Passing on family recipes

Recently my son Harry had to write and cook a family recipe that represents his heritage. So, he decided to make traditional Irish Stew, which is a huge favourite in our house.

Many people make their stew by placing alternate layers of meat, onions, carrots and potatoes and then stew it for a couple of hours. When made in the traditional manner this dish is thick, hearty and not thin like a soup. It is a very easy recipe and perfect for Harry to learn to cook for dinner. To say he was very proud of himself at the end is an understatement - he loved learning to cook and I'm so glad that I have these photos that document his first meal.

Juan-Luis | Newborn Photography Sydney

I have now photographed this family three times and I love watching their family grow. This was the second newborn photography session that they have booked with me in their home on Sydney’s North Shore.

This family are originally from South America and are bringing up their children as bilingual so they spoke mostly Spanish during the session, which I must admit I love listening to.

Do you know what is so great about having your newborn photoshoot at home?  It is that you can be a lot more relaxed about what happens such as toddler meltdowns, clothes getting dirty, baby not sleeping or needing a feed etc. All of the above happened at this newborn photography session. It actually meant that we got the REAL story of their life at that special time and show what happened when a new baby joined their family. Those moments that they will look back on and smile when look through the photos in the future.

My personal favourite photos from a baby photoshoot are of the baby feeding because it is often a quiet moment between baby and mum that result in beautiful and intimate images. Tiny fingers curled around your hand, those snorts, grunts and sighs that babies make when they feed, falling asleep mid feed and of course the eye contact between baby and mum. It is also a great opportunity for me to grab those detailed shots of ears, fingers and baby’s hair.

After mum had fed the baby, his big brother (who is only two) joined us and he watched her change the baby’s nappy and clothes. He showed me his baby brother’s toes and nose and he was fascinated by how tiny he was. We took this opportunity to get some photos of them together on the bed, as with toddlers, you have to act quickly so they stay engaged.  I put the whole family on the bed, asked them to snuggle and play together and try to forget I was there while I photographed them. 

Baby photoshoots are meant to be fun! if you want to book your own newborn lifestyle session with me please get in touch.  Enjoy the photos from Juan-Luis' session below.

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How to prepare for your Maternity Photo Shoot

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Whether this is your first or third baby, it is a very exciting time for you and your partner and for many expecting mothers, there’s no better way to remember their pregnancy and their journey to motherhood than a professional maternity photo shoot.
Here are a few tips to help you look and feel your best.

When to schedule the shoot

The general recommendation is that you have your maternity photo shoot when you are between 32 to 36 weeks pregnant. For expecting mamas with twins (or more), schedule it for around 26 – 32 weeks as twins tend to arrive much earlier. Your belly will have a lovely full shape, but you won’t be too bloated and uncomfortable, as is often the case in the last few weeks. 

Decide what location you prefer

Decide if you would like an outdoor sunset session or an in-home, lifestyle session.  Outdoor locations offer beautiful light and backgrounds and they can be places that are meaningful to you. Disadvantages are that the shoot is weather-dependent and shooting hours are limited to the golden hour of sunrise or sunset (when the quality of natural light is at its best.}  Sessions shot in your home use natural light to capture those little moments that mean everything to you, such as your baby's nursery, your pets and your routine. Advantage in the home is comfort and connection to familiar surroundings. Plus you don’t have to worry about the weather outside.

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Decide what to wear

Depending on the location you have chosen, the next step is to choose your clothes. This can be an exciting step as many women will know what 'look' they want for their photos. Whatever your style, choose clothing that is comfortable! For lots more clothing tips and inspiration, have a read of this blog post.

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Undergarments play a big role!

Wear nude-coloured underwear and tube top or bra (with detachable straps if possible).  If you opted for an outdoor beach session then maybe wear a bikini top so you can show off your bump if you wish and get into the water.

Book your hair and make-up appointments

Like your wedding photos, your maternity photo shoot is a one-off session that you will never have again. Treat yourself to professional hair and make-up artists. Not only will this make your photographer’s work easier, you will feel beautiful and confident at your session. Neutral looking fake lashes can really flatter your eyes. Don't forget to have a manicure too, there will be lots of photos of your hands around your bump.

