Thursday, 29 August 2013

Cake Smash - Babies First Birthday!

It's tough coming up with new ideas and it seems America is always WELL ahead of the game when it comes to photography.  With the fab studio space I now have, and my love of the little people, the challenge of cake smash is all to great to resit! This should give you the idea.
This image has been borrowed from an American Photographer called Life Cycle Images
Time to hit Google and research who supplies the cake.....parents or studio?  It seems this is a personal choice thing.  After all, some parents could be a whizz in the bakery department or want to purchase something very personal for their little birthday baby.
Forever wanting to keep the costs to a minimum, I thought I should venture in to the world of the giant cup cake.  Hours spent browsing pinterest soon taught me that there are some VERY clever people out there ( not me I should point out!)
Smash cakes come in all shapes and sizes, some with characters, some tall, some short but most have one thing in common....they can become VERY messy when left with a baby.
Next stop - The Giant Cupcake mould.  Mmmmmm, these once again come in different varieties, silicon or tin?  Hobbycraft made the choice for me and I am now the proud owner of a very fancy cupcake tin.
Recipes? - Facebook, oh wonderful facebook.  Throw out a random question.....boom, three recipes land in your inbox!
First Cupcake - Probably shouldn't disclose to much info on this one.  Apparently, if the oven is too hot, they go black.....that's fan assist for you!
Second Cupcake - Ah, thank you Helen for the link to Pink Whisk.  Fab site with great step by step instructions and a super light n fluffy sponge is born.
Looking good, nice colour, will it come out of the tin?
Now don't look at the soggy bit on the top, I made the mistake of reading that I should put that half the tin in water so it didn't cook faster than the other half......DONT!
Now for decoration......OMG, different coloured chocolate bases.  So many tutorials, all look easy.  Not sure how they all worked out they just ' pop out the tin' when set.  They also mention not to put in the fridge....yeh right!  So after it set in the's stuck like glue!  No hammering, pulling, tugging, melting will make it budge.  In desperation I threw it in the freezer and went to bed!
With renewed determination, first thing the following morning I flung open the freezer door and rescued the chocolate mould.  I gently popped my fingers inside and....POP!  out it came yeh!!!!
How I wished I hadn't bashed away at it quite so hard the night before as the cracks appeared.  Never mind, it was a test cake.....would a baby REALLY mind the odd crack!
Play time!  Out with the icing and a piping bag and hey presto!
Perhaps not quite as beautiful but I reckon it will meet the challenge of a smash session.  I should point out that all this practice has increased my waistline by 3lbs this week.  The tin should come with a health warning.  Keep you eyes peeled as I run a couple of test sessions over the coming couple of months.  I have been promised a date with my Ella, my Great Niece soon as her first birthday is fast looming.  I think I will hunt out a little boy model as well just to even things up! 
Photos heading this way soon x

Monday, 17 June 2013

Pet Photography Day Prep

I think I must be mad!  After recently having our new Cockapoo Pup join our family, many people have started to ask if I do pet photography.  Well, I didn't but in now seems that I will be doing so.
With this in mind, I thought I had better get some advertising material together so set about borrowing friends and family pets to see if I could get to grips with this new genre.  The only word that comes close to describing pet photography in my studio is 'CHAOS'

Meet Saxon.

Saxon, five months old and a total law abiding citizen following instruction perfectly.

 Meet Jessie

A bit quicker and a little less co-operative but cute none the less
 Lesson Learned - NEVER try to photograph two bouncy pups together!
Ok, so pet photography isn't an easy genre to say the least.  Lets throw some cute kitties in the mix.

An escapee kitty making a break for it!

It seems kittens tend to wander at will but really are great fun when their Mum isn't rounding them up just as to have the shot in your viewfinder.  Lesson learned - keep Mum close but don't let her ' collect' her babies to quickly.
Everyone loves a kitten but time to try some cats.
Not quite the pose I was going for
Cats are a lot easier than kitties that's for sure!
Which brings me to fathers day.....yesterday.  It is always lovely to spend time with family on special occasions so, in my wisdom, I thought I would ask my sister if I could borrow her three pooches for yet another trial session.  After all, we all know how dog lovers seem to 'collect' dogs so it is only reasonable to assume some clients would like more than one pooch photographed together.
Lynda has three large dogs, lovely, but all seem to have a mind of their own.  Luckily, my youngest sister also joined us and managed to throw a couple of words of wisdom in my direction, along with the promise of a helpful book......and was even on hand to point a light in the right direction.
I thought I would share a couple of my latest efforts with you.  Considering the chaos that reined, I have to admit I am rather chuffed with the results.

Meet Merlin - Our search and rescue hero


Saxon - Now 7 months


Kylah - The Loon of the crew

but I do have to say, on this occasion, the most obliging of the crazy canines.

