The truth about wedding photography the Inspired By Joseph way

oldham wedding photographer - bride and groom

You probably don’t know this about me but…

I actively choose to serve just a handful of wedding clients every year.  Being the helpful Mum and Oldham photographer for families who want to preserve memories before they fade.

And I’m fine with that!

Consequently and as you can imagine, weddings are as serious as it gets.  Being a part of a couples most special day means that they are putting all of their trust in you to document the day and help cement their memories for a lifetime.  You get just one shot (no pun intended!)  Obviously, you can’t just ask a couple to walk down the isle or cut a cake for a second time!  Likewise, super long days both on the day itself and editing is not for the faint hearted!

Why I take this approach

Clients get 100% effort from me way before they even book.  Yes they get the usual “stuff” offered by most photographers but here is why I pride myself on being different.  Focusing on couples who have children is at the heart of wedding photography at Inspired By Joseph.  Subsequently that means that there is way more to it than just taking photos!

Recently I’ve had the honour of documenting  Alison and Shaun’s special day.  Surrounded by kids on a glorious spring day, I was in my element.

And here’s why.  I :

Helped some of the kids get dressed so that the older bridesmaid and bride could focus on getting themselves ready on time

Persuaded the mother of the bride to find some time for herself to get ready with plenty of time

Carried food up and down the stairs for the bridal party because everyone else was busy

Played silly games downstairs with the little ones and tried to give “jobs” to the slightly older ones to make them feel important

Created  fancy bows on the flowers with the Mother of the Bride because I’m also creative and crafty

Tied shoelaces to stop kids falling over

Helped find things because I know where most things are as I’m looking around all of the time!

Made sure that the couple had a few moments on their own as I know from experience that with kids you hardly event get a moments peace any day let alone on your wedding day

Found the parents of crying children because I know what it’s like when you are at a big event and kids can get overwhelmed

Stopped kids arguing by letting them take a photo on my “proper” camera

Oh.  And I took a few wedding photos too!

 

And that is why I choose to serve just a few wedding clients each year.

I have so much to give, particularly on the day itself that I need the time to recover afterwards, fit in my other photography work and be a Mum!

The true Inspired By Joseph wedding experience!!  100% effort on whatever is needed, 100% of the time!

Here are  a few kind words from Alison:

 

Yesterday was our wedding day.  Bev was amazing.  As well as taking loads of beautiful photos she went above and beyond helping out and generally getting stuck in with the day.  She was a massive help and made our wedding the most perfect it could’ve been.  Having seen a sneak peek of the pictures (already!) I cannot wait to see the rest. Thank you Bev, I’m so glad I picked you 😊 the full package is worth every penny. ❤️

Alison and Shaun, thank you for letting me be a part of your special day!

Oldham wedding photographer - wedding ring

Oldham wedding photographer - flowers

Oldham wedding photographer - bridal party

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Oldham wedding photographer - father of bride

Oldham wedding photographer - bride with parents first look Oldham wedding photographer - bride with parents first look Oldham wedding photographer - bride and groom at wedding ceremony Oldham wedding photographer - bride and groom at wedding ceremony

Oldham wedding photographer - bride and groom at wedding ceremony Oldham wedding photographer - bride and groom at wedding ceremony Oldham wedding photographer - bride and groom

Oldham wedding photographer - bride and groom

Oldham wedding photographer - family photo

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The creative team included:

Simply Beautiful

Devine Cakes

Candy Ever After

Stitch & Steam

Connie’s Keepsakes

C and C Catering

The truth: Making time for photography should be a non negotiable says this Oldham photographer

oldham photographer

Do you have stuff on your to do list or that others are on at you to do?

Self care is always on my to do list but something else trumps it most times even though I know how vital it is.  Subsequently I’m not getting value for money with my gym membership and I can get to the middle of the day without having any water!  Likewise if my better half has to remind me again to get the hair dye marks off the bathroom wall I’ll go insane or he will for that matter!  Part of the reason for this is time.  A huge lack of it.  Or to put it more bluntly, I choose to prioritise other things!

Experience tells me that we are all in the same boat

Especially heightened for people with children!  Time passes in a heartbeat and we cannot freeze those precious moments that come and go in a heartbeat.  Rituals change, stories pass and events whizz by before the next one starts.  Children grow up, new patterns emerge and before we know it we are saying that stereotypical “how are we so far in the year?”

To tell you the truth, I have the upmost respect for one of my most regular clients, Suzie.  Celebrating key milestones in her life, regardless of the craziness of everyday life remain a priority.  Planning ahead and making sure she captures precious moments  makes for one clever lady.  There is no such thing as a perfect house, perfectly tidy with children on form 24/7, it doesn’t exist! There is always something that most of us aren’t quite happy with – our weight, our hair colour, our wardrobe, our lack of energy or sleep, the list goes on but let me tell you, there isn’t a perfect time to have professional photos taken.

Consequently it would have been really easy for her to not get around to a cake smash for her second child but oh no, not Suzie!

The proof is in the pudding….

Here’s what she had to say when I asked her why, despite the craziness of life, she still managed to keep family photography at the heart of her life:

“Photos are what we love and because we did a cake smash for our first born, I would have had serious mum guilt if I didn’t do it for second! I definitely dreaded the state of my house but I’ve known Bev a long time and know she doesn’t judge my mess which we just worked around.

