London Family Holiday Photography Session

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London Family Holiday Photography Session

I was very touched when Danielle Reeder of Danielle Reeder Photography contacted me to photograph an afternoon of their London family holiday.  She was looking for photographs that not only documented their time in London, but most importantly, included her in the images too. Photographers are very rarely in their own family images. We are the missing shadow from the photographs, and at the end of each holiday, I count myself lucky if there is at least one that includes me.

I have to confess I was just a little nervous photographing someone from within the industry.  But I needn’t have worried as the day came, and meeting her was like meeting an old friend.  We spoke the same language, and if I didn't have a camera in my hand, I could have chatted for hours.  

We met at their beautiful Notting Hill apartment on a blisteringly hot summer evening.   Like all mum's Danielle was worried that her daughter was not behaving, but she was a lively, energetic and absolutely delightful little girl.  Exactly as I expect all 4 year olds on holiday to be.  As the evening drew to a close and the sun started to dip, we headed down to a local London park to catch the few last rays of sunshine.  It was a perfectly dreamy, balmy evening.  

If you would like to document your family holiday in London do get in touch.  I would love to hear from you!

 

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My Simple Tips for Photographing Underwater.  Redhill & Surrey Family Photographer

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My Simple Tips for Photographing Underwater. Redhill & Surrey Family Photographer

My Simple Tips for Photographing Underwater

 

I do love a challenge and trying different techniques to pull me in new directions.  For this reason underwater photography is so much fun.  I don't get a chance to practice often in England, and I don't think the people at local swimming pool will look kindly on my large and imposing Dicapac underwater housing.  I’ve only had a handful of holiday attempts, and I’ve found a few things that work for me:

  1. Check your underwater casing has no leaks first using a piece of tissue and submerging it in a bath of water. The last thing you want is to damage your expensive big camera.  (I have to confess I’m too darn lazy to do this, but I strongly advise you to! Ha Ha!) I have never had any leaks, but it can happen.

  2. Use a lens with a wide angle.  A 24mm to 35mm is good.  For these images I used my Canon 24-70 f2.8 set to 24mm. You need to get close to your subject so they are as clear as possible, but at the same time you also want to get the rest of the pool in.  

  3. Sometimes the rim of the casing can get in the way of the frame and you need to hold it back out of the image using your left hand while you are shooting. 

  4. Set your exposure using the pools surface water before you put it in the casing.  This may change underwater, but it gives you a close starting point.

  5. Some people shoot in AV or TV mode, but I’m so used to Manual mode that I just find it easier.  It’s a bit fiddly trying to adjust settings though the plastic casing at first, but you get used to it.  

  6. The most important thing is that you need a clear pool!  Sounds so simple, but it really makes a world of difference.  In a murky pool you can’t see a thing, and you will need to shoot on the surface, only slightly submerged.  If the water is clear and you have a wide angle lens you will need to do very little editing afterwards as I have done with this set.  Some underwater images are heavily edited to the point of not looking like the subject is underwater at all, but floating like an orange Oompa Loompa in space.  As with all my photography, I prefer my images to look as natural and as close to the SOOC  (straight out of the camera) image as possible.  For me I believe the art form is in the quality of the actual image taken in camera, understanding the opportunities of the given natural light, and not in heavy handed post processing.

  7. This is something I’ve not yet managed to do, but if you can get some goggles and a snorkel.  It’s kind of hard to breath and see underwater! 

  8. Most importantly relax have fun!  Expect to take hundreds and don't be shy.  Most images will fail, as you have little control underwater. You need to let go a little, and not be disappointed when they don't succeed.  My first underwater photographs were rubbish.  But my heart sings for just that one little shot that makes it.

I once heard a well known street photographer say, “The difference between the amateur and the professional photographer is persistence”.  

Never give up. Keep trying.   xx

 

 

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Surrey Lavender Field Family Photoshoots

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Surrey Lavender Field Family Photoshoots

The lavender Field Mini Photoshoots are back for 2018! And I just can’t wait to get back to this beautiful lavender field in Surrey that sits just on the outskirts of London.  It’s such a fun day out for the kids, and best of all I can capture beautiful family portraits without them even realising I’m there.  If this sounds like your idea of fun do get in touch!

