As a London-based family, child and baby photographer, I always enjoy visiting Crouch End and Muswell Hill in North London to capture fun and relaxed family pictures. I was thrilled to arrange a date with Dawn and Michael to photograph their beautiful daughter Ava at the majestic Alexandra Palace (known locally as Ally Pally) near to Crouch End and Muswell Hill.
The day before our portrait session, I kept my fingers firmly crossed for the weather - I really wanted the photographic holy grail of enough snow for a beautiful snowy pictures, but not so much snow as to disrupt the whole of London's transport system! But we were very lucky and it was a glorious day.
Ava had encountered snow for the very first time the week before and so, while still a bit nervous about the whole thing, was starting to enjoy the experience. We had lots of fun during our family photo shoot - we made snowballs, did a bit of sledging down the fantastic slopes surrounding Ally Pally and went to look at the ducks on the frozen pond.
It was a great opportunity for children's portrait photography and we all had a lovely morning. I do hope you will enjoy these snowy family photographs from our shoot in Alexandra Palace, North London.
Welcome to a new feature on the blog for 2012 - a monthly article that explores the stories behind the pictures. This feature will be an excuse to show you some of my favourite images - some old, some new - and to write about them in a little more detail.
I'm hoping that for my regular readers - both here and on our Facebook page - this in-depth approach will be of interest, and for also those new to the site who might be considering whether to commission me to photograph their own family; I hope that knowing a bit more about how and why I take the decisions I do when making these images will help with your choice.
This picture is a recent favourite from the family portrait session that featured in Friday's blog post, but I held the image back for this piece. During the spell of milder weather before the snow fell, I was able to shot outdoors a lot more than usual - it's crazy to think that this set of pictures was taken in the middle of winter, and the children aren't even all wearing coats!
I sure you can guess what attracted me to this spot in the woods - it was the light, streaming down through the trees, which I can only describe as magical. Even without a camera, I would have been bewitched by the sight.
I saw this spot as we were walking back through the woods on our way to the car after a busy morning of den building. I suggested we might stop for a moment so that the children could explore. There was a hole in the ground so we tried to work out what could possibly live there - the older children thought it was badgers, but I'm still convinced it was a Gruffalo! I took a series of shots as the children were poking around with sticks, looking under trees and then walking back to the path. This is my favourite.
I love the light on this image and the fact that I know it is the three siblings but also - because of the anonymity provided by the flare of light - it speaks to me at a deeper level. Yes, it is a portrait of these three children at a particular time at a particular place, but it is also about childhood, about discovery, about wonder and yes, for me, it is about magic.
Until the recent snowfall, we had been very lucky with the mild Winter so far and as a children's and family photographer, the great weather has been amazing for photography - I absolutely love the light that we get at this time of year, with the sun sitting low in the sky and amazing flare effects.
I spent a wonderful morning with Rob and his family at Wandlebury woods in Cambridge, which is one of my all-time favourite places both for family photo shoots and also for long runs. We explored the woods, built an amazing den, had races to see who could roll down the hill first, and all manner of fun family activities. It was a fantastic morning and I do hope you enjoy this set of family photographs from Cambridge.
Late last year, I spent a wonderful morning with Claire capturing a set of maternity portrait pictures to mark the exciting anticipation of her pregnancy, and so I was absolutely thrilled to visit Claire again recently in her Battersea home for some newborn baby photographs to capture the arrival of baby Miles.
Miles was four days old when I visited and we had a lovely time together taking pictures. Miles is such a sweet and contented baby, and an absolute joy to photograph, as I am sure you can tell from the pictures.
I am thrilled with this set of newborn baby portrait photographs from Battersea in South London, and I hope you enjoy them.
And now for something completely different... (yes, I am a Monty Python fan!)
This week sees a change from visiting families to capture portrait photographs, as I shall be participating in the amazing MYVISION workshop in Guernsey.
This is the third year that the workshop has taken place and I'm thrilled that it will be my third year taking part, as it is one of the most amazing photographic experiences that I have ever had.
The premise of the workshop is a group of dedicated professional photographers (both wedding and portrait photographers) pushing themselves to take the very best imagery, to push the boundaries of both their art and their technical skills, to learn enormous amounts and to support each other so that together we can take the industry to new heights of excellence. It is a documentary photography workshop so nothing is posed, and we have to work hard - outside of our comfort zones - to produce the very best imagery we can.
Before we arrive, we do not know what will await us - apart from the usual lack of sleep, long days, hard work, laughter, tears and a sense of camaraderie second to none. We only discover on Monday morning what we shall be photographing for the next two days, and Kate will update our new Facebook page with the details of my assignment.
Wherever I am assigned, I shall be photographing in Guernsey for two days and who knows what the project will be - last year, I was at a butchers and the year before, a piercing parlour! In previous years, other participants have been to assigned such diverse places as an animal sanctuary, an all night-bakers, the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry and a student bus.
You can also follow the workshop through the MYVISION Facebook page and also the Twitter feed, @MyVisionWkshop.
Wish me luck.... I will post some photos when I return.