Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Autumn colour

The light is slowly going. In fact this week, it has been non existent due to fog. I have already had to cancel one shoot because of the lack of it. The clocks are changing this weekend and I will loose another hour.

On a recent walk with Teddy I found the most amazing patch of autumnal plants. As I had some shoots arranged for the coming weeks. I knew it would be perfect, it the light was on my side.

Our first attempt at a shoot was on a Wednesday evening. I met the three siblings at the edge of the land. Their mother had booked the shoot as a present for their father for Christmas. It had been hard to arrange a time when all three of them were able to be together for a shoot. Rachel the youngest is at University In Scotland and was only home for a few days, before Christmas.

As we met up, the sky darkened and after just 30 minutes the heavens opened and we had to make a run for it. So I only managed a few shoots.

The following Saturday morning was the only remaining time they were able to get together. It was a beautiful, crisp sunny morning. Not the golden hour I was trying for on the first shoot, so it was a lot more work trying to deal with the strong sunlight.

Their mum is coming this weekend to watch a slide show of their edited shoot images, to make some product choices.

When I look out of the window at this moment, I cannot believe this was just a few weeks ago. It's like winter has really set in now. 

Moo cards

I finally crossed something of my to do list. It's been the top of my list for months, but I have been so busy I haven't had the time to do it.

I had read lots of great things about Moo business cards. Most of the photographers at the JinkyArt workshop used them as well and I finally got to see some in person.

What is particularly good about them for photographers, is you can put a different image son every card. It took a while to make different cards, but once I got the idea it was easy.

I choose to try out there 50 free first time business cards and their freebie pack of a sample of all their products. they come with the Moo. card logo on them, which I didn't see as a problem for my first order.

The quality of their products is amazing. Next time I would go for the rounded corner option.

In fact I love them so much, it has been hard giving them away.

They went down so well, I got six enquiries within 24 hours after I first got them.

Now I just have to try and complete some of the other 8, to do things on my list !

If anyone would like me to send them a business card and a price list, just drop me a line

Engagement shoot

It was a beautiful hot late summers day in September when my daughter invited me for afternoon tea to my favourite place in the world. The Orchard, Grantchester.

I knew that her boyfriend was going to be asking her to marry him within days, so as the light was so perfect, I took the opportunity to take some pictures of them together, which would serve as a memory of their engagement.

I am so glad I did. As Tasmin looked less than glamorous when he asked her. He was so nervous, he couldn't wait to a planned meal at a weekend away, and blurted it out as soon as they got to the cottage they were staying at.

I couldn't miss the opportunity to try my favourite photo from the shoot, as one of the new photo boxes my print company offers.
I ordered the smallest size at 8" x 6 ", as they are for displaying on the wall, and I am slowly running out of wall space.

The quality of them is amazing. I'm so pleased to be able to offer these to my clients. They even come in a box, so make beautiful Christmas gifts.

Craig's sister joined us, so I jumped at the chance to take some of them together. She has such stunning eyes.

As always, my favourite image from the shoot is a natural laughing shoot.

 I can never remember what it is I say to get the response's I do. But the majority of the time it is something naughty and shocking. 
It gets results every time !

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A wee little test

I just though I would have a play with writing a blog post on my iMac using blogger direct. What I see in front of me looks a lot different to the HTML confusion I used to see on my laptop years ago when I started.

So maybe blogging from an iMac will be easy after all.

Hallelujah !

And I though I would throw in an image I like from a recent photo-shoot I did.
Just to see how easy it is to add.

So far so good. As easy as writing a blog in Livewriter !

I'll go for another one then......

Oh this is toooo easy.....

I have to put the photos in at a smaller size than I would like, but I can play with that another day.

undfind camera lens bag


When I am on a shoot I use a Black rapid women's camera strap. It is one of the best things I have bought. It means I can walk around with my camera safely strapped at my side, leaving my hands free. On a shoot I usually have a lot of props, reflectors and stools to carry around, so I need all the hands I can have.


