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!

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 🙂

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.



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.

Aerial view of landscape with burnt black band arcing through the frame. Image by caro Telfer, Photographer.
A burnt strip of land is etched black on the landscape

Aerial photo showing the trail of grain fed out to sheep creating a sinuous line through a dry brown landscape
The trail of grain fed out to sheep creates a sinuous line through a dry brown landscape

Aerial photo showing A geometric pattern of bare earth, grass, and tractor markings in a newly planted orchard. Photo by Caro Telfer
A grid emerges from bare earth, grass, and tractor markings in a newly planted orchard

Aerial view of Darkan skatepark, taken by drone, by Caro Telfer.
This photo shows the layout of a community recreation area in a small town in WA



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!





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.