Our Darling & Us [Family Portraits]

Gosh I love meeting new families.  There is something so delightful about the journey of life – welcoming little people and savouring how they add to your world as they grow!  It’s a joy to meet people for the first time and so quickly be able to see into their world and capture something they can enjoy forever.  For all the hard work it can be as a parent, nothing can match the joy of a giggle or sparkle in their eyes when you are together xx This cute little family are friends of one of my lovely long term clients and we had a wonderful morning together! Sweet bliss xx

The Darlings #01

As any creative knows, when your business is birthed from an original hobby, it’s important to keep your passion fresh. Thankfully, the majority of my work is in line with my love of family, fun and creativity so I don’t have to reignite it often. But every now and then I get an idea and if I can’t incorporate it into one of my client’s sessions,  it sits with me until I bring it to pass.  This project “The Darlings” is one of those ideas.. it’s all about the beauty of friendships, a big bunch of girls, fun things they love, pretty hair and dresses, and sunlight in the garden to backdrop it all. My limitations for the sessions were one location per session, only 30-60 minutes to shoot group shots and a portrait each with a limited number of props and inclusions.  They say you’re crazy to work with kids and animals, but I think it’s one of the best combos out there! Each of the girls involved will receive a beautiful portrait of their own to keep forever. I’m thinking I’ll do more of these in the future, we had such a blast together. I met over 50 gorgeous girls in three different sessions and each one was as beautiful as the next!  Over the next three days I’ll showcase each session. This is the first.  Enjoy! x

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Let’s explore! [family photography]

It’s been a little drizzly in South East Qld this week (poor long weekend campers!) but hopefully the next few days will bring more weather like the skies at this gorgeous session from a few weeks ago.  There is something quite magical about being by the sea.  My own little family has a favourite past-time of heading to the nearest river, seaside or ocean to relax and explore. No goal in mind but to walk,  talk, breath the fresh air and see what gems of nature we find.  From toddlers to teens (and the parents too) it’s nice to get away from the hustle and bustle, leave the technology in the car and get your toes a little dirty. The outdoors have a wonderful way of soothing the tiredest and grumpiest of hearts. Hope you have an amazing weekend!  Maddie xx

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Beach fun! [family photography]

Family portraits are fascinating. If you never have them done, you’ll probably never know what you are missing. You might see other peoples photos and think they are nice but that it’s probably not for you. And that’s okay, cause you’ll never know. You see, they are something that become valuable only AFTER they’ve been taken. And that’s a privilege I don’t take for granted (and that makes my work so fun!).  It’s like I’m treasure hunting on behalf of you. To capture what you don’t see when you’re just hanging out together. I’ve had many families tell me how much they adore their images and how they love to see them around their home in the midst of a busy life. And when I think about it, I guess that’s my main goal at all family sessions – to create images that sooth your soul, that take you back to that happy place that is your family at it’s best. I love it!  Today’s feature is a sweet crew who were visiting the Gold Coast from Tasmania this month on their annual holiday (mum is also the talented creator of Mooi Handmade).  We began our session with a little walk and scooter ride followed by sandcastles and fun at the beach. Coastal bliss at it’s best. Enjoy!

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Family traditions [brisbane family photography]

Here is a collection from a recent family adventure in the park – cool weather perfection! I love this time of year x
Recently, some family session planning with clients had me thinking about the importance of traditions – how they don’t have to be fancy – and how you generally need to book them in CONSCIOUSLY to make them happen!  They are the magical glue that hold you together and creates a sense of belonging… no matter how small or large your family is. So I thought I’d share some easy and relatively free ways to have fun with your children over and over (some of which I do with my sweet crew!). Let me know your traditions if you have one? Or if not – invent one (or steal one from below) and go have fun with your little people.. make magic!  xxx Maddie
Catch the train into the museum or art gallery every turn of spring > read books in the sunshine every saturday morning > have a sandcastle competition on New Years Day > hide 50 fun notes/encouragements around the house to find over the summer months > climb onto the roof and star gaze the night before each other’s birthday > have Friday night pizza night and say one great thing that happened this week for every piece you eat > keep lego only for the holidays and create mass villages and constructions > have the parents tell a ‘when I was a kid…’ adventure story over breakfast each Sunday morning > play board games on thursday nights and make home made popcorn with crazy flavours > say good morning the first time you see each other and kiss each others forehead > take a simple camping trip every year in spring to a favourite location > have toasted sandwiches and a movie every sunday afternoon > have mexican monday every week > sing in the car on the way to nanna’s  > talk about your day in accents while you wash the dishes…the list goes on, be creative!  🙂
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our happy places [brisbane family photography]

