Posted on February 22, 2017 by under
Photography 1-1 Lesson Surrey – Hannah Berry Flowers
Yesterday morning was spent in the company of the delightful floral designer, Hannah Berry. Hannah creates beautiful floral arrangements for weddings and events in and around Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire: she’s also a highly talented photographer.
Hannah had asked her partner for a photography 1-1 lesson as a Christmas present, as she wanted to explore more fully the potential of her camera. One of her main aims was to get more consistent results with her photography. As a naturally creative person, she loves to take photographs generally. More specifically however, she uses her camera to create eye-catching images for her website in order to demonstrate her skills to clients. She’d been shooting mainly on the auto setting on her camera but knew that it was capable of much more: as a result, after exploring all the different controls, she was up and running in full manual mode in no time at all.
It was great that she’d also brought along some flowers and other props to practice on! Because it was an overcast but dry day, the conditions were perfect for taking some photographs both indoors and outdoors to help her refine her skills. Here are some behind-the-scenes shots of Hannah at work, and this is what she said about her session:
“Thank you so much for the lesson today. I thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to get back home to experiment with a few more shots. There was lots of information to put into practice. Super excited!”
Hannah Berry, Floral Designer & Stylist
Capturing one of her creations, after our session on how to use your camera in manual mode.
To see more of Hannah’s work and find out about her floral design service, visit Hannah Berry Flowers.
Posted on February 15, 2017 by under
Why We Shouldn’t Dismiss Makeup as Shallow, Vain or Frivolous.
Some women love makeup and some women are either indifferent to it or loathe having the stuff on their faces. Women wear makeup for a multitude of reasons and if you’re comfortable not wearing it, then that’s great.
Makeup can have a transformational and uplifting effect.
I’ve always been fascinated by the way it can change or enhance our appearance, helping to disguise dark circles, emphasise eyes or just add a healthy pop of colour to lips and cheeks. However, experimenting with it in the 70’s and 80’s wasn’t always a success for me. Having dark skin, my options were severely restricted as the only available shades of foundation were more suited to the traditional English Rose complexion. Now, thankfully, things have changed.
As a women’s portrait photographer, I always work with a makeup artist who enhances my clients’ features to show them the best version of themselves possible. And this is where makeup can do such a fantastic job; it can have a transformational effect, not just on the outside but on the inside too, by helping us see ourselves in a different light.
A Man’s Viewpoint and Why I Disagree – Strongly!
I recently had a conversation with a man in his early twenties. When I told him about the photography service I offer women, he dismissed it as sounding “all rather shallow.” Here are 4 reasons why I would strongly disagree with him:
For some women, makeup, quite literally, helps them to face the day. For 22 years the cancer support charity, Look Good Feel Better has provided free makeup workshops to women experiencing the visible side-effects of cancer treatment. One of their advertising campaigns is called #Warpaint4life which sums up the role that makeup can have when your self-confidence hits rock-bottom. For these women it’s a big deal, and rightly so; if you’re going through chemo and your hair and eyebrows have fallen out or your skin isn’t looking its best, then something as simple as foundation, lipstick and blusher can help you feel ready to take on the world again.
When women reach the menopause, hormonal changes can have a very significant impact on their skin, from dryness and dullness to vanishing eyebrows and age spots. Look Fabulous Forever is a range of cosmetics specifically formulated for older skins. Founder, Tricia Cusden recognises that older women still love to wear makeup, but that they aren’t being well served by the cosmetics industry, whose products are aimed mainly at younger age groups. And so she’s created a special range to serve these women, and enhance the beauty of older faces.
Many women hate appearing in photographs and are convinced that they aren’t photogenic. However, I can see the transformation in my client when she’s having her hair and makeup done – not only in the way it helps to enhance her natural beauty (of which most women are blissfully unaware!), but in the improvement in her self-confidence.
We’re often so busy working and looking after others, that we haven’t any time left to spend on ourselves; so it can be a relief to hand the responsibility over to the experts and let them take charge. Here’s what one of my clients said after she saw her portraits – “I had such a fabulous time on the day – oxytocin supercharge. You were all so amazing – a pampering day with a difference, having my hair and makeup done beautifully, and dare I say it, I really enjoyed standing in front of the camera. Awesome feelgood factor experience with experts who really know their stuff in making you feel a million dollars, and photos to relive the experience again and again.”
