Mentoring Photography Enthusiasts

Four black and white portraits of senior citizens, photographed by Caro Telfer.

A group of photography enthusiasts have formed the Darkan Photography Group, which has been meeting monthly since February. I am happy to be able to mentor the photographers in the group, by sharing some of the knowledge I have acquired over many years of taking photos.

Each month we cover a different topic, and so far we have covered themes such as capturing movement, portraits, and design principles in photography. During our meetings we view and discuss photos submitted by members of the group, and we also have a look at some award-winning photographs and talk about the aspects of the photos which make them prize-worthy.

Last weekend some of the beginner photographers gathered in my photography studio in Darkan and practised taking portraits in the studio. We only used one broad lighting setup, and worked at making a connection with the sitter to capture an authentic and engaging portrait.  We were lucky to have several different local “volunteers” who agreed to have their portrait photo taken. 

Photo of a group of photographers taking a photo
Photography enthusiasts in the studio

During the workshop I got to be a sitter, and I must admit it is much more comfortable for me to be behind the camera! I got very fidgety being a sitter and having my portrait taken. I was out of my comfort zone. 

My favourite photo of myself is this one, which cut off my double chin! And I’m not smiling (I’m not a huge fan of smiles in portraits.)

Black and white portrait of Caro Telfer, Photographer
My favourite photo of me, captured by one of the mentees at the studio workshop

Some of the workshop participants said that they felt out of their comfort zone, getting up so close and personal and taking photos of other people. Others felt that working in the studio was outside of their comfort zone.  Just the fact that they felt uncomfortable made me realise that they were experiencing something that they would not normally do, although it is something that I do regularly. They are at the start of their learning journey, and there is so much to learn!

It is one thing to love taking photos, but it is another to actually excel at the task – I’m still working on it after more than thirty years!

Plan For Your Family Photos

Photo of attractive young couple and their three children. Photo by Caro Telfer, Photographer

Things change all the time. Nothing stays the same. Sometimes all we have left are memories – or photos if we are lucky enough to have them.
But you don’t have to leave photos to luck…
Plan a family photo session and you can be sure that you will have photos to complement your memories of your loved ones.
How can you get some exquisite professional photos that will show you in your best light? Schedule a photo session for your family!

Book a session, pay a deposit, choose a date! Don’t leave it until the perfect time, because there is never a perfect time. The best time is now!

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Because if you like it today you can do it again tomorrow!”

I will come to your home to capture photos of your family in their own familiar environment. Include the horses or the dog, relax in your garden, show off your motorbike or any other special possessions, and your photos will really help to bring back memories in years to come.

Don’t want to have photos at home? No problem! Your family photos can be taken in a park or anywhere really – as long as there is light. How about photos on the beach? Or in a forest? Or family photos in your street?

Photo off attractive young couple with their three children standing in a grassy field. Photo by Caro Telfer, photographer.
A young family photographed in a field
Photo of mother at office desk surrounded by her three young children. Photo by caro telfer, photographer.
A mother with her office “helpers”.
photo of a gorgeous toddler on her mother's hip.
Gorgeous toddler carried by her mum.

 

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Photos purchased through Austockphoto stock photo library

Austockphoto website showing photo by Caro Telfer on web banner

I’m a contributor to the Austockphoto stock photography library, which licenses exclusively Australian images to photo buyers from Australia and overseas. 

By using the Google image search function I have found several of my images that have been bought from the Austockphoto website online. Other images have been sold for use in brochures, publications and posters, so I am not able to find them unless someone spots one incidentally.

If you have a business or you work for an organisation and you need authentic Australian images for use in brochures, blog posts, or for your website, then have a look at austockphoto.com.au before searching overseas stock photo sites (you know the ones I mean.) At Austockphoto Australian photographers receive a 50% commission on their images supplied exclusively to the Austockphoto library, so you know you’re supporting local photographers when you buy local images.

Young blokes drinking
Kids riding bikes
A mother and her toddler
Young people and car
A cute little boy and his football.
Retired seniors
Young woman walking on country track
Primary school aged girl wearing glasses
Teenage girl laughing
A little boy and his football
A little boy and his football
That cute little boy and his football yet again!
Stock photo of a mother and baby and toddler
A mother and her children
Photo by caro telfer showing teenage girls embracing
Teenage sisters sharing the love
A couple of young men.

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Aerial Drone Photography as Art

Aerial photo of paddocks on a Australian farm shows a patchwork of yellows and greens.

Aerial Photographs let you see much more than ground level photos can. Aerial Photography is ideal for photographing properties, for real estate photography, and for stunning images of any location.

And more than that, aerial photos can make stunning wall art! The aerial photos are intriguing, and can make the viewer look really closely at what is happening in the image. Try one on your wall and you’ll be amazed by how many comments you get, and at how long you can sit looking at it without becoming bored. 

As art pieces, aerial photos are best displayed BIG! 

