Winkworth Arboretum – a walk and a workout

A beautiful, sunny day called for a walk with friends and Winkworth Arboretum was the perfect place for us and our boys.

We took prams for the little ones while the three year olds explored the dens and daffodils. I took the pram to ensure my two month old slept throughout the walk but I hadn’t quite contemplated the steep walk ahead of me. I was certainly deserving of the coffee afterwards!

The daffodils were beautiful to see. My son and I had admired them in bloom as early as January last year so it wasn’t too much of a surprise.

16178814_10154828424525097_2668612334421982575_o.jpg

We made it down to the boat house to see the ducks and I managed to escape the geese with great thanks to one of my friends. The boys entertained themselves walking ahead of us with carefully chosen sticks spurred on by the thought of a babyccino and ice-cream.

It was a lovely morning out for some exercise and fresh air and I managed to capture some great pictures for our year book. Thank you National Trust!

 

 

Digital backdrops – my first use

I had been curious about using digital backdrops for quite a while but had never found the time to experiment with them. Then the Christmas holidays came along, my husband was at home and all of a sudden I had some time for myself.

Oh how I’d longed for an uninterrupted hour on Photoshop!

I purchased an image online, it was emailed to me immediately and I started working with it. I found an old image of a baby which was suitable for this particular digital backdrop, style, colour and tones. I hadn’t many in my archive so I was limited on choice. It wasn’t perfect by any means but it was good enough for me to experiment and play around with.

I cut round the image of the baby in Photoshop using the quick selection tool and dragged the layer over the top of the digital image. I adjusted proportions of the baby to suit the size of the wreath, flipped it horizontally and manipulated the angle slightly.

15875057_1890066797888956_7823502743521529052_o.jpg

The baby wasn’t originally on a suitable fabric for me to blend it in with that used in the digital image. I therefore had to cut away more of the original fabric than I’d have liked. This resulted in the need to add some shadow underneath the baby, directly on to the digital layer to make it look a little more realistic.

All in all I found the digital image a lot easier than I imagine however next time during a photo session I’ll choose a fabric similar to that of the digital image to blend easily and reduce the editing time required

Practice will make perfect!

 

.

 

 

 

 

Backdrop rollers – saving space and my sanity!

Since gaining some studio space I decided to invest in backdrop rollers as a permanent fixture. And wow, what an amazing piece of kit!

As useful as my portable backdrop stands are the tripod legs take up too much room, can be tripped over and can only display one backdrop at a time. I bought a set of brackets which can hold three backdrops at any one time, yup three!

Once the brackets were positioned on the far wall of my studio I purchased three lengths of 2.5″ pvc piping, cut them to length and used them to connect the brackets together.

IMG_1647[1256].JPG

My backdrops are now raised and lowered by pulleys and during times when they’re not in use I store a few of backdrops on the rollers to keep them out of the way and crease free.

IMG_1652[1255].JPG

Displaying a backdrop (and putting it away) now takes seconds! Definitely one of my best buys.

 

 

 

 

Turning two – tea on the lawn

A child’s birthday is always a momentous occasion, especially when they’re so young. They grow up and achieve so much in a year why not mark each birthday with a photograph?

Marking the first year with a Cake Smash seems to be the most popular choice among parents, and of late the Smash and Splash. Turning two, three or four however is more flexible and could be any theme favourable to the child, balloons, streamers, banners you name it.

For this particular young lady I created a little tea party for her turning two celebration. Floral bunting and tea on the lawn. Simple and yet effective.

15972637_1893665017529134_2792021654322325150_o

Tea anyone?

A photography studio – the perfect space

The day finally came when I realised my photographic equipment and other craft materials were taking over the house. Rather than move to a bigger house the logical solution was to stick a flag in one of the sheds and claim it as my own!

 The shed I now owned was the smaller of the two and hadn’t been used for at least half a century. I came to realise that while stripping it back to its shell. It was dark and dusty and had been insulated with old coal sacks and invoices from the 1930’s. Donning a face mask and goggles I ripped out old cupboards, pulled out rusty nails, sanded and cleaned. It looked awful but at least it was a blank canvas.

My father-in-law and husband boarded the structure with ply and I painted it in brilliant white emulsion. Even my son helped paint the floor boards. A real family affair.

