PHOTO SHOOT AT BLENHEIM PALACE
I received a brilliant email following this family photo shoot at Blenheim Palace, it simply said: ‘Alex, you nailed it!’
The brief had been to capture an array of images of two children and their Grandmother who was visiting from America! Blenheim Palace was the perfect location for this shoot as we could explore to our hearts’ content! In fact the whole shoot was full of fun adventures and amazing photo opportunities!
There are very few children who enjoy posing for photos, so I like to include a sense of play within my shoots. In this case, the little boy had brought his new toy sword so we started by playing with that! We climbed hills and charged down them and then, when they weren’t thinking about the camera, I got them to jump on Grandma’s knee for a quick group shot!
When you book your photo shoot with me, you’ll receive a clothing guide advising you of the best colours to wear for your shoot. It’s only a guide and if your children want to wear a rainbow-inspired unicorn onesie then that’s fine! But, as you’ll see from these images, the choice of clothes and colours can really complement your photos!
BLENHEIM PALACE PHOTO SHOOT
The best thing about holding a photo shoot at Blenheim Palace is its amazing grounds! They are so vast that even in the height of the tourist season it’s possible to find quiet areas where your family can be alone.
I discovered this tree during my site visit to the Palace before our shoot and instantly knew the children would love it! I was right! As soon as they saw it their imagination kicked in, so I was able to capture some really natural moments like this photo below!
MY LITTLE ASSISTANTS
I like to involve children in their shoot, from having a go with my camera to choosing where they want to be photographed? For the photo below, the little boy asked if they could sit in this tree’s giant roots for a photo, so we did just that! I just love the way it’s hugging the three of them!
PARENTS LOOK FAB IN PHOTOS TOO!
I love to get Mum & Dad in the photos as it’s just as important to document your part in their life as much as the grandparents. This could be in the form of posed photos, impromptu games of tag, or tender little moments playing pooh sticks!
I always explore a location before I hold a photo shoot. It allows me to find the best spots for your photos and saves time on the day! As soon as I saw this dry stone wall I knew it would be perfect for this family photo shoot at Blenheim Palace!
BRING YOUR FAVOURITE TOY
Photo shoots can be daunting for children, so I always invite them to bring their favourite toy with them. As I mentioned, the little boy brought his new sword, whereas Mog was the toy of choice for his sister! To put her at ease we included Mog in the shoot and she even sat on my camera lens to help get some extra big smiles!
And I just adore the tender moment below when she gave Mog a little kiss!
The family tell me the hardest part of the shoot is trying to decide which photos to frame for their wall as they simply love them all! So I guess I did ‘nail it!’
If you fancy visiting Blenheim Palace then click here!
21st BIRTHDAY PARTY CELEBRATIONS
What’s the best thing to do when you return from an epic travelling adventure around South America, during which you turned 21? Throw a party of course – oh and book a Birthday Party Photographer to document the night ready for the morning after!
A PARTICULARLY WARM WELCOME!
The party began as the sun set on one of the hottest days of the year. The high temperatures lasted well into the night and guests were bathed in a gorgeous glow of golden sunlight.
Having studied in Brazil, and then travelled around Peru, Clare incorporated an array of local traditions into her party. I particularly liked the look of the Brigadeiros chocolate truffles and colourful Brazilian ribbons.
Folklore says if you tie a ribbon around your wrist with three knots, and make a wish as you tie each knot, then when it breaks your wishes will come true! So, hopefully I will have some expensive new camera equipment in kit bag very soon!
ANYONE FOR TABLE TENNIS?
Have you ever been to a party with its own table tennis tournament! Trust me, you want to add it to your bucket list! It was a fabulous idea and really showed off everyone’s competitive spirit! And, as the official Birthday Party Photographer, it also provided me with an array of fun moments to capture for prosperity!
