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

Quintessential couple portraits - getting past the awkward

Saudade - nostalgia; the love that remains; a desire to be near someone or something distant....

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I have photographed quite a few couples now, often in wedding attire and high on life and love. What fascinates me most, however, is the first ten minutes of the shoot. Without exception, both parties are feeling self-conscious, looking awkward and generally asking 'what do you want me to do with my hands?'

To be fair, that's a great question. There's nothing worse than a dangly arm or spatula fingers, yet a couple who are thrust in front of the lens for the first time often suddenly lose the ability to snuggle, or even walk. Exit gorgeously relaxed couple, enter Pinnochio and friend.  

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I find that couples who are attracted to my photographs are looking for (and I quote) 'natural shots'. They want their images to reflect the beauty of their romance but they don't want to be 'posed' or have to gaze into each others' eyes in front of 200 wedding guests and the passing postman.

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Let me tell you a story - it relates to my own wedding day and, rather embarrassingly, the making of the very mistake I am now advising against. It was a very informal wedding and even more embarrassingly, it was not my first. (I should emphasise that the shame relates NOT to the fact that I've been married more than once, but to the multiple opportunities I have had to get wedding photos wrong). Our reception party and back garden were littered with close family and friends, where folk mingled and kids played. I asked our photographer for 'natural stuff'. Candid shots of the fun, the chatter, the love, and the sunshine, please. Ask and ye shall receive. All very sound until I received the digital files and realised that my husband and I had spent the entire day separately - wandering, networking and satisfying our guests, resulting in not a single photograph of the two of us together. D'oh.

I can also tell you that (sshh, it's a secret), if you come to me for couple, engagement or wedding photos then you WILL be posed. You WILL be directed and I WILL ask you to gaze occasionally. Creating romantic, organic images of love takes work and orchestration. If I were to pass the buck and leave you to it, we would probably end up with a hot mess of awkward stances and grooms holding brides in half-Nelson headlocks. 

 
I rest my case.... (click on the photo for a full dose of these fabulous deliberately awkward engagement pics)

I rest my case.... (click on the photo for a full dose of these fabulous deliberately awkward engagement pics)

 

So, think again as you browse those Pinterest boards filled with elegant, atmospheric, love-filled couplegraphs. It is highly unlikely that they were achieved by a photographer who was lucky enough to be recruited by a couple so confident and skilled in front of the camera that they were able to drug, take a day off and let them loose with a command of "just smoulder for me". 

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Once the lens cap comes off and the moment arrives, my advice is simple - take a few deep breaths, look your baby deeply in the eyes, remember how you love him/her, pull them close and follow your photographer's lead. If you got this far because you are a fan of their work, the chances are you are already in very safe hands. Embrace your SAUDADE!

Engagement and couple shoots can be booked independently, or as part of a wedding package. We can shoot pretty much anywhere, but I highly recommend reconnecting with a place that has special meaning for you; it will make all the difference. 

Please get in touch by phone, via email at eyesomephoto@gmail.com or via my social media pages.

Helen x

Inner City Pretty

If you're into alternative and atmospheric wedding imagery, then this one is for you.

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Last week was my birthday. Some people might treat themselves to a new frock on such an occasion, or a pair of shoes. I took a slightly alternative route and spent my birthday money on a full day's photo shoot with Photography Farm. This is my personal idea of fun. Me time. Utter selfishness. A day with myself, my camera and a delightful bunch of strangers in the inner city of Sheffield.

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Our venue was a the Abbeydale Picture House, 100 year old semi-derelict cinema. Magnificent in its shabby condition, the peeling walls were nothing if not an asset for the photographer's eye. We were spoiled by the addition of two professional (and totally sublime) bridal models from J'Adore Models and the experienced and thoughtful styling of Erica at Mr & Mrs Unique.

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Once I had overcome my fear of the dark (not, you understand, because I believe in ghosts, but because I know that to make photographs one requires light), and explored a bit, it became evident that the old picture palace (venue organised by Inner City Weddings and which is, incidentally, available for hire for weddings) was littered with pockets of natural light, eeking in to the building through tiny cracks and pores, and little port-hole windows. Perfection.

