Q+A with Tash Stokes on a bit of everything!

I first met Tash in the space of tiny squares we know as Instagram where she occupies a slither sharing her beautiful photography (I’ll talk more about this in a second), her unique knack to transform spaces and her beautiful children Ruby and George.

Thank you for injecting some creativity into us by sharing your photography tips with us on Instagram I have alerts on for that, I’m a big, big fan & will do anything you say! Can you tell us about how you first picked up a camera? And for those of us that have missed your tips or don’t have Instagram what would you impart with us? Where should we start? What should we do?

I originally used to just join my husband (who is a photographer too) on shoots to carry his bags and pass him things but after watching him become this whole new creative confident person when he had a camera in his hands I was intrigued. So I decided I’d give it a go. Arie was obviously a good mentor and he always insisted I practice using the camera alone. Eventually I worked it all out. So if I have any advice for someone wanting to learn it is pick up a camera and keep shooting. It’s a bit like riding a bike, once you get it you’re away! My little isolation goal was to share some photography tips, which I have saved on my instagram if you are feeling inspired!

You work with your husband Arie, mostly from home, with two little children and a dog. Together you comprise Black Robin Photography where you find yourselves and I quote “looking at life through a lens for work and pleasure and feel so very lucky that we get to document all the little moments so they last forever”.This is such a unique and beautiful situation and perhaps not everyones cup of tea but I dream of being able to work with my husband. I’m genuinely interested - how do you balance that? Do you have allocated work time? Do you work when the kids nap? I marvel at your ability to do this so well!

We are blessed with photography to have a very flexible work schedule which has been the biggest blessing while raising young children but it has always been a struggle to achieve balance. We have days where one of us works while the other does the harder job - parenting. Then we switch. We like to think we have a very modern family dynamic and we share the load when it comes to work and family responsibilities as evenly as possible. During the wedding season where we are our busiest we work until midnight most nights to try and fit in work around our family time as much as we can. I feel like we squeeze the hours out of the days to make them go as far as possible!

You’re a real creative, it just oozes out of you. Let’s talk about your beautiful home. You’re blessed with a landlord who allows you to carry out cosmetic renovations and you sure have a knack for creating beautiful spaces on a budget, repurposing and blending old with new. Firstly, can you tell us a bit more about that unusual, but great arrangement with your landlord. And if you could impart your top tips to achieving the end look you have, what would they be?

We are very lucky to live in the situation we do. When we originally viewed the property we called it the technicolor dream house. Any colour you could think of was on a wall or curtain or surface. The landlord loved us and offered us the property but before accepting asked the cheekiest question I’ve ever asked “can we change it?” After a few back and forth conversations we agreed that we could make basic cosmetic changes to the house and that he would pay for these as they would be upgrading the property. All the wallpaper was stripped, every room was painted, splash backs were covered, shelves hung. We are really happy with the end result. I love the difference a fresh coat of paint can make in a room. Shop small when it comes to decor, better yet second hand. Think outside the box and dont follow trends too closely.

I love to see that you’ve been pottering in your children’s bedrooms. Spill the beans, how do you make their spaces look so dang cool?

I’m super passionate about kids rooms reflecting the person who lives there. It can be quite trendy to have a minimalist look or perhaps one with muted colour pallets. But I truly think kids' rooms need to be bold. Lots of colour, lots of pattern, toys, pictures, accessories the whole lot. Ruby’s room is pink and rainbow and bursting at the seams and she loves to spend time in there because it has everything she loves inside of it. They have the rest of their lives to have a tidy, minimal, ascetic looking bedroom, let them just be kids for now! 

And lastly, I know what a good sort you are supporting small and local where you can - we’re currently in lockdown fighting against COVID-19 but will you share with us some of your favourite places to visit, to shop and maybe some hidden gems we might not know about that you’re looking forward to visiting again…

  • OBVIOUSLY Little Mash - my kids are always dressed well by LM as well as their bedrooms being filled with the treasures we find in store
  • Needle in the Hay - just down the road from LM has so many weird and wonderful finds
  • The Hospice Op Shop - I think the thrill is in the hunt! 

You can book Tash & her husband at Black Robin Photography & follow along with Tash, her family & her photography tips on Instagram

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