We’re getting spoilt with these Autumn days at the moment and a few weeks ago when I met with Lauren, Rick, Mikayla and Owen for their annual family photoshoot it was a balmy afternoon with moody clouds hanging over the escarpment. During beach sessions I love to get the kids to get their feet wet, little waves splashing on their shins always brings out some pretty joyful moments to capture and Mikayla and Owen definitely found joy that day on the shore… only they didn’t stop at their shins. Owen was pretty keen to show off his swimming skills and by the end of the session had done a few laps in his clothes while Mikayla happily danced and splashed in waist high water. Enjoy a glimpse into our afternoon of fun below.
Each year in late January or early February my family heads to Japan for our annual snow trip. We stay a few days in Tokyo, before spending a few weeks in Nozawa Onsen, a cultural little village with epic snow and traditional onsen bath houses scattered throughout the town.
In the lead up to my trip this year I put a call out for a family living in Tokyo who would be happy to let me into their home and see how they do life, in a city that I love. I had an amazing response to my call out, with so many lovely and interesting families getting in touch to show interest in participating in this family documentary style session that I had in mind. After finally narrowing it down, on a Saturday morning in early February, I headed to the charming village of Shimokitazawa, where I hung out with Natalie and Bede and their two adorable kids Aria and Coby.
It’s hard to believe Shimokitazawa, which has a bit of a bohemian feel to it as you walk by the vintage thrift stores, cute cafes and even a nursery, is just two stops on the train line from the hustle and bustle and neon filled streets of Shinjuku and Shibuya.
When I arrived at 9am the streets were empty and I strolled up the hill of a narrow laneway, passing by cute little houses and lots of dog owners on their morning walks. There were stray piles of snow on the sides of the footpath from the snowfall that hit Tokyo a few days before I’d arrived.
Originally from Australia, Natalie, Bede, Aria and Coby have been living in Tokyo for the past 18 months while Bede is on a transfer with his work. I was fascinated to hear the tales of daily life, from the morning office exercise routines at the office Bede works in, to Natalie’s daily juggle of university study and getting about life in a foreign city with the most intimidating train network I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Within moments of me entering the apartment Aria was quick to get down to business. After introducing her tribe of dolls, we set about photographing them before we had to take a break so Aria could get her hair done. With the morning routines out the way the morning flowed on. Aria pulled out her dance moves while Coby showed me his favourite books. There was bed bouncing, and acrobatic stacks on led by Bede, before we piled on the coats and boots to head out to the local park which happens to be in the grounds of a beautiful Shrine. As you scroll through the photos from the session check out Natalie’s amazing bike. These electric assisted bikes are everywhere in Tokyo, and this is how Natalie gets the kids to their daycare and does the shopping whether it’s sunshine or snow. I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story of how this lovely family of four do life Tokyo style.
A big thank you to Natalie, Bede, Aria and Coby for making me feel so welcome in their home, letting me and my camera follow them around for a morning and showing me around their beautiful village.
The final few months of 2017 was a wonderful busy time of family sessions, all making the most of the perfect warm weather and getting photos in time for Christmas.
This family session was a very special one for two reasons. Firstly, Kylie and Fons are dear friends and secondly their children aren’t my usual clients. They get around in beautiful fur coats and have impeccable behaviour when bribed with liver treats.
I first met Kylie at the local dog park when her love for pony sized dogs became apparent as she ogled my huge Wolfhound from the other side of the grassy headland. We introduced ourselves, she patted Fergus (my pony sized dog), she offered to walk Fergus when we couldn’t and began taking him on adventures around town, Ferg riding in the back of her FJ cruiser, his big wirey haired head resting on her shoulder, hot breath fogging up the windows. This turned out to be the beginning of a lovely friendship, for both Fergus and myself and my family. So scroll below and enjoy this lifestyle session of Kylie, Fons, Tilda (black fur with the striking eyelashes) and Capo (the handsome brunette).
It was a Sunday afternoon in late August, and an amazing sea mist was rolling in over Port Kembla, the setting sun casting dreamy light on the deserted beach. The landscape only made better by this perfect pair... meet Lauren and Rick.
Meet Orlanda, Travis and Cooper. In a cute little apartment overlooking Narrabeen Beach, I photographed this trio as they slipped into life as a family of three. Just five weeks into parenthood Orlanda and Travis had it all under control, and the most beautiful part was the obvious love in this house. The quiet moments Orlanda and Travis shared while I was photographing Cooper alone, the way Travis looked at Orlanda as she nursed their son… it was just, simply beautiful!
