29 February 2008

Day in the Life of ... 29th February 2008

With it being 29th February today, a large group of international photographers are pulling together one photograph each from a load of photographers across the world, all taken today.  I wanted to reflect a bit of our life, so I took the photograph this evening, showing Rob playing his sax ... I'm hoping this will get him to get his sax out more often to play it as he hasn't played it much of late!

25 February 2008

Sorry for Delays

 I have been dogged by allergic reactions for the past 10 weeks or so, ever since I had antibiotics for bronchitis before Christmas, but I have done well at keeping going as best I could.  But I must now apologise as I know I am going to get a little behind on things.  Why?  Well, the latest allergic reaction has gone to my eyes - I am typing this through half closed eyes as the swelling is so bad that I can barely see through my eyes.  I am hoping after visiting the doctor this morning (I'll be invited to their christmas party, I've been to the surgery that much in recent weeks!) that I will be able to get over this quickly, but just in case, I thought I'd let you all know that I will do my best, but my apologies for any delay in getting work out.  Thankfully I don't have any shoots booked in this week, but then I was meant to be doing photoshop work on the computer that is just not going to be able to happen whilst I am like this.

I'll be back on top form soon, I promise!  I've had injections today, been given loads of tablets, and I'm off to an allergy clinic to get over all this.

23 February 2008

Photography Training - Easter Date Announced

The Easter date for Women Workshops for Photography Training has been announced on the Mulberry Workshops blog - click on the link in the title above to find out more about it.  These courses are designed by a woman (me!) for women, so that you don't have to worry about being bamboozled with lots of geeky technical stuff that doesn't make much sense!  It's all about taking great photographs of your kids and your family, showing them naturally, as the real people that they are.

Please get in touch for more information, or click the link above to go straight to the Mulberry Workshops Blog.

Michelle and James are 21!

Michelle works at the hair salon where I get my hair done, and yesterday I discovered that it was her and her twin brother's 21st birthday, and they were having a party to celebrate, so I offered to take their photographs as a little present for them.  Rob and I went along before the party got into full swing, and quickly took photographs of the two of them at Southport's Conservative Club.  Here is just a small selection of what I took.

10 Tips for Brides - Getting the Most out of your Wedding Photographs

One of the most commonly said things by brides and grooms when it comes to the wedding photography is "I hate having my photograph taken", often followed by "I don't want posed photographs because I look dreadful when I pose".  And yet most people are spending somewhere between £1,500 and £3,500 on their wedding photographs - that's a lot of money to spend if you are then not going to like the finished product!

So here are my tips on how to get the most out of your wedding photographs.

  1. Book a photographer you can trust and that you get on with - it is likely that out of all your vendors your photographer is the one who you will be with most of the day so it is important that you like the people who will be with you for so long.
  2. Make sure your photographer knows about any types of photographs that you particularly dislike, or any parts of your body that you are self conscious of, such as the tops of your arms, or your nose - for example, I heard recently of a bride's mum who doesn't want the bride's tattoo to show in any of the photographs, and if the photographer knows this beforehand she or he can position the bride so that her tattoo can't be seen in the types of photographs the mum is likely to want.
  3. Remember that your photographer can't work miracles, so if you don't like the tops of your arms, get a dress that hides them.  Whilst the sleeveless dresses may look good on some people, they are not necessarily the right dress for everyone.
  4. If you are holding flowers when you are being photographed, position then at an angle, or place them at your hips - holding your flowers at boob height will bring your arms and elbows in next to your body and that makes all of us, no matter how slim we are, look twice our size.  So lower your hands to around belly button height, and move your elbows slightly out from your body.
  5. Wherever possible remember the photographer's mantra of 'where there's a joint bend it' - so if you stand with your arms straight down at your sides, again this makes you look wider than you are, whereas, if you bend your arms, perhaps placing one hand on your hip, and the other on your thigh, slightly bent, then you will show off your narrow waist.
  6. If you are a larger lady, avoid sitting down to be photographed if you can, unless your photographer is taking a photograph of your face from above you - lifting your chin up to the camera will smooth out your neck, and will get rid of any extra chins.  Also, turning your feet and body to be at an angle away from the camera will help you to look slimmer too - most of us look broader when our shoulders are straight on to the camera.
  7. Think elegance for the girls, and relaxed for the guys - keep a picture in your minds eye of elegance, and always position yourself as if you have just passed out of finishing school.  So you might want to practice positioning your feet when you are sitting down so that you tuck the ankle of one foot behind the heel of the other, even if your feet are not going to be in the picture.  This takes your legs off at an angle which looks more elegant than having your legs going straight down from your knees to your feet.
  8. When you are holding hands with each, avoid finger lacing, or any other hand holding that looks like you are a white knuckle ride!  It looks so much more tender if the groom gently holds the fingertips of his bride.