The thing that I love most about lifestyle family portraits, is that there are no rules. You can make your session as simple or creative as you like. You get to wear the things you love (whether thats jeans & T’s or something quirky or extravagant). You can have your session in a place you adore (perhaps that’s your wonderful home or maybe somewhere that you’ve been hoping to visit together for months). You get to do the things you love to do together (from pancakes at your kitchen bench for breaky, to visiting the organic markets, to an adventure at a sideshow alley). YOU get to choose. And you get to have a great time as a little family where the focus is only on having a fun together. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a mum and daughter, or parents with a wild big brood of kids, whatever your story is, that’s what I want to discover. It’s about you, being you.

This sweet family desired to have their saturday morning family tradition captured.  When they are all up and dressed, they head off for a walk together to their local reserve. They explore and have fun. They watch the ducks swim and find cool sticks and rocks to play games with. They laugh and giggle together. Then they finish their stroll with babycinos and coffees at their favourite local cafe.  It’s sweet, pure fun at it’s simplist.  It’s a story that is theirs, memories that will remind these parents of the time when their little ones were young. And as the years pass, they can share these beautiful moments with their children – showing them the very beginnings of their family traditions.  It’s family.  It’s good fun.  I love it x Maddie

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Amy & Walter, 74 years of marriage [brisbane]

As many of you know, my quest to find Brisbane’s longest married couple was a personal project I embarked upon in January. It’s a project that I have been meaning to do for a number of years but kept putting off because I was ‘too busy’. Well, 2013 is the year where I want to stop putting off some of the non-urgent things in life, so this was one of the first on my list.  When I put out the word that I was searching, I didn’t know who would respond and what kind of years I would be finding. My husband’s grandparents in NSW have been married for 66 years, which is an amazing achievement, and I thought perhaps there might be a couple who had beaten that.
I had quite a number of sweet couples in their 50th and 60th years and then when I received an email from one couple’s grand-daughter I realised that my dream had come true to surpass 66.  And by quite a long shot I might add!  Walter and Amy have been married for 74 years. Yes, married for 74 years!  And they themselves are 96 and 97 years of age. It was such a pleasure to meet them! As I sat with them for a cup of tea, you wouldn’t have known their ages. They were a spritely pair and I had a wonderful time with them, hearing their story and laughing with them.  Most of us could only wish to be that switched on and joyful at such an age!  As I talked with them I realised that perhaps that is what has kept them going so long. The laughter. People say joy is the best medicine and I can certainly tell you that they both enjoyed chatting and sharing their story. Amy was the talker and Walter was much quieter but would occasionally share a funny story or a cheeky grin which I loved.
They had met each other in the 1930’s. Amy was heading to an Ambulance Picnic (seaside festival) with a few friends, one of whom was Walter’s sister. As the girls approached the group of young men, Walter poked his head out from under a truck he was working on to say hello. Amy says she immediately thought “Ooh, that looks nice!’ as she looked at Walter (her words exactly!).  And so she persued Walter and he ‘let her walk around on his arm”. Their first date was a trip to the movies at the Regent Centre in Brisbane. She thought Walter was very good looking and organised everything for them to court.  When they got married in 1939 they began life with just two shillings and themselves. They spoke a lot about starting with nothing but themselves and then building a life around that.  Perhaps there is a secret in that, when we love each other and choose to be together for nothing but ourselves (not wealth, or status or any material thing) a bond can be formed at the deepest level.  And then everything else becomes a bonus.
Their greatest achievement they say, is in staying together.  It was a proud moment when they received a letter from Queen Elizabeth congratulating them on their 70th anniversary (Walter is keen to receive his 100th birthday card in a few years too!). They worked hard to create a good life and home for their three children. And family life has been their greatest joy too. Amy remembers the arrival of her firstborn like it was yesterday.  It was so amazing to see the excitement in her eyes when she told me what it was like to hold her baby girl in her arms for the first time, she recalled it as if it were yesterday.  And it was interesting to hear her refer to her youngest boy too – “he is my baby, I still call him that, even though he is 68!”
Care seems to be a big key for these two. Care for each other, care for their family, care for their home. Walter cares for Amy. Every morning he cooks her breakfast and cares in practical ways. Amy cares for Walter.  She dotes on him and calls him “Love”.  When asked what they would say to someone young in marriage and family they said “You have to take the good with the bad. You have to try hard at marriage”.  They’ve realised that anything worth having is worth investing in. They’ve made a point never to go to sleep on an argument or let things fester.  Amy says “don’t be selfish” in your marriage. Walter says “don’t give up” when things get tough.
It’s amazing the thought that if two people put each other ahead of themselves and believe in the bond of marriage, something wonderful can happen.  Enjoy a little peek at this sweet couple. I am so pleased to have met them, I only wished I could have stayed longer!  xx  Maddie

