31 January 2008

Dreadful weather!

We are having such awful weather tonight - the wind is blowing a gale, and we are forecast to have snow overnight - although we hardly ever get snow so I am not convinced that we will.  Having said that, if we do get the snow it will bring the area to a standstill - it seems like we have snow so seldom that we never know how to handle it in our parts.  I'll post some photographs in the morning if we do get snow.

But I still have my fingers crossed that we don't - I'd rather be up in the mountains to enjoy the snow properly than get the kind of slush we'll have here.

30 January 2008

Photography Workshops for Mums - Part 2

Well, the first Photography Workshop for Mums is full and is ready to start mid-February.  I am really excited about the course, and all the mums seem lovely!  We will be covering topics such as lighting and posing, photographing like a cat ... yep, you read that right!  But you'll have to book onto the next course to find out what I mean!

One of the things I love about these workshops is that it's for women by women - so all the workshop material is designed to be simple, concentrating more on taking the photograph than on knowing what technical words to use.  That way, we can create beautiful photographs, telling stories through pictures.

So keep coming back each week for updates on the workshop - I'll be posting some of the photographs that we take.  The first session is on Monday 18th February, and I'll be putting up some posts to the blog from then onwards.

If you are interested in joining me for the next workshop, which will start after Easter, then please get in touch.

20 January 2008

Clemmie in London

Yesterday I had a lot of fun photographing Clemmie in London.  We had a play around with video lights, as you can see in this photograph taken at the City Inn, Millbank in London.  

My daughter, Ellie has challenged me to take at least one photograph a day throughout 2008 - ok, so I missed the first couple of weeks as she only challenged me on Friday!  So this photograph of Clemmie is the first of the 'Take a Pic a Day' series that I am going to build up.  And at the end of the year I'll make a slideshow using all the 'Take a Pic a Day' series.

14 January 2008

David Williams Almost Alone course

Well, we've just finished the Almost Alone with David Williams in Southport and what an experience! I know I did the whole course last January in Leeds, and I dibbed in and out in June when we hosted David's last UK seminar, but I still learnt loads by sitting through it all again this year. I was also very moved by one of David's slide presentations, about his own family photographs from when he was a baby, looking at the importance of family photographs for our memories to be carried on, and I just wanted to sob, it evoked so many memories and feelings in me.

It was a lovely group of people who came - even if we were a bit squashed into the living room! Thank god none of them had BO   It was great to meet everyone, and I hope you enjoyed yourselves and got a lot out of the three days too.

What I found interesting for myself was how much my work has improved in the last 12 months. Last year in January I was a bit apologetic when I described myself as a professional photographer, now I say it with confidence, with work that is to match, and that is so much down to David and his approach, and how he has helped me understand myself as a woman in my 40's, appreciate myself as a grown up, and helped me realise that just because I am grown up it doesn't mean I have to be all serious all the time. I'm sure that being more confident and connected in myself helps me to interact better with others.

I actually find it hard to find the words of thanks that are enough for what David has done for me and my family. He is such a special, unique, sensitive, caring, connected person who works with true integrity and spirit, touching hearts in the way that helps each person best. His way of talking with Ellie, our 15 year old, is helping her to believe in herself in a way that we could never do as her parents. His way of appreciating Rob helps him to be more connected with the two women in his life, and helps him laugh in a way that I haven't heard enough of late. And his way of helping me as a photographer and a human being is too special to put into words. Each time I try to find the right words I find I simply want to cry.

Thank you David, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.

06 January 2008

David A Williams Visits Southport

We are really lucky to be hosting the next David A Williams seminar for photographers starting next Saturday for 3 days.  It's going to be a bit of a squash in our front room, but I am sure we'll manage it!

David is an international award winner who photographs from the heart - this comes across so strongly in his seminars.  I know my own photography has improved considerably since I met David a year ago, and now he is welcome as one of the family.  This year we have photographers joining us from as far away as Suffolk and Scotland to learn from David and his individual approach - this course isn't just about photography tips, it's more about finding your true spirit and how you incorporate that into your work..

Welcome back to the UK and to Southport, David!  And welcome to all the seminar participants - I'll post up some photographs next week.

05 January 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Woo hoo!!! It's my birthday today, another year older, and feeling another year younger! We are having a great day today - started with breakfast in bed and my presents and cards. Then we went in to Ormskirk to get some extra presents from Josephs Jewellers - Rob bought me a Pandora charm bracelet for Christmas so both he and Ellie bought me some more charms to go on it for my birthday. Then we had coffee at Costa coffee shop in Ormskirk, and now I am making a roast pork dinner with slow roasted pork done the Jamie Oliver or Heston Blumenthal way. And finally tonight we are going to the cinema with friends to see Enchanted, the new Disney film ... ok, I'm going because I like the fit guy out of Grey's Anatomy! But it does look like a good movie, honest!

