Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Rhiannon and I had an epic (nearly) 12 hour photo shoot day yesterday. We started with a cup of tea while brainstorming ideas and we ended with a cup of tea while bursting with excitement about what we'd created! Her first idea was "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil." I loved it & I immediately envisaged dark, black & white, grainy, grungy, close-up portraits. We agreed later that our images never turn out the way we expect them to (in a good way though) ha!

We were shooting at Miggy's parent house and the it took us ages to find the good light we...ok ok, that I was looking for — I'm getting very picky about my light these days. Photography is light, people!! Finally, we found the spot – I had Rhiannon stand on the doorstep in the back garden, using the white door as a backdrop and away we went. 

I absolutely love working with Rhiannon. In addition to this series of images we also have four other sets which I'll be publishing this week. At first I thought about publishing all of the images in one very long blog post but then I realised that it's way too easy for everyone including myself to just zoom through to the bottom without stopping to properly look at individual images...thus my decision to leak out the goods slowly! haha That's right, I'm forcing you to appreciate our have no choice :P

Monday, July 30, 2012

Marvelous Monday :: You're Awesome!!

Why is it that we aren't allowed to say "I'm awesome"? The minute those words leave your lips people think you're conceited, arrogant or vain. We're allowed to say that other people are awesome but in the name of humility we're expected to self-depreciate. I don't suggest we run around telling everyone how  great we are or going anywhere in the direction of saying we're better or the best. I'm simply suggesting that we should be allowed to think or dance around our own homes singing "I'm awesome! I'm awesome! I'm awesome!" to ourselves. 

Bragging about our awesome-ness isn't cool, but allowing yourself to be awesome is really cool. Why do I rant about this "awesomeness" topic this morning?! Because yesterday Rhiannon and I spent nearly 12 hours together shooting & editing images — and we sat in front of the computer together with our jaws dropped in happiness because we LOVED the images we'd created. We thought we were awesome because we were proud of our talent and hard work, that when put together, produced something awesome. In between squeals of excitement, we asked ourselves, 

"It's really good, though I do say so myself. It is really good, isn't it?" 
"I look so sexy!! Can I even say that about myself?"
"I think these could go in a magazine. Should somebody else be the judge of that?"

In the end we decided that provided we didn't rub it in other people's faces, we were totally "allowed" to love what we'd created. After all, isn't that what being an artist is about? Creating something you love, that excites you, that you're proud of, that you want to share with the world??? 

So here's my declaration to the world today...
Let yourself love what you create.

And now because it's Monday, we shall celebrate some things that other people have created that deserve lots of love....

I'm rather speechless. Amazing Body Paintings By Craig Tracy

A colourful wall made from paint swatches!! Yes I love you and want you for myself...
Creative herb gardens always make me happy. I cant wait for the day when I live somewhere long enough that I can grow herbs (and not abandon them or be forced to keep them in a pot)!!!!
Ummm...hello?! A coloured pencil fence. LOVE!

I am so totally 100% Right Brain and that's definitely what the inside of my brain looks like :P

Ha! Why are people so insensitive? Freedom of speech and all but seriously! Remember to play nice on the digital playground people, please! 

Have a fantastic week of your life :D

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Flaws to Flaunts :: Learning to Love Myself

I was about 14 when I started cutting out pictures of models and taping them to my bedroom wall. I think most girls that age rip out the whole page because they liked the outfit or thought she had great make-up. I only ripped out the body parts — stick-like legs, the super flat tummies and the shoulders that had protruding collar bones. There was something in particular that I liked abut being able to see ribs beneath the skin of the chest. Yes, I wanted to have the gaunt features and my little magazine clippings were meant to remind me of how hard I should be exercising and practicing my ballet. 

Anna, was a girl in my ballet class. She was on the fast track to going pro-ballerina, that is if she didn't end up in the anorexia wing of the hospital first. She used to stand in front of the mirrored wall and hold one hand over her stomach and place the other hand behind her back — she was measuring the width of her waist. I looked like an elephant compared to her. When she lifted her arms gracefully in the air beside her, every muscle in the arm was defined, and the skin across her chest was pulled tighter, exposing those ribs in her chest. I thought it was perfect. 

