12 month Cake Smash celebration

12 month Cake Smash celebrations are such fun!

I first met little Danika and her parents months ago at the Essential Baby Expo earlier this year when she was only a few months old! They loved the look of our Sitter baby photographs we had on display, and pre-booked Danika’s 12 month Cake Smash session on the spot. It was so nice to see her a couple of weeks ago, all grown up as a big 12 month old!

baby sitting up on bed studio

As a parent, your baby’s first year is just so amazing. Crazy, amazing. Your baby has grown so, so big in only 12 months! Baby has gone from being a fresh little newborn and only 3-4kgs, to a crawling, walking, blabbering, fist-grabbing, hair-pulling, food-spitting, big-grinning, teething, gummy little person! It astounds me every time I see my little clients come back in the door at 12 months old. How did they even grow so fast!

Your baby’s 12 month milestone is huge – and not just for your babe! YOU as a parent have survived, too! You’ve nurtured, cuddled, kissed, fed, and soothed your baby for one whole year. Congratulations, Mumma and Daddy. You are doing a great job!

The first year is huge, and that’s why it’s a celebration! So we celebrate by including the family too, because – it’s not just your baby’s first birthday, but it’s an honouring of you as parents, the great job you are doing, and you deserve to celebrate that!

family photo in the studio brisbane toddler

Cake Smash sessions are more than just a cake smash.

Firstly, it’s time to photograph your baby and the milestones they’re achieving, right now! Bring along a gorgeous outfit for your baby, or wear one of our beautiful studio rompers we provide here, and it’s time for some fun in the studio with your babe! Little Danika brought along 3 of her bunnies from home, such  a gorgeous way of documenting her fave things as a 12 month old.

toddler girl sitting on bed with toys

After baby’s session we invite Mum, Dads and siblings to jump into the photo as well. We love having families in the studio, and this is the perfect chance to update your family photo too! Our studio sessions aren’t stressful or forced – we simply encourage families to sit close to each other, have cuddles, tickle their baby and blow raspberries on baby’s face, while I act like a goose with all my squeaky toys and crazy baby-noises to capture your baby’s attention 🙂 And yes – we will grab that special “looking-at-the-camera-photo”…. because that’s always a winner!

family photo studio brisbane

Our fave time of the session is watching baby with their cake! The “cake smash” can be taken in many different ways…. some babies see the cake and launch their little hands straight into it! Other babies don’t know what that big, colourful-looking piece of food is, and whether they should eat it or not… ! Sometimes we need to encourage and reassure babies that the cake is OK to touch – and we have all our tricks to encourage baby, such as hiding little sandwiches and cheese sticks behind the cake, and giving them spoons to hold instead.

While we’re talking “cake” smashes…. let me reassure you that YES, we have also done FRUIT SMASH sessions and PANCAKE sessions, too! Some babies have allergies, and some parents would prefer them munching on fruit, rather than icing – and that’s ok, too! We can accommodate your special requests, and you are also more than welcome to make or bring your own cake too, if Bub has specific allergies.

Check out baby Amelia’s Fruit Smash session, of her favourite fruits – watermelon and banana!

Otherwise, our beautiful cakes are provided by The Cupcake Patisserie at Chermside, where owners Aimee and Amanda do such an amazing job baking and decorating our cakes! Before each session I work out the best colours and style for your baby’s cake, and The Cupcake Patisserie make it happen! I can’t eat cake (I’m gluten-free), but I’ve tasted plenty of icing! haha…. and all the parents tell me the cakes taste de-a-licious!

pink silver toddler child cake smash 12 months

You’ll notice our sessions are all styled to your fave themes, colours, or outfits – baby Danika’s parents requested florals with pink/silver to match her beautiful dress – no worries! We can do that 🙂 Simply tell me what you would love from baby’s cake smash session, and I’ll design the session around that. Choose a nursery or superhero theme, or a fave outfit, or something new and modern like white, stars, woodland, organic…. anything you love, we can probably do!

Once we’ve had baby’s Cake Smash session, you’ll wonder if the icing will ever come out of baby’s outfit! So here’s a parent tip, bring a spare plastic bag to take baby’s icing-covered outfit home for washing 🙂 And in the meantime, we’ll pop a naked little Bub in our custom-designed cake smash bath for their Milk Bath session…. guaranteed to grab those cheeky smiles and gorgeous expressions!