On the day I felt tired (standard for me at the moment!) and I was sure that my second child would have been much more into the cake, but she was exactly the same as my first, like a delicate little flower but it was worth it because we got some really lovely pictures of both of them.’

In my opinion

Photography is the beautiful bridge that links all of the above.  Pressing pause to celebrate life now, whatever it looks like, in whatever form, in its entirety and authenticity is one of the most beautiful thing you could ever posses and keep for life.  Regret can be a terrible thing so don’t wish you could turn back the clock and capture that moment, all of you together.  Please don’t.

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The Awesome Orsons Spring Wedding from an Oldham family wedding photographer

Saddleworth wedding photographer

Everything is Awesome!

I’ve known Keith and Chrissys for almost five years now as both friends and clients.  Firstly, I’ve been honoured to serve them as a photographer four times before.   Secondly,  documenting their very special wedding day which was an absolute privilege.  Therefore, I was extremely nervous with the extra pressure of this fantastic couple also being very good friends!

Such a solid couple!

Subsequently. less than a year ago and I remember scrolling through Facebook and seeing Chrissy was ‘interested’ in a local wedding fair.  After that, I Whatsapped her and said ‘Er, are you two thinking of getting married?!?!?’ As a result, she ever so casually  replied ‘Yeah, we’ve booked a venue so it’s time to sort everything else out!’ Consequently, I was so pleased to hear their news. In other words, Chrissy and Keith are one of the most solid and down to earth couples I know and the thought of them formalising this through the joy of marriage really did make me smile.

Following that, fast forward a few months and Chrissy (with some help from Keith of course!) did a fantastic job of organising the day.  Evidently, meticulous with her planning and to do list was key.  Shopping local and supporting local businesses and involving many of her friends and family in many elements of the day was a joy to see.  Moreover, I recall organising my wedding before I had kids and thinking I had it tough bit now I have the upmost respect for brides who manage to do so whilst working, looking after kids and then some!

Consequently, I had the BEST day ever!

In other words, celebrating Keith and Chrissys day absolutely flew by!  During the gorgeously sunny day (but a bit chilly!) in West Yorkshire came and went in a heartbeat.  Above all, their two beautiful children were a true pleasure to photograph and we had so much fun.   To summarise, the ceremony was perfect, the setting relaxed and the people all good fun who didn’t mind being bossed about by me!  Consequently, even their dog, Jenson, made an appearance and was on his best behaviour.  I mean just look at their faces… true love and happiness….

In conclusion, Keith and Chrissy, I wish you a lifetime of happiness as you celebrate your first few months of married life and thank you for letting me serve you on your very special day.

 

Wedding ring Oldham photographer

 

Helpful Mum and Oldham photographer Helpful Mum and Oldham photographer Helpful Mum and Oldham photographer

Saddleworth wedding photographer

 

Saddleworth wedding photographer

Saddleworth wedding photographer

Saddleworth wedding photographer

The Creative team included:

Adele Howarth Winstanley Bride

The Bobby Pin

Beauty Bespoke Middleton

Siobhan Northfield Cosmetic make up artistry

The Edge Hair and Beauty

LA Florist

The Fleece Countryside Inn

The Deeds Music 

The Cheese Hamlet

Bake & Roast

 

REVEALED: Six things to think about when taking photos in winter

I am so ready for Spring!

Who is ready to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring?

Personally, all of this rain (which always comes at school drop off or pick up!!) is making me ready to dust off my light jackets and put away my waterproof and hunky coats.  Saying that, it doesn’t mean that photography can’t be top of mind.

Here are my top six things to consider when it comes to photography at this time of year:

  1.  Capture the weather.

All we can do is embrace the weather at this time of year so don’t hide from it!  Whether it’s the brolly blowing away in the wind, kids splashing in puddles or making angles in the snow, just do it!  Make it fun and the results will speak for themselves.

2.  Look for patterns.

If you are lucky enough to have snow, snowflakes offer great patterns.  Hard and muddy footprints of the family can be great too.  Simply head into your garden with the kids and have an explore.  What animal prints can you find, for example?  Any natural patterns in front of your nose?

wirral family photography

 

a pile of logs stacked up

3.  Stay indoors.

Basically, if you can’t face the cold, how can you capture the essence of winter at home?  Baking with the kids, drinking hot chocolate, move watching snuggled up under blankets would all hit my top ten!  If you are stuck for inspiration, I share my six favourite household props which could come in handy!

My Mum Story Keith Orson

 

4.  Time lapse photos.

Whether staying indoors or heading out, decide to take a photo from the same location at regular intervals. So for example, if you are making crafts at home, fix your camera to a tripod and take a photo every ten minutes and the story will play out for itself!

5.  Create your own project.

Pick a theme for the season and stick to it.  For example, if you love flowers, why not create photos of flowers when you are out walking, in the garden, or receive a bouquet from a loved one.  You can involve the kids by sharing a theme or why not have a competition and critique each other’s creations?

6.  Sort your photos out!

Whether it be getting them saved online or displayed at home, this is definitely the season to do it.  Take advantage of the long and cold nights and do something that your future self will thank you for.  Come on, you know what it’s like to try to take a photo and shiver at that memory full message 🙁

Enjoy this lovely season

When you just can’t put it into words, rely on others

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

Happy 2019 everybody!

