Family Photography

I'm a Biographer: So Tell Me - What is Your Story?.../Family Documentary Photography/Gold Coast Documentary Family Photography

Family Documentary Photography

Biographer (bi.og.ra.pher): A person who writes an account of someone's life.

- Oxford Dicitionary


That's me...a Biographer.  Yes, I'm a photographer, but I'm much more than that. What drives me is to write an account of you...your life...who you are.  

I don't just want to show you a pretty picture, though it must be appealing to the eye and there must be beauty in it.  There are many forms of beauty, and I mean to capture them all.  

Beauty is found in deep sorrow and heights of happiness.  It is found in grand places and in the lowly ones too.  It is found in each one of us in different and unique ways. Beauty is life and the unique web you weave is what truly inspires me.  

Tell me who you really are and I'll show you something that maybe you haven't seen before, or had forgotten had existed.

A photo memory of a father as a boy...

A photo memory of a father as a boy...

and a living memory of his son.

and a living memory of his son.

 

I want to know...what makes you smile?  What makes your heart sing?  What makes you cry? And what makes you feel something stir deep inside?  And I want to know why.  

All those little things that have brought you to this moment.  They become the big things.  But we don't often realise this until our defining moments, when life takes a turn...when life changes or takes a different direction and forces us to look inward.

 
Brisbane Family Documentary Photography
Documentary Family Photography
 

This is how it was for Paula and Damon and their family, whose photos you see in this post.  Realising that their lives would change and they would be moving on, Paula and Damon wanted to have a momento of this stage of their family life.  A witness of accounts of sorts to remind them of this beautiful time in their lives.  

Their children are teenagers and Paula could see how their relationship with their children would inevitably change, especially as young boys and girls become young men and women. That growing awareness that soon the closeness...the bond between parents and young children would somehow be different, and they wanted to hold onto that and to savour it for what it meant right now.

By spending one night and one full day documenting their lives...A Day-in-the-Life of the Kloots, I was gifted with the privilege of insight into who the Kloots family are.  Not just as a family, but as individuals.  And I have been truly humbled that this beautiful family allowed me to share their lives and open themselves up to me, in order that I may accurately record who they are and who they were at this point in their lives.

And when asked to give one quote, saying or words that described who the Kloots family were, this is what they said...

"As different as we all are from each other, we were made to be together."

*  Please click on the gallery images to enlarge


So my gift to you  as your biographer,  is to reflect back to you those little things that often go unnoticed. Those visceral feelings that all of us have,  but maybe we just need encouragement and a little courage to acknowledge.  Or those little things that while living and rushing around we have little time to stop and savour.  

And my job is done when I can help you to preserve and cement those things in a way that becomes a living reminder of who we are now and who we were:  as individuals...as a family...as friends...as groups of like-minded people,  and as a community.  

My desire is to help you remember, appreciate and savour all that you are and have been, in the kaleidoscope which is your life.  This sweet, crazy, maddening life.

Kerry xx

*  If you would like your own biography and a document of your life or your family's life, and if you are going through a stage in your life that you would like a visual account, then call me on 0488 723 673 or email me on info@truth-seeker-images.com.  For further information on Documentary (Family) Photography packages, CLICK HERE.

 



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A Golden Wedding Anniversary Surprise....Brisbane Family Photography/Brisbane Family Photographer

Joe & Judy celebrated 50 years marriage on 10th July 2015

Joe & Judy celebrated 50 years marriage on 10th July 2015

A couple of weeks of ago I had the pleasure of  photographing a family photo session.  I was told it was a surprise for my client's parents who would be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary and they wanted to have all their family with them to help her parent's celebrate it.  It was also possibly the last opportunity to have all their family together in one place.  So this photo session was a little extra special.

The occasion itself went off without a hitch.  Their celebration was organised by a special friend of mine, who also happens to be my aunt and it was held at her place.  Joe and Judy were told it was going to be a BBQ with friends and thought nothing more of it.

Joe and Judy's family were waiting for them, and it was indeed a big surprise for them both. Family from Canada were also live-streamed so they could share their special occasion with their loved ones back home.

Joe requested this particular photo of their wedding rings.

Joe requested this particular photo of their wedding rings.

 

These family photos were part of Joe and Judy's gift to celebrate not only their Golden Wedding Anniversary, but also to celebrate life and their family.   Every member made a special effort to look their best and also to just enjoy, and give their love and support and make this occasion one to be remembered.  Especially for Joe.

 
Michelle (my client) and her beautiful daughters.

