Author:Deb Smith

What I Wish I Had Known Before She Turned Seven || Adelaide Children’s Photographer

Luxury children's portraits



With her ninth birthday coming up this weekend, we’re planning ahead for our next epic mother-daughter photoshoot production.

Here we are, two photoshoots under our belt and our third just days away.

As I start to wonder how to style our session, she already tells me we’ll have one “urban grunge” set and a “dance” themed set. What the…?

The first photoshoot happened when she turned seven. She knew my job involved studio portraiture. She wasn’t sure what that looked like. She asked if I would do a photoshoot just for her. I was really unsure.

I worried she would be difficult, that she would not follow my instructions. She’s a child who gets overwhelmed easily.

She and I are so different. Tasmin is an extrovert, I am an introvert.

She likes things to be just so. If it’s not her way, then it’s “not fair”. As a child, I would hide nervously in the shadows and prefer to watch the action.

I felt nervous.

So I came up with a plan.

The plan was to make sure that she could choose some of the outfits to feel involved in the process so… I let her choose some fabrics and dresses from the studio wardrobe. I told her they had to be child appropriate.

She did just what I asked.

Throughout the afternoon I saw a different side of Tasmin, a glimpse of her future self.

Creative, decisive, silly.

It was her willingness to jump in and experience my world.

OK so she didn’t wait to hear my posing instructions. No, no. She went right ahead and expressed herself quite freely in front of the camera. I really was surprised. She pretended to be a ballerina, swirling her hands gracefully, and making very profound expressions. She followed her own intuitions with perfect confidence.

I was impressed then and every day since she’s let me see how creative and capable she is. Was it the photos that did it, made her more confident? Or was I not seeing her fully, by filtering her childhood with my own? Was it the shared experience?

A little bit of each perhaps.

This is Me || Facing her fear of being in front of the camera

My dear friend Trudi Skinn, of Blue Wattle Photography, wrote this about her experience with me, being in front of the camera for a change:


When was the last time you had a beautiful, professional portrait taken of yourself?   For me, that event was 15 years ago! 15 years!  My parents, my gran, do not have a recent, decent (ie: approved by me!) photograph of me since I was 17 years old!  I’m now 32 and the “best years of my life” – my 20s – flew by largely unrecorded as I was not prepared to step in front of a camera. So I made the point of always ensuring I was behind the lens and not in front of it (That could possibly account for the reason I am now a photographer)….

Does that story ring true for anyone else? 

If, like me, you realise that a whole decade of your life does not exist, even in the digital archives of your family history, get out there and do something about it!!  I did.

I went to Deb Smith Photography and booked my very own photo-shoot – before I could talk myself out of it.

Then the doubts hit. I had deep and (at times painful) conversations with myself:

I have nothing to wear. Nothing fits me anymore!”

“I don’t have enough money to spend on new clothes…”

“I’m fat. I’ll wait until I’ve lost the 15kgs I’ve put on in recent years….”

“I’ll look ridiculous!”

“There is a very good reason I always make sure I am behind the camera these days and not in front of it…..”

“I’ll call Deb and cancel. I can’t do this!!”

And then the day of the shoot arrived, and it was too late for any excuses now! ….

And it was such an Amazing Experience!

My hair and makeup were professionally styled and Deb posed me in ways that flattered my body shape and I actually started to feel beautiful again – despite the extra 15kgs, despite the old clothes (I did buy 1 new dress for the shoot) and despite the sometimes rather awkward poses I was asked to hold.  I felt beautiful within my own skin, and that self- confidence, no matter how recently obtained, was inspiring and tangible.

almost didn’t need to see the final results, because that personal belief and self-appreciation held fast in my mind while I waited for the images to be ready.  That lasting buzz, finding that self-love is empowering! It is amazing how much it changes your perception of yourself and how you see others.


If you are like me (unhappy with your current body size and/or haven’t been decently photographed in forever; are always behind the family camera instead of in front of it etc) – then I urge you now! Get out
there and search for a portrait photographer whose style and value you admire and get your own portrait taken now. Not just your kids, or your family – you. Yourself. Gift yourself this experience – enjoy it, indulge
in it and once you’re done, then bring in your kids/partner at the end for that beautiful family shot if you need

Don’t wait for that mythical “one day” to arrive before you experience this for yourself. Do it now. This week. This month. This year!  (Get it done before Christmas and viola – presents you can share with your family!)


