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Our Story

Since it was born in late 2009, Heartstory has grown to be one of Australia’s leading family photography studios, with two of Australia’s most awarded and best known portrait photographers at the helm; Jeremy Byrnes and Katie Kolenberg.

Heartstory is family-owned, family-run and just a little bit family-obsessed.

At Heartstory, we’re big fans of little people, the grown-ups who love them and families of all kinds. We love loud ones, small ones, polished ones, fidgety ones, shoeless ones, silly ones, big ones, show-off ones, hyperactive ones, crying ones, sleepy ones, nose-picking ones and every variation you can think of in between. 

We see all the things that make your family, your family—the connections, characters, quirks and love. We create a safe and fun space for it all to be expressed, and we bring our cameras along for the adventure. 

We capture all the moments and small things you’ll feel nostalgic for one day, and turn them into photos you can hold, art you can wonder over, and a family legacy you can pass on for generations to come.  

Since 2009, we’ve coaxed smiles out of teenagers, wrangled reluctant relatives, corralled unruly toddlers, become the best of friends with the shyest of kids, and calmed anxious humans both big and small. This makes us one of the longest-running family photography studios in Canberra and also the luckiest people we know.

We’ve won a bunch of professional photography awards, more than any other family photography studio in Australia, in fact. And while we’re proud of all the awards, they’re not why we do what we do. We do it because even after all these years, we still fall in love with every person we photograph and every family we meet.

our team

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Jeremy Byrnes

Principle Photographer, Co-owner, Production Specialist, husband to Katie, dad to August and step-dad to Toby

Jeremy joined Heartstory in 2014 after 12 years of running a family and wedding photography business in Sydney.

Jeremy is a major kid magnet and most littlies who meet him consider him their best friend by the end of the shoot.

Be sure to order a coffee when you’re at the studio because Jeremy’s barista skills are nearly as good as his photography. He’s one of the smiliest people you’ll ever meet, loves 80s music, and rocks double denim.

Katie Kolenberg

Principle Photographer, Founder, Managing Director, Creative Director, business coach, wife to Jeremy and mama to August and Toby

Katie founded Heartstory as a solo operator back in 2009, and is a two time winner of the prestigious Australian Family Photographer of the Year.

Katie does does the social media and the big picture business stuff. She also does all the studio sessions because she’s obsessed with babies.

Katie is a big softie, who cries and laughs more than the average human.

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Studio Manager, mum of 2

Mel joined Heartstory in 2017 and quickly made herself indispensable. She is our Studio Manager and therefore an excellent organiser and we couldn’t live without her!

Mel has a background in graphic design and hospitality and she makes everyone at Heartstory hungry with her delicious curries at lunchtime.

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Associate Photographer, mum of 2

Ayu is our newest team member, in the role of Associate Photographer. Ayu has a Diploma in Photography from CIT, and has 7 years of professional photography experience.

Ayu loves the smell of books and paper, and more weirdly the smell of wet dogs. She’s multi-lingual, originally from Jakarta (Indonesia) and has been living in Canberra since 2005.

heartstory photography team member heather


Customer Care Specialist, mum of 4

Heather is also a new team member who joined in late 2022, in the role of Customer Care Specialist. Every family who has a Heartstory Portrait Experience will chat with Heather at some stage!

Heather is a talented calligrapher and worked for Creative Memories for 15 years, so she is right at home amongst Heartstory’s specialised printed products.

Heartstory in the media

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