A pink salt lake creates a striking impact in this aerial landscape photo by Caro Telfer, photographer.
A pink salt lake creates a striking impact in this aerial landscape photo.

 

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Don’t Just Stand There, Do Something!

How uncomfortable is it to stand in front of a camera and smile? Well I, for one, find it extremely uncomfortable! I HATE having my photo taken. I put on stupid poses, and I try to angle my face so that as few chins as possible are visible.

What about when people say “cheeeese” to try to get you to look like you’re happy?  Yeah, you end up looking like you’re saying “cheese”, right? (Actually I prefer “grannieeees undieeees“, but that’s another story…)

It has taken me a long time, and over the years I have taken a lot of dorky photos of people saying cheese, but it has finally dawned on me that people don’t like to stand and look at the camera to have their photos taken. It makes them feel uncomfortable!

Now, instead of photographing people posing and looking at the camera, I enjoy photographing you while you are doing something. Do you play guitar? Do you enjoy reading? Do you play a sport? Do you enjoy gardening? Whatever it is that you do, I’d love to photograph you doing it. For farming families, that often means doing things on the farm.

Photo of family and sheep in sheepyards
The family that works together and plays together stays together
photo of young farmer in yards with sheep in the wheatbelt
Hard at work, not having a photo session.
Photo of two young blokes drinking outdoors
Having a drink with a mate is more fun than having your photo taken!
portrait photo of a man and his pet parrot by caro telfer, photographer
Portrait with a pet
photo of a kid wearing bike gear riding a pushbike
Let your kids run around or play, like riding a bike, rather than standing still and smiling for photos.
Photo of young boy with his grandmother having a cup of tea
It’s as easy as having a cup of tea! Relax, and enjoy your photo session.
photo of kid on a skateboard by caro telfer, photographer
Kids love to show off their skills, like this kid on a skateboard.
photo of an older couple painting in art studio. photo by Caro Telfer.
Doing something you love can give an interesting focus to your photos.
photo of a man playing a guitar, by caro telfer, photographer
When you’re playing your guitar you are not self-consciously smiling for the camera.
Photo of a child reading a book with his grandfather
Reading a book to the grandson, if you can sit him down long enough…
photo of teenage girl avoiding sand thrown at her on the beach. Photo by caro telfer.
Having a sand fight – is that having your photo taken?

 

In this post I’ve shared lots of different things you could do during a photo shoot. You don’t have to stand in front of the camera and smile. Give your photos meaning by doing something that you love, with someone you love, and it won’t hurt a bit!

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Contemporary Beauty Portraits

Contemporary Beauty Portraits are special sessions where women can receive the star treatment with hair, makeup, fashion, styling and a full directed photoshoot. Every woman can look like a celebrity if she receives the star treatment!

Photographing ordinary women like celebrities. Because celebrities are just ordinary people who have had the star treatment. What is beauty? It’s in the eye of the beholder, right? I love photographing women and girls, even though most women I know are insecure about their looks. They want their hair to be different; they want to lose weight; they want to look younger; and they don’t like their chin/nose/ears/teeth/you name it!

I want every woman to have a photograph that shows her as those who love her see her, in all her perfect imperfection. This photograph will be the one that is treasured by her family long after she is gone. It will be the one reprinted in the family history book, or the one that grandchildren will use for the front of the biography project they do at school in year ten. I believe that if a woman has a portrait of herself that she loves, in which she thinks she looks great, it can have a really positive impact on her self-esteem!

What is a Contemporary Beauty Portrait? (Hint – It’s Not Glamour!) It’s all about the woman. Contemporary beauty photography has filled the void that “glamour” photography left when it went out of fashion. The term “glamour photography” brings back embarrassing memories of harsh lighting, feather boas, big hairstyles and blue eyeshadow; and it was big in the 1980s and 90s. There are now several genres of photography which are aimed specifically at women, which include boudoir photography, with tasteful images of semi-clad women with or without an erotic overtone. Then there is burlesque photography which photographs women in sexy poses with retro styling wearing corsets and makeup in the style of mid-20th century film stars.

Contemporary beauty portrait photography however is appealing to women who are bombarded daily with magazine covers, runway models, red carpet appearances and glitzy award ceremonies where celebrities appear perfectly groomed and made up, in exquisite gowns. Ordinary women need to know that cover girls, supermodels and celebrities do not wake up every day looking perfect. Ordinary women don’t look like that when they are putting out their rubbish, dropping kids at day-care, or when they’ve had a busy day in the sheep yards. And neither do celebrities ore models…