Helping to See us Through the Bad Times
Sali Hughes is the Guardian’s resident beauty columnist and wrote this interesting and thought-provoking piece about how makeup can help us get through life’s ups and downs. As she says, “grooming is a form of self-care that allows us to feel like ourselves when our worlds become unrecognisable.” You can read the full article here.
And here are two ladies who’ve stepped in front of my camera after a pampering hair and makeup session!
Posted on December 22, 2016 by under
Wishing You All a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!
Posted on November 30, 2016 by under
How Makeup Can Help You to Project the Right Image for Your Business.
In my previous post, I talked about how to choose outfits that work well when being photographed. When you’re having your business headshot taken, the last thing you want is for your clothes to scream out for attention; the focus of the image should always be your face and personality; everything else just plays a supporting role.
Makeup for Your Business Headshot
That said, the addition of some subtle makeup does add the finishing touch to a portrait, creating a polished and professional look. I’ve been using a hair and makeup artist for all of my women’s portrait sessions since the very beginning and have come to really appreciate their expertise and skill in creating beautiful, flawless makeup that’s absolutely appropriate for a business headshot.
“Will I End up Looking Cakey?”
I think that one of the concerns which many women have is that they’ll end up looking cakey or fake, but that’s absolutely not the case and a professional makeup artist will always take the time to listen to a client’s concerns and requirements. I also make sure that you see what’s being applied at regular stages and I encourage all women to tell us immediately if they want something changed or aren’t happy about anything – after all, there’s nothing worse than just sitting there and feeling that you can’t say a word!
Marijelle Moreno prepares our client for her business headshot session in Guildford.
How Lighting Affects Makeup
However, it’s equally important that I let my clients know that they will be wearing more makeup than usual; that may sound contradictory given my previous comments, but both natural and artificial light have a knack of soaking up colour and if we don’t apply enough product, it just won’t show up in the photographs. It’s always surprising when I take that first test shot and we review it on the back of my camera; whilst it looks to us as if our client is wearing enough blusher/lipstick, the colour will often have washed out in the photos and so we need to apply a little more.
A Real Life Example
For this particular client who wanted a natural look, Marijelle Moreno first prepared and primed her skin, which is the most important stage; she then subtly enhanced her eyes, brows and lips, to add just a little definition and finished with a soft blush to give a healthy bloom of colour. The result is beautiful – she looks radiant, professional and confident – and every inch the business woman.
Looking relaxed, friendly and approachable, which is exactly how she wanted to appear in her business headshots.
A lovely shot using the abundant natural light in this room.
Being able to take some photographs outside was a real bonus. I love the way the autumnal colours work with her top and her hair.
Posted on November 2, 2016 by under
How to Look Great for Your Business Headshot
One of the most important conversations I have with my clients before they book a business headshot session with me concerns what they should wear. I’ve photographed thousands of people over the past 22 years and have seen them turn up in all manner of outfits, and not always the most suitable; from checks mixed with stripes and spots to strappy summer dresses, baggy jackets and droopy cosy cardigans, I’ve seen them all. But what may look appropriate for a night out, a day on the beach or a morning’s shopping won’t necessarily translate that well when worn for a business headshot.
Choose Your Outfits Well
This is why we always discuss outfit choices in great detail and I send all my clients an in-depth guide as to what works and what doesn’t work in terms of clothing for business headshots. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I think everyone should turn up for their portraits in a formal suit – sometimes clients don’t work in the type of business that demands a very corporate look. However, there are still certain “rules” that can make the difference between conveying the right or wrong impression. So here are a couple of tips for ensuring that you’ll look your best.
Don’t Be Afraid to Wear Colour
Looking professional doesn’t mean you have to stick to sober colours, and yet so many professional women I meet wear black suits: black can look great, but it does need to be worn with care, otherwise it can be very draining, especially when worn near the face. If you must wear black, my advice is to always ensure that you combine a black jacket with a brightly coloured top – the contrast will help to lighten the whole effect. Black-on-black on the other hand can make you look wider than you actually are because it creates a solid block of colour with no definition.
Alternatively, a coloured scarf (as long as it’s not too large) or some jewellery can help to break up what the camera will see as a large dark expanse.
