Today's blog post takes us back to the sunnier, warmer days of July and our lifestyle family photography session in Woking, Surrey. I'm always thrilled to visit Mark and Samantha, who I have been lucky enough to photograph in Woking four times previously - I always know I'm going to have a wonderful time and that we're going to capture really interesting portraits of their wonderful boy, as well as some great family shots. They are such a great family to be around, and a lovely happy family always makes for a wonderful subject for children and family portrait photography.
As a London-based children and family photographer, I travel out to Surrey a huge amount and the South Western train almost felt like a home-from-home as I caught up on my sleep with a short nap on my early morning train to Woking for our lifestyle photography session.
I haven't seen the boys for two years, so I was really keen to see how much they had grown, hear what interests they had now, and also to hear which school they had ended up at - last time I visited, they were discussing all the different options and Charlie had been thinking about going to my father's old school, which was exciting - it's always such fun to hear how things pan out and I'm always so curious to hear what people have decided.
They boys had grown so much - Charlie and Henry are now very grown up, while Toby was just hilarious - so full of personality and with such an expressive face, his impish grin made me laugh so much and was such a delight to photograph.
So what did we do on this photo shoot? What didn't we do! We played cricket and the boys showed me their incredible cricket net, which clearly gets a lot of use as they play regularly - Henry was going to have his first team match the day after our shoot, I do hope it went well! We also played table tennis while the boys filled me in on which sports they had seen at the olympics last year (including Usain Bolt and Mo Farah, how lucky were they?). We also played multiple games of chase in and around the play area they have in the garden. It's lovely to see how much use children's play areas get over so many years. When I was young, we had a great climbing frame in our garden but only because my mother had a nursery school in our basement and she had to have something that a lot of children could play on - climbing frames for people's homes when we were children seemed normally to be rather poor affairs, one rickety swing (they were always rickety, out of the box I'm guessing, although I always always wished we had one and we never did), or the occasional tiny slide. Nobody had big stuff. Now climbing frames are bigger, more exciting and - most importantly - more affordable and I see so many incredible ones in family gardens. What is great about the big climbing frames is that children get so much enjoyment out of them over so many years - I can see the castle complex still being in use when I visit in 2015!
As the weather heated up, we decided to put up the water slide - again I think technology has really made such advances in children's play toys nowadays. Gone are the days of spending hours blowing up a small paddling pool - now they can be pugged in and within minutes some kind of giant wonder slide the size of a small house is being run around, jumped on and slid down! It was absolutely wonderful and very exciting for the boys. They had a marvellous time playing and I had a marvellous time taking children's portrait photographs and lifestyle action shots as they ran, jumped and splashed.
On a photo shoot that only got better and better, we followed this up by playing in the pool. No underwater pictures for me today, but shots as the boys jumped in and out of the pool and chased 'daddy shark', laughing, joking and splashing - oh, so much splashing! - which made for fabulous children's portrait photographs. As a photographer, I don't think it would have been possible for me to have more fun on a children and family portrait photography session.
I'll stop writing now as I could go on for pages and show you the pictures. Here are some of my many favourites from our children and family portrait photography session in Woking, Surrey - I do hope you enjoy them. I certainly loved taking them and can't wait for our next session.