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With so many of our children,family members, friends, class mates and work colleagues (not to mention pets) living a very active lifestyle these days wouldn’t it be great to be able to take your camera out and feel confident that you will be able to capture the action?

Tip #1: Hands down one of the most important things is keeping the camera stable.No matter whether you have a longer lens or standard landscape lens keeping the camera and lens stable is one of the factors that will create a crisper, clearer photo. A simple technique and habit to get into is always making sure your arms are tucked in close to your body while you fire away.If you are using a longer lens it may be worth investing in a monopod to help with the weight and stability. Also look for places to lean your camera on to take the weight off such as fences, tables etc.

Tip #2: Understand the type of light you are dealing with…if it is a bright sunny day you will have far greater success in capturing crisp clear photos than a dark, stormy day or indoors with low light. Understanding light is the key to all photography results. This will help you choose the settings on your camera that will freeze the action.

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Tip #3: Depending on the type of camera you are using, if you are able to set it manually and pre-focus on an area you know your subject will hit, this will ensure you will nail the focus rather than relying on your camera determining it’s focal point, which can be hit and miss.

Tip# 4: Be prepared and know that decisive moment! Quite often great action shots can be the great fortune of right place, right time, right light.However understanding the sport or the subject and feeling comfortable with your camera equipment will set you up to be more able to anticipate when to press the shutter.If you are using a camera that is able to focus and shoot pretty quickly then a great suggestion is to start firing away right before you think the action will happen and continue using motor drive for taking multiple bursts.This will enable you more opportunity to nail a great shot. The latest smartphone cameras offer this feature which is handy when you are out and about with kids and pets!

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Tip# 5: Put yourself at the level of the action.This is not necessary, but it is a perspective that can give the feel that you are really involved in the action. This is a great one for getting fun action shots of kids and pets, as they are more likely to connect with you at that level and come right towards you.

Tip#6 : Practice, practice, practice!! What have you got to loose? These days with digital photography you can learn from your mistakes straight away. Engage with your subject and share with them what you are capturing. Kids especially will be more willing to try again with you if they can see what the photos look like.Above all, have fun!

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There is something about the smell of freshly ground coffee, the sound of the milk being steamed and the hub of lively activity and conversation that greets you as you walk in the door of your favourite cafe.
As I am not just a coffee lover but someone who really appreciates great food and local produce, I feel so fortunate to have moved to an area of Victoria where I can almost navigate by the quality cafés!

With this in mind, here is a list of 6 of my favourites that will have you getting out your google maps to travel the roads of Gippsland for a fabulous latte and fine food!

Each link will take you to their Facebook ‘about’ page that will have directions, opening hours and their story!

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CAFE #1: Vaughan’s Cafe Inverloch
CAFE #2
: Lucy May’s Cafe Korumburra
CAFE #3: Coffee Collective Wonthaggi
CAFE #4: Moo’s at Meeniyan
CAFE #5: Olive At Loch
CAFE #6: The Rusty Windmill Leongatha

ps. Make sure you read the chalkboard at Olive At Loch’s cafe…cute story!

Teenage years can bring so many wonderful, scary, exciting and challenging experiences.
We have all been there, we all know what it is like to be a teenager and we all have our own set of experiences.

What I have discovered from working with teens as well as having a teenage daughter myself, is that there are just as many important milestones during these years as there are in the early years of parenting.
Somehow I think we become so busy with our every changing lives that these stages pass by with less focus on capturing beautiful portraits than perhaps when they were younger.

I love this stage of in between years where the emerging adult and independent person is shining through, photo shoots can provide beautiful memories of this as well as allow them to have the spotlight and really be themselves.

Here are my 4 top reasons to photograph teenagers and why I encourage it:

– they come to a shoot with so much enthusiasm and excitement ( sometime disguised in shyness)
– they are very co operative and eager to please
– they get a chance to shine and show their true self, which can be a huge confidence booster
– they nearly all LOVE having their photo taken!

Remember to stop, enjoy and celebrate those teen years with them and have fun in the process.

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Winter can be a beautiful time of the year to take photos!

The sun at this time of year is lower on the horizon so afternoons can provide some wonderful golden colours.If the weather is clear there is a crispness to the light that brings with it a certain magic.

It can be a fun time of year to head on outside to take advantage of this and spend some time with your children. Whilst typically Australian trees don’t loose their leaves in the Autumn like Northern Hemisphere countries, there were still plenty of introduced trees planted many years ago by early settlers that provide us with some delightful colours and changes in scenery to enjoy.

As I have travelled around to some of the locations here in Gippsland I have been amazed at just how many great places there are to take photos with children and families.

I took a bit of a gamble a couple of weeks ago with my location suggestion for a young mother and son….I always scout a location before I make the suggestion to have photos there, but I sometimes wonder what goes through the client’s mind when they arrive at some of the destinations I choose…this one, for some reason, fasciated me with it’s line of trees that had definitely decided to embrace the idea of winter and drop ALL of it’s leaves!

There was something about their silvery branches that created an unusual pattern in the background that I loved and then there were all those leaves to play in. Oh what fun!!

So if somedays seem like they may not be warm enough to get outside and take some photos, think again and be adventurous….there is beauty to be found , especially when you mix in the simplicity of playing in nature.
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