I also have around my neck my Expodisc, I use to set white balance readings. Essential to my style of shooting.


But the main problem comes when I want to change lenses. I leave my camera bag at home and pop all my lenses in to their own individual padded lens bags. But it gets very fiddly when I am thick grass in a meadow, rummaging through my huge bag of shoot needs I take with me.

I have watched with envy for a while all the photographers I admire in the States who use a Shootsac to hold their lenses. They are essential for wedding photographers, who really don’t have the time to carry around camera bags. They need to merge in with the wedding party. As our time was nearing for our trip to India.




I started to realise such an item would be great on our trip as well as for shoots. Their bags hold two lenses, right up to my huge 70-200mm lens. They have an extra 4 pockets to carry smaller items. That means I could have three lenses with me at all times, within a moments reach.  The bags are made of strong, light stretchable neoprene fabric and you can even buy interchangeable covers.

But the problem was the exorbitant price of The Shootsac $180. She pretty much has the market locked down. But one day I came across the UNDFIND waist shooter . At $80 the bags are much cheaper, and really do exactly the same thing. The great thing is they are slightly smaller, as they only have two pockets as apposed to the 6 the Shootsac has. The Shootsac is designed to really only have two lenses in the pockets, just like the UNDfind bag. The extra pockets are just for things like flashes and keys. The Shoot sac just looks too bulky and big to have strapped across me. So the UNDFIND bags seems even better to carry around, in my opinion. I need things as light as I can , because of my previous back problems.


The great thing about using it in India is it doesn’t  look remotely like a camera bag. Just a trendy over the body, leather bag. I ordered one from B&H for Hubby to pick up in Chicago on his last trip. I went with the black leather cover and may add a colourful limited edition one at a later date.


They have 2 zip able pockets on the inside flap, that I keep my extra CF cards and batteries in. I’ll be able to keep money and hand sanitizer in there as well on our trip.

The great thing about the UNDFIND waist shooter, is it comes with a detachable strap and also comes with strong Velcro straps on the back so that you can wear it on a belt around your waist as well. Great for men, who wouldn’t want to be wearing a “bag”.



I just LOVE it and put it straight to work on shoots.

If only I could find something to strap to myself to hold a reflector at the perfect angle. Then everything would be sorted. But boy how stupid would I look !

Smash book- India


K&Co are one of my favourite scrapbook companies, so when they bought out their new SMASH books, I was very excited.

The only thing was I didn’t want to use them as inspiration books, as they are intended. I knew I wanted to use them as mini scrapbooks and that they would be perfect for my trip to India.


I set to decorating it yesterday.  The colours look very Indian to me. I am trying to use as much of my old supplies as possible at the moment.

It took me hours choosing one of the editions when I was in Archivers in Chicago. I settled on the Retro version. The pre printed inspiration pages, seemed to match the best with what I hope we will experience in India. There are pages for journaling about hotels, food and the colours inside were perfect. Any that weren’t I have covered with more appropriate papers.


I filled an added pocket with lots of journaling cards to complete on the trip. Plus a 6x4 photo to use as a template, for where I expect any images to go. This means I can do any writing in the moment, and add my photos later. I added some page tabs and decoration to some of the pages.


I’ve added envelopes and pockets throughout to add any ephemera as we travel. The red spotty envelope was an envelope from a card I received for my birthday. I kept it in my stash to use for this project all year.


This is one of the pre printed pages I added an extra “wow” embellishment to. It should be perfect for a page with a Taj Mahal photo.

So the Smash book is packed now in the suitcase, ready for our adventure.

I sorted through all my warmer weather clothes, trying to choose appropriate clothes for 90*+ weather. I also need to keep covered up, from mosquitos and be comfy for the massive distances we are going to be covering.


I bunged in a really old, light packable evening style dress, just in case I feel I need to dress up one evening. I’ve had it about 15 years and just about still fit in it. The other clothes I have picked are all extremely comfy and most importantly interchangeable together. I normally end up buying a lot of clothes abroad, and wearing them instead of what I bring out anyway .

