cranbourne family photography

Home with my sister and her loves

South Gippsland Family Photography

With my sister Brooke, her partner Ben and my nephew Hunter

I grew up in South Gippsland in a small town called Korumburra. As you get older, have children and as I begin to find my voice as a photographer... I've really started to appreciate my sense of place and the elements in my life that have shaped who I am. 

Many close friends in this small country town were made and of whom I still call my best friends. It's where I made the greatest of memories with my family and the beauty of its surrounds still reflects in how I see the world. 

As soon as I was 18, I knew that I would leave. I needed to see beyond the small town life and experience what the world had to offer. But we are so fortunate to still call it home as my family still live there and my sister very close by, so we visit often. 

Ben and Brooke met in high school at Korumburra and now together have a 2 year old son Hunter. I may be a very biased Aunty, but he has me completely wrapped around his little finger. He can be gentle, sensitive, has a wicked sense of humour and wicked laugh to match. He is extremely clever and is very much a country kid who loves nature as much as us. Hunter can now drive himself around in his remote control car and race his dad on the ride on lawnmower. He is tractor and truck obsessed and has a love for every animal on the planet. When he is tired he runs his fingers through your hair and will only sleep with body contact - just like his Mum! 

From the backyard of one of our first family homes, we could see a place known as One Tree Hill. My Mum would tell me that it leans over as a small aeroplane once crashed into it. (a little fiction I think;) But for me that tree is so iconic of the town. It is one of the highest points and from the very top you have panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see right out to the ocean. 

Ben's grandfather owns land just down the road from One Tree Hill, so the area also has special ties with his own family. 

The day of the shoot, the weather was typical Melbourne, cold, windy, calm, stormy, clear. So we were back and forth with deciding whether or not to go ahead. However one great thing about storms, is that they produce incredible skies. You just have to be brave enough to risk the downpour that usually goes with it. So we risked it and we were blessed with the most amazing skies you could have hoped for. Plus for an added bonus we were presented with a rainbow - I was in photographer heaven!! 

I love to include items of sentiment in shoots. So the first one ... Hunters cowboy boots!

( The tractor also snuck in. Not sentimental as such, but sentimental to a 2 year old who is grumpy after a nap and refuses to give it up;) 

Second ...Ben's much loved ute.

And thirdly...Wally the growing puppy.

The rest were all about their special connection and of course that amazing skyline and rainbow!!

This time of day is really magical to capture. If you love sunsets and pretty skies as me and would like to include them in your shoot, the best time to photograph is 1-2 hours before sunset. Right now the sun is setting a little later around 8pm and is getting earlier as we go. April the 1st sees the end of daylight savings, so shooting times can even happen before dinner. It's not too late to book your own sunset shoot, I'll still have 3 spots in March left and 3 in April. So would love to hear from you. 

Mel xx





My Own Family Portraits

Each year, we get the tripod out, keep the kids up past their bed time and head out to 'attempt' some family portraits with my little muses. This year in particular, I have been on a mission to get in front of the camera. I'm the first to avoid it and the first to cringe when I see photos of myself. However 2018 - I have set myself a goal to change that. Not only for me, but so my kids can see their Mum confident in her own skin. Plus they are growing so damn fast, I need more photos of me with my babies!!! So although, I'm still very far from being photogenic, we did manage to get some photos of all of us in them that are going to become part of our family wall collection that I will treasure forever. 

We ate fish and chips for dinner and then visited some places I've had my eye on for a few years. Most spots were completely different to how I imagined them - I guess travelling 100km an hour past a location is not a good gage. As the sun was about to set we decided to go down a dirt road and discovered this little gem (first image) so pleased we did! 

I have also decided to walk the talk by letting you all in on our own family story, something that I ask from my clients. 


 Charlotte bear...

This little incredible girl has a memory like an elephant - she literally remembers everything! I have zero idea where she inherited that from! She is as girly as it comes. From the moment she was capable, she would change her outfit 5 times a day if it had a speckle of dirt on it. But now she is at school - I have to wipe the dirt of her face every morning after constant reminders to look in the mirror when washing her face fail.  She is not a fan of pants unless they are leggings! Hates any food labelled a vegetable and would live on chocolate if she could. She is baby obsessed and keeps asking for another sister so she can care for it. But for now she will have to suffice with playing second Mum to my 2 year old nephew who just worships her. 