And did I manage to get all three together?  Well, sort of.  Perhaps not the best photograph in the world but they are at least in the same frame.

 Many thanks guys for all your help and for allowing me to pooch play to my hearts content, and a special thanks to my Brother in Law for being my honorary pooch for setup purposes.
Yet another lesson learned - not all dogs are non shedding like mine so make sure I have the Dyson on standby and the mop and bucket handy.
Seems there is a new dog in town! ( pic courtesy of Lynda Hall Photography ;-)

Monday, 18 March 2013

Puppy Pandemonium

The studio is FINALLY open and what better way to christen it than with two very cute puppies.
Jessie is a 12 week Cockapoo pup and is our newest family member.  She is a little behind on her jabs so we had the pleasure of a puppy date with Saxon, a beautiful 5 month old English Shepherd.....the newest member of my sister's family.  After initial introductions, they were soon to become the best of playmates, charging round the garden playing pounce for and hour whilst Lynda and I stood refereeing with a cuppa.
When suitable worn out, we thought it would be a great idea to introduce them to the studio. 
After a quick setup with my honorary was time to get things started.
 Oh my, what a perfect model Saxon was.  So gentle and accommodating.
He even managed a smile for the camera!

Now Jessie, on the other hand, looks all sweetly cuteness, but in fact, she is a little devil dog.  Not quite so easy to pin down.


Jessie making her escape!
So when you have two puppies that are such great friends it only seems natural that you should photograph them together....doesn't it?
 Perhaps not!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A family Wedding - The Photographers perspective

I thought I would share with you all, a very special day. Paula Staurt's wedding. Now as we all know, weddings are very personal affairs, each planned with meticulous detail. Each detail is planned to the nth degree. Flowers to dresses, dresses to photographers....taking a bow....this is my cue to open my mouth and ask that question...'have you sorted a photographer or shall I throw my kit in the boot?'

For anyone who knows my sister, you will know that she is terrified of cameras. It has taken years of me forcing her, much to her dismay, into situations where she has to have the odd snap. I think the first time I left her no option, was probably our Dad's 70th birthday. An all important memory captured in a flash....Dad and his five girls.

Beyond this I took advantage of her by offering to take some promotional  photos of her for her bear making business.  Take a look....she makes fab cuddlies!

As with every wedding, the minute I am booked, I set about planning my approach to the day. With Paula, this started with me popping down to Kent for a bit of sister/camera bonding.  I was determined she would make friends with my best friend Nikon.

We had such a fab day, plenty of laughs, loads of chat ( even when taking the photos PAULA!)  It's a nervous thing she does....very funny but can prove a tad challenging lol.
Here are a few favourites from our day.
     The terrified              My Sister!                    The Model

Never mind my naughty little sister.....what about my naughty big one!

The weather was great, the location perfect and all in all, we had a lovely time.  I even think by the end of the day she was beginning to make friend with my Nikon buddy.
Back to the wedding.  Of course I was chuffed to bits to be photographer for the day.  Would I have loved to have a day off....probably.  But certainly not at the expense of her not having a photographer....and she wouldn't.
So what does the photographer, who is on the all important invite, wear for the day?  Usually I would opt for a functional suit with black smart trainers and full camera holster or double black rapid strap.  I say usually as trainers and trousers were not on the invited list.
A lot of thought had to go into the perfect wedding outfit, and with my partner in crime Lynda ( one of my younger sisters) we hit West Quay in style.  She is so much like me its scary.  Together we plotted the perfect outfit....or a close too as we could get.  Anyone who know me, knows floaty frock is not in my vocabulary so I reckon we did pretty good in the circumstances.

 The all important shoes

No photographer should have to teeter around on heels whilst working....not sure what Lyns excuse is lol.
The same amount of equipment carried, just not quite so easily accesible on the day.  Ian, as always, was my bag man.  My second camera was handed to who ever was standing close by at the time.  New challenges for the day does the photographer join in the family photographs?  Simple....set the camera, hand it to a willing person and check VERY carefully after the photograph has been taken.....heads and feet are imprtant after all!
Proof that it can be done..
Meet my Mum and my Sisters.  I love this photo.
So what about when everyone is in a photo....10 second timer....then RUN!
OK, enough about the photographer, time to share some of those all important images from the day.  I hope you enjoy your insight into my personal world.
My handsome Nephew
The deed is done

Congratualtions to you both x
A note from the photographer.  It seems that when it comes to choosing the right images from your sisters special day, objectivity gets thrown out of the window.  How on earther is the photographer supposed to send her own family into the recycling bin!
Two days editing, one VERY numb bum later has ensured that if any other members of her family decide to tie the may just get deleted.  This photographer needs to get ruthless lol.

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