portraits

Fletcher Family Beach Portraits | Noosa National Park

Flether Family | Noosa National Park

Everyone is home for Christmas, an opportune time for family portraits.

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I met the entire Fletcher family at Noosa Heads National Park early one morning between Christmas and New Years for an extended family portrait session at the beach.  We chose the sheltered cove of Tea Tree Beach as it is accessible for all ages and has a great mixture of backgrounds from the ocean to rocks and bush. 

Not always but most of the time, babies and toddlers are fairly well behaved after a nap and a feed so we decided an early morning would be best to kick off.  Tea Tree cove is fairly well sheltered from direct light of the morning which provided some great soft open light and plenty of opportunities to change backgrounds and still have nice light all around.

It’s not often the whole family comes together, usually this happens around holiday events or significant birthdays or life events.  Here, everyone had gathered at Bryan and Roses house at Noosa for the Christmas and New Years period.  We had grandparents up from Melbourne, one family from Brisbane and another family from London.  What was extra special about this Christmas was that the two grand children were able to play together for the first time.

I had a list of photos from Byran and Rose of what they wanted from the photoshoot, the standard group shot and then breaking down into the smaller family groups.  We started off with some candid images while everyone settled into the location before setting up the more structured groupings.  Of course there are no hard and fast schedules to be followed so I am always open to requests and ideas from all family members.  Once we were finished with the formalities it was time to have a bit more play time at the beach and capture some natural portraits of everyone.

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It was made clear at the time of booking that there was a limited window of time to edit and reveal the images and process and print the favourite portraits.  In a few days following the portrait session I revisited the Fletcher family at home and projected a slideshow on their TV.  I carry sample printed products with me to the photoshoot and also to the image reveal and ordering sessions to give an idea of the features and qualities of each product.

Each family took home either a Canvas Print or a Wood Print along with a USB stick containing all the edited images from the session.  Prints can take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks to process as each image is further enhanced for the chosen print medium.    


Stuart Cox from Stuart C Photography is a professional photographer who works with children and families in the outdoors to create awesome artwork for you to keep and display in your home forever. Based in Caboolture, North of Brisbane towards the Sunshine Coast.  Family Portrait Sessions are typically held on Saturdays in a location of your choice.  A quality range of options for displaying your family portraits are available, whether you are looking for something small such as a matted print or an acrylic tile, an heirloom album or large wall art.  Family Portrait Sessions start at $95 and your choice of prints and products range from $50 per print and up to $995 for a 40x60” Canvas print for your wall.


What to do when it rains on your family portrait day | Caboolture Family Photographer

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet
— Roger Miller

Shooting outdoors has an inherent risk of poor weather, I always keep an eye on the weather forecasts in the lead up to the shoot and leave it fairly late if we should cancel or continue.  All week I have been hoping for a dry spell for a family photo shoot that was scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Centenary Lakes.

 Sun-showers and a little bit of rain don’t phase me and it is often the case that when the sun comes back out there is magic in the air, everything is cleansed, the sun is shining - perfect.  Not so much this week, everything has been soaked to the core and unfortunately I had no other option than to postpone the session.

Today I realised that I probably should not let the weather get the best of me, we all love to shoot when the sun is shining and the weather is perfect, but being an outdoor family photographer I am at the mercy of the weather.  Now being stuck in the rain is not everyone’s cup of tea, but maybe I should ask the question and try something more adventurous with my families.  

If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain
If you´re not into yoga, if you have half a brain
If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape
I´m the love that you´ve looked for, write to me, and escape
— ‘Escape’ by Robert Holmes

My resident model was as keen as mustard to get dirty and wet!  A typical 4 year old boy, always ready and willing to splash in some puddles.  So in a park not too far from home, we ventured out in the inclement weather in search of muddy puddles.

