Posts tagged with "photography"

Learning to love low light

A visit to the Rezzed convention last year presented me with the most dreaded of photography environments – low light (or in this case, NO light!)

Panic aside, knowing your camera and what it’s capable of can produce some pretty awesome atmospheric shots that capture the mood of the scene. And no, you can’t use the flash, it will bleach any colour and atmosphere clean out of your shot and leave really heavy shadows.

Flash is a NO-NO!

Bump up the ISO, keep your shutter speed around 1/160 (as with all photography – test shots and practice will indicate the best setting for the environment), drop the F stop to as low as you can taking into account you will have a lot of depth of field and therefore need much more control over the focal point, cradle the camera and lens and shoot away.

Low light photography at Rezzed by The Scrapbooker

Video gamers deep in concentration and play mode, captured.

Canon EOS 40D | Canon 1.6 50mm Prime lens | ISO 1600 | F1.6 | 1/160

Job done!

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Showing them how it’s done

A couple of years ago, a couple I knew invited me to take photos of them with their newborn baby boy, James. He was their first child and considering both parents hated having their photos taken, it was an honour to be asked. James was a darling – crying very little and behaving absolutely perfectly. The photos were a success and rewarded both the couple and myself with some super sweet photos.

This Spring, the couple welcomed their 2nd baby, Jessica. I was again asked to take some photographs of them all. This time, it would not be so easy. James, of course, is now 2 and with that, as any parent will testify, comes many changes in the dynamics of a home; add to this a new baby sister getting all the attention and the game plan changes completely. He, naturally, wanted all the attention. It was a difficult session – more so for the parents as they tried to get the shots they wanted whilst keeping James both amused and attentive. It is a common theme when photographing families but with a little patience and perseverance, some lovely shots can be achieved.

After we reviewed the first lot of photos, it was decided that a second session be booked. I set up a mock studio in the house and the family arrived. James was on form but reluctant to sit for me – luckily I had my secret weapon with me, my daughter Greta. She has been unfortunate enough to have a camera pointed at her since she was born and outside of a particularly bad mood, will pose for me just about any time I need her too. She brought down her tub of cars for James to play with, took her seat in front of the camera and promptly smiled.

He was in awe of her. He climbed up on the seat and just sat and watched her pose and smile, and I… well, I got to take this little beauty.

This didn’t make it into their album but it certainly made it onto my gallery! Greta was duly rewarded.

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Why I love photographing ballerinas

It’s no secret how much I enjoy photographing children – I’ve talked about this many times (and at length) on my blog. But my absolute favorite models for my photography are ballerinas. There is something completely captivating about an elegant, gamine but beautiful girl wearing a pretty and colourful ballet costume and theatrical make-up. For a photographer, they are the perfect muse – their long neck and limbs and the way they hold and use their body accentuates light, shadow and form beautifully.

I was fortunate enough to photograph a friend’s daughter last year as she embarked on her application to the Royal Ballet School (a successful one at that)

photos which I later transformed into a gorgeous PhotoArt piece. This week I had the opportunity to photograph another young ballet dancer and danseur in a dress rehearsal for Sleeping Beauty at The Crescent Theatre in Birmingham. It was a favour to a very good friend but being given the opportunity to photograph another ballerina was just too good to pass up.

After a brief text conversation with one of the Mums, I decided to go with the oxford blue backdrop I have from Creativity Backgrounds which turned out to be an inspired choice (much to my relief). I had never met the ballerina before so we didn’t have any time to get to know each other. It was also a very hurried affair in a small space and with a small 1.35m backdrop. I had no idea what the parents wanted out of it so we just kind of went with it.

The result were just fab ….















the ballerina was beautiful and made my job an absolute joy

When I look back over the hour or so that we were together, I can reflect on how quickly this pretty ballerina responded to my requests. Dancers are very conscious of their bodies and are accustomed to taking direction from choreographers and alike on a regular basis – this is of enormous benefit to a photographer.

