Creative Market

Do you ever design things for your business? Flyers, posters, Instagram pics and memes, perhaps? Or do you make your own Christmas cards? Birthday invitations? Then you really need to check out Creative Market!  It’s a fabulous resource for design elements, not to mention inspiration!

You know, as a creative business owner, it’s easy to think you can do everything yourself. “Why would I pay someone else,” the thought process goes,  “when I have those skills already? I can just whip up a new graphic element in photoshop myself and save all that money!”

I’m here to tell you, that’s false economy. How l-o-n-g does it take to just “whip up a new graphic design element”? Sometimes hours!! Creative Market is the solution! I recently bought these gorgeous water colour blossom elements to use in a cover design for a client’s album. They were perfect, and not expensive at all.

And there are so many great designers and creators at Creative Market, you will be spoiled for choice. Oh, and you’ll find my own little store there, too, where I will upload stock shots and mock ups from time to time: perfect for your social media pages. You can find that here:


vividity on Creative Market.

Enjoy! But be careful: it’s a bit like Pinterest. You’ll go there for just a quick look and emerge maybe a couple of hours later……. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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Meet the team: Eloise Proust makeup artist.

A big part of taking great portraits of women — which is what I do best in my role as a portrait photographer –  is getting them ready with great hair and makeup styling. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful team of stylists to call on for my portrait shoots, whether it’s for a glam mother and daughter session, or for a highly professional look for a corporate portrait. Today I’d like you to meet one of the team: the lovely Eloise Proust.

Eloise Proust **

Tell us what you do for work, Eloise

I’m a professional makeup artist, specialising in bridal makeup.

Why did you start your business?

I wanted to make a career of my passions: art and makeup artistry.

What is it about your business that makes you different from other makeup artists?

I believe having and artistic background has given me a great eye for detail, and made me the perfectionist that I am. There are a lot of makeup artists around these days, and so many of them think of makeup as a mask and end up applying too much. I believe makeup is an art form. When makeup is used correctly it enhances a woman’s best features. You should notice those beautiful features before you see the makeup.

Did you do a slow transition from a day job to running your own business full time? Or did you jump in boots and all?

It was definitely a slow transition to build up my business and be able to do what I love full time. I worked in jobs through the week that I didn’t really enjoy to get me by and slowly over 5 or 6 years I began to get my name out there and was able to increase my makeup business to being a full time career.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My days are always very different! Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays I’m usually up at around 5 am to travel to a wedding. I’ll do about 6 or 7 faces of makeup and then from there go to other makeup jobs in the afternoon. Those would be for women going out to a special occasion or I could be in my studio trialing makeup looks for new brides.

What do you like most about the work that you do?

I love meeting so many new and interesting people every week. I’m always on the go and I never get bored. Most of all I love what I do because I get to help women see the beauty in themselves that they often don’t see. Women are so often focused on what they don’t like about themselves, so it’s nice to bring out their natural beauty and give them that extra confidence. I always compliment every single person who sits in my makeup chair, and my compliments are always genuine. I think people underestimate the power of a kind word. One nice comment can stay with us a lifetime!

If there were one piece of advice you could give your clients, what would it be?

Less is more! Make sure you have the right foundation for your skin type and skin colour. Try to have sun protection in your foundation or moisturizer and always look after your skin before bed. Remove all makeup, especially eye makeup. I think RMS coconut oil is the best product ever for removing eye makeup and caring for your lashes. Well, that’s actually four things! Sorry. Can’t say just one!

You arrive at your jobs with a couple of suitcases full of hair styling equipment and makeup. Tell us, what’s in your own personal makeup bag?

My personal makeup bag is extremely small and simple: Laura Mercier illuminating tinted moisturizer, and a good quality hydrating foundation, often it’s Chanel Vitalumiere. I also always have a good quality mascara, and i love Terry Lash Booster Mascara. One of those lasts me a long time! I always like to have moisturized lips with a tint of colour, and I adore Josie Maran lip oil or Lano Lips lip tint. For eyes it’s nice to have one eye shadow palette you can use all the time. Eyeshadows with good pigment will last all day, and I love MAC, Tom Ford or Charlotte Tilbury.

What is one of the best things that has happened in your business life?

