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!
THE SECRET TO A GREAT HEADSHOT!
Are you in need of a new business headshot but hate having your photo taken? Well, let me tell you about Fran Taylor who was anxiously searching for a headshot photographer.
Fran had decided to start her own business as a Virtual PA. She’d designed her logo, printed her business cards and created a stunning website..but she needed a headshot.
A friend suggested contacting me and we calmly talked through all of her concerns and found a solution for each one! I’ve listed a few of her fears below and included a selection of images I took during her photo shoot. Hopefully this will put you at ease about your next headshot!
I DON’T LIKE HAVING MY PHOTO TAKEN
Don’t worry, not many of us do! So we’ll start your shoot by simply having a coffee and a chat. Then, when you’re ready, we’ll play with the camera. The great thing about shooting digitally is that you can instantly see the image for yourself and tell me what you like and dislike about the shot.
I can then adapt my position, the direction of the light or even the background to ensure we’ve overcome your worries.
WHERE SHOULD WE TAKE THE PHOTOS?
The correct location is essential as it needs to reflect your business, brand or marketing goals. Being a Virtual PA, Fran wanted a mix of photos of herself ‘at work’ as well as a series of relaxed lifestyle images that portrayed her personality.
As her headshot photographer, I recommend Perch Co-working in Bicester which offers a stylish location for business people to work in. It’s divided into unique office spaces each with a bespoke design and feel to it. It was the ideal location for Fran and offered an array of stunning backdrops, including a stylish kitchen.
I can also take headshots on-site be it in a factory, a boardroom or outdoors so please don’t be afraid to ask!
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
What would you normally wear to meet your clients? If you’re a landscape gardener, then I’d suggest your normal outdoor clothes and muddy boots. But this won’t be appropriate if you’re office-based like Fran. So I suggested she bring a selection of items that she could quickly change during her shoot.
We also discussed her brand colours. The headshots were to be used on her website and LinkedIn page so we didn’t want her to clash with the company logo and corporate colours.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE SHOOT?
I’ll send you a secure online gallery of all the best images. Once you’ve selected your favourite shots, you simply download them and start using them as you wish! They’ll be available in high res format and I’ll even save them in the correct dimensions for facebook, twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!
CAN I BOOK YOU AS MY HEADSHOT PHOTOGRAPHER
Absolutely! Simply click the link below and we can have a chat about your business and headshot needs. Pricing starts at £125 for a one hour shoot with three digital images included. Additional images can be purchased after the shoot.
And if you’re in need of a Virtual PA then please do contact Fran at Taylor Made
BLENHEIM PALACE PHOTOGRAPHER
My excitement levels recently hit fever pitch when I was asked to be a Blenheim Palace Photographer for its renowned forest school!
It’s the most amazing location filled with great vistas, winding paths and of course outstanding forest and parkland. Add to that a ton of autumnal leaves and an energetic group of pre-schoolers dressed in the most brightly coloured clothes imaginable, and you can begin to understand why I was so excited!
FOREST SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHER
I love photographing at forest schools as I find the children are totally unfazed by the camera. They are in a world of their own getting dirty, climbing trees and just hanging out with their parents! For me it’s the perfect chance to get some lovely, natural shots of children (and parents) just being themselves
TIME TO PLAY!
There’s something about outside play that generates the happiest of smiles. Whether you’re battling a dragon with a stick, jumping across stepping stones to avoid an alligator or building a den for a toy hedgehog, it just seems better when it’s done outside!
CHILDREN’S PORTRAIT PHOTOS
In between the fun and frolics, the youngsters occasionally stop to catch their breath or look for their next adventure. At that exact moment you’ll find me poised and ready with my camera to capture some beautiful portrait shots for the parents to enjoy.
BLENHEIM PALACE PHOTOGRAPHER
Are you looking for a Blenheim Palace Photographer? Well, I’d love to help you! Whether it’s a photo shoot with your family or a selection of new headshots for your website, I’ll be able to take you to some of my favourite spots at this amazing location!
