Viva Lewes - Photo of the Month

I was very excited as my photograph was picked as Viva Lewes ‘Photo of the Month’ for April’s edition. It’s always lovely to have people appreciate your work. They called it ‘Looking Back’. This refers to the fact that whenever I take my camera out when I walk, I always make sure that I look back because I could be missing a great photograph, but from a different angle. Which is exactly what happened with this photograph.

Something very special and happened after I won. I was contacted via Viva by someone who’s friend had had the bench put there in memorial for her husband, she was also very poorly and her friend wanted to give her the photograph, as a reminder, to help her feel better. I of course obliged and had one printed, I was so touched that I did it for no charge. It was my pleasure to do something special for someone who was having a difficult time.

It’s a very special feeling to think that something you have created will mean so much to someone else and give someone happiness.

Be my baby

I haven’t done a blog post in a while, I have been busy working on my social media and exhibiting at wedding fairs and of course, taking photographs.

I did this shoot in March at the beautiful Southover Grange Gardens. As a location photographer ( I don’t have a studio) I am wiling to travel around for my shoots, but my clients love to come to Lewes and have their shoots here. If the Grange Gardens is good enough for the singer Rag and Bone Man to get married in, then it’s good enough for the rest of us.

I had a great afternoon with this lovely couple, they were expecting their first child, and the baby was due on the same day as my daughters birthday, which was a nice coincidence. They were expecting a little boy and they were going to call him Jayden.

We were in luck as the weather was glorious, there was soft, hazy sunlight, the pampas grass was still looking nice, as was the cheerful Spring daffodils. It’s always fun when you do a maternity shoot to have some little props, a sonogram photograph, a baby grow, teddy bear, for this shoot the couple had brought along an adorable tiny pair of shoes. We had fun popping them on her baby belly or them just holding these miniature shoes in their hands. I always enjoy maternity shoots, it’s such an exciting time for anyone expecting and this always creates such a happy and natural vibe.

My maternity shoot price is the same as any of my family/portrait fees, it’s £75 for a one hour shoot with unlimited edited images on a usb flash drive.

Missing the colours of Autumn.

I am enjoying these beautiful sunny days, they come as a reminder of the Spring days to come. Winter is so dull and dark, it is sometimes, brightened by snow, or the occasional magical misty morning.

I took these photographs of beautiful Eleanor in November, we were lucky to have so many stunning and dry leaves, a few days later a very wet and windy storm came.

I love Autumn, so many deep and rich colours of reds, browns, yellows and greens and the light can be low and give a warm halo and hue.

I really do love doing location shoots, I much prefer being outside with natural light, rather than in a studio with artificial light, being out in nature is so refreshing and calming, it can give a photograph much more interest and depth.

Portrait of a family

I recently photographed a family of 16! They had won a £75 photo shoot, that we had donated to a charity raffle. It was such a lovely shoot, as half of the family were living in Australia and this was an opportunity to have a big family photograph taken with everyone in it. 
It was at one the the family members homes and they made me feel so very welcome, even if at times it was difficult to try to get everyone in the photo. I haven’t taken portraits at someones home before, as I usually prefer to be outside, you don’t have to worry about floor lamps and plug sockets getting in the way of your photograph.

It really did feel as if I was doing something very special (especially for the Grandparents), even one of the Grandma's thanked me for giving her such a precious gift, and said how kind we were to donate something so special. That's why I love photography, it's a way of preserving those magical moments that will be with loved ones forever.



Forever Autumn

I was very fortunate in November to photograph these lovely sisters and their families. I had photographed one of the families before and I always have the most fun with them. This shoot was to be the same jolly, happy, easy going and, as always, with fabulous outfit changes.

The photographs took place at the local Priory ruins in Lewes, (my favourite place). The seasons really change the place. There are so many colours the orange, red and yellow leaves contrasting against the gorgeous greys and whites of the flint and stones and so many textures in the ruined buildings. It is particularly beautiful in Autumn, there are so many different colour leaves, it is just stunning. We were fortunate to have had dry weather, so the children could sit on leaves without any fear of getting wet. A couple of days after the weather turned very windy so most of the leaves had blown off the branches.

I constantly wonder if I did the right thing by leaving my secure office job to follow this path, being self employed is difficult, especially if you’re like me a, ‘Cautious Carol’ that never that never leaves my comfort zone, but when I have experiences like this shoot and I create such beautiful photographs, that my clients love, it makes me very happy and pleased I made the scary move.

