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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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 eyesomephoto@gmail.com or on 07957627217

Brand New Brothers

Meet Daniel. So new that he still carries that amazing post-natal 'fur' around his neck and shoulders. An absolute beaut.

And this is big bro Marcos. Equally awesome, but MUCH busier. They only met very recently, but I'm not sure Marcos has so far been still enough to fully make the new acquaintance just yet!

A tale of two halves, this shoot presented on the one hand the perfect subject in newborn D, quiet and still, contrasted on the other hand by a race around the house and garden pursuing lively M, and relying on fast shutter speeds to attempt to pin him down. 

To be fair, M has a right to be excited. He just became a Brother for goodness' sake, and the new guy is VERY cute.

The mission was to a) capture Daniel's newness, and b) to get some shots of the two brothers (together). That last word, small but vital, turned out to be the stone in my shoe. OK, so we managed to get one image of them both in the same room (ta da! below) which will henceforth act as evidence that they are actually related, but I left the shoot feeling that my task had only been  50% completed.

The one thing the boys have in common is the deepest, darkest of brown-black eyes. Impossible to discern where the pupils ended and the iris colour began, their beautiful big eyes and lashes drew my attention in a mesmeric way. 

Mum was relaxed and calm, clearly in deepest love with her new bundle, keeping him close and safe in her arms, stopping when required for on-demand feeds, between shots.

When shooting a newborn, this is how we work - slowly and calmly, letting mum and baby guide us. With the new family's comfort in mind, I always come to your home and maximise the available natural light where possible in order to bring out baby's best.

When the subject requires it and the weather allows, we also use the outdoor space. In this case, an active 3 year-old needed the space to be distracted and given the attention which, until recently all his, had so rudely been pulled from under his feet by his new sibling.

Strangely, not all dads want to get in on the act. The camera sets them scarpering to the four winds, making tea or taking important calls, or just keeping a low profile so mum can take centre stage, but thankfully, in this case, dad was on hand to share the love.

If you are expecting your second, first or fifth baby and would like some help capturing those early moments, please get in touch. It is my honour to work with families at such an amazing and emotional time in their lives, and I will always do my utmost to do yours justice.

 

Contact Helen 07957627217 eyesomephooto@gmail.com

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 eyesomephoto@gmail.com.

The best of Autumn 2017

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It's been a busy one! Always the most popular time of year, the British autumn wove its magic once again, tempting plenty of families outdoors to make the most of the colour and late sunshine of October and November.

Here are a few of my favourites from this season.

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Glorious ladies, of all ages and nationalities, making life behind the lens much easier.

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Families took to the woods, often with their pooches, for either a 30 minute walk and a relaxed mini-shoot, or for the full experience. 

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It's not too late to book a full or mini session, this time with a Christmas tone. 30 minute Mini Sessions are just £99 and include 5 digital image files, and Full Sessions start from £150.

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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.

An Elf-free Christmas Mini Shoot

Dressed for warmth but not as Elves, our two gorgeous models are ready for their Christmas mini shoot. Not a snowman in sight.

This is the most popular time of year for family photo shoots. And I can see why. The foliage, the clean air, the low sunshine and the enticing countryside all make for the most alluring images.

Rocking the Tweed and only missing a shotgun or a brace of pheasant, Freddie is every inch the gentleman. And teddy came too.

Add in to the mix two enchanting children and a not-too-shabby-in-the-looks-department set of parents, and the perfect autumn image ingredients are complete.

This family of four are certainly easy on the eye, but also adorable, loving and the most easy and relaxed of clients for a photographer

Freddie, aged 7 was impressive in Tweed, missing only a brace of pheasant to complete the country gentleman's attire for this shoot (pardon the pun), whilst baby sister Amelie, like a snuggly winter fairy in layers of tulle and fur, was fighting off a chest infection with grit and determination. 

Scrumptious baby Amelie sports the most wintery of accessories, all upstaged by a pink tulle skirt. A veritable winter fairy.

Our location was tree heaven. Birk Crag nestles unobtrusively alongside the RHS's Harlow Carr Gardens, concealing a wondrous 27 acres of deciduous woodland, ripe for a photographer's picking at this time of year. Steep slopes lead visitors down to the waters of Oak Beck, where the shallow lapping stream is benign enough to allow children to wade in their wellies whilst parents can drink in the colourful surroundings.

Birk Crag is an enticing network of steep paths, thick woodland and a babbling stream. Autumn's colour is shown off to its best here, and makes for beautiful family portraits

Fallen trees and giant rocks provide excellent climbing opportunities for a betweeded boy, and the procurement of a crocheted blanket gave little Amelie's bottom a dry, warm resting place for a few snaps.

The perfect location for little boys to explore, this woodland has lots of interest for portrait variety, and enough to keep the children smiling and relaxed.

This was a Mini Shoot. Approximately 30 minutes long, it provides families a low budget way to capture some lasting memories which can be utilised as Christmas presents for loved ones, or simply as a way to capture a moment of this impeccable season, in all its glory. 

A kiss for daddy, who was powerless to resist. The perfect moment.

