Sunday, 26 February 2012

Engagement shoot.

For some reason I have forgotten to blog about the engagement shoot I did over Christmas.  A friends daughter wanted me to photograph her upcoming wedding. Now, wedding are not my most favourite events. In fact, I find them and Christenings dead boring. This one was going to be in an old fort in Cornwall.  here

Now that dark, old fort was enough to give me nightmares. No natural light at all. How would I be able to photograph a wedding in there ? A lovely beach, but they don’t want to be away from their wedding party for long.

I put together a Pinterest board and started collecting lots of wedding blogs to read.

Anyway, I offered them an engagement shoot to see what I’m all about.


Here’s the entire shoot. I choose a perfect location. It massively helped that the shops were all shut because of Christmas and it gave us the whole place to shoot in.




They didn’t like their pictures edited and wanted them just as I shot them.

A compliment I know, but one I wasn’t too happy about. Her mum knows me well and knew I would be pissed off about that.

Especially as I had already spent over a day editing some of them.

In can easily take me 30 minutes to do one image. I don’t think people realise how long something like that can take.


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I got to try out some of the poses I saw and saved in Pinterest, as you can see in my shutterfly album  of the shoot.

I knew the wedding would give me lots of nightmares leading up to September. Weddings are not something I would ever want to get into photographing. I like individual shots and particularly close ups. That's my style. A wedding is all about couples and groups.  The complete opposite of what I like.

I sat for three whole nights until past 1am watching a live video feed of Zach and Jody showing the World how they shoot weddings and I decided this isn’t for me. So I had to tell the bride to be ( well her mum) that I wasn’t the photographer for them. I would want to give them perfection. Second best isn’t good enough for a wedding.

Phew the relief, I can now look forward to September and the travel I can now embark on.

window dressing

was something I was always interested in doing when I was at school. I even went and looked around a college that you could take the course in. But I had no desire to drive, and didn’t until I was 25+. So I couldn’t work out how I was going to get there. It turned out my first choice of career in make-up was also to be put on hold for another 10 years after leaving school.

But styling things has always been my passion. Every day I style each room and set them, as if they are about to be in a magazine. Even though I know, that no one is going to see them. My house is styled for much longer than me. I couldn't care less what I look like. The only time I have ever left my home in a mess , was the day I happened to be burgled and the police had to photograph the rooms. I was mortified !! Bloody typical.

My bedroom back in the house I grew up in, was always immaculate. Every Saturday I would tidy everything within an inch of it’s life. Every piece of clothing was on its correctly numbered hanger. (My sister stole my clothes !) So as I have gotten older and my own style of designing my homes has evolved , people always ask me for advice about their own homes. I often get asked why I don’t do interior design as an occupation. But I just feel I would hate to have to compromise on my ideas and I doubt people would want to go along with everything I choose. And they would have to for me to feel fulfilled.


So recently I have spent time at my friends large Manor House. She recently took it over after her MIL died. Years ago, I nursed her mother and then later became her friend and general dogs body. We have such similar eclectic colourful taste in clothes and interiors. But there the similarities end. She finds it hard to throw anything away. And buys far toooooooo much to fit in her rooms. Now she has 7 bedrooms and too many other rooms to mention. Lets just say the house is rather large (and full).

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She asked me if I would be willing to photograph and style all of the bedrooms and some of the downstairs rooms. They are hoping to rent some of the bedrooms out for the Olympics and for B & B. Her son had already photographed the rooms and put them on a website. HERE. (you will notice he used one of my photographs from the fox hunt I took there recently  )

I was horrified when I saw the website. Who would ever want to stay in rooms that looked like that ?

Now you tell me, did I make the rooms look more desirable ?

We filled her car with props from my home and I got down to hours of hard work. Moving furniture, dusting and remaking LOADS of beds…..

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Now it was weird styling some of the rooms , as when I moved homes, there were things I no longer needed or felt suited my new Edwardian house. Trish bought most of my old furnishings from me. We had lots of the same fabrics. So some of my old curtains were made into blinds for her. Again people who have been to my past homes may recognise my props from this home and things I sold on to Trish.

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Recognise that chair or all the handmade ( by me ) cushions ?







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Does anyone remember this beautiful elephant print from Jane Churchill  I had in two of my previous homes.. I still LOVE it to this day.



Even her morning room got a quick makeover whilst Trish was cooking me some lunch.

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Lets just say being tidy isn’t one of Trish's strong points……

And then I piled a huge mountain of cushions up behind me and did a quick shot of her drawing room.


In fact I wish I had done some pull back shots of the mess behind me in each shot. I have to keep telling poor Trish that sometimes less is more. And that it’s time to throw away some of those old dirty cushions from 18 years ago !! Believe me I know the second I left that beautiful home, all the clutter was returned to the rooms.

