Our little winter escape

Our favourite escape in the beautiful Blue Mountains, two hours from Sydney.

I have been coming here for years and it is so wonderful to share this special place with my girls.  They look forward to leaving seeds for the birds, stalking the kangaroos, exploring the little pond, the rambling bush walks, the warm pot belly stove, poking at the termite mounds, patting and feeding the horses, playing with sticks, getting muddy, rugging up against the cold and sharing a big double bed.  Here is a glimpse of our long weekend.  I love taking photos in winter – the light, the wooly clothes and the fun of being outside.

Our Cottage

Morning mist and hungry birdsRugged up for a walkTheir Bratz poseFriendly localsKangaroo hoppingAnything dad can do… and another poseGorgeous morningsHot chocolate breakAnd carrots for the horsesAaaah, it’s in the genes, so proudA bit of Burning GirlIt’s all we needed.  Well, that and fabulous food, great wine and a cosy bed.

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

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We eat pizza off Royal Doulton

Oh yes we do!  ‘Cos life is too short.

Before mum died, she was going to get rid of her Royal Doulton dinner service.  Being the ever sentimental one, I said I’d have it.  Of course mum stored it for me for a few years and I never got around to getting it shipped over from Perth.  Then mum died and across to Sydney came the 10 place setting. It’s been sitting in my garage for about 6 years now.  And all that time we have been using the “inherited from flatmate” slightly chipped plates from an incomplete set, with bowls that are practical but don’t match and would be at home in a student household.

Last week my husband’s father passed away, and I was reminded again how unpredictable life (and death) can be.  He was elderly and infirm and we knew he didn’t have a long time, but no one could possibly have known the when, and that really is true for all of us.

I saw an ad on TV last week which talked about not saving your best things for those rare special times, someday, but using your beautiful things and getting pleasure from them every day.  I’m not sure what the ad was for – life insurance, a bank?  [Note to Ad Agency:  I have seen your ad 6 times and still can’t remember the brand].

So, with thoughts of my mum and father in law, I finally pulled out the box from the garage.  A traditional style 10 person setting!  Large dinner plates – useful; side plates – good; entrée or fish plates – yeah, ok; entrée soup bowls – too small for practical use; platter – yep; and a soup terrine – again – yeah, ok, maybe.  Interesting to see how our eating habits have changed over time with Asian, pasta and slow cooked meals the norm in our house.  A set with 4 different types of bowl would have been more useful!

My mum had the set insured for $3,000, but for sale, I can’t imagine it would be worth much.  It’s not a style I would have chosen, but it’s a set and it’s in perfect condition (because mum hardly ever pulled it out).  So, it is our new every day set.  And if it gets damaged, so be it.  Life is too short to worry about a broken plate, so in our house someday is every day.

 

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

 

Do you really want to crop me?

Have you ever had a photo enlarged, and wondered why your image looks a little different?  Why the top of someone’s head is missing, or the left shoe is no longer in the image?  It’s all to do with the the aspect ratio of the camera and original image, and the “standard” print sizes offered by photo labs.

I thought I would do a post today about photo printing and a bit of a guide on what to expect, regardless of whether you print images yourself at a lab, or have me or another professional photographer print them for you. Images will not look the same at every print size and some images are better suited to certain print size dimensions (crops).

My camera has an aspect ratio of 2:3, which means a print size of 4 x 6 or 8 x 12 will replicate the original image without any cropping, i.e. it will display the same content as the original.  If you choose a different print size (ratio), the image will need to be cropped and some content will be lost, e.g. 5 x 7, 6 x 8 or 10 x 8.

When a client orders an image for print at a size that does not fit with the original 2:3 ratio, I would crop that image to maintain the integrity of the shot, while aiming for accurate composition and a visually pleasing final image.  That may mean cropping from one edge, but not always.

Here are some image examples to explain:

The black outline shows the original image as a 2:3 ratio and that it would look identical to the original at a 4 x 6 or 8 x 12 print size.

The red shows the 5 x 7 print crop.  The green shows the 6 x 8 print crop and the blue shows the 8 x 10 print crop.  All look a little different, but for this image, with the space around the baby, all crops and print sizes would work.

Here is another image, showing cropping from the bottom edge (to avoid losing the model’s head). In this case, the 4 x 6 and 8 x 12 print sizes are obviously great.

