I take thousands of pictures of my kids but rarely do I attempt to do an actual photo session with the little one – one where I considered wardrobe, location, light variation and mood.   As a kid’s photographer in Sydney, I love all the various locations we have for photo sessions. One of my favourites is Darling Harbour so a couple of Fridays ago, as the final project for a class I was taking, I decided to set off for the wharfs hoping to create a set of photos that reflected cohesion through color and light. It was an overcast day which brings beautiful, but often flat light. While you usually don’t end up with unflattering shadows, it is also difficult to create images that have dimension or gorgeous catchlights in my subjects eyes.  With no visible sun, I often find it challenging to figure out what surfaces are going to reflect the best light onto my subjects face creating creamy skintones and give that impression that your subject is full of life – or glowing as we often say.

We started out at the ferry end of Darling Harbour near the our favourite museum, the Maritime Museum, and slowly made our way down to the playground in Darling Quarter.  While I wouldn’t say there was much posing going along, my son was persuaded to let me keep the camera snapping away as he ran in and out of corners, did a roly-poly down the wharf and slid down the slippery dip a million times.  A Kinder Surprise egg and a crocodile finger puppet was a small price to pay for a model for my final assignment.  But best of all we had a fun day of just playing without errands, housework or screen time eating up time we should be spending together.   So here is my 4 on 4 for the month of February – with a little bonus collage at the end.   I can’t believe that pretty soon I will need to be doing a special birthday session for this little one. Time goes by too fast.

Blonde haired toddler at Darling HarbourBlonde haired toddler at Darling HarbourBlonde haired toddler at Darling HarbourBlonde haired toddler at Darling HarbourCollage


And be sure to continue along the circle to see what Jeanne has been up to this month.

  • You always have such a great way of capturing your children, just the way they are. What a handsome guy. And that smile coming down the slide , priceless!ReplyCancel

While school only started last week, summer holidays seem ages away already.  Those lazy days of sleep ins, pajama days, pool time, and movie nights didn’t last long enough.  I love love love school hols – the lack of routine, nowhere to be at any specific time, no rushing, no saying “hurry up!”…. I could go on and on.  This year I took a break from working and spent the entire time with the kids. While there were a few days that were filled with more tears than joy, most days felt like a total luxury.  I know that school holidays when I am enough to fill both children’s days are very short lived.  My three year old is only going to want to snuggle and watch movies in bed for just so long while my six year old is just on the cusp of being bored with lazy days spend in the neighbourhood. Soon there will be requests for playdates, chauffeuring to the movies, the shops and the beach, too much screen time, and not enough family time.  This year I soaked up the little cocoon we had during the week just the three of us.  The days past far too fast for all of us I think.  We certainly didn’t accomplish everything we wanted to do.  There is always that tension between wanting to do nothing and wanting to do everything – and of course never enough time for both.  School started back exactly a week ago. Three days in and my six year old is already counting down til Easter.   And so am I. So for February’s 4 on 4, here are four of my favourites from January.

Portrait of girl jumping for joy in purple dress

summer playdate portrait fir childrenFather and daughter in the blue mountains portrait

Little boy at the Sydney Aquarium

Thanks for looking and make sure you follow along the blog circle and see Jeanne’s gorgeous work.

  • These are gorgeous photographs! I especially love the last one. Great job documenting your life in Sydney.ReplyCancel

  • Oh wow! These are beautiful! You’ve really captured the moments, and the colors are gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Oh I adore the movement in the first picture!!!! Hurrah for days off! And I totally hear you about the fine line between wanting to do nothing and wanting to to everything.ReplyCancel

  • Alexis

    These are beautiful Allison. I especially love the first photo. So much joy.ReplyCancel

  • I love these! And that first one! The essence of childhood!ReplyCancel

  • susan

    they are so vibrantReplyCancel

I met this gorgeous family on what had to be the hottest day Sydney had seen in quite sometime.  We met at Arthur McElhone Reserve in Elizabeth Bay – a stunning little park high up on a hill across from the Elizabeth Bay House.  One of the things I love about this project is being introduced to new gems within our beautiful city.  This little park (nicknamed the Fish Park by this family) was an amazing treasure – beautiful views of the city, fish ponds, lush green grass and foliage.  By 10am it was quite hot but that didn’t deter these two spunky boys from rolling down hills, chasing bubbles or racing back and forth to mum and dad about a million times.  Simone and Alphonso and their two little ones live in Potts Point not too far from the reserve.  I asked Simone and Alphonso to answer a few questions about why they have embraced a city lifestyle. Here is their reply:

Why did you choose to raise your family in the city?  What is important to you about a city lifestyle? 
When our first son was born, we had been living in Kings Cross for five years. We enjoyed the diverse socio-economic community and the number of parks, including the Botanical Gardens, in the area, so we decided to stay. What’s important to us about living a city lifestyle is remembering where we came from.