Portrait of child wearing gumboots and holding an umbrella as it rains in a caboolture park | North Brisbane family portrait photographer

Stuart C Photography is a Caboolture based Outdoor Family Photographer servicing all areas from North Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast.  Family Portrait Sessions are typically held on Saturdays in a location of your choice.  A quality range of options for displaying your family portraits are available, whether you are looking for something small such as a matted print or an acrylic tile, an heirloom album or large wall art.  Family Portrait Sessions start at $95 and your choice of prints and products range from $50 per print and up to $995 for a 40x60” Canvas print for your wall.


Need some help or ideas for preparing your next outdoor family portrait session?

 
How to prepare for family portraits
 

What to wear to your Outdoor Portrait Session

There are many approaches to dressing for your portrait session and I generally take a casual approach to suit the location and activity.  I want to open up some new ideas, concepts and general rules of thumb to help you choose what to wear and look your best in for your next outdoor portrait session. 

 
  • Confident yet Comfortable

  • Suits the Activity and Location

  • Complimentary, Not Matching

  • Avoid Logos and Text

You want to look your best for your photoshoot session but you also want to be comfortable in what you are wearing because if you feel uncomfortable, you will most like look uncomfortable.  Dress for the occasion, activity or location; a tight dress and heels isn't going to work for a day at the beach, but would be perfect for an urban setting.

 

Think about how the colours and styles will look in your home

 

Think about the location and the activity and what you would normally wear, then step it up just a little with some attention to detail and coordination.  

Take for instance a photoshoot at the beach wearing shorts and t-shirts with thongs or sandshoes.  Now pick three bright colours and  a base colour that work well together.  Mix them up between shorts, shirts and accessories so not everyone is wearing the exact same thing but there is still connection.

If that's too much colour, perhaps you could choose one colour that everyone would wear, whether it be pants, a shirt, a head band, or a scarf.  I believe there should be something in common, but not the same item, to connect everyone in the image.

Pay attention to the details by making sure your clothes are clean and lint free, shirts have been ironed and don't have large creases, buttons and zips are intact, bra straps are hidden, and tags have been removed.

I always recommend that you avoid large logos, text and images where possible because they can date an image and be very distracting to the viewer.


Download the Outdoor Family Photography preparation guide

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Portraits in Urban Locations

Having your family or engagement photos taken in an outdoor location requires a lot more planning than showing up for a photoshoot in a studio but you don’t have to worry because I’m here to guide you through choosing the best times for your favourite locations.

  • Bright and Vibrant, Dark and Moody, Gritty

  • Greys, Browns, Blacks, Whites, and Bold Colours

  • Be bold with patterns or colours

  • Any time of day and night

It's quite surprising what you can find close to home.  I find urban locations to be quite intimate places featuring rough walls and textures.  It's hard to beat the Powerhouse at Newstead but if you look closely, hidden gems can be found close to home.

Urban areas are often quite drab with shades of greys and browns, sometimes covered in graffiti or overgrown greenery, or you may find walls covered in bright solid colours.  Bright and bold clothing, both in colour and pattern, lend themselves well to Urban backgrounds.

These locations are typically shaded and dark but you can find the off open area that will get some rays, however most of the time will be in soft light or artificial light such as flashes.

A variety or moods can be created within an urban setting such as light and bright, warm and intimate, cool, dark and grungy.  You should be able to shoot at anytime of the day or night but it depends on how you want your image to look and feel, and also what best suits your desired urban hang out.


Portraits in Rural and Bushland Locations

Having your family or engagement photos taken in an outdoor location requires a lot more planning than showing up for a photoshoot in a studio but you don’t have to worry because I’m here to guide you through choosing the best times for your favourite locations.

  • Bright and Warm

  • Yellows, Oranges, Greens and Browns

  • Wear darker clothing to contrast

  • Early Mornings or Late Afternoons

You don't need to head far out of Caboolture to find a nice rural or bushland scene.  You could go anywhere off the beaten track such as Kurwongba, Wamuran, Elimbah, Woodford, Mt Mee, Beerwah, or the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Open Bushland and Rural scenes can vary dramatically, from dense trees to great open vistas.  You will generally find elements such as dirt roads, trails, fences, structures and long grass to include in your portraits.

