SECRET TO A GREAT TEENAGE PHOTO SHOOT!
Have you been thinking about a teenager photo shoot? It’s a great idea and something that’s really popular in America, although they call it a ‘Senior Portrait Session.’ Either way, it’s a fabulous chance to photograph your kids as they transition from children into young adults.
TOP TIPS FOR A TEENAGE PHOTO SHOOT
My first piece of advice is to run the idea past your teenager and ensure they’re on board with the idea. Trust me, there is nothing harder than photographing a teenager who doesn’t want to be photographed! They can dig their heels or should I say their Converses in far deeper than any tired toddler! But if they’re fully up for it, then you’ll end up with gorgeous photos and even some unplanned, comical moments like this! (I promise he was just messing around and, despite Mum’s squeals of embarrassment, they loved this image when they saw it!)
THEIR FAVOURITE SPACE
Next on my list would be location. I love the idea of them being able to look back on these images in year’s to come and recall their favourite teenage hide out!
Perhaps they have a favourite spot in your garden, love to ride horses or simply chill-out in their bedroom? Wherever it might be, it would be great to incorporate this into their shoot!
LET THERE BE LIGHT
One of the best things about a teenage photo shoot is that they can stay up later than small children. This means we make the most of what’s known as the ‘Golden Hour.’ It’s the two hours before sunset when the sun gives off a beautiful golden glow. In the summer, this could be between 8pm-10pm which would be beyond most toddlers but ideal for teenagers!
In the autumn and winter, the sun sets a lot earlier. For example, the photo below was taken at 4pm when the sun shone through the autumnal leaves. So this could be the perfect time for a photo shoot with a teenager and much younger sibling.
There’s one last thing of course! And that’s to click on the link below and tell me all about your teenagers! I’ll take care of everything else, even the printing and framing! So as your teenagers would say…it’s sorted!
IMPORTANCE OF PHOTOGRAPHING OLDER DOGS!
You know what it’s like, you get a new puppy and can’t stop taking photos as it scampers around the house. But why should puppies get all the limelight? It’s just as important to be photographing older dogs, especially if their health is beginning to fail.
I was approached by Codey and Diesel’s owner for that very reason. Both dogs were of advanced years and the eldest was suffering from arthritis and degenerative myelopathy. This meant he couldn’t walk for more than 20 minutes so I offered to create a bespoke shoot for his needs.
We decided upon a location that gave us lots of variety from wheat fields and woodland to quaint country lanes.
TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING OLDER DOGS
My first tip for photographing older dogs is to go at their pace and rest whenever required.
Their owner and her mother asked if I could capture an image of them strolling with their dogs. I really wanted it to look as if they were going on a long country walk but in reality the dog’s health meant this wasn’t possible! But I knew this little bridge could help us! I asked them to stand on the brow of the bridge and walk the short distance towards me. It wasn’t far for the dogs to walk, yet the winding lane in the background gives the illusion that they’ve walked the full length of it!
TIME FOR A WELL DESERVED REST!
It goes without saying that older dogs need to rest more frequently than a younger dog, but it also means I can get some gorgeous relaxed shots of them! The photo above was taken on the very edge of a forest to ensure we got as much light on them as possible. But as you can see below, a bench also makes a great location for a group shot!
The next tip when photographing older dogs is to remember their limitations! A younger dog would easily have jumped onto the bench with their owners, meaning everyone’s head was on the same level. But there was no way these two chaps could jump up, nor would they have enjoyed being lifted. So we sat them next to the ladies legs and I lay on the grass to alter the angle at which I was shooting at!
DOG PORTRAIT PHOTOS
Over the years I have found that some dogs LOVE the camera and others hate it! I’m glad to say these two were brilliant and loved the experience! But one thing to bear in mind when photographing older dogs is their hearing. I normally use squeakers or call a dog’s name to get their attention, but Codey was severely deaf so neither was going to work! Instead I resorted to a lot of arm waving to get his attention or, when the owners weren’t in the photo, they’d jump around to get his attention!