So did you check out some of the rooms before on here ? Didn’t I work my bollocks off.

Well if I had some !

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Old trades

come in handy, once in a while. I am a full trained, make up artist. So when I have shoots, it’s handy that I can do my models make up or make sure even if they like to look natural, that they look at their best.

I also like to shoot people in colourful clothing if possible. I envy some of the American photographers I follow. They check out their clients wardrobes before a shoot or give them clothing they recommend they should go and buy. I just could never see that happening here. The fact that people aren’t really even into having the whole shoot thing in the first place. If I then told them I would like them to go any buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes, I couldn’t see that going down too well. So I just tell my models to bring their bag of make up and a few changes of clothes, preferably with some colour going on. Maybe some hats or scarves or a colourful jacket.

By them bringing their own bag of make up, hopefully in amongst there, will be a foundation of sorts that suits their skin tone and a lippy they like to wear. If not, I usually have something that will suffice.

An old friend I shot last week, likes to look natural with her make up. So I applied a very low key look, that just makes her skin look fresher. I wish I had remembered to reapply her lippy later into the shoot, but hey I forgot !

Also as a beauty therapist I give the eyebrows a quick going over. I am anal about eyebrows. They are my big bug bear. I freak out when I see bad eyebrows on the TV.


Trish also has a large wart on the end of her nose and she mentioned that she gets teased about it. So it was a great opportunity to ask if she would like it edited to be less noticeable, which she did. Again it’s nice to make people look like the best of themselves they can be, without a bit of surgery.


Trish is also a heavy smoker , so I got to work lighting up her teeth and softening those tell tale lines around the mouth.


Want to know how I got that natural smile. I had her imagine her husband in an Ann Summers elephant truck posing pouch. Worked a treat !


We also had a play with a posing technique for getting crisp jaw lines. I still need a little work on that. I am so busy watching what is going on in my camera. But I still, always tried to shoot her in a flattering way for women.

Again for this shoot I got to play with setting custom white balance and playing with the different sides of a reflector. It was yet another very grey overcast afternoon here in the UK. Someone on Karen Russell's workshop asked if I always liked to shot my models underexposed. Hell no, I actually like over exposed photos. But it’s hard to get anything but grey overcast days for shoots at the moment.

We are on a two week rest from the course at the moment. Karen's husband is on his way home from Afghanistan, so she is taking a break to be with her family.

I have found the course not so challenging this time. Of course my photography has come on leaps and bounds since I last did the workshop. But I also miss some of my other classmates. They were more like me and my British ways and dry sense of humour. They “got” me a lot more. So I don’t participate as much as before, as I seem to offend people easily this time.

I know Antonia, me offend anyone, never !

But as everyone who knows me knows, I am not a sweetness and light kissy, kissy, love, love sort of person. If I think your pictures shit, I won’t exactly say it is, but I won’t say it’s great either.  I will just tell you where you went wrong or keep my big mouth shut!

Monday, 20 February 2012

King Henry VIIIs little pad.

Last year I ordered some tickets via Tesco's club card for a day out.

Every time I mentioned us going somewhere, Hubby refused to go as he couldn’t stand me moaning, laying down in the back of the car. So as we only had a week to go until they run out, we made our way to Hampton Court Palace. It was a beautiful sunny day. In fact I had to have my sunglasses on all day.

We couldn’t believe we didn’t have to pay a penny towards the entry fee.




We must be getting old, as we had a brilliant day out. Our arms were killing us, holding up our listening guides as we went around the Palace.


There were so many rooms to look at. We did all of Henry VIIIs rooms but just raced through William and Marys side of the Palace.


Of course we couldn’t miss out on the famous oldest maze in the World.



luckily we found our way out.

Here are some of my favourite photos I took on the day.

This one was for an assignment on focusing. I was trying back button focusing and recomposing. I really liked it and shall be trying it a lot more.



And I knew this one, was going to be great, the second I saw it through my camera.


A foxy lady.

A lot of you will have all ready seen these images over on my Facebook.

My friend Judith wanted to buy a Canon camera for her 14 year old daughter for Christmas. I gave her some advice of what I recommended. Judiths daughter, Phoebe asked if I would do another shoot with her over her school break. So she came to stay with me and we had a full day of photography. I left a huge pile of photography books next to her bed, for a spot of night time reading.

I woke her up early as we had a full day ahead of us. First stop was a lesson in all the numbers on the back of a camera and what they meant. Then with me and Teddy as her models, she got to put the lessons into practice.