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Tigers and the Taj

In a few weeks time, I will be in a different world. With no doubt all my senses on full alert. After the success of my operation last year. I had wanted to return to the old me. I used to love to travel and explore, exciting new places. Whilst I was ill, I struggled with the trips we took. In fact, some of them are our worst memories of that time. I couldn’t even visit our apartment in Spain this year, because of the memories.

A trip to China was also cancelled during that time, and we thought about rebooking this year. But I wanted to do a more exciting trip, so we booked a small tour of India, taking in lots of key sights and lots of wildlife to keep Hubby happy. After hours of deliberation we settled on a trip ( like this) that includes lots of tiger safari's, a train trip and luxury hotels added to all the famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal.


But unknown to us last July, all visits to see the tigers in India were stopped by a court order. So the tigers part and the train were removed from our itinerary. The carefully chosen hotels went out of the window, as the tour was changed . It looked like we were going to be staying here, at a hotel that can only be compared to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. phoca_thumb_l_1

We would be eating with the Maharajah and taking a step back in time to the 1930’s .

So after the disappointment and uncertainty, we decided we were still going to go ahead with the trip.

Imagine my surprise when I received our tickets yesterday, to find the Courts had removed the ban just the day before and our original itinerary was now in place.


Now begins my favourite part of any holiday, all the planning and packing. It’s going to be hard to choose suitable clothing. I always pack very light and this time I want to really par back what we are taking as part of our carefully chosen tour includes a walking tour of New Delhi with former street children. The Salaam Baalak Trust support and look after street children. Included in our tour package was a note that the trust would be grateful for any things we could donate for the children.


During a tour to the largest township in south Africa, Khayelitsha. I wasn’t expecting to take such a scary trip, deep into the township, but we did a private tour and where taken into schools and private homes.


I felt totally inadequate with the pens, sweets and bubbles we had bought the night before to take with us. To see the delight in the children's faces when the teacher had them come up one by one to be given a biro was heart-breaking.

So this time I would like to take a selection of the things they have asked for. If anyone has watched the recent TV programme about India, you will know how delighted the youngsters are with a “label”. One lad, was so proud of the worst copy of a Man Utd football shirt I had ever seen. So I have put a shoot out on Facebook for some nice clothes and I will be looking for some small toys, and bits and bobs to pack the cases out with. The only problem is, the tour is on our last day of our tour, so we will have to travel around with all the donations in our bags for the entire trip. And let’s put it this way, my husband isn’t in any way as charitable as I am. But he will be the first one with tears in his eyes, listening to the children when they talk about their lives. I said to him it is better to give than receive. To which he came back with the expected sexual comment !

I was delighted to find out this week we don’t need to take any malaria medication, just preventative measures. However I found out we are best to have a cocktail of immunisations. So we lucked out when I didn’t have them at the travel clinic I was referred to by my GP. (They cost a fortune and I knew hubby was very reluctant, as all his workmates go to India with no preventative health measures.) I told the clinic I would check with my GP surgery to see if they would give them to us on the NHS, and bingo we can. So we saved ourselves a small fortune.

I will share with you later, what scrapping supplies I am taking with me to journal our trip. I have also bought an amazing camera lens bag, that I want to share with you, that is perfect for shoots and traveling.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Definitions of success


Some people need to “be somebody” or have people recognise their talents. I have never been one of these people. I know I have lots of secret talents, and I don’t need other people to give me accolades or money for them.

I read a blog post by Brooke Snow the other day that really resonated with me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it all day and night. I used to read Brookes blog as she is an amazing photographer and I have wanted to take one of her classes. But recently she has given up most of her photography work, as she wants more time for herself and her family.

The article was written by Sarah J. Bray in the Going Pro magazine.  I downloaded the magazine to have a better read. Now me and Sarah are in others ways very different. But her words on her definition of success,  made me stop and think.

Sarah says, “My definition of success is that I enjoy an abundance of space in my life. Space in my time. Space in my finances. Space in my relationships. I don’t want to feel squeezed and pressured. Anything that makes me feel that way is not success for me.”

