Photoblog: Just One Archive

Playing in the Garden in South London - Family Photo with Rob

Posted in Just One at 11:45 on 05/04/2018

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I've been busy recently, out taking pictures and tucked away in the office working on a big project (more to come on that soon). It's proving to be such an exciting year but it does mean the blog has been a little neglected and I apologise for that, normal service will be resuming shortly.

In the meantime, I want to share a Just One from a recent shoot in South London with the fantastic Rob who was an absolute blast to photograph along with his family, with pictures at their home and out and about at some of their local parks.

This was our second photo shoot and so I was really looking forward to it, it's so lovely to return to families I have met before and see how the children have grown. Rob was full of beans and so excited to play, proudly showing me his toys and books. We were lucky with the weather too, it was cold but bright and sunny, one of those crisp spring days that I love.

It's been so hard to choose a Just One from all the different activities we squeezed in; from a run around at the park to baking a delicious carrot cake, but I keep returning to this one. Rob, playing with his daddy in the garden and dressed appropriately for the occasion -complete with crash helmet - there's a boy with an eye to health and safety!

I love the joy in this picture, Rob flying up in the air, arms and legs out and a look of pure happiness on his face. I love the crash helmet (ok, we were riding bikes around the garden too so it was worn for a reason) but it really makes me giggle in this context. I love the composition too.

When working in confined spaces, such as London gardens, then working with the environment is crucial. Using the elements around us; trees, fences, garden sheds and toys, to add to a picture rather than distract from it is key, otherwise images can look cluttered and messy. Often angle is important here with low angles like this one allowing me to cut out distractions.

The shape of the tree really adds to the picture and the dynamic lines sweeping up from the left-hand corner really guide our eye around the image. I love how the branch appears to be perfectly formed to echo Rob's body language, curving over his head and spreading out from his arms in both directions. It's worked perfectly, and the shallow depth of field means the tree has added to the image with a subtle background rather than overshadowing the foreground action. It's one of the great challenges of family photography and one of the things I find most interesting, working in an environment in different ways to get the very best pictures possible.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at, and reading about, this image. With spring on our doorstep it's the perfect time to book a family portrait session and I'm taking bookings as far as November so do get in touch if you would like to know more and we can put a date in the diary for you.

A Firebird on Hampstead Heath

Posted in Just One at 07:12 on 14/03/2018

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I last photographed Margot back in 2010 and so I was thrilled to visit her in Hampstead to update her pictures. In the intervening years Margot has grown into such an incredible young lady - confident, funny and incredibly company. I had such a brilliant time chatting Harry Potter and and marvelling at Margot's gymnastics skills. It was such a fantastic way to spend a morning.

For the first half of our shoot we went out onto Hampstead Heath. The weather was kind and although there was a chill in the air the light was beautiful, soft and mysterious, perfect for the pictures we took in and around the trees.

I loved watching Margot demonstrate her gymnastics - handstands, jumps, it was incredible. I'm constantly trying to improve my yoga prowess but I'm such an amateur, I think I know just enough to really appreciate how incredible her skills are. I've done a bit of yoga photography recently, mainly for my club in North London, and so it was great to put those skills to good use on this lovely family shoot.

I find that my work is a mix of portraiture and action shots and I love to make the best use of the environment in which I'm working, whether that's indoors in my client's home or out and about at places like Hampstead Heath. I'm always looking for good backgrounds and ways to frame the action in interesting and beautiful ways.

This shot, today's Just One, I took as we were heading home from the heath. Walking along a path I saw the way the trees created a frame at the top of the hill. Showing Margot on the back of my phone how the branches encircled the area of light we worked together to create this picture. Working with older children and teenagers is such fun as we can collaborate on ideas like this.

Margot was amazing, getting into just the right place and then showing me some of her wonderful jumps, I think this one was called the Firebird, she certainly looks wild and free and amazing.

I hope you like it as much as I do, today's Just One from a recent family shoot on Hampstead Heath.

Creative Family Photography in Brixton, South London

Posted in Just One at 17:28 on 05/03/2018

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I’ve wanted to take a picture like this for a while. Not exactly like this, as I don’t tend to plan my pictures in advance, but a picture making a feature of a hat with a face has been on my ‘to-do’ list for a while now.

I love these hats and wish they did them in my size. Since I first saw a child wear one I’ve been thinking there was potential for a really striking picture

I often have thoughts like this, moments where I find myself squirreling away an idea for future reference, a concept that, when the circumstances come together will produce something wonderful.

Pictures like this can’t be planned but you can be on the lookout and, from the moment Anselm put on his hat, I was on the lookout.

I feel that when a picture is about a visual joke, about humour, then it needs to work really well to work at all. The angles have to be perfect, there needs to be a story. Just taking a picture that says ‘look, a cool hat’ isn’t enough to make a picture work.

