What is Christmas all about?

Billy & Hanna Family Portraits by Ave

It's the most wonderful time, and busiest time, of the year! There are gifts to be wrapped, trees to be decorated, parties to be hosted and tables to be set. But, wait... is that what Christmas is really about? There's nothing wrong with celebrating your Christmas with a lot of agenda but why should this joyful season of celebration becomes a stressful season full of unrealistic expectations and commercialism? Year by year, we forget to sit and reflect what Christmas is all about. 

If we took the time to think about Christmas spirit, there is a calling to pause, reflect, rest and stand in awe of the One it’s all for. And if we take time to listen, we still can hear His small voice telling us what it’s all about. Christmas is far more than just pretty presents under a tree, it’s about His presence that never leaves us alone. At the same time Christmas is all about giving. Not only give the material things, but give our love without any expectation of receiving anything back in return. Christmas is not just about decorating your spaces with sparkling ornament but the most important things is to decorate your heart and make it pure without flaws. 

Year after year, the message is still the same for us. Christmas is a celebration of love, joy and peace. No matter how difficult, no matter if we have not received them from others, no matter what’s going on around you, still that’s the greatest gifts we can ever give. As you celebrate Christmas this year with your loved ones, takes time to reflect on the miracle happens when The King came to us in the humblest of ways to make a way for us to come to Him. Let’s bring back the Christmas spirit to every door and the real meaning of Christmas to every heart.

18 Dec 2016

Kinfolk, Folks

Hengky & Clarissa Family Portraits by Ave

The secret to a good photograph is in the details. I’ve always believed that. That’s why I make it a point to pour a big portion of my time into discovering the details that really speaks about the family that I will have on the set. And because family portraits are about describing the personalities of that family, we really take the time to talk about what they like to do, what inspires them, and basically what their every day is like so that they’d have a great picture to look back upon later on. 

This Kinfolk-inspired photo session feels like a refreshing change to the elaborate sets that I am used to to doing. We kept the props to a minimum and the simplicity of it all allowed us to focus more on the connection that this little family shares. And what a beautiful connection that is! The boy, Ollie, is such a heartthrob! Although in the middle of the session he was a little bit tired and sleepy, he kept smiling. (That’s another benefit of the having a simple concept for family portraits: the children can just be natural!) 

This series felt light and easy like a Sunday morning. I hope you’re having a light and easy one too today! 

27 Nov 2016

Live in The Moment

Rudy & Tiff Family Portraits by Herna

We live in such a fast-paced life. I can be in one place one minute, and in another place in another. Sometimes I even wish that I can split myself and be in two places in one time. And with the traffic in this city, planning becomes a priority. The better we plan, the faster we move. That’s just how it is. That’s why we are used to thinking one step, maybe even five steps ahead. To make sure we don’t waste time in the busyness of life, we think about the future. 

Planning ahead - that’s great habit, don’t you think? Yes, it is. However, as we accustom ourselves to think ahead of future actions, we often forget about today. We think that today was a part of yesterday’s plans anyway, so we keep ourselves busy with talks of tomorrow. We forget to live for today. We forget to savor the moment; in fact, we often don’t even notice that we are in a moment worth remembering in the first place. Every action, every emotion, every thoughts of this moment can easily slip us by as we keep our eyes on what lies ahead. At the end of the day, we don’t remember what we did today. We remember things we will be doing tomorrow, but we might not recall the happenings of today. 

It isn’t so with children. Children live for today. They don’t think about what’s going to happen tomorrow or the day after. They don’t think of the happenings of today will greatly influence their tomorrow, because well, as far as they’re concerned, tomorrow never comes. After tomorrow, there will be another tomorrow, and then another tomorrow, and then another… They say “Later!” with the greatest of ease, like as if “later” is still days away. And they do that because what’s important is today, right now, this moment that they are in. 

22 Oct 2016

Parenting Corner: Words of Love

Gautam & Chandni Family Portraits by Vania | Written by Maya

Ied. The most anticipated long holiday in the country. Also known as the holiday filled with the most worry. Why? Because nannies and domestic assistants will go back to their hometowns and leave us for at least ten days to celebrate this most anticipated long holiday. And when the holiday is over, we are left to wonder if they will ever come back and if we could go back to life as we know it as planned.  

Call me super spoiled, because yes, that I am. But like all brave moms out there, I looked forward to this holiday with great enthusiasm. (At least, I tried to.) I submitted my work early, cleared off my schedule a few days before our nanny and domestic assistant left us, and had my mind set on being my own version of a super mom for at least a week. 

I thought to myself, “This isn’t the first for me.” And I was sure I could do it. 

17 Jul 2016

Recipe for a happy family

The Sandjajas Family Portrait by Ave

First off, the key ingredients: hearts over flowing with love, lots of understanding and trust, endless open communication and listening, kisses and hugs, strong shoulders, a generous portion of laughter, jokes and kidding around, courage (it's not for the faint of heart)

Mix together with a variety of colorful characters.

Stir in honesty and manners, kindness, caring, compassion and tenderness.

