, and photography. So when people say “ you are so lucky to be able to do these things, and taste these dishes”, I always say that luck had nothing to do with it and that each book is the result of a culmination of a detailed and well executed plan. The fact that other people enjoy these things is where the luck lies. If I was interested in some niche that no one else was, perhaps I would not get the opportunity to keep making books the way I do. There have been books that don’t deal with Tasmanian food and adventure. My very first book was one on Africa that I did with my friend Alice Bennett. We were both going to be in Africa at around the same time of year so we decided to do “something” with the images when we got back. A book followed, and was the starting point for both of us to go one and publish a number of book each. We have also done a book about the fascinating architecture of Launceston. Having been an architect before giving it all up to run my studio, Vicki was very interested in this project, and even agreed to having her name printed on the front cover. What she didn’t realise was that she would then be required for press conferences, book signings and various other promotional activities relating to the book. That was the last time she put her name on a book, and now you need to look very closely at the fine print to find her credit. And she designs the books ( and because I am her husband ) I get no say in this at all! I have also done a book about some of the amazing cars that live in Launceston. Those who know me know that I am not a car person, and am in no position to have a conversation about overhead cam shafts or grease nipples. I do however see the beauty that these machines possess, and enjoy photographing their sleek lines. Priced at $50 these books make a great gift , either for your self or for someone else. Food, travel, adventure, cars, architecture, and of course photography, there is something for everyone. We have a number of businesses who use our books as corporate gifts, and the one thing that all these books have in common is that they promote Tasmania and all the wonderful things that we have to offer here https://kuruvita.com.au/index.php/tasmanianbooks
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ANZAC Day 2021



ANZAC day is a time for reflection and a time for us to thank the generations of young men and women who served their country in the never ending series of conflicts that humans are destined to engage in .

 We recently visited the National War Memorial in Canberra which houses an amazing museum dedicated to these conflicts. As you walk in through the front door you are confronted by a large landing boat that took the first diggers into the beaches at Gallipoli. No more than an oversized rowboat, the vessel offered no protection to the troops and the bullet holes that tore through the side of the boat leaves nothing to your imagination about how horrific that short ride from the warship would have been. As you make your way through the exhibits, from WW1 to WW2, Korea, Vietnam and then into the modern era of Iraq and Afghanistan, the equation is always the same: young men and women, full of life, vitality and hope looking out at you from pictures that are fading with time. A few years ago, I was one of hundreds of photographers from the AIPP ( Australian Institute of Professional Photography ) who worked together to try and photograph all the surviving World War 2 veterans. Over the course of about a year and a half we photographed nearly 6000 veterans from all around the country. The majority of these people were in their 90’s when we did this, and it was obvious that their experiences so many years ago had informed the trajectory of the rest of their lives. During this process, I met a number of veterans who I  asked to be involved in my 20th year exhibition of my Faces of Launceston Project. Starting in 1995, I have photographed over five hundred people who call Launceston home, and to celebrate 20 years of the project I has honoured to have a major show at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. we asked each of the 100 people photographed for the exhibition for a short comment to go with their picture   I met Leo when I was at the RSL club on ANZAC day shooting for the reflections project. Dressed in his Polish army uniform, he had been invited to Australia by the Rats of Tobruk Association after the war. Leo Minol.Arrived in Australia at the invitation of the Rats of Tobruk after serving in the Polish ArmyWorked at Hydro, Comalco and railwayStarted as a street photographer- eventually running a photographic studio which was the first use colour film and colour processing  Another of the veterans that I met via the Reflections project who agreed to be photographed for my Faces of Launceston show, Max Saunders was a very young man when he was flying in a Lancaster bomber over Europe. At a time when the odds of returning from just one such sortie were not great, Max completed over 30 raids and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, but his achievements after the war is what he takes most delight in- a long marriage  to Merle, children and grand children and great grand children  Max Saunders5 to 11 years- Glen Dhu School11 to14 years Technical collage14 to 18  years Warehouse work18 to 21 years RAAF Australia and Europe21+ years married to Merle3 Children, 7 grand children7 great grand childrenWill never be as happy!  The book Faces of Launceston, the photography of Philip Kuruvita 20 years is full of great pictures and interesting stories of people from all walks of life in Launceston. The book and prints from the exhibition are  available here: https://kuruvita.com.au/index.php/shop-categories-listing/category/21-books https://kuruvita.com.au/index.php/shop-categories-listing/category/38-faces-of-launceston-25-years
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Photographs in your home