What a way to start off 2019, that’s all I can say!  A naming ceremony/first birthday party/event of the year that has left me smiling from ear to ear.  Recalling the day, the colour’s, the outfits, the people, it was just fantastic.

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

This year, I want people to REALLY get Inspired By Joseph

Personally, I find it really hard to explain what I do…. Yes of course I am a photographer.  I get that you all think I take photos, edit them and send them to my clients.  But I assure you that’s just a smidge of what I do.  Trying to explain this is very difficult as you just have to meet me to see how I roll!  I’ve tried to explain this before but it really is difficult!  Consequently I’m just not like other photographers.  Personality and service really are at the heart of my authentically ran business and this is the reason why…

Therefore, I’m going to begin with the finish of my first job of the year.  This is the message that I got from my first client of the year:

Bev you have been amazing today I can’t thank you enough. You were more than just a photographer. You kept me sane and calm when I was getting a bit emosh and made sure us 3 got some special natural photos together. You took your time and didn’t rush. You were just brilliant. Thank you so much!!!!

Followed by this:

Also a lot of our family though you were my friend as you just blended it, got on with it.. on the floor. LOL they all though you were lovely!

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

Bingo!

Therefore my friends, feedback above is the finest way of describing Inspired By Joseph in action.  Running my business with my clients at the very heart of what I do as demonstrated by Alisa.

Thank you Alisa, AJ and Aarav for allowing me to document your amazing day from a great venue with a great DJ set up!  I enjoyed every single second.  From helping Grandma’s take off their cardigans to look the part for photos, to helping kids find their musical instruments, to giving the three of us some time alone to just “be”, the pleasure was all mine.  Usually, I walk into a room as a stranger and leave as a friend.  I make people laugh, I make them feel good about themselves hell sometimes I even make people cry happy tears!   So next time you think about photography, think differently about Inspired By Joseph!

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

The four things that I have learned from #my18in18 experience

my best #my18in18

The four things that I have learned from #my18in18 experience

Roll back twelve months and so the 3×3 grids started to appear across social media. Sharing a persons best nine photos of the year is commonplace. As the helpful Mum and Oldham photographer for families who want to preserve memories before they fade, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing photos illustrate the finest stories of a person’s year. However last year, it struck me.  Most grids created by females, on the whole, had one type of photo missing. Photos of themselves. Just them. No one else, just them.   Time for #my18in18.

Inspired By Joseph photographer inspires Mum's to get in more photos

Last year, I blogged about my Mum Story. I talked about how I want to empower Mums to take personal responsibility for realising the benefits of being in more photos . It bugs me that most Mum’s don’t get in enough photos and I am on a mission to stop this for the sake of our children. And it shouldn’t be up to the Dads either, don’t get me started!  That’s why I decided to take 18 photos of me just being me, so that I could pick the best 50% to go in my won grid!

Reflectively, as I sit and wrote this blog, I wonder, as usual, where the year has gone?  Yes the early 2018 photos do feel like ages ago but three quarters of the year feel like yesterday.  Importantly, I wanted to share my learning’s from this experience so here goes….

1.  In some ways, it was easier than I imagined

Having publically committed to the challenge meant that I would have half an eye on #my18in18.  I didn’t let the side down.  However, there were times in the year when I seemed to over index on photos and then go a month without taking one.

2.  I wasn’t as creative as I would have liked

Ironically, given that I am a photographer, I don’t like photos of myself!  At times, I imagine that I was more focused on reaching the target than the creativity surrounding it.  The majority of photos are selfies that I just managed to catch on the fly.  Coupled with a lack of time though, I shouldn’t complain!  The two things that I will take from this learning are:

  • I can find the time to be more creative. Bringing out the selfie stick more is a must.  I want to get into the habit of using a timer and a tripod on my ‘proper’ camera too.  Whilst this feels time consuming, I need to push out of my comfort zone and get creative!
  • It’s about quality not quantity. On reflection, if I would have set myself a target of nine, I may have been able to be more creative by giving myself more time.  You have to try these things though heh?

3.  How can I work to make this easier for other Mums to do?

I had some fantastic response from Mum’s, with a super large shout out to Jenny , Bert and Natalie in particular for their efforts!  I REALLY want to see more Mum’s increase confidence in front of the camera instead of being behind!  My enthusiasm and passion for this is at the heartbeat of my business – I feel it is part of my job to make this happen.  However, I also have to remember that all I can do is try to educate and  inspire.  It is up to us all as individuals to take action on the things that matter to us so I have to remember that this isn’t for everyone.  Reflecting, I wonder if I could have done things differently.  Was 18 photos too many?  Is it that Mum’s don’t want to post online?  I’d love your feedback so please do get in contact if you can help.

4.  It’s been an amazing year and it’s important to look back and celebrate!

Personally, photos are the backbone of my diary.   Photos are the quickest and easiest way to reflect on life, the good, the bad and the ugly!  Yes, my glass is always overflowing (it’s never half full and empty isn’t in my vocabulary!) so my photos will always reflect this and that is what makes me happy!  This year my business reached new heights, I got to travel to some amazing places and I continue to live the life that I want to lead, however tough that can sometimes be.  Given that, it’s probably time to share my grid, don’t you agree?

#my18in18

If I can help you update your family photos, get in touch.