But when it all comes together, as it did here, it can be brilliant.

What makes this work so well is the way Anselm’s hat completely covers his face. Hood flying it looks as if it’s a mystical creature playing in the park, peeking out with an impish grin. Anselm is looking down and the strong light and shadows means we can’t see his face at all as he checks his landing. It works perfectly.

The final element that makes the picture is the body language. Anselm’s jump, full of energy, knees tucked in, you can tell he’s really trying to get as high as he can. His movement is reflected in his dad’s body language, clearly egging him on higher and higher as they share this wonderful moment together.

I love this shot, and, without doubt it will be one of my favourites of the year.

I also, of course, got lots of pictures where you can see the children’s faces and I couldn’t resist adding in a second image to this blog, this shot of Sophia snuggling with her ‘Froggy’ as we stopped for a cup of tea and a snack to warm up on such a cold morning.

I the look on her face, it’s so typical of childhood, snuggling with a favourite toy and smiling shyly at the new person who has come to play. I love both these images so much and so it’s a Just Two today in this sneak peek from my recent family photography session in South London.

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A hot tub? in February? - Just One

Posted in Just One at 07:47 on 13/02/2018

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A hot tub? In February? But yes, a perfect way to end a cold beach shoot.

I was so thrilled when Katie rang me towards the end of last year to discuss a big family beach shoot this February. I’ve been photographing Katie and her family since 2009 and this was to be our fifth photo shoot. Katie and her family were hiring a big beach house to celebrate her mother’s 70th birthday and thought it would be a great opportunity for a family photo shoot – and they were absolutely right, it was a brilliant day.

We started the morning with blueberry pancakes and bacon (and yes, this does earn you massive brownie points with your photographer), it was a feast to set us up for the day. Well-fed we got everyone wrapped up warm and headed to the beach near Angmering on the south coast. It was a very cold and very bright day; low winter sun was blinding at times but made for dramatic light on the beach. Finding stones to skim and climbing on the groynes we had a brilliant time exploring the local area.

From the beach, we headed back to the house which was fantastic for photography with a space for board games and even a pool table which the older children loved. It was definitely a brilliant place to stay. We had a lovely time nibbling on KitKats and playing games while everyone warmed up.

Then we finished with pictures of the children in the hot tub. When I saw it in the garden I’d asked Katie if it was even on at this time of year, I know many homes with outdoor pools don’t heat them over winter but yes, the hot tub was on and a huge hit with the kids. With steam rising and catching the light it looked almost otherworldly and the children loved relaxing in the warm. It certainly looked inviting.

It was at this point I took one of my favourite images of the day and the picture I thought I would share as my Just One. Amy, who I have photographed since she was 2 years old, relaxing in the pool. Amy is a keen, and very talented, swimmer and this picture seems to capture a bit of that. She looks so comfortable in the water, like a pre-Raphaelite mermaid. I love it and I hope you will too, today’s Just One from our recent family photo shoot on the South Coast.

Creative Family Photography

Posted in Just One at 07:17 on 12/12/2017

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Reacting to the unexpected is one of the most fun bits of being a family photographer. I never know what games children will come up with or what activities we will do on our photo shoots. This makes for a challenging and creative environment in which to work and often means that I end up with photographs that I never could have dreamt of, images that I never could have planned, that have evolved out of a spontaneous game and which are unique to that moment in time.

While I was photographing the family playing a game of Boggle on a cold winter morning Edward announced that we had to switch off all the lights so he could take his plane on a night flight. Plunged into darkness we began to make the noises of air raid sirens and utilized a torch for a searchlight.

I’ll be the first to admit that when the lights when out I initially thought ‘Ah, I wont be photographing this game’ but, with the instinct of long experience I still switched the settings on the camera, pushing the ISO up to 8000 and making sure I had a wide aperture of 1.4 on my 35mm lens. I’m so glad I did. As Edward flew his plane towards us I noticed the shadow on the ceiling, the shape of the plane caught perfectly in the spotlight and his expression seems to fit so perfectly with the gravity of the game – night flying is serious business.

Pictures like this aren’t planned, they are the reaction to a moment and for me these moments are what make family photography such a joy. In pictures like these memories are made, likenesses recorded and creative images produced which transcend the standard fare and provide pictures that will stand the test of time. I feel confident that Edward will love this picture now and that he will also love it when he is grown up, if he becomes an aeronautical engineer maybe it will hang in his office to remind him of his early plane designs.

If you are interested in creative children’s portraiture, pictures that are innovative and will record your family in beautiful and interesting photographs then do get in touch and we can put a date in the diary for the New Year. I’d love to hear from you and look forward to producing pictures that are full of memories for your children that they will enjoy looking back on for years to come.