13509149_1798233507072286_939480828285925672_n

Once the paint was dry I couldn’t wait to move myself in. One half of the ‘studio’ was to be dedicated to my crafts and the other to photography. I bought some storage units from Ikea and used a writing desk from one of the spare bedrooms and the layout soon began to take shape. I emptied the house of yarns, knitting needles, crochet hooks, a paper cutting machine, a sewing machine, fabrics for quilting and much more. The remaining area was set up for my photographic space. It was small but a great place to start.

My ‘studio’ has turned out to be a great place to retreat when I need some quiet time to think but the most amazing thing about having a photography ‘studio’ is being able to trial a new set and leave it as work in progress and keep revisiting it.

….and it has a key so I can lock myself in. Even better!

Photography equipment – creating a newborn backdrop frame

During numerous newborn shoots I remember longing for smooth, taut fabric, free of wrinkles and a lot easier on the editing time. I always tried to borrow a pair of hands to pull the fabric a little and the parents were always willing to help. But between you and me I’d rather they put their feet up….they’re parents of a new born after all, they need their rest!

So what could I do to reduce the need for help? I remember seeing a stand for sale online, a photography equipment sale somewhere but I wanted it now! Right now! I didn’t want to wait for shipping and hated having to spend days at home for a delivery window of twelve hours. I could visualise what it looked like and my very handy husband was at home. Perfect. I set about drawing up a design and sent my husband out to purchase materials.

A couple of hours later, voila!

13995564_1818217401740563_4104079981165590108_o

It didn’t need to be aesthetically pleasing, just practical. All I needed was frame over which fabric could sit and be clipped to and it needed to have enough height for the posing pillow to sit comfortably underneath. With such a small studio I needed to be able to take it apart easily and store without taking up much space too.

It certainly does the trick and has been used with great success.

16003307_1896695997226036_8659565745978870762_n

 

Creating photography props – hand-dyed baby wraps

You know what it’s like when you buy something online and it turns out to be slightly different to what you imagined. The size isn’t right, the colour’s not exactly like the one in the picture. It’s previous experience of this that deterred me from buying baby wraps online.

I needed to buy so many wraps in a variety of colours to compliment the photography set as well as the clients taste, I didn’t want to get it wrong. If I’m honest with you I didn’t want to spend £15 on each wrap either! So yet again I set out to create my own and create my own collection of colours. It couldn’t be too difficult, surely?

I searched around for a natural fabric. It had to be light weight, kind to newborn skin, have the ability to stretch and also able to absorb colour effectively in the dyeing process. Natural muslin it was then.

I bought metres of muslin and cut it into one and a half metre lengths for each wrap. That was a complete estimate (and turns out to be plenty).

My mother-in-law travelled to mine and provided me with one-to-one workshop in fabric dyeing. We experimented with a number of colours and concentrations. My mother-in-law spins her own silks and yarns, dyes them and weaves with them. Very handy to have around to teach me 🙂

We have since spent another afternoon creating more colours and shades but this was the result of our first workshop….

 12710751_1738129069749397_5451838398121772870_o

I really enjoy creating and learning but more importantly it provides a personal touch to my images.

Creating photography props – newborn lace bonnet

With a newborn photo shoot just around the corner I had thought about investing in some hairbands and hats but wasn’t too keen on the ones I’d seen online. I found a beautiful pattern for a crocheted lace bonnet so I picked up a crochet hook, bought a lace weight yarn and started creating. I had plenty of time for a new project and had never crocheted before so thought ‘why not?’

The first attempt was pretty slow going and on inspecting the finished item I changed the size of the hook and altered the pattern for an extra few rows. I was much happier with the second piece so started producing more.

13770454_1808900609338909_7105215765327706823_n

I made two different sizes in antique pink and began to create the same design in a variety of colours. I used Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace as the weight was perfect and she had some beautiful colours, subtle enough for newborn skin tones. I travelled to Gillian Gladrag’s in Dorking using my latest project as an excuse to peruse the treasure trove of yarn collections and wasn’t disappointed. What a place! http://www.gilliangladrag.co.uk/

After a while I began to remember the pattern by heart and was able to crochet while watching television of an evening. Not only do I now have a handful of lace bonnets available for photo sessions but I feel pretty competent with a crochet hook in hand and also managed to create a lace bonnet for a friend’s baby daughter.

