Taking Photos of People After Sunset

two women sitting in a red car and laughing together

When the sun goes down, how do you light a photo?

Did you know that sometimes I see strangers and I really want to photograph them? Well I do – I probably would want to photograph you if I saw you just now. But only occasionally I get up the courage to ask someone if I could please photograph them. And that was the case when I saw K and A sitting on the grass having a rest from their job this week. I was trying to find a cafe someone had recommended to me, so I approached these ladies to ask if they knew where it was. As I got closer and could see their faces I knew that I wanted to make some photos with them. Of course, being busy women, they couldn’t meet me until after 5pm, but they knew a park that would be a good setting. But of course, me being bad with directions, I didn’t get there until late, and couldn’t find them. And me being bad with writing down numbers I rang a complete random stranger and she wanted to know why I had texted her about a photo shoot. So there I was ready to take photos but there was no-one to photograph, and I couldn’t contact them because I had the wrong phone number. But then my phone rang (thank goodness they had my number) and they wondered where I was – well I didn’t know there were two entrances to the park, and I was at the wrong entrance! Anyway, all that rambling was just to say that by the time the lovely ladies arrived, it was well and truly too dark to take the photos I had envisaged.

Photo of two women sitting in a red car and the driver is looking out the open window with her arm resting on the opening.

The first artificial light we tried was the light from the interior light in the car and the vanity mirror lights, which turned out to be quite yellow. But I loved a couple of the photos that had a bit of a “Thelma and Louise” feel to them.

A dark black and white image of two women sitting in a car with the driver's arm resting on the window ledge.

I tried making a black-and-white version of one of these photos, and I think it has quite a different feeling from the ones dominated by the red colour of the car.

photo of two women wearing pink hi-vis and white hard-hats looking at their phones and leaning on a yellow barrier.

I didn’t have a camera flash with me, as I was travelling light, and I didn’t even have a torch because I wasn’t in my own car; but we all carry a torch with us, don’t we? Although on the iPhone it is called a ‘flashlight’, I believe. I opened up a white screen on my iPhone, and gave it to K to hold, and A opened her phone too. We used that light to add interest to some photos shot near some plastic barriers near where some construction was happening. It seemed appropriate with the hi-vis and hard-hats.

For individual photos one of them would act as the ‘lighting assistant’ while pointing the iPhone torch at the other. Not an ideal method of lighting a subject, but at least it put some light on their faces.

Photo of a lady in her 50s wearing a hard-had and pink hi-vis vest. She has one hand on her hip and is looking at the camera, showing facial piercings.
One female worker wearing hi-vis and denim with a white hard-had. She is standing with one foot up on a yellow safety barrier.

In the end, what I thought was going to be a missed opportunity turned out to be a lot of fun, and I came away with a handful of photos that I think are pretty good!

Kids Sport Stock Photography – Aussie Rules Football

image with three pairs of legs wearing footy boots and long purple sock with one child behind handling AFL football

Australian Rules football is a game unique to Australia, so it’s important to include photos like these in the Austockphoto stock photography library. However branding has to be removed before the photos can be used for stock images, which takes considerable time in Photoshop. In this case the colour of the football jumpers/jerseys/guernseys (terminology depends on which part of Australia you live in apparently) also was very recognisable. I’m glad that I didn’t have to do all of that editing myself! Thank goodness for virtual assistants, and the ability to send images anywhere in the world via the internet… If you find the images on the Austockphoto stock photography library or on the Adobe Stock premium Australian gallery you will see that the branding and logos are gone, and colour of the uniforms has been shifted to appear as a more maroon colour.

Girls Football Training Stock Photo Shoot

three young women wearing football jerseys seen from behind

Girls playing footy! A recent inspiring photoshoot was with some girls from the Eaton Boomers women’s football team. Women’s football has become immensely popular, so I figured that there needs to be some stock photos of the sport in the Austockphoto stock photography library. Three of the girls from the team showed up early before training, and showed me how it is done!

