Even though this is our sixth year in Australia, I still have a hard time thinking of October as a month in Spring. I start to think Halloween then I look outside at all the green grass, newly blooming flowers, and Australia’s gorgeous jacaranda trees (think purple cheery trees) and I am momentarily disoriented.  Am I sure I have it right?  Is it Easter?  What month just ended?  When is Christmas?  It takes a few minutes to get grounded in the swirl of weather not matching holidays. I wonder when and if I’ll ever get used to it.  But it does have it’s pluses – New Year’s Eve is amazing here and the kids get to trick or treat while it is still light out.  I am still not used to the warm Christmas, but I do love all the outdoor events that surround the holidays.

So while most of my photographer friends are photographing falling leaves, autumn foliage, and Halloween pictures taken at dusk, our October is full of vibrant greens, new flowers and Halloween by daylight.  As part of my “4 on 4” blog circle, here are four favourites from October…

Siblings feeding ducks in Victoria ParkFeeding the eels and ducks on a Saturday

Little boy portrait reading

“Reading” his favourite Chapter book

Little boy a the park portrait child

Favourite water tap | Favourite park

Australian Halloween portrait of siblings

Happy Halloween | 8pm at the end of trick or treating

And that is it! Please follow along the blog circle to see what the talented Ti  has been up to this past month.  Onwards to November!

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  • That is a huge adjustment! But I can’t wait to see your summer pictures when I’m snowed in!

    Love these! Their Halloween costumes are adorable!ReplyCancel

  • I don’t know that I could EVER acclimate to that!! I love the little sandals sticking out under the Superman boots! And the little guy reading…so precious!ReplyCancel

  • I always love your colorful images each month… the one the I enjoyed the most was the one of your little guy reading a book on the bench :)ReplyCancel

Kate, Jason and adorable Milla met me at Pirrama Park one sunny Spring morning.  Pirrama Park in Pyrmont is one of the jewels in the City with harbour views, a terrific playground, water features and barbeques.  Formerly a base for the water police, it was acquired by the City of Sydney in 2005.  Luckily it was saved from development and turned into the stunning public green space we have today.  Much more than a park, it serves as an outdoor community anchor where a sense of strong community is built over playdates, picnics and a run through the fountains.  It was the perfect place for a “ninja” style photo session.  Milla got to play on all her favourites with mum and dad while I snapped away.

I asked each of the families participating in the Kids in Sydney project to answer a few questions about living in the City.  Here is what Kate had to say:

Why did you choose to raise your family in the city?  What is important to you about a city lifestyle?

Jason and I never made a conscious decision to raise a family in the city. Both coming from small rural towns in New Zealand we imagined that we would bring up a family in the usual New Zealand way – the three bedroom house with a big backyard, just as we grew up.  We moved to Australia 10 years ago to find new exciting opportunities and to experience “big” city life. We only ever imagined that we would be here for two years. But we fell in love with the city and living in Pyrmont and have been here ever since. When we decided to have a family the thought of moving out to the suburbs did cross our minds,  but we realised that we would miss out on the things we really loved about the city.  We can both walk to work and do not miss the stress of travel and traffic jams (and feel good about being environmentally friendly).  We love the close proximity to everything – supermarkets, cafes and restaurants and the Fish Market. Entertainment is never far away so we never get bored.  Pyrmont is such a welcoming and safe community. Raising Milla in an environment that felt safe was a priority.  And not to mention the  beautiful foreshore parks.

We also realised that the city was a perfect and convienient place to bring up a child.  Milla’s daycare is a short walk away as are swimming, dance and music classes. There are amazing clean playgrounds and large parks to run around. And valuable cultural experiences on our doorstep including museums, art galleries, concerts, festivals, and markets.

What has the City done that makes it easier/desirable for you to raise children in the city?

People think we are crazy bringing up a child in a small apartment – until when we explain to them that our backyard is a beautiful waterfront park with an amazing playground with a water feature. Also on our doorstep are amenities such as the Maritime Museum, Aquarium, and Wildlife Park etc.

It’s so easy to bring up a child in the city. There is always something to do. You don’t have to plan a big day out… you can just walk outside and find an experience. Milla is so lucky to have so many things to experience. I think if we lived outside of the city we wouldn’t experience nearly as many things as we do.

With fabulous dog friendly parks and apartment buildings the city has also made it really easy for us to have a family pet dog – Something that Milla just loves! We as a family definitely don’t feel that we are missing out on anything living in the city… if anything we think we are gaining by being spoilt with choice.