As you can see, you don't have to dress as an elf for a Christmas Mini Shoot, so if this £99 budget option appeals to your needs, get in touch before the moment is gone. The shoot includes 6 digital image files of your choice.

Is Autumn the perfect time of year for family portraits?

When the light is perfect and so are the family, then heck, yes.

We chose a day in early October for this family portrait session and headed off to the glorious gardens of RHS Harlow Carr in Harrogate. Resolutely ignoring the cakes in the window of Betty's tearoom, I made my way through the crowds (note to self: check that I have not booked a photo shoot in the middle of a BEER festival next time) to find mum & dad, Helen & Paul, wrapped up for a leisurely stroll with their two cheeky boys in tow.

The joy of finding a leaf and catching the wee man's expression just before he actually eats it! Little O is only just starting to walk unassisted, but with the help of a handy tree he managed to stabilise himself for this portrait. The light was just beautiful on this early autumn Sunday, and the gorgeous gardens of Harlow Carr in Harrogate was our chosen location

The first thing you notice about this family is their special affection for each other. There is something about their interactions which is so deeply gentle and loving, which I'm struggling to put my finger on as I write this, but which is not present in every family, and which is quite moving to witness.

Plane spotting amongst the silvery trees. The boys were enjoying a game of 'where is the thing that's making all of the noise?' and searched the sky for the aeroplanes, which were clearly out in force in the blue autumn skies. I love how they are so totally wrapped up in this activity that they ignore the camera and concentrate on their game, which helped me capture a few happy, candid family portraits

The silvery trees in which we found ourselves here still had a lovely light canopy of feathery leaves, which were so delicate in the late morning sunshine. The boys got totally wrapped up in a game of 'where's the aeroplane?' which relaxed them in to a perfect state of ignoring my camera and allowed me to capture some happy, candid family shots.

Okay, so we had to stuff a banana in baby O's hand to get a sitting still moment here, but big bro A helpfully assumed a nonchalant pose against a nearby tree.

Hoping for a shot of littlest bro, O, we stuffed a banana in his hand and managed to get a sitting still moment. Big brother A decided to get in on the act by helpfully assuming a nonchalant 'leaning' pose against a nearby tree, and so this became a 'two brothers' family portrait instead! Why not? The more, the merrier, say I!

Big boy A assumes the pixie on a fence pose for me, amongst the moss and the greenery of the woodland at Harlow Carr in Harrogate. I love this portrait. He looks so funny with his cheeky grin

Pixie? Gnome? Whatever it is that hides amongst the moss and greenery in the darkest corner of the Harlow Carr gardens, we found one. This one was particularly cute, with a mischievous grin and a half-wink. Definitely up to no good, but enjoying the attention more and more as the shoot went on.

Another aeroplane causes mummy and her youngest charge to look aloft at the same time. I love the one-ness of this image, mother and son together in a simple moment

As another aeroplane passed overhead, mum and littlest son, O both leaned back and looked skyward for a moment. I love how their tiny moment of accidentally coordinated movement was somehow harmonised, mum and son in perfect unity.

An impromptu game of football in the autumn leaves for dad and eldest son, A. Their faces were joyful and full of affection whilst they played, and therefore easy to photograph here

Do you see what I mean? Such a loving family, wrestling over the football in amongst the fallen leaves, gave us some rough and tumble moments, and expressions of pure joy on the faces of dad and his big boy. Bear hugs and chasing, followed by willful kicking of the ball down a (very) steep hill for dad to retrieve, followed by a bit of cheating and a lot of laughing. Lovely.

This is how loving this family were. I took control of the boys for a moment whilst mum and dad cosied up on the bench for a snuggle. Man, they look so happy in this shot!

I'd love to tell you that I planned for the word LOVING to be centre shot when I made this photo, but it was merely serendipitous. A very happy accident. I asked Helen & Paul for a shot, so as I took this image I was balancing baby O against my knees (he has only JUST learned to stand up & walk on his own) and coaxing big bro A in to holding his brother from behind. Movement was impossible,  for fear of unbalancing the wee man, who was gamely gripping my knees for dear life. Accidents were, thankfully averted, and the two boys were returned to the fold, unharmed. Phew!

It ought to be illegal to be this cute, to be honest. But since it's not, let's just savour the moment and keep it forever for mum and dad to enjoy when he's not so cuddly any more. That's the beauty of a family photo shoot!

That face. Frankly, being this cute ought to be illegal, but since it's not, let's capture it for mum and dad, forever. 

Gorgeous light and the phenomenal surroundings of Harrogate's RHS gardens at Harlow Carr. The perfect combination for this family to create moments to remember on film forever. Turned out A was just as good a backwards walker as a forewards walker, and I made him prove it to me to slow him down for this shot!!

It turned out that A was an excellent backwards walker, as well as being an expert in the traditional forwards method. I know this as I asked him to prove it to me for these shots, in an effort to slow down his pace a little!

This was no hardship - a beautiful day, an adorable foursome, and a leisurely stroll doing what I love. Epic.

For more family portrait stuff, go here, or visit my Pinterest page.