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

Facing Anxiety

I Am Enough

I Am Enough

For as long as I can remember, anxiety has played a massive role in my life. I can barely think a time where it hasn’t at least lurked somewhere in the background, threatening to rear it’s ugly head.

Most of the time, you’d never know it. I believe “high functioning” is the term used to describe it, meaning the majority of the time I can get through a day without any obvious issues or falling apart into the stereotypical anxious wreck that people tend to conjure up images of when you mention you have this. Instead I appear together, efficient, busy, organised, controlling…

I’ve struggled with it privately for many years. Thanks to the stereotypes and the misplaced shame our society associates with hidden illnesses like this one, I wasn’t confident about admitting to it. Being anxious is for people who are weak and can’t cope right? It was something I wanted to hide and pretend wasn’t happening to me.

A few months ago I came across this blog by Sarah Schuster on The Mighty Site and I felt an instant connection with her words. Finally someone was able to explain how I was feeling and the impact it had on my every day. I realised I wasn’t alone and it gave me the courage to speak up and talk to people about the constant worry; the late nights lying in bed unable to quieten my busy mind; the not being sure if my concern was rational or a symptom of this illness; the panic attacks over seemingly small things that my body reacted to as though I was about to die. You see, anxiety is a mental illness, but what people fail to realise is that it has many physical aspects. Increased heartrate, shallow, panicked breathing, increased temperature, flushing, sweating and shaking. You body responds to stimuli in an extreme manner and it’s not at all pleasant.

We learn to avoid these panic attacks by planning and controlling as much as we can. We fill the quiet times by keeping busy so our overactive mind doesn’t run away with itself. Small things can become overwhelming, so we work out our triggers and avoid them or change things to avoid setting a panic off.

It’s constant.

It’s exhausting.

I was surprised to find so many people who had been feeling the same way. So many people who felt they had to hide this for fear of being judged by others or made to feel like they can’t cope. People who are extremely successful in all walks of life also suffer from anxiety and find ways around it but unless you suffer from it, you wouldn’t necessarily know their struggle.

So I decided to start a new photography project. Facing Anxiety aims to help people find a way to stand up to their anxiety and find support with likeminded people who understand what they are going through. To show people who don’t struggle with this illness that the stereotypes are wrong and misinformed, that people they’d never suspect have this are fighting a daily battle.

One of the issues I have thanks to my anxiety, is feeling as though I’m not enough. Like I always need to be and do more. Here’s a shot I took a few years back. Something I need to remember more often.

If you are interested in taking part in this project and are based in Glasgow (or nearby) or in Frankfurt, please get in touch. I would love to speak to you about getting involved.

10 Weeks, 10 Selfies – A Photographer In Front of the Lens

Ah, the dreaded selfie. Some love it, others hate it. You only need to look at a person’s social media profile to see which category they fall into.

I love a selfie with my other half to capture our latest adventure, or with a friend where I inevitably pull a silly face to distract from the discomfort I feel in front of the camera.

However, I really believe that to be a good portrait photographer, you need to be comfortable both infront and behind the lens. I’ve tested myself a couple of times by having portrait shots taken and volunteering for model calls. They both start the same way, with me awkward and giggling, but after a while, I start to relax and I learn new ways of helping my subjects relax when it’s my turn to capture them.

I still need practise at this though and I have a lot to learn about being at ease as the subject. So I decided to set myself a challenge. Over the next 10 weeks I’m going to take and post a self portrait. Each week, I’m also going to challenge a photographer friend to join in and do the same. Here’s hoping a few take me up on the offer. I think we can all benefit from being in our subject’s shoes.

This is a self portrait I took a couple of years ago for a different project. It doesn’t count as my first one, I’m posting those on a weekly basis on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. At the end of the ten weeks, I’ll post all 10 for you to comment on!

 

High Key Me

High Key Me

Why I Love This Shot – Cheeky Munchkin

Fifth in my “Why I Love This Shot” blog series is from my first official photoshoot with my cheeky munchkin niece.  There were many “unofficial” photos taken before this date but this shot is from the first time my sister and I had a play with different backdrops and props.  At one point I considered specialising in this style of photography but I learned that I was better at candid moments instead of posed ones.

And that’s why I love this shot. We had a few different costumes and props but the best shots from this shoot are when she’s laughing and doing her own thing. She’s an incredibly cheeky wee girl who is full of spirit and joy. This photo of her grinning at us always makes me smile.  

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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 – Break the Rules

So it’s time for the 3rd post in my new series “Why I Love This Shot” and this one comes from an outdoor family shoot from March last year. We had a cold morning in the park but it didn’t stop any of us from having fun. The shoot was of eight people, two families of four and there was a lot of silliness on the day which resulted in brilliant, unique shots.

When I think back to the shoot, I always think of this shot. There are a few reasons for it. This girl was an absolute star in front of the camera. Lots of cheeky poses and zero inhibitions. It made for a fun shoot. But this is a moment when I caught her relaxing and unaware and I love it. Us photographers always have to be ready to capture the moment when the opportunity arises.

From a composition/photography point of view it is a rule-breaker. The focus is slightly soft, the eyes are not showing or in focus and it only just makes the “rule of thirds”.

But those are the reasons I love it. Sometimes you just need to break the rules.

Break the Rules

Break the Rules

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

Why I Love This Shot – A new blog series.

I’ve blogged over the last couple of years about the different shoots I’ve been on. I enjoy sharing shots from my shoots this way for people to see them. But I recently came across the idea of blogging about just one shot from each shoot and explaining in more detail why I love it.

Asking a photographer to choose just one shot from a shoot is an interesting challenge. To be critical of our work we have to separate ourselves from the memory of the moment the photograph was taken. To step back and look again with fresh eyes. This is something I’m not great at. Photography is creative work and creativity is personal. We pour ourselves into it and leave our mark. We photograph what we love.

So while I might not always select the best image from each shoot, I will take the time to think carefully about my favourite image.

 

Here’s one from my very first shoot in my new business as Mei Photography. It wasn’t a paid shoot, it was a trial run before my first paid shoot. I learned a lot that day!

Luckily my wonderful friend Kim’s little boy was the perfect age for a model. We set up my portable studio and I went to work. I took hundreds of shots that day with a range of props and backdrops.  When I think back to it this is the shot that always stands out in my mind.

I love this shot because it captures a moment where his curiosity got the better of him. That moment where he’s reaching for The Gruffalo’s Tail and looks like he’s trying to figure out what on Earth it is.

It always makes me smile. x

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Birthday Girl

Last year I had the pleasure of being asked to capture the moment at a naming ceremony for a lovely family and their little girl Ella. I had a lot of fun with the family and meeting their newest addition. The ceremony was a beautiful celebration of their wee one and all the love they have for her.

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I was really excited when they got in touch again a few months later and booked a Cake Smash with me for her first birthday. Cake Smashes are always a lot of fun as long as you don’t mind the mess! We had to be a little creative because this one-year-old wasn’t too keen on getting her hands dirty. At least not at first!

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Being asked back again is the best compliment a photographer can receive. It really makes my day and lets me know I’m on the right track with my work. So when this wonderful family got in touch this year to organise another shoot for the upcoming 2nd birthday, I was delighted. I was even more delighted when I heard all the ideas for it! Such a creative family with a lot of style! We mulled over some ideas, and Ella’s mum decided on a Tea Party themed shoot. She bought all the props and we crossed our fingers for good weather.

This was the final result:

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It really is such a privilege to be involved at these important moments of this little girl’s life. I’m so thankful for my job and the ability to connect with people and capture memories for them to treasure forever. x

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