Portraits

Saville Row at Lords

On behalf of sponsors Chivas (and Campbell Bell Communications) I attended the first fashion event to ever be held at Lords Cricket Ground last month.  Nineteen Savile Row tailing houses showcased their style across one hundred outfits showcased in a live fashion show across the  Lord's Long Room and Pavillion. Models, friends and actors including Dougray Scott and journalist AA Gill were modelling the outfits.

My client Chivas were holding court in the Writing Room where they were serving  Chivas 12, 18 and 25 on the rocks plus cocktails on the roof terrace.

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James & Natasha's Engagement Shoot at The Hurlingham Club, London

What a treat to be able to wander around the private Hurlingham Club on the banks on the Thames in Fulham this morning.  It spreads over 42 acres so we only covered a small part of it but it's quintessentially English with it's grass tennis courts and bowling green. I photographed James' brother's wedding last summer before James' had even popped the question to Tash and was delighted to be asked to do their wedding this summer at Natasha's family home in Somerset.

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Photographing People

When I look at why I love photography I can clearly see the subjects that I am drawn to; people.  Whether that is people captured unawares expressing joy in a crowded party, a corporate portrait to help a person find a way of clearly representing who they are in a business capacity in a way that builds trust with their clients; a young family capturing the early moments of their life together or a woman bravely embracing her natural and honest beauty in a boudoir shoot - either for herself or for her partner. For me there is nothing more satisfying than have a client look at a picture that I have taken and knowing that they have shown a little part of themselves to me for maybe just a fleeting moment and recognising themselves in that.

I have had the privilege of working with so many fascinating people.  For my final college assignment years ago I chose to photograph people I knew in the arts, in their home or working environment.  Here are some of the pictures I took.  Some are more obvious in their vocation, others more subtle.  I hope you enjoy them.

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Thinking about having a photobooth at your wedding or party?

2013-04-11_0074 The photobooth has been around for a while and seems to be gathering pace as opposed to being a dying trend.  There are so many different types you can have from black taxis and passport photo booth style which print out pictures instantly through to more elaborate set ups with backdrops, furniture set and props.  You can make your own by providing a box of dress up, a polaroid camera, book and pen and theme the booth through your choice or props or backdrops.  You can either rummage in your local charity shops for props or companies such as Etsy

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Alternatively your photographer (i.e. me) may offer this as an optional addition to your package.

Here are a few reasons why I think photobooths work so well at weddings:

1.  They usually take place later in the evening when your guests are a little more, ahem, relaxed and in the full swing of the evening.  This means they will be ready to perform and it would be a shame not to catch your friends at their most entertaining and creative.

2.  Put a silly hat, wig or prop into someone's hand and suddenly the camera seems far less scary and your guests are more likely to pose for a photo rather than ducking into a camera-shy manoeuvre.

3.  The pictures provide a great momento for your guests of the evening.  I upload all of the images onto a private online gallery that your guests can view and order prints from.

4.  It's a source of interactive entertainment for participants and viewers alike throughout the evening.

5.  You can use chalk boards to have your guests write messages to the happy couple.

I really enjoy running a photobooth - it is a great opportunity to interact with the guests who I have been photographing all day and capture another side of them; relaxed, fun and often very silly!

Below are some examples of recent booths I've run including in a yurt at Lucy and Simon's wedding at Inshriach House (the team there went all out to help me decorate the yurt with some awesome props)  and those with the green curtain are from a wedding party at Shoreditch House.  I set up in a corner using what was available in the venue.

I always bring extra lighting and use my professional camera so that the images are as high quality as the rest of the images from the wedding.  The images can be edited for a more vintage style and are always supplied in colour and in black and white.

If you are booking me for your wedding then I will set up a photobooth for £250 for 1.5 hours after the first dance.  For stand alone photobooths for parties and other events I can provide a quote depending on length of time required and location.

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Some nudity...

Not last Christmas but the one before that, I was given a very special birthday present by a dear friend.  The gift was most unusual but so perfect - a half day shoot with the very talented Holly, or Ivory Flame.  I only recently managed to organise a shoot with her and supported by my team including stylist Caroline Williams, make-up artist Tori Harris and with me assisted by Luis Urena, we shot in a location which I have been dying to use for ages - the home of my friends, artists Molly Micklethwait and Rufus White in East London. We were ridiculously lucky with the weather and although freezing the sun burst through the windows creating the most beautiful light for many of the shots.  Holly was incredibly professional despite the cold and was a dream to shoot.  At one point I put down my camera and professed that I couldn't breath I was so excited.  I think that is the point at which you realise that you are the luckiest girl in the world to have discovered a job that you love so very much.