 

 

I have just 2 spaces left on the 8th of July 7.45pm and 8.30pm.  The £175 fee includes:

  1. 30 Minute photoshoot

  2. Location fee

  3. A private online gallery with a minimum of 25 images to choose from.

  4. Five high resolution digital files

  5. Five matching 5 x 7 archival fine art prints

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Surrey Family Photography

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Surrey Family Photography

"It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside." ~ Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib

After what felt like an eternal winter we have sprung into summer overnight. Spring has been left out completely but I'm not complaining, as the weather is glorious.  It’s a perfect time to bring the camera out and take beautiful photographs of the kids.  A good tip to remember is that the best time of day to photograph is in the early evening, just before the sun sets.  This is the most flattering light for family portraits, as the light is soft and ethereal.  It does get a little tricky later on in summer as this precious ‘golden hour' is past the children's bedtimes.  But right now it is just about manageable.  

While the sun is out I’m taking every opportunity to get photographs of the kids on our little weekend adventures in the Surrey countryside.  It’s a perfect time for everybody to get that dusty DSLR off the shelf and put it to use.  Or if thats too intimidating for you, just use your phone.  It’s making the memory of these precious days that matters most.  xx

 

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Family Photography in London

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Family Photography in London

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life" ~ Samuel Johnson

I am lucky enough to live on the outskirts on one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  I may be a little biased, but London is a photographer's dream.  It offers so much in terms of colour, subtle light, architecture, texture, vibrancy and culture.  You name it, London has it by the bucket load.

This little series was taken of my children at Wonderlab in the Science Museum during the Easter Holidays.  I didn't miss a beat and snapped up every colour shot my grey, winter weary eyes could handle.  

People often ask me for location recommendations, and a day trip to London is a great way to capture your family doing what you love together.  It could be a simple as a walk along the river Thames (Southbank has so many possibilities), a gallery visit, a shopping trip, or just a fun visit to one of London's many beautiful parks.  

If you are planning a family holiday to London, or simply a family day trip, and would like to document the story of your days together, I would love to hear from you!  xx

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May Flowers

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May Flowers

March winds and April showers
Bring forth May flowers.

 

It's hard to believe that we photographed in the exact spot in the Surrey North Downs only a few weeks ago in the snow.  And look at it now.  Instead of white snow, it is raining the most beautiful spring petals.  So grateful that spring has finally arrived and we can venture outdoors again to create beautiful family portraits that are totally unposed. 

If you are looking for a Surrey family photographer to document your days just as they are, I would love to hear from you.  I love nothing better than creating beautiful, timeless family portraits.  I service most areas in London, Surrey and surrounding counties.  Spring sessions are fully booked and Summer 2018 is filling up quickly.  xx

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Family Photoshoot at Amelia Island

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Family Photoshoot at Amelia Island

In stark contrast to the snow outside that I can see today, it’s hard to believe that these images were taken only a few weeks ago.  I was lucky enough to to photograph this family at Amelia Island, Florida during the ClickAway Conference 2018 with Ashely Berrie.  It was an amazing experience, where I learnt a ton, and met so many wonderful, inspiring photographers. I wish every shoot could be on a beach.  Honestly when the light and location is this lovely my work is so easy!

 

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Quietly Expecting

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Quietly Expecting

I love photographing people's portraits in the environment.  But what many people don’t know is that I also love taking portraits in people’s homes too.  It adds another dimension and layer to the portrait that would otherwise not be there. The images record little everyday details of our lives which we are prone to forget:   how furniture was arranged for a time, or the way morning light comes into a certain room and makes it a special place to be.  

I was delighted to get the opportunity to do an in-home maternity photoshoot for the beautiful and radiant Lindsay of @therusticmother,  as she waits for the arrival of her second child.  It was a quiet, calm morning spent in her lovely home and garden with her toddler (and the cutest pooch!) 

If you would like an in-home maternity or newborn session I’d love to hear from you! 