The name “milk bath” seems very up-and-coming at the moment, but all it is, is warm water (for baby’s comfort), with around 1/2 a cup of milk. That’s it! The milk just clouds the water over, so when we’re taking photos, the water is cloudy instead of see-through, and we don’t accidentally photograph body parts that we don’t need to see! Milk Baths are great for babes with milk intolerances, because we can substitute with almond milk or soy milk if required.

Remember the cute expressions? Need I say more….

baby girl pouting bath

Our gorgeous, brand new Milk Bath tub is perfect for wrapping up our sessions, and big enough for twins, too!

Babies love splashing in a little bit of warm water, with Mum or Dad blowing bubbles over my shoulder, while I try to avoid the water splashing over the camera! haha… But seriously, the most fun part of the session, and a great way of washing all the cake and icing off baby’s body.

floral cake smash session brisbane

The best part of the cake smash session is having your photos ready for baby’s birthday! If you’d love to use these gorgeous photos for your baby’s birthday invitations, or a beautiful photograph on the table at baby’s 1st birthday, it’s important to tell us, so we can schedule your session around 11 months, and have the photos ready for you asap.

Our beautiful digital storyboard (below) is a gorgeous way of showing off baby’s photos for their birthday! This is included in your Cake Smash session, along with another 15 Digital Images of your choice, to keep.

Cake Smash celebrations. I love them.

Book your Cake Smash session today.

cake smash brisbane

Photography payment plans

I’m the first to admit I cannot stand payment plans. I don’t like loans. I don’t like the fees and the interest and I don’t want to buy a car and spend 3 times the amount paying it off over 20 years….I don’t like the idea of interest-free for 2 years, then wham, fees galore after that! I mean, unless it’s a downright necessity, we do all we can to avoid paying thousands of dollars more than what things are worth, right?!
It’s the same for photography, but – here’s a solution to our Payment Plan worries, with PayRight!
Working with babies, I know that A LOT of my clients started off as double-income families, and then made the huge jump to a one-income, or Maternity/Paternity-leave. It’s not easy to bring new life into the world, along with their costly purchases and delivery fees, when you’re down to one income.
The Newborn Studio offer quality, heirloom photography, and the majority of our clients spend $1900+ (actually, the majority spend $1500-$3000)….. that is entirely your choice, depending on what artwork you love. And we’re here to make it easy for you to have what you love, whether you’re paying for your products outright, or over time.
Our end result from every Newborn session, is to make sure you receive beautiful and quality products, the very best that we can produce for you, that will adorn your walls for years to come.
Some families are very happy to spend $2500 on their Newborn session and pop it on their credit card for those extra points – and that’s great! We love that.
Other families have a budget of say $200/month that they absolutely cannot max out…. and that’s great, too!
Because, we have wonderful options for you!
I’ve spent years offering in-house payment plans to my clients, who were paying off their products slowly. But… the big negative was, I couldn’t release their products for months until their payments were finished. That really irked me, because I want my clients to have their products ASAP. Nobody wants to wait, but unfortunately I’m not a bank, and I can’t release products without payment.
PayRight payment plans have changed what I know about loans, completely! And this is one that I am 100% HAPPY to offer my clients! 🙂
PayRight plans work like this. But firstly, let’s introduce you to our clients, “Molly & Greg”.
Molly is on Maternity leave with half pay, and Greg has been working in real estate for 5 years. They’ve been renting a townhouse an hour away for the last 8 years, and they’re moving to their “forever home” in a few months time. This is their first baby.
Molly & Greg have a fairly loose budget, they enjoy having dinner out every so often, and a treat at the movies, but don’t want to over-spend each month. They value what they spend money on, and they’re able to commit to $50 per week towards their photography products, rather than paying it off in full, as it will be easier on Greg’s income, while Molly is on leave.
Molly and Greg have had their Newborn session, viewed and chosen their photographs, and have chosen our Premium Portrait Box, with 20 Matted Prints + 20 Digital Images, for $2200. They don’t want to put the cost on their credit card, with their upcoming baby’s arrival soon, and they’re a bit nervous about a Payment plan, as they’ve only ever had a car loan. So, let’s chat about it, and see if it will work for them.
Molly & Greg have a clean credit history and would like to see if a Payment Plan suits their needs, so they can have their Portrait Box that they have seen, and love already. They know it will cost $2200 plus Payment Plan fees, so let’s work out their repayments.
Firstly, Molly & Greg discuss how much they want to pay today as a downpayment, and agree on $220 (10%). They discuss how easy it is to only need to pay $220 straight up! They were expecting to pay more. 
With a clean credit history and adequate checks (drivers licence, income details, etc), we enter their details into the computer, to compare fees and costs over paying their products off in 6 months or 12.  We let them know that PayRight has Low Fees, and NO INTEREST, EVER! Plus, Molly & Greg can pay off their products quicker if they want to, when Molly goes back to work. They’re really happy with that option.
We can see that with a $220 deposit towards their products, Molly & Greg need to pay $1980 remainder, plus fees. Their repayments works out at $176.37 per month, over 12 months. Their TOTAL FEES work out at around $195, for the ability to pay off their products over 12 months.
That’s less than $200 in fees!
Molly & Greg are really happy, they’ve come in under their budget of $50/week, and those fees will reduce if they pay it off quicker.
Molly & Greg love the option of paying off their products over 12 months, so we finish their application and submit to Payright. Within seconds, we see a YES! Approval is done. Yippee! Payright has approved their loan, so we swipe their credit card for the $220 deposit, and finish the approval process in the studio.
Molly & Greg are stoked! That was too easy!
Next step, we discuss Portrait Box colours with Molly & Greg, and they decide on a beautiful white box. We make notes of their order, and they’re ready to go!
In 3-4 weeks we’ll give Molly & Greg a call, and their Premium Portrait Box will be ready to pickup, and adorn the walls of their home.
Molly & Greg have only just started paying their first instalment to Payright, and they’ve already received their products! Win-Win!

