Photoblog: Just One Archive

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.

Baby Photographer Camden - Just One

Posted in Just One at 11:55 on 05/12/2017

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This picture of pure joy happiness and jumped out at me as I downloaded my memory cards from a recent baby photography session in Camden in North London. Helena had contacted me to arrange a session to photograph three-month-old Eldar in my relaxed style - she was keen to have natural and playful pictures and I think we’ve definitely hit the jackpot with this delightfully happy shot.

Helena’s house was absolutely stunning and so we started by taking pictures in the main bedroom. I often find that this is a great place for photographing babies; they can roll around happily on the bed and master bedrooms tend to have beautiful light. It’s nice to let the family relax and interact together as the best pictures come when the camera is forgotten and everyone is enjoying themselves. I move around following the action and finding the best angles to create beautiful and meaningful photographs.

Using Black and White for family photographs means that the essence of the pictures really stands out, the emotions and the interactions. There are no distractions in the way of coloured walls or bright elements of interior design. We look straight to the faces and the lovely happy expressions.

The triangular framing of this image with the family at the top and Eldar’s arm and Helena’s hair forming the sides means that our eye travels round the picture coming back to those wonderful expressions without any distractions. I almost feel as if the composition of the picture is echoing those wonderful smiles.

I’m so thrilled with this picture and all the other lovely family photographs from this wonderful baby portrait session and I can’t wait to share them with the family and see which are their favourites, it’s certainly going to be hard to choose!

Brothers - A Sibling Shot in West London

Posted in Just One at 09:29 on 27/11/2017

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I love this picture of brothers, Milo and Elliott, taken on a recent family photography session in Hyde Park and in their beautiful home nearby. I was really looking forward to the session as Sarah and I had spoken on the phone and the family sounded such fun, I knew I would have a great time.

When I arrived Elliott greeted me with a huge grin and Milo was keen to explain his game - building a traffic-jam out of toy taxis around the kitchen table - an excellent way to start the day. While I had a cup of coffee I enjoyed playing with the cars, moving them out of the way for the emergency service vehicles and getting to know the children a bit before we started to take pictures. I love how children are always keen to invite me into their games and playing with them is a great way to build a rapport before we start.

When we arrived at the park I was keen to take some picture of the children together first as this gives us maximum flexibility over the rest of the session and is especially important when one of the children still has a mid-morning nap. I find that everyone is at their most cooperative first thing when they are wide-awake and full of energy. The boys were absolutely brilliant and I have some beautiful pictures of them sitting in the leaves, it’s been hard to choose a favourite.

This one jumps out at me though as I love the expressions. You can tell that Milo has just started to tickle his little brother and that lovely smile on Elliott’s face makes me laugh out loud. It’s such a happy picture and I love that there’s a little story in there too - with Elliott’s wide eyed smile giving the clue to what is happening. Pictures like this draw me back again and again, it’s a classic pose for two little ones but the expressions, real laughter rather than cheesy photo grins, make it something more and that little story, protective big brother holding his baby sibling, but also tickling him will probably play out again and again as they grow up.

It’s such a sweet picture and I hope you like it as much as I do, today’s Just One from my recent family photography session in Hyde Park.

Family Photographer Hyde Park - Feeding the Pigeons

Posted in Just One at 10:11 on 14/11/2017

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I had the most amazing time photographing Slawek and his family in London’s Hyde Park recently. The family were visiting from Poland and Slawek felt it would be a great opportunity for some portraits of the girls and some pictures that captured their wonderful personalities.

We had the most amazing time; it was one of those photo shoots that I will remember for a long time, so full of laughter even though the girls and I didn’t share a common language. I’m always amazed by how much of a connection can be forged with smiles, and laughter, and games.

After a brilliant start playing in the leaves and enjoying a run around in the playground we stopped to warm up with coffee and cake. After refueling I thought it would be fun to teach the girls about feeding the squirrels, one of my favourite activities as a child. When we were little it was such a treat to go to the park with a bag of nuts and see if we could get a squirrel to eat out of our hands, I thought the girls would love it. Usually London squirrels are shameless, heading straight for you when they hear the rustle of a plastic bag but on this day it was the pigeons that were the star of the show.

Truly, I have never seen anything like it. I have vague memories of pigeons landing on people’s outstretched hands in Trafalgar Square back in the 80s but I’ve never seen it in a park. It was amazing; as we tried to attract the squirrels the first pigeon arrived, landing on Slawek’s wife Anna’s hand much to the delight of her daughters. And then, suddenly, a pigeon landed on four year old Maja’s shoulder and I got this picture, on that I think will be heading straight for my portfolio.

I love her look of absolute delight as the pigeon lands, it’s wings outstretched perfectly (thank goodness for the motor-drive). I took a series of pictures but this is my favourite, the feeling of movement, the utter delight, it’s a picture that I know I will come back to again and again and which will, I hope, make the family laugh for many years to come.

The great thing about family photo shoots is their unpredictability, never quite knowing what will happen next. My job as a photographer is in reacting to these situations and using my skill to create images that record the moment in a beautiful fashion. Creating an image in a split second is so much fun and why I truly believe I have the very best job in the world.