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It's a Dog's Life

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It's a Dog's Life

“Happiness is a warm puppy.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

Our puppy is growing fast. Every day she is bigger, calmer, and more house trained.  Just like a newborn, she was little for such a short period of time, that I can hardly remember it.  Good thing that despite all the chaos of those early days that I managed to squeeze in a few photos to remember it!  

The light on this particular afternoon was flat, overcast and grey which is not my favourite light to work with. However this light can be used to create moody, interesting images, and I think they tell a story that is worth telling, and remembering: the afternoons of slow ramblings on the Surrey Hills with my small people.

If you would like some relaxed, natural, unposed family portraits in time for Christmas, do get in touch soon. Bookings for 2017 are almost fully booked with just a few spaces left.

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Quilt of Memories

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Quilt of Memories

I love making memories for people.  I’ve said it before, and I feel strongly that we need to record our time together.  Not just the big events, but the little quiet everyday moments too.  So when someone makes something unique for me that made of memories, I get a little emotional. 

For a long, long time I have been looking for someone to make a quilt out of all my daughters beautiful baby clothes. (Let's just say I can’t sew to save my life)  Finally I found a lovely local dressmaker from Cuddles Botique who was brave enough and willing to take on the challenge.  And a few weeks later this beautiful quilt arrived just in time for my daughters 8th birthday.  It was everything I wished for.  Each item of clothing used in the quilt has a distinct memory for me. T-shirts remind me of chubby little arms, tiny hands and her delicious baby scent.  It also brings back the frustrations, and the intense tiredness of those early days, but overwhelmingly each item was chosen with love and is filled with memories.

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My first pregnancy was tinged with a little sadness as my mother was not well enough to be with me as she is in the later stages of Alzheimers. I missed sharing this new journey into motherhood with her.  One thing my mother and I did together when I grew up was shop.  It may sound frivolous, but shopping was our means of communicating, our little ritual.  She was the perfect shopping partner: patient, kind, quiet and with the most amazing, cultivated and interesting taste in just about everything.  

Thanks to the baby’s position I did not know the sex of my first baby until just before my due date.  This baby pushed, wriggled and kicked so hard throughout those 42 weeks (yes a whole, long 42 weeks, but that's another story), that I was certain it was a boy.  Secretly, oh so secretly,  I wished quietly for a little girl, but mentally I prepared myself for the arrival of a boisterous, bouncy baby boy.  During one of my very last scans in the final weeks I found out that the little football kicker in my womb was in fact, a girl.  I was so excited I went straight from Kingston Hospital to John Lewis and bought an armful of beautiful dresses.

While I was shopping for those dresses, it was more than just shopping.  It was my way of connecting to my mother who could not be with me.  I’m so glad that I can preserve the fabric to remind me of that day.  Hopefully the quilt will last long enough for my daughter to pass it on to her daughter, and her daughter’s daughter.   It is a love song as much to my mother as it is to my daughter.  I know she would be so proud of my amazing little girl.  It is a memory that connects and binds us three together.

 

 

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Stillness at the End of the Day

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Stillness at the End of the Day

I like to document ordinary everyday things.  The little things I want to remember.  Like the way the light falls just before bed time.  The ritual of brushing and drying my daughters hair, listening to her as she chats away.  I may not like my house, with it’s pokey, nasty English windows, I resent the lack of a proper golden hour thanks to high trees blocking the light.  It's no secret that I loath my curtains and decor,  and my hair is a mess.  But you know what, none of that matters.  None of it is important for what I will remember is this moment.  This time that we shared.  The stillness at the end of the day. 

 

If you would like to document similar moments in your everyday life, I’d love to hear from you.  

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Filming our Everyday

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Filming our Everyday

This is the result of my very first assignment for Courtney Holmes' Video workshop ‘Filming Life’. I’ve been desperate to shoot video for at least a year now, and have battled to squeeze the course into my schedule as 2017 has been a bit crazy.  Learning a new technique and software is always frustrating but it has also been so much fun.  I want to capture all the little movements, sound and details of our everyday, ordinary family life.  The precious, fleeting details that mean so much.  This is my first proper attempt filming a lazy, ordinary Sunday evening.  And I can't wait to do more. 

