Sisters….A Portrait Session

Do you have a sister? I do. The older I get, the more I realise how special it is that I have one.  My sister has been there through it all…the playing, the fighting, the road trips, the long distance phone calls, the advice sessions, the sorrow and the joys. She’s become the world’s best Auntie and how I wish the physical distance between us was not so great.

Recently, I shot a special sister session. It was special to me because I’ve watched these two girls grow up.  I used to read them bedtime stories…and now they are beautiful teens.

Here’s to sisters…and everything that they are…


5 tips for Phenomenal Cropping

As photographers, we try to crop in camera (ie. capture the image as it should look) to reduce post-production time.  We zoom with our lenses, or we zoom with our feet, to perfectly frame each image every time, right? Smiles…

All of you Mum’s out there know, that especially when shooting children, there sometimes isn’t time to to crop perfectly in camera.  Our children move fast.  We need to move fast with our cameras to get our shot.  And then we use our crop tool to fix things afterwards.

But supposing you had the most angelic children in the world, who moved in slow motion?  Supposing YOUR children (ha! mine doesn’t!) happily posed for you so that you could crop perfectly in camera?  Even if this were the case, the crop tool is still a very powerful and necessary tool.

Cropping can help make an image more powerful.  Cropping can help you to better tell your story. Cropping can turn ho-hum into wow.

Here are two examples…and 5 tips for powerful, creative cropping.

1.  Before cropping an image, ask yourself, ‘What is the story in this image?’  The crop should enhance the story.  It should lead our eye into, or in the direction of the story.

2. Use the magic Rule of Thirds: Divide your image into three vertical and three horizontal sections.  When cropping, place key elements (ie. the eyes, or the horizon) on one of these lines.

3. Crop last in the editing process. Since I use Aperture and Photoshop for my post-processing. I do all of my editing in Photoshop, then crop in Aperture…this preserves the original image…just in case I need to change the crop later.

4. Be careful not to crop through hands, lower arms or shins.  This ‘amputates’ your subject.

5. Play.  Play with different crop ratios.  Sometimes the ‘right’ crop might just surprise you.

Good luck…and happy cropping!

A Day Out at London Zoo

London Zoo.  What a place of fascination!  From my very first trip to London, nearly 15 years ago….when I traveled on business, to stay on the edge of Regent’s park…and ran some mornings through the park, up Primrose Hill by the monkeys and the giraffes watching out at the people…I have wondered how it would be. After all, a zoo…in the middle of a city?

Last weekend, finally, I took my wondering to the zoo…with my very big lens and my daughter. And actually, it was a wonderful day out. Phoebe adored the animals. She pet the goats. She laughed at the monkeys. She obsessed over seeing the ‘mingos and lamented missing the butterflies.  If I ask her now, she still says that her favourite animal was the bunny (yes, a regular old, garden-variety bunny) but she remembers the rest fondly too.

I stumbled across a quote by Thomas French:  ‘Despite all their flaws, zoos wake us up. They invite us to step outside our basic assumptions…they shake us into recognising the possibilities….’  Indeed.

Beautiful and 20.

Meet Sarah. She is nearly 20 and on the biggest adventure of her life–travelling and living half-way across the world from her family and friends for a year.

That sounds oh-so-brave to me.  (All I managed was a ‘gap’ week when I was that age. Does that count? :) )

I’m sure Sarah will finish this year a very different person than she started.  I’m sure she’ll have new ideas, new friends and possibly, new directions.

But two things I know for sure….We will miss her kind and gentle heart very, very much….and she will be gorgeous no matter where she ends up.  Don’t you agree?


In Between the Memorable…

Let’s face it.  Most of life is not memorable.  We get to the end of our 20, or 50, or 80 years, and it’s as if most of the living never happened.  Our memories hold on to only the highlights, the emergencies and the milestones.

But gosh, isn’t life what happens in between the memorable?

Aren’t the best bits, the normal, the routine, the soft or the troubled expressions that are part of our everyday?

And perhaps, isn’t this why we, as Mamas, are fascinated by our cameras and our scrapbooks?  (Mind you, it’s not that I have ever succeeded in putting together a scrapbook. So far, I only manage well-intentioned boxes of memorabilia. Sigh…)

Today, I went looking for a particular image and ended up trolling through my Phoebe archives.  I found myself lost in the in between…smiling at things I almost didn’t remember…My little one is only three, but so much has happened.  So much has changed.

Thank goodness for my Nikon.  Thank goodness for all the times I used it.  And most of all, thank goodness for back-up hard drives.

Do you agree…is this LIFE?

How do you capture the in between?