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Phew! What a year it has been.

Nothing can prepare you for the huge adjustment of becoming a parent. The sleep deprivation, worry, mental and physical exhaustion, joy, love and brain fog. The way you feel when your baby learns to clap, to laugh, to walk.
It’s incredible the way it changes you and your entire world, for the better.

This year has been such a learning curve. I’ve not only learned about being a parent, but also a lot about myself and the way that pressure and stress can manifest in your life. I’ve had a huge year of ‘letting go’ of my years of extreme work, and learning to just go with the flow. It’s been so amazing to have the time to get some perspective on the insanity that being a small business owner entails!

I’ve always been an anxious person, as a lot of you will know. But after the birth of Daisy, and stupidly going back to work early due to fears of ‘missing out’ (and sheer bloody-mindedness!) I ended up in hospital after such bad anxiety that I stopped sleeping entirely. It was hell.

But what was the worst time in my life, has ultimately ended up as the best thing that could have happened to me, and the time I’ve taken to get well and be a mum has been a real eye opener to what’s important in my life.

Nothing is more important than your health, your family and your well being! Not deadlines, emails, prestige or work commitments. Not blogging, Facebook posts and big jobs.

So now that I’m out of the blue, and back into the sunshine, I’m only working for me! From now on, I’m only shooting jobs that I love.
This means no more weddings, no more ‘down to the wire’ rush jobs – but only the jobs that I really want to do.

So expect to see some lovely people, magazines, and businesses gracing these pages, and less work on the whole!
As much as I enjoy my job, I’m much more creative when I’m not working 24/7!

Therefore, what a pleasure it is to ease back into work with a commission like this for North & South.

By total coincidence, I was asked to photograph an essay on Blueskin Bay – Waitati, my hometown! The loveliest job ever, photographing people I’d grown up with, beaches I’d spent my summers, and businesses I’d worked in.

Thank you North and South, for being such a great publication (the only one I subscribe to!) and for even more excitingly, featuring me as a contributor in this issue. The best way to be welcomed back to work!

Looking forward to a wonderful year watching our little Daisy grow, and shooting some super enjoyable work!

North and South is out now, go have a look at how awesome Waitati is!

  • March 23, 2016 - 4:56 am

    Sally Brown - And what a wonderful job you did Bella. Such a fantastic article and photos of “our” Blueskin Bay. A must read by all . Once again thank you very much xxReplyCancel

  • March 23, 2016 - 9:23 am

    Sinéad Jenkins - Waitati IS frigging awesome!!! The spread you did looks incredible. The perfect person for the job! Well done for getting through such a tough journey this year. Let’s see more of you now 🙂 xxReplyCancel

  • July 5, 2016 - 12:54 am

    Rachel Brodrick - Wow this write up has sent tingles down my spine, so much of what you say is soooo true! I love your attitude and your approach to moving forward in your creative field. With this in mind I was just asked by ‘Together Journal’ if I could recommend a Dunedin Photographer for a small lifestyle portrait session. I have put your name forward. Stick to your guns Isabella and welcome back…

    Rachel –


Awhile ago, I was asked to photograph Richard Emerson for Dish Magazine – and we had such a great time that Richard decided it was time for some updated promotional shots to use in publicity and media.
So off I went to the brewery to photograph Richard and his team in action.

Being the beer lover that I am, there’s nothing better than photographing a brewery… and I must say, I had a very happy husband when I returned home from work with treats from Richard on not one, but two occasions! (Thanks again, Richard!!)

Emerson’s has always been a favourite beer of mine, so it was an absolute honour to photograph the man himself and see where the beer is made.

Check out the Emerson’s billboard on Anzac Ave – exciting times ahead, with a new brewery to be built!
Another great thing happening in our wonderful little city 🙂

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One of my most favourite parts of my job is working with people and businesses that I really believe in.

After meeting the amazing Sandra Clair of Artemis Natural Healthcare a couple of years ago on a shoot for Tourism Dunedin, I was enthralled by her ethos and her incredible knowledge on the healing power of plants.