Her best friend at ballet was Simone. Simone was healthier looking but admittedly still very lean by non-ballet standards. She was convinced that she needed to loss weight (no surprise considering her best friend was the epitome of ballet perfection — what a tough act to compare yourself to!) I realised that I would never look like Anna, she was more petite that my thick British bones could even dream of being. So instead, I set my goals on the more attainable figure of Simone. Se was taller than me though so my legs felt dumpy when I stood beside her at the bar. Never good enough.

Since my ballet days, I've grown out of my habit of counting calories and hating my reflection. I'm actually happy when I look in the mirror each morning, despite the few bits and pieces that could be improved — I think that's quite normal for women though. There's always something we want to change — taller, slimmer, smaller ears, longer hair, less hairy legs, thicker eyebrows. We never seem to find contentment. 

Wouldn't it be fascinating to see how we look through the eyes of other people? Especially through the eyes of the people that love us? Maybe those little "flaws" wouldn't be so bad. Maybe we wouldn't even notice them? Even if we did notice them, maybe we could turn that "flaw" into a "flaunt"? After all, celebrities do it all the time: fat rolls become curves; gappy teeth is suddenly haut couture; freckles becomes sunkissed and moles are actually beauty spots. 
Why not make today the day when your flaws become your flaunts?!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Today is a tragic day...we've run out of peanut butter. :Oh no! On the upside though, I finished reading another book from The Big Read :: BBC's Top 100 Books List!!! Life of Pi by Yann Martel

What a joyous way to start the day — Saturday morning sunshine pouring in through the window, me all cozy in my sleeping bag (yes, I sleep inside a sleeping bag in my bed with the duvet over the top — what can I say...I get cold and the sleeping bag makes for my own little toasty oven, anyway...) and just a few more finger-nail biting pages between me and the back cover.

I had perfect timing finishing this book since the trailer for the move was just released. I recommend reading before watching (The film comes out in November so you've got plenty of time). From the look of the trailer, the film is going to have more vibrant colour and sparkle to it than what I saw in my imagination — I like that :D

Read this book if you like:
picking up survival tips
exploring the mind of humans coping in difficult situations
learning about how animals function in the wild vs. in zoos

For some silly reason, I find it very difficult to cope with different book cover designs. I always want to see a book represented by the cover that was on the book that I read. I realise this is very "I'm the center of the universe" of me — oh well. So just to set the record straight...this is the cover that was on my copy of Life of Pi....

Right, now that that's settled you are free to have a lovely day :P 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rhiannon My Muse & The Pursuit of Happiness

Okay okay, I'll admit it...Rhiannon is my super-muse. I just love photographing her face; the way her nose turns up slightly at the end and her forehead swoops softly to her eyebrow. It has to be said...the girl's got gorgeous bone structure. I've always grumbled when I hear people compliment bone structure because I can't help but can you tell? I'm much more distracted by the hair I think. :P It's a different story though when I've got my camera — it's so much easier to see the "good bone structure" when you're finally allowed to stare at someone for an hour straight.
Rhi and I have done 4 shoots together now and these images were the first ones taken at our Rock 'n' Roll themed shoot. She had a bunch of black clothes with studs, Rolling Stones Tongues and sexy lace. We gave her big bombshell curls that got dangerously close to 1980's glam & then we sat in the window pretending she was getting her portrait taken for Vogue — "Rockstar Glamour ::The Private Life of Rhia" or something equally awesome. Her "army" boots definitely added to our goofy little story.
We're arranged to do another shoot on Sunday! I'm so excited. Apart from Amy & Pete's wedding last Friday and a few random shots of my life, I haven't seriously been behind my camera in a week and I'm already feeling the withdrawal symptoms. 

When I was only shooting weddings I was used to waiting a few weeks in between shoots but having just emerged from a stint of 2 shoots each day, every day for a couple weeks, I'm feeling like 1 week is waaay too long to be away from the whole creation process. 

I've been working on updating my brand/website/blog (can you tell? lol) these past couples day — a new look for my new portraiture venture — but designing really isn't my forte. Photoshoping logos, typography & layouts just don't come naturally to me and they suck out my energy so by the end of the day I feel all shrivelled inside. 

I can't wait to be behind my camera and see a face staring back at me. After a shoot I'm exhausted but full of energy and happiness. It's simply not healthy for me be away from my shutter button for this long. Mission: "remedy this situation" is in affect, immediately.

