A clandestine arrangement…a stranger’s backyard…checking the iPhone, awaiting “go” for the mission. Sounds like a spy movie or at least a TV series plot, but no – this was the Cadell-Collier family photo shoot.
Sisters Simone and Kate decided to surprise their parents with photographs of their children playing in their grandparents backyard. This same backyard was home to an enormous and sturdy jacaranda tree which encased the kids cubby-house, clearly well-loved and often played in by visiting grandchildren.
The photo shoot time and date was set. The grandparents were enticed out of their home with an engineered invitation elsewhere, leaving their backyard free for the shoot. My daughter/assistant and I parked 3 doors down from the house, waiting for the ‘green light’ to sneak onto the property. I had yet to see the location and so was unsure of the layout/setting, lighting, best angles etc. A little nerve-wracking.
This shoot was a reminder to me to always prepare for disaster. My camera seized up before the shoot even began. It resolved itself quickly – lucky for me, as I realised I didn’t grab my back-up camera. And the night before the shoot, little Fleur, the youngest of the group, had been bitten by a mosquito on her eye. It was swollen shut, so I had to get creative. I managed around it by mainly photographing Fleur side-on or from behind. Sounds strange, but it worked: one of my favourite photos of Fleur is from the back, capturing her on the phone in the cubby (and not a swollen eye in sight!).
For a fast photo shoot (1 hour or so), I was really happy with the images. Some of my favourite children’s portraits to date are in this lot. You can see more images for this shoot here.
Thanks to the families for letting me share their memories.