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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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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:
30 Minute photoshoot
A private online gallery with a minimum of 25 images to choose from.
Five high resolution digital files
Five matching 5 x 7 archival fine art prints
"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
"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
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
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!
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!
“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.
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.
If you are a new Mum, or have just moved to Surrey then this might come in handy. If you have been here a few years like me then you’ll know these places like the back of your hand. It’s priceless information I wish I knew when I first moved here from London 6 years ago, and I didn't know a soul. I also didn't know where a single playgroup or playground was. It was hard, but 6 years and 2 children later I think I have learnt a thing or two about where to take the kids during the long, long summer holidays. Sometimes days at home are good, but often you need to get out to keep everybody sane. Here’s a little guide of my favourite places to take the kids in the Summer holidays. If you can find just one new place from this list below that you didn't know about, then I’ll be thrilled.
1. Garsons Farm, Esher. Flower, fruit and vegetable picking. This is a special day out with a difference. You can pick flowers, fruit and vegetables in season. It’s quite a unique experience to come home with bags of delicious vegetables and fruit that you picked yourself! Really great fun and you can pretend to be a real farmer for the day. There is also a farm shop and a wonderful sun filled cafe sitting on the edge of the fields. Heaven!
2. Priory Farm Discovery Walk. Really inexpensive day out, with a toddlers trail though Priory Farm. A beautiful walk thought the farm and forests with activities for kids all along the way. You can buy fish food at the ticket stall and feed the fish in the lake. In August the amazing Sunflower Maze is spectacular. You can take your own picnic to the Discovery Walk. There is an small coffee shop by the Discovery Walk, as well as a restaurant within Priory Nursery which has great play equipment in an enclosed area to keep the kids happy and busy.
2. RHS Garden Wisley. Fantastic activities for kids though out the summer in the educations centre. Wisley has a wonderful natural playground area called “Wild at Wisley”. My kids love the greenhouse too, and I have to drag them out of the underground root display every time. We have a annual pass as it is very inexpensive and absolutely worth it.
4. Guilford Lido Swimming Pool - Save for sunny summer days. I’ve yet to try this myself but it looks great, with an outdoor pool and slides. I think I go there next week if this great weather continues.
5. Tandridge Leisure Centre Swimming Pool - Good for rainy days as it’s indoors. Cafe, wave pool, small indoor slide, a few ride on boats to play with. Keeps my toddler busy for ages.
6. Rollerskating at Reigate College: Sundays at 11.30 to 12.30. Perfect for when it is raining on a weekend and you really need to let the kids burn off some steam. It's very inexpensive, and they also offer lessons at a very reasonable rates.
7. Hobbledown. Not the cheapest day out but they have loads of summer activities on. Facepainting, puppet shows, falconry displays, bouncy tube things, and a zip wire for older kids etc. I get the annual pass which makes it a bit more affordable. We use the indoor play barn a lot when it’s raining, which is a life saver in the winter months too.
8. Mayfield Lavender Farm. A totally unique experience. There is something quite special about running down the aisles of lavender. Feeling waves of hot summer air mixed with lavender scent brushing past your face. It is quite exhilarating. I’m usually sprinting after my toddler, but it’s loads of fun and makes for really special photos, so take your camera! On site at the farm there is a small shop selling lavender and a cafe with and much needed ice cream and snacks. The fields are at their best from June to mid August. I was there last week and they were harvesting the crop. I will miss it!
9. Priory Park, Reigate. In summer this park gets busy. Really busy. Best to go very early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. In the summer months they turn on the water fountains and if you close your eyes a little it’s a bit like a day on holiday at the beach. Without the cost of a plane ticket and hotel accommodation which is great as the park is free! The adjacent cafe is good for ice creams and much needed coffee for those who got no sleep the night before with little ones. That sleep deprived coffee needing person is usually me!
10. South Bank, London: OK so it’s not Surrey but it’s a short train ride away. It’s my favourite place in London in the summer and offers a little reminder of my life in the city before children. Gigantic bubble displays and street performers on South Bank keep my two enthralled. South Bank offers great art, great food, beautiful vistas of London, access to the London Eye, London Aquarium and more. You can do as much or as little as you want here, and the possibilities are endless. It’s useful to note that there is a lovely little playground behind the London Eye which is really handy for small children to run around before the train ride home.