Inspired By Joseph – rounding up another wonderful year

saddleworth family photographer

Inspired By Joseph – looking back on my best bits!

As I sit writing this blog post on a truly miserable winter’s morning, I smile as I hug my coffee and look back at the zillions of photos I have taken, both personally and professionally in 2018.  Trying to pick my best nine is always a challenge but a nice one to have!  For one, I will never be short of great photos that document life!

It’s been another fabulous year when it comes to Inspired By Joseph.

I celebrated three years in business and continue to work on creating an offering that works for my ideal client.  Celebrating family life with my clients through the art of authentic, real life, photography has been a pure joy and I feel honoured to have served so many wonderful clients in 2018.  It has been extremely difficult to do but here are just a few of my highlights:

inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

1.Debbie and the boys

Yes you might think it sounds cheesy but the best bit of my job is going on adventures with my clients with no set agenda and more importantly, no time constraints!.  I take my lead from the kids just like I did here and still laugh when clients thank me for my patience!  Imaginative play is always at the heartbeat of my photos so I just adore this one.

This is what Debbie said about our time together:

Bev’s warm personality and patience is what makes her such a pleasure to work with. No tantrum is too big no person is too small. She captures lovely natural moments by making you feel totally at ease. I have had 2 sessions with inspired by Joseph now and thoroughly enjoyed both experiences. I would certainly recommend her.

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

2. Jack turns one

For me, turning one it is massive.  For everyone.  A time to celebrate the rollercoaster ride that is babies first year is one of the best times in life.  It’s also a chance to reflect on how different life is and as parents, to do a bit of high fiving for getting from tiny bundle to an eating and crawling and perhaps even walking mini person.  It’s simply massive and the perfect time to stop and celebrate with a cake smash experience that will cement those memories for generations to come.  I love this moment when we were having a break, the balloons remind me of Winnie The Pooh from our time together! There is just something about the simplicity of it….

Amy said this about her experience with Inspired By Joseph:

We had the most amazing experience with Bev for our sons 1st birthday cake smash shoot. It was so relaxed, friendly and everything we imagined. We all just ‘went with the flow’ with no time limits, in our parents back garden, a perfect scenario for a 1 year old boy. The end result is amazing, with all the photos to hand we have been able to sort thank you cards, birthday and Xmas presents way in advance :-). The most memorable day! Thank you so much!

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

3.  It’s all about the wellies!

The idea of a perfect photo often just exists in our minds and yet the reality is what shows the authenticity of a family and the gorgeous personalities that sit within it.  In reality, there is no such concept as perfection only doing our best and being who we truly are which this session was in spades.  This photo reminds me of home with one of the best views in the world – the Liverpool skyline….  It literally brings a tear to my eye!

Helen has had three photo sessions with me now and I look forward to the next one!  Helen is smart as she knows that you don’t have to wait for the summer to update your family photos, in fact, all of our sessions together have been in autumn or winter!

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

4.  My first time photographing twins

Out and About Mummy Rachel is a gem sharing insight and ideas with local parents and it was an honour to photograph her family.  We had so much fun during our time together.  Whether they were daisy chain making, running around or plain simply having fun, I was able to capture all of those intricate moments.  It’s the way Dad is looking at everyone that get’s it for me!

Rachel has shared her honest perspective of our time together on her own website.

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

5.  I just love the backlighting!

I love how the closing summer light catching Scarlett’s hair – just wonderful!

Mum Tracey came on one of my training courses and said this about her Inspired By Joseph experience:

Whether you go on one of Bev’s photography courses or book a one to one session you can be assured you will get some amazing photos as Bev puts everyone at ease……and of course her photos are beautiful ! Thanks Bev!

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

6.  Always giving back

Josh won my six week summer holiday photo challenge and was an absolute pleasure to spend the morning with.  Courageous and brimming with positive attitude are two fine regularities I like to see in young people and Josh had it in spades with a camera in his hand.  Good luck in the world on your photography journey!

Another lovely compliment that keeps me going!

Thank you Bev for an amazing fun morning on a cold autumn day! We love the photos and need to find more wall space now to put some up!   We’re all so proud of Josh, he put a lot of effort and enthusiasm in to your photo challenges and really enjoyed himself (away from Xbox and YouTube for a time!) It was great to see his ideas come to life in his photos.   Thank you again for your encouragement and spending time giving him a 1:1 tutorial, he’s learnt so much and you’ve boosted his confidence!

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

7. Meet baby Alyssa

It was wonderful to capture Alyssa at eleven days old.  I loved peeking into their lives at this amazing time of their life.  They were so calm and collected – something I definitely wasn’t when Joseph was 11 days old!  I love this one as it’s like we are peeking into that intimate window of a new born, when it’s all staring and cuddles!  One of my fave sessions!

Mum Becky had this to say about our time together:

Bev was very calm and patient with us and our baby and the time flew by. We absolutely love the pictures and will treasure those memories forever.   Also extremely good value for what you pay, no extortionate prices and no hidden costs at the end!  We could tell Bev totally loves doing photography which made it all the better.  Thank you Bev!

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

8.  Photographing another Joseph makes my day!

Lifestyle sessions are some of my absolute favourites, especially when there are two children or more!  I know how difficult it would be to get photos like this without a photographer to hand.  I adore the interactions that are happening and how content everyone looks, as if it had always been a family of four….

