My week In Photographs

What a gorgeous last few days of Winter in Sydney this week has been right? 26 Degrees on Saturday, crazy!

It’s been another busy week, mostly groundhog day revolving around the kid’s sleep, food, entertainment and trying to get some work in between.

And so the story goes. Before I know it it’s another Monday again. I hate Mondays. Not because I have to got to work, but because I feel like I should make some kind of plans for the week. A to do list so that I can be more productive. Oh the pressure. Luckily it’s usually over in a blink of an eye and by Tuesday, well, it’s too late to make plans so I can just give in to the daily routine. Yeay for watching the Gruffalo again!

Here’s what my week looked like. It was an unusually full week, we hardly ever manage to fit so much in!

starring maya first burger


Started off with this little munchkin tasting her first burger and loving it. And that little screwed up face is her latest camera smile style.

starringmaya succulent babiesMy succulent babies seem to be doing well… cant wait to replant them in cute little pots…or maybe I’ll make a succulent garden…  if Maya doesnt destroy them before.

starringmaya dolls house

This is my very special project at the moment. Maya and I found a doll’s house in an ugly but very solid brown wood at a garage sale. I’ve given it a couple of coats with gloss white rustoleum spray paint and I love how it’s turned out. Now on to decorating and furniture making.

starring maya beach

We went to Manly Sea life Sanctuary to see Maya’s beloved Penguins followed by fun at the beach.

Jewellery starring maya

Got a lot of photographing of jewellery done for Instagram … Love doing this. The wizards at the Peter Lang studio have always been so generous letting me borrow whatever I like to photograph. This necklace found its way into my jewellery draw. Oops.

starring maya portrait


And lastly my favourite part of the week was a wonderful portrait session photographed by Claude. I wanted a beautiful portrait of Maya and I for the blog and for my photo wall at home. This is just a sneak untouched peek but I absolutely LOVE it. Cant wait to show you more once it’s finished.

That’s it for now, tune in for hopefully more exciting things next time. Have a wonderful week! xxx


PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

My Favourite Photograph

There’s a photo of Maya and I taken in our first few minutes together on the wall. Everytime I see it, it brings me straight back into the moment.

starring maya .. first day of maya
This. A few moments after Maya was born. Taken by Claudio Raschella.

You know what I mean by ‘into the moment’ right? I mean everything.

The labour pain and the relief when it was over. What I ate that day, what I wore and how many hours I’d slept during. Clenching my fingernails into Claude’s shoulders and making him bleed. How he just let me.

Most of all it brings back the crazy insane joy of the moment I got to look into my beautiful baby’s eyes. Of holding her wriggling little body in my arms. For the first time.

I felt like I was being given with the whole world on a gilded platter.

It’s crazy to think that a year before this picture was taken, I was just me. I didn’t have a baby to take care of.  I was still able to sleep when I wanted to sleep and go to the movies any time I wanted. I was free in a sense, roaming the world with no real purpose. When I spent my days being gloriously selfish, spending hard-earned money on frivolity, and wasting long hours procrastinating.

When having a child was a distant fantasy, something I would get to one day before my biological clock stopped ticking.

This photograph, It was the moment life changed forever.

Into a life where I get to kiss and cuddle the most beautiful kid I know, of hearing her call me mummy and tell me she loves me. Where I get to watch Disney movies (on repeat) and make up silly dances.. A life where sleep is a luxury as is a clean home.

And I love it.

Now when I think of what it would be like if I had never had Maya, it’s a pretty bland fantasy.

I love this photo most because it puts things into perspective. Reminds me of the most important things.


Anyway, that’s enough soppiness for the week. I cant help myself, my sweet baby girl is turning 2 soon and I need time to stop moving so fast!

Do you have a favourite photograph that takes you back somewhere?


PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

7 Tips for taking Better pictures on your iPhone

starring Maya 7 tips for taking better pictures on your iPhone title

Claude, my husband who happens to be a brilliant photographer, is sick of me.

I’m sure of it.

Ever since I started this blog I’ve been bugging him to take photos for my posts, whether it’s pictures of me looking ever so casual while I work, or of our child.

It started out fine. He took the photos, and after a few days of nagging he’d email them to me. The result — a visually beautiful post.

Months on, he’s over taking them. I’m over waiting for them.

So when I asked him for photography tips, he was only too happy (albeit little a too eager) to help. But hey, at least I now have some tips to share with you.

Without further ado, Here are Claude’s 7 best tips for taking great pictures with your iPhone

1. Consider your background.

It’s all very well to have your friends smiling beautifully but pay attention to the background too. You can get a great background by either moving the camera a little or moving your subject to frame an image.

Look out for lamp posts, rubbish bins or power lines sticking out of someone’s head.

starringmaya photography tips - consider backgrounds
Pic on the left looks funny with pole sticking out of his head, Pic on the right was taking by camera moving slightly to the left.
starringmaya how to photography tips
Left: with bins Right: without bins


2. Compose your shot like an artist

Pay attention to composition.