(if you are interested in using this location let me know and I'll put you in touch with Molly and Rufus)

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The Great Ormond Street Hospital Carol Service

I recently started working with a leading agency called Red Photographic and the first job I was assigned to was the 13th Great Ormond Street Hospital Carol Service in Knightsbridge, sponsored by Trailfinders.  Over 700 guests attended the concert in the beautiful St Pauls Church.  The concert featured performances from The Gallery Choir of Westminster Cathedral Choir and Tansy Bennett, plus readings from Downton Abbey creator Lord Julian Fellowes, Jonathan Pryce OBE, Penelope Wilton and John Standing.  Afterwards the guests headed across the road to The Berkeley Hotel to enjoy champagne and canapes and bid in the silent auction.  It really got me all Christmassy being part of the night - and for a fantastic cause as well.

It was truly a spectacular night for a first job with Red and I'm looking forward to much more this year.

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Hayley's Pregnancy Shoot

It's such a personal stage in a woman's life and it was a real privilege to have the opportunity to shoot Hayley only one day before he was born.  She was absolutely glowing and beautiful and we did the shoot in the comfort of her home using mainly natural light and the lovely space of the house.  Congratulations to her and Wes on their new arrival. I had the pleasure of shooting a heavily pregnant bride, Amber, in the summer at a gorgeous central London wedding.  For how to maintain your glamour whilst in the second trimester see the blog post here!

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Introducing an exciting new beer brand; Green & Pleasant

Last year I started working more closely with my filmmaker/photographer boyfriend, Christian Banfield of schmick tv.  When an old friend of his approached him to make the film for their new beer brand he put me forward for the photography, which was to take place at the same time.  After looking at my portfolio and particularly like the work I did at Seymour Oysters in Jersey and asked me to do their brand photography for use across a range of media. Fast forward quite quickly and a week so later we were setting off in the dark for the Green and Pleasant micro brewery near Burton-on-Trent in the midlands, the heartland of British brewing, with a small film crew.  Founders  Fleur Emery and Jamie Anley arrived, along with Mr Beebe the office pug to talk with enthusiasm about the development of their new product and the importance of the lands on which the brewery sit; for providing the right climate, natural conditions of good barley growing soil and immediately available natural spring waters.  To learn more about the beer take a look at the short film here and follow their progress on Facebook.

Fleur and Jamie are offering the chance for investors of anything from £10 upwards to get involved with the brand through Crowdcube and to own a part of this brand which promises to be heading in a very exciting direction!  I shall report back from the launch event featuring Rob da Bank in March...

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Yoga at Formentera Yoga

I have just returned from my second yoga retreat of the year with Jax. The first being in Morocco (you can read about it here) and this time at the main base for Formentera Yoga at the blissful Gecko Club. Having previously only been to Formentera for lunch on a past Ibiza trip I was delighted to have the opportunity to explore the island a little more. The beaches are Caribbean in their white sands and azure seas, and at this time of year it's warm but not crowded. This trip was more of a working holiday as Christian and I were planning a day long shoot for Formentera Yoga to provide them with new iconic images which were in line with their spiritual practices, whilst capturing the beauty of the island. We spent a couple of afternoons after morning yoga looking at locations - we were spoilt for choice with striking backdrops of lighthouses (La Mola), piers, woodland and of course the sea.
We were all so excited with the results. For me personally  it was an inspiring  learning process collaborating with Christian Banfield who is an experienced photographer and director as well as having Jax bring her own creativity, individuality and styling to the shoot.
In terms of the yoga - if I had the money and time I would come on retreat once a month. Listening at the end of the week to the group testimonials was moving - Jax had taken a group of individuals from all over the world and ranging from complete beginners to teachers themselves and unified them in a desire to feel happier, healthier and more alive and the tools to do so.  Her teaching had been 'life changing' as one beginner asserted. There were plenty of nods of affirmation to this comment - she had spoken to everyone's needs.
The perfect trip was finished off with a delicious meal thanks to Lana at Passion Cafe on Playa den Bossa opposite Space.
Writer Lucy Kite was on this trip writing an article about the retreat for the Mail on Sunday on 1st July and some of the images from the shoot will be used.  Lucy is a yoga teacher herself with similar philosophies to Jax so I don't doubt that the article will be anything but glowing.
Jax is going to be running a couple of taster sessions in London in Queens Park on 12th August.  Drop me a note if you are interested and I'll send you the details. 