Click here to see Trudi’s photography.

Marie and Anastasia || The Ultimate Girl’s Day Out

It was such a pleasure to photograph two special women in the portrait studio recently. Marie called to book herself and her mother Anastasia for a portrait session. She described their tradition of sitting for studio portraits over the years, usually to celebrate a milestone birthday or special occasion. This occasion was Anastasia’s 90th birthday and Marie was keen for her mum to be the star of the show! When I arrived at their home for the pre-shoot consultation, it was wonderful to be shown their portrait album, and marvel at the changing hair and clothing fashions through the decades!

At first she was unsure Anastasia would enjoy the experience, given her mobility challenges and arthritis. They arrived with their chosen outfits, a few items of jewellery, and sat for hair styling with Alyce’s Fringes, and Becki Palfreyman for makeup. We stopped mid way through for a high-tea style lunch, after beginning the session with individual portraits and capping off the day with a few portraits of mother and daughter together.

On their way home in the car, Anastasia related how much she’d enjoyed the experience and was looking forward to seeing her images. We met one last time at the viewing session. I felt honoured to hear from Anastasia about the challenges of her childhood, being raised in the Ukraine, then at the tender age of 16 being taken from her homeland to work on a farm in Germany as a forced-labour worker in the Second World War before migrating to Australia in the late 1940’s. She had been separated from her parents and 10 siblings for decades until they eventually met again for a brief reunion.

Anastasia prefers the images of herself with her lips-closed smile, while Marie goes for the open smiles of her mother! I love the way we perceive ourselves differently from our loved ones. Either way, these printed artworks will be cherished for years to come.

Photography: Deb Smith
Hair: Alyce’s Fringes
Makeup: Becki Belfreyman

Mother and daughter photos

Just popping out for a spot of shopping, and a portrait || 30 Days of Gorgeous

This dear lady popped in to the studio today to book herself in for a portrait session. With hair and makeup.
Lorna portraits







Meet 92 year old Lorna.

As she sat down with a cup of tea, she explained she wanted a portrait for her family members. She has four adult children, including two foster children, and a total of eight grandchildren.

She is fiercely independent and drives herself to the shops and walks where she needs to go. She and her late husband had made a point of having a portrait taken together before he passed away, and she treasures it.

I’m so looking forward to seeing her next week for her portrait session, and including her story in the 30 Days of Gorgeous campaign!

What my 8 year old daughter’s drawing told me about positive self image || 30 Days of Gorgeous

An eight year old's view on self confidence

Tasmin’s drawing of a beautiful face

My eight year old daughter Tasmin sometimes comes to hang out with me at the portrait studio after school while I finish up editing. One morning after she’d been to visit, I was tidying up in the change room when I glanced up to see this lovely drawing of hers on the wall. It reads “Look like what you want to look like” with the artist’s signature included. I was so moved to find this precious treasure in the studio. She’d pinned in to the wall as a positive affirmation for my clients to see when they were in the change room. It was a way of saying “Love who you are.”

So far I haven’t really gone out of my way to sit with her and talk about self-image, body confidence, and all that goes with it. What I have done is be very careful not to use words like “fat”, “diet”, “ugly”, “need to lose weight” etc in front of her.

Lately she has asked me why she has such “fat thighs” on the way to soccer. I’ve asked her “compared to what?” and she’s mentioned the names of girls at school. I tell her how proud I am that she is so sporty, and energetic, and smart, and funny and beautiful. I’ll always remind her she’s beautiful. I’m especially proud of her being the ONLY girl in the soccer team at school. I would have rather died than take a chance like that at her age. But that’s a whole story for another day! I want her to be healthy and fit, but I can only hope she doesn’t connect body size with beauty ideals.

She sometimes asks if I might get more clients if I wasn’t so fat. When you need an honest opinion……! But I tell her with a big smile, “NO! I am very proud of myself and I love who I am and the way I look, and if someone didn’t want to work with me because of that, well I wouldn’t mind. I’d rather not work with them either!”

I love to keep things simple. When Tas visits me at work she sees a big quote on the internal door. It says simply “Be your own kind of beautiful.”

30 Days of Gorgeous || Studio Open Day

mum and daughter experience for mothers day I’m so excited!

