Photography: Grab your loved one by the hand

One of the wonderful parts about the development of mobile phones into smart phones has been the camera. We no longer have to lug around heavy cameras to take candid happy snaps of our friends and family. We’ve all been recording impromptu moments of fun and learning along the way, naturally, what works with photography.

But if you’re like me, in the process, you’ve gotten so many pictures, that you don’t print them out anymore, and they sit on your computer’s hard drive. I also don’t have any nice pictures of myself with the kids- you know, “keeper” photos.

Impromptu attempt. however, one child wouldn't get in the photo with Santa- you can see him behind me in the blue striped shirt

Impromptu attempt. however, one child wouldn’t get in the photo with Santa

Recently, I have been approached by a number of friends to take candid family photos for them. I’m always hesitant when the word “family portraits” are used because I have heard so many stories of husbands and wives investing fortunes in family photography only to have one spending more that was agreed, and the other feeling ripped off. When people look at the “package deal” photos on the wall, they no longer see the smiles, they see dollar bills in flames. Which is probably why I like photographing trees…


So I have set about testing the water, and have used the opposite approach to many. My approach has been to create a situation which involves the maximum fun and laughs and the minimum stress. I’m not about styled picture perfect Pinterest portrait shoots. I let the kids run wild, and make the parents hold hands and kiss. It’s amazing how many couples have not held hands for a long time.

I'm a bit nervous about this kissing thing!

I’m a bit nervous about this kissing thing!

And as for kissing in front of the kids… I make a song and dance about it, and do shots where the kids pretend they are not looking and then make them look. Those photos are never going to be the ones that they put on the wall and frame, but guess what. The after effect is amazing. Ask a couple to hold hands for five minutes and make them kiss and the world changes. Literally.

Kids might squeal but deep down it gives them immense comfort and satisfaction.

Kids might squeal but deep down it gives them immense comfort and satisfaction.

We get so caught up in the world of making a life, and doing all the things we need to do that we forget about the things that mean a lot and make real memories. Not just photographic memories, I’m talking about impressions on our mind that will make us smile when we are 75.

It's the moments when you're not posing, that mean the most.

It’s the moment’s when you’re not posing, that mean the most.

Here’s some behind the scenes videos of a couple of recent photo shoots. I think they are best summed up by the gentleman who said to his wife “wow, that was a real feel good moment right there”. Yep, heart swollen.

You want me to what?

You want me to what?

Grab your loved one by the hand.

For further information about portraiture contact me at or on 0411 040 688. Limited spots left before Christmas.

Photographing the essence of a kindred spirit


Meet Chantal

You never know when you’re going to meet a kindred spirit. For me, it was at school pick up. My son started prep last year, with a little girl named Sophie, and I have had the pleasure of getting to know her mother Chantal. Chantal is inspired to help people live their lives authentically, with passion and in a way that helps them glow inside out, from healthy thoughts and food.

Recently I was excited and honoured to take photographs for a magazine article that Chantal was writing, and Chantal chose one of my favourite places in Brisbane to be photographed- the Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens- Japanese garden. We started our shoot with a Japanese tea party and centred ourselves so that we could capture both the beauty of the location, and the relaxed and spiritual nature of Chantal. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as we did taking them- here are a selection of my favourites.


Chantal has kindly provided some delicious recipes which she has created- you can purchase the doTERRA oils through her website.

Chantal Roeloefs

Rosemary, Toasted Pepita and Spelt Breadsticks :

Makes about 60 sticks
– 5 Tblsp of pumpkin seeds (or pepitas)
– 4 Tblsp of olive oil
– 750 gm of spelt flour (and a little extra for kneeding the dough, shaping up the breadsticks)
– 2Tblsp of dried yeast
– 1 young tender stalk of rosemary leaves, very very finely chopped
– 5 drops of dōTERRA Rosemary Oil
– approximately 350ml of warm tepid water (enough to get the dough to the right texture)
– small dish of olive oil with some sea salt to brush the sticks before you put them in the oven.