So my pretties... (I think for the rest of eternity that will be a creepy expression thanks to the Wicked Witch of the West), go forth & find what fills you with energy and outsource whatever drains your energy! It's so important for your long term happiness :D And according to the fab Dalai Lama — life is all about pursuing happiness. On you go...get off the computer...go find your happiness. :D

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Work-Life Balance :: Forming Healthy Habits

"...stress seems to be a very acceptable form of mental illness in our society." — Tamara Lackey

It's totally not okay to work yourself to the bone. Im 200% guilty of this without even realising it. I love what I'm doing so it doesn't feel like work and over the past year I've stayed up till countless sunrises all for the sake of tweaking websites, fussing over photos, worrying about fonts and logos and of course (this is the very excusable one) watching creativeLIVE.

I can handle it now because I'm young, healthy and enthusiastic but what happens in a few years when I burn out and no longer love photography? Tragedy strikes!! So....this week has been the beginning of my lifelong healthy work-life habits. 

  • I'm officially declaring "Office Hours". 
  • I work with a timer near by to keep me on task. 
  • As recommended by the gorgeous Tamara Lackey, I'm taking 15 minute breaks at 90 minute intervals. On these 15 minute breaks I walk — for exercise, fresh air and escape from the work space.
  • I've got a massive 1.5 litre water bottle beside my computer and it's refilled at least once a day and emptied into my tummy twice.
  • When it's time to work I wear "work clothes" — yes, I'm dressing up to work from home lol. When it's time to rest, I change into comfy clothes and pour myself a cup of tea.
  • I'm reading fiction in the evening to turn off my brain and rekindle my love for stories.
  • I'm eating healthier and exercising more (Miggy & I have started a weight loss competition that's to last 15 weeks! Eek! I lost this week so I have to face a forfeit. He's making me join him on his workout each day — intimidating prospect :P)
  • I learning to leave thing unfinished — to be picked up and finished later. This one is tough. I like pushing through to the end but it drains me!
  • I've been observing and recording how I spend my time. I'll turn these observations into useful statistics about my life and use them to create an effective daily/weekly schedule.
Oh the list goes on.
What are you doing today to make sure you retain energy in and for your life?


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bits & Bobs + Cartoon Skeletons

Munch munch munch... I'm sitting at my in-law's dining room table, munching away on my muesli and attempting to consume a 2L bottle of water (gotta stay hydrated in this Scottish "sun").
Last night we handed over the keys to our house and finally, after 5 years, said 'goodbye' to our beloved St. Andrews — it's where we met after all, a rather special place :D Our time had definitely come though. I think it will feel amazing to go back and visit it in the future but as for living there full's just to small when you have so many big ideas.

Today I'm expecting Lorraine & Steve's  wedding album to arrive in the post! I'm bouncy with excitement for this because it's the first album I've ordered from Folio Albums (they're eco-tastic)! Fingers crossed. :) While I wait for the postman to ring the doorbell, I'll be chillin' here in front of my big editing screen hanging out with the beautiful Pete & Amy who got married last Friday in Fortingall, Scotland! Woop Woop :D 

In other news...I'm writing my first big long proper business plan that's going to (hopefully) keep life tidy — especially needed since I'm adding a big fat branch to my business called Glamour Portraiture :D At the moment, the plans on the table are suggesting that I'll be shooting 10 weddings a year and shooting portraiture during the remaining 40 weeks (not including 2 weeks for sticking my feet in the sand and sliding down snowy mountains :P). 

Finally, this morning I StumbledUpon these cartoon skeleton drawings by Michael Paulus and I couldn't not share them with you. How funky! I actually find this kind of thing fascinating :P What do you think??


Monday, July 23, 2012

Marvelous Monday :: Cleaning to Move

Today is our last day in St. Andrews! Miggy's mom is driving up tomorrow afternoon to pick up the rest of our stuff and we'll be catching the bus down to Edinburgh with our bikes and backpacks. You know what that means!? That's I've got pruney fingers and under-couch debris stuck to the soles of my feet. It'll all be over soon, I keep telling myself. Miggy's keeping us semi-entertained by playing his Scottish folk music in the background (not what I would have chosen but whatevs.). We bought ourselves the latest Superman DVD today — it's our motivation to finish cleaning quickly as possible!