Santa's little helper

As I don’t have a studio I am unable to offer those kind of photographs, but I really wanted to take some Christmassy photographs of Hudson, my great-nephew. So thanks to a white bed sheet and some fairy lights on my bed we managed to take these. Hudson was an absolute star, He had an occasional moan but could be calmed with dummy breaks. My niece had bought his little outfits from local shops and I got some of my Christmas decorations out the loft. We hadn’t planned to put him in the Santa sack, we tried to put him in a Christmas stocking but he was too big, so we got him in the sack and filled it with Christmas toys. It was just magical, as he then fell asleep in there. It was a truly fun afternoon and I can’t help but laugh and smile at the photographs that we got. One of my favourites is him with my niece and he looks like he’s just about had enough of having his photo taken…enough Auntie Becky.

Mabel & Elijah

The part of my job that I enjoy the most is photographing children. I find them so much fun and you never quite know what kind of photographs you will get, as it all depends on what mood the children are in. I’ve been very lucky with all the children I have photographed, as they have reacted well to me and my camera. They have enjoyed it. It’s the reason I like location shooting more than a studio as it is more of a fun adventure day out than a pressurised environment of a studio. This time though as Mabel was only a couple of weeks old, location shooting does not work, so I have a temporary studio I put up in my home. As it is a home environment it is still a relaxed atmosphere for the children, so they still enjoy it. The last thing you want to do is make the children feel the pressure of your one hour to perform and you get unhappy, sad children.

Mabel and Elijah were fantastic, Mabel slept the whole time (I got to give her cuddles to settle her for her photographs) and Elijah was a very attentive big brother. We had lots of fun and plenty of beautiful photographs of them. I even discovered that Elijah is fond of saying “Norman Price” in a bad Welsh accent, the same as my husband, so the two of them got on very well, talking about Fireman Sam.

The Fantastic Foxes

We recently had a photo competition, where you could win an one hour portrait session. The family who won were, the Foxes.

We were going to have the photographs at Priory Ruins but the rain was torrential, luckily enough there is a tunnel in the same area, so we had some photographs in there, it was quite serendipitous, as the look of the graffiti in the tunnel really suited the family. The children of the family were adults so a more mature background was better.

They were great sports and happy to venture out in to the rain, I had my many different umbrellas with me, so no one was going to get wet, of course the rainbow umbrellas are always the favourite.

It was unusual to photograph such a mature family, I am so used to doing little children’s portraits. The family said that they felt awkward at first, because it’s not every day you have a professional photographer taking your picture, but they very quickly got used to me and my camera and they actually quite enjoyed it.

The most important part of being a photographer to me is to make your clients feel comfortable and happy. If the clients are relaxed then the photographs will turn out so much better, as everyone will act more like themselves and the end result will represent how the family and the individuals really are.

Lizzie and Tim

It was a rainy and cloudy day for Tim and Lizzie’s wedding but you couldn’t meet two more bright and sunny people. It was such a pleasure to be included in their wedding day with all their wonderful family and friends. It was also lovely that it took place in my home town of Lewes, so that meant I could walk there and I know the area so well.

They had their ceremony at the beautiful Southover Grange Gardens. It looked stunning, as all the flowers were out in bloom and in full colour. The ceremony moved on to the historical Anne of Cleves House, while the guests were having drinks and canapés we walked to the Lewes Priory Ruins for some photographs of just the two of them. We were lucky, as the rain held off for a short while but we came prepared with some glorious rainbow umbrellas. They really added some colour to the photographs, as well as Lizzie’s marvellous bouquet and the fabulous Lego mini figure button holes (I love Lego). The Priory Ruins are a favourite place of mine to go as the flint walls makes a lovely textured backdrop and the views over the South downs are glorious. There are so many little nooks and crannies to take photographs in, it even has a spiral staircase, that leads to nowhere. The site goes all the way back to the 11th century and was demolished under the reign of King Henry VIII, up until recent years it was fenced off to the public, that was until it received a lottery grant and they were able to open it up so it could be explored and appreciated once again. The party then moved a little further down the road to The Swan Inn. The sun came out and everyone was able to enjoy the rest of their day in the gardens with good food and drink.

This was such a special wedding to be part of, they were all so welcoming and kind, they were such a lovely family, I even got a little picture and note from one of the children there. An extra bonus for me was that my niece was helping me out that day and my daughter was supervising their wedding at Anne of Cleves, so I got to share it with them too. It really was a day about the importance of love and family.

Matt & Lia

What can I say but "yes, I do feel ashamed", It's been over three month since my last blog post. Is it any excuse if I say I've been very busy? I've been lucky enough to be a part of several wedding, maternity and portrait shoots. Also it's been busy personally with two 18th and 70th birthday parties. I was also lucky to visit (at last) Paris. In addition my daughter, Harriet will be off to university very soon, argh i'll loose one of my fabulous models (and best friends). 