Why buy a photography prop online when you can have so much more fun making the same thing?

In search of some more gorgeous patterns……..

Creating fond memories

The postman delivered my son’s first dressing up outfit a couple of days ago and the excitement for me to test it for size (on my son of course!) had been too much to handle.  I had an hour to spare and my son was in a patient mood. So why not?

The outfit had enough room for at least a  few months of wear. Apart from the hat, that is. I’m sure he’ll look back in years to come and think ‘oh mum, what on earth?’ But having seen some of the costumes out there I think I’ve been relatively kind. Mickey Mouse is a classic after all!

There were some funny images and some cute ones which but don’t be fooled into thinking that photography’s an easy ride. It’s certainly fun, I love spending time with little ones and it’s a breeze compared to a life in the boardroom…..but it can be challenging.

You have to time the session perfectly making sure they’re fed, watered, not lacking in sleep and most importantly to let them be themselves. And if that means not wanting to participate throughout the whole session regardless of how hard you try, then so be it. Photographs that have a story behind them are the ones you look at fondly (or laugh at) in years to come.

This is one from the Mickey Mouse session which will continue to make me laugh! It suggests he would have preferred to be Donald Duck.

12015181_10153608809460097_3703539859749574470_o

Until the next costume!……

A Woodland Walk with Mushrooms and Monkeys

This Sunday afternoon we spent a couple of hours strolling through Hurtwood, near Pitch Hill….and what a perfect opportunity to take the Canon out for a walk.

The weather was perfect, our son had plenty of energy and I needed some fresh air. Pitch Hill is on our doorstep and although we’ve lived in the area for two years and passed it many times we’d never managed to visit.

It was pretty busy as there was an MTBO (Mountain Bike Orienteering) event and as a result my son’s new word is bike! He loved watching the cyclists pass and was more than impressed as a few of them raced up a ramp at speed and flew through the air.

I love this time of year and woodland walks are great for all your senses. The autumnal colours of leaves on the trees, in the air and on the ground. The damp undergrowth is a fantastic environment for moss and as a result creates a wonderful contrast to the thorny brambles. There were plenty of fungi at the base of trees and to the side of the path but I was pretty exited when I saw this Fly Agaric mushroom. It stood in solitude on a bed of bright green moss in beautiful sunlight.

12079847_1698099437085694_3501685821204398217_o

Towards the end of the walk there was a pond, together with bulrushes and dragonflies and a perfectly positioned bench to rest weary legs. I didn’t manage to capture any images of dragonflies but may be next time.

12140974_10153622918230097_2841491384432690782_o

The walk in itself was probably an easy one hour round trip but with little legs and inquisitive eyes (both me and my son!) it took two hours. We came home with arms full of brightly coloured fallen leaves, images of the fun Sunday afternoon, knowledge of a new place for family walks and a very tired boy.

I wonder where our next adventure will take us!

The Baby Bump

I’ve recently been experimenting by viewing my subjects from different angles to create an alternative perspective.

In this weeks maternity session I captured the baby bump from above and it proved to be a great success. Definitely one I’d create again. With feet slightly out of focus the bump demands immediate attention.

A maternity session is all about the bump after all so why not make it the feature of the image?!

_mg_7004-buttercream

While trying to achieve this perspective I realised a small step ladder just wasn’t going to give me the height I needed. Luckily I had a large A-frame ladder to hand. Whilst perched precariously at the top of the ladder, on one leg, carrying a heavy camera I considered investing in some crash mats for future shoots!

Super heroes and Disney princesses

I’m starting to feel so out of touch….ok, old. I have no idea which is the most recent or popular Disney princess and it took me months to realise who Elsa was. And I STILL haven’t watched Frozen.

A couple of months ago I spent some time taking some family shots for my sister. It didn’t take much encouragement for my niece and nephew to dive into their dressing up boxes and find an outfit. It was pretty predictable that my nephew would appear as a Marvel superhero and my niece a Disney princess, but which superhero and which princess?

