Relfection. #whatsthestory #magicmoments #mammarazzi

On saturday i had my last two photoshoots of the year. I don’t take on any more in december as people generally want the images for christmas and its really not that far away now EEK!…and i have another job which doesn’t stop for christmas so its nice to lighten the load a little. 🙂

I dont mention my photography much on the site, i think i have mentioned it before, because i have a separate blog for my client photographs and this is a blog about my family and so it didn’t seem to make sense to mix the two..but lately i have been wondering about my blog and what sort of niche it fits into (if at all). I guess im not sure at the moment, i think it has been brought on by a couple of things happening that have made me wonder how people view my blog and what i write about. Ive always been one that doesn’t really want to fit into a certain box and im not sure if reflecting that in my blog is such a good thing. Maybe its just confusing. I dont know…

Anyway..digressing a little there… 😉

Back to my photography..My hobbieography 😉

Capturing people’s families has been so important to me and its always interesting as a photographer to see which images people really like. This year has been a year of learning and growing and being inspired. Its been quite an eventful year and i have tried some new things with my photoshoots, some of those things have worked and some of them haven’t. I’ve been stung a couple of times by others and by making lousy decisions myself. But its always good to have those lessons to learn from. They might hurt at the time but once that is past the lesson is in the getting up and moving on. As the great Nelson Mandela said..


So i thought i would spend a few weeks reflecting on some of my favourite shots of the year, maybe a little about how i took them, my settings and a little bit of background to what i was thinking and also just a little happy jaunt down memory lane.

So first up:

This was a studio session for this little ladies newborn sister. So a large part of the session was doing newborn stuff and waiting for her little sister to settle and get comfortable. But when we got to her turn she really came out of her shell and stole the show. What i love about this picture is that sweet intensity that kids have when you tell them to look into the camera. They cannot hide their feelings, even if they can stop whatever they are feeling spreading to their mouth then their eyes show it loud and clear.

I love that she has the whisper of smile on her lips (i am probably asking her if she can see the friendly spider in my camera lens!). She is totally centered in the image, which i think adds to the drama of the and the intensity. I am a big fan of the rule of thirds when it comes to composition and only very occasionally will shoot an image like this, it takes something quite special to hold the entire centre of an image and i think she really really does.

Plus…my goodness..that hair!!

Generally for studio settings with kids my camera settings are fairly static…i use strobe lights so i use manual settings of f9.0/iso125/shutter 1/160


is that Bokeh season #mamarazzi

Before you think i have gone mad. Bokeh is a technical term. yes it is.

Bokeh :

In photographybokeh (Originally /ˈbkɛ/,[1] /ˈbk/ boh-kay — also sometimes heard as /ˈbkə/ boh-kə,[2] Japanese: [boke]) is the blur,[3][4] or the aesthetic quality of the blur,[5][6][7] in out-of-focus areas of an image. 

Bokeh is a portrait photographers dream. Yes it is. Bokeh means that I can take a photograph of my gorgeous daughter on a park bench when there is a herd of people doing a welly walk in the background (yes there is) and all you will see is a blur of colour…

So thats what Bokeh is, that blurry buttery background that we all know and love. Now this season coming up… *whispers* the christmasy one is the PERFECT time for using a bit of bokeh. Those lovely christmas lights make great bokeh backdrops for your festive images.

Here is how you go about it.


essentially your basic bit of equipment is a FAST lens…what does that mean?  You can find out here or here a bit about aperture…You need wide, open, (low numbers) FAST aperture settings.

You can make the little balls of light bigger by increasing the distance between your in focus subject and the out of focus lights in the background.

Helps to have your subject in the foreground and set your AF point on them. You can half depress the shutter and re-compose as well to get that extra dimension and composition to your shot.


Christmas in a neat little JPG package.

All done.


Here are a fabulous selection from the wonder that is pinterest!

this is a partnered post


Growing and learning #photography101 #mamarazzi

Firstly I wanted to say in this weeks mamarazzi how stoked i am to be included in the TOTS100 top 20 photography blogs. I have that wee little badge displayed over to the left and you can click there to see some of the other wonderful photographers that are included in the list. Thank you again Madame Tot.