Sandra’s Dunedin based company specialises in beautiful organic healing teas, oral liquid supplements, and remedial bodycare products – all gathered and manufactured by hand in Dunedin, and sold throughout New Zealand and the World.

For Artemis’ new ‘Slim and Trim’ Tea campaign, we used real life tea drinkers and photographed them in their elements, doing what they loved.
It was important to portray how the tea complimented their busy lifestyles, and kept them full of energy, so along with the photographs, quotes from their interviews were used in promotional material to reinforce how they felt the tea fitted in with their lives.

I’ve loved working with the team at Artemis, (along with drinking their beautiful teas!) and am looking forward to shooting a new campaign in the near future! Keep an eye out!




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Hello!! I am back!

After a beautiful few months getting to know our daughter Daisy, I’m beginning to really miss work and being out and about – so it’s time to brush off the cameras and start shooting again.

I’m looking forward to getting into some new projects, and seeing my regular clients again! I have missed you all!

The shots above are from luxury merino brand Perriam’s children’s range – ‘Little Perriam‘ – absolutely beautiful handcrafted merino clothing, made in Central Otago.
Christina Perriam’s gorgeous designs are both practical and cute, and I can’t wait to get Daisy into them! In fact I don’t think I’ve taken off my snuggly Tarras Poncho all winter so far……Merino is just the best.

We shot Little Perriam’s stunning wee models on location at beautiful Criffel Station, and in Perriam’s studio in Wanaka.

Thanks to the wonderful team of Christina, Callum and Gemma for being amazing organisers, and to the super helpful mums that entertained the kids all day.

Looking forward to getting out shooting again!

See you soon! x


Aidan and I are over the moon to finally meet our beautiful little girl,
Daisy Dickson – Born in the snow storm last week on Tuesday 14th April.
Thanks to all my lovely clients, friends and family for your love and support! We are all doing great!

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I don’t often get around to posting much of the commercial work I shoot (as I’m normally too busy shooting it to blog it!), but what with the growing bebe in my tummy and impending maternity leave, I finally have some time to post a few of my favourite commercial jobs of the past year.

I’m lucky to have worked on some amazing projects over the last few years, a lot of them bringing huge personal and moral satisfaction to my life.
Working for organisations such as SDHB/Public Health South, Otago Polytechnic, and Enterprise Dunedin sees me involved in many enriching and positive campaigns, and the stories I hear along the way from the subjects I photograph, mean more to me than any other work that I do.

Just a few weeks ago on a shoot for Enterprise Dunedin, we photographed and interviewed an elderly man who was a 5th generation Aramoana dweller. The hours we spent with him were filled with incredibly emotional memories and amazing insights into Dunedin’s past, that most of my generation are probably oblivious to. (You can see more of these stories appearing on Daytripping in Dunedin, in progress…)
Doing this job means so much more than just photographing people, for me it’s about incorporating their story into the image, and that’s why I love this sort of work so much.

Above is a campaign I shot for Public Health South last year – The SmokeFree Leadership Campaign – with the wonderful Debby Newton, Smokefree Co-ordinator.
We interviewed and photographed a series of Southern District Health Board, WellSouth Primary Health and General Practice staff from all over Otago & Southland, focusing on their roles and goals in helping our communities to become and stay smoke free. These champions of the health system are people who any one of us can turn to for support in keeping smoke free, and photographing them was an absolute privilege.

Thanks to Debby and all involved in this great project. You can see these posters in action in Doctor’s waiting rooms, Hospitals and Health organisations near you!


At the start of Central Otago’s beautiful Autumn last year, my dear lifelong friend Liv and her partner Dale visited from Melbourne.
We took a little break at their cosy crib in Alexandra after shooting a wedding, and on a golden, sunny evening, with the dry grass crunching under our feet, I took some photos of the two of them as we went for a walk.

For a joke, we called it an engagement shoot – teasing poor Dale and winding him up about proposing to Olivia.

Fast forward a year on, and he did! So what better excuse to FINALLY edit these beautiful images and gift them to Liv and Dale as their engagement present. You guys have got to be the most patient people in the world, waiting almost a year for me to have a chance to edit some personal work!

