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4 Merits, 3 Finalists, 2 Awards and a Masters!

This past week at the Societies of Photographers Convention in London was just about perfect in every way. As always I look forward to this event with mixed emotions. As a judge and speaker anxiety levels can be high. And I always know that through both working and socialising it can be an exhausting experience that is often hard to get through. However the high I finish on is simply incredible and worth all the sleepless nights and hard work, in large part due to the incredible people with whom I get to spend this week.

(Photo Credit: Mike McNamee - Sitting on a panel)
(Photo Credit: Mike McNamee - The entire judging team including print handlers)
Being amongst the judging team just gets better and better each year. It is very intimidating sitting on that panel and being resposible for assigning a score and then often providing a critique to substantiate it however the rewarding feeling when doing it well is immense. I know I am still a relatively new judge but hope I can improve each…
Recent posts

A Most Wonderful Portrait Session with 3 Lovely Ladies

This was a dream session for me. Not only did I have 3 beautiful young ladies, but they also brought with them a fantastic wardrobe and their very own hair stylist too (mum owns her own salon). So all the elements for beautiful portraits were there. And I was thrilled to get this opportunity.


Its easy to think of having portraits when you have a new baby or when you get married or have a special family occasion where you get the entire family portrait done. But its less often that people think of having their growing children photographed. After all I suppose, they are photographed at school. I even do some of those school photographs. However, those portraits are made in less than a minute per child and they are assembly line style portraits while they are wearing their school uniform. They are never going to be as special as what can be created with unlimited time and outfit changes in the comfort of a private studio.


Its in this environment that I can take the time to talk to the …

Another Lovely Teenage Portrait Shoot

As I've been saying for a while now, this is my current favourite age group. Although I still love children of all ages I just feel most comfortable working with older children and really want to encourage more families to have their older children photographed. This to me is just as important an age as the earlier years as now they are actually leaving childhood behind and becoming fully fledged adults. Its a real milestone in their growing up. I had photographs taken at the same time of my life and I cherish them, although mine were much more traditional in nature.


As per usual we discussed before hand the type of portraits we could create. This young lady also plays guitar so of course I had to do some shots with it. Including such props helps them to be themselves and enables me to capture them just playing (or pretending to play) which means they can be very comfortable and not worrying about the camera or how they look.


I love the way the light is falling on her face in the …

School Photos Are Not As Easy as You'd Think

Every year I do a load of school portraits and I rarely get the chance to share them as I never share anything without permission. Gaining permission is just that bit more difficult when you don't meet face to face with many parents. So I just don't bother. But this year I thought I'd give it a go and get some permissions as they are just too lovely not to share.

(You know you got it right when you show Mum and she gets tears in her eyes - this family has been coming to me for years now and I love watching them grow) 
School portraits give me a chance to work very differently than usual. In some ways its not how I like to work at all but in others its a chance for a little freedom. You see for me, I like to be a perfectionist with my work. And being such can be draining. This usually means creating just a few really great portraits for my studio clients and having all the time in the world in which to do so. With school portraits on the other hand, there is only so much I c…

Chicago (the Musical) Inspired Portraits

Every now and again I like to do some portraits for personal growth. I use this time to try new things and to just have fun in the studio. Ashleigh is one of my daughter's dance teachers and someone who helped me come up with posing ideas for Kenzie when she modeled for me on the Bowens stand at the Photography Show back in March. So I thought why not invite Ashleigh in to do some dance portraits for her. And this is what we came up with.

Ashleigh not only teaches but still performs regularly and is currently preparing for this season's Panto down south. So when it came to her portraits we wanted something that both suited her style and would lend itself well to something a little dramatic. The first thing that came to mind for Ashleigh was Chicago. So some searching online for inspiration and this is where it got us.


My vision involved black and white, high contrast, spot lights and smoke. Seeing as it was my first time using smoke pellets I have to say I am quite pleased wit…

Family Portraits with Fine Art Flair

I have a love and hate relationship with family portraits. I love the finished piece and creating something that is truly special to the family. I love that in years to come something I made is going to be a cherished and valueable memento for this family. What I struggle with, is getting all members of the group to look their best at exactly the same moment in time. You would be surprised at how difficult this actually is, particularly when it comes to 6 children. But I always get there in the end, whether it is the luck of a moment or with the aid of Photoshop. I ensure that everyone in the portrait is looking their best, even the dog.


Seeing as this family is actually made up now of two families we also did portraits in their respective groups which I chose to do in different style to their main group. I love adding a bit of style for the overall main group and what you see above is something that is proving popular with my clients. I love adding props and giving a sort of Vanity F…

I am Still Me: A Story about a Transgender Boy

Meet Leo. Leo is 15 and currently going through an epic transformation that has momentarily turned the lives of himself and those around him upside down. A mum who once had the daughter she always longed for is now coping with the realisation that she will be living the rest of her life with a son instead. When your child is born you have certain expectations of the typical life they will lead but most of us know and accept that it won't necessarily end up the way we imagine. Not every person wants to marry, have kids or be involved with the opposite sex. Most of us have come to accept this and can adjust to whatever comes our way relatively easily. But few of us have expected to have to deal with a change in sex. Its not that we've hoped it won't happen, but just that it never occurred to us that it might. This is a new adjustment that we as a society are being presented with today, just like so many others that have come before.


When I first heard that Phoebe was transi…