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The shafts of light which pierced the darkness provided just enough drama to prove that you can make a beautiful bridal portrait just about anywhere. In the case of the image below this happened to be on an ill-lit, crumbling stairwell with wonky steps and splintered windows. The ancient walls retained just enough paint to add urban interest, complementing the softness of the incredible bridal gowns provided by the fabulous E&W Couture and Bowen Dryden

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The faces of the two beauties in frocks were both naturally magnificent, but were enhanced by the skills of professional Make Up Artist, Jenn Edwards. Further details and embellishments were contributed by Campbells Flowers of Sheffield, Halo & Co (jewellery), and Faber Novella (shoes).

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It was our privilege to be led by four aspirational pros for this romp in self-indulgence. It was as fascinating to watch and talk with them as it was to snap away in this masterpiece of a venue, so thanks indeed for the patience and tolerance of the following:-

Lisa Devlin, Jo from Enchanted Brides, Lee Allen and Lisa Jane.

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If you are interested in my wedding photography, please get in touch via email or my social media, or by using the contact form

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 . 

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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Walkies!

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Since writing this blog post, the adorable but rather sad Lottie, above, has passed away. Whilst I am grateful to have had a final late chance to capture her in pictures for her family, I am devastated for them in their loss.

This is always a popular time of year for family shoots, which usually involves me following you around on a nice walk, and 2017 has introduced me to more fab families and, more importantly adorable mutts.

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I thought I'd introduce you to a few of the four-pawed family members that I've met on recent shoots, since they are easily the most gorgeous (no offence to my human clients obv.) and least camera-shy of the bunch.

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I should take this opportunity to point out that Lottie, the Bassett, always has a sad face. It wasn't my fault.  

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How fabulous are these pooches?

Thanks to all my customers who have brought their doggies along with them on their walkies, and yes, if you're thinking of booking a family shoot in future, your dog will ALWAYS be welcome.

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.

A Golden Celebration

A 50th anniversary is sealed with a well earned kiss. What a fantastic way to commemorate such a milestone, with a family photo shoot.

Ann & David have just passed a glorious milestone. 50 years of marriage is not to be sniffed at. 1966 may have been a swinging time, but it was also an era when men and women committed to each other at an early age and chose not to waver. 

Sneaking the whole crew in to a family portrait, we chose the glorious backdrop of Harrogate's RHS Harlow Carr gardens to show off the family

Their joint anniversary gift from their son and daughter was (lucky for me!) a family photo shoot, which we stealthily combined with a pleasant stroll in the country. The whole family, granddaughters included, came along for the ride, in an attempt to create some memories for the next 50 years of the family line to cherish.

Autumn leaves provided an impromptu game of hide and seek for the grandchildren. I have no idea how I found them!

It happens to be the middle of autumn, when the trees are bang in their prime, and my reluctant models took advantage of the leafy excess, going temporarily AWOL in a mischievous attempt to evade my lens. I.m so glad that the whole family was involved in this shoot. The presence of the girls made their grandparents (not naturally comfortable in front of the camera) relax in to our walk, and the results show.

The 5oth anniversary couple take a stroll, watched over by their children and granddaughters.

A golden anniversary is not a common event. Maybe there is a combination of reasons for this. Do couples lack the tenacity to see out the rough times these days, divorce being a common and easily obtained outcome? In the 50s and 60s the only way to escape your parents' home was to get married, and since cohabitation was not an option, perhaps this created a 'forever' mindset? Escaping your parents to marry invariably meant that you were probably only maybe 21 or 22 back then, which differs to the average age of 28 at which couples are marrying right now (I know, I looked it up!) Marrying at 21 certainly gives you a better shot at reaching a 50th anniversary than marrying later in life?

Enjoying the moment, Ella takes to the woods for a series of supermodel poses

Shooting these young lovelies, it's impossible to avoid thinking about what lies ahead for the youngest generation with their not-yet formed relationships. How will life and marriage have changed in the next 50 years? Will it still be the institution we know and cherish? I do hope so. They deserve it.

The smallest member of the bunch takes to the shrubbery to avoid the camera. Ha! Gotcha!

If you want more family photo shoot inspiration, try here. Look out for more autumn shots to follow too!

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