On a sunny winter afternoon at Bundeena in the beautiful Royal National Park in Sydney, I spent some time hanging out with this awesome trio. The brief was to get some natural candid moments of this beautiful family doing their thing, and that we did!
Just three days before they set off on their return journey to their home in the United States, I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon at Werri with this gorgeous Mumma and son duo. Meet Jennifer and Toren. Here is a snippet from our adventures that afternoon on the hill.
When I first received an email from Kate enquiring about a session for her family she mentioned she had four kids and they were kind of a wild bunch… I was a little excited to say the least. Wild sounded like fun and they certainly didn’t disappoint! We met up on Easter Saturday at the Gerroa headland and what a great family I had the pleasure of documenting that day, the bond these guys share is remarkable. Meet Kate and Maauga and their four sweet (and incredibly cute) kids Liana, Noelle, Merelei and Ieremaia.
One perfect Autumn afternoon I met up with this gorgeous Mumma and her two beautiful children. Meet Lauren, Mikayla and Owen. We spent the afternoon at Audley Weir in the Royal National Park, which is such a spectacular backdrop for a photo session with the bonus of being an amazing natural playground for Owen and Mikayla’s adventures.
There is everything to love about in home lifestyle sessions and the Cleary family embraced all of it! From the moment I knocked on the door and was greeted by a very excited Eva, to seconds later when Ivor discovered his fascination with my lens and threw a delighted smile my way. Inhibitions were brushed aside, and everyone slipped into their role of being in front of the camera with ease. Eva dived straight into taking me on a tour of the house, side tracking to proudly show me her favourite toys, her bed and how ace she is at jumping on it, and then finished up the tour by pulling out her Fisher Price camera and getting a few shots of her own. I think I might have a future second shooter for the ruby & ted team in Eva.
We played for a while, read some books, refuelled on choccie and finished up the morning with an all-in music and dance session.
This is one of my longer blog posts but it’s worth the scroll. Happy viewing! And thanks for inviting me into your home Eugene, Gemma, Eva, Ivor and Chief!
He’s cute, cheeky and lucky for me he loves the camera! Take a peek into our fun afternoon at the beach with this energetic three year old and his parents. Meet the Packers…
One fine Sunday afternoon I headed down to Gerroa to capture this gorgeous family. With Seven Mile Beach as our playground and an awesome sunset closing over the mountains, well it was a little bit perfect really!
Meet sweet little Maggie and her doting parents Tracy and Andrew. I had a wonderful morning photographing this cute family!
It was a perfect afternoon spent with this soon to be married couple at their Southern Highlands property. The brief was to capture this lovely pair with their abundant family of fur children and that we did!
Meet Tess and Jeff and their adorable entourage Pepper the horse; Callie, Piper, Mia and Shadow their playful pups.
At the end of February I had the opportunity to spend a weekend in the Southern Tablelands on a beautiful property, with it's own little forrest and stunning views over the the surrounding valleys and hills. As we were staying in a house that was in the process of being built we had to prepare for a weekend of glamping (that's glamorous camping for those that are more of the hotel type) ... we had a roof over our heads but no running water or electricity. Amazing how much you take those things for granted when you haven't been camping in a while! Thankfully an efficient esky kept the wine and cheese chilled so the bare necessities were all taken care of.
There was an abundance of red dirt on the property we were staying at so my son was living a two year old boys dream, the shovel was rarely out of his hands and if it was, it was only for him to sit down and build castles out of the dirt. This kind of setting is a lifestyle photographers dream! Three dirt crazy boys, endless dust and activities for the kids to get into and a perfect sunset over the countryside. While the joy of a hot shower upon our return was immensely appreciated, my weekend of glamping was pretty special and something I'm definitely looking forward to doing again.
Lifestyle photography captures memories that are real. It's the things that your family loves to do. It's the kids playing and being absorbed in their favourite activities, it's parents connecting with their kids while cooking their breakkie on a Saturday morning or playing in the park. These are memories that are so special to cherish and pass on to your kids because it's personal and it captures the love and joy of everyday life.
ruby & ted photography offers lifestyle photography sessions from Sydney to the NSW South Coast and Southern Highlands. Head over to the Contact page and get in touch for more information.
Meet the Whipps... Courtney and Daniel and their adorable boys Thomas and Jimmy. Set at their home on a beautiful farm in the Southern Highlands, I was privileged to spend a Saturday morning with them capturing a storytelling lifestyle session. There were chores to be done and Thomas and Jimmy were quick to volunteer to feed the horses. Their devoted dog Mavis was never far away, she is very much part of the family and is always by the boy’s sides as they play. We ate ice blocks, dug for treasure in the sandpit, patted their pet sheep Kate and enjoyed an amazing lunch in their cottage. This is A Day On The Farm.