It’s also important to consider the dog’s colouring. Diesel was one of the darkest dogs I’ve ever met. Just look at his eyes in the shot above, apart from the tiny dot of white reflective light, even his eyes were entirely jet black!
So, it was important that his portrait shots were against a contrasting background colour otherwise he’d have just blended into a dark background!
THERE’S LIFE IN THE OLD DOG YET!
Despite creating a bespoke photo shoot around the dogs’ specific needs and capabilities, they still had a surprise for us! At the very end of the shoot, Diesel decided he wanted some action shots and I was only too happy to oblige! It’s shots like this, and the calmer ones above, that the owners will be able to look back on in years to come and smile at lovingly!
ONE FINAL TIP!
Have you thought about attending a dog first aid course? We often book courses when we become parents to babies, but what about our pets? I’d fully recommend Bridget Simms at https://www.dog-first-aid.com/oxfordbucks/ I even photographed her headshot photo on this link!
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 magical 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 books we read, 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!
HOW TO BRIEF A PHOTOGRAPHER!
Have you ever wondered how to brief a photographer but don’t know where to start? Well, whether you’re a parent or a corporate guru, here’s a quick and easy guide covering all the key things you’ll need to consider! And remember I’m here to help so you’re not alone!
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE PHOTOGRAPHED?
OK, let’s start at the very beginning and discuss what you’d like me to photograph! Perhaps it’s a family photo shoot, new corporate photos for your website or documenting a lavish black tie event?
In a paragraph, try describing what you’d like me to capture. It could be a family party with 60 guests to celebrate your 40th Birthday and you’d like lots of photos of people having fun! Or a corporate photo shoot to document your workplace in action for use in a new brochure and on your social media pages.
You can either send this information to me in an email or mention it when we’re talking on the phone!
HOW DO YOU WANT TO USE YOUR PHOTOS?
This is really important as it will determine how I shoot on the day! For example, if you need a portrait shaped photo to go on a leaflet, then I will concentrate on photographing certain images in portrait rather than landscape to make sure they fit your design!
Alternatively, you might want to use photos from your family photo shoot to create a gallery wall in your house or an album for prosperity.
HAVE YOU GOT ANY SPECIFIC IDEAS?
Sometimes clients have an idea they’d like me to try and recreate for them> The mother and daughter below wanted a photo of them walking with their dogs. So when I saw this quaint village bridge near to their home, I knew it would be the perfect location for this particular shot!
Meanwhile, my brief from Kids Run Free was extremely detailed from photographing its company branding and new clothing to photos of guests arriving, playing and running! Having it all listed in advanced helped me plan my time during the event and we even squeezed ins a few headshot photos too!
ARE THERE ANY GUIDELINES?
This can apply to both corporate and family photo shoots but let’s start with corporate. When I photograph for the National Trust I know it prefers photos where people are not looking directly at the camera! Other brands prefer to show hands rather than faces or showcase certain corporate colours or branding. Knowing this in advance ensures you get the very best mix of photos for your needs!
Parents with autistic children have also explained to me that their children may not want to hug siblings or that speed is of the essence. Any advice like this prior to the shoot can really help me create a fun experience for them that’s not stressful.
ARE THERE ANY KEY PEOPLE WHO NEED TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED?
This might range from capturing a fun shot of the Grandparents with their Grandson to a headshot photo of the MD. Adding this to your brief in advance of the day really helps ensure we don’t miss anyone important!
For the Christening above, the family asked me capture a photo of this little boy carrying the christening towel to the font. Knowing this before the event meant I could position myself in the correct place at the correct time to get the perfect candid photo!
DO YOU LIKE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS?
I adore black and white photos and sometimes families ask for their entire gallery to be supplied like this! But at the same time, some clients only want photos in colour! I’m happy to do either, or can supply a mix of the two, so do let me know your preference!
NOW YOU CAN BRIEF A PHOTOGRAPHER!
Well I hope this article has helped you understand how to brief a photographer? Basically, the more information you can give me in advance the better! And remember I’m not scary! You can always pick-up the phone or drop me an email with additional information or questions! I’m here to help you every step of the way so please don’t feel daunted! Let’s have fun!
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!