Autumn in Miniature

This is the most popular time of year for family photo shoots. It’s the perfect setting, all that leafy colour, and the perfect timing to create something worthy of Grandma’s festive stocking.


It’s also my favourite time of year for Mini Shoots with kids. Helpful for me because I can fit several shoots in to one day, and helpful for the families who only have to afford the £99 shoot cost in order to have the raw material for some awesome Christmas presents. It’s also only half an hour to hold your breath and hope the kids behave in front of the nice lady with the camera.


E arrived on a pastel pink and blue scooter. I didn’t get the memo, but she decided to let me be her friend anyway. Gorgeous AND forgiving.


Harrogate’s Valley Gardens was our meeting place, and its multitudinous nooks and crannies provided us with lots of opportunities to mix it up.


When the low autumn sun refuses to play ball, and the late afternoon throws you only dingy shade, the mood of a shoot changes. No bad thing, though.


Frankly, E and I had a rather lovely time hiding in dark corners and exploring the park whilst mum and dad looked on.


Choose a photographer who is comfortable and experienced with children. A mini shoot rarely lasts more than 20-30 minutes, and as such there is little time to waste on acclimatising or gently growing a child’s comfort in front of the lens.


My 30 minute Mini Shoots are available now and include 5 free high resolution digital images and a half-size online password-protected gallery.

Contact me at or on 07957627217

Being One

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Kate's parents decided that their gorgeous daughter's first birthday was one for commemoration. Maybe a party? Perhaps a particular gift? Maybe a special day out? Maybe all of the above, but more than anything else they wanted to ensure it was captured for posterity. That's where I came in.

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One of their favourite spots happens to be Fountains Abbey near Ripon, North Yorkshire, so where better for a relaxed walk and some photographs?

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We took a turn about the empty ruins and a romp across the grand lawns, but there were really only two things that engaged Kate's attention in a deeply pleasurable way. One was her little lion teddy bear. The other was a brown puddle. 

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It gave me serious joy (although from the expression on Kate's face, not quite as much as it gave her) to watch her creating a Jackson Pollock-like mess on her perfectly manicured outfit as she jumped and stamped gleefully in the mud, and it soon became clear that extraction was going to be problematic.

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Being one, it seems, is to enjoy life's simple pleasures. Walking unaided. Lingering for a while to enjoy one of nature's great wet gifts.  Getting up high (with daddy's help) to admire the view. Sharing a snack with best friend, Basil. Pointing at birds. Maybe we could all learn a thing or two about pausing from time to time, from the our pre-schoolers.

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Kate has already grown since we made these images, and by the time she's two, or four, or ten, she will quite probably have changed beyond all recognition, not only in features, but in actions and taste for those small pleasures which gave her so much joy on this day. So her parents have done her a huge service in investing in my help for the laying down of this record of her very first year.  In years to come they will be able to look back and enjoy exactly who and how she was in this moment in time, and leave that legacy for Kate's future.

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Family photo shoots are available from just £150, and all inclusive packages (with and online gallery and a full set of high resolution digital image files) from just £399. Please enquire to Helen at

Summer Holibobs

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When your appetite for plane fares diminishes, as ours did this year with the prospect of hauling our oversized, expensive brood to the continent once again, go Old School.

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The lure of the British seaside was made all the more attractive by the idea that we would be saving thousands of pounds by not 'hiring the sunshine' for a fortnight, and made yet more tolerable with knowing that the kennels bill could also be eluded if we stayed in Blighty. 

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Two cars, two dogs, two suitcases, four body boards, one funeral, four kids and seven hours later (the earlier we gloss over the latter items, the better), North Devon was in our sights.

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Our locations didn't disappoint. Wetsuits went on quickly (and came off much more slowly), dogs drank sea water (yes, they ARE that dumb), sand got in knickers, the badminton kit stayed firmly in the boot, and the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme tune became a distant memory. Bliss.

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And whilst our tans were more due to the burn of the wind than the sun, I could feel my omnipresent tension beginning to subside as the days progressed. Nature had begun to provide her magical therapy and relaxation furtively slipped into our veins like a warm draft of whisky.

