Saturday 24 December 2011


What an amazing year 2011 has been, I have cried with brides as the groom reads his vows, I have laughed when the little page boy drops the ring and everyone is on their hands and knees in their beautiful clothes looking for it in the grass, I have giggled at the Super Mario themed reception and I have gasped at the majestic eagle who flew in and delivered the ring to the groom. All of these things I have witnessed through the eyes of my wonderful clients and their amazing talent with a camera.

I love weddings, newborn babies, big round pregnant bellies and families with kids who have character (naughty if you ask the parents) but one of the best things about Chocolate Beige Designs is the friendships I have made with my clients. I love the designing and making the images tell a story as you flip through the album but just as much I love the day to day emails and friendly banter with my clients, mostly it is about albums and images and day to day business things but it is also about parenting tips, nights out or a new dress.

A lot of my clients I have never meet in person before, majority of them don’t even live in the same state as me, let alone being close enough to be able to meet for a coffee and a chat. But together we have made a lot of bride and grooms, new parents and familles very happy and we have had fun along the way.

Life is about the relationships we make, the conversations we have and the images we leave behind.

So a big CHEERS to the end of 2011 and I can’t wait to get started on 2012 and all that awaits, and to each and every one of my precious clients thank you, thank you, thank you, for your continued support, advice and friendship.

Take care over the holidays and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Cheers Mel

Thursday 22 December 2011

One more album before Xmas.

We have been doing a few slipin albums of late, so I thought I would share a rather nice one with you. Slipin albums don’t need to be a single image slipped between the mattes of each page, we can design slip in layouts similar to flushmount pages just taking into consideration the matted boarder around each page. This allows the album to still tell a story and flow similar to a flushmount album. Images by Alan Hughes Photography

images by Alan Hughes Photography

Wednesday 14 December 2011

A very special album

My Nan turned 80 this year. She is one of those Nan’s you read about in fairytales or see in the movies, a little bit parent, a little bit teacher and a little bit best friend. She has gently guided her children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren through life with a loving hand and a warm smile. Everything she does and says is done with a gentle kindness and soft grace I only associate with my Nan and no other.

She has taught us patience and old fashioned good manners, to appreciate the simple things in life and also to celebrate in style and elegance. How to live like a princess whether you have a little or a lot and how to be a wife and mother with love and kindness.

So how did we celebrate this special ladies birthday?

With high tea fit for a queen of course. Complete with formal invitations and beautiful home cooking from my amazing sister who takes after my Nan in the kitchen department. My Nan and her prince charming my Pop arrived by stretch limousine to be greeted by family and friends and the excitement of great-grandchildren.

The special relationships we have with my Nan, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother were celebrated throughout the day by a series of small gifts each with a special note and a matching babushka doll. At the end of the day the babushka dolls are all nested together inside the warm embrace of my loving Nan, each one representing a new generation starting with this amazing lady and finishing with the great grand-children, this is the circle of my special family.

There is a song written by Taylor Swift “The Best Days” and every time I hear it I am reminded of drinking chocolate milkshakes and eating peanut cookies in my Nan’s kitchen every Tuesday and Thursday after school. While Nan and Pop sit with me and ask about my day at school and my friends. The lyrics of this song is what I wrote in my Nan’s card and I will forever get goose bumps when I hear it and think of this special day.

The milkshakes and cookies have now been replaced with coffee and donuts every Tuesday morning be it rain, hail or shine. When my two boys were little they would come along too and be spoilt as I was when I was little. But they are getting bigger now and have gone off to school, so now it is back to just me, it doesn’t matter how busy I am or what I have going on my number one priority every Tuesday is morning tea with Nan and Pop. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

So Christmas has arrived and the thoughts of what to get all the special people in my life have started. But what to get my Nan has been a project I have been working on for a while and it finally arrived today. An album full of photos and memories from the special day she turned 80 surrounded by family and friends. I know this will be a gift she will treasure forever, on the bookcase standing next to the album we did for my Pop when he turned 80. A set of books full of treasured memories standing side by side forever.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Feature Layout of the month - November 2011

Ok this one is a little bit of a celebration. Our lovely client Photography by Linda has a shinny new sparkly studio and we think that she has done an amazing job, the studio is absolutely beautiful complete of cause with the studio sample album which this precious layout comes from. I love love newborn babies, their soft little bottoms and their old person wrinkles, just a lovely little human being all fresh and sparkly new.
Congratulations on the new studio Linda you have done an amazing job, check out the images here.