It turns out Spiderman and Elsa are the latest craze, or at least in their household. I had Elsa floating around in her sparkly dress and Spidey crawling the floor, better that than climbing the walls I guess.

10835485_1636069543288684_1513868428390986210_o

The outfits not only changed their appearance but also their confidence levels in front of the camera. Incorporating their dressing up outfits into the session might just help them take on another persona and feel more at ease. Even if their living room has been taken over by tripods and lighting, their outfits should provide conversation in the hope of breaking down any barriers.

In that case I’d better start learning who all the superheroes and princesses are! If you can’t get hold of me for the next month or so I’ll be on the sofa, watching Disney films and making notes.

With love on Father’s Day

A week before Father’s Day I started to think of some ideas for a photo session for my son.

I thought about finding an item of my husband’s clothing for my son to wear. A tie was the perfect size, it worked pretty well and he enjoyed playing with it during the shoot so that kept him entertained. I chose this tie as there’s some history behind it. It’s my husband’s Vincent’s Club tie so I was sure he’d love an image of our son wearing it.

11426378_1656174877944817_5564976254663011399_n

I just love panoramics and have used them on a few occasions. The rule of thirds doesn’t quite apply here but the panoramic is a clear favourite of mine.

I rarely use a black backdrop for young children but I took some time to experiment and see how effective it could be. I had the time available and then quickly hid all the evidence before my husband came home. I was surprisingly pleased with the results however I wouldn’t use such a dark background for clients as they tend to want something more vibrant and lively.

There were no distracting clothes, patterns or colours and the most important aspects were highlighted, my son and the tie’s motifs.

 

I loved these images so much I couldn’t resist showing my husband that evening. I’m just useless at surprises. I had to come up with another idea and quickly.

In my treasure trove of props I had some wooden letters to spell ‘dad’. I had planned to stand the letters in front of him but they kept falling over. To overcome this I had him hold each letter and then merge the three images together. The letters kept him occupied which was perfect at keeping him in one place.

11040375_1659011344327837_4035635518943453277_n

I realised that a special, meaningful image for a parent can be for any day of the year, not just Mother or Father’s Day.

There’s beautiful scenery in Cornwall?

Like many others I was a tourist with a camera, so why do I only have a couple of landscape images from a week in Cornwall?

11856381_10153500596515097_8435150649577575050_o

I stand in awe of a great scene as long as the next person but I’m no landscape photographer. I stop and appreciate the land form, the colours and the history but I know the images will be archived and never viewed by me again. The other two hundred images I took will however be viewed with great nostalgia and memories as they include my husband and my son.

My passion for capturing life is heightened for my own family and I reminisce quite often. My little one is only twenty months old and growing up at an amazing rate so I love looking back to see how much he’s changed. I also like to keep photo year books and scrap books of the things we’ve done and places we’ve visited. Looking at my hard drive he’s been a very busy boy 🙂

11845111_10153500584420097_4876514362348290169_o

Don’t get me wrong I’ll include some of the landscape in my images (sometimes, maybe) but I’m sticking to what I do best.

Lesson 4 – Do it your way

I’m new to photography and I have so much to learn. I listen intently to recommendations from other photographers, watch training videos, read articles online and most importantly learn from my own experience.

Lighting has been the one area in which I have read about most. Subjects could be lit too much, too little, create undesirable shadows and so much more. Early on I experienced many failures with this however as a result have learned a great deal.

I started off with very simple kit which included continuous lighting in the form of two soft boxes. Over a period of time I encountered numerous issues and realised they just weren’t for me.