One of the weddings I have been fortunate to be part of was for Matt and Lia. It would turn out to be one of the hottest days of the year, which also coincided with the England V Sweden quarter final, so it was a day with an excited and joyous atmosphere. 

The wedding would take place at Eastbourne Town hall. It was my first wedding there. It's a very beautiful old building with a grand staircase. Unfortunately you're not allowed to use a flash during any wedding ceremonies and all the shutters were closed because of the heat, so It did make it a very difficult ceremony to photograph. Light, especially natural light is pretty essential for my job. A Korean festival was also taking place there that day, so during the ceremony we could hear beautiful music being played in the room next door. 

The reception was taking place at the beautiful Grand Hotel, which is situated on the seafront. We had photographs in several places, including two churches on our walk to the Grand. A favourite was the steps of the town hall for the confetti pictures. I love a confetti cannon! They make amazing photographs, so much confetti. It was a lovely walk, so many people said "congratulations" and beeped their car/van horns. We also came across graffiti of a heart.  I did most of it walking backwards though as I was taking photographs of the newlyweds. We had planned to take photographs of everyone on the seafront and the western lawns but as with most best laid plans...there was a 999 fete and display day, so we couldn't use the lawns. I improvised and we took most on the seafront and some fun ones at the fete. They didn't fancy a go on the bouncy castle though. We all had lots of fun and thanks to the hotel for putting a television in the lounge room so we could also watch the football. 

 

Lovely Liv - who's legs were too long!

I always love doing location shoots around Lewes. The first reason is it's home and the second there are so many beautiful and interesting places to photograph in Lewes. I especially love the Priory ruins. I have photographed a few people and families there now and I feel it looks different in every shoot. I has a personality of it's own. I especially love the colour and textures of the flint walls. I'm a huge fan of soft whites and greys. 

I had a fun time photographing Liv. She did complain that she didn't know what to do with her long legs ( I wish I had that problem) We managed to fit them in the archway. I always enjoy the enthusiasm and energy of teenage shoots. They are always up for a bit of silliness and some good posing. Who doesn't want a great photograph for their Instagram of Facebook profile picture?

Shoots are £75 for and hour shoot and unlimited images on a USB. 

Anne of Cleves House

A couple of weeks ago we had the privilege of being asked to photograph Anne of Cleves House. It's a beautiful 15th century timber framed house in Lewes. It was gifted to Queen Anne as part of her settlement from her divorce to Henry Viii. 

Sussex Past Weddings asked us to photograph it how it would look dressed for a wedding. The other places Sussex past Weddings manage are Lewes Castle and Michelham Priory. I think getting married in any of those venues would be wonderful, especially if you love your medieval history. I always find it fascinating that you are walking in the footsteps of people that were there hundreds of years before us and I'm sure theses buildings will be there for hundreds of years more.
It is such a stunning house that I love since I was a child and I have visited there many times. It has quite low ceilings that used t be a problem for my very tall brother. 

It was a beautiful place to photograph with stunning displays of flowers everywhere, the only problem was the uneven floor, windows and the many timber beams, because it was hard to know which one was the straight line. 

There's something about Mary!

I first met Mary and Graham when they helped out with the wedding dress shoot we did in the September of last year. Mary wore her evening wedding dress for the shoot, the dress was made by Jennie West, who we were doing the shoot with. 

She contacted me in January to ask if I'd be happy to photograph her and Graham for their first anniversary in April. She wanted the chance to wear her wedding dress again ( who wouldn't want to wear their dress again). She'd be on Pinterest for ideas, picnic blankets and baskets, cute notes on chalk boards etc.  We had fun planning the day out. The problem was we needed a location where Mary could change into her dress, somewhere that was beautiful and quiet, you don't want everyone watching your photoshoot. I luckily enough have worked for a company called The Rolling Downs. They're beautiful shepherds huts that you can stay in, they are in the grounds of Bentley Wildfowl and Motor Museum near Lewes. The huts are a stunning back drop themselves, let a lone the gorgeous countryside around us. 

As we were approaching April we hoped that the snow and rain wouldn't blight their shoot day. We were so lucky as we had the most glorious day of sunshine on the shoot day. Jennie who made the dress came to help Mary get dressed into her stunning gown. Mary had bought balloons, a picnic basket and her chalk boards and her Mother-in-law had made a cake. We all had a lot of fun on a glorious Spring afternoon. 