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I understand when people say they don’t want to put a big picture of themselves up in their home. When you drill down a bit , most of the time they are talking about a close up picture of their smiling faces looking at the camera. So it is nice to be able to shoot a landscape picture in which they are just a small element  of the whole scene.  By using light and dark, and by using selective focus, it is still possible to make a portrait about these two people without it being too in your face. Because I deal with photographs every day in my working life, we tend to have paintings and sculptures around the house. There are only 3 places where we have actual photographs: each of the girls has a gallery of images taken over the years in the hallway out side of their old bedrooms, and in our family room we have a gallery of acrylic blocks with pictures of our extended families. We also have archive boxes that hold some of my Award winning images which we can bring out if we want to look at them but they are not on display. This image was taken quite a while ago. Since then I have photographed their wedding and family portraits, and now Sam shoots their family portraits every year. It is always so nice to have our families come back to the studio year after year so that we get to celebrate with them as they pass various milestones, and as their family grows. Thanks to our Lifetime Studio Pass, anyone photographed by our studio automatically  has the $150 photography session fee waived on all future shoots, so it is just a matter of contacting us to organise a time and location for your shoot. It doesn’t matter how long ago we did your portraits, if you are a past client, you never have to pay for photography session fees again. Give us a call, we look forward to seeing you again soon.
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Newborns in the studio

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Whats so funny? The baby looks very relaxed and content, so how do you get great expressions like this from the parents? The secret is in what the baby is wearing  Absolutely nothing -  which makes holding the bottom end of the baby a  very hazardous operation! I don’t remember the exact timing, but I know that at some stage, either just before, or just after this image was taken, Mum copped a handful of wee!  Dad’s delighted expression is all to do with the fact that he is up the other end. In situations like this, there is  nothing that hasn’t happened in our studio before. I had one mother look down at her baby and say “ surely his empty by now!”  That day it was a lot more than just wee, but we just take it in our stride, there is always pliantly of baby wipes, towels and sanitiser, and I always suggest to parents that if they are planning on doing anything after the photoshoot, other than going straight home, that they should bring a change of clothes with them just in case. Getting images that show baby’s size and the way they curl up into a foetal ball is important in these first images.  It won’t be too long before everything starts stretching out and that phase of their development is left behind.  Those newborn pictures will serve as a benchmark. A starting point if, you like, against which all future images will be compared.  They are never that small again, and in the hustle and bustle of the early days of having a new baby in the house, the parents don’t really get a chance to reflect on the changes. Before you know it, 5 or 6 months have passed in a blur of broken sleep and feeding, and the baby is not as small and helpless anymore. When people ask me when they should do their newborn shoot I always tell them to come into the studio on their way home from the hospital.  Often they think I am joking, what mum wants to go straight from childbirth to a photo studio? But I tell them that its not really about the parents at this stage, it is definitely not about getting smiles or expressions from baby, its all about the size, and the relative size between the adults and baby. Besides, we have photoshop and a policy of looking after the Mums, so there is really no excuse, and if you miss that window on the way home, there is a good chance that you will get swept up in the vortex that a new baby in the house generates and by the time you come out the other end , several months may have passed.
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Dogs , ponies, goldfish and rabbits - even the odd cat every now and again!