For the cover of a a high-end fashion magazine, the cover photo is a highly crafted image. No matter how many pouting selfies a woman can take, they can never compare to a professional photo shoot. The model will have spent a lot of time in preparation for the shoot. She will have been eating well, getting plenty of sleep and drinking a lot of water in the days leading up to a big shoot. She will have spent time waxing/threading/bleaching/plucking facial and body hair. A hair stylist would have touched up the cut and colour of her hair. And that is before she wakes up on the day of the shoot. On the day she would have at least two people fussing over her for a couple of hours getting hair and makeup professionally done to suit the mood of the shoot. There would be a stylist in charge of the overall shoot, who would have chosen the location and any props for the set, and maybe another fashion specialist concentrating on the outfits that she will wear.  On set there will be a photographer, with tens of thousands of dollars worth of cameras, lenses and lighting so that the images captured will reflect the quality of the magazine. The photographer would have at least one assistant, who would hold reflectors, adjust lights, change backdrops, and help set up and take down the gear. During the shoot the hair stylist would be fluffing up or smoothing down the hair and moving individual strands of hair to get everything just perfect. The makeup artist would be adding lip gloss, or brushing on powder to cut shine. The stylist would adjust the placement of props, arrange the fall of a garment, advise on poses and ensure that the photos convey the desired look. The photographer would be talking to the model, coaxing out the fine nuances of expression needed, changing the direction of her glance, the turn of her chin, the placement of hands and fingers. And then, out of maybe hundreds of shots, one would be selected for the cover of the magazine.

But it doesn’t end there! A new team starts work on the photos… There would be a digital editor who would work in photoshop to not only enhance what the photographer has captured, but also to subtly change what is there to exaggerate the look. The skin would be smoothed, removing any blemishes – acne, blackheads, stray hairs, fine wrinkle lines, scars, or smudged makeup. Then there could be other changes – the shape of lips enhanced, eyes enlarged, neck thinned and elongated, waste tucked in, limbs extended, eyebrows tweaked to adjust the arch. The finished image is pretty far removed from what was actually captured by the camera.

I am an Accredited Professional Photographer with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. As such I am trained, educated, and skilled as a professional photographer, and I am continually updating my skills by attending industry events.
My studio in Darkan is set up for photographing portraits in a controlled lighting environment.

Australian Stock Photography Library

The Austockphoto stock photo library, launched in 2016,  is a resource which licenses exclusively Australian photos to clients worldwide.

Australian businesses are loving having Australian images to illustrate their stories online, to use for printed brochures or for advertisements. Government agencies and not-for profits are also accessing the stock photo library for getting their messages out to the community.

I am a foundation contributor to Austockphoto, and I enjoy creating images which portray Australian agriculture and the country lifestyle in rural and regional Australia.

Most of the stock photos sold by Austockphoto feature people, so I am always looking for people who are happy to have their photos taken to upload to the stock photography library. Because of my rural location and the farm photography work that I do I like to add photos of Australian Country life too. I aim to capture authentic Australian life, so I don’t seek out professional models or extraordinarily good-looking people. My family make good models!

Some of my most popular images in the Austockphoto library are of very ordinary, everyday subjects. A mum and her kids at home, a couple of blokes enjoying a drink, a kid with his footy, teenage girls hanging out.

Stock photo of three teenage girls in the street, by caro telfer, photographer
Teenage girls hanging out.
Photo of a child peeking around the doorway. Photo by Caro Telfer, photographer.
A little girl peeking around the door waiting for visitors
Photo of a young boy holding his football
This photo of a young boy with his footy has been very popular with photo buyers.
Stock photo of a mother holding a baby, and young child looking at camera.
This very ordinary family household scene has sold several times through the Austockphoto library.

 

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Who WAS Anita Jean?

Image of Anita Jean Photography logo

Anita Jean is dead.

Anita Jean never was…

Previously I traded under the business name “Anita Jean Photography”, which confused people who expected my name to be Anita. But Anita Jean was not a person.

Anita Jean was the name I gave myself when I didn’t know who I was, and it was in fact the name that my parents had chosen for me before I was born. When they saw the newborn me they realised that the name wasn’t a good fit, so they chose a different one. But when I lost my way as a young person and experienced chronic depression and anxiety, I wondered who the real me was. Maybe I was Anita Jean? That name gave me a persona under which to pursue my photography career.

More than twenty years later I have sought the medical help needed to overcome the effects of Bipolar Type Two, which so limited my enjoyment of life for so long.

At the age of fifty I felt that I finally knew who the real me was, so laid Anita Jean to rest.

Wagin Woolorama Fashion Parades

Image of models in front of John Deere Harvester with quote "The photos are brilliant Caro!!!! Awesome work :)  Thank you!!" from Dana Gordon of Bourne Events.

The Wagin Woolorama is the biggest agricultural show in the southern wheatbelt in Western Australia. For the last five years I have had the job of photographing the fashion parades.

I’ve always been a fan of fashion parades, and I remember at the height of the wool boom in the 1980s there were amazing wool fashion parades at the Perth Royal Show that were real extravaganzas. The Woolorama parades are not on such a grand scale, but they do usually feature some wool fashions sponsored by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).

This parade proved to be challenging to photograph with the new LED lighting effects, which added drama to the parade but played havoc with the models’ skin tone in the photos. Some urgent negotiating between the parade organiser and the sound and lighting technician saw a revised lighting scheme which allowed me to photograph the fashions showing the colours accurately.