I’m kicking off my 30 Days of Gorgeous campaign for the month of June. I’ll be booking in 30 complimentary beauty-portrait sessions and share each woman’s story, one a day for every day in June.


There are so many women who need some encouragement to find ourselves again. My job is to help reveal your inner spark, and I want to transform your life through the experience of portraiture in my Blackwood studio. The sessions will be complimentary, and hair and makeup optional with two printed portraits thrown in as my gift.

But what’s the catch?

Ha! there’s always a catch isn’t there! Each brave applicant will be asked to fill in a questionnaire and be prepared to have your story shared on the blog. If there are more than 30 applicants, I’ll choose based on the people I feel will most benefit from one of my sessions.

More information and information about how to apply will be posted tomorrow.

before and after makeover


As part of the 30 Days of Gorgeous campaign, I’ll be throwing open the doors to the Deb Smith Photographic Studio, at 218A Main Rd Blackwood, this Saturday 4th June, from 10am to 3pm.

This is an ace opportunity to enjoy a complimentary mini makeover-photoshoot with digital image yours to keep.

Click here to book yourself in for your mini makeover-photoshoot. Call the studio on (08) 7070 1667 for a chat! Hope to see you on Saturday.

On the same day, there will be many shops in Blackwood participating in the Totally Locally Blackwood First Anniversary Discovery Trail – look for the blue balloons and support local! Find out more about the Totally Locally Blackwood First Anniversary Discovery Trail.


Beautiful Sonya and baby session || Wittunga Botanic Gardens || Adelaide family photographer

I had the pleasure of photographing Sonya and her beautiful little girl at Wittunga Botanic Gardens recently.



It couldn’t have been a more perfect day – sunshine, blue sky, trees and flowers.


We Mums don’t often appear in photos with our families so I just love it when Mum jumps in!



Call the studio on 7070 1667 for more information about booking an outdoor family session. Or click here to send me an email.

Mother and daughters – three generations photo session || Adelaide Portrait Photographer

It’s always an extra special treat when Mums and daughters arrive at the studio for their Ultimate Girls Day Out sessions and there’s a little grand-daughter included in the mix! It’s such a privilege to be able to capture such special portraits which will be loved and admired for many years to come.

Here are their favourites from the session:

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Our studio is located at 218A Main Rd, in the tranquil setting of Blackwood overlooking the hills. Call today for information about booking a session on 08 7070 1667.

Looking for a professional headshot photographer in Blackwood?




blackwood headshots

Tanya Heath of Blackwood Natural and Remedial Solutions got in touch recently for some professional headshots for her business. She needed to update her professional branding for Facebook.


She wanted to create images that were professional, but not studio based. Tanya also wanted her images to emphasize her approachable, gentle and knowledgeable personality.

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We can arrange professional headshots at the studio (218A Main Rd, Blackwood) or on location at your business. Call 08 7070 1667 to see how we can help today.

Ultimate Mother and Daughter Day Out || Eden Hills Portrait Photographer

I love photographing mums and daughters. Carolyn and her teenaged daughter Iona had a fabulous day out together in the studio, with Carolyn’s husband gifting them the experience. They could remember having had portraits once before a few years ago and were thrilled at the idea of updating their photos with some favourite colours and wardrobe pieces. The pair went shopping for white shirts or blouses they could wear with jeans to coordinate with each other, but returned with identical hers-and-hers sixties mod-inspired graphical print dresses, which photographed beautifully!

ultimate girls day out

Carolyn had her hair cut and coloured especially for the photo shoot and chose a gentle wave styled through her hair, while Iona’s long blonde hair was given a stronger curl to withstand being blowed for one of the shots!

Iona and Carolyn are bookworms, loving reading as well as writing, and Iona brought in some vintage books and her vintage typewriter from home to be included in their photoshoot. We even included a precious hand written note from a close family member in one of the images.

Iona's hair style with Travis Hairdressing

Carolyn says

Have just seen the photos from our mother/daughter shoot today and couldn’t be happier! Deb made the whole experience full of fun and laughter and with great results. Thanks Deb, have no hesitation in recommending you to anyone and everyone 🙂 Carolyn and Iona

The transformation after the makeover portrait session blog carolyn iona black--9_blogstomp

I love these words, thank you both 🙂