Why I Love this Shot – Little Photographer

Today’s Why I Love this Shot is a wee celebration of a girl who’s very special to me. This lass is celebrating her 5th birthday today and it’s been so amazing to watch her grow and get to know her.

This shot is taken from an afternoon of imaginative play with this creative wee girl where my cameras were the centre of her attention. They had their own personalities and parts to play in our story that day and she was determined to learn how they worked. This was her at 3 years old.

Creative. Determined. Inspiring.

Sounds about right.

Happy birthday lovely girl! Here’s to many more creative times together! xx

Why I Love This Shot – A Happy Lass

This is not the first time this lovely family have made it to my “Why I Love This Shot” series. This is partly because I’ve had the pleasure of working with them more than once and partly because their home is a photographer’s dream and but mostly, it’s because their girls are so much fun to be around! I’m pretty much in a position where I’d never say no to photographing them!

Here is one of my favourite shots from our most recent photo experience. This little lass was feeling really quite unwell during our shoot but in this moment, you’d never know. Even though she was feeling miserable, she still managed a cheeky grin in my direction and I’m so glad I captured the moment. What a little trooper!

Always such a privilege to work with these guys. x

Why I Love This Shot – Real Beauty

Fourth in my “Why I Love This Shot” series is one from my first Real Girls, Real Beauty project shoots. Lovely Hannah was my first ever model for this project and it’s a been an exciting journey since then with another 6 models photographed (two #RealGirls and four #RealWomen), two more #RealGirls due to have their shoots late next month and at least another five #RealWomen preparing to schedule theirs.

The #RealGirlsRealBeauty project is really important to me. Empowering girls and women to see their beauty in who they are and not just what they look like is vital. Especially in this industry where we’re taught to pose people to “look better” and we’re expected to edit out “flaws”. Recently, the project has evolved and I’m excited to update you all on the changes very soon.

I have many shots that I love from this particular shoot. Partly because I could see Hannah becoming more and more comfortable with the camera, me and most importantly, herself. We did a range of poses, with her favourite book, her teddy that she’s had all her life, her violin and her piano – all things she loves about herself and her life. I could pick a number to share with you but I chose this one. I chose it because it’s a moment when we were being silly and showing off her wonderful sense of humour. A moment where she relaxed completely and giggled. Showing her #RealBeauty with a smile and plenty of sparkle.

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Why I Love This Shot – A Moment with Mum

Second in my new blog series “Why I Love this Shot” is a photo I refer to as “A Moment with Mum”.  It’s from a shoot earlier this year that was won on Facebook as a Christmas competition on Glasgow With Kids.

As luck would have it, the winners were friends with some of my friends and some of my other clients. I was really excited to meet them and the competition was perfect timing, they were expecting the arrival of their newest addition in just a few weeks.

The shoot itself went really well and we had lots of fun. My job is always so much easier when the family are naturals in front of the camera! The light for the day was also just beautiful and let’s face it, there’s not a photographer out there who isn’t inspired by light.

But the main reason I love this shot is because of the connection between mother and daughter. It’s a precious moment together that feels special and here it is, captured to treasure forever.

A photo of mother and daughter taken through a doorway. They are sitting on a chair together and the baby is being bottle fed.

A Moment with Mum

The Glancy Family

It became pretty clear early on that to survive in this highly competitive industry, word of mouth was going to be a hugely important factor in my business. The same is true for most businesses but it’s quite obvious that without recommendations to friends and family, I wouldn’t have nearly as many bookings as I do now.

I’m always delighted when someone recommends me to their friends and family. It really is one of the highest compliments that they can give.

A couple of months ago I was working with the Glancy Family. You may recognise the boys in the photos. They are the sons of my good friend Kim and I’ve taken their photos a few times now. Especially Christopher’s. He’s so used to me having a camera in his face now that we could barely distract him from showing me his toys long enough to get the shots.

I loved this shoot because it was a little bit of a challenge. It was the first time I’d worked with teenagers, a toddler and a baby all together. They all needed their own space and time to be comfortable in front of the lens. When sessions are short and time-pressured it can get a little tricky at times. In some instances this could easily boil over into a stressful shoot but my experience has taught me to wait them out. If I’m relaxed then my families will relax.

And sure enough, some silly songs, a Darth Vader toy and a few glasses of juice later and we were well underway with everyone happier to be themselves despite a camera in the room. Photographers are entertainers and baby whisperers too you know! xGlancy, Lorraine - Sneak Peek WR

 

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Baby Claudia

A while ago… in fact, a long while ago now, I was asked to take photos of a beautiful family and a lovely friend. The friend who is responsible for my websites and for teaching me the crazy world of web editing. Or at least how to scratch the surface.

It was so long ago, that this family is now a family of four! Baby Claudia is big sister Claudia now and her little brother arrived at the end of last month. I’m so delighted for them all and hope to meet them soon.