Just watching my business grow over the years and being able to do what I love full time. I’ve also been blessed in making life long friends through my business with the beautiful women I get to meet: clients, photographers and other makeup artists.

We’ve all had things go awry for us in business. What’s the worst thing that has happened to you in business, and how did you recover from it?

We’re all human, and mistakes are bound to happen. Touch wood, I’ve never had anything major go wrong like double booking a bride, but you’re always going to make a silly mistake here and there, like forgetting to put a trial appointment in your diary because a client called you when you were on the road, for example. You learn from every mistake and you do what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Having your own business means you are constantly learning. I think your clients will usually be very understanding if you give a sincere apology and offer to make it up to them in some way.

What do you do in your down time?

I love reformer Pilates. I find it’s a great way to de-stress and stretch, which I think is important. I love eating out and finding new delicious places for lunch with friends. Oh, and I like to go to the art gallery and spend time with my family, too.

Dog or cat?

Dog, but I’ve never owned a cat.

When I was young I used to collect….

My room was filled with crystals and candles. You are always still your own inner child, that’s for sure!

If you could meet your teenage self, what would you say to her?

Believe in yourself! And always trust your intuition. It’s rarely wrong.

Eloise is available for wedding, editorial/photo shoot, and television makeup work. You can find her here:


instagram: EloiseProustMUA

facebook: Eloise Proust Makeup Artist


**Eloise’s profile picture by Carol Zat, and used with permission.




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On first words and wasting time.

My Grandmother used to tell me that my first word was “antibacterial”. Those of you who know me well may actually believe that. I know I do.

My mother used to tell me my first word should have been “procrastination”. Those of you who know me well…. really well…. might agree.

Recently I attended an event that came with a little goodie bag. In it was a cute little desk calendar, which my daughter liked so much she set it up in our bathroom. Each month has a beautifully typeset message exhorting me to do certain things. This month the message is  ”Don’t waste time.”

graphic by Jennifer Taylor, vividity photography

I think I disagree with little Mr. July. What’s wrong with wasting time?

Now I’m certainly not suggesting that everybody should just loaf around all day and never get anything done. Not at all. And if I had a dollar for every time I’ve told my children to hurry up (often closely followed by the words ‘shoes’ and ‘socks’, or ‘into’ and ‘bed’) I’d be a wealthy woman indeed. But I really do think a little time-wasting now and then is good for us. So, instead of “don’t waste time” I would rather the calendar said something like “Log out of Facebook, put down that iPad, get your work done and then go hang around doing nothing much for a while. It’s good for you.”

A better way to waste time. Sydney portrait photographer Jennifer Taylor, vividity.

It’s in those moments of having nothing to do, no urgent pressing demands, nowhere you have to be that we have a chance to truly relax, to recharge and let go of that low-level stress that we so often carry around with us. And if you can share those moments with your kids, that’s even better, because then they have a chance of remembering those moments when they grow up and feel the rush rush hurry up pressure we put on ourselves in the world of work, kids, traffic and seemingly constant demands for instant solutions to everything. They may not remember each and every moment, I guess, but I hope that my kids will have some kind of almost visceral memory of those times… a kind of ‘Ah…. that’s better” feeling when they return to doing nothing for a while.

And it’s those moments of nothing, no pressure, nowhere to be, nothing to do, those moments of genuine relaxation that we have our best ideas, too.

So, off you go. Get your work done. Take care of the essential chores. Then log out. Shut down. And go waste some time.


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It’s time to update your corporate portraits when… {Sydney corporate portrait photographer}

In a previous post about what makes a good profile pic, I listed the following as reasons you might need to have a new corporate portrait taken:

  • You are currently using a poorly taken selfie
  • You are currently using a photo of yourself cropped from a group pic
  • Your current photo is more than a few years old
  • You have had some major change to your appearance (e.g. lost or gained weight, significant change to your hair style or colour, you have started wearing glasses all the time)
  • You are targeting a different segment of your market
  • You are re-branding
  • You have a promotion or a campaign coming up where you will be needing a range of good images to use in a co-ordinated manner for social media, press releases and print campaign

Well, the lovely Julie Attwood was listening, apparently, and came in recently to update her professional images. Here’s her before and after.