These areas offer light and bright backdrops with warm colour tones such as yellows, oranges, and browns, but still have a fair bit of green.

To avoid harsh overhead light, these locations are best shot early in the morning and later afternoon because at these times you can expect nice golden light which is perfect for back-lighting and flares. Darker clothing works well here for contrast with the lighter backgrounds, however wearing light and bright complimentary colours such as blues and whites help achieve bright airy images.


Portraits in Rainforest Locations

Having your family or engagement photos taken in an outdoor location requires a lot more planning than showing up for a photoshoot in a studio but you don’t have to worry because I’m here to guide you through choosing the best times for your favourite locations.

  • Dark and Moody

  • Greens, Browns, Greys and Black

  • Wear brighter colours to contrast

  • Mid-Morning to Mid-Afternoon

Head to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland for amazing rainforest locations such as Kondalilla Falls or Mary Cairncross Reserve.  You will come across some wonderful elements such as interesting tree trunks to pose against, rocks and boulders to sit on, pathways and bridged to lead into the scene, and not forgetting waterfalls and streams.

The rainforests are typically dark and moody with hues of browns, greens and blacks, so choose brighter colours that contrast with the dark greens of the background.

Rainforests are great at any time of day as the sunlight doesn't change dramatically under the dense canopies.  On sunny days you may get a lot of dappled light and pockets of light shining down like spotlights.

Alternatively, if the weather is overcast and verging on light showers, your images will tend to be softer and more evenly lit without harsh lighting and shadows.  I feel that the middle hours of the day are well suited to a rainforest photoshoot.


Morgan & Jordan: Shorncliffe Pier

In all the years I have been visiting Shorncliffe Pier I have never walked to the end of it, worth the walk as it's such a nice spot to take in the bay.  Morgan and Jordan met me down at the pier for a casual engagement shoot late in the afternoon, the weather was great with wonderfully warm skies.

These are a couple of my favourite images from the session which went for around an hour.  The above image really appeals to me, we took advantage of the sheltered area to avoid the wind which gives a sense of intimacy and privacy.

Congratulations Morgan and Jordan on your recent engagement and I hope you enjoy the fine art prints for years to come.

Morgan & Lara: Brisbane Power House

Female couple in black jackets against brick wall with green glass behind during evening

I met Morgan and Lara at the Brisbane Power House at Newstead on a Saturday afternoon, the aim for the shoot was urban and colour.  There was a bit of a jostle for positions among the numerous wedding parties but we managed to get around to all the great backdrops the Power House has to offer.

We created many great photos during the shoot and these are a small selection of my favourites.  Towards the end of the shoot Morgan and Lara had a wardrobe change and upon seeing Lara is her leather jacket I knew she needed to be the dominant character in this image pushing Morgan up against the brick wall.  

Morgan and Lara have been together for three years after meeting at a conference and recently became engaged.  Unfortunately Australia has a while to go before we are given the basic rights to marry the ones we love.

Brian & Tash: Family Photos at Home

Outdoor family photo at dusk in home garden setting

Sometimes the best place to take family photos is at home; yes in the familiar surrounds of your own backyard.  Home is generally a relaxing environment, perfect for children to just be themselves in their own space and perhaps oblivious to the person behind the camera.  I spent the afternoon and evening with Brian, Tash and the twins in their very green back yard.

First up we spent some time in the vege patch while the kids were warming up to me, instead of jumping straight into posed photos we let the kids show me around the garden.  The two photos of Father and Son picking peanuts and Mother and Daughter picking flowers are some of my favourites from the afternoon as they show both the bond between them and to the environment.  After we had explored the vege patches I set up a nice family shot between the flower beds and captured a mixture of natural and posed photos.  The background may be a little unconventional but I like that the plain grey of the shed walls make the colours pop and all focus is on Brian, Tash and the kids.     

