Sunshine Coast Photography ~ Building with Plantation Homes Australia

I want to shout from the Noosa hilltops WE HAVE RETAINING WALLS {and they’re totally fabulous} Yes, we sure are easily pleased in our household. It’s been such a team effort, but thankfully we have the best retaining wall experts on the Sunshine Coast. A huge thank you to Darren from City to Coast Landscapes (0420 823 953), Joe and to Glenn from Suncoast Bobcat and Retaining Walls (0409 399 375). They have done an incredible job and made sure our block is now ready for the slab to be poured.

It’s hard to photograph a building site and be creative, but I still think these are pretty 🙂

Annie xx

building retaining walls sunshine coast

retaining wall builders on the sunshine coast for sloping blocks

city to coast construction and lansdscapes sunshine coast noosa heads

Seniors Photography ~ Sunshine Coast ~ Queensland Australia

‘To love beauty, is to see light’

~Victor Hugo~

I am a mum. I am a wife. I am a nurse. I am a lover of light.

My love affair with ‘light’ started from an early age. I used to lie in bed, snuggled under the blankets and watch the particles of dust gently float through the rays of sunlight that streamed through my bedroom window. My sister Katy called it ’fairy dust’. Everywhere I went I saw light that I wanted to capture forever. My Mum was a beautiful photographer. Through her I began to ’see’ all the different types of light and quickly learnt how to’read’ it {without the use of a light meter}. It proved to be a valuable skill and one I’m very grateful to have. On reflection, I feel the nicest aspect of learning this way is it became very natural to me. There was never any pressure ‘to get it’, as I didn’t even realise I was learning.

teenage photography water lake sunflare

For many years my focus was on ’staying safe’ and in my comfort zone {shade}. Developing film was expensive and of course there wasn’t Photoshop to assist with editing. Everything that came out of the camera remained as it was. It was nice and stress free. For me everything changed when the digital revolution started. Such a learning curve and of course I’m still learning how could I not? I started by buying a little compact ’point and shoot’camera. It was fun, easy as auto, no lenses to mess about with and I could upload them to the computer and use the basic editing software. It was great as my boys were small, and we were travelling. Eventually however, I knew I could do ‘more’, I was feeling frustrated. To do more I had to return to the SLR camera. With a deep breath I plunged in and brought myself a digital SLR. It wasn’t easy to begin with. Everything was different, lots of buttons and dials, and I’m pretty sure to this day I never got the most out of the camera as I simply didn’t know all of its functions. I found the inbuilt light meter readings way off, so I ended up going on my gut instinct to adjust the aperture, shutter and ISO to achieve correct exposures. Slowly, over the months I got braver. I practised in different light situations; low light, natural ’available’ light and studio. I felt most comfortable using available, natural light and learnt how to use my camera to its maximum to achieve the results I wanted.

girl in lake at sunrise

I think my biggest mistake in the early days, was going full throttle with Photoshop. It wasn’t intentional, in fact I didn’t learn how to use Photoshop for a few years. My friend installed it on my computer and I let it sit there for about two years before I took the plunge. One evening while the boys were sleeping I started playing around with it. Once I’d learnt one skill I wanted to learn more. I never took any formal Photoshop lessons, I’m totally self taught. Like everything I look back at my ’over edited’ pictures and think ’what was I thinking?’ I live in the knowledge that other photographers have done this as well. It’s OK, it’s a learning curve. My advice to any JSO {just starting out} photographer is less is more. Enhance your images and be creative but do it so it doesn’t destroy the natural essence of your image. If you love an image SOOC {straight out of camera} then why change it?

I think developing your own unique style is one of the hardest aspects for the modern photographer to deal with. It is unfortunate, but with your Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr news feeds being bombarded with everyone’s images, it’s easy to become influenced in a particular style. The best advice I received from a fellow photographer was to simply ‘switch off’. Trawling other photographers blogs, websites and facebook pages takes up valuable time, time you could be devoting to developing your own style. It’s important to remember you are not them, you are you. Embrace you. Embrace your style. Own your style. Let it grow naturally with the more experience you gain. The biggest compliment I received was an email from a photographer overseas. She told me she was casually browsing Facebook {oh the irony} when an image of mine came up in her news feed, she didn’t see who posted it but instantly knew it was mine by my ’use of light’ and editing style. I was so excited, I squealed.

girl on chair in lake at sunrise

It is still important to be inspired. I’m inspired by the little things; story books, music, objects {props} my friends and clients. Other photographers also inspire me, my mentor Mikael Wardhana is one of my biggest inspirations, as is Danny Tucker. Both are fashion photographers. This doesn’t mean I want to be a fashion photographer or shoot the way they do, it simply means I adore their work and feel inspired by the little things like their unique use of light.