And of course I was biased when I found out the eldest was called Joseph!!

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

9.  I’ve never felt more at home….

Rachael and Brian’s wedding was the most loveliest of days mainly because I felt like a guest! I got to know everyone so well and didn’t want to leave!  I make it my mission to get to know everyone and I also did a secret high five to myself having created a number of couple portraits which they just smashed (having not been to keen to do so!).

Rachael was pleased that she could do as she wanted with all of the photos and said:

‘We’ve shared with the whole world!  We cannot thank you enough.  You really captures the happiness and love we felt on the day.’

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

Thank you 2018 and here is to an amazing 2019!

inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired By Joseph gets personal….

Inspired By Joseph personal 2018 highlights

Inspired By Joseph and the personal side….

It feels right that I share my best family photos from the year first as well as talking Inspired By Joseph.

Personally, this work vs personal side to life I have always had a problem with!  Years ago, I got in a full time row with my boss who believed that you can have a work side that is totally separate from who you are outside of work – not for me!  So here are my favourite parts of the year incorporating two of my passions – family and photography!

I still marvel at how fast the year has gone!

Taken either on my mobile phone or ‘proper camera’ I have loved having the biggest choice of photos to choose from, ever!  However this year, more than ever, I have often felt too time starved to take photos.  Saying that,I am reminded how important it is to preserve memories before they fade when I look back and smile at these….

Inspired By Joseph 2018 personal highlights

For a start, I had my first full year as an Aunty (and now Godparent) to Peter.  His baptism in September was lovely.  I am so proud of my sister for all that she has achieved and how she has dealt with her first year as a Mum.  You can read her Mum Story, and many others here.  Sadly, it is still on my list to get a decent picture of the wider family but we just can’t seem to make it happen but I will in 2019!!

As a family, getting away from the hustle bustle of everyday life is key.

This year our highlight was eight days in Eurodisney which, despite the cold, was truly marvelous.   Jonny and I have been to Disney in Florida many times but it just doesn’t compare with kids.  I can’t even start to describe it!  Many a National Trust visit always go down a treat and I love the light in the photos of Victoria.  Every day, I am truly thankful that she is in my life as she constantly reminds me how important it is to be brave and be yourself!

Obviously, the Manchester Bees for the Bee In The City Trail have all been highlights for us.  The kids were obsessed with the bees and have some of their favourite photos proudly displayed in their rooms. This year, the phrase ‘work hard, play hard’ seems to have been more extreme so when it’s been time to play, play I have!

Consequently, there’s few photos of Jonny and I.  Like so many parents, we just don’t get much time together.  To be fair, we have been better this year but we still need to improve as we move into 2019.  I love the photo at a summer wedding.  It makes me smile no end….

The biggest transformation (that I am STILL adjusting to) is Joseph starting school.  Surprisingly, I imagined that the transition would be quite easy.  Getting used to two pick ups on some days, book bags, homework, ParentPay, earlier nights and much more has been tough.  Plus Joseph’s accident just four weeks in to school when he broke his collarbone at home.

We are finally getting into the new school routine and ended the year with Joseph switching on the Christmas lights in Uppermill.  Therefore, the Santa Dash photo is one of my favourites.  Joseph had won the Christmas Card competition at school which was super.

Now it’s time to organise little Miss Victoria’s Peppa Pig themed party for January!  It never stops!

But I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Merry Christmas everyone and all the very best for a happy 2019!

Inspired By Joseph 2018 personal highlights

 

 

WHY I LOVE MY JOB: Inspiring others is priceless!

Summer, where did you go?

Back in the summer, I hosted my annual six week summer holiday photo challenge.  It’s a great way to keep the kids entertained whilst learning new skills instead of complaining how bored they are!  Similarly to last year, the turnout was great and this year I was BLOWN AWAY by the quality of some of the photos.  I awarded two winners and recently had the pleasure of meeting one of the winners. Josh, aged 13 for a family photo session which doubled up as a photography lesson too!

First of all, I want to share one of Josh’s best pieces with you.  One of the weekly themes was food glorious food and look what he came up with!  Talk about combining creativity and patience!  I love it!  Doesn’t it just want to make you eat a pear right now?!?!

Anyway, back to our session….

It was great to see Josh arrive with his camera and tripod and we set to work instantly at Alexandra Park, Oldham.  Josh began to photograph his baby sister and we chatted about composition and technique as we went.  Here are a few photos of us in action courtesy of Clare.

My photos for this session are irrelevant!

Like in many other posts, adults are never the first to say ‘photograph me!’ so I shared some hints and tips with Josh who took very similar photos to these.  For me, the intention of the session was really for my photos to get ignored, I just wanted to see Josh’s photos on his walls at home!

Consequently, we took the time to take some portraits of each other.  I will keep hold of these for when Josh is famous later on in life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josh, you were an absolute pleasure to spend the morning with and I wish you all the luck in the world on your photography journey!

THE TRUTH: It was all about the wellies….

I could easily write my usual style of client blogs today.

Focusing on how gorgeous little Thomas and James are would be simple.  So would commenting on how much they have since the last time (and the time before that!) since I last photographed them.

Similarly it would be simple to talk about the brilliant venue that makes me homesick.  Vale Park in Wallasey with an immediate path to the River Mersey, is where I get to look at at one of the best skylines in the world.  The Liverpool skyline.