Michelle (my client) and her beautiful daughters.

 

So for family and friends, I've created an online gallery which Michelle requested have a password.  So family and friends, you will need to get in touch with Michelle to view the gallery at http://tinyurl.com/nrrsxox which will expire on 9th August, 2015.  

But I've included a few select images to give you an idea and wet your appetite just a little. Enjoy! :)

Kerry xx

 
Bruce (Joe & Judy's son), his partner Alex (far right) and Alex's parents.

Bruce (Joe & Judy's son), his partner Alex (far right) and Alex's parents.

 





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My First D.I.Y Oliphant Backdrop...Brisbane Portrait Photography/Gold Coast Family Photography

The above shot was taken in natural light under my carport

The above shot was taken in natural light under my carport

Being a lover of anything vintage and that classic look in studio portraits, I've fallen in love with fine art, textured backdrops.  One company in particular, Oliphant from the US are renowned for these beautiful backdrops.

I've been reading blogs of very well known and respected portrait photographers who use these backdrops and thought I'd try making my own.  There are many and varied ways to make these backdrops.

I chose to use a method employed by New Zealand photographer,  Sue Bryce.  So today I'm sharing with you what I did to create my own backdrop.  I was satisfied with my first attempt. Though in hindsight (as we do) next time I will improve on the outcome and have learned through experience what to do and what not to do next time.

Materials:

  • 9" x 12" Canvas drop sheet (from the hardware in the paint section)
  • plastic drop sheet (to place under the canvas)
  • interior low sheen (acrylic) paint - white base colour x 4 ltrs
  • interior low sheen pots x various colours - teal green, grey, beige
  • small rollers & large rollers and trays
  • mixing pots and paint mixers for mixing colours
  • extension handle for rollers
  • sea sponges
Brisbane Portrait Photography_paint colour card

To decide on what colours to buy and mix, I printed off a copy of the backdrop I liked (the one in the photo is from one of my favourite portraits by Sue Bryce).  I then took the picture to the hardware and chose some colours that I thought closely resembled the colours in the the backdrop.

Also, with my colours, I kept in mind what my end result would be.  That is, what colours I wanted in the clothing of my prospective clients.  I used a teal green because that colour will pick up blues and greens and will compliment those softer, warmer, pastel colours of pinks. The beige I chose to ensure there was some warmth in the teal/green and to pick up more natural skin tones.  And I chose a white first layer to keep the overall tones lighter, rather than darker.

The first base layer of white paint completed

The first base layer of white paint completed

Second layer of the beige and teal green, which at this stage was still patchy

Second layer of the beige and teal green, which at this stage was still patchy

The last layer I tried to even out the overall colour, so one didn't stand out.  Though I realised I needed a lot more paint to have it look more like I wanted.

The last layer I tried to even out the overall colour, so one didn't stand out.  Though I realised I needed a lot more paint to have it look more like I wanted.

Now there are some things that I would recommend:

  • Ensure you buy a larger tin of base colour, not only to use for the first coat which the canvas really soaks up.  But also because the white is required to blend in with your other colours.
  • Try to get a canvas drop sheet with no seams!  It's a pain having to edit out the seam in post processing.
  • For smaller sized sheets, steam the sheets if you have a steamer or iron out the creases. I did manage to smooth a little out using the roller, but better if you can get the creases out beforehand.
  • For larger sheets buy an extension handle for the roller so you don't have to stand on the sheet to paint in the centre of the sheet.  It will also save your back.
  • Be careful not to use too many colours or mix too many together, otherwise it will all turn brownish in colour.  Test a little in a separate mixing pot before mixing together larger quantities.
  • Try to mix enough paint the first time to cover enough of your canvas.  The reason being is if you don't mix enough colour, your next batch may be a different colour if you don't get the ratios exactly the same.
The finished backdrop upright using my backdrop stand.

The finished backdrop upright using my backdrop stand.

You can see the creases and also the stitching in the canvas a little below half way in this image.  I manoeuvred the canvas to suit my subject so that the stitching didn't fall around her head or face.

You can see the creases and also the stitching in the canvas a little below half way in this image.  I manoeuvred the canvas to suit my subject so that the stitching didn't fall around her head or face.

I was fairly happy how my backdrop turned out for my first attempt and I was fairly close to what I wanted to achieve in colour matching.  My apologies for the images which aren't quite focused correctly.  

