I am sure many of you have had the shaving cream method of dyeing Easter eggs pop up in your newsfeed this week.  As a child photographer it looked like a great activity to capture while the kids had a bit of fun. It has been raining all day trapping us inside, so the kids were clambering to do something different.

First thing you should know (if you don’t live in Australia) is that Australian chickens lay brown eggs.  You can find white eggs at Easter at some specialty shops but I haven’t sought them out.  The brown eggs do not take up color like the white ones, but they do look a bit more like Autumn and Easter is an Autumn holiday here.   I had read that this way of dyeing eggs was a bit less messy than cups filled with coloured liquid that could tip over in a second.  Knowing my two munchkins and their propensity for mess,  I was skeptical.  I dressed them in old clothes anyway and we set up a table outside on the balcony.  And I am sure glad I did.  The kids had such fun colouring the shaving cream, mixing it, rolling the eggs, and slathering it everywhere they could reach!  I literally had to cut their clothes off when they were done.  Our eggs didn’t turn out as beautiful as the ones I had seen, but the kids loved them and were very proud.  Plus they smell great and are super smooth – thanks to the shaving cream.  I might just hunt down white eggs next year but for now, this little activity/photography shoot was a big success!  Happy Easter!

Children dyeing easter eggsChildren dyeing easter eggsChildren dyeing easter eggsChildren dyeing easter eggsChildren dyeing easter eggsChildren dyeing easter eggsChildren dyeing easter eggs20150403-DSC_6080-1Children dyeing easter eggsChildren dyeing easter eggsChildren dyeing easter eggs

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Here we are in Week 6.   There are lots of things I love about doing a 365 Project but probably my favourite is just documenting our everyday life. Whether I look at these photos in a month, a year or 10 years, I will be able to recall what our days were like in 2015 – what my children loved, how they acted, how they looked and how much I loved this time.  Week 7 wasn’t anything special – no big events, holidays, adventures or milestones.  Just normal life.  And I am thankful for that.  These photos are my way of saying thanks for the ordinary miraculous days we get to live with those we love.  Sometimes ordinary is just what we need.

37/365  The Turtle
35mm ISO 400  f/1.8  1/3200Boy dressed as Ninja Turtle

39/365  Kung Fu Panda
35mm  ISO 1000 f/1.8  1/200Boy watch Kung Fu panda

40/365 Sweet Feet
35mm ISO 1000 f/1.4 1/320Boy napping on sofa

41/365  Ribbons in Her Hair
85mm ISO 2500 f/2.2 1/100Girl with hair ribbons

42/365  I Heart Shopkins
85mm ISO 2500 f/2.2 1/250Shopkins

43/365 Shower
35mm ISO 2000 f/2.2 1/125Two year old boy

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Into Week 5 we went and we saw January fade into February.  We all survived the first week of big school – but our family found ourselves EXHAUSTED by Saturday.  It was so nice to see the kids so happy to play together on Saturday morning.  This week my son also started his first class independent of his sister.  It was a little touch and go at first as he was used to having her by his side.  But by the second half he was all smiles.  Mostly we entertained ourselves until it was time for school to be out.  I am sure we will find our stride together as the weeks go on and we settle into a new routine.  This week I also tried a little experiment in intentionally out of focus images which you can read about in full here.  The week wrapped up with a little playtime in front of the camera – something I am guilty of not doing enough.  On to Week 6!

29/365  The Storyboard
50mm ISO 2000  f/2.8  1/200Storyboard of family session

30/365  Sports Class
50mm  ISO 500 f/4.5  1/1000Sports Class for 2 year old

31/365 Saturday Morning
50mm ISO 1250 f/2.8 1/200Saturday morning

32/365  Dancing
50mm ISO 400 f/2.2 1/4000Dancing girl in Pyrmont

33/365  Home
50mm ISO 6400 f/1.8 1/200

Home in Pyrmont

34/365 Missing Her
50mm ISO 1600 f/1.8 1/640Sad little boy in black and white

35/365  Self Timer Kisses
ISO 1000 f/3.5  1/320

Mum and toddler cuddling at home

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One of my goals this year was to take more photos with me in the frame.  Like many mums, I am the family photographer which means 99% of the time I am behind the camera.  A few weeks ago, we had a sunny afternoon and everyone was present and accounted for – including the grandparents.  I decided it was time to try for a family portrait.  We took the photo in the garden of my mother-in-law’s building.  I put the sun behind everyone so no one would be squinting and set up my camera on the stairs that went down into the rock garden.  I used the interval timer on my camera which means I told my camera to take a photo every 2 seconds for 1 minute.  That gave me time to run back into the photo once I pushed the button and gave me a little wiggle room in case someone sneezed!  And here is the result. Easy peasy! For 5 tips on taking your own family self portrait read on….