 

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No Posing Required ~ Photographing a Family of Boys

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No Posing Required ~ Photographing a Family of Boys

I loved every second of this action packed shoot.  Why?  Well apart from the magnificent sunset, the family hardly noticed I was there.  For me this is the definition of a perfect shoot.  It was only during editing that I really got a chance to see the boys beautiful little faces properly for the first time. On the actual day in real time, they were moving so fast that I only saw the backs of their heads as they ran. Luckily I keep my shutter speed set to super speedy, capturing little people faster than I can see. These little boys ran, kicked, climbed and scrambled, not stopping for a second.  Parents often panic that their children will ‘misbehave’ during a shoot.  Well to be honest after raising my two raucous children, quite frankly I expect children to ‘misbehave’.  Run, be wild, be free.  They are not designed to be still, so why photograph them unmoving and posed?

During a typical shoot I try to spend the first 10 minutes doing the more standard group photographs while I still have the children (and Dad’s!) attention.  I have a small confessions: this is my least favourite part of the shoot. I chuckled to myself when I asked this family to stand together at the start of the shoot. They looked slightly horrified at the idea, and I knew then that we were onto something good.  Don't get me wrong, I do believe there is a place for the posed group family shot.  We all want one, and it has it’s place.  Mostly to gather dust on granny’s mantlepiece.  For me documenting real family life lies in the images that celebrate children as they really are, and that is all about capturing movement, connection, joy, delight, surprise and oodles and oodles of love.  

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11 Days Young

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11 Days Young

"These are the days of miracles and wonder." ~ Paul Simon

 

 

There is nothing quite like the quiet stillness of walking into a home with a new baby.  Time is suspended in these early hours as the nights and days become blurred and entwined.  The air is filled with exhaustion, and an unmissable sense of awe and love.   It’s an honour to be invited into someones home to photograph their newborn to record a period that may feel never ending at the time, but goes in a blink of an eye.  Documenting beautiful little feet, little toes and tiny fingers is so rewarding.  For they are only little once.  Welcome to the world little one. 

 

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Yellow and Blue

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Yellow and Blue

"I'll wait for you under the bluebells. I'll be there always."  Kim Harrison

 

 

It's hard not to be happy when you are surrounded by this intense beauty.  All on my doorstep too.  I may moan about the English weather being an antipodean, but then there is nothing quite like the ancient magic of an English spring.  

 

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A Morning in the Woods

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A Morning in the Woods

It's taken a little while but I'm so pleased to finally put together some images from this photo shoot where I met with my most favourite teacher for the first time in well over 30 years. We met her wonderful family on a cool autumn morning in the woods, while my children and her grandchildren played and foraged in the forest.  It was so good to catchup with this special teacher from my childhood that I was very lucky to have.  She has the rare ability to make everyone in her class feel special and valued. For me the year spent in her class was a refuge from what was a dreary, dull and mostly unhappy school career.  It is no surprise that she has kept in contact with so many of her past students.  Meeting her now as a mother I am amazed at how she appeared to effortlessly raise 3 boys and teach us all at the same time.  It's funny how your perspective on life changes through your experience of it.

My children came along that morning.  As one of her grandchildren is very camera shy, the plan was to distract them and it worked.  They didn't bat an eyelid at the crazy lady with the big camera.  I was secretly very proud of my daughter, as she played with the two younger children.  Almost without asking she knew where the best patches of light were and directed their games towards them.  It was a wonderful feeling to have my firstborn with me on a shoot as a secret ally.  I couldn't help but feel immensely proud of my little photographer’s daughter.  I should bring her along to my shoots more often.  The only difficulty came later when I needed to edit my two children out of the family portraits!