Being able to afford beautiful Photography products is now really simple!

If you’re like Molly & Greg, and the option of paying $50/week sounds so much easier to you, then contact us now! We can help you choose the best products to suit you, AND show you a repayment schedule, even before your session.
With Payright’s help, we can now introduce a safe, secure way of taking your products home straight away, and paying them off gently over time. Whether you need a payment plan, or want the option anyway, it’s here for you.
So is there a catch? Only if you default, or stop paying. 
Yes, there are fees involved if you default on your loan, or miss payments without warning. It’s like any other loan, in that you’re committed to paying off your loan, with PayRight.
PayRight are responsible lenders, and won’t approve clients with a dicey credit history. Also, you as a client will probably know your credit history before signing up with PayRight, so it’s best if you call them directly beforehand for approval questions.
I have the very important job of offering you a Payright Payment Plan, so I’ll make sure you read the fine print and conditions BEFORE you sign up, and I’ll show you the repayment schedule, fees involved, and answer your questions first. I don’t want you signing up to something you don’t understand.
PayRight really is a WIN! for our clients!
If you’d love a Newborn or Family session, and you’d like to enquire first about a PayRight payment plan, contact us here and we will be in touch!
For as little as $50/week, Newborn photography is more affordable than you thought. 

Christmas Sessions are here!

Exciting news, Christmas sessions are here!

In our classic “The Newborn Studio” style, we’ve designed a simply gorgeous Christmas setup for your children’s Christmas photos this year.

Simply bring along a gorgeous outfit for your children to wear, or use one of our beautiful dresses, rompers and baby outfits we have in the studio.

Christmas sessions are 30 minutes, and available for up to 3 children.

Booking details below.


All Christmas sessions include:

Studio photography session for up to 3 children.

8 Digital Images via digital download

Online gallery to choose your favourite images

1 personalised Digital Christmas card (choice of 3 designs)

AND …. an 11×14 inch Matted Print of your favourite photo (valued at $120), ready for framing, or gifting to relatives


Christmas mini sessions

Christmas session dates

Friday 9th November

Saturday 10th November

Selected session times are available between 9.30am – 3pm.

Click here to contact us and BOOK YOUR CHRISTMAS SESSION

or contact us directly.


0419 657 120


Grab your Christmas outfit, and we’ll see you soon!


Christmas newborn photo stars

Terms & Conditions

Portrait Agreement to be signed for each session, upon booking.

$220 Session cost payable upon booking to secure your session.

Sessions are 30 minutes. Please arrive 10 minutes early.

 Session cost includes 8 Digital Images + 1 Digital Christmas card for emailing.

Extra digital images are available to purchase for $20 each.