What improvements could be made to make it even easier/more desirable to raise a family in the city?

Now that Milla is coming of school age we have been a little concerned about the uncertainty of the local primary school. We want Milla to have a stable education, particularly in her first years, and the thought of the children being transported out of area to another school while the local school is possibly being rebuilt worries us. It would be great if there was a firm plan for a school that doesn’t disrupt the children’s education and can also accommodate the number of children of the area now and children in the future.

And here are a few images of our morning together down at Pirrama Park.

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Portrait of mum and daughter in Pyrmont

Portrait of little girl in PyrmontPortrait of toddler in PyrmontFamily portrait at Pirrama Park PyrmontToddler running in park in PyrmontPortrait of dad and little girl in Sydney

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 email me at allison@allisonlee.com.au

I’d love to hear from you!

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It was such an honour and privilege to begin this Kids in Sydney project by photographing Claudia and Matt Bowman with their three gorgeous children. Claudia and Matt, natives of Sydney, decided to settle in the heart of the City upon returning from their travels about ten years ago.  When they decided to start a family, it never occurred to them to move out from the vibrant neighbourhood of Potts Point.  They feel strongly that their kids are at a great benefit growing up within a stone’s throw of Kings Cross. “The dynamic city neighbourhood provides us with the most educational, stimulating, convenient, social environment for us to exist as a healthy, happy, balanced family unit whilst working and interacting with our environment and the people in it,” Claudia said the day we met for her family session.

We met on a sparkling Sydney Saturday at their new apartment in Rushcutter’s Bay.  The children have a stunning public front yard in which to run, play, laugh, and learn.  With tennis courts, a playground, and the harbor all at their feet, it is hard to argue that the space sacrificed by apartment living is really necessary to a healthy, happy childhood.  The children, 6, 5 and 3, were eager to show off their favourite trees for climbing, beach for dipping their toes in, and grassy green parks where they played chase and a bit of football while I snapped and looked on.

Claudia is also a legend when it comes to advocating for resources needed to raise kids in the City of Sydney. And Matt has supported her efforts every step of the way. Claudia has spent years encouraging the City to invest in needed infrastructure like upgraded parks and playgrounds, safer crossing areas, bubblers, and improved library space for kids.   “We are fortunate to have an accessible local government that has been most sympathetic to the changing demographic of our neighbourhood- there is no doubting that our neighbourhood has had to evolve to accommodate the change of behaviour of young families staying in the city rather than heading out to the suburbs,” said Claudia.

Claudia and Matt are active in the community professionally. A small business owner, Claudia is a cheesemonger and owner of McIntosh & Bowman, a cheese events company.  Matt is a dedicated high school teacher.

I asked Claudia what opportunities she and Matt felt their family had access to because they live in the City.  , Claudia was quick to rattle off at least a dozen benefits of city living.  At the top of her list was the ability to offer their children more opportunities to be stimulated and educated by tapping into the amazing comprehensive and free schedule of public events hosted by the City.  Events like Vivid, Art and About, the Night Noodle Markets and the Christmas Concerts give families who might have limited financial resources the ability to still offer incredible cultural opportunities to their children.

It was such a joy to photograph this amazing family in their beautiful city neighbourhood. Here are some images from our afternoon together.

Dad and daughters in Rushcutters BayPortrait of little girl climbing tree in SydneyMum and daughter portrait in SydneyPortrait of beautiful girl at beach20150912-DSC_1372-1Gorgeous sisters in Rushcutters BaySydney Family Photographer in Rushcutters BayTo follow along with this project please “like” my Facebook page

If you are interested in participating in this project, please email me at allison@allisonlee.com.au. I would love to hear from you!

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One of the joys of raising children is that they find wonder in the most unexpected places and things.  I love to photograph these moments. My kids are currently obsessed with dandelions and blowing those tiny seeds as far as they will go.  On our walk home from dropping his sister last week, my son spotted an incredible field of the little puff ball flowers.  This wasn’t a gorgeous field of wildflowers or a park.  This field was a patchy triangle of grass next to a very busy intersection – but safe enough to warrant an exploration.  With the noisy traffic whizzing by, we pulled the pram over and he lept out to pick dandelions.  I just happened to have my camera with me so while he was busy picking and blowing, I was busy snapping.  I don’t think we left any flowers unblown.  It was fun, spontaneous and beautiful really.   What are weeds to some were definitely treasures to my son.  We even took a dandelion home to see if we could grow them in our flower boxes.  I’ll keep you posted on that one!  All in all a worthy 20 minute detour on our trek home.  Below are a few images of our fun stop.