That has always been my mission in life. That is were I am at at this moment with my photography business. I am lucky in that I do need need to work, financially. Yes, I am sure I could find many things I could want to buy. But I feel I do not need these things really. I think once you have the finances to buy pretty much anything you want. You quickly realise, you don’t really want it anyway.  What I can’t buy is peace of mind and time. I have always tried to work in my life with these two things upper most in my mind.

If I’m not happy, my whole family knows about it. They like a happy, at peace Mum. I get stressed very easily, because I have such high expectations of myself, and I always strive for perfection. 

So, at the moment there is no website for me, pushing myself out there in the Web. No Facebook page for my photography business. I just sit back and wait, for my work to do the talking. No marketing strategies, or networking. That’s really not my style and would eat into my precious time. My time is currently spent, how I want to spend it. Just perfect.

And if and when the day comes when the phone doesn’t ring about a potential photography shoot. No problem, I’ll just have more time to do other things.

Its just lovely to share my photography with people who maybe wouldn’t have had the chance of a photo shoot in my style. I have kept my prices very low. Each shoot  I try and keep personal to the families. I still can’t bring myself to charge for my time, it’s something I still want to give away for free. Which always shocks people.

Maybe, one day I will have a need for financial gain and will have to change my strategy. But seeing's I have no debts and nothing I wish to buy. I am happy  with my definition of success.




I am finding getting back into this blogging lark on my old laptop hard going. I will have to try out Trevor's previous comment on my last blog. I used to use blogger to write my posts. But I found it too complicated and layered. It took up too much of my TIME. Whilst doing a blogging course with Shimelle Laine, I discovered Livewriter and loved it. It’s so super easy. Maybe I will have to look into going back to writing blogs in Blogger. The main problem being it doesn’t recognise me. I didn’t used to have an email account. So I used what is now a defunct one of my husbands. My blog never recognises me and I have to impersonate him. ( not a good look ) I have tried everything to be just myself, but it just gives me grief. I’ll have to give it another go on my super fast iMac. Because this cute, pink Sony laptop now does my brain in.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Big apologies

a huge apology for not blogging recently. The truth is I have just been toooo busy. Blogging is on every list of jobs to do, I write every day. But I have recently gone over to the other side.

The other side, being Mac.

For a few months I was continuing to edit via my Sony laptop and a calibrated monitor. Sat right next to it was a new iMac. It was a steep learning curve for me. I am not very computer savvy and working on them, doesn’t come naturally to me. Luckily my son has always used a Mac, so he was always at the end of the phone to pop round to help me with any difficulties I was having. But he has recently moved to Dubai, UAE. So I am all on my own now, with my Mac.

I took the big step, and put my laptop away in a drawer, and I have been doing all my recent photo shoot editing, on the Mac only.

The main problem with a Mac is, there isn’t really a great blog writing platform out there. I have used Windows Livewriter  for years. It is free and effortlessly easy. I tried an app for writing blogs on my iPad, but it’s nowhere near as good as Livewriter. Can anyone out there recommend a workable app, they think I would find super easy. Because my laptop now stays in a drawer. and is so much slower to work on than the Mac’s, I never seem to get around to blogging.

I have been shooting non stop since my last blog, and have so many shoots to share with you.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of our own lives. We have had two major events in our family recently.

Firstly my son has moved to live and work in Dubai. Before he left I begged him to have one last shoot for me. I wanted pictures of him and his girlfriend to include in my yearly photo book.



and then my daughter went and got engaged to her boyfriend of 5 years.


They bought the Teddy as a reminder of the day. So he had to be included in their engagement photo.

Tasmin choose to have a family ring as her engagement ring. It had belonged to my Great Aunt. She would be so please to know that Tasmin was going to be wearing it for the rest of her life.

IMG_5961 web

I apologise for the unedited pictures. The edited ones are all on my Mac. See what I mean about how complicated it is getting about blogging.

I need to be able to blog from just one computer, that has everything on it.


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