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The sound of wood on metal brought the idyl to an abrupt end. Let's just say I wasn't driving and leave it at that. Ahem. 

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Somehow these British based holibobs always stay more firmly in our memory banks than our more exotic ventures. The fondness with which I hold my own childhood rock-pooling, flip-flop filled days is irreplaceable. Nostalgia rocks.

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Shooting in the face of adversity

OK, so before I start I have two things to say here. One - this is a funny story about a REALLY bad day. Two - I am both clumsy and unlucky - a combination which rarely ends well. As you will see.

Beautiful Barney, the best behaved dog in the universe, who looked on aghast as the strange photographer lady sat in the swamp.

That said, I would like you to keep in mind my commitment and determination to plough on through the face of adversity during this family photo shoot. Thank you for not laughing yet.

The lovely family who thought they were off for a calm and relaxing photoshoot. Little did they know!

Meet the Carr family. They requested a shoot to capture their family 'as is'. The children are growing and as for most of families, they are finding that time is romping away lickety split. So, it being slap-bang in the middle of autumn, we headed for some local woodland where a pretty lake nestles amongst the trees, providing lovely bronze and ochre lusciousness as our backdrop.

Daughter C finds the best tree in the world to climb on. Go girl.

Now, I'd been to this location before for a shoot, no more than a couple of weeks before this day, so I was familiar with the lay of the land. Or so I thought.

Less than 5 minutes after our arrival, we headed for the little 'beach' beside the lake. I, taking charge of the situation, walked confidently ahead of the group to 'scout' the location. Here is where it all went amiss. A slight miscalculation on my part resulted in my third (bold and self-assured) stride not ending when my foot touched the floor. The floor, in fact, disappeared beneath my wellington boot and I found myself knee-deep in a stinking, fetid, swamp. Thick, oozing goop was flowing over the tops of my boots and I was entirely and comprehensively stuck. 

A little kiss to celebrate getting this done.

As I contemplated that I would have to SIT into the swamp (largely because I could not move my feet) I suddenly remembered that I had TWO expensive camera bodies strapped to my person, which were currently dangling beside both of my hips and heading straight for the quagmire. In a sudden moment of panic I hoisted them aloft like a falling drunk saving his beer, hoping that my (slightly aghast) clients could rescue them. 

Several sticky, incommodious and frankly, awkward minutes later, I was released from the goop with a veritable splat. 

Mum stifles her giggles as we all try to ignore my wet swampy bottom for these portraits

Now, when you emerge from a swamp looking like Wile E. Coyote (having just suffered another humiliating defeat by RoadRunner), you have to make a choice. To go home and put yourself in the washing machine, or to stick at it, persevere, advance and endure? Well I'm supposed to be a professional, so I dragged my sorry ass around the lake for a full hour and a quarter, trailing my mud-drenched coat-tails behind me, endeavouring to ensure that the quality of my work was not compromised. 

Embracing the autumnal leafy forest floor, Barney sits for the perfect 'me and my dog' portrait

The cameras were fine, by the way. A few baby wipes later, normality was restored in the technical department. The egg on my face, on the other hand, may never come clean. 

This last image was kindly taken by my client. Do with it what you will. Consider it my treat to you.

Me and my muddy butt post-swamp, soldiering on.

The tiny North Yorkshire town with the colossal heart

Pickering and its tiny streets are always packed with visitors dressed to the nines, and dancing all day long

Pickering is a teeny weeny little town with a gargantuan personality. It nestles on the southern edge of the North York Moors and is, on the face of it, an unassuming little place. Save for the North Yorkshire Steam train which trundles gently through the town, it is a quiet spot frequented by walkers and railway enthusiasts. 

That is, except for one weekend every October, when the place becomes a demented hotbed of 1940s devotees, as it plays host to the annual War Weekend.

Silk stockings, cigars and fox furs are the order of the day for Pickering's war weekend

The main street becomes a pedestrian zone, along which it is impossible to walk without being accosted for a foxtrot by the local Bobby or serenaded with a chorus of "I'll be seeing you" by a crooner in American G.I. uniform.  