If you’re in the type of business that doesn’t demand a suit, why not choose a top or a dress in a striking shade, like this client whom I photographed recently? I love the different blues which enhance and bring out the colour of her eyes. And the olive green blouse complements her hair colour beautifully.
Avoid Busy Prints
I’m a big fan of prints, but not for business portraits. Plain, solid colours have far more impact without drawing the eye away from your face; the last thing you want when someone’s viewing your profile on, say, LinkedIn is for them to be distracted by the pattern on your shirt or dress. Outfits should complement your appearance and not compete for attention with your face.
I love helping women to look their best and feel confident in front of the camera, so if you’re thinking of updating your business headshot, then why not give me a call on 01483 571119 or email me at email@example.com. We can have a chat about the options available and what’s involved, and there’s no obligation to book.
Posted on October 6, 2016 by under
Mother & Daughter Portraits, Guildford, Surrey.
Finally, I can show these photos from a lovely mother and daughter portrait session that I photographed back in July. The reason I haven’t posted sooner is because the photos were taken as a surprise birthday gift for this lady’s husband, so I thought it safest to wait until after the event, just in case!
I first met the lovely mum who booked this session when she came along for a 1-1 photography tutorial with me. At the time she’d mentioned wanting to have a portrait session with her daughter and so, on her birthday this July, which happened to be one of the hottest days of the year, we got together to make it happen.
I really wish now that I’d photographed the room when we’d laid out all their clothes, jewellery and accessories, because there wasn’t a clear surface left in the place, and that wasn’t counting my gear and all my makeup artist’s stuff too; I think they brought pretty much the entire contents of their wardrobes, so there was no shortage of choice.
After having some pampering time with hair and makeup artist, Marijelle Moreno, they both took it in turns to have some individual shots done first, and then we got them together for some lovely mum and daughter images. I love the outfits they chose to bring along and their beautiful expressions.
This is something I would encourage all mums to do, as I don’t think they’re often quite as keen to step in front of the camera, but they really should. And what a lovely way to spend some time together, with the added bonus of having a really special memento of the day too.
You can see at the bottom of this post the gorgeous boutique box of matted prints which they ordered, together with a personalised USB drive of their favourite shots. In our digital age, I’m a firm believer in providing my clients with beautiful prints as well as digital images, so they have the best of both worlds.
If you’d like to book a Couture Portrait session with me, then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 01483 571119 for an informal chat.
The perfect combination of dramatic eyes and lips, with rich blacks.
Posted on July 26, 2016 by under
Pixels Versus Print. Why Photographers Love Printing Their Work
We live in a world where we expect instant results: our phones, cameras and tablets allow us to capture moments and play them back and share them immediately – and all for free. The digital world has allowed us so much freedom to create and send images around the world instantly so that they can be seen by anyone, and I for one would never want to go back to the days when I was just starting out as a photographer and had to shoot on film and wait days to see the results!
However, one of the downsides of digital is that a lot of the time we only ever see images on our screens; and despite the ever-improving quality of our digital devices, there is still a huge difference between viewing pixels and viewing a piece of printed art.
Professional photographers don’t just take pictures: once the client’s session is over, many hours of editing and post-production go towards creating the final image which is stamped with that photographer’s particular style and forms part of the reason why the client has booked them in the first place.
Viewing an image on screen and in print are totally different. To fully appreciate the depth and richness of an image, print trumps pixels every time. Here are some images from a boudoir shoot album which I created for my client and which was produced by the amazing Folio Albums, a British company who make albums for professional photographers only.
The attention to detail, combined with the highest quality materials, mean that each album really is a work of art and forms the perfect showcase for a client’s images. There’s also the wonderful tactile quality which really adds to the whole experience. This one was produced in a beautiful black leather and the images were printed on fine art paper which really makes the colours stand out. Each album is beautifully packaged and comes with its own TLC guide on how to take care of it so that it will last for many years to come. Have a look at this video where Folio Albums founder, Stewart Randall, talks about the ethos behind the company.
Posted on July 5, 2016 by under
Boudoir Photography, Guildford, Surrey.