Lets get cooking :
Dry fry the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over a low to medium heat for about 2 minutes, tossing regularly, until lightly browned or toasted. Grind the seeds with a Tbsp of olive oil, into a smooth paste with a mortar and pestle (or grinder).
Sift flour into a bowl, add the seed paste, yeast, rosemary, rosemary oil, and then mix in enough water to form a soft but not too sticky dough. Knead vigorously on a well floured surface, then cut the dough into 30 pieces (I cut the ball of dough into 2 – then those 2 into 4 – then those four into 4 – then 4 again, and again…till they are the size to make a decent breadstick). Roll each piece of dough into a 15-20 cm long rope.

Lay the dough sticks on 2 large, oiled baking trays (or baking paper), spacing them slightly apart. Brush lightly with the remaining olive oil, and cover loosely with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place for about 20 mins, or until they have risen a bit. Remove the tea towel or plastic wrap (and honestly most times i don’t bother about this rising process…. they work out great.)

Bake breadsticks in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees celcius, for 10 -15 minutes. The sticks should be a little golden brown at the edges.
Put a few breadsticks in an airtight container and use within 24 hours. Pack the rest into a freezer bag, or plastic container, and seal and freeze for up to 6 weeks. Take out a few at a time as required. They don’t take much time to thaw. Great for picnics and lunch boxes !

 Smashed Avocado with Lemon Oil :

1 x avocado
4 drops of dōTERRA lemon oil
celtic or himalayan salt
black pepper
(1 drop of dōTERRA black pepper oil – optional)
Halve the avocado, and spoon the flesh into a bowl, and smash it with a fork. Add 4 (or a few more if you want it very lemony) drops of dōTERRA lemon oil, a good pinch of salt, and a good grinding of pepper to the avocado and mix through.

Top some sour-dough toast (I used a spelt sour-dough) for a yummy breakfast or snack.

Other optional toppings on top of lemony avocado toast:
– Goats Cheese
– Tomato and finely sliced basil (try with dōTERRA basil oil)
– Soft Poached Egg with shaved/ grated parmesan

: Thai Noodle Dressing ::

3 x Tblsp Fish Sauce
3 x Tblsp fresh lime juice
150 ml coconut cream
2.5 Tblsp palm sugar – grated, or cut into really small pieces – ready to dissolve into dressing
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
1 Tblsp finely grated ginger
handful of mint leaves
handful of coriander leaves
1-2 drops of dōTERRA ginger oil
2 drops of dōTERRA lime oil
1 drop of dōTERRA lemongrass oil
(finely cut chilli – optional – to taste)

Put oil dressing ingredients in a bowl, and whisk until the palm sugar dissolves, and the ingredients are infused with each other.

Use this dressing over 150 grams of softened mung bean vermicelli noodles (softened in boiled water for about 5 minutes – then drained of water), and toss through about 12 cooked prawns.

If you enjoyed these recipes, subscribers to Chantal’s website receive a complimentary cook book!

If I can be of assistance with helping you update your profile picture for your professional or personal social media accounts, please don’t hesitate to contact me at




Portraiture with a twist of fashion



Recently I had the privilege of attending a portraiture workshop with my favourite photographer Carla Coulson. Carla is an Aussie who traded in the corporate life in Sydney, moved to Italy, learnt to take photos, and now lives with her husband in Paris. She is famous for not only her travel photography but also her portraiture, which has a twist of fashion.

RubyCotton2reduced size

The four day “Picture This” workshop was every photographer’s dream. Stunning locations, access to the best make-up and hair artists, and stylists and down to earth, but incredibly good looking “everyday” people who posed for us and pretended to be models. Everything was thought of, and organised for us. The food served each day was delicious and nutritious, and we had access to a small team of Carla’s trusted photography assistants to show us the ropes.


Having spent a week prior taking landscapes, my brain took a little to adjust to the different mindset.  Carla’s approach is to utilise natural light in all situations. There were no flashes, no tripods and no studio set ups. I can’t begin to explain how much I learnt about my camera and myself during this workshop.


For further information about Carla Coulson visit her website.



All photos taken by Katische Haberfield. Click on any image to enlarge.