Our girl also has a heart of pure gold. I'm proud of many of her qualities but the best quality is her kindness and care she shows to others. She has many many friends and young ones are drawn to her nurturing ways. She wants to make everything and everyone better all the time and hates conflict. 

She is our deep deep thinker and holds a lot in. This is my biggest worry for her as her Mum as you can imagine. We work on this often and everyday. 

When we had Char we hoped for another daughter to give her a best friend for life. And best friends they are. Char looks out for Holly, even letting her sneak in bed with her when she has had a bad dream. Just last night she told me off for beating Holly at cards and making her feel sad. Char has written lots of notes to Holly about how much she loves her and how much she means to her, that now take pride on her bedroom door. They have their moments like any relationship but quickly get over any little arguments. Holly idolises Charlotte, she mimics her every move - but they are very different in personality. 

Our Holly... 

One of the things I love about parenting... as they grow you learn more and more about them and you immediately start to work out which parts were inherited from whom. Char is 99% her Dad. This one is 99% like me. So yes we clash - we are going to have some doozy battles when she is a teenager. But we just get each other and now that she has just started school, I feel like a body part is missing. I miss her so much and still shed a tear or two - I know such a sook!

She has a wicked sense of humour - a quick wit and a strong drive to make what she wants happen. Our little bear is a different girl in the comfort of her own home. Everyday she has us in hysterics and quite often I think she was put on this earth to make us laugh. Outside of the home she is ultra shy. This breaks my heart a little, as I just want her to be confident and comfortable enough to show the outside world who she is.  

My husband... moved in together (overseas)  after two weeks of dating! Travelled together, bought a fur baby, had a human baby! Got married, bought a house, had another human baby. Been together for 11 years and married for 7. 

I knew quite early on that this man would make the perfect father. With a not so perfect one of my own, finding a man who was going to be an amazing Dad was one of the very important factors in deciding to spend the rest of my life with him. He spoils them a little too much, but they are his everything and he makes sure that they know that each and every day. 

He is the organiser of our home - I'm useless with that stuff and makes sure we want for nothing. My heart is very happy that these girls have this incredible man as their father and I have him as my partner for life. He is also quite the creative himself. He and I would have battles with who could take the photo of the day when we were travelling overseas. Majority of the time - he won! He is not a fan at listening to his wife however, so maybe if that could improve he could learn how to use our camera and join forces with me! hehe 

With a quick 2 minute demo he did manage to take a few keepers. This one is my fav so I'm pretty damn lucky! 

Then it was time to set the tripod up for some last family selfies before we took the kids to McDonalds at 9.15pm for their promised ice - cream cones! Parents of the year right here! ;) 

The kids said...'that was actually fun Mum.' And were pretty wrapped that they got to stay up way passed their bedtime on a school night. 

If you love the outdoors and those warm balmy nights as much as my own family and would love your family story told. I would love to make the most of this summer and create some stunning candid portraits for you. I have a few sessions left for this season, so please shoot me an inquiry to find out more :) xx



Beach photography session with the Hurrey family

Hi everyone - my first blog post for 2018!

A Family Photography shoot on the Mornington Peninsula

This beautiful family was the lucky one who won my family photography session. I must say, I too felt very lucky - as they were a dream to photograph. They love the beach as much as I do and Melbourne put on a spectacular night for us.

The Hurrey Family spend a lot of time at Ben's Mum's house at Alexandra (near Lake Eildon). They also love days at the beach, bike rides along the foreshore, swimming and trying new things as a family. They had their best family holiday last year in Nusa Dua and both boys regularly ask when they're going back (later this year hopefully).

We got some stunning family portraits in the golden light that was streaming in. Ben and Narelle getting in some 'alone' shots too and stealing the show with the 'parent kiss' hehe. They cuddled up in the grass area and they piggy backed the boys to the soft sand. Piggy backs are always a big hit! 