This post is part of my “4 on 4” series with a very talented group of photographers from around the world.  Please be sure to follow along and see what Shauna has been up to this month.Little boy in Pyrmont Child Photographer20150902-DSC_1139-120150902-DSC_1148-120150902-DSC_1155-1

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  • Denise

    Aw, I love how these images show his joy at finding these dandelions. I love the detail in the last image. I even enjoy blowing dandelions – there’s just something about it! :)ReplyCancel

  • I have the hardest time with dandelion shots! These are fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • I always loved dandelions when I was little….I still do. :) There’s something so magical about them.ReplyCancel

  • Oh how I love these images, particularly the last one! Nothing screams childhood like picking dandelions :)ReplyCancel

  • Shauna Hargis

    How cute! It is always fun to play with some dandelions. I especially like the last one.ReplyCancel

How often have you checked on your kids after they are asleep and taken a few minutes just to breathe in how peaceful, sweet and angelic they look in the midst of slumber?  No matter what kind of day it has been, I never cease to drink in those quiet few moments – amazed in how much love can be summoned by the sweet sight. Of course it became a mission to capture that moment so I could relive it whenever I felt overwhelmed or stressed by parenthood!

The first challenge was how to do it without waking them up! I was terrified of waking my child especially if bedtime had been a longer transition that I liked.  But done the right way at the right time they won’t even stir.  The second was having enough light to create an image worth keeping.  That took a bit of trial and error but eventually I sorted it out.  Here are five tips that address those two challenges plus a few more so you too can give it a try –

Tip #1 – Photograph them within the first 30 minutes of sleep
Children are sound sleepers but sometimes even the click of a shutter can wake them up. If I take my photographs right after they have fallen asleep, I am pretty much guarateed they will stay asleep.  I can shine a light, use my flash, and click my shutter to my heart’s content and they will keep on snoozing.

Tip #2 – Use an alternative light source
Cameras need light and in a dark room you’ll need to use some sort of light source to create a decent image.  It is best to use a portable source like a mobile phone, ipad, laptop or a torch.  You can capture a great image just using the light from any of these sources.  Just keep in mind that a small light source (like a phone or a torch) will create a small amount of light whereas a laptop screen will create a bigger softer pool of light.  Of these, my favourite is the ipad. I find that it is just the right weight and size to produce enough light to illuminate my kids faces at the right distance.  I like to use an app for creating the light called Softbox Pro which gives you a blank screen where you can control the brightness.  You can change the color temperature (or the color of the light) as well but more often than not I stick with white.  Alternatively, you can control the brightness of your screen through the settings on your device.  The benefit of the Softbox app is that the screen is blank and you don’t have to worry about it going to sleep or changing color.

Tip #3 – Expose for the features you want to capture
Using an alternative light source won’t give you enough light to capture all of your child in beautiful light.  You’ll need to choose whether you want to capture your child’s sweet face, piggy toes, messy hair etc.  If you shoot in manual, then expose (meter) for the feature you want to capture.  The rest of the scene will drop quickly off into shadow. Most of my night sleeping photos start with settings around ISO 5000  f/2 SS 1/100.  Just plug those in and give it a go! If you don’t shoot in manual or use a point and shoot, most cameras will still let you “spot meter” so that you tell your camera what part of scene you want to be in the best light.  Even my Samsung Galaxy phone has this feature so just consult your manual.  You don’t want to use the flash on your camera or you’ll get that “flashy” look so be sure to turn that off.

Tip #4 – Try a few different angles
This can get a little tricky and take a bit of acrobatics, but try balancing your light source in a few different places to get the right angle and perspective.  You might grab your spouse or partner to be the light source holder.  Chances are they will think you are a little nuts until they see the results.  Try placing the light source above your child, to the right or even at their feet.  Just make sure that it is out of your picture frame.

Tip #5 – Photograph naps as well
While nighttime images are unique and fun to capture, don’t forget those sweet sleeping moments of naptime.  The same tips apply except if the room is bright you won’t need an alternative light source.  During the day, my favourite tip is #4 as you can be creative as your little one slumbers.

For inspiration, here are some of my personal favourites. Hope these tips were helpful. Happy snapping!

Sleeping girl with Jessie Doll Child Portraitsleeping child with Elmo child portraitsleeping child with bear child portraitsleeping child with face paint child portrait20130706-DSC_0223-1sleeping child with dog child portrait sydney

To receive more photography tips please follow me at www.facebook.com/AllisonLeePhotography
Contact me for more information or to book a session

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