Looking forward to more beautiful weekends in Alexandra and a wonderful country wedding!

Congrats guys xx

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Happy New Year!

What an amazing start to 2015 we have had, I can’t remember a summer like this EVER! I’ve been really enjoying my summer ‘off weddings’ and have managed to pop in visits to friends all over the country, with lots of swims in between!

I’m back to work this week, after 6 weeks of luxurious holiday. Phwoar, working with baby brain and a huge belly is hard!
But it’s only for two weeks, so I’ll be able to put my feet up in no time at all.
I can’t believe baby is due in 9 weeks….. time has flown and I still haven’t had time to even start organising my personal photos, which was my goal for those long days of pregnancy. Next week maybe…

Before I head off to my afternoon of shoots, I’ve managed to sneak up a wee job I shot for Jetstar Magazine last year.

The lovely Judith Cullen of ‘Judith Cullen Cooks & Travels’ was profiled for the magazine’s ‘local knowledge’ section – a page on Judith’s favourite spots in Dunedin, where to go and what to do in our city.
Judith chose to be photographed at her local, – Esplanade – where the Italian chefs serve up delicious modern pizza and pasta, and you can imbibe in a glass of good wine while looking out the windows to beautiful St Clair Beach.
Esplanade’s amazing interior and gorgeous light made it the perfect place to take some relaxed portraits, and Judith and I were lucky enough to sample the delicious antipasto after the shoot. Ahhh, the life of a food photographer…

Thank you to Judith for being a wonderful subject, and to Esplanade for being wonderful hosts.

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It has been a loooong time between blogs! So much for all the blogging I thought I’d get done before baby arrives – the weather has been so nice here in Dunedin (very unusual, it’s normally rubbish!) that I’ve been spending all the hours I’d put aside for blogging and editing my huge backlog of personal photos, in the garden!
So I have a very tidy garden, but am still behind on the blogging! Oh well, there is still 2 months to go!

Casey & Glen managed to sneak in one of my last portrait sessions, just before Christmas.
We got the perfect weather, the grass was luscious and long, and Sam and Luca had a great time running around outside! Mum and Dad got some lovely ones together too, no one was left out!

Right, time for a hot chocolate and a book! I am going to relish being pregnant as long as I can!

x Bella

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After an early meeting at Vogel St Kitchen, I thought it was only appropriate that I stay and use their wifi, drink their good coffee and eat their yummy cakes while blogging the photos I shot for them and Kia Ora Magazine last week!

Riah McLean has transformed what was an old, run down, printery in Dunedin’s Warehouse Precinct, into the most amazing modern cafe -right in the heart of Vogel St – Dunedin’s newest technology hub and the site of continuous restoration of the beautiful heritage buildings that once housed Dunedin’s early industries and shipping companies.

Vogel St Kitchen’s exposed brick, kauri beamed interior houses spaces for everyone – quiet little spots with power points upstairs, for people working on the go like me, large shared tables for meetings, cosy couches and high bar tables for casual get togethers.
Their menu is equally as varied; a huge wood fired pizza oven creates amazing gourmet pizzas, a large selection of cakes and filled ciabatta rolls, and an all day breakfast menu for those of us who like to eat muesli at 10pm (Aidan I’m looking at you!)

This place is already my favourite new hang out, and a welcome addition to the area for the hundreds of hungry Vogel St dwellers – who have been hyping it for months!

Well done Riah and team, see you tonight for the opening party! x



  • December 11, 2014 - 10:07 am

    Kjesten Nilsson - Beautiful photos of a fabulous cafe! And it was a great opening party … Well done Riah!ReplyCancel

  • April 3, 2015 - 2:05 am

    Heather Ayson - love the café. great food and staffReplyCancel

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Grab the latest Dish Magazine and a cup of tea, and you’ll find some delicious recipes for all sorts of sweet Spring treats, and a lovely selection of delicious morsels by Matt Cross, of The Tart Tin – who you may recognise from the wonderful Otago Farmer’s Market.

