Monthly Archives: September 2011

Castle Ashby Gardens_Family Portraits Northampton

Outdoor location photography is fantastic, but living in the UK as we do this is hard, the weather is unpredictable to say the least!  When people call to book a location photo session they often ask me what will happen if the weather is bad.  Usually I will do photographs in your own home or outdoors if the weather allows – its simply not possible to run a business in this country if you have to postpone sessions every time it rains.  However sometimes people would prefer not to have photos at home – especially if children are older or tend to need a bit of space to burn off their energy.   So I was really delighted when I discovered my current favourite spot for location photos in Northamptonshire – Castle Ashby.  The house itself is a stunning wedding venue but it has some beautiful gardens with some fantastic undercover areas which are really beautiful are perfect if it rains.

The session below was planned on a day when rain was forecast – as it happened we luckily missed two torrential downpours and caught a great hour in the middle (sheet luck) but here’s a little test for you…… All the images in this session were taken in the Gardens at Castle Ashby – some are taken completely undercover (where you wouldn’t get wet at all) and some are taken out in the open ….. hard to tell the difference isn’t it ?   If you live near Northampton, Yardley Hastings, Lavendon, Olney, Milton Keynes or Wellingborough this would be my first choice of location in bad weather – hope you like the images:)

Family Portraits in your own home_Hertfordshire

Recently I’ve been doing sessions for regular customers – which is such a joy as the children are a bit older than my last visit and its always great to see them.  I often get asked to come back because there is a new member of the family as was the case with these Family Portraits in Hatch End. Here’s the newest member of the family – what a little cutie !

I spent  a great couple of hours with the family  and playing with the kids in the garden.  Here are a small selection of the images we took:

1-2-1 Photography Training_Photographing Children

As you know I’m a children’s portrait photographer based in Northamptonshire – but in a former life I was a qualified teacher.   Usually I’m on the other side on training courses and busy learning from people whose work I admire and people who inspire me.  However I sometimes get asked to do a bit of training for people who are either keen amateurs wanting to understand their cameras more and get better images or by Photographers just starting out in the portrait business who are looking to improve their skills and get some tips on photographing children.  Generally these sessions are completely targeted to the needs of the individual and use some lovely little models to demonstrate how I might go about working with a child to get certain images.

Group training sessions are great fun but when you have little models – even with small numbers on a course – it can be a bit of a bunfight .. and there is always that one person that doesn’t let others get a look in !   A 1-2-1 day will allow you lots of time to get shots for your portfolio or for your personal satisfaction and means you can learn completely at your pace, ask any questions that you might be intimidated to ask amongst people more experienced than yourself, and get a targetted learning experience.

All these pictures were taken on a recent 2 day 1-2-1 session where we spent a day out shooting (3 separate sessions) and a day going through processing tips, marketing stuff etc,etc.. – all subjects chosen by my trainee.   I don’t profess to know a great deal – I’m still learning all the time myself – but I have a few tips to pass on.   Everyone will do things differently – I can simply show people the way I do it. All the images below were taken by me on the day to demonstrate certain techniques and shooting processes.

This one shows the trainee at work and what we were aiming for in the final image by placing the little model where we did.

When doing images outdoors you can use whatever you have around you – I’m fortunate living near the beautiful old town of Olney in Buckinghamshire that there are some fabulous spots to take images literally just along the high street and near the main roads.

The natural environment provides a ton of different options for back drops – so its worth thinking about what would provide interest in the image – in some cases this can be foreground and background texture.

Its also good to use architecture for framing in images.

Doors make excellent frames in images as in the picture below:

I chose different age ranges for the models and a mixture of boys and girls – lovely little girls that are happy to pose – like the little sweetie above are one thing – little boys with a ton of energy to burn off are a bit different.  I try where possible to take them out and about where they can run around, climb trees, ride bikes or do whatever they like to enjoy themselves and capture their personalities that way.  Again Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire have some beautiful parks nearby so I’m lucky to have these on my doorstep.

Trees are great for lads to climb and mess about on – but you can also use these within the composition of the image.

Lets face it though – we are at the mercy of the British Weather and we can’t always be out and about – and sadly not all homes look like something out of  Grand Designs – so we also looked at the best places to find some light if you are faced just with a small house to photograph in on a day when its pouring with rain !

We had another challenge with our last model of the day – a 15 month old toddler.  These are always good fun.  They are so excited to be toddling about that they spend much of the time looking at the floor and won’t stay in one position for more than about 3 seconds – so you have to chase them around – try lots of tricks and find ways to keep them contained to get portraits.

So if you are interested in learning how to use your nice new camera a bit better – to get better portraits of your own children or if you are a Photographer looking to get some more experience and build your portfolio in a non-intimidating 1-2-1 environment do get in touch info@siobhanmurphyphotography.co.uk

Handmade Aprons and Bags_by Hancon White in Olney

Another great local Olney Business is being featured on the Blog today.  Hancon White are based in Olney, Buckinghamshire and make beautiful bespoke Aprons, Peg Bags and Tote Bags all to order.  The items are made from a range of stunning fabrics and all handmade with fabulous attention to detail.   Check out the website http://www.hanconwhite.com/ or buy via their online shop on FOLKSY.  So if you are looking for homewares and gifts have a look at the range on offer.  All items can be purchased through the Folksy shop so customers can buy from anywhere.  Some of the many designs and fabrics are featured below.

With Christmas approaching they make beautiful gifts:)

If you would like to see the fabulous stuff on offer, Hancon White have a stall at The Turvey Michaelmas Market at Hall Farm, Turvey on Friday 30th September 2pm-6pm and Saturday 1st October 10am-4pm

Vintage Teas by Mrs P_Olney Buckinghamshire

Thought I would post up another small commercial job on the blog – this one was particularly enjoyable as I got to sample some of the goods on offer!   Mrs P’s Bakery is based in Olney near Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire.  You may have seen some of the fabulous cakes on sale at the Olney Farmer’s Market.  Mrs P makes novelty cakes and cupcakes to order – some examples of these are pictured further down.   Mrs P will also be promoting some other products such as fabulous vintage teas where all sorts of goodies are available – the garden party below took place on a wonderful sunny afternoon (remember them?) and included some wonderful sandwiches, cakes, brownies, fresh lemonade and afternoon tea !  To get a flavour of the atmosphere are a few images.    If you are dieting – please look away now !!

Novelty Party Cakes are available – ideal for children’s parties – such as these Monster Cupcakes !

Ladybird-themed Cakes

Also lovely brightly coloured Birthday Cakes

These are just a few examples of the many types of cakes and cupcakes available.  Visit Mrs P at The Olney Farmer’s Market.