BIRTHDAY PARTY PHOTOGRAPHER
I love to capture relaxed moments when everyone is busy enjoying themselves and totally unaware of the camera! Due to this, I very rarely ask people to gather for a group photo. It breaks the flow of a party and makes it more like a formal wedding! Instead, you’ll find me hiding in obscure places, like behind bushes or a row of sauce bottles, in order to get fun and memorable shots!
LAST MONKEY STANDING!
No Birthday party would be complete without a Monkey Pinata! Despite his cute face, the Birthday girl and her friends were determined to thrash him in order to win the sweets! Just goes to show, you can still be young at heart even at 21!
CAN I HELP PHOTOGRAPH YOUR PARTY?
If you’re planning an important event and need a Party Photographer then please drop me a line. I’d love to capture all the fun moments for you to look back on in years to come!
BOOK A FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT AT HOME!
When you think of a family photo shoot do you think of a blank white studio with lots of professional lighting? Well, imagine having a family photo shoot at home! No special lighting required, just me and my camera capturing the fun little moments that makes your family special!
DOCUMENTING YOUR DAY!
I don’t know about you, but I love to look back on old photos of my childhood home. I look at the decor, reminisce over the toys I played with, the clothes I wore, or marvel over the size of our TV. (I’m talking about its depth rather than its width!)
Inviting me to photograph your children at home is the ideal way to document your family life for prosperity. But most importantly you can appear in them too – if you want to!
HOW DOES A FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT AT HOME WORK?
It’s simple! I just blend into your day and photograph what I see! I’ll ask you in advance about your children’s hobbies and passions and quietly weave these into the shoot. Perhaps I’ll ask them to play their violin for me or ride their new bike. But we won’t make a big thing about it, if they don’t want to do it at that exact moment we wont force them. The more organic the shoot is, the more natural and relaxed the photos will be.
PLENTY OF TIME TO PLAY!
We all know that children generally don’t like to smile for the camera so let’s not ask them too! Instead, we’ll let them play and have fun whilst I quietly photograph them in their own little world!
ADDING A SPLASH OF FUN!
Water, trampolines and bubbles are guaranteed to result in some rather memorable photos! Or perhaps your children like to bake cakes and lick the bowl out? Whatever it is, we can add this into your shoot too! The more activities the merrier!
DON’T FORGET YOUR PETS!
Finally, as the heading says, photographing your family at home is the perfect time to photograph your pets too! After all they’re one of the family too!
To book your photo shoot at home, simply click here! And don’t forget I can print and mount your photos too!
CHILDREN’S 1k FUN RUN
I was so honoured to be asked to photograph the Kids Run Free 1k Fun Run as part of Leamington Spa’s Regency 10k. The park was literally buzzing with excitement as hundreds of children prepared to run their little hearts out.
Having registered and collected their race number the children began warming up and making friends with each other. If there were any race-day nerves then I certainly couldn’t see them! In fact all I could see were excited smiles and boundless amounts of energy.
And before I knew it, they were off! And boy could these children run! In fact, they ran towards me so quickly my camera really struggled to gain focus before they’d thundered past me! Talk about split second timing.
THE RACE IS ON!
There were over 300 children running on that cold, blustery April morning. And no sooner had the final children crossed the start line, than the first batch of runners were approaching the finishing line! It really was that fast!
PUTTING THE FUN INTO FUN RUN!
The thing I love most about photographing children running is their amazing facial expressions! The raised eyebrows, panting tongues and of course, their huge smiles.
The children’s determination was simply outstanding. In fact the youngest runner was just 12 months old and did a sterling job toddling along the course.
And once they’d crossed the finish line, the children received a fresh piece of fruit, large bottle of water and their well deserved medal!
It really was the most inspiring morning and I’m pretty sure they all slept really well that night!
Click here to learn more about the amazing work carried out by Kids Run Free!
RECENT RUNNING PHOTO SHOOTS!
BANBURY KIDS GET READY TO RUN!
WAVE IF YOU WANT TO RUN FASTER
DON’T WORRY ABOUT GRUMPY TODDLERS!