I photographed Matt over a couple of absolutely freezing winter days – snow and all! – but while we huddled in his little bakehouse in St Clair, the aromas of baking and the little tidbits I was able to snaffle kept me going, and I got to witness an amazing range of treats being created – all hand made, fresh and delicious – that Matt sells at his stall on Market Day.

Little cupcakes, Caramel Popcorn, Tarts-a-plenty, and Mini Loaves are only a fraction of Matt’s repertoire, and often you’ll find exciting new treats such as ‘Perky Nana Macarons’, or ‘Hot Chocolate Toppers’ popping up with different flavours each week.

You can find this month’s issue of Dish Magazine at your local magazine retailer, and I’m off to bake some muffins!
Blogging this shoot has made my little baby belly rumble! Here’s to caving in to pregnancy cravings!


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We’re so lucky to live just down the road from our wee nephew and his Mum and Dad, and to be able to grab a bucket and head over the hill to our special cockling spot is one of the joys of living on the beautiful Otago Peninsula.

I borrowed these two for a last minute commercial shoot a few weeks ago, and while we were there, I snuck a few snaps of the two of them just hanging out, digging for cockles.
I’m so terrible at picking up the camera when I’m not working, so it’s about time this wee one had some updated photos!

Can’t wait to do this with our wee one….! Dunedin rules.

  • September 29, 2014 - 6:38 am

    Annie Smithson - Isabella, your photographs are beautiful, the two models are just perfect. Hope you are keeping well. looking forward to meeting you in February 2014. Thank you for your gorgeous photos. Koru’s Nannie Annie !!! xxxxReplyCancel

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If you haven’t checked out the transformations that are going on down in Dunedin’s Warehouse Precinct, you’re in for a treat!
The beautiful old hertitage buildings that were slowly decaying have slowly been renovated, making way for beautiful new workplaces, shops and apartments. Every building has been renovated in a way that preserves the integrity of the building, while updating it for the future.

I was lucky enough to spend a day shooting a feature on the Warehouse Precinct for Good Magazine, and got to see these beautiful Kauri beamed, exposed brick, New York loft-style buildings before ,during, and after completion. For all involved, they’re a labour of love – and you can see what passion each building owner has for their project.

Good Magazine’s Spring Issue is out now – where you can read all about it, and look at some pretty pictures. And I made the contributor section!

Vogel St’s regeneration kicks off with a bang for the Vogel St Party – 18th October 2014! See you there.

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Hello! Long time no blog, I’ve been terrible I know! Now that Dunedin is waking up from it’s wintry hibernation period, it’s been all go!
Lots of fun things on the go, including some exciting magazine features and other bits and bobs…. but more on that later!

One of the fun jobs I’ve had lately was updating Nova‘s menu shots for 2014 – lots of yummy new things around this year, a new soda machine with Six Barrell Soda’s delicious cordial to mix, inject-able doughnuts (heaven…cream and salted caramel for me….) and scrumptious new mains and desserts. So good. I always have trouble on these food jobs…. too hard to photograph food when it looks and smells so yummy..

Speaking of yummy, I’m going to get outside while it’s still sunny and plant my little pea seedlings. We were lucky enough to be featured in NZ Gardener’s Get Growing magazine this week! You can see a few photos of our wee patch here!

See you soon! More blogs to come this week. Get out there and enjoy that sunshine! x


  • September 3, 2014 - 4:54 pm

    Bridget - your place looks like paradise, what a haven..! no wonder you love it, hope you are well BellaReplyCancel

    • September 3, 2014 - 5:13 pm

      isabellaharrex - Thanks Bridget! It certainly is a paradise to us! I’m doing great thanks hun, how are you going? Is the house finished yet? xReplyCancel

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I have a wee feature in New Zealand Weddings Magazine this month, rather exciting…..

Amy & Alexis’ beautiful Lake Wanaka Wedding was chosen to be featured a few months ago, and it’s finally appeared in print! I just love it when my images are in print, as these days with digital I barely ever see anything on paper!

You can see the rest of Amy & Alexis’ gorgeous wedding here.

Congratulations to you both! xx

  • July 24, 2014 - 8:58 pm

    Bridget Owens - dreamy as always Bella! xReplyCancel