Shooting for fun No 1...At the Beach

Although we are nearly at the end of Summer and there are still some good beach days left I thought I'd start with helping you improve your beach photography.

My weapon of choice at the beach is not what you'd think especially if you happen to be down there at the brightest time of the day.

Apart from the obvious dangers of taking your DSLR down to a possibly hostile environment eg cameras do not like sand and especially hate wind and sand...there is one gadget that performs pretty well in this environment and we all have one.

Yes my camera of choice at the beach is hands down my iphone!.

The iphone, or any smartphone performs best in an overly lit environment. It handles the sun well and really loves landscapes. You can get a near perfect picture from your phone and all you need is a bit of shade so that you can see what you have got incase you need to re shoot it.

A few tips are

Get your horizon line can fix it when you edit but you will lose valuable pixels.

Always edit your photos!....they will look better. I use camera+ and snapseed. Do it when you get home so that you can see properly (I don't always follow that rule myself and then get a fright when I get home and my facebook post is a bit over the top!)

Always BACK OFF on the editing tool eg never use it on full strength.

Try not to mix the is enough and you don't want to degenerate the quality.

If you are going to use a frame then always use the same one. If you make a book later you want it to flow nicely.

Try and use a similiar B&W and a similar colour edit. The same goes for if they are going to be used on instagram. Use only a couple of different filters. Your work will look better, more professional and your 'style' will start to emerge if you use consistant edits

Experiment with different angles and compositions. Shoot from the ground...its way more interesting and very easy to do with a phone as opposed to a heavy camera.

Use reflections. The lower your phones vantage point....the better the reflections. They often make a beautiful image by themselves but also human shadows make the coolest shots.

You can take it into the water taking care to hang on tight! The kids splashing around from an angle within their environment will have a unique photojournalistic quality.

Edit them black and white....the sea has amazing tones....and then


Its not that hard....send them to your local online lab...take them into Atkins Technicolour and they will walk you through it all. 

then back them up on your computer and backup device.

Keep them safe they will be very precious one day!! :)

If you like this blog and want to learn more....sign up to my newsletter on the home page at 

I also do one on one mentoring if you'd like to learn how to get the most from your camera :)

Happy Snapping

Cheers Leanne


Summer loving - Defining Childhood

Sun Sand and Water

January - that wonderful month when time stands still.

Xmas is over....New Year is over and the coming year is shiny and fresh and full of promise.

The kids are relaxed and tanned and maybe getting a bit bored but they've learned how to amuse themselves and don't need constant friends around

Barefoot is back in

The beach is their favourite playground

The pool is never too far away to stay submerged in for an entire day when the temperature rises

Fruit becomes the staple

Walking is more fun than taking the car

A bike is even better

Everyone is loving the lazyness of it all ... especially the cat

Except poor old dad who is probably back at work and commuting to the shack on the weekends :(  ... or possibly Mum

These are the days the kids will look back fondly on and its time to either pull out your camera and catch those memories or get me to come and spend a couple of hours with you and shoot for a book or an album on a wall :)

Not to push the point but there is seriously no time like the right now to organise the memories of tomorrow and the gift they will bring to your camera and I are 'shack friendly' :)

There are 2 weeks left then its back to the grind for the year....

Catch them before they peel!

Portrait Perfection Actions by Sleekens

Yesterday I had the opportunity to try out Sleekens Portrait Perfection Actions. I chose to use the Photoshop set because I usually do my 2nd edit in PS particularly on any close up portraits.

They are also available for Lightroom.

I had a play around and quickly identified a couple of hot favorite and very useful actions.

In particular the Light Glow - Sunny, The Vintage Vignette, and Summer Love. Also because I shoot outdoors a lot the Reduce Greens action is particularly useful.

The From a Candy Store Paint effect is gorgeous and the Advanced Portrait is another action that will get plenty of use!

There are a large amount of Actions in this workflow but it doesn't take long to become familiar with them and I managed easily even before watching the comprehensive video workflow that comes with them.

I think they will be extremely useful to use in my studio production and will cut down the editing time dramatically. I would highly recommend them to other portrait photographers

Here are a couple of examples of a 5 minute edit...

To access these actions please go to the links below.

Sleekens also offer a photo editing service if you don't have time to do it yourself...