How to take your own family selfie

While I do have a camera with lots of bells and whistles – you really only need one with a self-timer.  Almost all digital cameras have one these days – even point and shoot entry level ones. For the technical “how to” on using your self-timer, just check your manual.  Most cameras will let you set a delay (meaning you will have a few seconds to run back to your spot before the camera takes the picture.)  If your camera has a setting where it will take multiple photos after you push the button that is the one to use.  Let the camera take as many as it will so you have lots of shots to choose from.  You can also consider buying a remote like the one here that will let you control the shutter from your spot in the portrait.

As for setting up a beautiful portrait, here are my five tips:

1. Consider the Light:  Light is the cornerstone of photography – even if you are shooting on auto with a point and shoot camera.  So before you drag everyone outside, take a moment to consider the light.  While the above photo was shot in bright sun, the easiest light to work with is open shade – and by that I mean having your family stand in the shade but facing open sky.  One great possibility is your front porch or the steps to your house.  Time your portrait so the sun is not shining directly on the front of the house or you will have no shade ( and everyone will be squinting!).  There is probably a point in the day where the sun is above your house or slightly behind it so that the overhang creates some shade on the porch or balcony.  That is your time to take the photo.  Here is an example of a portrait done on the front balcony of a family home.   There is lots of light coming from the sky but the family is in the shade under the overhang. Because the steps were quite steep, the camera was positioned at the other end of the balcony.  While I took this photo, this setup would work great for a family selfie portrait.Familyselfie

2. Background:  For the shot above, the screen door is open behind the family creating a dark backdrop.  I could have closed it, but seeing as they were all blondes, I was afraid their hair would blend into the light brown wall.  It also provided a nice clean backdrop.  Keep in mind clutter or a background that is too busy.  In the photo above, I decided to crop out the stairs and the greenery as I really didn’t add anything – resulting in the version on the left.  You can always use a simple editing program to crop out areas you don’t like after the fact.

3. Clothes: Clothing choices can make or break a photo.  While I don’t recommend matching, I do advise my clients to try and blend together.  I usually ask them to think of interior design and pick clothes where the colours look nice and inviting when placed next to each other.  These clients did a great job!

4. Posing:  Sit if that is most comfortable or stand and hold small children.  It will be easiest if the one that is pushing the button to set the timer has easy access to his or her spot so try not to be the one holding a small child as you will have to run back to your spot once you push that button.

5. Connection:  With my own family self portrait, I wanted a portrait where everyone was looking at the camera as that is what the grandparents wanted.  However, I love it when families are just enjoying each other.  So don’t get hung up on having everyone say “cheese”.  Tickle the kids, give them a kiss, look at your partner.  Let the camera snap away.  Those are the memories you will cherish!

I hope these are helpful and would love to see your results.  Post them on my Facebook page if you are willing to share!

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It was one of those Sydney mornings where the weather could go either way.  There were blue skies in one direction, rain clouds in another.  We had all been looking forward to updating the family photos since I had last taken their photos right before little sister made an appearance.  On Saturday, we had planned photos at home in the garden and then a stroll down to the Glebe foreshore for a casual shoot by the water.  But by the time I arrived at their gorgeous new terrace in Glebe, the rain had set in.  Since everyone was dressed we altered our plan and used the front balcony as our backdrop huddling under the overhang to shield us from the rain. Wrangling two boys and a one year old to stay dry and in one place is no easy task.  But these fun spirited parents employed tickling and funny faces which did the trick! The result was relaxed family shots that capture genuine emotion, love and connection.  Once the rain let up, the kids took the lead playing in the rock garden and teaching little sister that rocks and flowers weren’t for eating!  When little sister had enough she made a quick escape out the front gate where she found the sunshine and more fallen flowers.  We ended the session with some lovely backlit shots on the footpath with cuddles all around.  Our Glebe foreshore portion of the session will happen in a few weeks pending good weather.  I can’t hardly wait!

Gorgeous family of five in GlebeMum, Dada and Bub on front porch in GlebeGorgeous mum and red haired baby girlOne year old baby girl crawlingGorgeous family of five playingRed haired baby girl in GlebeSiblings playing on footpathMum and Dad watching baby girl play with flowersRed haired bub with dad

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