When I hold a newborn photo shoot at a client’s home, parents often worry how older siblings will react. As an older sibling myself, I know how frustrating it is to suddenly be forced to share the limelight. So I fully appreciate how grumpy toddlers might be feeling!
I tell parents the best thing to do is relax and not to worry! I certainly won’t judge you or them! Whatever happens, we will get a gallery of beautiful images that reflect ‘true’ family life! And sometimes the grumpy photos are the best!
I recently photographed this lovely family in Wardington, Oxfordshire. I’d photographed their son the previous year and knew today’s grumps were totally out of character. So I advised the parents to relax and just let him play. There was plenty of time for family group shots later on. For now, I’d photograph their daughter’s tiny details.
After a while, we decided to try a family photo. But no matter what we did, he really didn’t want to be involved. I never force children to be in photos, but there are ways to incorporate them without them realising. In the case of the photo below, he’s sat in the background absorbed with his ipad. I love the way the photo tells a story about his true feelings on that day. And I know they’ll laugh with him in years to come when they reminisce about the shoot.
TRANSFORMING GRUMPY TODDLERS
It was time to make him the centre of attention. “Do you know how to blow a raspberry?” I asked. He looked at me with a cheeky smile! “Could you do a gentle raspberry on your sister’s forehead?” As quick as a flash he ditched the ipad and ran over to her. He proceeded to blow the gentlest little raspberry you could imagine. He then gave his Mum an enormous smile and bam, we’d got our shot!
Having decided that I was now fun and cool, he agreed to take part in a few more photos!
Before a shoot, I always ask parents what their children love. So knowing that he was a massive Peter Rabbit fan, I’d brought my own Peter Rabbit toy along. I balanced it carefully on my camera lens and, hey presto, we got another smile!
LET’S KEEP MOVING!
Working with toddlers is all about speed and fun! So before he had a chance to get bored, we relocated to the stairs! Here he got to sit on Dad’s shoulders and for our next shot, he did what kids do best…jump!
I’m glad to report the family loved the photos and bought the entire gallery. So if your toddler doesn’t feel the love at the start of the shoot, then please don’t worry! There’s plenty of time to win them over and capture a galley of images you’ll cherish as they grow!
WHAT IS THE BEST AGE TO HOLD A NEWBORN PHOTO SHOOT?
Most photographers say the first two weeks are the best time to hold a newborn photo shoot. Do I agree? Well it depend’s what you want the photos to capture?
Babies tend to sleep a lot in the first two weeks and it’s certainly a great time to capture their tiny features.
This little lady was 6 weeks old and very inquisitive about the camera.
But if you want them with their eyes open and a big smile, then it’s best to wait until about eight weeks. So not quite a newborn anymore, but still a small baby.
Why not give me a call and we’ll decide the best time to photograph your little one!
IT’S TIME TO PARTY!
Imagine my excitement when I got a call from The Lending Loft party hire company looking for a product photographer! Let’s get this right, you’d like me to spend a whole day playing with glamorous party accessories! When can we start?
Victoria had curated eight different sets for our shoot. The vintage white and silver collection was both classic and stylish. In fact it reminded me of my own festive wedding day!
ADDING A SPLASH OF GOLDEN GLAMOUR
Next on the agenda was The Lending Loft’s Golden collection. This package ranges from luxurious golden candle sticks and vases to delicate glass tea light holders. Victoria also supplies flowers for her guest’s events and parties. These beautiful pink peonies and roses contrasted beautifully with the glitzy finish on each accessory.
I know I shouldn’t admit to having a favourite collection but, between you and me, this one was gorgeous! The warm, earthy tones against the rustic plant pots worked beautifully. This is one table I’d really like to eat at.
The Lending Loft offers an array of accessories for weddings, parties and dinners including items to greet your guests. This huge window-inspired mirror also doubled-up as a table seating pan.
Despite the number of beautifully dressed chairs on set, there was no time to sit down during this shoot. As soon as we’d photographed one set, it was straight on to the next. All the photos were taken in Witney at Cogges Farm’s Wedding Barn It’s yellow wooden cart was the perfect backdrop for the country collection. We were even joined by a white dove at the candlelit alter.
