Shoot 0002: Mini Golf, Daylesford

Daylesford Mini Golf

Note to self, if I can’t get to a place to scout before a shoot, ask for photos.

I did this job in Daylesford on Saturday March 28,2009 and I have to say it is a job I learnt a lot from. First and foremost is indeed if I haven’t seen the place scout it out (which I usually do). And if the place is too far away to easily scout out have them send an over all pic of the location. Doesn’t have to be a good one, just enough to get the lay of the land.

When I was booked to do a mini-golf place I thought back to all the places I’ve played mini-golf and thought cool, nice flat, relatively open and smallish environment. As you can see from the pic above the Daylesford Mini-Golf location is any thing but.

Don’t get me wrong, from the time I spent there I can see that it is going to be an awesome place for mini-golf. But as you can see it is unlike any mini-golf facility anywhere. There are multiple levels, full 18-holes spread across a vast area. And the thing that killed me on the day… the trees.

It was a beautiful day, the weather was perfect, for the beach or a nice picnic with friends, not a cloud in the sky and for me, that was the problem.

You can see from the above photo just how many shadows there were and they were hard to contend with. I would much have rathered an overcast day, something that would even out the light and diffuse the shadows. As it were they were too harsh for me to even deal with using my flash and shoot-through umbrella. I think if I had stronger lights we would have been right but alas I’m not up to that level of lighting yet.

So it wasn’t my best job and I think I’ll go back and shoot again on a more light friendly day. But I’ve learnt my lesson and will ask for more information about the location, not assume what I think the place looks like.

I ended up providing everything I took to the client, I think there were more than a few good photos in there, and at least enough for them to populate their brochure and website with.

On the day we had a few kids there from one family, plus the client, his girlfriend, cousin and grand parents to be part of the shoot. The kids were great after a while, once they got to know me and the parents got bored with following us around from hole to hole the kids opened up and were more receptive to instruction. The grand parents wanted to get their part done and get out of there which was cool, we knew we had limited time with them and worked with that. The client and his friends were the easiest to work with, they were closer to my age and knew more what was expected of them.

Daylesford Mini Golf Daylesford Mini Golf

The only fault on the day was my own. I was ill prepared but have learnt not to be so again.

I also bought a new polarizer for the shoot. My Hoya filter had broken recently and I stopped in to buy a new one on the way to the shoot. They didn’t have the Hoya brand (which usually costs around $130) they did however have a Kenko “Digital Filter” High Quality Circular PL Filter. The colours I got out of the new filter are not at all what I expected and are not as good as what I know from my experience with Hoya filters.

IMG_3396 IMG_3336

So a breakdown of what was learnt:

  1. Scout the location or if you can’t get some photos so you can plan for the day.
  2. Take an assistant if lights and/or reflectors are to be used.
  3. Shooting with so many shadows confuses your camera’s light meter.
  4. Don’t try new equipment on the day for shots you expect to use.
  5. Working with kids can be hard, while the parents have to be on hand try to get the parents to stay out of the way.
  6. Drink plenty of fluids on a hot day.
  7. Make sure your models are having a good time and are comfortable doing what you ask them to.


  1. Great job to get. And lots of lessons learnt. Did you get to play mini golf..? If not, let’s go one day. The photos show it looks like an awesome place!

  2. Thanks Nikki, still some work to go on the place, there is going to be a massive water feature that will provide water to a river system throughout the place. It looks cool.

    Yeah lost of lessons learnt.

    For sure we can go up there one day.

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