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Dogs , ponies, goldfish and rabbits - even the odd cat every now and again!    Animals are such a big part of our lives that whenever possible, I like to include them in my family portraits. It doesn’t always work, dogs can go mental, and cats are notoriously picky about which photographs they will be in, but at the end of the day, I feel like we should at least give it a go. If it doesn’t work, we really haven’t lost anything, but if it does work, the images become even more important later on. The trick with horses is that you have to get their ears to prick up. Without that, they can look miserable, and goofy, so it is a fine line between getting the humans to look good at exactly the same time as the horse pricks its ears up. But when it works it is well worth the effort!  This image was taken in their own home, which had dogs and horses and sheep ( the little blond girl was not a fan of the sheep because they thought her hair looked like hay and wanted to eat it! ) When ever possible I like to photograph people in their own homes because that gives me the most relevant background to the images, and I feel like people are more relaxed and natural in their own surroundings  The images I took that day will become part of this family’s story. They will be looked at now, they will help form a vision of who they are in the minds of the girls, and they will be used in the future to show the following generations what these two looked like when they were just girls. In the mean time, this pictures will hang on the wall in the family home, and every time someone comes to visit, the girls will hear nice things said about them , and everyone can use a bit of that every now and again
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Art Print Special

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Cool relaxing colours dominate this aerial view taken at West Inlet near Stanley in Tasmania’s North West Shot using a drone, the graduations of colour, combined with the patterns forged by wind and tide make for an image that really pleases my sense of balance and beauty. The aerial view point allows you to see the landscape from a totally different perspective, and a whole new world of design texture and colour. It used to be that to do photography like this required a charter plane flight, with a pilot that knew what you were trying to achieve, and who would be happy to fly with the window open or the door off. It was also extra helpful if they could fly from the co-pilots seat which then meant that I could use my right arm more while taking the pictures. The drone has opened that up so much, and it is wonderful to be able to launch whenever the conditions look like they may produce some interesting images. The fact that you can get much lower with a drone also means that there are more options for capturing details such as this. This image is the next one that we are offering at the super low cost of just $100 plus $20 postage and handling ( you are welcome to pick it up from our studio if you are local ) As discussed last month, we will be offering one of these images at the start of each month at this super low price. The image will be available for just one week  before going back to its normal price. This will enable us to ensure that we don’t get caught again with our print head needing replacement due to the lack of printing that we have been doing due to shutdowns. The print will be 500mm X 750mm and will be embossed with our logo and signed by me Get yours here:https://kuruvitaphotography.shootproof.com/gallery/14306714/home  
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Powerful Dads!

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We have all done it! your baby is so small that you can pick her up with one hand!  But there is a problem with doing this. Its not a bad problem, but it will test you , and it is quite possibly the first time you have to admit to your kids that you are not the all powerful Dad that they think you are!   The problem is that you have to be fair, and what is good for little sister should be good for her older brother!You can see the problem and how quickly this can get out of hand! if you compare the pictures you can see the added strain on Dad’s arms and shoulders and how his smile is a little more forced! i remember when our girls were young, Laura used to come running down the hallway to greet me, flinging her arms around my neck and lifting her feet off the ground. She was genuinely surprised and concerned when I finally admitted that we could no longer do this as it was going to break either my neck or my back. It is a sobering moment when you have to admit that you are no longer strong enough, but it is also a rite of passage for the kids.  I remember during one of our frequent wrestling matches, picking my own Dad up of the ground for the first time and holding him up there until he admitted that he was defeated and that I should put him down ( I think the phrase he used was “ put me down you bloody idiot! “ ) It was a moment that we both enjoyed and marked a new phase in your relationship. The beauty of pictures like this is that they bring those special memories flooding back is bright clear technicolour ! My Dad has been gone over 20 years now, and the incident I am talking about was probably about 45 years ago, but these pictures brought it all back a clear detail. Imagine how the subjects of these pictures will feel when they look back on these pictures in 45 years time! Family portraits don’t have to be neat, organised events with everybody looking at the camera and smiling their best smiles. Sure, we end up getting those shots anyway, but it is often the little moments in between that tell the real story.  I really enjoy making family portraits in people’s homes. It means that the background to the images are relatable to the subjects, and as the years pass by and decors and houses change, the backgrounds become more and more important as a reminder of the life that you are living at that time.  Just recently we were looking at  some of our own family portraits and were amazed and captivated by how much the garden had changed over the years. We then started looking for pictures that showed different aspects of the garden. At the time we were taking the pictures, it was the kids and their expressions that we were concentrating on, but 28 years later, that background was important too!
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Back to School

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Back to school! its that time of the year again when you only go to Office Works if you absolutely have to! It’s also the time of year when your Facebook feed is full off pictures of before an after pictures of kids starting primary school verses starting High school and other variations on that theme. While sometimes school holidays can feel like they go on forever ( not as long as the wait in the queue at Officeworks! ) the reality is those school years slip by so very quickly, and before you know it, the kids are borrowing the car, bringing home partners, and moving out on their own to go to uni or start careers!