Selected studio outfits are available for babies and children in limited styles and sizes.

Parents are welcome to join in photographs with the children.


Australian and International Photography Awards

Goshhhh, it’s been a huge few months!

Winter was absolutely full to the brim of beautiful Newborn babies, all due in June, July and August! We had a record number of sessions in 2018, by halfway through the year we’d already exceeded the amount of sessions that we’d photographed in any whole previous YEAR! It was mainly due to our Expo back in March, where we basically filled up our calendar for the rest of the year.

Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA)

Aside from our regular Newborn and Family photography sessions, was the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA) that rolls around each year in August. Personally, these Awards are my creative push as a photographer. Awards give me the motivation and drive to pull out some crazy, quirky stuff, and really push the boundaries of what I know and what I can produce. And knowing that I’m up against other photographers world-wide, I’m always striving to produce something I’ve never done or seen before.

So, while I was busy (very, very busy) photographing my regular clients throughout the year, I was quickly noticing that time was ticking past, deadlines were approaching, and I hadn’t done anything about Award prints…. Soon it was July, and I had less than 3 weeks to pull out something and make it amazing, in time for APPA. I had spent the last year planning, sketching, thinking of different setups and ideas, and had so far, put nothing into practice.

I needed 4 images to enter into APPA, and I was so stressed and starting to think that it just wouldn’t happen this year, I wasn’t organised. However….. the awards are judged in Melbourne, and for the first time, I was going there in person! I’d already booked my flights and accommodation months ago, and I was either going to waste a good trip, or get my act together.

The fact was, I had started about 8 different prints. I’d photographed elements, tried to edit them, and none of them were working. I went back through 2 years of shoots, 2 years of babies, 2 years of anything I’d photographed, and nothing was jumping out at me. I was still spending hours on Pinterest, Instagram, googling random things that give me inspiration…. I kept thinking of new ideas, when I really needed to focus on 4, and get them done. I was very quickly running out of time.

Deadlines…. !

With 2 weeks to go, deadlines flinging past, a couple of weeks of midnight-2am editing stints, I finally found my groove, and settled on my final 4 prints. After a few prints/re-prints/re-re-prints, and then finding out my Matting lab had closed down and I needed to switch to another lab… spending a couple of days driving around Brisbane (with my 2yo!) manically picking up prints, taking them to be matted, picking them up again, I finally got them into the post with a few days to spare – OMG. Never leaving it to the last minute, again!! (Of course I will do this again…. !).

I’ve been entering APPA for the past 4 years, but only 2 years ago received my Associate of Professional Photography – the first step past being Accredited, on the way up the ladder 🙂 My goal in the next year or two was to receive the red ribbon, Master of Photography, which I thought I needed another 6 points to achieve. These points are only achieved at National awards, there are no points given at State awards.

However… just before APPA, I read my current scores again, and realised I only needed FOUR points to achieve my Masters… I’d been reading it wrong, and potentially, there was a chance I could grab that Masters ribbon right now.

The knowledge that this year was a possibility of receiving my Masters was crazy! I knew I could do it – but it would be a long shot, receiving 4 images ALL awarded a Silver at least, would give me 4 points… could I do it? Yes…. I’ve done it in the past, so I knew I could do it again, but it all came down to the judges, and what they saw in my photographs. I also knew there was a huge chance that I wouldn’t get it. Lots of amazing photographers are not awarded. Lots receive a 78 or 79 (those stupid 1 or 2 points below Silver). The Australian-wide awards are tough. So bloody tough. They award the best of the best, and there was a huge mental battle before judging, just hoping it would get through, but knowing it wasn’t an easy competition. Plus, I’d left it til the very last minute. I wasn’t organised, I shot my pieces 2 weeks prior, and I’d ran out of time.


Judging the APPA awards takes 3 full days, with 5 rooms of prints simultaneously being judged the whole time. I am so thankful that the Newborn category was being judged first up, on the first day – otherwise I don’t know how I would have waited another day!!

The judges are asked to reward the print based on lighting, camera technique, initial “wow” factor, composition, printing, paper choice… and in Newborn category, skin tone, posing, handling, just to name a few. There are 5 judges on the panel, and they all give scores between 0-100, and the average is the score we receive. I’ve done the Judges training in preparation for potentially judging in the future, and bloody hell, it’s tough. It’s subjective. It’s 5 different opinions, mixed together. It’s 5 people who dont know you, dont know the print, dont know the story, and dont know how many hours it took you to shoot it. And it’s irrelevant, anyway. It’s about what they see and feel, on the day.