DO YOU NEED A PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHER
Are you looking for a product photographer? If so, please do give me a call and I’ll help you create an array of images for your website, marketing material and social media pages! I’d love to hear from you!
FALLING IN LOVE WITH ROSCOE!
I’ve often wondered is there a word similar to broody, that applies to dogs? Meeting Roscoe during his Dog Photo Shoot, made me think perhaps it’s time I owned a dog!
The first thing that hits you about Roscoe is his amazing fox red colouring. It’s such a unique auburn shade and really showed off his strong labrador/retriever features.
We started our dog photo shoot with some fast action shots. This worked beautifully for Roscoe as, being just over a year old, he was full of boundless energy! So I cranked up my shutter speed and tried to track him as he zoomed around the forest.
Due to Roscoe’s height, we were able to do some amazing shots of him jumping over a fallen tree. Unlike children it’s impossible to tell a dog where and when to jump! But after a couple of attempts, and a few doggy treats, we got our shot!
ONE OF THE FAMILY
I always like to suggest including your family in your dog’s photos. It’s nice to reminisce about how you looked, what the fashions were, or how spritely your dog was.
With this in mind, I send a clothing guide to new clients advising them of what to wear. You don’t have to dash out on a massive shopping spree – unless you really want to! But it’s amazing how wearing colours that complement your dog and the season really impacts your final photos.
DOG PHOTO SHOOT: PORTRAIT PHOTOS
Despite his young age, Roscoe was extremely well trained and would sit and stay in specific locations. Don’t worry if your dog is not able to do this. We can easily photograph them on the lead and remove the lead from the final photo thanks to Photoshop!
After all that posing, it seemed only fair to let Roscoe have another run around! This time he was joined by his new favourite stick! Thank you Roscoe for being such a star and letting your family enjoy these photos for years to come!
Would you like me to photograph your dog? Simply click the button below and we’ll get the ball rolling!
HOW MY PHOTO BECAME A FRONT COVER IMAGE!
When I moved to the Oxfordshire village of Bodicote, I never imagined I’d be asked to photograph the front cover image of its parish magazine!
It’s a stunning church and so I didn’t need to think twice! I quickly grabbed my camera bag and hotfooted my way through the village.
The photo above is the third front cover image I have secured since my first shoot for them. So as I reach my hat-trick, it seems a great time to show you what happens once my image reaches the printers!
The image is sent to Technique Print in Banbury which has the important task of printing nearly 2,450 copies of Bodicote’s Parish Magazine. The first step is to add the magazine masthead and copy that helps promote the magazine’s content.
ON THE PRESS
Once the entire magazine has been designed, the artwork is transferred onto ‘printing plates.’ The printing process includes four colours of cyan, magenta, yellow and black with each one having its own printing plate. You can see one of the plates for the front cover below with my photo delicately etched onto it.
The printing plates are thin metal sheets which are then loaded onto the huge £1m printing press pictured above. Then it’s time to load the ink!
Each sheet of paper is then sucked up and carried through the entire press on a cushion of air that prevents the paper being marked.
This machine prints 15,000 sheets per hour which is extremely rapid and quite a challenge to photograph! The sheets of paper pass over the four coloured plates layering each coloured ink until the final image is produced.
THE PROOF’S IN THE PRINT
Waiting patiently at the end of the press is Dean who is a master craftsman. He starts by running a proof and then calibrates the ink levels to ISO standards. This ensures they’re printing the colours exactly as I photographed them.
Once Dean is happy, he prints 2,450 copies of each page. They are then loaded onto a pallet ready to be machine folded, cut and stapled into the final magazine.
THE FINAL FRONT COVER IMAGE!
And voila…the final magazine is printed, delivered to St John The Baptist Parish Church and hand-delivered around the parish! And I’m very proud to say that I have already been asked to photograph the next front cover!
ENJOY A HOLIDAY WITH THE NATIONAL TRUST!