 

I am part of a photographers blog circle which keeps me inspired and motivated to post at least once a month.  When you have finished here be sure to have a look at the amazing contribution by Anna-Liisa Nixon, South Florida Documentary Family Photographer. http://annaliisanixon.com/blog/february-local-outings-blog-circle-hollywood-beach-fl/

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Home

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Home

Here a few images of the last shoot of 2016, taken a few days shy of Christmas. It was on the beach in my home town, Durban.  A dream location for sure, despite the wind and the odd spot of rain on my lens which was covered in thick sea spray after about 30 seconds!  It’s funny how every shoot has it’s unique challenges and this shoot was no different.  I learn something new every time.  (In this case, wipe lens constantly when on a super windy beach!)  I was lucky enough to photograph a Christmas reunion for this beautiful extended Durban family.  It’s such a wonderful idea to capture the whole family in a brief moment in time. I feel like a cheesy salesman saying this, but really it is priceless.  

Often I catch myself as the word ‘home’ slips off my tongue.  I have not lived in Durban for over 10 years now, and the term confuses some people.   Technically it is no longer my ‘home’ at all.  This is the place filled with memories that whisper to me from the moment the aeroplane hits the tarmac.  To say that I miss this colourful tropical city and the ocean is an understatement.  I love the collective sigh that settles over the city in the evening, as the warm Berea breeze washes away the busy heat of the day.  I love watching the endless stream of container ships on the horizon travelling to far away places.  I love the slow shushing of the sea, and how it instantly calms me.  I love how the sound of lone cars in the evening ricochets across long colonial veranda’s, around the high ceilings and back down to uneven, lovingly well worn wooden floors. I love the light, the lush green tropical bush.  It’s the sound and sights of my childhood.  A bitter sweet return filled wth memories and longing.  Not only do I miss the place, but I miss people who are no longer with us.  In a sense the place I miss is no longer really there.  Instead it is the place I return to in my dreams. 

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Submerged

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Submerged

During a recent  holiday I got to try out my new waterproof camera bag which was a little Christmas present to myself.  All wildly exciting!   It has opened up a whole new world of challenges.  I discovered quickly that you have little control in the water, and it’s difficult to see what you are shooting at all. It’s an invitation to just let it all go, and hope like mad that there are a few decent shots to work with.  Which is a bit like freelensing (Freelensing is when you take the lens OFF the camera to shoot.  Crazy right?).  Another challenge underwater is that it’s difficult to breathe.  Next time I really need to find a snorkel.  Taking the photos is only half the story as editing them also takes a fair amount of know-how and fiddling to get the colours looking right.  It’s just a start, and is oddly addictive.  I’m looking forward to my next beach holiday.  May the pools will be crystal clear and the sun sparkling, so that I can practice this all again.

I am part of a photographers blog circle which keeps me inspired and motivated to post at least once a month.  When you have finished here be sure to have a look at the amazing contribution by Billie Leatham:  http://www.billiemaephotography.com/billiemaeblogs/2017/1/29/bright-splash-park

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Winter Sun

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Winter Sun

A late October, unseasonably mild afternoon, and the beach was busy, sparkling and beautiful. The light was perfect without planning for it.  When that happens it is a welcome treat.  So often you can try so hard to plan for great lighting and it all falls flat at the last moment. I was pleased that I had my camera with me this afternoon on the coast in Cornwall to record my children being children.

 

I am part of a photographers blog circle which keeps me inspired and motivated to post at least once a month.  When you have finished here be sure to have a look at the amazing contribution by Anna-Liisa Nixon Photography, South Florida Documentary Family Photographer http://annaliisanixon.com/.../november_local_outings.../

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October Flowers & Pumpkin Picking

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October Flowers & Pumpkin Picking

It’s that time of year again and we are out picking pumpkins early again.  My children are not the patient variety and have been waiting for Halloween eagerly for a few months.  These won’t be the first pumpkins carved this season either.  That happened a few weeks ago when the first orange pumpkins landed in the supermarket.  It was also a relief to find some flowers to pick too at the local farm.  I miss the summer flowers already, and its a long time till spring. 

 

I am part of a photographers blog circle which keeps me inspired and motivated to post at least once a month.  When you have finished here be sure to have a look at the amazing contribution by Meghann Maguire, Launceston photographer, http://www.meghannmaguire.com/blog/2016/10/23/local-outings-blog-circle-launceston-photographer

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