Finally, I still find it incredible that my love of ‘light’ has led me to where I am now.  They say that if you love what you do, your enthusiasm will radiate through and become infectious. I’m no rock star in the photography world {horrid phase really}, but I hope that by opening up my journey, you will understand that your journey as a photographer is worthwhile and is important. Every photographer has a story. You simply don’t go in to your nearest camera store, buy a $4000 camera and decide to make money out of it. You pick up a camera for a reason. To document your life, your child’s life or that of your friends. You do it to tell a story. It becomes a passion. It becomes a love. It becomes a way of life.

xx Annie xx

{images are from gorgeous Miss Taylor’s early morning senior session}

girl in lake on a chairtaylor moss australia

Life Moments ~ Let it all begin…..

Eek! I can’t believe it’s taken a whopping NINE months to finally get to the stage of building our home, where, ‘something’ is happening.  Yayyyy! So now, this is where it all begins. We are at last settled in to our temporary accommodation, and after the longest 4 weeks ever, we have Internet. We have unpacked the essentials, plumbed in the washing machine, said hullo to the neighbours {over the garden fence} so we must be officially in.

So what have the past 9 months been about? First things first, the mortgage. Don’t let anyone ever tell you getting a bank loan for a construction  is ‘easy’. There is paperwork required that I didn’t even know existed. My advice is get a mortgage broker. We had the fabulous Bob from Loanmarket. He dealt with everything. But you do have to get organized. Get down to Kiki.k or Typo, grab a diary, some colourful pens, a note book and of course some files, because you’re going to be filing everything. Luckily I’m a bit of a stationary queen, hurrah! I love nothing better than organizing my life into different sections, then giving them a colour and a separate font . All of our personal documents (drivers license, passports, birth certs) got copied lots of times, and scanned into the computer. Bob also needed months {I kid you not}, of bank, savings and credit card statements. So be prepared to have every inch of your finances gone through. Get another file and compile all of that information together. To see how much you need to borrow, the bank will need copies of your complete building contract. This includes the plans, and also details of the finish {blinds, flooring, landscaping etc}. They need this to make sure that if you should default, the house is actually worth what you’ve borrowed and they can sell it. Our builder made sure that we had as much information as possible.

Which gets me nicely on to the subject of builders. We spent years looking for the right builder for us. We researched forums, traipsed through numerous display homes, listened to our friends recommendations. Finally we decided on Plantation Homes. The sales consultant Steve was honest and up front about the cost of building. He wasn’t pushy like the rest of the sales staff in the other display homes. There was never any pressure to build with them. The deciding factor was that he allowed us to look through a recently completed home to check the build and finish quality. So off we went. We opened doors, checked inside cupboards, flicked switches on and off, everything was perfect. So off we trotted back to Steve, to get a contract signed.

The mistakes. Hmmm, we’ve made a few, but you learn by your mistakes don’t you? The best advice Steve gave was “find the land to suit the house you want to build”. Did we listen to that advice? Of course we didn’t, we know what we’re doing pfftttt! So we looked at various blocks in and around Noosa. Finally we both found a block that we both absolutely loved. Unfortunately the house we wanted to put on there didn’t love the land as much as we did. In fact, the house we wanted to build wouldn’t fit on it at all. We can only assume we had rose tinted specs on when we purchased the land. Surely it wasn’t THAT sloping when we bought it? But apparently it was. In fact it had a 4m fall over the land, enough for our builder to say sorry, you’ll have to choose another builder. We weren’t having any of that, so Steve sent his engineers out to look at the land and see if there was a house design that ‘could’ be altered to fit, and there was. We just had to go up a floor.

After an in depth meeting with Plantation Homes in Brisbane where we went through all the legal stuff, colour selection, interior design, we paid the deposit and our plans went in to council. Fast forward a few months, and we’re now ready to go.  It doesn’t usually take 9 months to get to this stage. Our biggest challenge that took a long time to sort out was finding a company to do our retaining walls. Thankfully, we had the common sense to pinch our neighbours retaining wall experts. We stalked them out, and unashamedly, nicked them.

So this is where we’re up too. Over the next few months I’ll be blogging the build, the highs, the lows and of course the cost. This is mainly for my F&F in Australia and the UK, but we don’t really mind who see’s it.

plantation homes build doulton lux

Sunshine Coast Pregnancy Photography

How wonderful to catch up with my gorgeous friend Miss B at 28 weeks. I can honestly say she is most definitely ‘blooming’. Pregnancy suits her so much {but we all knew it would}. You can see B’s 18 week session HERE Cannot wait to catch up again before the birth. It’s so exciting, and going ever so quickly! Much love to your amazing families B&R, I know they’ve been waiting to see a few pics.

Annie xxx

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pregnant woman in field of yellow flowers

pregnancy photography noosa heads

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