Where it all began…

Inspired by Joel Robison who shared his story recently on his blog, today I want to take you back to where Story Art was birthed. Where the spark was lit, the ‘first’ creative portrait composite that broadened my thinking and opened my eyes to the possibilities.


This excerpt is taken from my Emerald Eye Photography blog from Jul 15, 2014

The Local Project - Pears Soap Jul 15, 2014

Our second instalment of ‘The Local Project’ was completed this weekend. After a lot of planning, prop sourcing and model selecting, we gathered everyone involved in the studio for what can only be described as “organised bedlam’.

After liaising with Puss n Pooch Grooming in Berwick, and discussing our concept for their wall print the next step was to ensure that we had everything available to create an authentic photographic reproduction of the classic Pears Soap Poster of children about to give their little dog a bath.

With our Pears Soap example in hand, we scoured Waverley Antique Bazaar in search for a similar baby bath for the shoot. After nearly giving up, my eyes landed on the perfect bath. A slightly different colour, and without the base that shows in the original, but nothing a bit of photoshopping later couldn’t fix.

We then went on to Savers in Narre Warren and found a bath jug (again requiring some creative photoshopping to match), a floor throw similar to the original, and a little white dress for our models.

Below you can see the original items, prior to our editing work:

Before Editing - Props

We also used a charcoal fur backdrop, gathered like the original, a red throw for the contrasted area of the backdrop and one of our daughter’s pink shirts (with white collar) to throw over the jug) which was later photoshopped to a darker matching red.

As we were working with very young children and dogs, we never expected to get the scene perfect in one shot. The children were so little that they needed assistance holding each of the dogs. In fact our younger girl model, Harlie, wasn’t able to hold the dogs at all, it got a bit overwhelming.

Here are a few behind the scenes images prior to our final edits.

So now we’ve revealed all our behind the scene’s secrets, we are thrilled to share the final product. We produced two versions of this image.

The first is of our own children, Jazzlyn and Asher with their little puppy Buddy. Buddy is a 4 month old Cavoodle x Lhaso Apso.

Pears Soap Photo Replica 1

Our other version of the image is with dog model Jessie and our selected models Harlie and Hunter (who are good friends in real life).

Pears Soap Photo Replica 2



When I shared the finished product with Puss N Pooch I was taken aback by the response. The owner was so thrilled with the result wanting to purchase a fine art print for her own home. On top of this she suggested that when others see the finished product they may want something similar created of their own pets and children. Initially I was not sure about that proposition. Knowing the amount of work involved in this project I struggled to figure out how something like this would be priced, or how I could make enough to justify the time and skill.

Following several other personal projects in the following months however I came to realise that this style of work was indeed my passion, and that I had to make it work despite being afraid of the unknown. I put all my effort into developing Story Art and now, 1.5 years after my Pears Soap project I look back and realise taking that leap was the best business decision I have ever made!


To read more about my Story Art journey you can purchase a copy of my Ebook – Once Upon a Time (free for premium members)

Once Upon a Time Book


2 thoughts on “Where it all began…

  1. When you did this composite for others, did you recreate the entire setup or just replaced the children? Also how does one go about pricing something like this? This is definitely the type of photography that I want to do. I love your work.

    1. Great question Debbie! I actually have only ever created these two versions of the image and they were both shot on the same day with the one set up.

      I personally don’t repeat my images for other clients. My approach is a customised artwork just for them. This of course means that my price is considerably higher for a custom work than it would be if you had sets and scenes that you used multiple times. From my own creative point of view, I don’t like repeats, I like to create unique works, so this works for me.

      You would get a lot out of my marketing fine art talks which can be found here: https://storyart.com.au/marketing-fine-art-photography/

      In regards to pricing, I have a starting rate for commissioned art works based on the minimum time it would take. (I include a fine art print within that pricing). I then sit down with the client and work through the ideas and concept and quote specifically based on the amount of work (how many photoshoots involved, how much time editing, costs of props etc). The price is established up front and agreed upon. A deposit is paid (50%) on booking and the remainder on completion of the work.

      All the best in your own composite journey!

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