About Karen 

The tide of sticky red juice on his cheeks shows he has planted his face nose-deep in the slice of watermelon he’s holding. Pink rivulets cut through the dried salt on his sun-kissed arms and belly. His hair and eyebrows are bleached to almost the same shade as the Cape Dutch cottage behind him. Long lashes are downcast, eyes focussed on the serious task at hand.

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Photo credit: Erik Holmgren (my dad!)

The child in the photograph is my little brother. The photograph, shot by my father circa 1972, is one of about 600 that document our childhood growing up in South Africa.

Dad was a great photographer, and his photos are why I fell in love with photography. He had no formal training, just an eye for composition, lighting, and capturing the moment. As kids, he would regularly haul out the projector to hold slide shows, and none of us objected because the photos were so damn gorgeous.

But … how has that impacted my photographic career?

Our move to Australia in the late 70s was gut-wrenching. We started asking for the slideshows because, projected life-size on the wall in vivid colour, the photographs in all their splendid detail helped us keep the memories of our birth country alive.

Dad’s photos are the reason why …

1. I specialise in wall art.

Big is beautiful, when it comes to photographs. A large photograph lets you take in all the detail, the expressions, the connections between the people in them. Small photos are for wallets and bedside tables.

2. I favour natural, documentary style

… over highly-manipulated imagery. There is a place for heavily Photoshopped images, but they’re not part of my repertoire. Sure, if a big zit decides to rear its head on the day of your photo shoot I’ll get rid of it for you, but mostly I like to tell it like it is.

3. I’ll treat you to a slideshow

… as part of your photographic experience. Following your photo shoot, we’ll book a time to sit down to a slideshow together and view a selection of the best photographs from your session. It’s fun – so much more fun than an online gallery! I’ll help you choose photos that tell YOUR story, for you to display big and beautiful in your home.

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My youngest daughter is a dab hand with the camera. She took this photo!
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My crazy kids swimming at sunset.

This is me and my lovely family. I live in Melbourne with my husband, Ben, and we are blessed with two gorgeous daughters, Mia and Molly. The girls are on a mission to turn us grey but, since it’s about the only thing they agree on, we mostly let it go.

As you can see from our family photos, we love the water!

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On holiday with my family in Vietnam, 2016.
photos of Melbourne family photographer Karen Quist's family, about Karen
LEFT: Dad, telling me to straighten my camera; CENTRE: another of Dad’s photos – Mum with me & my brother & sister; RIGHT: Mum in her 20s with her dog. We lost our mother to cancer when she was just 53 🙁

We share our home with Sooty the Schnoodle and two spoilt bunnies, Snoopy and Poppy. When I’m not taking photographs, you’ll find me working on my first novel, drinking strong coffee and finding new ways to avoid doing the laundry. I am also a regular contributor at Digital Photography School, where you will find a number of my published articles covering pet photography, Lightroom techniques, and photographing men.

about me pets
The spoilt pets.

I adore animals, and your pets are always welcome at our photo session – in fact, I encourage it! I only shoot in natural light – no studios or artificial lighting. Click here to read more about what to expect from a custom photographic experience with me.

I invite you to browse my website and galleries, and discover more about my personal style of portrait photography. If you’d like to get in touch for a chat or to book a session, you can fill out the contact form on the top right of this page, email or Facebook message me, or simply call me on 0411 051 363. I hope to hear from you soon 🙂