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

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.

Not me, just my baby.

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It would be a bloody miracle for a woman who is two to three weeks postpartum to feel at her best, so the idea of having your photograph taken with your beloved newborn can be unthinkable.

For the most part, in my experience, new mummies try to slide into the background, away from the camera, repeating a well-worn "not me, just my baby" mantra.

But no, say I. Your baby is not the only beauty here. Whilst, when you initially booked your photography session your primary aim may have been to capture the tininess of your new arrival's fingers and toes, I can tell you with great certainty that you will never look back and regret the presence of yourself in these images. 

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The brand new bond which you are forming in the early days of your relationship are irreplaceable. Not only is your cooing and nuzzling making your baby's brain grow, but it is a reminder that only a few days previously you were infact, one. You were physically and emotionally tied, and now that you are two, it is the intense chemistry of your love which provides the magic for my camera.

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No photographer worth their salt will ask you to do anything that you are not comfortable with, and the beauty of photographing baby in your own home is that you can both feel relaxed and stick to your normal routine of feeds and sleep.

So, please don't be worried about how you will look. You are magnificent because you just created the miracle of life. Throw a muslin over your shoulder, cuddle, and let the camera do the rest. 

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For newborn photo sessions, book well in advance, as the first two sleepy weeks of baby's life are the most effective time to shoot! eyesomephoto@gmail.com

Head over to Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest for more inspiration . 

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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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.