Reflecting on the High School Formal Season

Half way through February already, we are well and truly into 2015.

Lately the photographs I have been capturing are commercial images, that would be inappropriate to share (sorry).

However I have been granted permission to share images that are special to me – images captured at the last high school formal season of my two beautiful (and talented and funny and intelligent) nieces.

The biggest skill needed for capturing portraits of teenage girls (young ladies), is the ability to make them feel comfortable and relaxed (I have yet to meet a teenage girl who really felt comfortable in front of the camera).

Thank you Ladies (as promised I’m not mentioning your names) for allowing me to share these two photographs.  I wish you both all the very best for the year ahead.  Love Auntie Sarhn xox

Portraits of Sarhn's nieces before for their Sydney high school formals

Sunflower, Honey Bee Photography and GreenerMe

Happy New Year!!!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year break. On my holidays, I have enjoyed putting my professional camera gear away and using my camera phone to photograph my home garden (to see what was possible to capture using my phone).

I added this post originally on my GreenerMe blog and thought it would be nice to share it on my professional website too.  Hope it puts some ‘sunshine’ into your day.

Honey bee collecting nectar from a giant sunflower, photograph

Create Your Christmas Cards FREE on Me

For the past six Christmases, my family have sent out a personal Christmas greeting card to our loved ones.  This was last year’s card (doubling as a moving home announcement card).


Front of our personal SendOutCards Christmas card for 2013

Inside our 2013 personal SendOutCards Christmas card


I use my SendOutCards website to create and post my Christmas cards because it is quick and easy.  I have always loved that I can use my own photographs to personalise my cards.

Recently I acquired 10 SendOutCards customer packs.  Instead of selling them, I have decided in the spirit of Christmas, that I would give them away.  YES FOR FREE.


What’s the details?

* In a customer pack you will get 100 points.  Basically this will be enough for 50 pre designed Christmas cards or just over 30 if you design the cards yourself (use your own photographs or clip art).  You then just pay for postage (you can send the cards to anywhere in the world).

What’s the catch?

* You need to let me know you want one of the customer packs to send out your Christmas cards this year – and let me know quickly (again I only have 10 to give away).


The first 10 people to let me know they want one of the FREE customer packs, will get one.

Merry Christmas – only 42 days to go!!

Sydney Beach Weddings

Don’t you just love a wedding!?! There is something special about an Australian beach wedding.  All the frills and trimmings stripped back, leaving what is really important – the couple’s love and commitment.

This sandy beach ceremony was held at Camp Cove, Watson Bay in Sydney.

With permission given from the newly weds (thank you Guys) here are some of their wedding beach ceremony photographs.  Just loved your ‘shoes are optional’ wedding.


Sydney Beach Wedding at Camp Cove, Watson Bay

Just Married Kiss at Camp Cove, Watson Bay Wedding Ceremony in Sydney

Wedding Ceremony at Camp Cove Beach, Watson Bay, Sydney



I actually captured these photographs for VFM Photographers (Value For Money Photographers – my wedding photography company).  I enjoy the weddings that I photograph for VFM Photographers because the weddings are just so relaxed and joyous.

Congratulations to the happy couple. x

My Favourite Personal Portrait Photograph

It only feels like a recent memory that my husband and I were announcing the birth of our first child.  Now she is almost 18 months old.

I have always understood my clients who don’t want me to share their photographs online.  Family and children photography is very personal and I respect their privacy concerns.  After all, I myself am very private and have only shared two photographs of our little one, even on my personal Facebook profile.

Lately, many have asked “do you take many photos of your little one”?  So today I thought I would share my favourite photograph of her – a candid and natural portrait of a sleeping baby.

This image is a great example of the ‘work’ I love to capture for my clients – capturing ‘that something special’ that makes us all unique and individual.  This then makes the portrait unique and something that no one else will have hanging on their walls.

Sarhn McArthur's personal baby candid portrait

Could Being Too Professional, Hinder Your Business Success

The one year anniversary in our family home is approaching. We have just received two correspondences, congratulating us on this mile stone.

Firstly a letter, printed officially and professionally on business letter head.  The sender was the Real Estate who sold us our home. To be honest I was expecting this letter.  Throughout the sales process this agency kept us informed every step of the way through laser printed letters – all on official letter head.  There was no doubt they had great systems.  The business was a ‘well oiled automated machine’.

In comparison,  the second correspondence was from an agent who didn’t sell us our home.  We met her while viewing another house in the area.   She rang us to follow up on that viewing, which is when we advised her the house didn’t meet our requirements and have exchanged contracts on the property around the corner.

A year later we received from that agent an unexpected, heart felt greeting card, penned in her own handwriting.  It was a simple, yet appreciated gesture. 