I like to include props and activities in my family photos, here we used a vintage push bike and sidecar which the kids love to ride around in, I jumped on it to with the twins for a bit of a laugh.  The bike has been in the family circle for many years and was gifted from a close family friend, i'm sure there are some photos of Brian sitting in the sidecar when he was a child.   

Props and activities also lead to some great candid moments where the children forget about the camera and do what kids do best; Play.  dad is a tinkerer and spends a lot of time in the shed with these two so we set up a spot in the shed with tools and a small engine.  With the scene set we left the twins to their own devices and watched the play time unfold, sure enough just like dad they are on the tools and having a blast.


My Children: Newstead House, Newstead

Kids running down stairs in traditional cottage garden. Outdoor family photos Caboolture Photographer Family Photography

One thing you can never have enough of is photos of your kids, they grow so quickly.  

This year my wife Kathy has asked me to keep up the photos of the kids and do at least one proper photo shoot a month of the two of them.  Every year we have made ourselves a photo book with images of them doing all kinds of activities and visiting places near and far.  

This month we headed to Newstead House, one to learn about local history and secondly they have fantastic manicured gardens everywhere.  Technically I'm not allowed to shoot there with out a permit for a paid gig, but as it's personal it didn't really matter so much.

I'll definitely be printing these images to be hung around the house.


Merchant Family: Shorncliffe Pier

Boys will be boys, lined up at the handrail near Shorncliff Pier

Boys will be boys - like herding cats but you can't beat candid and natural moments

You don't have to apologise for your children not following instructions or sitting still and posing perfectly for the camera - that just isn't going to happen.  Just embrace it, run with it, see what they do and be quick to capture.

I spent the morning with these boys, all cousins from three families and it was chaos but it was great; They couldn't sit still no matter how hard everyone tried.  But sometimes that makes for fun photos, candid memories of kids being kids - playing, exploring, completely oblivious to the camera.  

I have young children myself so I know what it's like; don't be embarrassed, don't apologise, don't worry - I've got this.   


Van Gosliga Family: Lake Eden, Northlakes

Adult family portrait at dusk under jacaranda tree

Over the past year or so I have built a good relationship with Rex.  Rex owns and runs a cafe local to my office, I drink a lot of coffee so I see him regularly.  One afternoon we arranged to meet down at Lake Eden, Northlakes for a family portrait session - these images were from session number 2 as we rescheduled due to being rained out on the first attempt.

After previous experimentation with flash, soft boxes and dusk lighting, we decided at the end of the session to keep shooting into the falling light.  While they aren't natural looking outdoor photos that I would normally take, I do like how everyone pops off the dark background and the rest of the light at the edges falls off.   


Rashid Family: Centenary Lakes, Caboolture

Adult Family photo in the park

Centenary Lakes is the gem of Caboolture, right in the heart of town, it offers wonderfully green backdrops for your outdoor family portrait.  Liz engaged me to photograph her family with her mum and step dad along with her siblings and their partners.

There are many places within Centenary lakes where you can find quiet secluded parkland to relax, unwind and pose in front of the camera.

 
Stuart clearly loves what he does and takes the time to ensure everything is the best it can be, both during and after the shoot.
— Liz C
 

Lara & Jason: Red Beach Bribie Island

Engaged couple looking over guys shoulder with golden light from behind

Red Beach is one of my favourite spots to visit, located at the southern tip of Bribie Island it makes for some fantastic afternoon portrait sessions.  While it is generally not sheltered from the weather, the tree lined dunes filter the afternoon sun perfectly making for some great bokeh.  

Lara and Jason met me there one sunny afternoon for an engagement portrait session and we were delighted with golden sunlight through the dark paperbark trees.  The image at the top of the page is my favourite from the portrait session; I like the light and airy feel from the golden sunlight filtering through the sea haze behind them.  The lens flair was not intentional but brings a feeling of warmth and retro charm to the shot.  The connection Lara has with the camera dominates the composition and draws your attention.

 
Thanks for your time today Stuart, it was great meeting you! Lara and I loved the setting and the shots.
— Jason