We have always taken portrait pictures of our two girls, each of them has a wall in the hallway next to their bedroom where we display 12 of the images. Those of you who have been here before will have heard me talk about this, but the point here is that Back to School was always the last, must do deadline for taking our family portraits. Over the years , when things were hectic and work got in the way of having fun, we ended up with a few years where the family portrait was taken in school uniform, at the front door, just before the first day of term (there is one of those school uniform pictures on our wall at the moment). We never missed a year, and now, looking back on the pictures, I am so glad that we had that last ditch metric to force us to do it. ( Despite the fact that our girls are now 30 and 28 , we still maintain our family portrait schedule, but as we no longer participate in the fun that is back to school, so our new deadline is Christmas eve, when we all gather as a family, and the start of the celebrations always involves a photo shoot! )

We have a number of families that we have in our system that we send regular reminders to. Some are on a yearly basis, others every 2 or 5 years, it doesn’t really matter, what matters is consistency, and our system helps make sure that we don’t miss any of the deadlines. Most of the time, when we contact a family, the most common reaction is “ is it that time already?, I cant believe how quickly that has come around”The reality is that life gets busy, especially if you have one or more school age kids! The good news is that March is the month with the most stable weather in Tasmania, and the days are long and the weather is warm, the perfect time for family portraits. Whether you want to take advantage of the long twilights, or schedule a shoot on the weekend when everyone is nice and relaxed, we have you covered, and in years to come, you will be pleased that you made the effort.
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Island Catch is here!

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I remember when I was at university, reading about how in 18th Century England, the poor would be so poor that all they could afford was Guinness and oysters! Giving up meat for lent was a way of slumming it to show your piety and anyone could afford lobster, it was chicken and lamb that only the rich could afford. Times have changed, and Tasmanian seafood is recognised as some of the best there is to have on the planet. Surrounded by a bountiful ocean that thankfully still has an abundance of varieties and quantity,  Tasmania is still the luckiest part of the Lucky Country.  A couple of months ago friends of mine came to visit from Victoria and after just one day of fishing declared that fishing in Victoria had been forever ruined by our day out on the water on the east coast of Tassie. As they brought in fish after fish, they were genuinely disappointed when we had to stop fishing in such a short time because we had caught enough for our lunch. Island Catch, Seafood of Tasmania is my latest book, and  celebrates fishing in and around this wonderful island .From the highland lakes famous for their brown and rainbow trout, to the intertidal  and shallow regions that offer clams, mussels , abalone and crayfish to the deep waters with tuna, blue eye cod and everything in between. This book brings together many of the people who are actively involved in the seafood industry in Tasmania and offers a rich selection of recipes for you to try at home. Family favourites and traditional cooking methods as well as some innovative adaptations from some of the finest chefs in the country. The recipes in this book are designed to be tried at home by someone who is willing to try something new. You don't have to be a career chef with a commercial kitchen and a brigade of sous chefs to help you. As is always the case, common sense, attention to detail and regular tasting is always important regardless of what you are doing in the kitchen. If it looks like it is burning, turn the heat down, if it looks like there are too many chillies in the recipe, reduce the number and add more once you have tasted it and determined that it needs more. Cooking should be fun, and relaxing, and if you don't think that is true, you probably need to do more cooking and drink more wine while you are doing it! I hope that you enjoy this trip around our Island, and I am sure that if you engage with only half of the suppliers, recipes and locations in this book, you will have had an amazing journey. After a disapointing delay due to Covid and the global pandemic, the book is finally here and ready for shipping!
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It's not always about the smiles!