Congratulations! xx

8 photo collage of a baby girl - various different close up images four photos of the family. each photo includes mum, dad and baby in a different pose three photos. two of mum, dad and baby outside. one of the family dog resting on the couch

Take Another Shot

Sometimes it’s worth remembering that in most cases, we can always take another shot…  my work and style is evolving and I’ve been enjoying looking back at the shoots I’ve been privileged to shoot this year (so far!).  I’ve got many more to edit and share with you… you’ll see more in my end of year review but for now… here are a just a few of my favourite moments. xTake Another Shot Collage WR

Real Girls, Real Beauty: A new photography project

A few years ago I was on the subway in Glasgow and spotted a young teenager on her way to school.  She must have been about 14 but looked years older.  Full face of make-up, hair straightened with extensions in, false eyelashes and perfect nails.  This seems to be the norm but that was the first time I’d really thought about how much effort had gone in to getting ready for school.

A few months ago I overheard a conversation where a girl, aged 13, was planning her next eyebrow wax appointment.  This seemingly simple task had been complicated with a swimming block at school PE.  You can’t go in chlorine the day after a wax… but fear not, a solution was at hand.  Her appointment would time perfectly with a party in three week’s time.  She was getting her hair done so her mum was writing a note to excuse her from class.  She wouldn’t be swimming the next day anyway.  Problem solved.

How on Earth did this happen?  Why at 13 years old is it more important to have your hair done than to learn to swim?  When did this become acceptable to parents?   I often think that there’s no way I would survive school now.  Not with that kind of pressure to look good every morning. I barely started wearing make-up in secondary and didn’t have straighteners.  As for hair extensions?  They’re for weddings and Christmas party nights… no?

At the Grand Canyon with my other half

Selfies are so much more than showing off your holiday destination.

And then there are selfies. And not selfies as I think of them.  Not “look where we are, aren’t you jealous” holiday snap selfies.  Children, girls especially, at 10 years old (and younger) feeling the pressure to spend their time putting on make-up and taking pouting pictures of themselves in attempt to get as many social media likes as they can. Some are even so instasavvy that they know what time of day is best for posting said photos to get the biggest response.

The peer pressure is enormous. And it seems to be amplifying the feelings of self-hatred and low self-esteem in children and teenagers.  From a very young age they are aware of body image and body shaming to a degree that none of us had to think about.  The images we had on TV and in magazines were bad enough, they have the constant barrage of the internet and all the joys that social media brings with very little time to switch off and get away from it all.

2015-05-01-010-Mei-Photography-Hannah-Paton-Real-Beauty-Portraits WRLast month, I was given the opportunity to work with a family member who, at 12 years old, often feels the pressure to take selfies like the ones mentioned earlier. We were keen to show her a different way to see beauty and find the beauty within herself so we planned a shoot that involved her talents and strengths. She’s funny, intelligent, caring, thoughtful and her wonderfully curious mind means she asks a lot of great questions. She’s also a talented musician, playing both violin and piano and working towards her exams.

We had a great afternoon. She was asked to wear something simple and comfortable and to have her favourite items ready as props.  Things that were important to her like her instruments, favourite books and childhood toy. We did some posed shots and some natural ones, candid captures of her enjoying her hobbies and interests. I showed her some images where the subjects weren’t trying to look beautiful but simply were beautiful because they were happy and doing the things they loved.

Blog Collage 1During the shoot we spoke a little about what she thought about the pressure and how it made her feel unsure of herself. About how she saw being different as both a good and a bad thing. About how she felt like boys were far more confident than any of the girls she knew.

It’s so important for us to think carefully about the messages and lessons we are teaching young people.  Girls in particular struggle with self image and we often forget that by telling them they’re pretty and beautiful before telling them they’re clever or hard working or kind that we’re reinforcing the idea that the former are more important than the latter.  Add to that things like the “thigh gap challenge” or the “bellybutton challenge” taking over social media, both designed to shame people in to starving themselves in attempt to be thinner and somehow more socially acceptable, and you’ve got a recipe for even more generations of girls who see their self-worth in what they look like instead of who they are.  And it seems to be starting at a much younger age.Blog Collage 2

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time and as a photographer, I’m keenly aware of how people tend to look for their flaws and seek out what’s wrong with any photograph they are in. It’s never sat well with me.  I’ve felt uncomfortable with the concept of dictating what is beautiful and being asked to pose people accordingly or edit out apparent imperfections.  Of course, it’s my job to make people feel beautiful but instead of using makeovers and photoshop, I find myself looking for ways to make my clients feel more comfortable and happy so they would feel more confident with their natural shots.

And so the Real Girls, Real Beauty project has been born.  It’s in an embryonic stage at the moment but I’m working with girls and women to help them see the real beauty in themselves and to celebrate it.  Showing that a photograph which captures their loves, strengths and talents is more beautiful than any photograph purely based on poses and make-up.  That we should encourage people, both women and men to have more confidence in who they are instead of purely what they look like.

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Watch this space for more exciting updates as I meet and photograph the wonderful people involved in the project.

x

Newborn Photography: The Dinwoodie Family

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At the start of May I had the incredible privilege of taking some lifestyle portraits for adorable newborn Callum and his lovely parents, Lynsey & Iain.  Since it was my first official newborn session, I was a little nervous but I needn’t have worried.  I could not have been luckier. Callum was a wee star and slept peacefully through the majority of the day before waking a little towards the end for some beautiful shots to camera.  It became clear early on in that he gets his talent in front of the lens from his parents.  Both were great, adding in ideas that they had in mind, finding gorgeous poses naturally and following direction easily. The light was great and the colours everyone dressed in just worked beautifully. Here are some of my favourite shots… x

 

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