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Prepare your home if you are having an in-home lifestyle session

Your house does not need to look like it came straight out of a magazine, so don't stress. All you need to do, is make sure that you de-clutter the master bedroom, the lounge and the nursery. Remove items from bedside tables, close en-suite doors and wardrobes, buy some beautiful fresh flowers and put plain bed linen on your bed.

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Think about including your pet in your shoot

Having a dog at a shoot adds another level of energy, not to mention another level of cuteness as well. If your shoot is at home then cats can be included too.

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Decide if you want to show off your bare bump or not

Some women feel more self-conscious about their bodies when they’re pregnant, and that’s perfectly fine and normal. Don’t try to force yourself into doing something you think you should do. Maternity photos should be beautiful, and photos of a bare bump in particular can be a great way to celebrate the female form. Bra and panty sets are also great for women who don’t want to do too much exposure, but want a sexy look. Be very clear with your photographer about what you want, and the level of undress that you’re comfortable with.

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Don't forget to eat

Drink lots of water. This will help your skin look clear and smooth. Watch your diet the day or two before in particular, and don’t eat anything that you know might contribute to water retention. Have a light meal before your maternity photo shoot and if you have other children, bring snacks along too.

Arrange to have a dinner date with your partner for after your photo shoot

If you have had hair and make-up done for the shoot. then don't waste it, you will be looking and feeling beautiful, so celebrate with a lovely dinner. If this is your first baby, then take the opportunity to have a dinner date with your partner before your baby arrives... it might be a while before you get a chance to do it again.

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Get a good night’s rest the night before your session

Not only will it help reduce any bags under your eyes, but you’ll feel less stressed and more calm during the shoot.

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you still have questions or would like to book your own session please feel free to contact me via my contact page or comment below.

Jack | Sydney Northern Beaches Newborn Photography

The most wonderful thing about my Lifestyle Maternity & Newborn package is that I get to meet a couple, watch their excitement when they are preparing to welcome a baby into their lives, and then meet that precious baby once they have arrived. I had photographed Nicole and Jono only a month before (their maternity session can be viewed here) at their home on Sydney's Northern Beaches. It was great to come back and meet their new baby Jack. Watching a couple turn into parents and then being able to witness their baby grow is truly a gift. I'm so grateful.

Their first child, their first son, everything about this dynamic brought me back to those feelings I felt bringing home my own little boy. Nicole has decorated a fabulous nursery, making this the most adorable rooms ever. Congratulations to this sweet and beautiful family of three!

If you would like a Maternity Session of your own, head over here to check out all the details. I would love to document your story!

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Tash & Jeff | Narrabeen Beach Sunset Maternity Session

What's more exciting than expecting your first child? Not a whole lot. For me, there's not much that comes close to photographing a pregnant woman in beach sunset maternity session.

Tash and Jeff are expecting their first beautiful baby in just a few short weeks. They live in Queensland, in Hervey Bay but Tash is from Sydney and funnily enough, from a suburb very near my house. They were coming to Sydney for Christmas to see family and friends and Tash wanted to book a maternity session with me during their holiday. After chatting to her and reading her pre-session questionnaire I realised that they are very much beach people. They take their dog to the beach at home in Qld every day so I suggested that we have a beach sunset maternity session. We chose Narrabeen Beach on Sydney's Northern Beaches and it did not disappoint. There was beautiful soft, evening light...my fav type of light!

Tash had planned what she would wear very carefully. She brought along two outfits, including a stunning dress by Filly Boo Maternity that sell maternity and breastfeeding dresses. You can see that long white dress in the images below.

This mama is stunning, and I am honoured to capture this amazing time in her life.

If you would like a Maternity Session of your own, head over here to check out all the details. I would love to document your story!

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Simple Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos

Not only does a holiday provide you and your family a much-needed break, it will also serve up some of the best photo opportunities you'll see all year.

This is a great time to reach for a camera to do the annual group portrait. Here are some simple tips for taking great holiday photos using your camera or phone.

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Tip #1: Purposely make great photo opportunities

As a photographer it has always been my job to set up the shot. So naturally, I do this all of the time with my own family! When we were in Ireland in 2016, we went for a walk on the beach. I wrote my son Harry’s name in huge letters on the sand as he played. I thought it would be a great photo but even more memorable to have my child in it. So I asked my son to run past, and captured one of my favourite shots of the trip (photo above)! It is so simple to do, get your child to write their name or do it yourself and snap the results on your phone or camera.