In regard to these photos, I put everything together rather at the last minute as I was losing light.  I was in too much of a hurry and didn't take my time setting up my camera and focal points.  And I ended up dragging my daughter out and throwing a dress on her and pulled out some taffeta and a few items in order to test what the back drop looked like.  So it was all done in rather  a hurry.

Brisbane Portrait Photography
Brisbane Portrait Photography
Brisbane Portrait Photography

So I hope this information is useful to fellow photographers who would like to try their own backdrop.  If you try it yourself and have anything else to add, please feel free to leave a comment.

Kerry xx

 


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A Mother's Special Birthday Gift..../Gold Coast Family Photography/Brisbane Family Photography

Lisa, Jasmyn & Sharon

Lisa, Jasmyn & Sharon

"We should always love our parents. Sometimes we are busy growing up and we often forget that they are also growing old."

- Author Unknown


The image above of sisters, Lisa, Jasmyn and Sharon is going to look fabulous when I have it custom framed and it's hanging in pride of place on their mother's wall.  And this photo  also happens to be my favourite of this shoot.

The shoot was a culmination of quite a bit of planning, since all three sisters live in different areas.  The purpose of the shoot was so that all three sisters could give their mother a special birthday surprise for her upcoming 70th birthday next month!

What a beautiful gesture, and I wish I was a fly on the wall on that day to see the look on their mother's face.  From what I've been told, she will be surprised and thrilled.

 
Gold Coast Family Photography
 

As we become into adults we often forget that our own parents are growing older, as we concentrate on our lives and our own younger families.  If we think of how much our children mean to us as young parents, then how much more meaningful is it then for our parents who are entering their twilight years, thinking about their adult children?  

It becomes for us a time to reflect on our parents and what they were like when we were younger.  How much of our upbringing influenced our own lives and the way we look at the world?  How much more do we appreciate them, now that we understand how they must have felt rearing us?  What about the challenges they had but we were never aware because they protected us from the ugly things?   And what lessons can we bring into our adult hood that we learned as children that we can then pass onto our own?

I think this is when we can appreciate them most - as adults with our own unique challenges. And as children who have grown to become parents ourselves, who then truly understand what it is to raise a child or children and become so strongly attached to them.

 
Gold Coast Family Photography

 

Chatting to Sharon over the months, as we talked about how to approach the shoot, we talked about her childhood growing up on a farm, her sisters and her parents.  I got to know a little of their family and of their personalities and I was looking forward to meeting Sharon's sisters. They all sounded so different.

Funny how we can all be raised in the same household, yet grow to become individuals with such different tastes, values and lives.  I wonder how aging parents view the differences in their children.

 
Lisa

Lisa

Sharon

Sharon

Jasmyn

Jasmyn

 

So with all of our busy adult lives, I think it's wonderful that three grown up sisters took the time to plan something so special for their mother's 70th Birthday.  Photo sessions can also be a great opportunity for us to reflect on our lives and our families, and to appreciate the gift of our families. 

For Lisa, Sharon and Jasmyn, not only was the photo session an opportunity to give a special gift to their mother, but also an opportunity for them to gift themselves.  To be pampered and to look and feel beautiful. 

Because you know, as woman, we never do that enough!  We need to be kinder to ourselves ladies.

Kerry xx

Gold Coast Family Photography
Gold Coast Family Photography
 




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5 Reasons to Go Outdoors for Your Photo Session...Brisbane Family Photography/Brisbane Engagement Photography

Walking in a place of special meaning for an engaged couple, amidst a Mt Warning Backdrop - Environmental Portrait, Murwillumbah NSW 

Walking in a place of special meaning for an engaged couple, amidst a Mt Warning Backdrop - Environmental Portrait, Murwillumbah NSW 

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."

- John Muir

 

Are you a parent who would really love to have a family photo session? Or a couple who are engaged or just want to celebrate your love?

If you are and have jumped on and googled ‘family photos’ or ‘engagement photos’ or similar, you may have come to realise that having a  photo session is not as simple as you may have first thought and that there are a many different ways that photo sessions can be done.

Usually though, the first question that most people ask themselves is…”Do we have photos indoors or outdoors?”

Now this article isn’t about which one is better, because neither of them are. It’s a personal choice. What I do want share with you though are reasons why you might think about going outdoors for your photos session, whether you are a family or a couple .

Firstly, and most importantly…

1. It’s Fun!

Sharing a laugh in a place where this family have created many memories - Gold Coast Pumping Jetty, Southport Spit

Sharing a laugh in a place where this family have created many memories - Gold Coast Pumping Jetty, Southport Spit

I remember a family who had their photos outdoors and afterwards they said that it didn’t feel like they were going out just to take boring photos and everyone would be bored.  They said they had so much fun, because the whole approach that I instilled and they took on board from the beginning, was to look at it as if everyone was going on a family picnic in a beautiful place they had never been.