Finally, I must say a big thank you to the Hedgehog Club for inviting me along to its forest school at Blenheim Palace. For more information about its great classes simply click here
LE MANOIR AUX QUAT’SAISONS
I had so much fun photographing this Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons party! It was crammed full of style, laughter, award-winning food, outstanding guests and amazing dancing. It was quite literally the perfect way to celebrate turning 40.
The Birthday girl explained that she’d never really celebrated a big birthday before now. But she realised that during the past 40 years she’d amassed enough lifelong friends to fill a private dining room at this stunning hotel! So it was time to party and boy did she and her friends know how to party!
The evening kicked off with a champagne reception in the hotel’s private conservatory overlooking the 15th century manor house. As guests arrived so the drinks flowed and the level of laughter increased. It was clear to see this was going to be one very joyous party.
DINNER IS SERVED
The private dining room had a really warm and cozy feel to it. To help her guests mingle, the Birthday Girl gave each table a subject to discuss that was related to a funny experience she’d had with one of them on the table! It was a fabulous idea and worked a treat! Everyone was soon relaxed, chatting and laughing!
Once the seven course meal was over, including two pudding courses, the dancing began! Giant letters lit up the dance floor whilst a huge number 40 glistened in the garden along with a warming fire pit. As the DJ played track after track so the dancing became more frenetic and I had to duck and dive with my camera to get an array of fun action shots!
It really was a night to remember and I can’t wait to see how she celebrates her next special Birthday!
ARE YOU PLANNING A PARTY?
Whether you’re planning a Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons party, celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary or children’s birthday party, then drop me a line! I’d be delighted to photograph your special occasion and can even arrange for your photos to be professionally printed, framed or compiled into a beautiful album.
FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER OXFORD
When a new client describes their family as loud and crazy, I instantly know it’s going to be a memorable photo shoot! This family were full of enthusiasm; happy to try unusual photography techniques such as this image on a roundabout; and eager to create a gallery of images their family could enjoy across two continents.
With the Grandparents living in India and their daughters, son in-laws and grandchildren living in the UK it’s very rare for this family to get photographs enjoying time together. So when the Grandparents booked a surprise visit to the UK, their daughters quickly booked me to photograph them as a complete family!
We met in early September in a beautiful park on the outskirts of Oxford. It’s fair to say the weather was extremely changeable that day. One moment it was glorious sunshine and the next it was blustery winds and grey skies. But the family were amazing and happily strolled around the park making the most of its amazing vistas across the city and the lush green foliage.
PHOTOGRAPHS THAT REFLECT THE REAL YOU!
The challenging part of photographing three generations is capturing a range of images that reflects each person’s individuality. This family had it all from Grandma’s infectious smile to young love!
I was especially aware of the 11 year old grandson. Its a tricky age, stuck between no longer being a child yet not quite old enough to be a teenager. We needed something pretty cool for this young man! Thankfully, when I was scouting around the park before the shoot, I spotted a building covered in the most glorious graffiti! I just knew I had to incorporate it into the shoot.
The joy of shooting on a digital camera is that I can do a test shot and show the family my vision. When I showed this family what I have in mind with the graffiti they were all clamouring to be photographed in front of it!
WHY SHOULD THE CHILDREN HAVE ALL THE FUN?
I love it when clients get adventurous and have their own ideas for a photo! Towards the end of our shoot, the two sisters asked if they could climb onto a huge log and jump off it – it was an instant YES from me! Their Dad was less convinced (just look at his expression in the first shot) but he soon saw the funny side and we captured some lovely shots of them being big kids with their Dad!
BOOK YOUR FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT TODAY!
Do you fancy booking a family photo shoot too? Simply click ‘here’ to get in touch and I promise I wont make you jump off huge logs or spin on roundabouts…unless you really want too!
FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER OXFORD – TOP TIP!
To find great parks near to your house try visiting https://www.freeparks.co.uk