We took the image on the left a few years ago. (You can read about that shoot here. It was a fun one!) Since then she’s not only significantly changed her hair colour, but her business has ‘changed colour’ too. Julie is a chartered accountant, but she is most definitely no longer ‘a suit’. Her business has been built around kitchen tables. Quite literally. You see, Julie’s business is mobile. She will visit you in your home to help you with your personal or business tax needs (or both), and she doesn’t mind whether you’re in your Sunday Best, or in your dressing gown and slippers.

Here she is in her own words:

Tell us what you do for work, Julie.
I’m a chartered accountant and registered tax agent.

Why did you start your business?
I started my business because I was frustrated with working for employers who I thought were doing a bad job, the theory being that if they can do it, then so can I, and probably better.  I’ve wanted to run my own business ever since high school, so the goal had been sitting there a very long time. I also wanted to be more flexible around my children.

What is it about your business that makes you different from other chartered accountants?
Being a mum, I understand what it’s like to be busy and juggling everything and so I go to see my clients for appointments when it suits them in their own house – I don’t judge how many years are outstanding, if their house is a mess, if there are kids running around being noisy. Nothing bothers me at all. I’ve been in meetings with clients in their pyjamas, toddlers toilet training beside me, babies being transitioned to solids and fed while we chat, dogs and cats on my lap (not all at once, but then again that wouldn’t bother me either).

What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day starts with coffee and checking emails and Facebook, then either dropping the kids to school, heading to a meeting or getting stuck into some work. I’m usually at home when the kids arrive home from school so I hang out with them and chat over afternoon tea before they head off for afternoon sports. In the evening after dinner I’m generally out seeing clients.

What do you like most about the work that you do?
Getting good results for clients – no one really likes paying taxes so if clients feel they aren’t paying any more than they should be then they’re happy.

If there were one piece of advice that you could give all of your clients, what would it be?
Wear the damn dress!* No seriously, I quote Ferris Bueller “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

*Julie is referring to our conversation at her first photo shoot about a very expensive silk dress. You can read that conversation here.

What’s one of the best things to  happen in your business life?
One of the best things to happen was getting a refund of over $50k for a client – she was a combination of speechless and in tears.

We’ve all had days when things have gone awry for us in business. What’s the worst thing that has happened to you in your work, and how did you ‘recover’ from it?
The worst thing to happen would be to actually make a mistake (I’m human, it happens) – after wanting to be violently ill and run away I contacted the client and was brutally honest and waited for the ranting response but they were totally fine.

What do you do in your down time?
I try and get through a book a month for the book club I attend, I also attend the kids sports (jujitsu and rugby league) and I watch UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) – hey I’m in a house of boys.

Dog or cat?
Both dog and cat – a rottie and a ragdoll but I also now have an eclectus parrot, to overcome my fear of birds. I adore them all and the cat and bird tend to hang out in my office when I’m home.

When I was a kid I used to collect…..
Biggles books – still do.


If you’re looking for a chartered accountant or tax agent who can come to you, then you might like to get in touch with Julie. You can find her on Facebook here.

And if you’re ready to update your own corporate portrait, or you’d like to book in for a full personal branding session, you can get in touch with Jen from vividity here.



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Mini sessions at a micro price

Need a great portrait for your business, but don’t have the time for the luxury of a full shoot? Here’s your chance to grab yourself exactly what you need:

Call me today to book your corporate portrait petite session on either Thursday 28th or Friday 29th July 2016, and we’ll talk through all the details including what to do to get ready for your shoot and what to wear. Sessions all held in Pymble on Sydney’s north shore.

Who are these sessions for?

These sessions are perfect for anyone who:

  • needs a “quick in and out” and get on with your day
  • doesn’t want hair and makeup styling
  • needs a great shoot on a tight budget
  • only wants a handful of images
  • doesn’t need a lot of variety in their photos

Who are these sessions not for?

If you are looking for enough images to feed the great beast of social media for the next few months, or images of your products, or you want a mother and daughter shoot, or a fully styled and directed shoot with a concept to rival those of a Hollywood Blockbuster, then these are not the sessions for you. If you fall into this camp, give me a call and we can dream big together!

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