I was very happy with the photographs and most importantly Mary and Graham we very happy too. They loved this very memorable way of spending their first anniversary. 

My daughter said to me that I was very lucky to share such happy events with people and then (with my photographs) be a part of their happy memories forever. 

Yoga retreat - March 2018

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing a rather snowy yoga retreat hosted by Louise and BimsWinter - Personal Training, held locally to me in Barcombe. 
I don't think I could recommend highly enough how amazing everything was, and I wasn't even taking part! I felt calmer just from being there. I was lucky enough to share a delicious brunch with all the (very flexible) ladies. They are actually hosting a yoga retreat in Ibiza this October. I'd love to take photgraphs of that one too. 

The ladies were brilliant and didn't mind me taking photographs of them doing their sun salutations. They actually said that they didn't notice me and wasn't aware I was taking photographs. I do try to be respectful to whomever I am shooting and take their needs into account. I feel as a photographer you should always make those around you, that you are photographing feel at ease and comfortable. You will get your best photographs that way. 

Heralds of Spring

I did a wonderful photoshoot at Southover Grange Gardens in Lewes, in the Easter holidays. I was very lucky, as I think it was one of the only two sunny days of the two week break.

Due to the cold and snowy weather recently all the flowers have been blooming a bit later than usual. So instead of the usual April tulips, we had a 'host of golden daffodils'. 

Thomas and Eleanor enjoyed running around the Grange and playing in the gardens with bubbles, climbing trees and admiring the beautiful daffodils. I had a marvellous time, as Thomas and Eleanor were great little models. I have photographed them before and they never fail to amaze me. 

 I've begun to realise that doing the children/family portrait sessions really are a favourite thing for me to do. The most difficult thing is trying to decide which photograph is my favourite. 

Over the Rainbow...

I did a lovely shoot recently at my local gardens, they are always stunning and attract plenty of visitors. I think I'm so lucky to have some where so beautiful, so close to me. 

Unfortunately the weather decided it wasn't going to be kind and it rained, but I was so fortunate that the family I was photographing were ready for the rain and just enjoyed the shoot. We got out the rainbow umbrellas and jumped in puddles. It was a full on, fun hour. I think the adorable little girl I was photographing had a great time also. We tried to make it more of an adventure than a starchy, boring photo shoot.

That's why I choose location shooting, over a studio, you get more of a natural response and there isn't the pressure on the child/children to be on their best behaviour and smile for an hour. I always try to capture the real child, not the fake one that puts on a show for the camera. I have heard from some clients that in previous shoots they had in a studio the children have been very unhappy with the pressure of it all and they have cried the whole time. 

The responses I have had is that the children have had lots of fun and viewed it as a morning/afternoon out, with a lady taking some photos, rather than an official photo shoot. The results have all been positive, they parents feel I have really captured the essence of their child/children. 

 

It's our first birthday.

It's our first birthday. 🎂 Louise and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us this year. To our family, friends and of course all our lovely clients. 

It has been an amazing year, we have met some wonderful families and wedding couples. We have done a wedding dress shoot with the very talented dress maker, Jennie West and hairdresser Jennifer Graves. I've recently photographed for the local magazine Viva Lewes and the Lewes News and only this weekend I photographed a yoga retreat for the very talented ( and fit ) Bims Winter personal trainer. 

Here's to the next year! 
 

International Women's Day - Viva Lewes shoot

I thought it was appropriate to post this on International Women's Day. I had the pleasure of being asked to photograph this months Viva Lewe 'Way We Work' section. The theme was independent businesses. I got to meet and photograph six amazing women that were running four businesses. 
I am so pleased with the results and the photographs look even better in print. 

I first photographed Nancy in the herb garden at Lewes Priory. She is a perfumier and has her own range of perfumes. (nancymeiland.com)
I then photographed Anna and Nicola, they specialise in pop-up spas at festivals.  (treatment-tents.com)
Then in Lewes I photographed Thalassa and Charlotte. They are offering package free shopping from their little van - Peggy. They're trying to eradicate plastic packaging. (charlottescupboard.com)
Finally I photographed Tracy, she makes amazing quirky pieces of furniture from old shop mannequins. (dollyfixtures.co.uk)

It was an honour to meet such amazing women that are out there doing their own thing, good luck to them all.

A prize through the post!

I received a lovely prize of a photographic book about how to take the best night time photography this morning, this was for coming second in The Lewes Light Festival 2017 photo competition, and how appropriate it was as it's world book day. 
The photograph was of my gorgeous niece Emily taking a photograph of one of the installations. I was also shortlisted for a photograph of the fantastic rainbow installation. Happy dance💃