Female teammates practise hand balling at Aussie Rules football training
Practising hand-balling at training.
view from behind showing legs of female football player with socks and boots on green grass of oval
green grass, short socks, slim legs.
two players jump to tap the football while a third player is mostly out of frame in foreground
Leaping for a tap.
Woman football player with arms crossed laughing as she looks at another player
Two young women playing Aussie Rules football jump to tap the ball.
Another tapdown.

Photos of The Betty Brown Historical Centre

image of museum space showing historical displays and blurred people moving through the space.

It’s a real accolade for the Shire of West Arthur that its new museum has been acknowledged in the Australian Museums and Galleries Association’s Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA).

I’m happy to have been asked to photograph the Betty Brown Historical Centre museum before it opened, to provide images for the Shire and for Creative Spaces, the company that was brought in to create the display spaces, which are housed in the old Roads Board building in Darkan, as part of the West Arthur Health and Resource centre.

In photographing the space, I needed to capture the overall essence of the space as well as details of objects. Because some items are housed in protective perspex display boxes there was reflection on the clear surfaces. A polarising filter on the lens helped to cut out the reflections and show the contents clearly.

To show that the space has interactive features I used a friend as a model who interacted with the displays – scanning a QR code, opening a drawer, writing on a note to pin on the memorial board. To show that the space is used and welcoming I shot some images with a slow shutter speed to emphasise the displays with human figures moving about the space.

sewing accessories and fine crochet on display in Betty Brown Historical Centre. Photo by Caro Telfer
Sewing accessories and fine crochet on display in an acrylic case.

museum display of treadle sewing machine and interpretive panel
museum display of treadle sewing machine and interpretive panel

Museum visitor scanning QR code with smartphone. Photo by Caro Telfer.
Museum visitor scanning QR code with smartphone.

photo of cane basket containing spinning wheel accessories and spun wool. Photo by Caro Telfer.
A basket of spinning wheel accessories and spun wool.

Close up of information panels in the Betty Brown Historical Centre.
Close up of information panels.

Wide angle view of main room of historical centre showing polished wood floor, museum displays, and people blurred moving through the scene.
Slow shutter speed allows for the blurring of museum visitors in this image.



In an Australian Light book shortlisted

Cover of book with the title In an Australian Light with a photo of a white trunked eucalyptus tree in Central Australia, published by Thames and Hudson.

Published by Thames and Hudson, this photo book contains photos sourced from the Austockphoto stock photography library. There are three sections in the book, based around photos of rural, urban, and coastal places.
Three of my photos were chosen to be printed in the book. They were all photographed in Western Australia and they are, not surprisingly, in the rural section.
The first photo was taken near Bremer Bay, off-the Warremurrup Road, just a couple of weeks after a bushfire had burnt through the area in December 2018. The blackened branches of the isopogon bush hold seedpods which have come open to disperse seeds ready to regenerate when the time and conditions are right.
The second photo was taken in Dampier, and shows the shadow of a tree on the wall of an old block of flats that were built for the Pilbara mining boom in the 1970s, but are now mostly vacant.
The third photo, a landscape featuring a view of the gorge in Coalseam Conservation Park near Mingenew, is unfortunately associated with the wrong captain (the left-to-right is muddled up, so for the unsuspecting reader. it appears as somewhere near William Creek in South Australia).

The Indie book awards are for books chosen by independent booksellers in Australia. In an Australian Light has been shortlisted as one of the four finalists in the Illustrated Non-fiction section for 2020, and the winners will be announced on March 23.

Read more about the Indie Book Awards here.

See my photos on Austockphoto.com.au here.

Professional Portrait Headshots

Photo of attractive business woman posed outside with blurred background

You might have a really gorgeous photo of yourself that was taken at your brother’s wedding, but if you have a drink in your hand, or there’s a band in the background, or you’ve had to crop out your ex, then it might not be appropriate for a business profile pic.

More and more people are beginning to realise that the profile photos they upload on LinkedIn, or on their business Facebook page, or other professional sites, need to be top notch to give a good first impression. Because we know that first impressions count, right?