  9. At some point in the ceremony, and many times afterwards, you will be invited to kiss each other - now whilst the passionate tongue down the throat kiss might feel wonderful it doesn't translate well in photographs, so practice gentle, prolonged kissing, a la the 1940s romantic movies - you'll have fun practicing if nothing else!
  10. You don't always have to be looking at the camera for a photograph to look great - look at each other, look off to the side of the camera, perhaps at friends who make you laugh, or lean your foreheads together and close your eyes.
  11. More Tips for Brides next week - I found myself coming up with much more than 10 tips afterall!

22 February 2008

Alice's model shoot

I photographed Alice today - she's keen to do some modeling in the future, and going by how well she took direction and the good photographs we got, I reckon she could do well at it.  I first came across Alice last September when she was a bridesmaid for her aunt's wedding, Maxine.  It was great to see her again and to photograph her in a different way.

19 February 2008

Photography Workshops for Mums

Yesterday was the first of our photography workshops for mums, and it was a great success!  I will be uploading some photographs on the Mulberry Workshops blog later today.  Just click on the title of this entry and it will take you to the Mulberry Workshops blog to see more details.

1940s Themed Fashion Shoot

On Sunday I worked on a fantastic fashion shoot in London where I was recreating a 1940s theme.  It was such great fun, with Nina of Ninas Vintage Hair in Waterloo, London - www.ninasvintageandretrohair.com - doing the hair styling, and Theo and Fleur being our 1940s models.  It was quite bizarre watching these normal girls from our era transforming into young ladies of the 40s!  

In order to get the look right I researched 1940s fashion photography, and other photographs of the era, including looking through photographs of 40s Hollywood stars.  It was really interesting to see how photographic styles have changed as well as the ways in which we pose models today in comparison to the 40s. But it was also interesting to see more of how the 40s has influenced fashion photography of today.

At the moment I can't post the images that I have taken as they are for a book, so I have to wait for permissions for me to use them on my blog, but I am so excited, I can't wait to show you some of them!  The whole feeling of the 40s comes across straight away.

Quick update!!!!
I have just seen a print out of one of the photographs in the style that it will be printed in the book, and it looks amazing - so exciting!  I actually had tears in my eyes when I looked at it, and I feel so proud that I have created the photographs that are going in the book.  We are now planning the second shoot, when we hope to finish all the work off before all the final work gets done on the book.  This is so exciting, and I do wish I could share some of the photographs, but in time I will be able to!

15 February 2008

A Rare Photograph of Ellie

You would think being a photographer that I have loads of photographs of my own daughter - well, you'd be wrong!  She has sadly reached that age where I am more likely to get faces pulled, and the retort of 'oh, mum!' said with pure exasperation!  So it was really nice yesterday that she let me take her photograph.  And as it's such a rare event, I thought I'd share it with you, just in case this is a one off!  I'm sure I'll get told off for putting it on the blog though!


Sasha is such a gorgeous little girl!  I really enjoyed photographing her, she has a lovely personality, and a great, infectious laugh, so much so that we had lots of fun - I think it probably helped that I asked her to do some strange things to get the photographs looking right!

14 February 2008

Matt and Tara

Just a quick selection of some of the photographs I took yesterday with Matt and Tara.  It was unbelievable weather, which was good, as Tara was wearing a sleeveless dress for part of the shoot.  The setting was really cool - Tara's brother's garden, which was overgrown, with an old white metal bench and a gnarled old apple tree (strangely with 3 apples still on it, which is a bit odd with it being February!)

So, Matt and Tara, these are a taster for you both - more to see next week!

10 February 2008

Some experiments with lighting in Southport and Aphrohead

John is a dear friend and model who I have worked with in the past, and he agreed to let me experiment with lighting techniques on Friday so that I could test the results I am achieving - thanks John.  We had some fun with the video light and using fill-in flash, and at the end of the shoot we went for a coffee to the new Aphrohead, cafe and bookshop, in Southport, meaning to just have a coffee, but we found ourselves taking more photographs in there too.  It was an interesting experiment in Aphrohead because the lighting was so complex from overhead lights.

Eaves Hall, Clitheroe, with Tim and Clare

It was a glorious day today, and we spent the afternoon going up to Eaves Hall near Clitheroe where we will be photographing Tim and Clare's wedding later in the year.  Tim had arranged for us to meet the family - hope he's good at arranging the weather for the wedding day in July.  Eaves Hall is an amazing venue, set amongst beautiful grounds, with views across to Pendle Hill.  Even though it wasn't the pre-wedding shoot, we decided to capture a few quick photographs and take advantage of the barmy February afternoon.

Later in the year we will have the proper pre-wedding shoot, but in the meantime, hope you like these, Tim and Clare.

09 February 2008

Fantasy Weddings Opened by Marina Dalgliesh

Today I found myself with my portrait session postponed due to the client being unwell, so I went along to the opening of Fantasy Weddings in Southport - this is a new wedding planning and venue dressing business that has opened up on Bold Street, Southport. The ribbon was cut by Marina Dalgliesh, wife of ex-Liverpool and Scotland footballer, and football manager, Kenny Dalgliesh. You can see Jenny, the owner of Fantasy Weddings standing alongside Marina as she cut the ribbon below.