Danny + Suzanne's Engagement Shoot at Wisley Gardens, Surrey

I first met up with Danny and Suzanne on a cold December evening back in 2010.  They had found me online and decided to book me.  Since I last met them I have done well over 40 weddings and happily they have been following my blog and have seen how my work has developed since they originally booked me.  But I love that they saw something in my work even back then when I was just really starting out, and in fact still at college when we met up (I may not have mentioned that at the time!) So, we met up on Wednesday morning, early so that I could rush to Bristol airport for my flight to Marseille, and spent a lovely couple of hours at Wisley Gardens, chatting about their plans for their wedding in Croydon, and then photographing in the blooming grounds before the bank holiday families started arriving.  The morning really confirmed how important it is for me that I genuinely like my clients; it hardly feels like work when I get to spend time with interesting and warm people who I would choose as friends.

Help me to photograph David Beckham!

I don't usually enter competitions, although I should, but I was tempted by this one currently being run by Adidas.  They are looking for someone to photograph David Beckham - what's not to like?  I prefer shooting women to be honest but I guess I could handle having Mr Beckham in front of my lens.  I've only been able to enter one picture and I chose one that I took of Jax on the recce shoot we did in Formentera recently.  The theme of the competition is 'Take the Stage' and I love the sense of freedom in this picture as Jax is taking the stage in a very intimate, expressive way. If you like the picture please help me have a chance in the competition by voting for me here before the competition closes on 27th May - you don't need to register, just enter your email address and dob.

Thanks!

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Nights at the theatre... (a Valentine's treat)

A little treat on Valentines day - some cute girls in their smalls.... I had a wonderful afternoon in Brighton last week at The Proud Ballroom shooting some very gorgeous and very talented burlesque dancers on a shoot organised by Melissa Love Design and Tigz Rice in conjunction with Joanne Fleming Design and She Said Boutique. Hair and make-up by Miss Honey Bear.

 

Oscar

I had a lovely email from an old client and friend yesterday; Nathalie.  I photographed Nathalie twice at the end of 2010.  Once when she was 4 months pregnant and then again when her gorgeously little boy Oscar was born and he was only 2 weeks old.  Nathalie's email reminded me that Oscar was already one now and ready for his next portrait shoot which I am so delighted to be doing.  It's a lovely aspect of my job that I get to meet and know families - and watch them grow.  Similarly I am fortunate to be shooting the weddings of two sisters of two different brides whose weddings I have photographed over the last couple of years.  It's always wonderful to follow and be part of the lives of my brides as their own families grow. A couple of pictures of Nathalie pregnant followed by Oscar aged 2 weeks... I'll have the updated versions by the end of March after our next session....

Family or baby portrait sessions are from £250 and include a couple of hours shooting time at c. 30 images on a disc for you to keep and print from.

An unusual birthday present

It was my birthday on Sunday and I had the most wonderful present from a good friend in the shape of the opportunity to shoot an absolutely gorgeous model.  When we were at the National Portrait Gallery to see the BP Portrait Prize exhibition earlier this year we were drawn to a beautiful nude which we were surprised to see that his uncle had collaborated on with the artist Louis Smith.  Fast forward six months and I receive a birthday message from Holly, the model, who has been booked by my friend for a half day shoot.

It's put a smile on my face and goes down as the most creative and thoughtful present of this year.  I can't wait to start planning an extra special shoot with her in the New Year.

Boudoir Shoot

I spent most of Saturday at Pout Studios in London photographing the beautiful Ruth for a boudoir series.  Whilst Ruth is obviously an experienced model, boudoir photography is becoming increasingly popular for pre-wedding shoots for brides-to-be, or as a present for partners or even just for women to have a beautiful keepsake of themselves.  It can be a hugely liberating experience and lots of fun to be pampered by hair and make-up artists before being shot tastefully in a series of gorgeous outfits.  These shots were taken in a studio but shoots can take place in your own home, or a hotel.  If you are interested in booking a session please email me for details.  If you book a session before Christmas (a great stocking filler...) then I am offering a complimentary album filled with your pictures.

Shooting dancers

A new challenge last week - facing November temperatures and shooting a couple of dancers outside.  I met Emelye at Camp Bestival in the summer - she gave me some wellies (she was working for Shuh) and I was working for Monkey Shoulder.  We swapped numbers and finally managed to meet up in Portsmouth for a shoot with her friend James. Pretty early in the shoot the police rolled up to say they had received a complaint from some locals about people 'prancing in their underwear'.  The police obviously didn't waste much time in coming to have a look.... once we promised that Emelye wouldn't be stripping down any further they let us continue without concern for further risk.