When Alyce came in to the studio in Darkan she brought a couple of different outfits and some accessories. We were able to get a variety of headshots for her by changing up the outfits (business suit or work uniform), location (inside or outside) and accessories (glasses and scarf).
We photographed some traditional ‘head and shoulders’ headshots, as well as some from further away which included more of her body in a vertical format.

Now Alyce has a selection of headshot photos that she can use for her online profile pics. She can use a casual one for Facebook, and a more business-like one for LinkedIn.
If she was single she could use one for a dating profile! Or even give one to her mum to stick on the fridge 🙂

Faces of West Arthur Photography Exhibition

Caro Telfer standing in front of black and white portraits on a wall

Friday night was the opening of the “Faces of West Arthur” photography exhibition, at the West Arthur CRC in Darkan. It was the culmination of months of work by six local photography enthusiasts whom I had been mentoring over the previous four months. The project was made possible by the Creative Grid, funded through Country Arts WA and Sate and Federal Government funding. We received sponsorship from Fitzgerald Photo Imaging in Perth, where the photos were printed.

An iPhone photo of four of the large black and white portraits at the exhibition.

It is not the location, but the people, that make a country town what it is. For a small country community, the Shire of West Arthur has always been an inclusive and supportive place. As one of the subjects said, “People are always happy to help each other”. 

Well getting the photos hung for the exhibition couldn’t have been done without a lot of help. It was the first time that the new hanging system installed in the Health and Resource centre had been used – it was installed only the week before. There was some trial and error getting the hanging hooks and cords in place, and then the dilemma of how to get he photos to sit straight as they were so light and the cords were still coiled after being removed from their packaging. 

Photo of woman hanging photos in the exhibition
Getting all the photos hung and sitting straight was a big job

Frank stands near the photo of himself, taken by his wife. (Photo by Astrid Volzke, Our Photo Stories)

Members of the public enjoy viewing the Faces of West Arthur exhibition
Recognising familiar faces on display at the exhibition (Photo by Astrid Volzke, Our Photo Stories)

The brief the photographers were given for the photographs was that they should show the full face or head and shoulders  straight on, and the subject should be looking straight into the lens. There was to be a sense of connection with the sitter. The photos are quite similar to passport photos in their format. What I was hoping to achieve was that the viewer would be drawn to the eyes of the subject, and that they would feel a sense of engagement through the photograph. As each photograph is similar in its composition, then the only difference is the physical difference between the subjects. The idea for choosing portraits for our project came about because we decided to combine it with the biennial West Arthur Cultural Day with the theme of “We all Belong”.

Nicole Wasmann, Caro Telfer, and Kerryn Chia at the Faces of West Arthur exhibition in Darkan
Me standing between Nicole Wasmann, the Shire of West Arthur CEO, and Kerryn Chia, the coordinator of the Faces of West Arthur Project. (Photo by Astrid Volzke, Our Photo Stories)

Fitzgerald Photo Imaging in Perth were very supportive of our community project, providing advice on printing and mounting, and giving us a discount on the cost of the printing. We ended up being able to print twelve large photos, which are 14” x 20” (35cm x 50cm) matted and mounted on foamcore board, and fifty four smaller photos which are 7” x 10” (17.5cm x 25cm) matted to 11” x 14”.

The hanging space for the exhibition is brand new and is the new wing of the extended West Arthur Health and Resource Centre in Burrowes Street in Darkan. The official opening of the extensions will be held on Saturday 15 September, which is the last day of our exhibition. The wide lobby and hallway spaces with bright even lighting show the photos well, and the adjoining meeting room gave space for serving wine and cheese at the opening event.

Me looking dorky making a speech, with Astrid taking photos behind me. (Photo by Kerryn Chia)

Although the exhibition will only be hung for eight days, it is quite likely that it will be shown again at a later date. We are talking about taking it to other regional areas too, if we can get funding for that. 

Faces of West Arthur exhibition catalogues (Photo by Kerryn Chia)


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.



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.