Finally, focusing on the gorgeous autumn colours and my favourite leaf throwing activities would seem to be the norm.

Instead I want to talk about one theme.  Wellies.

That’s right, wellies!

Mum Helen is my ideal client.  She loves photos and understands that it’s super important to update family photos regularly.  Consequently Helen always comes with ideas of photos she wants me to try and create and this time it was about the well shot.  You know, the one where all of the family line up, perfectly formed, side to side for that perfect above the fireplace photo.

Ideally, I imagined if we went for it half way in, we would be quids in.  The odd snack had been consumed and the boys had run around and burnt off a bit of energy.  Off we went.  Mum tried to organise everyone in order with no luck.  Dad chipped in to no avail and when I added in my two pennies worth I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Reassuring Helen we would try again later, we continued with some different photos.

You know where this is heading don’t you?

Consequently we had another attempt later.  Helen tried again to line everyone up.  I was ready and willing.  No avail, we just couldn’t line everyone’s feet up perfectly.  Ready up keep trying, Helen stuck at it.  Here are some of the photos that I managed to take…..

Minutes later as the kids ran back towards the park, I stopped Helen and I said “In my humble opinion, this photo sums up your family perfectly!  Just look at the positioning of the wellies, do you agree that this reflects your personalities?  I do!”  The idea of a perfect photo often just exists in our minds and yet the reality is what shows the authenticity of a family and the gorgeous personalities that sit within it.

In reality, there is no such concept as perfection only doing our best and being who we truly are.  As a Mum of two, I know this only too well!! Helen loves this photo and I know it’s the one welly photo that will be going above the fireplace.  Thank you Helen for being a wonderful client and loving the most authentic photo from the day….

You can’t beat the simplicity of brotherly love

I love seeing tiny people grow

Come on, put your hand up if you have been meaning to update your photos for a while now?  As a Saddleworth photographer I hear this a lot.  Especially at this time of year when recent and up to date photos can be turned into a hundred and one different types of photos and cover a multitude of gifts in one go.  Cue organised Debbie who planned ahead and arranged a gorgeous session with her beautiful boys Raphael and Xavier.

We had so much fun

Yes you might think it sounds cheesy but the best bit of my job is going on adventures with my clients.  Consequently, I never have a set agenda and take my lead from the kids.  I even tell them that they are in charge!

So we started off having an explore along the Delph Donkey, greeting a new dog and dog walker every five or so minutes.  Coupled with trawling through long grass and climbing the embankment to see what we could see, it was brill.  We climbed fences to see what we could see and introduced pumpkins when we could.

Consequently, the leaf throwing began which is always a highlight, especially when  it is nice and dry!  However, I just squealed inside when the woolly hats came out and I managed to get some lovely photos of two gorgeous brothers.

You can’t beat a bit of tree shaking

My personal highlight was tree shaking which was just magical.  It proves that the simplest of things, more often than not outdoor, are the things that really make kids smile.  Oh and a bit of tug of war with a large stick too!

My Mum Story is always top of mind

If you are a regular visitor to my page, you will know I am passionate about Mum’s getting in more photos AND having more photos on their own so I was pleased to capture Debbie looking so amazing!

Another memorable autumn session – I just wish we had a longer autumn!!

Autumn family photography at it’s best – creating experiences and memories to last a lifetime!

 Are you like me?

I often find myself lost in a daydream in autumn.  The colours literally stop me in my tracks.  Even when the kids are shouting for something or other and my mind is full of the 1001 things I need to do!  Every year (maybe it is to do with me age!) autumn just becomes that little more important and my mindfulness shifts ten fold.

I’ve a chocca autumn and when it’s family photo sessions, I get so giddy, especially when it’s at one of my favourite National Trust places, Dunham Massey  When its also with one of my favourite friends and returning clients it’s a bonus.  Armed with all of my gear, a few pumpkins and my bag of tricks, I literally skipped off to meet the Basterfields.

Of course you have to start with a bit of leaf throwing don’t you?

It’s mandatory!  I think we could create some bubble captions with some of these.  And whilst I know that clients won’t use ALL of the photos on their walls, I like to add them in as they tell a story…

The deer (or Santa’s reindeer as I tell my kids!) were on good form.  As I took this photo of Max, I paused and marvelled in how much this lovely, confident and happy little boy has changed so much over the years.  He just looks so grown up here!

Then there is his fabulous little brother Harry who I managed to get smiling!  He makes me laugh as I love his little personality!!  I would love to know what he is really thinking when I chat to him!

Having photographs taken outdoors can be quite overwhelming.

I always try to make people feel as relaxed as possible as outdoor sessions can feel a bit weird at first! I accused Rick of catalogue posing by looking in the opposite direction which made Claire giggle rotten resulting in this gem.

Then there is the mandatory couple photo which can result in big sighs, awkwardness and rolled eyes – sometimes!  Photos of the parents are often my favourites.  Why?  Because it’s not very often that parents get photos together. Usually I get comments that they haven’t done this since their wedding day. I love how we often start a bit stiff and awkward then after me goofing around for a bit we get something like this…..  A sparkle and a twinkle and a connection.  A n acknowledgment that as well as parents, there is a couple in there too…..Claire and Rick. You smashed it!