On “judge-ment day” I was home, in front of 2 computers, running 2 different rooms with the live feed from Melbourne. (My flight left the next day, so I was home when my category was judged).  I had my phone which kept dinging with messages from friends all in the same predicament as me, waiting for our prints to be judged…. Facebook messages kept popping up, other photographers frantically messaging each other when the live feed paused for a second, and the pressure was on.


Image #1

My first print rolled around and OMG, those vomit-inducing 20 seconds when you’re sitting there waiting for the judges to assess the print, give their score, and appear on the live feed, feel like forever! This print was one I’d previously entered in the Qld state awards earlier this year and received a Silver, but I’d completely re-worked it for APPA. How would it score? Would they prefer this one, or the previous one? Ahhh, nail-biting times. And then…. the relief flowed when the scores pop up and I realise I’ve earnt my first award, a Silver Distinction at 85 points, for my print titled “Post Natal Depression”.

Post Natal Depression : Silver Distinction

This image portrays my feelings on Post-Natal Depression. I have 3 children of my own, and fortunately never had post natal depression after their births. Yes, the day-5 baby blues hit me, but it was absolutely nothing compared to what I’ve seen some of my friends and clients go through. For this reason I had a deep interest to explore more about post natal depression and what it feels like, and I wanted to portray it in a photo. *Please note, this client is not associated with this particular PND story, she allowed me to use this setup during her Newborn session*. As always, this story came together as I was working on it in post production. I knew I wanted to start with a dark cloud over the mother’s head (see behind the scenes below) and it went from there. I combined elements of different images together to achieve this. I also toyed with having “words” written into the cloud, and I ditched that when I saw it in print, it didn’t need it. To me, post natal depression looks like darkness. A void. A black hole. Oppression. Emptiness. A ray of hope, yes, but no way to get out of this life. Holding your baby, but out of necessity, not because you want to. I hope I have created something to honour a mothers journey with post natal depression, with full respect, admiration and love.

Some behind the scenes photos of “Post Natal Depression”, creating the dark paper mâché cloud which was my basis of the concept. (I’m a very messy creator!) 🙂

















Image #2

After seeing my first image score a Silver Distinction, I was pumped and nervous and shaking and jittery with excitement and nerves, off to a great start! Before long, my next photo, “Africa”, was on the screen in front of me!

This one I had secretly hoped was a Gold. Yeh – I’m putting it out here. I really did think it was gold-worthy. I only create and show work that I’ve never seen before. The judges want fresh, innovative Newborn portraits – well here you go! Here’s one I created earlier 🙂 It had a great story, capture, lighting, and yeh, I was thinking surely it would be a 90 at least. Well, the images pops up, and the scores do too – 85, 86, 83, 92, 84 – I think OMG – theres a 92 in there, and the Judge starts to challenge it in order to have the other judges’s scores raised. Unfortunately, the argument wasn’t strong enough to carry it to gold. Some judges thought it belonged in a different category, perhaps Family, and I think they’re probably right. Still being 4 points off, it received an 86 – a Silver Distinction.

Africa : Silver Distinction

I really love this photo, it’s something I’ve never photographed before, and I love the concept. I photographed gorgeous T at her pregnancy session, and then again at her baby boy’s newborn session. After her maternity session I looked through the images on my computer and an idea formed, and I started researching African culture.. this family had moved from Zimbabwe and had no family here, and it just pulled at my heartstrings.  I wanted to show a strong mother, pregnant, and with her newborn. She’s holding Africa, her homeland, on her head and shoulders, and she has a bag of clothes and a teddy at her feet. She’s left her homeland. Her baby looks around at the world, as his mummy remains standing firm. It’s part African culture and history, and part modern influence. A changing world, a changing family.


Image #3

This print I’ve titled “Owl Babies”…  this is the print that I made up at the last minute, the details of which are below.

I’m very relieved that the judges saw this print as a solid silver, which is really what it is, nothing more, nothing less. It scored an 84 – 1 point off Silver Distinction. Judges scores were 84, 83, 82, 88, 83. If I remember there was a challenge, however the judges seemed happy with their scores and it didn’t change much. Some commented on the white colour merging into the babies at the bottom…. that was my attempt to show snow, which I’ll have to work on again! An 84, solid Silver.