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I believe that you couldn't find a better image to prove that smiles are not the only result you should be looking for in a portrait. I love the fact that both of these boys are looking calm,strong, and confident while at the same time showing their love for each other. Their age and personality shines through and this will be an important portrait for them in years to come. I look forward to making similar images of them over the next 5 to 10 years- I am sure that as they grow older,  you will be able to see  that the essence of who they are will remain unchanged

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10 things you can do to prepare for your Family Photo Shoot












 

1. Send in some pictures of the walls you are thinking about hanging your portraits on. We will give you the exact details on how to do this, and the measurements we need , but doing this allows us to bring your pictures into our software system so that we can show you your images from the shoot, in various combinations, on your walls , to scale, so that all the guess work about what will fit and what will look good is taken away.2. Tell the kids what we are doing and tell them what a great time you all are going to have. Don’t tell them they have to be good, and certainly don’t tell them they have to smile (That clenched teeth grimace is not what we are looking for! ) You can tell them I'm a nice guy and if they have something that interests them that they can tell me about that. It helps get the conversation started.  3. Remind yourself that when I am trying to make conversation with  the children, trying to help us by answering for them, or telling them to smile doesn’t really help. As hard as it might be, I need to get a conversation going with each member of your family, and when we finally find a topic that interests them, I will start to get the reactions, expressions, and smiles that we are after. 4. As most of my portraits are in black and white, the colour of your clothes is not as important as the tone - whether they are light or dark. I am looking for clothes that can’t be dated, and that work together within the group without making one person stand out. This is what would happen if, for example 6 people in the group were wearing dark clothes and the seventh was in light clothes. 5. Still with clothes, stripes, big patterns and big logos should be avoided, and if your are going to wear Hawaiian shirts or lumberjack flannel shirts, then it is all in or none! 6. If you end up with a 2 year old who insists on wearing his Thomas the Tank Engine shirt, let him! bring the one you want him to wear with you, and we will make it his idea to change ( He is 2! ) what I don’t want is to get to the shoot to find Mum and the 2 year old crying because they have spent the last 45 minutes fighting about which shirt to wear.  7. If you are bringing your dog to the shoot, the worst thing you can do is get there a bit early so that you can throw a stick or a ball  to wear him out. This elevates their energy levels, makes their tongue hang out, and increase the chance that we will all be covered in slobber! A much better strategy is to take them for a long walk in the morning before the shoot, and then keep the energy as low as possible. treats can often be useful, but don’t bring them out unless we ask you to. 8. If the weather is unstable, we will generally talk to you before the shoot, overcast skies are no problem at all, in fact it is probably our favourite condition. If it is actually raining, there are a number of options, going indoors, postponing or getting gumboots and umbrellas and finding some puddles to splash in! 9. Bring some snacks! big kid and little kid snacks so that everyone is happy and relaxed. setting up a little picnic is a great way to get everyone settled, and give people who are not being photographed something to do while they are waiting.  A bottle of wine or a few beers also work, as long as you have a designated driver ( and its not a 9 am shoot! ) 10.The main thing is that it is a nice relaxed session, so that  in a few years time, when you are looking at your portraits hanging on your wall, they bring back happy memories of a time when your whole family was together and enjoying each others company. BONUS TIP: As a last , extra thing, if there is some combination of people that you would like in a photograph make sure you let your photographer know. Sometimes its hard to know all the subtle relationships that exist, plus it can get quite hectic wrangling a group of people together, so if there is something special that you are after make sure you let us know.    If you'd like to organise your own family portrait session, head over to our 5 steps to make it happen page to learn what the next steps are.
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How much retouching is appropriate for my age?

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When it comes to retouching you probably fall into one of three camps.
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1st Year done!

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It is always fun doing a series of images, and when Juanita and Ash first came to us, Jayna was just a newborn Since then we have done 3 shoots, and this last set of images finished of a wall collection that we have been working on to celebrate Jayna’s first year.

It’s an old cliche that you forget just how small babies are, especially as you see them grow a tiny bit every day, but having these pictures hung together is a beautiful and dramatic reminder of just how far Jayna has come in such a short time. I am really looking forward to the next installment.

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