04 January 2008

Photographing Children: Hints and Tips for Photography Mums

So you want to take great photographs of your kids but you don't know where to start?  I hope my monthly item on Hints and Tips for Photography Mums will inspire you to take better photographs.  As a woman photographer myself, I promise you that I won't confuse you with all the technical detail, and those important bits of info that you really need will be explained in a way that makes sense.

So the first hint and tip - how often when you see your children enjoying themselves do you find yourself wanting to capture the moment so that you can remember it for years to come?  And when you get your camera out, either you or the kids will shout out 'smile' or 'say cheese' and before you know it, the photograph is the same as so many others you have of them.  Next time you get the camera out, photograph the children engrossed in their activity, playing, laughing, lost in the game, away with their imagination.

Remember, you don't have to photograph children looking at the lens every time you get the camera out.  You can get great photographs of them looking away too.  So start to think of yourself as a story teller, and each day as a short story waiting to be told.

How are you going to practice this tip then?  Well, here are a few suggestions:
  1. Pick a time of day when you know your children are relaxed, fed, and happy, and make sure you have your camera at the ready.  If you are inside the house you could put some music on and that will help to hide the sound of the camera click.
  2. Leave the children to occupy themselves with some of their toys.  Sit yourself down on the floor some distance away from them, and when they are engrossed in what they are doing start taking photographs of them.  
  3. If you are working with a digital camera then take lots of photographs, you can delete any you don't like later - although I would suggest that you never delete any photographs when you have the memory card in the camera, as it's all too easy to select 'delete all'.  I only did it once, with my first digital camera, a point and shoot that cost an arm and a leg about 5 years ago. 
  4. If you take your camera out on a walk with you, you can photograph the children running around having fun.
  5. To make sure you learn and get better you are going to need to practice, so pick a day each week for the next 4 weeks when you are going to get the camera out and have a go at story telling with your camera.  And above all, have some fun.
Hope you enjoyed this first hint for Photography for Mums.  More to come at the start of February.

03 January 2008

Photography Workshops for Mums

Are you a Mum who got a camera for Christmas this year, but you're not quite sure what to do with it?  Well, watch this space - over the next few weeks and months I will be posting hints and tips, from a woman's point of view, for how to get the most out of your camera.  

I will also be running a series of short training sessions for small groups of mums who want to learn how to take great photographs of their kids, sharing some of my knowledge gained over the years.  

I love what I do, taking photographs of people, bringing happiness with special memories captured by the camera, telling the story of a child's life.  I don't do traditional portraiture - I much prefer to show children as they really are, giving you the memories that can otherwise fade so fast.  My own daughter is now 15, and I missed out on taking so many photographs of her, capturing those fantastic moments of her childhood.  I search the memory banks to recall the way she used to stick out her tongue when she was concentrating, or how she would play for hours with her Beanie Bears spread out around her, re-enacting the day at school.  Sure, I have the photographs of her sitting in a formal pose, but I don't have the true essence of her captured in photographs.  That is what I love to do, capture a child's true essence, and I would love to pass that on to you so that you can enjoy the memories of the real person your child is, for many, many years to come.

The first workshop sessions will be starting in February, after half term, so email me at zoe@zoephotography.co.uk if you would like some more information.  Places are limited on the first workshops, so make sure you book your place now!  I'm really excited about starting up these workshops, and I can't wait to hear from you.  Remember, you could be taking amazing photographs this Easter using what you learn.  And it really doesn't matter if you have a point and shoot camera, or a fancy SLR - any digital camera will do.

Just Panic

I had a great time this afternoon photographing the band, Just Panic.  I listened to their CD first and I have to admit that I didn't expect to like the music as I assumed it would be too punk for me - how wrong could I be!  Their music is fantastic, and they write it all themselves.  I really wish them the best for being discovered - they are working hard enough for it, and are producing music way better than so many other bands you hear who have made it big.  Good luck guys.  Here is a little sample of the photographs we got today.  These photographs and more will be use by Just Panic in their promotional materials an on their MySpace - www.myspace.com/justpanic - and you can hear a sample of their music on their too.

Thanks Frank, Steve and Alan.

Happy New Year

2008 is already feeling like a good year - hope you have the best year possible, and everything you hope for comes your way.