We didn’t have any time at all but by the end of this very brief session, I had some fantastic photos and even (maybe) a promise of borrowing her for a couple of hours or so in a studio.

I can’t tell you how exciting that prospect is!

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The highs and lows of school photography

Some of you may or may not be aware that I have a little photography business going on as well as my Scrapbooker site. I don’t do any major advertising for it and rely mostly on referrals and word of mouth. This works great for me as I get to pretty much pick and choose the projects I want to get involved in.

My youngest daughter attends a fantastic school in Birmingham and my involvement with them on a professional basis has increased over the last 3 years, culminating in a request for me to take their school photos this year. Of course I said yes, but I have to admit, the whole project filled me with fear – their school children range from 6 months to 16 years!

Never work with children or animals, my father used to tell me – bit late for that. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking photos of children – there is something so captivating about capturing their innocence, naivety and fun; but taking school photos is a completely different animal. You don’t get an hour to play with lighting or angles, you don’t get a arming up session where the children get to know you and be comfortable with you and  you don’t get to make the slight adjustments to their posture, pose or facial expression. You get 1/2 hour set-up and about 15 seconds per child, most of that is taken up with seating them correctly, straightening their clothes and attempting to make them smile (of sorts) – they hardly have time to warm the seat!

All things said though, it was enormous fun, albeit exhausting, and has given me a new-found respect for school photographers. We did get some fantastic shots, especially the friendship shots we offered some of the seniors, and the shots of some of the babies and toddlers, although tasking, rewarded us (and the Mums) with some rare photographs of their children actually smiling and not crying. Clearly a result.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! The rewards, both financially and professionally, are well worth it, especially if you are prepared to work long, hard hours and have your patience tested to the max! But I would definitely do some things differently, and that for me is what photography is all about – learning from your experiences and fine tuning them for next time – that is, of course, should there ever be a next time!

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All Boy WordArt

I love how ideas for new products can suddenly come to fruition after months of hibernation. I’d been thinking about a large ‘Boy’ WordArt theme for sometime. I’d already designed and produced a smaller version in my All About A boy range …

but the more I worked on the Quintessentially  range – the bigger stuff, the more I thought about making these MUCH bigger. Not only can you get loads more words on the page, being able to incorporate photos was an added bonus.

With Christmas fast approaching last year I was forced to pull a few designs quickly out of the bag and so set to work – this was one of the first designs to emerge …

This young man’s Dad furnished me with a lot of words so getting them all on was tricky but not impossible – it just took a little extra time and planning. I kept all the photos to black and white (which is what I do for ALL my WordArt and PhotoArt pieces) it allows for so much more freedom when it comes to choosing typography colour schemes.

The end result? I was happy, Dad was happy and from what I can gather, boy was happy – so nice when that happens!

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Dreams really do come true

To say that Greta (my youngest daughter) has a passion for all things Harry Potter would be an understatement – especially Hermione Granger and her straight blonde hair (Greta has very curly hair).

Back in September we were asked, as we are every year, to a friend’s house for her son’s birthday party – always an event as this involves fancy dress, treasure hunts around a beautiful rambling Victorian garden, log fires and marshmallows! The theme this year was fantasy so no prizes who Greta wanted to dress up as. As a special treat I did the unthinkable in our house and straightened her hair – she was ecstatic!

With newly straightened hair, cape and tie on and wand in hand, she posed proudly for me as ‘Hermione Granger’ – aahh a dream come true!

She was one very happy 6-year-old for days after, and so was I! She got to look like Hermione Granger for the day … and I got a fab photo for my Gingerlily portfolio. Happy days!

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Ballerina PhotoArt

Last year, a good friend commissioned me to photograph her very talented daughter in various ballet poses as part of her application to the Royal Ballet School in London. During the shoot, I took full advantage of the time, and of a very beautiful, elegant young lady, and took some rather wonderful portraits of her as well – much to her Mum’s delight.