What has the City done that makes it easier/desirable for you to raise children in the city?
The number of large and small parks, public transportation as we don’t have a car, and meeting people from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

What opportunities do you feel you and your kids have access to because you live within the city?
The festivals and events held in the city. We’re not too sure what different opportunities exist living outside of the city because this is the only place we’ve lived as a family.

What improvements could be made to make it even easier/more desirable to raise a family in the city?
More bike lanes in the city would be good as we and many other families enjoy spending time together exploring the city by bike and getting exercise.

More bike lanes.. Yes! I can totally relate as we are also a family who choose not to have a car.  Anything that can be done to make the city more accessible by means that don’t need a motor is a welcome advancement in my book!

And here is a peak at our fun, sunny and spirited morning…

Family Photo Session in Elizabeth Bay SydneyFamily photo session in Potts Point SydneySibling portrait in SydneyChild portrait session in Potts Point SydneyFamily photography session in SydneyMum and son portrait in SydneyFamily portrait in Sydney

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If you would like to participate in Kids in Sydney, I’d love to hear from you!


Spring school holidays seem like forever ago – instead of just last month.  As usual we had a great time.  I LOVE school holidays – no routine, lots of play, special outings, and sleeping just a little bit later.  Best of all – no school run!  The spring holidays are extra special though as my daughter’s birthday usually falls right in the middle making the time off all about celebrating her.  Typically the holidays start with her party and continue with one celebration after another.  This year we introduced a new tradition – the YES DAY.  That’s right – on your birthday you now get a “yes day” if you live in the Lee household.  This meant that I had to say yes to whatever the birthday girl wanted to do on her birthday.  We had a few rules (no spontaneous trips to Disneyland!) but otherwise all bets were off.  I was a bit nervous but the day was great fun.  It turns out that the wishes of my six year old were a pink donut, the aquarium, noodles for lunch, legos, ice cream and riding her bike.  Totally doable and it was such fun to just say YES all day long.  Definitely a tradition to keep!

And if school holidays weren’t enough to keep us busy, I decided to take a class on family film making with my DSLR.  I have always loved video.  There is something so fulfilling about beautiful images accompanied by music and the sweet sound of my children’s voices.  I have swooned over films other photographers make and was so fortunate to slip into Emily Mitchell’s class for September.  I suddenly became a video addict.  It is such an amazing way to capture moments in time.  There is something incredible about capturing the way your child’s face breaks into a smile and not just the smile itself.  Or those little things like how they walk, or look up at their sister, or how they jump flatfooted.   I captured clips everyday of the school holidays.  There was steep learning curve but so incredible rewarding.  I loved every single minute of the shooting, editing, and music selection.  I am planning to start offering family films in 2016 so stay tuned!

Hope you enjoy our Spring School Holidays…my first ever film!


It was a sparkling Monday and the start of the spring school holidays when I met up with Shane, Lewis and their three energetic boys.  Shane and Lewis live just off Hyde Park in Darlinghurst along with their twin five year old boys and seven year old big brother.  The boys were keen to do some scootering in Hyde Park that morning so off we went.  I could tell by how quickly they began scootering around that they were frequent visitors and thought how awesome it was that this iconic park served as their front yard.  From there we made our way back through their neighbourhood stopping at Bill and Toni’s for coffee and babycinos (their Saturday morning routine), and some fun and giggly pictures on the footpath. On our our way back to their house, they showed me a mural painted by Wendy Littlewood which had their portraits incorporated into it.  Such amazing gems can be found in the neighbourhoods in the City!

I asked Shane if he would share some thoughts about raising his boys so close to the CBD.  He was quick to say that he and Lewis never really made a decision to stay in the city.  It was more that it never felt right for them to move into the suburbs.  They like being close to their work environments, enjoy the city living vibe and also appreciate the diversity of the neighbourhood which exposes their children to different lifestyles, values and ways of living (as well as reminding them some people are not as blessed as they are).  The parks, bike paths and general ease of getting around make Darlinghurst an easy place for the five of them to live.

When asked what important opportunities Lewis and Shane felt the children had because they lived in the City, Shane replied that “Our children are blessed with daily exposure to the workings and challenges of a modern international city. I like to think that this familiarity will equip them later in life to fit into any city.”   But it is important that within any big city that there is a sense of community wherever you live.  Shane said one of the improvements that could be made to make a city lifestyle even more enjoyable was “if the old concept of a city of villages was embraced by landlords and developers so that some of the basics in retail e.g. bakery, deli, etc move into overpriced rental areas that are just one street off the CBD.”  Definitely a brilliant idea!

And without further ado, here are some images from our morning.

Family photography session in Sydney Hyde ParkFamily photography session in Sydney Hyde ParkFamily photography session in Sydney Hyde ParkFamily photography session in Sydney Hyde ParkFamily photography session in Sydney Hyde ParkFamily photography session in Sydney DarlinghurstFamily photography session in Sydney Hyde ParkFamily photography session in Sydney Darlinghurst

Interested in seeing more of this series?  Follow along on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AllisonLeePhotography

If you are interested in participating in this project or scheduling a family session, email me at allison@allisonlee.com.au

I’d love to hear from you!