Then we stopped for lunch and sorted out some props and headed to the nature reserve opposite my house. We were laden down with bags. It was a dull day, with a lot of overhead cloud, so we could pretty much shoot anywhere we wanted.

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An Amish hat from Wisconsin, binoculars and some fun glasses.

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and then we trudged through thick mud.

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to my secret little place. Tasmin had refused to climb through the undergrowth to get to it. But one look at it from Phoebe and she was up for it. The moss in there is amazing.

A man walking his dog, looked in at us as if we were mad.


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Taking photos is super easy when you have a co operative model.

Phoebe’s day finished off with a lesson in editing. We sat there editing away on our laptops until it was dark.

Judith, Phoebe mum asked me the next day, had I covered my assignment as I had wanted ?

Oh whoops, I had forgotten all about it ! Oh well, never mind…………

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Happy belated Valentines


I shared this over on Facebook and didn’t have time to blog it on the day, sorry.

I have found out where I inherited my photography skills from.  I always get cross when people say, I get all my talents from my mum. No one ever gives me credit for my own hard work. My mum always had a camera with her, as did her dad before her. So I think that is where I have got my lifelong love of photos.

But I think I must have inherited some of the Vincent genes from my dads side. Hubby went to see my Uncle George, my dads brother. He took a picture of Chris and it’s plain to see, his framing is unique.


That’s one for the family album.

I have been doing so well lately, that I have been getting very little discomfort. I think it has helped that I am now able to move a lot more. The pain in my sacrum has started to ease. I saw my physio last night and she has told me I no longer need to see her. She thinks I am well on my way and know my own body well. So I have exercises to do on a daily basis and I start back at Pilates next week.

Hubby was pleased as she cost £64 per half hour. Every time he saw my consultant he asked him, could I stop the physio. I expected I would be seeing her for a very long-time. so I was shocked and pleased when she signed me off last night.

I asked my consultant could I now fly, and would it be ok for me to travel to India later in the year. He said I’d have no problems. So we have all the books and just need to choose which tour to go with. It’s going to be great to travel again. We used to travel a lot, and I am determined we will again.

I get a weekly email from Travel Zoo . Each week I  check out some of the holidays on offer. Yesterday. two holidays caught my attention. One was a cruise on our cruise liner we holidayed on last November . This time it was going to be sailing around Japan and China. But what really caught my eye was a short break to Iceland.

Yep, Iceland.

It ticked a lot of boxes. Just 4 days. All prearranged tours and its called the ultimate tour of Iceland. We get to swim in a blue lagoon, see whales and waterfalls. It will keep both of us happy. So we booked it today. That’s another Country ticked off.


Queenies- Aldeburgh

For Hubbys 50th birthday I had wanted to go away to a cottage at the coast for the weekend. I had seen in a magazine a company called Grove Cottages. The cottages all looked amazing. I often find it hard to find anywhere to stay that is as nice as our home.

But there were 3 cottages in Aldeburgh, Suffolk that really drew my attention. Laundry cottage, Cissys cottage and the smallest of them all Queenies. They are all owned by Beverley and Martin and are right next to their stunning Queen Anne home.

It seemed perfect for us. It received amazing reviews and we booked it for the weekend. Little did we know when we booked it that the snow would come down. But actually it made all the scenery beautiful. It wasn’t like we were ever going to sit on the beach.

The light was amazing while we were there. It was only on our last day that a mist came down and the sky looked like it was going to snow again.


Now look what was waiting for us in the kitchen. A beautiful basket full of breakfast goodies.


All of it was top notch. But what really got me excited was the cake baked by Beverley waiting for us on the antique table.


I cannot say enough superlatives about this cake. We ate every last bit of it. We had it for breakfast, lunch and tea.

Everyday we had a huge cooked breakfast, with toast and bread and butter ! And of course followed by cake. We were stuffed for the entire day.



The cottage was beautiful inside and was full of antiques. It would make me proud if I owned and designed such a beautiful property. It was tiny and compact and reminded me of the cottage Cameron Diaz stays in in the film The Holiday.



The bedroom was in the eaves, up a wooden staircase.


I slept like a log in this bed. It was so cosy and warm up there, even though it was the coldest night of the year.


It had a roll top bath like we have at home. For the first time in two years I laid in a bath with a magazine and relaxed. I had no back or leg twinges at all. Bliss.


Right behind the cottages is a gate that leads to a wooded area. we had a walk around and a little robin followed us everywhere.. Unfortunately I had my 50mm on my camera instead of my zoom lens.


We returned the next morning, with my zoom lens on. But of course he didn’t return.

I cannot recommend these cottages enough and we certainly would love to return later in the year.

Here’s a link to a website telling you about all the amazing things Suffolk has to offer.


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