So while I scrub away at floorboards and squash blankets into cupboards, sit back and enjoy some inspiration that I've found for you this week! Such fun! — here we go.....
Hengki Koentjoro 
Hengki Koentjoro 
My Facebook Fan page reached 100 likes today :D Hiphip hooray! :D That's exciting and all thanks to the wonderful likers I met at Amy & Pete's gorgeous wedding on Friday!

(Matheus Lopes)

(Matheus Lopes)

"Within an ultra modern society Japan still maintains to hold traditions passed down from generation to generation making it one of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the world. The city of Gion in Kyoto is one of those places that you will walk into and forget about all the flashing lights the rest of Japan has to offer. Its brick paved streets holds some buildings that have been maintained like the old traditional Japan. If you're lucky you will catch a glimpse of a beautiful geisha passing through the streets scurrying to her next appointment, make sure you have your camera ready. (© Clancy Lethbridge) #"

"A "joey" (baby) Eastern Grey Kangaroo pokes a head out from its mother's pouch. The baby kangaroo will continue to peek until if feels safe enough to emerge for short periods. After 7 to 10 months it will leave the pouch for the last time. (© Brent Lukey) #"

(Marta Penter)
(Marta Penter)

Lots of love from me to you :D
Have a be-you-tiful Monday!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Coffee vs. Tea Photographers

Is it just me or is there a trend floating around the photography industry...all photographer seems to be massive coffee drinkers and not only do they drink their coffee, they seem to have a love affair with it. 
Maybe if we ran some scientific numbers we would conclude that the correlation between photographers & coffee really has much more to do with the fact that photographers are in a trade that demands high-energy while simultaneously nursing a habit of working themselves to the bone. Coffee must be the only solution!

I actually started to buy into that peer pressure, thinking that perhaps I ought to mention my own love for coffee on my "About" page. I could even just hit a home run by cashing in on my childhood memories of growing up near Seattle, the home of Starbucks (Coffee). Well people, I just won't stand for this anymore. I am no longer interested in fitting in with the photography "cool kids" and their double mocha frappachinos with whipped toffee syrups and extra triple shots of expresso on the side. They can keep their fancy mugs and latte machines. I am speaking up today and proudly declaring the truth (as it relates to moi) — Coffee can be yummy, especially in the form of cake, but as for me...

And I'm not talking about "normal" tea, builders brew or English Breakfast tea as American's might refer to it. I'm talking about herbal teas. Oh the varieTEAS make my toes tingle with delight! Yogi tea for wisdom, Pukka tea for pretty colours, TeaPigs for silk pouches!! Green for feeling healthy. Hibiscus for feeling fancy. Ginger for tummy pains. Peppermint for sleepiness.

Perhaps I've just lived in Britain, the home of the Western Tea Ritual (a.k.a. A Cuppa is the Solution to Everything), for too long now. But I do not care because I LOVE TEA!!! It's the first thing I'll ask you when you come in the door...cup of tea, my friend? And you must say 'yes' or else I'll be sad ;(

So here's to all the tea-drinking photographers! We're awesome.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Amy & Pete's Wedding :: Sneak Peek!!

Amy & Pete's wedding was amazing today! Seriously one of the best weddings in the history of weddings or at least in my career so far. We were out in Fortingall, Scotland, surrounded by picturesque green hills and a valley full of cows; thatched roof cottages and a church with a ceiling that looked like the inside of a boat. Amy & Pete had the most beautiful big smiles on their faces and Pete was so excited to kiss his bride (I loved it!!!). 

I stayed until the very end of the wedding (and nibbled a couple pieces of their delish cake!) Yum :D Such a treat after a long day on my feet. I'm so excited to blog the whole wedding but for now (since it's already half past one in the morning and my feet are kinda sore I'll just pop up a few of my favs...Enjoy!!!!
Skipping stones on Kenmore Beach...
They're so good at kissing :P
More coming soon!!!
If you fancy a few more images while you wait, hop on over to Amy & Pete's plus site :

A wee note to the new Mr. & Mrs. Murch .... Thank you soo much for such an amazing day and I can't wait to photograph your 1 year anniversary in California! Woohoo :D Congrats you too crazy kids!