  • The soft boxes were a source of constant heat. From the moment the photo session started to the minute it ended these light sources were on. As you can imagine the huge bulbs heat up pretty well and in a small room can cause some warmth.
  • With two soft boxes I required two convenient electrical sockets or had to take an extension cable with me
  • Two electrical cables also meant two safety hazards not only for us adults but especially where children are concerned, especially if they decided to veer off set…which was quite often the case
  • These soft boxes didn’t have varying output which could be adjusted to suit the ambience of the photo shoot
I considered investing more money on additional/better/different kit as an alternative lighting solution. I spent a few nights online to see how other studio photographers managed their lighting and what they suggested was the better option.
Studio lighting obviously depends on what results you’re looking for but my goal was ultimately to eliminate the disadvantages I had encountered above.
One tutorial suggested a set up similar to mine with additional lights illuminating the backdrop. This just wouldn’t work for me as I was aiming to reduce the number of cables, heat and create a safer environment for children.
Another tutorial suggested reducing the lighting and incorporating a reflector. This seemed a logical solution but which toddler sits still long enough for a reflector to be positioned correctly? The alternative was a parent chasing their child around the set with the reflector.
Some photographers have the luxury of a dedicated studio where equipment remains in place twenty four hours a day. So their suggestions of white walls and ceilings or 12ft white panels are valid enough but they weren’t going to be an option for me. I have to fit my kit into the car if shooting at a clients’ house or taking it up and down in my own house.
I decided to create my own lighting solution by taking ideas from a variety of professionals and articles. I was a little nervous at the next photo shoot but I was ecstatic at the results, the reduced cables and cooler temperature of the room.
So although I’ve changed some of my kit and altered the set up slightly I’ll continue to use my old soft boxes for new born sessions. The number of cables won’t be an issue, the softer lighting will be more appropriate and I’ll not need to move them once they’re positioned. So they’ve not been retired completely.
Since researching how other photographers work I’ve realised even all the professionals have their own way of working, there isn’t only one rule. What works for some doesn’t always work for others. Listen to the advice and guidance, research alternatives and apply where you can but remember just because your way is different that doesn’t mean it’s wrong!

Lesson 3 – Take your time

I’ve always placed a large amount of pressure on myself to achieve in whatever I’m doing. At this point in my life, alongside being a mum I’m putting immense pressure on myself with photography, both technically and composition.

My sense of achievement is fulfilled by an image that I’d quite happily display on a wall at home or a shot at which I’ve taken numerous attempts until I feel a sense of satisfaction.

There’s a temptation to take as many photographs as you can during a photo session in the hope to capture ‘the one’. I know I’ve done it.

It took a while for me to realise how counter productive this actually is. After settling down in the evening with a cuppa and the plan to start editing I find myself with hundreds of images to sort through. This is not only due to shooting in RAW + JPEG and in continuous mode but also being ‘clicky happy’. I’ve ended up with at least six of the same image and in the worst scenario six of the same unfocused image!

I’ve since learned that the best approach is to move or direct your subjects until you’re satisfied with the composition (if you have to), focus, shoot once and check. This limits the number of files and flashes.

Also remember that your camera is portable so move yourself too! You don’t have to remain static throughout the session. Shooting from a variety of angles can give you some fantastic perspectives and something slightly different.

Stop rushing, take your finger of the shutter button and take your time.

 

Lesson 2 – Use mums and dads to your advantage

Parents are a great resource on set, use them to your advantage!

I’ve noticed on numerous occasions parents so desperate for their little one to smile, laugh and giggle on demand that they’ll jump up and down, sing and make faces on the sideline. But that’s exactly where they are, the sideline. While they have the child’s attention they’re not looking at the camera. But how do you address this without discouraging them from getting involved?

At first I felt uncomfortable but if I didn’t nip it in the bud I could just render all the images useless at the end of the session. I just tried ‘That’s great. Now let’s try something different. How about….?’ And that seemed to work pretty well. You’re not criticising what they’re doing but indicating that you’ve got what you need on that shot and to move on.

It doesn’t always have to be songs and silly noises, although they are pretty effective. Shiny or sparkly toys works really well for smaller children and babies. Attach them to a make shift fishing rod so the parent can dangle it just above the lens. That way parents are able to get the baby looking in the right direction without them invading your personal space or you trip over them. A good game of peek-a-boo behind the camera works a treat……not so much for teenagers. Although it’d certainly get their attention!

Parents are also very handy on set for wiping noses/faces. Well that is a parent’s job after all, isn’t it? 😉 As a result of one photo session where this didn’t happen I spent far too much of my time editing out dribble. Save yourself some unnecessary editing time and keep those wipes handy.

If the child has numerous outfits leave the parents to be the hair, make up and wardrobe department for the whole session. Feel free to make suggestions on what you think works well and what doesn’t. This downtime will allow you to take another sip of your much needed coffee which has been cooling steadily.