Tip #2: When photographing groups and families you must take a lot of photos.

People generally complain about having their picture taken and want the experience to be over quickly. You need to work quickly in order to get the job done within their limits of patience. And you need to keep the experience as fun and friendly as possible, so they remember it in a positive light. Don't put pressure on yourself to have everyone looking at the camera, often the favourite photos are the most candid and playful ones like this one.

 Simple Tips for Taking Great Holiday Photos

Tip #3: Don't use flash indoors

It is very tempting to turn on the flash on your camera or phone, but please don't.  The light from flash, especially from the tiny flashes on digital cameras and phones - tend to produce harsh, flat, and cold light. This is rarely a complimentary way to illuminate your subject. Plus you might find everyone is temporary blinded afterwards too! So instead, put your subjects standing near a window or door instead of relying on the flash. Even at night, in a darker room, you can still avoid the flash by just turning on extra lamps or other ambient light.

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Tip #4: Don't pose - allow the candid moments to shine

Take some candid photos during the holiday of everyone having fun. You can capture great expressions and moments when your subject isn’t aware that the camera is pointed at them. Kids often freeze and put on their 'fake' smile when they see a camera pointed at them. If you’re shooting with a big camera it’s much more obvious that you’re taking photos, and your children can start to behave differently or get camera-shy, so sometimes it can be better to use your phone instead.

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Tip #5: Shoot your food!

It’s easy to take a great shot of a mouth-watering plate of food by zooming in tight on the dish (or some phones have a "Food" feature too). This is a fun photo you can take to remember the delicacies you enjoyed on your trip.

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Tip #6: Pass the camera around

How will anyone know you were there if you stay behind the camera the entire time? Have others in your group take pictures or shoot video of you having fun too. Don't forget to include the selfies too!

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Tip #7: Don't forget the night shots

Don't put your camera away after the sun goes down, that's the time when you can get some of your best shots. Christmas time is the best time to capture the lights, decorations and sights. City lights and storefronts, neon signs and strobe lights – you simply can’t get this during the day, so take the time to see how you can creatively use them.

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Tip #8: Take a step back

As you're traveling, one of your primary goals as a photographer is to take in the sights. You're likely to encounter many breathtaking views that you'll want to remember just as they were.

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Tip #9: Avoid the cliche

As you visit new and exciting places, resist the urge to just stand people in front of a landmark or view and snap a picture. Try instead to create clever poses and compositions that you won't see in the photos of everyone who has ever been to that place.

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Tips #10: Know when to put your camera down

This might sound counter-intuitive for an article about simple tips for taking great holiday photos . There is a time to shoot pictures and a time to just be with friends and family. Rather than 100 photos of your family doing one activity, just take a handful and use the rest of your time to simply be with your loved ones and enjoy your time together.

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If you’ve found this blog post useful, please share it with any of your friends who you think might like it too! I hope my tips help you to take great photos of your summer holiday.

Take lots of pictures, but most importantly have a great time!

If you would like to get in touch, you can contact me via this page

Intimate in-home maternity session in Avalon

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This Intimate in-home maternity session in Avalon on Sydney's Northern Beaches was filled with love, laughter and lots of doggy cuddles. This couple live in a beautiful light filled home, with their Boston terrier (plus a couple of chickens) and they were expecting their first baby boy in a couple of weeks. When Nic called me a few months before to book their maternity and newborn session, she told me that she really loved the idea of Intimate in-home maternity session because they wanted the photos to document their life before and then again after their baby arrives. This is something I absolutely love doing! These kind of sessions are very relaxed, unscripted and involve spending time with a family while they do activities and things around their home that are very true to how they usually spend their days. Plus another bonus point is that the family pet gets to be in on the action.

We started their session in the kitchen, they made coffee together, chatted and laughed. I photographed them from a distance, allowing them to be themselves and go about their routine. They showed me their nursery and they read a children's book together that Nic had found recently in a book sale. She was very excited about it because it was the same book she used to read as a child in Canada. We then moved to their main bedroom, where their dog joined us. Documenting these special moments was an honour, I love getting to know my clients and creating their special memories for them.

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If you would like a Maternity Session of your own, head over here to check out all the details. I would love to document your story!