The local crooner will lure you in with his charm and that silky Sinatra like voice
The women of the town always turn out in force with the most splendid costumes and expressions to match

Women in fox fur wraps rub shoulders with Land Army girls, and you are never far from a Jeep or a pair of silk stockings.

Looking beautiful, there are men and women all over town with truly authentic costumes, hair and make-up

This is my favourite thing to do in the Autumn, bar none. Friday and Saturday nights see the men grabbing their girls and whisking them off to the 'Dance' , where a live swing band and singers churn out hit after hit from their second world war repertoire. Even if you can't muster a decent tango it's worth the entry fee just to watch the sailors and wide boys faultlessly showing you how it's done.

A nurse and a General? Why not! This is Pickering's 1940s weekend after all!!

The best part of all is the ingenuity of it all. Locals and visitors go to huge lengths to dress the part. Dogs and babies get in on the act, and it is less like visiting a museum than it is actually living a day in the time that, as a nation, we hold so close to our hearts.

Even the canines get in on the act for the war weekend.

Sadly, you've missed this year's event, but get it in the diary for 2017. My tip of the day? Get your costume early and spare no expense, you'll not regret it.

You're under arrest fella. The comedy makes the day all the more entertaining, as does the parade

This particular 'gentleman' seemed to have been making a proper nuisance of himself all morning, so the local constable had no choice but to cart him off with his illegally acquired collection of (super-sized) ladies' smalls!

Later in the day, a parade of second world war vehicles takes to the streets. The only thing that can stop the dancing as far as I can tell.  

The parade includes army vehicles, vintage cars, Jeeps and steam engines

I found this gorgeous bevvy of Navy Wrens stopping the traffic with their ruby red lippy, although they were quickly outdone (as is so often the case at Pickering) when THIS lady (below) rounded the corner on her bicycle. I have no idea what she was selling, but I don't think it was onions.

Gorgeous Wrens stopping the traffic with their red lippy.
Whatever she was selling, the crowds seemed keen as mustard to grab some

There's no doubt that anyone who attends this event as a normal 21st Century civilian will feel disappointed with themselves for not making the effort. You will be the elephant in the room here, standing out from the crowd so much that you may as well scrawl 'Boring' on your own forehead.  We rented our costumes in past years from the equally fabulous West Yorkshire Playhouse costume warehouse and York based Dress Circle.  

That fox was so very much a fox that I did wonder whether it was actually dead

If you like surprises, and fancy a giggle, please don't miss it next year. And if the weather turns chilly, follow the example of these gentlemen and wrap up warm. 

Crazy but effective. Begging with a p-pot.

104 things to photograph

Truly the most interesting birthday present I've ever received, and only £12.99 according to the book jacket!

I am busy making a start, but every time I'm out and about with my camera I seem to struggle to get my brain to hold on to the 104 things that grace the list. I've posted them on my Facebook page in case you want to join in (find that here), and this Blog post may also inspire you to have a go.

Here's the list itself, and my first handful of offerings. I'll update regularly here as the book gets filled. (Hey, just noticed there's an item called ' a list' on the list! Got that covered then!)


Sunday in our house is never as I envisaged it. Other families seem to manage outings, picnics, long walks or lunch at the pub. Calmness. 

Yesterday, between homework hell and a Kilimanjaro of ironing, I craved calmness so badly that I sought it out. I grabbed three of the kids, two of the pets and a camera. Respite came in the form of bluebells and swings.

First Snow


Saturday night brought me two unexpected items of note:-

1. A drunken teenager (less said, the better here).

2. The first snow of the year.

So, as Sunday broke, the boys set to with white warfare and the wee one explored (her second ever encounter with snow) with her fingertips.

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The mutts were unconvinced about the whole affair, it seemed.

Little Missy, however, was quite sure. She no likey dat snowballs.


Fun at the park


The sun finally came out yesterday, so the wee one and I took the mutts and the camera to the swings for a little R&R.

My little model is turning out to be a doozy. Love that face x

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