So onwards…

This post is going to be a little bit different to others than i have done in the past as it is a little self indulgent and a lot about me and what i have learned recently. Which may not be something you are interested in or it may be, so please bear with me. At least enjoy the images.

As a bit of background…about 3 years ago when i was very heavily pregnant with my last baby I was flicking through a photography magazine when i noticed a small advert for photographers to go on workshops for editorial purposes. I sent them a quick email and 5 minutes later the phone rang and a journalist was asking me if i could be in manchester in 7 days time.

It took a HUGE amount of bravery because I was pretty new to it and was paranoid that everyone there would have vastly more knowledge than me. Which being honest they did but i learnt SO much on that day  (and got some of my photos published!) that it was the one of the best learning experiences of my photography journey. Stuff that i learnt on that day changed the way i shoot and i told myself there and then that i wanted to come back and do this sort of workshop.

It took a while for me to get round to deciding what it was that i wanted to do a workshop on. I have always been inspired by the use of light in a photograph…and the use of creative flash. Thats not horrible on camera red eye but off camera stunning light art images.

My goal for 2013 was to understand flash and Brett Harkness is pretty much a grand master at creative flash, both producing it and teaching it. So that was where i went. With three other photographers. A day with Brett, to critique our work (scary) and learn the art of creative flash.

It was such a fabulous day, opening up a huge range of possiblities. You know those amazing shots where the sky is a beautiful deep dark colour and yet the bride and groom are fabulously lit? This is how its done.

After lunch we got to have a go with high speed sync flash and off camera flash, using some real HUGE power packs that give out a huge amount of zap!

I was inspired…wanting to go out and buy a tonne of stuff (none of which i can right now) and drag my kids onto the hills and shoot some amazing skies and skylines. So i will get practicing with what i have right now. What i was inspired the most by was that we were in a studio in the middle of a mill, a wood mill, with a fairly grotty carpark and STILL you can use the background to get some amazing images. Even our battered old car came to life as part of an sophisticated, grown up image. Transformed by the master of the light.

As i always say, its all about the light. When there isnt natural light available or that natural light is far too bright and harsh. Step in the most awesome and creative use of flash and you don’t have to worry any more.

Before you check out some of the shots from the day let me just really really recommend doing a workshop, not one of those £19.00 photography days that you get on groupon. A real, proper workshop with a photographer whose work you admire and aspire to. I cannot tell you just how much you learn. Just do it!!

so here are some of the shots from the day. Not my usual subject, the very lovely model Liz, who was incredibly patient and gracious with a baby photographer who faced with a professional model went somewhat quiet!!



Newborn photography at home. part one. #Mamarazzi #photography101

If you have ever happened across my photography page, there is a wee little link thing down there to the right then you would notice that  I have a whole area of my site dedicated to photographing babies. Since i work with newborns and have done ( as a neonatal nurse) for 12 years now, it has seemed like a natural step to newborn photography.

Its sort of a niche area of photography. It is a pleasure to do but can take a long time (which i guess is why so many photographers avoid it!)  and i love meeting these little miracles and getting to know another little person.

I often get asked about how to get lovely images of babies when they are so new. So i thought i would do a few posts with some hints and tips to getting some lovely images of your newborn baby. Easy things that you can do at home.

So part one, i thought i would explain a little about the environment that would be a good place to start if you have a newborn and you want to try and get some cute shots.

  • Newborns have just come out of a very warm environment in the womb. Its very warm in there, about 38degrees. So if you are thinking cute naked baby shots then you need to have your environment warm. Babies cannot regulate their temperature when they are born so its important to make sure you do that for them. My general rule is if you are uncomfortably hot then the baby will be happy 🙂
  • Choose a time when your baby is usually most settled. Often babies are sleepy in the morning and start to crank up the grumps towards the evening. Not always the way, you know your baby the best.
  • When a baby is in utero it is NOISY! Lots of noises! Anyone who has a newborn will marvel at the fact that their new baby will nod off next to the washing machine on full spin. So its a really useful tip to download a white noise phone app and have it playing near your baby. Or you can use a womb noise teddy things you can get to soothe newborns to sleep.
  • Look for signs that indicate when your baby is relaxed and settled. Babies have a way of communicating….honestly! It isnt always all crying.