My Boys and I - Nettie, Potter and Tyler

A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of shooting a concept that has been actually years in the planning. Nettie used to do my nails back in the day and she has a passion for design. Her house is beautifully decorated and early this year she won a glamour shoot and decided that she would bring her fur babies along for the shoot. 

Tyler and Potter were both beautifully behaved and drop dead gorgeous!...the photos were designed to fit into some frames that had been sitting in the garage for many years just waiting for this opportunity!!.

Hair and Makeup were beautifully done by Davinia Coomber of Firefly Studios and the final product was going to be a combined wedding anniversary and birthday present for Netties husband Scott.

The shoot was so much fun and the result absolutely stunning!

There was a lots of love in the air :)

Printed onto canvas and then framed without glass, they look simply beautiful....if you drove past the studio last week you would have seen them in the window!

Nettie sent me some photos of them on her bedroom wall and as expected they fit in perfectly...

Thanks Nettie xx....What a great idea!!...I hope you get many years of please from your artwork xx

The place that inspires

Inspiration is the trickiest thing!. It can be strangely elusive when you need it and can pop up and catch you totally unawares. Its really handy as an artist to have a spot to go where you just know it will spark your creativity.

That place for me is Robe.

It starts with the long journey through the Coorong. During that 3 hours the landscape and light intensifies the colour of the natural landscape. The sky seems bluer, the vegetation colours start to separate into multiple shades, and the trees become more and more unique as if they are marking their personality onto a large flat landscape. 

Like many of Australia's landscapes the sky just gets larger and larger and you get a sense of your tiny place on earth. The cloud formations change as the afternoon approaches becoming soft and fluffy like white candyfloss against a vivid sky

I have gotten over my need to scream STOP every time I see a dry lake with a pink flamingo pallette and just soak it in over the 3 or so hours that the journey takes.

Everytime we travel down its a different season and a different palette...but its always interesting and quite a feast for my eyes.

By the time we pull into our luxurious, beachy accomodation I've already left the cares and worries of city life behind and am ready to find something different and new to do with the camera. The sea air and snuggly bedding ensure a great nights sleep and I nod off knowing that the next day I'll hopefully discover something new and unique even though it might be as simple as a common shell with 25 different shades of blue running through it.

My good friend Jacqui from Jacqui Bateman Photography is an amazing host and guide and knows all the hidden gems in the area. We don't usually waste too much time before we've left the boys in the pub and the girls to wander around town and we are off location hunting and planning our next few days of shooting.

For me like always its a concentrated time of creativity, shooting, great food, wine and company. It never fails to satisfy and lasts a good few months after the trip.

PS I may not have mentioned the shopping!...this time I didn't shop too much except for a couple of bits and pieces from the second hand shop for one of the shoots. I did however go to 'holiday' as aways and just drink in the surroundings. The styling in that shop takes my breath away and one day I'd like to recreate a bit of that in my studio.

Im not going to name the locations because they have been hunted out but Jacqui is doing art shoots and she is the go to photographer in the area :)

Here are a few of this years shots. Thanks to Dani and Lucia for hanging in there and modelling in some pretty wild weather and thanks so much to Jacqui and Richard for having us xx

Branding your website ... a morning with Jacque

What a lovely day Tuesday was with a visit from Jacque Opie from Inspire Training Solutions to shoot the images for her exciting new venture and website. The instructions were...I need my photos to be feminine, sensual but grungy so I'd like interesting urban locations and images that fit my personality and brand. 

Needless to say ...we had a lot of fun...! My studio has a glamorous front studio but I have left the back studio as rustic and industrial as possible so we didn't have to go too far.

Jacque  is looking amazing after a weeks break in Bali, and she has great taste in clothing so we were able to get a good variety of looks.

We have chosen 30 images which she will be able to feed through to social media and her new website so I can't wait to see it all happen

As always anyone who is up for it ends up getting dipped in the creek the event that I can create an art piece later on she went off to her meeting a little wet and a wee bit dirty!

x L

A wedding with a difference - 2nd April, 2016 - Peter and Elise

A fortnight ago I had the enormous pleasure of photographing the wedding of Elise and Peter at Middlebrook Estate in McLaren Vale. This was always going to be a wedding with a difference because the bride and groom met and fell in love through their mutual love of sic fi and star wars.