Now I didn't turn up expecting to take photographs, so these have been taken on someone else's camera (you can imagine the way it happened, can't you - 'hey, you, you're a professional photographer, here use my camera and take some photographs for us'!) and of course I struggled to get settings right because I didn't know how to use this camera, but still, I'm happy that I took some great photographs for Jenny today.

Across the road from Fantasy Weddings is Lucy Briars, and Sue, the owner, had some girls dressed up as brides, with their hair and makeup done by Becky from the salon, Shush, in Birkdale, and a fabulous Cadillac was supplied for the afternoon by Birkdale Classic Wedding Cars - in fact, it's the Cadillac that my daughter, Ellie, has booked for her Prom night out.

06 February 2008

Model Portfolio: Shay and Rhiannon

I recently photographed Shay and Rhiannon for their test shoots with Boos Model Management. They both gave me a great set of photographs, and I have posted just a small sample of their work. They were very brave going out into the really cold winds for us to be able to get some photographs at Southport Pier.

01 February 2008

Photographing Children: Styling Tips for Mums

In the second of our photography tips for mums, Rose has offered to provided a few ideas on how to style the kids for the photo session.  Although Rose doesn't work for me, she has assisted on styling of models at some of my fashion shoots, and has been known to offer advice to mums before portrait sessions.  Rose has a really strong design eye, and seems to instinctively know what works together.

So over to Rose.

Hi, I'm Rose, keen snapper and mum of two.  When it comes to my family I always consider it a bonus when leaving the house if
  1. we are all dressed - pyjamas don't count!
  2. we are not all wearing recent meals - at least not visibly!
The times we have to 'dress up' be smart or attend any parties only means that I'm the sacrificial lamb in that I can only ever seem to get two out of the three of us fit for public consumption.

With Mother's Day creeping up fast, a nice photograph of the children can be made really special by absorbing the following pointers to a life of eternal style (as if!!!).  Good luck and remember to reward your efforts with a glass of wine!

  • Co-ordination for the nation
Co-ordinate your group's clothes - no, not perfectly matching identikit freaks like the twins in The Shining.   Think tonal shades of khaki/biege or blues.  Dual colours such as chocolate and pink or denim and white make for a fresh feel too.  If you are photographing outside, remember to think about co-ordinating with coats, scarves, gloves and hats.

  • Location, Location, Location
Think background.  If you are shooting in the woods, earthy tones with shots of burnt orange blend really well.  Gardens with green bushes and lawns can benefit from some punchy denims and blue shades, or strong, vibrant pinks.  Forget about what some people say about blue and green together - they can bring each other alive - think oceans and peacock feathers.

  • No Plain No Gain
Jumpers with characters, slogans or emblazoned with brand names, no matter how expensive, well-loved or funny just date quickly, and can become the thing that catches your eyes in the photograph, rather than the child.

  • Channel Your Inner Kate Moss (the one under all the Cadburys)
Even a fairly impromptu shot can be polished by everyone quickly going barefoot, or throwing on hats or scarves.  Just a tweak here or there draws your theme together.  Shake loose your daughter's tied back hair, or even strip off top halves down to the vests (this is for the kids - it's rarely a good look on husbands!).   This kind of thing can result in much hilarity and genuine smiles - as long as it isn't blowing a gale out!

  • Happy Kids = Happy Snaps
Kids are most relaxed and engrossed when expressing themselves.  That's fancy talk for dressing themselves, choosing their own clothes to wear, which could mean dressing as a wierd hybrid Cinderella, Buzz Lightyear and Bag Lady!  Encourage them to throw on costumes or dress up in mum and dad's stuff.   Forget colours, patterns or even taste.  No, it won't be pretty, yes it's always a worry when the boys won't share the tutus, but on the bright side, tartan, floral and enough glitter to reflect the sun is easily toned down by printing in black and white or sepia.

Isn't all this what we want to capture, the memories of our children being like, well, children?  An hour of mad cross dressing with mum versus the Stepford portrait?  I know which memories I'll be sticking on the front of my fridge.

Thanks Rose - so, off out you go, and capture some really gorgeous photographs for Mother's Day.  The next installment of Photographing Children will follow at the start of March.

Not so bad afterall!

Well, the weather is wild, but not as bad as was forecast - we have dreadful strong winds, and intermittent hail storms, but no snow, much to Ellie's disappointment, I think.  It's possible she was hoping for a day off school!

Not a day for photography in and around Southport though - I am being nesh, and I have the woodburning stove going, and I am staying in to keep warm.  There is plenty of album design work to keep me busy, and a few jobs working on photographs, so I'm staying wrapped up ... until the dog needs his walk that is! 

Hope the weather is fine wherever you are.