What Ben loves most about his family...

'Narelle – The true leader of the family. the most dedicated mother and I know and the most organised person anyone has ever known. Totally dedicated to our family and getting the most out of our lives together.
Miller – his love for life. He never wants to sit still and always want to do more, learn more and be more.
Lawson – His loving soul is something to behold. His big heart and warm smile makes everyone love him.
Me – hard to say. I work damn hard for my family to build a lifestyle we can be proud of and raise my boys to be caring, loving successful men.

I had been down at the beach a little earlier with my own family. So I made sure I kept some left over chips so the kids could feed the seagulls. 

The boys showed me their handwriting skills by scrolling in the sand. We found some slimy fish eggs, they had races along the sand and explored their reflections in the water. 

How Ben describes Miller...

'Miller is bold, hilarious, silly, adventurous and crazy at times. But also highly intelligent (having just excelling in his first year at school), very loving and ready to help absolutely anyone. He has a big heart and isn’t afraid to show is emotions, except when it comes to girls, who love him, but he gets all shy and coy. He has no fear – big waterslides, roller coasters, indoor rock climbing, scooters, bikes and the rest, he’s into it. He got a Gopro for Christmas and wants to become a You tube star.'

How Ben describes Lawson....

'Lawson is a bit more reserved, but very cunning and clever in other ways. He is one of the most loving little people I have ever met and will happily tell us how much he loves us multiple times a day. He is proving to be quite the ladies man too, he as had his first girlfriend already and they were planning to get married before the end of kinder. He’s just as happy to ride like a mad thing on his scooter or bike as much as he is happy to tuck up under your arm, chill out and watch a movie. He is very hands on and could easily grow up to be a tradie, chef or something that requires a lot of precision.'

One of my favourite parts to family photography sessions is to showcase connections between each family member.

And a huge clap hands for Narelle and Ben for allowing me to capture the love they share for each other. The kids think its gross now, but as they grow up they will have images to prove how in love their parents are and what a special thing that is! 

Ben shared a little insight into the wonderful relationship he and Narelle share. And might I add - this makes turning 40 sound like something I actually want to do ;) 

'Narelle has also planned an extravagant 40th birthday for me. I turn 40 in Feb and she is doing ‘40 presents for 40 days to celebrate 40 years’ which involves a gift, activity or adventure everyday. This has so far involved song playlists of the top 40 songs from 1978, 40 photos of my life so far, massages and a ride in my dream car a split window Kombi.
Narelle and I are also travelling to New York and Texas this year to celebrate both of us turning 40 (Narelle was last year).'


To finish up we used that stunning Melbourne sunset to get some family shots. And then to my surprise Narelle and Ben had brought some paper lanterns. I was beyond excited when I saw these. They have to be lit and then the hot air fills the lantern and causes it to float. The kids made a wish as they watched the lanterns float out to sea into the last minutes of light. It was a special moment indeed. 

The shoot defined everything I love about family photography. I got to capture - the family at play and witness them explore. I photographed their connection, the joy and the love that they share. It really was a perfect night in every way. 

This spot would have to be my all time favourite spot to photograph. It is quiet, the tide is almost always out on sunset at this time of year, and as you can see the light is just magical. To get this magical light, we aim to start shooting at around 7pm. So during daylight savings, I tell my families to have an early dinner, and then we go out and explore and play until the sun goes down. 

If you would like the essence of your story told - I would sure love to tell it!

With only weeks remaining of summer, spots are limited. So if you love summer, the beach and would love your family photographed their too - lets make it happen. I step you through the entire process, we find what works best for your family, if its not the beach - thats ok! I have other stunning locations I can take you to. I also help with wardrobe selection and can offer payment plans. 

What's New with Mel Lawler Photography? 

After taking some family time to enjoy the holidays. We are back into the swing of things. There have been lots of new stunning images uploaded to the galleries so please take a look. I have also made some changes to some of the newborn packages I offer, simplifying the process and hopefully showcasing to clients exactly what I do and what to expect. So please take a look around, I would love to hear your thoughts. :)