So on the surface it all went along like a regular wedding with all the prettiness, tradition and the gathering of family and friends but there was an intergalatic theme running just below the surface which became very apparent as the wedding vows were read.

It started with the wedding car or rather a 'Voyager' which ran a little late as according to tradition. Then the wows went according to the theme and had everyone in fits of laughter, and a few tears, including the lovely celebrant who embraced it beautifully and then we had a full range of props to play with once the formals were done!

The father of the bride had the room in fits of laughter as he read part of his speech in 'Ewokese' which would not have been an easy task, but was executed perfectly

Each table had a different sic fi themed bowl with the associated super heroes in them and the dance floor turned into the starship enterprise as the night wore on!

The crowning glory was however the most exquisite layered 'Cheesecake' with Benjy mouse and Frankie mouse sitting proudly on top being way more than 'white furry things with a cheese fixation' (quote Slartibartfast) 

It was a fabulous celebration and here is a sneak peak of some of the images captured on the day :)


Many thanks to Deb Saunders Photography for shooting with me :)

'May the force be with you'



'Entangled' a finalist in the Emma Hack Art Prize 2015

I am just coming to the end of a hectic few months of family shoots. I think I have enjoyed these as much as as I ever had probably because its coincided with the slow recovery of my knee and its quite joyful to be able to get around and actually work easily again. It has been kind of hard to put the 'art' hat on though and start thinking of the coming years 'schedule'.

With the deadline for the Emma Hack art prize looming I set about taking the theme 'humanity in nature' a step further because pretty much all my work would qualify. You would think that would have made my choice easier but it didn't. As always I like to keep anything I enter, particularly for awards, very fresh. I often enter images that have been shot the week before the deadline and sometimes the day before. So naturally I started sifting through my latest work to see what I could develop in the week preceding the deadline. This made for a highly stressful and frustrating week of trying to rush the unrushable (not a word actually according to google). The other thing you always have to weigh up is that you have 1 year to enter images into most of these competitions and that new work has a longer lifespan. 

I did a shoot on the Wednesday (deadline Friday) and started to edit it. It was finished on Thursday but I needed to print it out to check it before entering. Im pretty sure that mercury was retrograde that week. I had computers crashing, photoshop playing up, and naturally when I went to print the hot favourite, I ran out of magenta ink!. At this point I thought that in order to cut down on a bit of artistic stress I would pick the most obvious choice from the 'Entangled' series and put in the entry and then take the pressure off the new one. I entered the image I liked the most for the theme and then headed out to Graphic Arts Supplies to get some ink. When I got back I printed the new one up and checked it and then proceeded to try and enter it as well.

I should have read the rules entry only!

3 days later I was notified that 'Entangled' is a 2015 finalist. At the end of the day fate made the right choice and I think I will be running with the theme of 'humanity in nature' or the like for SALA this year because I have a lot of material now!

This means that she will be exhibited in the Adelaide Convention Centre from March 11th until the end of the Fringe. Its an amazing exhibition venue with fabulous exposure and I'm very happy that I'll be being represented this year by that particular image. I'll also be in the running for the Prize of $5000 and the peoples choice award of $2000 so if you get a chance your vote would be hugely appreciated....

Here is 'Entangled'....there is nothing like seeing her live in print along with the wide array of beautiful artwork from all different mediums that have been chosen as finalists. Congrats to my fellow photographer friends Danae Thyssen, Ben Lieu, and the very clever Alex Frayne who will be hanging alongside her. 

Thankyou to Montana Birt (model) and Grier Neilson (MUA)

Taken during my 2014 fine art workshop in Adelaide

A day at a mansion with Brooke

When I first heard about this workshop it was back in the middle of 2014. The date was the 13th and 14th of Dec and I immediately dismissed any thought of being able to race off to another state at the most frantic time of the year. But due to a major change of circumstances (my injury) when the opportunity popped up on her Facebook page it suddenly occurred to me that it may just be a possibility!. By the time I had checked out if it was possible the spot was gone and I realised how badly I really wanted to do the workshop and also how badly I needed some positive inspiration at a time when nothing was very pleasurable, least of all trying to shoot. I emailed Brooke and asked to be put on the waitlist for a cancellation and tried my best to forget about it. Middle of Nov and two weeks after my leg was operated on I woke up and checked my emails...there waiting for me was an email from Brooke Shaden offering me a spot in the Sunday workshop! It was seriously like waking up on Xmas morning with a full Santa sack! I grabbed the spot and decided to work out how I was going to get there and back later!