Owl Babies : Silver

I’d already photographed baby K at his newborn session and I had a few different poses from him in the same outfit. I was trying different ways of making a new image, and nothing was working. Then one day I was in my backyard at home, hanging out the washing. On my rock wall, my husband was collecting old sticks and branches for firewood, and there was a branch sitting there that I’d seen for weeks and weeks. This time I picked it up, turned it over, and saw it on its side, and knew I could use it for something. I sprayed it with fake snow, photographed it and removed branches in post production that I didn’t want, and added babies. My thoughts was a tree with snow, and little snow babies. The owl came when I was talking with a photographer friend of mine and saying I wanted to photograph a bird on the branch, but what…. ? Her mum to the rescue!! Thankyou Mrs C, for loaning me your owl – the beautiful finishing piece to this print. The little green leaf is an added extra…. the last little element to give the judges something else to think about, and add interest.

Photographing elements behind the scenes…


Image #4

At the same time as the Owl Babies photo was being judged, my fourth and final print was also being judged in the other room! I had no idea, I was focussed on watching the last one, when I saw this one on the other screen be replaced with a new print. Omg, I missed it! I quickly had ding-ding-ding messages from friends who’d seen it, and I paused the judging and went back through the other room to view it again.

This print was a Silver at Qld state awards earlier this year, and I really didn’t do much at all to change it for APPA, apart from some skin details. I suppose in hindsight I should/could have done more, added more, changed something, but I ran out of time, and this one was ready to go.

The judging came up – 77, 82, 77, 78, 81…… now, this adds up to 79… but IF one of those judges was in the “80” category, and another had a really low score and it also scored 79, it would actually have scored 80 – because the majority of judges were in the 80’s….. hypothetically speaking, because that didn’t happen. It scored 79, 1 tiny little point off Silver. My last chance at my last point for Masters.

I had 1 extra chance, though, and it was very, very slim. Each point on the cusp of awards goes “for review” after the category is judged – it’s a very quick “yes or no” from the judges – should it go up to 80 (Silver), or should it stay at 79 (no award). So for another hour or so, I sat there waiting and waiting and waiting for my category to finish, then the judges had a 1 hour lunch break (OMG!!!), before resuming to judge reviews.

And so it happened, that it popped up for review on my screen, and it was a no. Print stays at 79. As quick as that. “Next print please”.

New Life : 79

No matter what score this print receives, I will always be so proud of it. This was probably the first time I’d gone WAY out of my creative comfort zone, combining a handmade twig dress (yes, I made that!), before drastically changing it at the last minute to something different. I created a wire dress template, then hunted around our local bike track a few times, filling my car with vines, stripping leaves all over my verandah, and curling them onto the dress with wire into place, before they dried and went hard. Originally I had also glued about 300 beautiful leaves all over it, and at the last minute I removed them hastily and added more branches… why? I’m not sure, but if I’m ever unsure about something, I usually remove it, it was probably never meant to be there. This image shows a strong woman, my beautiful client C, and her gorgeous baby. Her “dress” is part-consuming… dead branches, coming up from the earth, but her baby is new life. Fresh, green, new hope. She’s holding a fresh green leaf in her other hand. I’ll leave that up to you and the judges, it’s another element that could be anyone’s opinion why it’s there, I just felt it needed it. This image to me is New Life.

Behind the scenes… dress creation.


The After-affect

All in all, the APPA weekend was amazing. Incredible. Firstly, as a Mum with 3 young kids – staying in Melbourne, alone, for 4 days = heaven!!! Omg Mums, do it!!! 4 days of room service, doing whatever the heck I wanted to do, going to bed after midnight, and waking up late… YASSS. And also the amazing after-parties, gala dinner, etc…. so much fun.

I haven’t even mentioned anything about being there with great, amazing, wonderful friends!!! Other photographers who boost each other up, my tribe, the reason we all get through this season is because of each other. And we’re all sitting there, waiting to see each other’s photos pop up for judging. We’re all keeping an eye out, texting each other silently, running from room to room when their prints appear, sending messages, gripping hands, giving silent “eeeeek!” hugs through the judging…. Without my tribe, it wouldn’t be the same.

Yes, part of it was disappointing, and that was all on ME. That one little point. ONE POINT!!! It’s just frustrating to be so close, and yet so far. But what can I do, except show up again next year with amazing photos! I WILL grab that red Masters ribbon in 2019!!