The 8 x 10 (blue) would also work.  However, the 6 x 8 (green) is not ideal, as we are losing her feet, and in the 5 x 7, we crop through her shoe, which makes it not a recommended print size.  This image would work best at the original ratio.

This image of a gorgeous mum-to-be shows how I would crop the image from both sides to maintain the integrity of the image and show the best composition for all the different print sizes.

This image again shows cropping from both edges to maintain the most visually pleasing composition, but you will notice that for some print sizes, this beautiful baby will have her hand and parts of her head cropped out.

I hope this was useful and demonstrates why some print sizes (enlargements) may be different to the original, and not always what you expected.  Not all images will work well cropped to every print size.

My friends and fellow photographers, Rowena Field and Heidi Rookyard, created similar visual guides for their clients.  Thanks ladies for the inspiration.

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

 

I am a winner baby

Yes I am, and I only just finished and posted my Vision Board.

In December last year I received an email from Kora Organics – Miranda Kerr’s skincare company saying I was one of a few winners of a skincare pack.  I rang and left my details as instructed and then with Christmas and the rest, I forgot.

Then last week I was sorting through my inbox and found the original email.  I realised too much time had passed but my client service/marketing background kicked in and so I decided to send an email just to let them know that I never received my prize.

To my surprise and delight, the same person contacted me the next morning and a prize pack was in the post that afternoon.  I was so impressed and it was completely unexpected.  I had hoped, but was quite prepared to get a “sorry, you’re too late” reply.

So I was inspired to write about Kora Organics for two reasons – the product and the service.

My pack included a Foaming Cleanser, Soothing Day and Night Cream and Balancing Rose Mist.  The packaging and branding are gorgeous – simple yet elegant, calming and natural.  One of my favourite colours, so that helps.  I tried them all and the Cleanser and Mist are fab.  The Moisturiser has a beautiful texture and is not greasy at all.  The perfume is beautiful but a little too strong for my liking.  I have always preferred a much subtler fragrance.

The customer service blew me away.  I felt like I was dealing with a small business who valued me – regardless of whether I had purchased or won a prize. Miranda Kerr is one of those celebrities who I have admired – no scandal, just a great ambassador, seems like a genuinely lovely person and is a mum who has built a business based on something she believes in.  It seems that radiates right down through her company.  How she runs her business is an inspiration for me in terms of the kind of customer service I want to bring to my photography and future ventures.

Does that sound a bit gushy?  A little, but having worked in advertising for 10 years, I am often a little jaded and hard to impress.

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

Get your sparkle on

Create a Vision Board.

Part of my homework from my coach who is working with me on my business, and really, my whole life, is to create a Vision Board.  I’ve always thought about creating a vision board, but felt a bit “yeah, yeah” about it all.  In my head it was more like a “what do you want if you win lotto” wish list.  Not particularly useful or inspiring.

I noticed I had been avoiding doing this homework, for a few reasons: I’ll never get there; it’s all too hard; it’s silly; it doesn’t work; I can’t decide what to put on my board.  At the heart of it is was being a perfectionist, how could I ever create the right board with the right things on it and, I didn’t deserve the things on that board anyway.  It’s been tough being an undeserving perfectionist.  The context is everything!

But, now is the time, to go, to start, to follow on from where this blog started and to trust my coach.

I asked for help from a friend who I think is great at Vision Boards and who swears by them.  She sent me a great link which had me reassess how to approach creating this board and suddenly I was inspired and got it done in a few hours.  Gone were the excuses that I didn’t have the time, the right magazines, the right images, the right canvas, the right ideas.  And the, “Am I doing it right?”

So with a little (lot of) help from Najla, Sam, Nicole and Oprah, here is my Vision Board.  Let it inspire me.  Come on Universe, let’s go!

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.

I’d like to thank the academy

It’s not quite the Oscars, but I am published.  Not even self-published.  My images were used by the Cancer Council NSW in their Newsletter/Magazine.

The images were taken at the Community Garden Launch and I was the official photographer.  The Manly Daily weren’t able to send a photographer and the ABC was there to film only.  Great experience, great opportunity and great fun.  That sort of journalism or event photography is not really my photographic goal, but it was invaluable experience, especially with so many people on such a hot sunny day.

So, I’m proud of myself for taking it on and for being able to provide a charity that I strongly support, with something useful.  I donate money each year on my mum’s birthday, but this was something using my skills that made a difference to the Cancer Council and their many volunteers.

All content is the copyright of Louise Fletcher Photography.