Signs that they may not be in the best place for being a model…

  • Stretching their hands towards you and up towards their face or splaying their fingers apart in front of the their face, yawning, hiccuping and sneezing excessively, arching their back  or moving their arms and legs frantically.

Signs that they are ready to play model…

  • well fed or just fed, wrapping them up in a blanket or other loose item to feed them and settle them. One thing that will for sure wake your baby up is fumbling a onesie over its head when its asleep.
  • Rock your baby back and forth to imitate the movements that would have settled them in the womb. how many mothers always say that their babies were still as could be when they were on the go and then woke up to party when they lay down. A slow rocking motion copies this and will help lull your baby to sleep.
  • Once they are asleep you can gently pop them on the beanbag or pillow that you want to use to photograph them on.

….and how you go about setting that up will be in my next newborn mamarazzi post!!




Lens love challenge #mamarazzi #photography101#CountryKids

I am very very lucky to have a few lenses which i really really love but i don’t use that often. I have my work horses that pretty much do just that, they are functional, do the job and i have three lenses which are never far from my camera bag. They are the 50mm 1.4 ( this is the mid-range) 24-105 f4.0 ( my go to studio lens and its pretty good for days out as it has a bit of a zoom) and the daddy 70-200mm F2.8 ( this is a killer lens in both quality and size) Out of the three it is the one i use least for personal use but when im shooting for a is pretty much the front runner. every.single.time.

I know there will be people out there thinking ‘well why dont you use it for personal use if its that good?’

One reason…

well five..actually 😉

It is a very heavy and valuable lens and when we are on days out and have all the kids, their stuff, the packed lunch, the dog, uncle tom cobbly and all along with me..adding the stress of a large lens bouncing around on my hip and threatening to give a small toddler a head injury..its just not going to happen. You have to be sensible about lenses when you are talking capturing your own family memories. A large, monster of a lens that might be fabulous but gives you chronic back pain is going to be left at home in favour of your iphone. know im right. 😉

Getting something that works for you is the key.

Anyway there is a point somewhere.

So one of my lenses that i am lucky enough to have on a borrow from my dad is the 15mm Fisheye.

It is beautiful even down to its perfectly styled non-plastic camera cap. Really..its metal. I dropped it on the floor at the Olympic games (the cap not the lens!!) and the lady in front thought id drop a flask or a mug of coffee!  Its small but mighty and i love it. One of the things that i regularly do with the lenses that i dont use that often is challenge myself to only shoot with that lens for a day, a week or a couple of days…some that i get used to using the lens and also a new way of looking at my composition and imagery.

This is SO worth doing. It really stretches you and takes you out of your comfort zone, you might even find that you fall in love with a new type of lens and way of shooting your subject. I know its more money and camera equipment is super expensive as it is BUT it will give you experience of getting an idea of just how different these lenses are and what they can do to an image. I get asked all the time..’So what is actually the difference between these lenses then?’ I went a bit more in depth about that here 

Here is your chance to find out!

I know not everyone has access to more than one lens BUT there are companies that hire out these lenses for a few days and they are not that scary prices either. I would totally recommend shopping around and grabbing something that maybe you are toying with the idea of owning or maybe even you just want to see what they would be like for the hell of it.

Its playtime 🙂

Some companies worth thinking about are: lensesforhire lenspimp lensfettish

Thats just a few, there are loads out there!

So.. here is what i got up to. It was an awful day today and it rained…a we went for a quick bike ride and fed the ducks. The thing about the rain is it makes the greens take on an luminosity that is so attractive..which is probably the only good thing about rain…well you know apart from that we need water to live ‘n all 😉

This post is linking up with the Country Kids too…so welcome all linky followers!

Family Farm Holidays Cornwall