Once I'd secured my spot I was introduced to the other people doing the workshop and particularly the other two from Adelaide. Heidi, I recognised from my Facebook page and Danae, a local artist, were all going to be heading to the area where the mansion was the night before and we all arranged to stay in the same hotel. I had worked out that driving to Melbourne was going to be the only option so Warren (my hero), Dani and I decided to make a long weekend of it with two nights in Melbourne and then two in Geelong.

The drive, like all long drives, was a journey I needed...not only was it a timely escape from the previous two months of pain, there was such huge excitement about doing a Brooke Shaden workshop that  I seriously thought I might burst on the way there!.

For those who have no idea what I.m talking about, Brooke Shaden is a fine art photographer from the US who has been featured on Creative Live for the last few years and has shared her passion and techniques with a world audience. She is not much older than my oldest son and has been a shining beacon of inspiration with her amazing photography and her passion for storytelling through her work. She is also a fabulous teacher! I had already decided that if there was one thing I could do to help my growth as an artist and my business in 2014 then this was it! A couple of people mentioned that perhaps I didn't really need to do this, having been in the business for a long time myself, but I find that I learn a lot from young photographers who have such a fresh, uninhibited way of shooting and I particularly love Brooke;s approach to her art so....

So after a lovely couple of days in Melbourne catching up with dear friends, on the Sunday, Heidi, Danae and I headed off pretty early for the hour long drive to Barwon Park Mansion, with a car full of camera gear and crutches! Danae was on crutches too and luckily Heidi was 100% fit and able to carry all our gear :). We only got lost once, arriving a little late and after crashing and banging our way up the heritage staircase we had no choice but to make quite an entrance as the cripples from Adelaide! Brooke made us all feel very comfortable, very quickly and we settled in for some serious work with her. Having watched a lot of videos and tutorials I had to keep pinching myself that this was for real and keep reminding myself to live in the moment! To add...the location was in a magnificent heritage mansion in the middle of nowhere with an abundance of beautiful natural light and a resident ghost (apparently). There were two other fantastic AIPP photographers there from Melbourne, Vicky Bell and Robyn Miller and six people who had travelled all the way from Queensland!

Brooke spent the morning teaching us her methods of storytelling and showed us how she puts her work together. We explored the house and then settled in the servants quarters where Brooke shot her artwork with her model who had come with her from America.

After we had a break for a delicious vegetarian lunch we split up into three groups of five and then had a hour at each of three stations around the house.At each station we had a model and a wardrobe of gowns to shoot our concepts. This allowed each person around 10 mins with the model and also plenty of assistance. The hour in each area went lightening fast and there was a collective crazy creative energy for three hours straight with Brooke on hand assisting and checking what we were doing, and Kelly, her assistant, making sure everyone was well hydrated. 

Danae and I against all odds and made endless trips up and down the staircase...we even managed to climb up to the mezzanine floor in the barn (station3), which was quite an achievement, and for the most part the injuries in our group, (of which there were some pretty serious ones) were forgotten about, or rather pushed to the back of our minds! It was an awe inspiring experience!

Once finished we headed back to the drawing room and watched Brooke put the images she had taken earlier together, to create her artwork. We were all pretty exhausted by then, so we all relaxed as we watched the story emerge and become an artwork in its own right.

It is a weird feeling to be exhausted, inspired and buzzing all at the same time but by the time we all finished that was the collective feeling of the group. I emerged out of the drawing room to find Warren and Dani exploring the house and managed to get a couple of shots of Dani in the house as well. 

As we headed back to the hotel I was still having to pinch myself that the day had really happened...that Brooke and her family had actually come all the way out to Aus, (and NZ), shared all that she does, helped all of us get the most out of our day. and introduced us to a group of like minded artists who Im sure will keep in contact with.

It took a wee while to get through the images from the day but here are a few of them.

Many thanks to our lovely models -  Jessica Anne Cogan, Peta Robinson, and Steph Pez from the US, who did a fabulous job and also to  Danae Thyssen, Heidi Johns, Tyler Grace and Kiarn Hill who I had the pleasure of shooting with.

Gentle Breeze

Gentle Breeze



In Between

In Between