Towards the end of 2015 I enrolled in a photography workshop I had been eyeing off for some time. The Stories We Tell is a workshop run by the very talented Colie James Photography. I have been guilty of losing much time admiring her work, and I am sure if you look up her website you’ll find yourself doing the same. Colie has a real knack for documenting the everyday of families. There are so many magical moments in our daily routines yet we often don’t think to capture them. So I have spent the past five weeks learning just how to tell the stories of families and their everyday lives and it is hands down the best workshop I have ever taken.
Below are some of my favourite images from one of our assignments in the workshop. It’s ‘A Day In The Life’ and I think I was pretty lucky to be in one of the most amazing places in the world to capture this story…
By the way, the chances of finding a mug engraved with A Day In The Life (as seen in this opening image) while on a "Day In The Life" shoot are pretty slim I'd say... I was so excited when I spotted this. Thanks to pro snowboarder Tadashi Fuse for featuring this in his exhibition in the Mt Dock Gondola Cafe at Nozawa Onsen, you made my day!
Well post holiday come down is hitting hard right now after such an amazing trip to the snowfields of Japan. Nozawa Onsen, just a short trip on the bullet train out of Tokyo, is a little town with a lot to offer. A cultural treat with more than just snow sports to boast, the little village is well known for it’s public bath houses spotted throughout the streets. If you’re feeling self conscious about stripping off and having a soak with the locals and fellow tourists, you can pack the speedos and head to SpaRena where they have hot pools for the whole family to enjoy, which is very relaxing at the end of a day of snowboarding.
There is an array of restaurants to enjoy with everything from pizza to burgers, yakitori and ramen or our favourite Okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancakes), but be sure to book at least a day in advance as the restaurants book out quickly. A special shout out for the Mt Dock Gondola Cafe, located behind the ticket box at the Nagasaka Gondola, great coffee and the ladies there were super lovely!
There is plenty to do on rest days, with half day trips to see the snow monkeys on offer (quite an extraordinary experience to see monkeys soaking in steaming natural spa baths, hold on to your belongings though, they have expensive taste leaning towards iPhones and point and shoot cameras) or the sushi restaurant in Iiyama is worth a visit just to have your meal delivered on a mini bullet train.
I have so many photos from our wonderful family holiday, so here is a snippet of snow life in Nozawa.
What an exciting time. Tokyo would have to be up there in my favourite places of the world. I’ve been to Japan four times, but this time, travelling with a 2 year old that can finally appreciate and start to understand some of the excitement going on around him, it has been amazing!
The thing I love most about Japan is how authentic it is, they don’t sell out to the tourist drive that so many countries do. English is very limited and there is fun to be found in fumbling through conversations in broken English, the few Japanese words I know and then resorting to gestures and hand signals. The Japanese are effortlessly cool, a vibrant city that is happening 24 hours a day, where you can easily get lost in the crowd and spend days on end people watching.
One of the highlights of our visit to Tokyo has been a trip to the Sumo wrestling. So many passionate Japanese people of all ages cheering hard for the men as they wrestle, slap and push each other out of the ring. While we didn't understand a lot of what was going on, it was impossible to not get swept up in the excitement and pick a wrestler to cheer for in each match.
Our Tokyo stint has come to an end, but the adventure continues in the snowfields at Nozawa Onsen, so stay tuned!
Another Christmas and festive period is done, but this year was a special one for me. While this was the third Christmas that my little boy Darcy has been here for, it was definitely the first one that he actually understood enough to be excited for the big day.
Despite crying on Santa’s lap he seemed to take a liking to the big guy, albeit from a distance, and he was pretty keen on Santa’s trusty red nosed helper too. We swapped out his bedtime nursery rhymes with Jingle Bells, he helped with the Christmas tree and pleaded daily to open the growing piles of presents underneath the tree. As any good Mum should, I used those presents and Santa’s impending arrival as bribery for good behaviour for the full 24 days in the lead up to Christmas, I even put in a few phone calls directly to Santa himself to report some of the more significant good behaviour breaches. It was great watching him get swept up in the excitement leading up to the big day and the magic of Christmas morning was up there with that of the Christmas mornings I remember as a child.
So now the day is over and his toy garbage truck is a permanent fixture on the lounge room floor, the toy chainsaw has sawed the table legs, the Christmas tree and the dogs tail, and now I am left without wondering what I can use for bribery? The “Santa’s watching” line might lose it’s punch if repeated for 360 days, perhaps the Easter Bunny can be Santa’s offsider for the next few months…
Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2016, dream big and make it happen, I plan to!