Melbourne wasn’t all about my awards – I also volunteered for the first time, print-handling behind the scenes! Let me tell you, it wasn’t what I thought it would be…. in a good way, I suppose. I thought I’d be perhaps turning prints, or packing prints, or sticking them on the wall – but it was like this, TENFOLD. The most amazing bit was seeing so many crazy-awesome awarded prints, up close! Handling golds and gold distinctions! Hanging these beautiful pieces of artwork on the wall. Mind.Blown. The photography was another level, and it was SO good to see winning prints up close – not just the photo, but the printing – the paper choice – the details you can’t see on the online live stream. WOW.

The print-handling was another thing. Put it like this. My hotel was a nice 2km walk from the city, down to the Melbourne function centre. That sounds nice, and I walked that about 6 times over the days I was there, no big deal. But the 1 day that I volunteered, was also the LAST day of judging, which was also the PACKUP day….. Basically, the torture day.

So I was told to wear flat shoes – no worries, I got flat boots! Melbourne is cold, so boots were worn. BIG mistake. Big. Huge.

My job was running prints, and when I get a job to do, I try to do it to the best of my ability. I don’t slack off. I’m a “get-it-done” kinda girl. So I did. I “walked efficiently” between all 5 rooms, picking up prints for the wall, sticking tiny little sticky dots on the back, and popping them on the wall. This also sounds nice and flowery. But 24,853 steps later (that’s nearly 17kms walking in one day), (I should have lost about 5kgs but anyway)…. my feet were very unhappy. I sucked it up and moved my ass for 8 hours, print-handling, packing up, sorting cases, refused to let my feet out of my shoes until I was in the hotel. But seriously. Print-handling and behind the scenes was indescribable. Meeting new people, seeing photographers I haven’t seen in years, wow! Even through the foot-pain, what a tremendously great experience. I will be there again next year! (With joggers).

Fast-foward 3 weeks since APPA. I had to remove part of my nail polish from my toes, they felt like hell and I knew they were bruised, and wasn’t sure whether I needed to punch a whole through to remove the pressure. Yep. That. My big toes are reeeeally dark bruised now, and the massive blister on my ankle is finally shrinking. #postappaproblems


The wrap-up

Would I do it again? Absolutely! Would I print-handle again? Definitely! Will I enter competitions again? YES!

I know now I’m only ONE stinkin’ point away from that elusive red ribbon – I’m coming’ atcha, Masters! I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure I grab that 1 Silver award next year, and really properly earn my red Master of Photography ribbon. I kinda am glad I didn’t get it this year. I didn’t plan or execute my prints with enough timing. I was too busy. So in 2019 I’ll make sure I schedule enough time throughout the year to plan, shoot, and print, so I really do deserve the win next year.


The Rise International Awards 2018

With no pressure to perform, the Rise Awards popped up this year for their inaugural year, luckily, after APPA!

The very first year Rise awards have been around, and another competition to receive feedback, and put my images forward. The best thing this year, was that I could use photos I’d already stressed over from APPA – so with little to no preparation, I sent them off to the digital-only competition, and promptly forgot all about it.

The judging was last week, and today we received our scores. I’m happy with these, and although all 5 of my prints were awarded (yay!), I realised straight away that I really do need to work on my prints for different competitions – especially for digital comps! There’s so much that I made in my prints to be seen on paper, that may not show up on screens… Ahhh, next year.

I’m very honoured to receive 5 Awards from the 5 prints I entered. 4 Silver Awards and 1 Bronze. Thankyou, Rise team.


So, another year done and dusted for print competitions.

A huge T H A N K Y O U to each and every one of my clients. Whether I photograph you for awards or not, you’re always part of my planning process, I’m always learning and growing and trying something new, and I grow with every session I photograph. For others, thankyou for just going with me! Thankyou for putting up with my fiddling and mucking around. Thankyou for letting me dress you in weird outfits/branches/material etc. Thankyou for letting me run with my crazy, creative brain. And the hugest thankyou to my husband and family. When I’m photographing clients, my youngest 2 year old daughter is being minded by someone. My kids are either at school, or with hubby. There’s always someone behind the scenes, keeping the family running, when I’m with my clients.

It takes a village. Thankyou.

Bring on 2019! x