Rob Heyman specialises in portrait photography for country families, country kids and three generation portraits.
He spends much of his time travelling Australia and the world photographing families and giving seminars.
Many of his previous portrait and wedding clients now live or holiday overseas so Rob tries to time his overseas
trips to update these families' portraits in exotic locations. Recent times have seen him photograph
in Singapore, France, Greece, Venice, New York, Tennessee, Prague, Istanbul, and Romania.

His published book, "Location Lighting for Portrait and Wedding Photographers" is popular around the world
and his second book on "Photographing Groups" has now been released.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


In the last few weeks I have made a couple of trips to country areas of NSW where I grew up. I've met some lovely people who have been on the land for generations, and others who are relative newcomers.
These are some of the portraits and images of people and from these trips.

It has always been my preference to have only one or two large portraits in the living area rather than a family wall of smaller images. There is always a "best" shot which is enlarged and I think that if the smaller images are surrounding the main portrait, they can dilute the effect of the larger, more dramatic image. The images below show the result of careful placement of the best shot from some of my portraits sessions. The "family wall" could be down a hallway or in a more personal space in the house...   
...or not. Hey, it's just my opinion.

Although I have been photographing families in cities for most of my life, this blog is mainly for people who prefer a more rural setting for their portraits.

I was born on the black soil plains in NSW and spent the first part of my life on and around farms, animals and bush. As a result, my portraits reflect that heritage. There is usually, but not always, a spaciousness about them that stems from my formative years. I think my personal space is about 90 ft.!!

After my years in Brisbane, I have decided to concentrate more on my country portraits where I feel more at home. Every few years I visit different towns in Australia and photograph local families; St George and Bundaberg in Queensland, Armidale in NSW and Robe in SA are all on my favourites list. After a few years we return to each place and re-photograph the growing and changing families. 

The images below reflect the type of portraits I have made for many of these country families. Usually quite casual, but not necessarily; formality if it is needed; a reflection of your personality and/or lifestyle, always!

 Part of a three generation (four if you count the dog) in Bundaberg. John is an old cattleman and Jack, the dog, is getting on a bit, so it was decided that now would be a good time for a portrait session. 
John, Jack, daughter and Grandson.

Sometimes things just happen. The cow was not an original part of the concept, but if something is offered, why should I refuse? It is called serendipity; a happy accident.

A face full of character is irresistible to me. This gentleman was sitting on his step in Istanbul and we started chatting. Those tired eyes have seen a lot of living.

During a portrait session just outside Dallas, Texas, I spotted this driveway which lent itself to a documentary style of portrait of a brother and sister.

Same young guy as above. Contrary to popular belief, kids WILL do what you ask if you ask the right way. He posed like a real professional!

What can I say about this image....?

This portrait and the following three were from a portrait session in Strasbourg, North-western France about a month ago. The colours of the French countryside are a bit hard to imagine if you live in Australia. The greens are greener and colours seem brighter for some reason.

One of my ESSENTIAL portraits! Father and son. Quite often this is overlooked by many photographers, but it is extremely important. This, coming from someone who has no photo of himself and his dad. It's too late for me now, but I realise now how important this shot is.

On my way to Caloundra to photograph a family, I saw these clouds in the general direction of my destination. Always the optimist, I adjusted my original plan to include the sky. When I finally arrived, and met the family at the location, the clouds had become even better as the sun set. 
Ta-da!!!..... final result!

Every year since their parents' wedding I have photographed this family, right from the parents' first anniversary and as each boy was born. It has become a real challenge for me to produce a new and better portrait each year. Here are just a few from previous years.........................

...... and their gorgeous mum.

I found this remnant from some sort of grain harvester lying in a paddock and thought that it would frame a teenager perfectly.

Photographed on the Gold Coast, this is another family I have previously photographed. Repeat customers are terrific. They will do almost anything I ask (almost). The top one is from about 2004 and the lower image is from 2010.

The above three portraits are again from St George a couple of years ago. The colour of the tractor was MOST important to this young man. I had initially put a green texture through it but was promptly put in my place when he told me that "good tractors are red, not green!"

Photographed in South Australia, this is one of my favourite images. In the one image we have their lifestyle (no tree is ever cut down), the property itself, their house on top of the hill, (with a 360 degree view of Cape Jaffa and Mount Benson) and the family.  Love the pink boots.

A rainy day in Robe is no deterrent to having their portraits made. On the contrary, it makes me work harder to get something different,

These portraits of a spectacularly redheaded family hang proudly in their Robe home.

This couple owns a beautiful little restaurant in Robe called the Wild Mulberry, and we ventured out or town for this session, complete with two kids, dog and Grandma. Then back to the restaurant to finish off the day with one of their famous coffees. We also photographed one of their staff and her husband with their pet sheep called "Laconic Lennie". We caused quite a stir when they walked Lennie along the beach on a lead.

I photographed this couples wedding some years ago and have made their family portraits a couple of times since. This was photographed on the Gold Coast. I love the Lord of the Rings feel to the location.

Not everything always goes to plan. At the culmination of the above portrait session at St George, I had to face the fact that I should NOT have driven down onto the riverbed in my two wheel drive car! It was all hands on deck and amidst clouds of dust, giggles and downright raucous laughter, I was pushed out of the sand.

This old shed forms the background for two lovely girls, again a previous customer.
Below is one of their portraits from last year.

Last weekend I was asked to photograph four generations at the house. Grand-dad and grandma flew from Perth for their son's sixtieth birthday, so it was the perfect time for a portrait. This is another of my father/son portraits.
and one from Venice to finish off with!