05 Jun 2016

A Mother’s Reflection

Deviana & Nathan by Herna | Written by Maya

I believe that our three children (as are every child in the world) were born loved. The love we have for our children naturally kicked in the moment we learned of their existence and their arrival were events of highest anticipation wrapped in overwhelming love. I had hoped, quite possibly in some kind of fairy tale dream world, that with this love, managing the ins and outs of the day does not get the best of my husband and I, and that our everyday will not drive us crazy. However, in this reality, we are challenged everyday by tantrums, curiousity and growth. 

We wake up (on most mornings) to a thousand cuddles (and on other mornings, to spin kicks and punches to the face). We dance to the upbeat (or hectic) rhythm of the morning routines and give ourselves an imaginary pat on the back if we leave the house on time (because, of course, who has time for a real one?). We think we have everything all figured out only to discover that our children have outdone us yet again. They challenge our creativities and knowledge with their questions (that gets weirder every time), they test our patience and self-control, and they surprise us with experiences wrapped in an erratic mixture of immense joy and complete frustrations all rolled into one.

But… isn’t it amazing how these small creatures can bring out the worst in us, have us wrapped around their fingers, leave us emotionally and physically drained and yet our love for them only grows bigger as the tensions roll by and surprises keep coming in?

07 May 2016

A Strong Family

Krisna & Maya Septha Family Portraits by Vania, Written by Maya Septha

I come from a complicated and dysfunctional family. I’m not proud of it. And I don’t really want to go in detail about it, because frankly speaking, I really wouldn’t know where to start. 

If you happen to think that I lead a perfect life, you’re sadly mistaken. I’m not a perfect person. Nobody is. And I don’t have a perfect marriage. In fact, I don’t think that anyone does. 

I believe that there are no perfect marriage, but there can be a happy one. And I believe that there are no perfect families, but there can be a happy one, and that begins with two people who continues to learn and adjust and improve for the sake of their happiness together. 

19 Mar 2016

You are my sunshine

Jun & Pax Family Portraits by Ave

Summer… I always feel like the joys are stretched longer to the length of the days in summertime. The cool breeze brings a whiff of the sweet smell of fresh cut grass and the butterflies are roaming free. I love summer. Especially in Australia, a country I call my second home. 

On one particular summer day, in Sydney, I was standing in the middle of Centennial Park, waiting to shoot the family portraits session with a huge smile plastered across my face. It was a perfect day with the most beautiful weather. It wasn’t scorching hot; strangely, it felt rather chilly as the wind blew across the shade of the trees where I stood. I hadn’t met the family I was going to shoot in person. I’ve only known Jun and Pax by name, as David had just documented their private anniversary celebration a few weeks earlier. I heard that they were humble and easygoing people who are fun to be around. When I finally met them, I found out that everything I had heard was true and more. It made me feel honored just to be there, with them and their family, to shoot their family portraits. Pax had told me, via email, that she had wanted to do take a moment out of their family holiday to take some pictures and preferred if they could have some fun while doing it. 

That’s how I came to Centennial Park that day. It was a park with large trees and a good shade with a pretty little bridge. It was the perfect place for a family photo shoot. 

12 Mar 2016

Love of Family

Ruben Onsu Family Portraits by Herna

The life of a celebrity - you’d think it’d be filled with glamour and glitz and totally more awesome than any of us could even dream of, right? I thought so too. Until I met Ruben and Wenda who showed me that they go through life just like anyone of us. They have dreams and they work hard to achieve it. They feel joy and sadness and love, just like we do.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to welcome them into our studio for a family portraits sessions. Ruben and Wenda, along with their beautiful daughter Alia. Before she arrived, Ruben and Wenda only thought about themselves. They never considered anyone else. If there were a job offer, they’d take it, as long as they’re able to fulfil it. They very rarely turned anything down. But as soon as Alia arrived, their whole world changed. Life as they knew it, was no longer. And they had to include her in every decision they made. Ruben still goes out to work and accept jobs when he can, but Wenda has held back more as she put their daughter at the top of her list of priorities.
I thought that celebrities go through life a little different than we do. However, this family showed me that they experience life just like the other people next door - they work, they enjoy, and they put love for their family above all else.
It was an honor to have the Onsu family in my studio and to be there as they made their memories as a family of three.


29 Feb 2016

Always Mother, Forever Friend

The Xu Women Portraits by Fen

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” - Washington Irving


I love the bond that the girls in the Xu family have. Not only are the daughters, Cecil and Isable, the best of friends, their mother is also a part of that friendship. The bond between this mother and her two daughters and sweet and pure, and I simply couldn’t stop from capturing the moments they share. Their relationship is so inspiring, it makes us question the popular belief that mothers and daughters will never see eye-to-eye. I’m sure that while at some point in time they might have experienced conflict, it’s how they resolve it that makes all the difference. Today, the Xu Girls hang out together, go for a weekend getaway together, take trips around the world together… they do most everything together. Now isn’t that a beautiful thing to witness? I most certainly think so. 

19 Feb 2016
All the way to the bottom already?
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