Julieanne, Kevin and I spent an hour in their back garden in early December creating a series of portraits to give as a gift to Kevin’s parents.  In the mix was an overcast day, temperatures as close to zero as we have got so far this winter, and two people who both proclaimed that they hate having their photo taken – one a self-confessed ‘grimacer’… yikes! I love a challenge, and part of what fascinates me about portrait photography is finding ways to elicit different expressions on the faces I am photographing – just as an example, if you ask someone about work, they will generally look serious, and stare into the distance for a moment whilst they think – perfect for the ‘thoughtful professional’ headshot.  I’m nervous too, at the beginning of every shoot I do, and I love the process of sensing everyone relax as we embark on a creative journey together.  I think playfulness is key to portrait photography, and an advantage of working with couples, friends and families, as opposed to individuals, is that they already know each other really well; this means you can use the existing dynamics to get some fun photos, which are full of feeling, warmth and intimacy.  It is a lovely job I do, being, in a sense, invited into people’s lives and relationships as an observer for an hour, and it is always a buzz to come up with some beautiful portraits in return.  Thanks to Julieanne and Kevin for the hour of photographic fun.  What follow, as always, are a few of my favourites.


Julieanne & Kevin

Merlyn the cat plays ball – very briefly

The couple’s favourite

My favourite

In mid-December, I took pictures of a little girl called Maria (‘Maya’), with her parents.  We spent an hour in Florence Park, and Maya raced around, undaunted by the ice on the paths, as the rest of us tried to keep up.  Maya is a year older than my Maya (the Bee), making her two, and it struck me that when the Bee gets to that age, we, including the dog, will have our work seriously cut out for us.  When I asked whether the little blur of red coat and white fluffy hat I was chasing ever stops, her father smiled in a fond but exhausted way, raised his eyebrows, and wished me luck with my own parenting journey.  He just about kept up with her, but he is a personal fitness trainer…

As far as I can tell, stage one of photographing a two-year-old is to accept that they are in charge – they may allow you to follow them with your lens, and there will be moments when they are interested in your camera and maybe even pose, but you are at their mercy, and any such moments are fleeting (fast shutter speed and continuous shooting mode essential).  Beyond that, all you can do is be patient, not eat too much beforehand (you’ll be running at surprisingly high speeds and squating *a lot*), take a combination of squeaky and cute furry toys along to the shoot, as well as an all-important bottle of bubbles – make a great gift to send little ones away with after a shoot (an hour is a really long time for them), plus you get some shots of real joy when they chase bubbles – plus a free special effect, if a little gorgonzola on the cheese scale.

The strangest thing about this shoot was how similar that little Maya looks to my Maya (they’re not related, and it was the first time I met her) – it was like getting the chance to peer forward in time, and see what the Bee might well look like in one year – we’ll just have to wait and see!

Bubbles, sunshine and a lovely winter outfit:)

Flying like a plane with her daddy
Cuddles with mummy

Thank you to Dan and family for this shoot – especially to Maya!


Last weekend I had a lovely afternoon bimbling around the woods with my camera, various lenses, a pair of beautiful sisters, their mum, and a lovely dog called Lilly.  The family had contacted me looking for some portraits for xmas gifts, and on the morning of the shoot, I woke up to glorious sunshine, and knew our hour that afternoon at Shotover would be just perfect.  It is always really exciting doing a shoot somewhere as beautiful and varied as Shotover – stunning at every time of year, there are hillside meadows with views over the surrounding landscape (it’s on a steep hill, which gets pretty slippery when muddy, so wear boots if you go), huge oaks with low mossy branches, hawthornes galore, beech groves with suntrap clearings, sandpits and streams, and lots of twisting paths to explore.  Such a setting is a natural light portrait photographer’s dream – or my dream, anyway – as there is a huge range of different types of light to chose from – from direct sunlight in clearings (great for atmospheric backlit shots on a bright day) and easy access to partial shade around the edges, to the dappled light under birches, and deeper shade in the heart of the forest.  I had just been reading about backlit shots, so was particularly looking forward to getting some lens flare in the meadow – the sun came and went a bit before the shoot time as it does in December, if it makes an appearance at all, but happily for me, it was low and clear when the girls arrived.  Below are some of my favourites from the shoot – enjoy, and Alice & Louisa, thank you for being such great models and following my every whim for the hour – I hope you love the photos.

Alice, Louisa & Lilly the spaniel

A favourite – particularly like the composition in this one

Stunning sisters, beautiful winter late afternoon light – good results from my new 50mm lens
I love this series of shots taken from slightly further away with a telephoto lens

Also stunning
And there’s that lens flare I was after:)– backlit in the meadow
I love this one – it was just at the end of the shoot, and the girls look relaxed as we head back to the car
Exhausting shoot – Lilly has a rest in the car


A couple of weeks ago, my partner and father of the Bee, Chris, turned 40.  As you might expect, I got my camera out and initiated an impromptu portrait shoot with the birthday boy.  In the past, I have found it eternally frustrating that I have never *really* managed to capture what I see as his beauty in my portraits of him – the minute my camera emerges, it seems that he is ready and waiting with his special photo-only expression – a mixture of shyness, forced smile and I don’t know what!  
But on his 40th, I finally got him and the result is below :) 
The Bee with her dad Chris, on his 40th birthday


For my love’s 40th, we took to the skies over Oxford, with a little help from a big red balloon (and thanks to his parents! – a brilliant double birthday gift).  The views where breath-taking, and I found it a profoundly moving experience – we didn’t want to come down.  And of course, I took my camera.

The wind was just right and carried us straight over the very heart of Oxford, dangling us above the High Street, Radcliffe Camera, All Souls, new Islamic studies centre on Marston Road, and up, up and away over 20 miles to the North East of Oxford.

I particularly loved the views of autumn trees from above, and seeing the way herds of sheep huddle and move through their fields, leaving clear paths from daily use.  Fantastic patterns.

Below are a couple of my favourites – hope you enjoy them.  To see a full gallery, head here to my website.

Thanks Peter and Diana, for sending us on an incredible adventure!

With love, from a very happy photographer.

Autumn colours

I love this series – the trees from above are stunning

A favourite

Another favourite

Happy birthday love


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