 

merry christmas & a little giveaway

Just a quick but meaningful note to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and all the best for the beginning of the New Year! 2012 has been an amazing (and full!) year for me and as I begin my focus primarily on portraits, I am very excited to start a year of even more wonderful people stories. A special and beautiful thank you to all of my portrait, wedding and commercial clients from this year, it has been TRULY delightful to meet each and every one of you. I feel honored that you let me into the most precious moments of your lives and allowed me to capture your story xx  so thank you xx

Also, in the spirit of giving, I would like to offer a giveaway!  I cherish the fact that my photography surrounds me with some of the most beautiful times in life and I know that for many others this isn’t the case. Be in their work industry or just the hard seasons of life.  So for this reason I would love to give away one session as a sweet etta photography gift, to pass on the love. The session can be any type – pregnancy, newborn, baby, child, family, couple, fashion portfolio or individual.  It will include a 30-60 minute session in North Brisbane during January, an online private gallery of 20 images, two linen print display sets and a disc of your ten favourite digital images (valued over $500).  To enter the draw, please leave a sweet comment of any sort below and make sure you include your first name and email (only your first name and comment will show below).  I will draw a winner by RANDOM selection from comments at 12pm on Christmas Eve (noon) and then email the lucky person/people to let them know.  All the best to you and I hope this will bring a little piece of joy to someone’s world who truly needs it xx

As I close off for 2012, I send much love to all and also ask that you too do something kind for a stranger this Christmas – just for the sake of old fashioned goodness!  Pay for a strangers fuel. Cook your neighbour a meal.  Tell someone in customer service what a great job they are doing. Let a car into your lane even if it means you’ll miss the lights.  It keeps your heart rather happy and you never know whose world you may change.  So for now farewell,  I will be returning to work on January 7th and will respond to all emails in date order on my return.  See you in 2013!  x  Maddie

people stories [brisbane party photography]

You may have heard through the grapevine,  that I won’t be taking any new wedding bookings. Yes it’s true. It was a big decision for me (and sad too – I adore weddings!) but I felt that to go to the next level of growth it was time I needed to choose to either shoot only-weddings or let them go. As much as I want to be able to do it all (and have a young family!) it was time to refocus. So after some deliberation, I have decided to opt out of shooting weddings stories. Sad, but a good choice for my work life balance for 2013. And thankfully, many of the lovely brisbane couples getting married, will also have babies, parties and creative business ventures, so I may be able to meet them anyway!
I still have more weddings to shoot this year which I am very excited about – so you’ll definitely see some of those on the blog soon! But that aside, those who know me well, know that I adore celebrations. So to satisfy my love of a good party, I now have a special package for personal party photography – to capture the story of an event – the atmosphere, the details, the fun (from $400).  With all the amazing party ideas on the web these days, more and more people are creating wonderful, unique events and the details and fun times there also deserve to be remembered!  So if you’re throwing a party sometime soon – I’d love an invitation to capture the fun! Here is a few shots from a recent first birthday party – good times and one very creative mummy!  Have a great weekend! Maddie