Patience is a virtue….

After the session, Claire messaged me and said she doesn’t know how I am so patient!  It’s my job and I love it!  During the session, I watched a fellow photographer run a similar family photo session.  He was finished in about 40% of the time it took me!  I pride myself on working to my clients needs and timescales not mine.  Even with children who I have photographed before, it can take a while for them to warm up.  Fine and dandy with me.  It doesn’t help that I put the camera away and then say ‘Oh just one more…’

I am running mid week offers in the run up to Christmas so get in contact if I can create a similar experience for you.

THE TRUTH: What is it actually like to run your own photography business

out and about mummy oldham

Social media has a way of portraying the simplicity of business

When you scroll through Facebook, do you see those sponsored ads from business gurus enthusiastically explaining how they quit their 9-5 job and in within a year was living their dream life, able to work for just a few sections of the year and then spend the rest of the year travelling with their family?  Similarly, do you read in the paper the people who found their niche overnight and created a new business that runs itself?

In reality for the vast majority of us, this is horse poo!

Deciding to set up business and then having the guts, determination, tenacity and bravery to launch, let alone continue to run a business for any length of time takes more effort than you would know.  Unless of course, you run your own successful business.  Up to 91% of businesses fail in their first year yet here I am today on 6th October 2018 celebrating three years since Inspired By Joseph launched.  I am so proud and I want to shout this from the rooftops everything I have achieved more or less on my own!

Why I decided to take the biggest risk of my life and leave my established career behind me

Before kids became a part of my world, I’d built up a very successful career in marketing.  I’d worked for some of the biggest brands in the UK including Halifax, Sainsburys, Bupa and most recently Manchester Airport Group when I became Head of Airline Marketing at 29. I’d enjoyed a place on the prestigious Marketing Academy, travelled well (both in and out of work) and wanted for nothing but all was not right.  There was something missing.  Kids.

Traditionally, they say that kids change your life but for me, the transition to motherhood was astronomical.  Even today, I still struggle to explain the transformation in me that I just can’t put into words.  I vowed I wanted to create a life that put me much more in control of doing what I wanted to do, on my terms and when I was able to take redundancy, I knew that the opportunity for me to create the life that I wanted to lead was right under my nose.

Adding kids into the mix made it tougher

Deciding to step away from the corporate world was an easier decision than I imagined but the worry of money, what people would think of me and how I could create something from nothing gave me more sleepless nights than I care to mention.  Oh and did I mention that at this time I was pregnant with Victoria too?  Consequently, I decided I must do this now, despite the hormonal fluctuations I was feeling!  At the end of the day, yes I could fail but I’d regret it if I didn’t give it a go.

Mamma with baby in a sling looking to the distance

The early days as an Oldham photographer were some of the toughest days of my life

So, looking after a one year old with baby number two in my tummy, I found the courage and energy (I’m still not sure how!) to write a business plan, create my brand and set up my website.  I decided to name my business Inspired by Joseph as it was my first born, Joseph, who 100% inspired me by his own presence to do this!  Conversely these things took an age to do and every day I questioned whether I should wait until Victoria was born but I knew if I did, I would never do it.

Many people think it’s easy for me to do all of the marketing side of things but much of the implementation I was years out of date as my most recent roles were much more strategic so it was actually like going back to school.   I plucked up the courage to ring a fellow member of the Marketing Academy, Jonny Miles Prouten, who had gone through the same transition very successfully and took all of his hints and tips on board.  I ordered business cards and flyers, purchased my business insurance and was ready to go.

For days and days I put off launching.  I was afraid of failure.  I was afraid people would wonder how I could move from marketing to photography.  Then I pondered ‘sod it’ and pressed go!

Inspired By Joseph logo

Inspired By Joseph begins!

Initially, the reaction was positive.  Friends and family seemed very supportive.  I ran a competition on social media to win a photo session with me.  A few friends believed in me and bought discounted packages to help me increase my experience.  Each time I was more nervous than I ever imagined possible but I was actually enjoying myself!  I remember climbing up a hill full of wet autumn leaves and a client saying, be careful, you have a baby in your tummy!

Victoria was born and I took the brave and very risky decision to not take any new business.  The whole point of creating Inspired By Joseph was that I could create the life I want to lead so I had to have faith that I could pick up where I left off.  I couldn’t live with the regret of missing those first nine months with a new baby.  Of course, I used this time to improve my photography skills!

Reality hits home after maternity!

Getting back into the swing of things took more tenacity than I knew I possessed.  With two small children and the usual potty training, weaning and the like, it meant that my focus on my business was very limited. From this point right up to today, the amount of times I have had to bite my tongue when people have called me a ‘stay at home Mum’ never ceases to amaze me!  Because I am so visible in the day, taking Victoria swimming, doing most of the school pick up and drop offs, visiting the park etc, most people think I don’t work.