If you need a reflector of some form held in position parents are great for this too. This has much better results than if you attempt to hold it and take pictures at the same time, trust me. It’s also a lot less cumbersome than having it on a stand which would just be yet another obstacle for you to hurdle and the little one to trip over.

Just consider, both you and the parents want the same thing, fantastic results. So in most cases you’ll find the parents will be willing in anyway they can to achieve this. So just ask!

Lesson 1 – Be prepared for anything

When working with children be prepared for anything!

You’d think wearing a pair of jeans and flats are preparation enough, wouldn’t you? Jeans for rolling around the floor assuming a variety of yoga positions to get that crucial shot. Flats for jumping and running around after these energetic little creatures. However I hadn’t thought about wellie boots for jumping in muddy puddles.

During one of my portfolio building photo sessions I had the privilege of a lively three year old who was shy at first but it turns out an absolute natural in front of the camera. We spent a little time on set but while the sun was out so we took advantage of the local parkland and had a lot of fun. Some of the route was what can only be described as sludge. As I sashayed around puddles and tiptoed through the mud trying not to sink I remember thinking ‘if you’re going to fall, sacrifice your dignity, land on your bottom and save the camera’!

After plenty of running and playing ball we made our way back to the house with a full memory card, but not before making the most of the biggest, wettest, muddiest puddle!

Next time I’ll take more suitable footwear…….and maybe a spare pair of trousers just in case.

I’ll do anything for Art, but I won’t do that!

We’ve all seen those ‘arty’ black and white images with an item remaining in vibrant colour, haven’t we? Well I wanted to experiment and learn how to do it and just had to think of an image on which it would work. Then I thought of my nieces and their array of coloured karate belts.

I hadn’t considered that the older of the two nieces is a black belt and asking her to demote herself by wearing a coloured belt would result in laughter and a very final ‘no’. The younger of the two it is then.

I borrowed the younger niece for half an hour for some quick images which I could play around with. She wore her yellow belt with pride and this was the result.

11059534_1634668190095486_8023227172336624098_o

Not only did I achieve the look I wanted but I got a smiley face too, whoop!

I experimented with the image in Photoshop without researching the other possible methods beforehand. I took the original coloured image, placed a black and white layer over the top and used the background eraser tool to reveal the colour on the layer below. All pretty simple and effective.

The only element of the photo shoot I would change next time would be to use a continuous white backdrop. A plain white backdrop and floor would certainly prevent any distraction from the subject. Lesson learned.

Never work with children and animals, they said.

If I was going to put this passion into practice I had better start practicing and build a portfolio along the way.

My little man is my muse, my model and so much more but there’s only so many images of him I could use. I needed different faces. I needed different ages. I needed volunteers! I was astounded by how many parents were interested in volunteering their children for an hour or so in return for a free set of images. I scheduled as many photo sessions as I could, leaped onto that steep learning curve and haven’t looked back.

The very first session was full of challenges and enough to make me question my new adventure. I spent the journey home thinking ‘What on earth am I doing? I’m an accountant. Just stick to what you know’. But looking at the positives I enjoyed every minute of it, the children and the parents were lovely and I took away ideas to prevent some of the hiccups from happening again.

On to the next session wiser, more prepared…and with a wipe clean backdrop.

 

Bunny ears and feather boas

This week has been an absolute dream. I’ve had two gorgeous girls in for photo sessions and they had amazing wardrobes.

On the morning of the photo sessions I squeezed as many props and accessories into the car as possible only to realise the mums were just as excited as me and had already organised a collection of outfits with matching hairbands, tights and shoes. It’s fantastic having such involved mums and even better when they co-ordinate and accessorize well.

The sessions resulted in images with hues of pink and purple, lots of fun and a great insight into the world of daughters.

This image sums up one of the sessions so well. An absolute angel in bunny ears and a feather boa. She enjoyed every minute in front of the camera and took the photo shoot in her stride. A model in the making.

_MG_0524 peach.jpg

As I packed up my kit and left a trail of feathers and sparkle behind me I looked forward to my next session.

Black backdrop for a black belt

I rarely use anything other than a plain white backdrop for children but it worked quite well for my niece’s karate session.

A plain white backing is light hearted and bright, drawing the viewers eyes to the subject and can sometimes create great contrast. I tend to only use dark blues and blacks for corporate shots or images requiring a formal look.