We started off at Knowle Village - a community village built around the old hospital buildings then ended up at Titchfield Abbey, the ruins of a 17th century abbey which was a gorgeous location.  Hair and make up by Tori Harris.  Delicious cupcakes for eleveneses baked by Emelye.

Mikey the Model Team/ScotCampus Winner

Over the last year or so Cathy at Model Team has been brilliant at letting me use the new models on her books for test shoots so I was more than happy to help out when she asked me if I would photograph the Fresher's Week winner of the Model Team & ScotCampus Magazine model search. I've shot a few weddings at One Devonshire Gardens, a Hotel Du Vin venue and was keen to do something more formal there as it's such a beautiful hotel (if it's good enough for Cheryl Cole...).  It rained all day non the previous weekend when I shot a wedding there but for our shoot it was gorgeous sunshine all morning providing lots of dappled light in the courtyard through the trees.  Mikey didn't enjoy the sunshine so much with his baby blue eyes being ultra sensitive - he kept his eyes shut most of the time until I shouted 'now'! as a prompt.  Made for a sultry scowl though...

We could have shot all day but we had to let Mikey head off into town to meet his patient girlfriend who was waiting to celebrate their 2 year anniversary.  I'm pretty happy with the results though.

Thanks to Alan Drummond who has recently gone from being friend to friend/assistant - he did an awesome job and I'm looking forward to him working with me at a wedding at the end of the month.  Hair and make-up was Sarah MacInnes.  Styling was a mish-mash of all of us as my favourite stylist Katy was rushed to hospital (she's ok now).  Who knew male styling was so difficult?!

Astrid

These are a few images I took of a model who answered an ad for a studio shoot. I wanted to create an Almodovar (Matador) inspired look which is the first image. The backdrop is a blown up matador poster. I loved what Alanna Lennox Coates did with her hair, and Rachel Helena Imrie did the make-up. Styling by Katie Nicholson.

Lucy Holland Smith || Handbag Designer

Lucy and I met at school in Somerset in our early teens and were friends for a few years before she moved away from our school. I have many happy memories of spending time at her lovely home. Unfortunately we lost touch and by the time she picked me up at her local station in the Cotswolds we calculated that it had been 17 years since we had last seen each other! We were soon reminiscing over tea and cake about school, people, her old cat Cherry Plum. Lucy is now a handbag designer and founder of Milo & Saint, and had me gushing over how gorgeous her bags are – they are all so very British in quality, style and even named after London streets. We took a few pics of Lucy then were quickly distracted by the love of her life her cat Woody…

The following images of some of Milo and Saint's handbags are taken from Lucy's website:

Portrait Project One: Kunle

Over the summer I undertook a personal portrait project.  On the back of my own transition from a career in marketing into a more creative world I was intrigued to explore some of the more creative people amongst my friends.  I was fascinated by their working environments and the spaces which inspired their work. It was a fabulous journey of discovery, as well as a delightful opportunity to hang out with some of my nearest and dearest plus get to know some more casual acquaintances better.  All were wonderfully hospitable and patient with me. I thought rather than do one post about all of them I would pick out a few and highlight the amazing creativity they have.  Today I’m going to talk about L. Adekunle Salami. One of the reasons I love London is that you never know where you might end up of an evening.  A few months ago I was passing through London and was finally able to take up frequent invitation from my friend Richard to attend a poetry night that he DJ’d at in Camden called Beat (Jack Kerouac introduced the phrase "Beat Generation" in 1948 to characterize a perceived underground, anti-conformist youth movement in New York).  So I found myself on the streets of Camden on a warm evening in a pub, Charlie Wrights, that from all outward appearances seemed to be shut, but no, inside was a handful of poets and faithful followers (not numbering more than the poets) and after a wait to ensure that everyone had turned up the first poet took the stage (more of a mini platform).

From a psychiatric nurse drawing on her experiences to another poet talking about a bi-polar bear, angst and psychiatric illness were frequently delivered through humour.  The venue seemed entirely appropriate; dark, dingy, with squashy sofas to sink down into clutching cheap wine.  Kunle came on last and played 'She said sorry'.  Just his voice, his harmonica and his guitar in the darkness and his words sent chills down my spine and I desperately wanted to photograph him.  We met up a couple of weeks later, strolled down the embankment, drank whisky in Soho at 11am and ended up in the basement of a music shop on Denmark Street.