To add to her delight further, I created this gorgeous PhotoArt piece using the photos – a little visual reminder of her daughter who is now, happily boarding at the Royal Ballet School but who is, sadly, missed very much by her mum.

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Storybook Wedding album – testimonial

As part of my photographic business I sometimes get asked to design wedding albums using photographs provided by another photographer. I was recently asked to do just this for a client in Brookline, Massachusetts. After a few days editing and cleaning up the photos, designing the layout, printing and placing the prints into a gorgeous Mario Acerboni album, I packed it off Express Delivery to America and breathed a sigh of relief when it finally arrived 7 days later (proving that shipping to the States can sometimes be problematic).


You can imagine how delighted I was to receive this pretty little card a few days later thanking me for the album. It’s a simple but thoughtful gesture that reminds me how important my work is to my clients and how lucky I am to do the job I do!

Read the testimonial 

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Using your home to promote your business

Whenever a client calls at the house, the first thing they always comment on is the large (and I mean LARGE!) creative canvas hung on the wall in the dining room – it is 36″ x 24″ and is of my darling 5-year-old DD…

Its reason for being there is three-fold. Firstly, I love the canvas (in fact I love it so much it forms the basis of nearly all my advertising postcards and leaflets), secondly, it looks fabulous against the rich red walls, and thirdly, when clients visit me and are waiting for me to make them their tea/coffee, they casually walk around the dining room browsing the quirky paintings, drawings, photos, paper crafts and arty bits and pieces that are on display. The canvas always attracts attention. I have sold more creative canvases this way than any other form of advertising or marketing.

A neighbour was in our home for a BBQ last year and fell in love with it too; she booked a photo shoot with her 2 gorgeous kids, ordered an album, several prints, a framed montage, and this week, on the back-end of that initial enquiry, a creative canvas – this one is 30″ x 20″. Simply gorgeous.

Opening your home up to clients can be tricky, you always have to have it looking clean and tidy and smelling sweet for a start! (I was up at 6.30 this morning doing just that as I had a client meeting me at the house straight after the school run). But it also has huge advantages; being able to work around my kids’ timetables and my husband’s job, being able to dash upstairs to grab a client’s file and discuss their requirements whilst stirring a risotto also has its merits. More significantly, it allows me to adorn my home with my unique personalised pieces, whether it be photos, canvases, paper, photo and word art montages, paper crafts, hand-made books and ornaments – even knitted handbags (yes, I have been known to don a pair of knitting needles). It also allows my clients to view items ‘in situ’, not in some cold, white-walled, impersonal studio. Framed photos and prints line my walls, stairways and hall, canvases sit on shelves and are hung from walls, albums, WordArt, PaperArt and PhotoArt pieces are casually placed around the house along with handmade books and arty pieces. All are used and looked at and ‘lived in’ within my home – this, in my opinion, is why I get the response I do from clients.

To prove a point, my client (from the school run this morning), booked a photo shoot, placed an order for a 36″ x 24″ creative canvas and asked whether I would be interested in running a craft afternoon for her daughter’s forthcoming birthday bash – all this, before I had even passed her her coffee.

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Been so long….

I can hardly believe that it has been nearly 12 months since my last post. It has been one very busy and very manic year, especially coming up to Christmas. I swear there must have been someone walking around London with a big placard advertising my little company.

Lots has happened too on the home front, Amber spent most of the year out from racing due to a fractured foot but is now up and running again. Greta has taken up Street dancing and has been involved with 2 stage shows – you can see her here at the Positive Steps Dance Showcase at the CBSO Theatre, Birmingham strutting her stuff – she’s the one in the cap!

I have been really busy with weddings, photographic shoots, craft courses and scrapbook albums for most of the year and will be posting the results later this week. It has been amazing to see how it has grown from strength to strength over the past few months.

There has also been a new addition to the Etsy pages and Facebook pages to incorporate my crafts. Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook HERE and Etsy HERE. Will keep you posted on developments this week as I try to bring everything up to date – phew!

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