Gerty PhilosophyThis is what I know for sure:
No-one gets to the end of their days and wishes they'd invested less time in their family.
Gerty Photography was created to help my clients fashion a visual expression of their family love.
I believe in service so friendly that every client feels like part of the Gerty family. I love meeting new people, and I know that it's an honour to be invited to be part of your family and life.
I want every client to feel like my favourite client.
My Favourite Posts
Category Archives: Portrait
My son Will went for his first train ride the other day. He is mad keen on Thomas the Tank Engine, and excitedly points out any and every passing Thomas when we’re out driving. So to actually go for a ride on Thomas was an exciting and momentous occasion! I wasn’t going to take my “good” camera, but thankfully Bruce gently pointed out that I may regret it later on…
As I was editing the photos, there were a few that stood out as “perfect moments”. When all the elements of focus, timing, facial expression, exposure and background came together in 1/125th of a second. It gave me shots like this, which I love – they’re not all that timeless or award-winning, but they really show off Will’s gorgeous personality.
When I look at the photos taken either just before or after these moments, most of them are actually quite awful! Closed eyes, weird grimaces, etc. etc.
But if you want to increase your chances of catching those perfect moments when photographing your own family, here are my tips:
1. Take lots of photos
Digital media is really quite cheap, so there’s no reason not to take several frames. Just don’t forget to go through and cull them later, and only keep the winners.
2. Wait for it
If your kids (or other subjects) are about to do something photo worthy, get yourself in a good position, and then wait. Don’t just snap a quick shot and consider it done – wait for the cheeky smile, the superhero pose, the quick flash of personality.
Having a DSLR will help greatly with this – when you press the shutter, it takes the photo without delay. Often compact “point and shoot” cameras have a lag between the moment you press the shutter and when it actually takes the exposure.
3. Photograph unscripted
Will loves having his photo taken (thankfully!), and will happily jump in front of the camera when I want to take his photo. However, when I ask him to smile for me, this is usually what I get:
Believe it or not, that is the same kid! Those first four photos were not a result of any direction or encouragement from me. In fact, running along the train platform is exactly what he was told not to do! I’ve found the more I try to direct him (and almost every other child I’ve ever photographed), the more I just end up with high blood pressure and dodgy photos. You need a ton of patience, a little bit of luck, and a big memory card.
4. Know your settings for proper exposure
If you’re operating a DSLR on anything other than auto, you need to be confident in your settings before you start shooting. Getting it right quickly only comes with time and practice practice practice, but you’ve really got to be on the ball to capture these things that happen in the tiniest fraction of a second. And don’t be discouraged – for all the winners that make it to my website or facebook page, there are thousands of shots that didn’t make the cut and will never see the light of day.
If you’re getting disappointing results on Auto settings, or you’d like to learn more about taking control of your camera, you can contact me here to enquire about one-on-one mentoring.
We had a lovely time enjoying the late afternoon sun for Neville & Jody’s engagement shoot. They found some gorgeous spots around Tarragindi, where they will soon be married.
Back in the day, I remember being told that you should stand with your back to the sun when taking photos – the idea being that the sun will be hitting your subjects and lighting them up nicely for the photo.
However, we all know that sometimes this can produce some serious squints and harsh, too-bright light.
So, where do you put the sun??
Here’s my top tips for lighting your subjects using natural light (sunlight) in three different scenarios:
1. BRIGHT SUN, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY
If you can, I suggest avoiding taking your photos in full sun. However, often we grab our cameras to capture spontaneous events that are unfolding – we can’t always control when or where these things happen, or where the sun is positioned at the time.
If you can, move slightly to the side of your subject, so the sun isn’t hitting them directly in the face. In this shot, you can see the bright sun is hitting the bride’s left side, and doesn’t cause her to squint, or create an unpleasant shadow on her face.
You can also try to block the sun using another person or prop. For example, this was taken in bright sunlight with no shade around, but I used the groom to stop harsh shadows and bright spots on the bride’s face.
If you don’t have much shade, you can still get great results by taking your photos either early in the morning or later in the afternoon. The hour before sunset is known as “golden hour” and gives a beautiful warm glow to photos.
So, if you must take photos in the bright midday sun, try positioning your subjects with the light hitting them from the side first. Most point-and-shoot compact cameras do a pretty good job of handling this type of lighting.
2. OPEN SHADE
For soft, even light that doesn’t cause harsh shadows, find a spot that provides nice even shade. You want to avoid the dappled/spotty light that comes through trees, so look at your subject’s faces before you take the photo and make sure there are no bright spots.