Photographers and artists have a little secret called ‘the rule of thirds’. It’s where the main subject of your image should only take up one-third of the entire frame. It’s always a more interesting picture when a person or product or landscape is off centre.

If you’re shooting the ocean and a beautiful sky for example, the horizon shouldn’t necessarily be across the centre. Take the photograph with more sea or more sky so the horizon will be sitting close to the bottom or top of the frame.


starring maya how to take better pictures with iPhone
In this image the hero of the picture, the playground is centred.
starringmaya how to tale better pictures with your iPhone
The playground here is closer to the foreground making the Image much more appealing.


3. A good photo needs good lighting.

Ask any photographer, and they’ll tell you: it’s all about the lighting.

If you’re taking a shot of a friend in the sunny outdoors, take it in the shade where you will get a smoother cleaner picture on their face. The sun can create lots of nasty shadows and glare on your face and does anyone really need that?

starringmaya sun shade how to take better photos
Left: My darling stuffing her face in the sun. Right: A few steps forward in shade

If you’re indoors and you want to take a shot of a product for example, shoot with the light not behind you and the camera. If you point your camera towards the light your image will be dark and you’ll get a silhouette.

Sometimes, a silhouette can be quite beautiful.


starringmaya how to take better pictures ith your iPhone
Silhouette of Claude and Maya
starringmaya how to take better pictures with your iPhone
Silhouette of Maya
starringmaya sun shade how to take better photographs
1. camera facing the bright window. 2. camera slightly angled so light is on the side. 3. Camera facing outside from a shaded balcony 4. Camera facing into the balcont with light behind.

4. Use the iPhone focus feature

Once you have your picture composed, touch and hold your iPhone screen where you want the main focus to be and a little square will come up, that’s your focus point.

You can also adjust the brightness or darkness of your image by dragging your finger up or down anywhere on the screen.

starringmaya using focus on the iphone to get better pictures


5. Use ‘bursts’ to get multiple shots

If like me, you have a child that is always blurry in pictures because she wont stop moving, keep your finger on the button and it will take multiple shots as she plays.

The number of shots depends on how long you keep your finger on the button. Hopefully among the many pictures there will be one shot in focus.

starringmaya bursts photography tips
Left: A few seconds gave me 23 photos in one burst. Press select on the bottom to choose the good ones. Right: All photos from one burst


6. Taking pics at night

Taking a picture in the dark slows down your shutter speed. Basically your camera is trying to let in more light. But with the shutter open for longer, there’s a good chance your picture will be blurry because you’re moving the camera.

You can get around this by holding the phone still. Put it on a stable surface like a fence or wall (unless you go pro and get yourself a tripod).

If you’re photographing friends be sure to turn on the flash, this will freeze any motion and maybe you might get a creative blurry background too.

starringmaya how to take better pictures with your iPhone
An evening outdoor shot
starringmaya how to take better pictures with your iPhone
Night shot with iPhone

7. Use photo apps.

There are loads of apps that allow you to alter, touch up or add filters to your photos.

Pro apps are a little more complicated but there are apps that are easy to use.

My favourite apps are Vintique and Photoshop Express. Claude, who’s a bit more experienced, uses Filterstorm or Snapseed or even ProShot

Now that I am more informed on how to take decent pictures, Claude’s a happy man. He thinks I wont bother him anymore with requests.

I will.

Thanks to Claude for helping me out. He’s the best photographer I know, check out his Facebook page for his work.

Do you have any other tips or Apps that you like to use? I would love to hear your thoughts. Tell me in the comments below.


PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen

Portraits of the Bump

I was 37, I was pregnant, I was gloriously fat and I never felt more beautiful in my life.

Everyone knows pregnancy is not an easy ride, although I have heard of some magical humans who sail through without so much as a headache.

I on the other suffered from disgusting morning sickness that lasted 10 weeks  24 hours a day and Pubis symphysis (aka bitch from hell). A lovely sciatica like crippling pain which started as soon as morning sickness finished and lasted until Maya was about 3 months old.  But so what?

I felt like a goddess (most days) put on earth to create my human, and I would do it a hundred times over if I could get more just like her.

My husband and I really wanted to document the belly so every month we set up the camera, he shoved some kind of food prop in my face and we had a ball.

Except for the last weeks of pregnancy.

Then it was an effort to put on makeup and do my hair. When the baby is pushing down on your punani and your husband takes forever lighting and setting up, you kinda go a little bat shit crazy.

Here’s one that I hate but Claude loves so I’m putting it on here. It’s a bit in your face right? Especially my pregnant chins.

starringmaya pregnancy portrait
Photograph by Claudio Raschella


But this is my pride and joy, it hangs in the hallway outside maya’s room and she loves looking at it. She asks for cake every time she sees it but that’s ok.

starringmaya portraits of the belly bump
Photography by Claudio Raschella

Did you enjoy your pregnancy or was it just me? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

starringmaya baby quote

PS. I would love you to come and join my Facebook family for a bit more of Starring Maya fun. Or if you're more of an Instagram person then right this way 🙂 See you around! xxx Shereen