A boudoir session is something very special, and when a woman books it can be for any number of reasons; the most popular are to celebrate a milestone birthday, especially a 40th or 50th, as a pre-wedding gift for a bride to give to her husband-to-be, or simply as a self-esteem and confidence boost. Whatever the reason though, it’s always, first and foremost, for the woman, helping her to reconnect with her feminine side, increasing her confidence and generally making her feel good about herself, both inside and out.
All my boudoir sessions take place at a beautiful boutique hotel in Guildford. I work with some incredibly talented hair and makeup artists who are experts at making women look and feel special by enhancing their natural beauty.
I love clients to bring along at least 3 different outfits, comprising a mixture of looks. And it’s definitely not the case that a boudoir session always has to be about wearing sexy lingerie or even showing as much skin as possible: the ones from this session were a good mix and we started with some lovely shots in a very simple outfit, worn with a cardigan and a denim jacket on top; these are also great to get women feeling relaxed and comfortable about being photographed.
This session was so enjoyable and the day went really quickly. Here are some of my favourites; there were so many that I loved and my client has very kindly allowed me to share them to show other women exactly what’s involved and why they should book.
Get Your Free Guide to Boudoir Photography
If you’re thinking about booking a boudoir session, but are feeling a bit nervous or unsure, I have a free guide to boudoir photography which you can download when you make a booking or enquiry. Inside, you’ll find answers to lots of the most common questions that women ask, and I hope that they’ll go some way at least to making you feel less apprehensive about booking!
Photographed at the Mandolay Hotel, Guildford
Hair & makeup by Marijelle Moreno
Posted on June 27, 2016 by under
Business Headshots, Guildford, Surrey
If your idea of a business headshot involves studios, lights and formal poses, rest assured, it doesn’t have to be that way.
I tailor each session to my client’s specific requirements. Part of my approach involves using a variety of backgrounds and the other week, despite the rainy forecast, we managed to slip outside for a few minutes.
My brief was to create some portraits that could be used for a LinkedIn profile and also for general marketing and social media.Working with hair and makeup artist, Marijelle Moreno, we created three completely different styles; these were based around a selection of outfits which my client had brought along, and information she’d given us as to the sort of look she was after, based on her business; not too “corporate”, but more relaxed and informal. When I saw what she’d brought, I just knew the bright pink against the green of the trees would work well.
And as for the lighting, the overcast conditions were perfect for creating that lovely soft light that wraps around the face to lend a beautiful luminous quality to the features. So much easier to work with than bright sunshine.
Indoors, I chose the soft window light and a reflector to bounce the light back onto her face to give both depth and shape to her lovely bone structure.
As you can see, a headshot definitely doesn’t need to be boring, and if your business has a more relaxed identity, then I can tailor the images to suit your personal style, thereby offering a much more bespoke service.
Here are some of my favourites from our morning.
If you’re not happy with your current business headshot or if you don’t actually have one you can use, then why not get in touch by filling in my enquiry form. Alternatively, you can call me on 01483 571119 or email me at email@example.com and get some headshots that will really do you and your business justice.
Posted on June 2, 2016 by under
Business Headshots, Guildford
Research by LinkedIn reveals that a business profile that’s accompanied by a photo is 7 times more likely to be viewed as a page that doesn’t have one, so it’s definitely worth investing in getting it done properly. No longer is it acceptable for a business headshot to be a selfie, or a holiday snap where you’ve chopped off the other person who was standing next to you!
And the more you can plan and prepare for your business headshot session, the better the results: for my female clients this means that one of the most important aspects is their consultation where we decide what outfits will work best, the hair and makeup style they prefer and any accessories they want to bring. I always use a professional hair and makeup artist to give a really polished look.
This lovely client was an absolute joy to photograph and we had a very enjoyable morning; as you can see, she’d brought along three striking outfits in some beautiful colours which really complemented her. Wearing lots of black is definitely not the only option just because you’re dressing for a business portrait; apart from being very draining, it also absorbs a lot of light and can be quite challenging to photograph.
Hair and makeup was done by the very talented Marijelle Moreno who managed to create a different look for each outfit – thank you! All shot using natural light only – my favourite type of lighting.
Here are some of my favourites, although it was very difficult to choose. If you’re thinking of getting some business headshots done, then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to photograph you!
A perfectly coordinated and professional look, with just a little black.
Often, all that’s needed is a pop of colour to bring an outfit to life.
A change of location and lighting adds variety.