There are often lots of places to find suitable shade – the side of a building, under a veranda, indoors (more about indoor photos in a future post), a dense leafy tree, etc. You can even wait for the sun to go behind a cloud if the weather cooperates.
This is my favourite type of natural light for shooting portraits – here are a few examples:
This is the easiest type of lighting for compact cameras to handle, because there is a smaller difference between the brightest area of the photo and the darkest.
3. PUTTING THE SUN BEHIND YOUR SUBJECTS – BACKLIGHTING
If you have a D-SLR or a compact that allows you to manually choose your settings, and you’re comfortable with doing that, you might like to try backlighting for a more dramatic look. Backlight is definitely not something to be used for every photo you snap, but it can look gorgeous, and I also find it handy in some tricky lighting situations.
The most important thing to remember when backlighting is to ensure you are choosing the correct settings so that your subjects are properly exposed.
In this bridal portrait, the main light source is behind her coming through the lace curtains. This makes the curtains very bright, but the bride is properly exposed. I love the gorgeous glow that backlighting gives.
A big benefit of backlighting is that there are no harsh shadows on your subject’s faces, and they’re not squinting into the bright sun – and it can be used at any time of day.
You can also get dramatically different results, depending on whether or not the sun itself is in the photo. These two photos were taken only seconds apart, but I just altered my position slightly, and allowed the sunlight to “leak” into the shot, creating a lovely hazy glow.
These shots of my son at the beach, taken during the golden hour before sunset, are totally backlit, and they also highlight how different a shot can look when the sun is included in the frame.
The reason that compact cameras don’t handle backlighting very well is that they look at a scene and try to give the correct exposure for the entire scene. This usually results in very dark subjects in backlit photos. When you take a photo with the sun shining towards your subject, both the person and the background are equally lit, and your camera gives a good result. If you’re confident with manually manipulating your settings and/or metering method, use spot metering on the subject’s face for backlighting.
If you have a question you’d like answered about taking photos at home, let me know in the comments!
Looking for inspiration for a beautiful baby shower? This is it! This baby shower for a lovely friend of mine was put together by her amazing and talented sister. It was just gorgeous, with such attention to detail and lots of deliciousness.
Cutest baby shower, and a glowing mumma-to-be!
Seeing past clients again is one of my favourite things about being a photographer. Chris & Tarah were married at New Farm Park last year – we had a lovely afternoon catching up for a relaxed couple’s session last month.
We were lucky that our session was timed perfectly in a little window of dry weather between two big storms. I love the moody atmosphere of this last image!
Investing in a custom family photography session is always about more than the digital file that comes from having your photo taken.
Thinking about how you want to enjoy your images for years (and generations!) to come is so important! That is why gorgeous custom-made albums and beautiful prints that adorn your walls are my very favourite thing. Digital files are great for sharing with friends on facebook or over email, I love that too. But in the long-run, the real treasure is the artwork that you can hold in your hands, or that you see on your wall every day.
Since it’s hard to explain the quality of a finished Gerty album in words, here are a few images of a recent client’s album – for his parents to enjoy now, and a gift already prepared to hand down to him when he’s all grown up.
This is a Gallery style album, available for both weddings and families. There is a huge range of cover fabrics and leathers to choose from, making each one unique. They are custom made to any number of pages for each client.
To chat about booking your own family portrait session and creating an album to treasure, you can get in touch here.
Saxon came to visit at 10 days new. He was determined to stay awake for much of his session, but eventually drifted off. Such a sweet little guy.
For more information about a newborn session for your own little one, you can get in touch here.
Desrae & Leesa invited me to be part of their little man’s arrival into the world, with pregnancy, birth and newborn sessions. I am always in awe of what an amazing time it is when a new baby joins a family.
Here are a few images from our pregnancy session, both in the studio and at a local park.
For more information on pregnancy and newborn sessions, please get in touch here.
Andrew & Becc were so gorgeous together – so much romance, so many loving gestures. They made my job so easy, and I can’t wait for their wedding.
We spent a lovely sun-soaked afternoon around the St Lucia UQ campus for David & Katrina’s engagement shoot. Engagement shoots are a great time for couples to get to know how it feels in front of the camera, and I always love seeing the smiles, the cheeky looks, the teasing, the walking hand-in-hand.
If you’re planning a wedding and would like to talk about photography for your big day, you can contact me here.