So the whole family: mum, dad and the kids were excited leading up to the photo session because it was like going on a magical mystery tour. And when they arrived they rocked up with a beautifully prepared picnic lunch, explored, ate a little, relaxed, had some nice photos in-between, and basically had a ball!

Best of all...mum was amazed that she didn’t have to discipline any of the kids or convince them to behave or have fun. A win for mum means a win for everybody. Because we all know that if mum is happy, dad and the kids are usually pretty happy too! Happy family means happy and natural photos.

Oh…and it’s a big win for the photographer too. :)

 

2. It Helps You Relax

Childhood memories drew this family to this pine forest - Pizzey Park, Miami, Gold Coast

Childhood memories drew this family to this pine forest - Pizzey Park, Miami, Gold Coast

There is a lot to be said for fresh air and sunshine.

What I’ve found is that by placing people outside in the fresh air and allowing them to connect with nature and breathe in all that beauty, relieves a great deal of stress and helps them relax and enjoy the moments, each other and their surroundings. It’s a photo session that doubles as therapy...nice!

 

3. It Adds Interest and Variety

So many interesting things to capture children's and parent's imaginations  - Pizzey Park, Miami, Gold Coast

So many interesting things to capture children's and parent's imaginations  - Pizzey Park, Miami, Gold Coast

Let’s face it – sitting inside a room and looking at a static wall, and smiling when you’re asked to smile with a flash constantly in your face, isn’t always the most appealing thing. It can often be a source of anxiety and boredom, especially for active and imaginative children.

The great thing about being outdoors for on-location photos, is that if the right location is chosen, a photo session can be interesting for every person. What makes it interesting is the variety on offer. Especially in such a country of natural beauty as ours…forests, beaches, open plains or grassy fields, mountains, the outback and deserts.

So many different and interesting options make for interesting and different photos. And because of the varied landscapes there are always things of interest to look at and explore. Differing activities can be planned which results in people connecting and interacting in ways that they would never have imagined. All the senses are engaged.

 

4. Landscapes Create Unique and Beautiful Photos

A beautiful sunset among the cane fields  -  Alberton, Qld

A beautiful sunset among the cane fields  -  Alberton, Qld

If you are in a beautiful location, don’t you want to be able to remember that location? And when you look at those photos and see where you are, does that not bring back memories of that experience: the sights…the smells…the things unique to that location - including what you did and most importantly, who you shared the experience with?

Outdoor photos sessions will mostly take place just before sunset or more rarely, just after sunrise. The reason being is that the light is not only softer and more flattering for portraits. But also because at these times, the colours in the sky are some of the most beautiful and breathtaking.

You never know what you’re going to get.  Different elements every time which come together in so many different ways which add yet another level of uniqueness to your photos. It’s also the best time to capture that beautiful golden light and sun flares that create the most magical images that we all adore.

So remember to include not only photos of you, your family, and or your partner, but also include the surrounds that you are in. And try to include ‘Environmental Portraits’ too. I like to include them when I can. If you’re not sure what they are, it just means that you are in the photo, but you are not the main focus. You become ‘part of a location or particular environment’ (and it doesn’t always have to be outdoors either).

Because sometimes we also want to have memories of where we were, especially if it was a beautiful place that has or had special significance for us or it resonated with us. 

 

5. It Creates Deeper Connections

Part of a family photo session, these Singapore clients wanted to take home with them, memories of our beautiful Australian outdoors - Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Benowa, Gold Coast

Part of a family photo session, these Singapore clients wanted to take home with them, memories of our beautiful Australian outdoors - Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens, Benowa, Gold Coast

 

For many of us, being in a certain place or location, especially outdoors isn’t always something we think about deeply. We just know we like it there for some reason. I think that we are drawn to places that resonate with us for many different reasons.

Some people love beaches. Some people love trees and rain forests. Some people love rural areas of grassy, open plains. Some people love cities.

When we are in places that we love, they create deeper and more meaningful connections. And when we are in these places with the people that we love and who share the same affinity for those places, it makes us feel good, and we are happy.

That’s the best reason to go outdoors when you’re planning your next family or couple session. When you are happy and with the people you love, you are at our most beautiful. It shows in your faces. And that’s what I want you to see. It’s a most precious and humbling gift that I can give you.

Kerry xx



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