I had considered that with my niece’s karate gi being white the probability of it being lost was pretty high. Adjusting the backdrop to a shade of grey wouldn’t give the image the striking impact I wanted. Black not only provided the drama but from an artistic perspective allowed the achievement of a dan grade to flow from the belt throughout the portrait.

10988306_10153071266585097_5829900232781465694_o.jpg

The percentage of black in the frame, the stance and the serious expression completely represents how seriously my niece takes her martial arts.

She takes it seriously but has a lot of fun too!

1596931_10153071266290097_180083148654161340_o.jpg

 

The Portrait of a Pug

Dogs should be easy to photograph because they’re so obedient, right?… Not if you’re photographing a pug!

I had never photographed my two pugs on set before and thought ‘I’ve got a free hour or two, why not?’

Betty and Daisy are four years old, sisters and very excitable. It took me at least ten minutes to calm them down once they saw the photo set. Easily excitable I know…or they just realised their opportunity to be mischievous!!

‘Lazy Daisy’ didn’t take long to calm down. She is a fawn pug, as wide as she is tall and when she finds a comfy spot that’s it, it’s hers. You just then have a struggle getting her to move at all. Luckily for me she chose a spot right in the centre of the backdrop.

The only difficulty was making her smile for the camera!  This is her happy face by the way 🙂

1560380_10153225392530097_3845487534735711562_n

Getting both Betty and Daisy to sit together on set and wait patiently was a challenge. If they’re not snuffling for crumbs they’re wrestling! So that’s where some bribery came in useful. I packed my pocket with little biscuit treats and waited for their attention. It’s amazing what a pug will do for food.

Once they settled I shifted them around slightly into the best position. They might be small dogs but my goodness they carry some weight. I told them to ‘sleep’ and they put their heads down, I kept my fingers crossed and they stayed like that until I’d taken a few shots.

10553701_10153225392650097_2880700601365190022_o

I must admit they did really well for their first shoot and I was really pleased. Now I just need to find the energy for their second photo session.  I’ll keep you posted.

Catherine Dawn Photography – About me

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a love for art and photography, however almost twenty years ago I chose accountancy as my career path. The Corporate world became my life and I just about managed to squeeze in ‘normal’ every day things like relationships and time with family and friends. I’m sad to say my passion for art took a back seat.

Since having my son in December 2013 I began to rekindle my relationship with a camera. I bought myself a DSLR and began to take advantage of my little, perfect muse! I’ve taken advantage of every opportunity to capture our life whilst learning new techniques and most importantly having lots of fun along the way.

I finally decided to see where an adventure in photography would lead. I chose to specialise in family photography because of it’s importance in capturing life and preserving those special moments for us all to cherish…..not to mention little people are so much fun to spend time with!

Let the adventure begin!

Creating photography props – newborn nest

 

It’s taken a couple of weeks but I finally found my creative streak again…and some inspiration.

I’d been thinking about newborn photo sessions in general and had asked myself what would make them more effective. I already have a posing pillow and use extra padding in areas to raise and reposition the model. However rather than rolling out endless muslins or pieces of fabric for padding why not have a soft, padded ring in which the baby can be placed. It turns out there’s already one on the market!

I found some felted fabric in my craft shed and plenty enough for this project. It’s thicker and heavier than cotton and is great at maintaining it’s shape. I dusted down the fabric cutting board, quilting ruler and rotary cutter and got started.

_MG_1710.JPG

I cut a length of the fabric and stitched together a long tube, sealed at one end. I turned right side out ready for filling. I considered filling it with tiny polystyrene balls which I left over from filling the posing pillow but I thought wadding for soft toys would provide better results. I had a new bag of toy stuffing which I had bought many months ago for making padded bunting but had never got round to it. I filled the fabric tube with it and it’s sturdy and yet soft. Perfect!

 

_MG_1711.JPG

It will be covered by a layer of fabric or fur and provide a discreet well for the newborn to be placed in.

Since creating this ‘nest’ I’ve since seen a company selling one and knitted covers for them. So if you don’t hear from me in a while I’ll be in the middle of another project…knitting covers for it!

Off to locate my knitting needles and some yarn…