The best thing about commercial photo shoots is that I get to see things before they’re launched, or in this case relaunched. But then I have to keep them a secret until the big reveal! This was the case with Cliveden National Trust.
Having worked with them for several years, they asked if I could photograph two newly refurbished holiday cottages on their estate. The images were to be used on its website and social media pages to attract new holiday makers.
A HOLIDAY HOME FROM HOME
To ensure the unique charms of each cottage were captured beautifully, I arranged a quick site visit prior to the actual shoot. This enabled me to make a long list of photos I wanted to capture on the day. As you will see, it ranged from the stunning bathrooms and chilled interiors, to endless home comforts.
Both the cottages were located a stones throw from the banks of the River Thames. So what better way to showcase this but from aboard the National Trust’s very own boat!
GROUNDBREAKING COMMERCIAL PHOTO SHOOT
Having moored the boat, we greeted two families who’d agreed to be photographed for the cottages’ new marketing campaign!
This was quite a departure for the National Trust as traditionally their holiday cottages were photographed without people. So I wanted to ensure my images inspired the ‘powers who be’ to adopt this lifestyle approach nationwide.
I couldn’t have asked for a nicer group of people to work with, especially considering the scorching temperatures that day. They willingly posed in a natural and relaxed manner which hopefully doesn’t look staged or out of place! What do you think?
I’m glad to report that the lifestyle images were approved for Cliveden’s website. Why not take a look at them here: New Cottage and Ferry Cottage and even book a holiday! The images also appeared in The Guardian’s Sunday Supplement showcasing the best waterside boltholes! Fame at last!
GAINING THE ‘NATIONAL TRUST’
You can see a selection of my other work for the National Trust by clicking here
A BEAUTIFUL WINTER CHRISTENING
A few weeks ago I received a lovely email from a family looking for an Oxford Christening Photographer at rather short notice. The email said: “We’ve just discovered your gorgeous children and family photos and wondered if you’d be available to capture our daughter’s christening.”
I quickly checked my diary and thankfully the weekend in question was free. Fast forward just two weeks and I was arriving at St Peter’s Church in Drayton, Oxfordshire on a rather chilly January morning.
A WARM WELCOME
When I left home that morning, there was the most amazing frost covering every blade of grass and fallen leaf. When I arrived, the entire church was bathed in the most glorious golden sunlight.
As well as the baby’s friends and family, the church was filled with the local congregation for Holy Communion. There was a really warm, friendly vibe which felt particularly apt for this important occasion.
OXFORD CHRISTENING PHOTOGRAPHER
I always talk to parents before the Christening to understand exactly what they’d like me to capture on the day. This family had invited three of the baby’s cousins (and a Godfather) to give readings during the service. And a fourth cousin had been asked to carry the towel to the font. So I was primed and ready to photograph each person as they proudly carried out their important roles.
At this point, I must mention the spectacular font! It is probably one of the largest and sturdiest I have ever seen. Thought to date back to Norman times, it is believed to be one of the oldest items in this beautiful Grade II listed church.
The family also asked me to document a beautiful blanket the baby’s grandmother had lovingly knitted for her. There’s something about black and white photos that strip away all the distractions and make your eyes focus on the important element, which in this case was the blanket. The baby’s mother had also mentioned that she adored black and white photos so I knew I was onto a winner with these mono shots!
Christenings are also a brilliant opportunity to update the family photo album with classic and candid portrait photos. I particularly like the candid shot below of the baby’s cousins in the choir stalls. It really reflects the great sense of love and pride they all had for their new little cousin!
Once christening was over everyone headed back to the family home for a splendid lunch and most amazing christening cake I have ever seen.
BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY
As I mentioned before, the family adore black and white photographs, so I couldn’t resist sharing some of my favourite mono images from the day with you.
If you’re looking for an Oxford Christening Photographer then please do drop me a line! And I’m not limited just to Oxfordshire! I’m located on the borders of Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire and am happy to travel further afield too!