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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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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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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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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