Friday 21 October 2011

Feature Album for October - Check out the theme for the reception - very original

I love it when people are not scared to be themselves and express who they are. This album is just beautiful, all soft and romantic with a beautiful bride and stunning beach location. Then you turn the page and arrive at the reception and it just makes me smile, I so love to see people being themselves who ever they are.

Monday 17 October 2011

Getting to know Angela Dick - feature photographer for October

Name  Angela Dick

Business/Employer   Angela Dick Photography

How many years have you been taking photos     14yrs

Favourite Camera     EOS 7D

Which do you prefer when editing   peace and quiet

Favourite Movie                    Point Break

Favourite Type of Photo Shoot        wedding
Comment Options are usually endless at a wedding, a bride in all her glory & of
course the wonderful groom among family & friends celebrating their day, what
more could you ask for.

What do you drink with dinner                      water

Are you a tea or coffee person                    neither

What do you love about Chocolate Beige Designs? Mel is fantastic & a great
designer to boot!

Ang is behind the beautiful images that are in our feature layout of the month for October. As this is such a lovely album it is also going to be out feature album of the month so stay tuned to see more.

Online Album Proofing – The benefits to your clients

There are lots of ways to proof an album design. But there is only one way to make sure the design is seen for its true potential.
In the past, photographers would make an appointment for clients to come to their studio and view the album design on screen. Then as technology became friendlier, photographers would print the album pages to a PDF file and email or write it to a CD for the clients to view at home.
The only problem with these options is that they all take extra time, money, effort and are honestly, just a little outdated!
The album design can only be truly appreciated through an online proofing system. The clients get sent a link to the proof website, where miraculously they can see their album exactly the way it will be printed. They can also share the link with family and friends who once they have seen the beautiful images and album design may become future clients.
There the client has the opportunity to add any comments or desired alterations directly onto each page using the comments box provided. There is no risk of missing or mixing up the comments and the client feels completely in control of the outcome.  
The online proofing site also has an approval system, using email which comes directly back to the designer or photographer, indicating that the album has been approved or that comments have been added.
This then provides both client and photographer with a written record of either the changes required or that the proof is ready to go to print. The file can be viewed as many times as they like and there is no extra cost involved.
The additional benefit is that the online proofing site can be custom-matched to your own website so that it looks like an extension of your business.
The online proofing system I subscribe to is called ‘Album Exposure’. Check them out and see the benefits to you and your clients for yourself.
Give me a shout if you need a little help understanding how it works. It really is a simple and win-win solution for all of us.
Mel x

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Feature layout of the month - October 2011

Now to be honest this is a bit of an unusual choice for me. As most of you will probably know I am personally not a huge fan of mixing images of different colour effects, colour should be with colour and black and white should be with black and white, you get the picture. So when I came across all of these absolutely stunning images of this stunning bride all with a mixture of colour effects and a limited number of pages to use them in an album I was a bit what to do, what to do, as we all know I love everything to match match match.

So I took the leap and mixed them all together and to be honest I absolutely love the outcome, I think it is the beautiful soft green in the main images which really ties it all together along with the fact that all the images are similar but still a little different. Great images Ang from Angela Dick Photography.

Saturday 24 September 2011

Do you remember those beautiful shoes?

Well they are back and we now have the entire album to share with you. This album is so gentle and romantic, I just love it. The bride is so elegant and beautiful, the location so very rich in heritage and those shoes are just to die for.

Images by the lovely Natasha Beaumont

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