In comparing my reactions and ‘feelings’ towards both correspondences,  I was struck with my reaction.  I was very conscious that even though we purchased our home through agent one,  if we were to sell our home now, agent two would definitely receive a call inquiring about their services.

Professionalism and attention to detail is extremely important in business,  however if no personality or warmth is included into your business ‘systems’, you miss the opportunity to build stronger, more trusting and loyal customers.

Many business owners overlook the simple gesture of even sending personal, heart felt, greeting cards – as it is hard to quantify the success of such activities.

However business owners who send greeting cards to appreciate their clients (NOT sent for self promotion purposes) will start hearing glimpses of feedback from happy customers.   These glimpses are just the tip of the ice berg – as the total response is often unreported.


Would you like to start being a business who appreciates their customers by sending greeting cards? Give SendOutCards a try – an online greeting card store.  Select a card, write your message (there is an option to design your own card and use your own handwriting) and click send on your computer.   Your card will be physically printed and posted to any letter box in the world – a REAL greeting card (not an e-card). 

Who is Viewing Who at the Archibald?

Have you been to this year’s Archibald exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery?  Have you ever been to the Archibald exhibition?   If not 2014 is the year to loose your Archibald ‘virginity’.  To view the paintings personally and intimately, is to be inspired and in awe of human artistic ability.  I am not just saying this because I appreciate the arts and value creativity but because for me personally, the Archibald exhibition is very special.

This week I was fortunate to have a corporate photography shoot not only inside the NSW Art Gallery but also within the Archibald exhibition itself.  Part of my photographic job brief, was to capture the event’s attendees viewing the paintings.

Not sure if it is just me but the ‘viewing’ photographs grabbed my attention – there appeared to be a juxtaposition between the actual paintings and the viewers themselves.  Leaving a question of ‘who was viewing who’?

Here is a selection of images that tickled my fancy (and also selected with consideration of the viewers privacy – as all are from their backs).

Interested in your impressions of the ‘viewing’ photographs.


Viewing Vincent Fantauzzo's 'All that is good in me' painting

Viewing Jason Benjamin 'I just wanna dream' painting

Viewing Anh Do 'Father' painting

Viewing Fiona Lowry's 'Penelope Seidler' painting

Viewing Rebecca Hastings's 'The onesie' painting

Viewing Paul Newton's 'Portrait of Frank Lowy AC' painting

Viewing Alan Jones's 'Adam' painting

Green Up Your Life: ‘Green at Work’ Workshop

The City of Sydney have been producing a number of ‘Green up your life’ workshops.  Tomorrow night I will be one of the three panelists at the ‘Green at Work’ workshop.  Here is the official blurb:

For many of us, it’s easy to nurture green ideas on our own turf, but we’re waiting for green things to grow in the workplace. At this session we’ll learn how to fast track greener surrounds in the place many of us spend most of our time – work. Hosted by green journalist and writer with the SMH’s My Career, Sue White, tonight’s session is aimed at green beginners. This evening’s panel will show you how employers and companies are starting to wisen up to the world of green, and explain how people just like you are getting green workplaces to blossom.

Duncan Underwood will let us in on the secrets that make Digital Eskimo’s Surry Hills ‘igloo’ one of the most sustainable work spaces around. Melissa Neighbour will talk us through the multiple green initiatives she’s nurtured in LJ Hooker’s head office as well as through their 690+ franchise stores. Lastly, freelance photographer and sole trader Sarhn McArthur will share the new ways she has greened her business.

Places are limited and bookings are essential.  Book your free ticket here.

An Alaskan Photographic Adventure

Alaska’s summer might be colder than Sydney’s winter but taking the long haul flight to visit this amazing land was so worth it!

While in Alaska, I saw and photographed sea lions, bald eagles, brown bears, humpback and orca whales.  To be so close to such wild beauty was a moving experience.

Now back in Sydney, I wanted to share some of my Alaskan images with you.

I will return to Alaska again.

Alaskan landscape by Sarhn McArthur

Iceberg by Sarhn McArthur

Orca Whale by Sarhn McArthur

Skagway township by Sarhn McArthur

Ketchikan Creek Street by Sarhn McArthur

Sydney’s Coal Seam Gas Protest – Just Everyday People

Last week I marched alongside thousands of everyday Australians, who are greatly concerned about coal seam gas mining. Personally I was surprised to see business men in suits, elderly women, teenage girls, families and farmers together raising their voices. Not fanatics or radicals – just everyday people.

Even more surprising was that 22 different community organisations came together with an united, outspoken voice against coal seam gas mining.  One such group was the Country Women’s Association of Australia (CWA), who in their 90 year history had never taken to the streets – until now!

Thanks to the Wilderness Society of NSW who again allowed me to hang with them during the protest.

Coal seam gas protest held in Sydney on the 1.5.12