Truth is, I work every single day.  I do at least one small thing every day to move my business forward.  The difference is that my working day usually starts at 7pm when the kids are asleep and to be honest, I am usually pretty knackered myself!  I laugh now as I reminisce on the many late night chats I have created with other Mum’s in particular, a big shout out goes to Bert who just gets it and has provided many words of wisdom along the way.  This is me knowing I have to fit my tax return in soon!!

inspired by joseph

Onwards and upwards

Usually, winter time is quiet in the world of photography and this time last year, I had hardly any bookings after a pretty successful summer.  I worried that I wasn’t going to be able to make this work financially.  I tried loads of things to secure bookings but at one point went nearly three months without a booking.  Thankfully, through hard work, grit and determination, I am (hopefully) over those times now and am pleased to report that this winter I am pretty much booked up until Christmas in between my holidays and planned Christmas activities with the kids.  It is this fact that made me decide to write this blog to show that despite the good and the bad times, three years on and I am still here!

And here are a few of my all time favourite photos, professionally and personally!  This has been very hard to do as I would like to have included more!!!

When I was in the corporate world, I was always ‘that’ employee who went into their annual appraisal with a HUGE list of accomplishments and results.  It’s like a drug for me, it keeps me going and focuses me on what can be done.  Consequently, I took a few minutes out to think about some of the amazing things I have achieved so far with Inspired By Joseph.

I always have far more ideas than time (so 2019, watch this space!) but given how I have managed to achieve this with two small children, I am more than happy!  I would therefore like to say a huge thank you to all of the people who have helped me to achieve some of these brilliant initiatives I have been able to try.  For me, the actual art of taking photos is just a snippet of my business model.  Being a helpful Oldham photographer is just as important:

The things I am super proud of!

I have:

  • Ran several photo challenges for adults and a six week summer holiday version for children, now in it’s second year!
  • Told my story of how I have taken a photo every day since I found out I was pregnant (so as of today, that is 1609) and I thank Saddleworth Independent for supporting local news stories every time.
  • Wrote 124 blog posts (no easy or quick task, trust me!) on my client stories and also how to be a better photographer yourself.
  • Celebrated World Kindness Day at Grandpa Greens. I hosted complimentary parent and baby photos and gave a masterclass on how to take better photos of your kids.  At the same time, I collected more baby clothes to give to charity than I ever expected.
  • Took photos at local playgroups including Delph Tots and Jelly Tots.
  • Hosted a masterclass for children at Little Owl Farm and was blown away with the improvement I saw right in front of my eyes!
  • Encouraged more Mums to get in more photos with #my18in18 initiative on Instagram to encourage more Mum’s to get photos of just them – no kids!!  (There is still time to get involved ladies!!)
  • I have redesigned my website myself (but I will always be ever so grateful to Gemma from Buiness Gem for her fabulous input and support with my previous website which she took on from scratch knowing nothing about it!).
  • Shared my favourite recipes for time starved Mums and Dads including my best weaning recipes.
  • Shared other Mum Stories to help us share experiences and ideas on this journey we call parenting.
  • Launched my annual Christmas advent calendar, full of hints and tips for photography in the festive season.
  • Created a suite of personalised scrabble frames which are increasing in popularity.

But most importantly…..

That doesn’t account for all of the wonderful clients who have believed and invested in me in the past three years.  I genuinely have no words for you except thank you!  Without you, your kind words and your support in helping me to grow my lovely little business, I would be nothing…..  You are the reason I can pay my bills.  You are the reason I get to reinvest in myself and train to be an even better photographer.  You contribute to the local economy and small businesses.  Thank you xxx

Oh and finally, thank you to my other half Jonny who is the person who knows me the most and always supports me whatever I want to do…..  I am sorry that we never get time together of an evening but it will change one day, I promise! x

Another Joseph to photograph makes my day!

saddleworth family photographer

Saddleworth family photographer enjoys photographing another Joseph!! Of course I am going to biased.

So a lovely local Mum who was looking for a Saddleworth family photographer contacted me to arrange a newborn session.  Always a winner and savvy parent in my eyes!  Consequently when I found out that their eldest son is called Joseph, I knew I was going to be a little bit biased!  Just in case you didn’t know the background to my business name, my eldest is called Joseph.  He is the inspiration behind me quitting the life I used to lead to create the more purposeful and happy life that I now lead.

Enjoyably, last week I had the pleasure of capturing the family together enjoying life at home.  As a Mum of two, I know what those first few weeks of life are like when baby number two comes into the world.  How will the eldest child react?  Can I go back to sleepless nights again?  What about when my other half goes back to work??  Overlay that with questioning how on earth I can bring a photographer I have never met before into my house to create a suite of photographs that can sit on my living room wall and it’s enough to make anyone go dizzy!

Children are the reason I set up my business!

If I had a pound for every time a Mum considered the above, my two kids could buy more Thomas & Friends and Peppa Pig than I could find a home for!  When I say I empathise with you, I absolutely do. Furthermore, kids are always on top form once we get to know each other and we have fun.  Joseph was no different and did such a great job helping Mummy and Daddy as well as giving baby Thea numerous brotherly cuddles.  He was an absolute star!

So, Thea.  Well, what can I say?? Beautifully thick dark hair instantly made me smile.  I love a baby who is brought into this world with a masses of hair, there is just something really endearing about it.  Then there’s that look….

Thea was super alert and just looked like she was talking it all in her stride.  In reality it was like she has been on this planet way longer than her years!  Then there is that newborn dry skin that brings back so many find memories of those first few weeks with a newborn baby.  If only a photograph could capture that newborn smell….

But Mum and Dad are important too!

Consequently at family sessions, I always make sure that I create photos of just Mamma and Daddy together. It’s vital I mean, whenever would you create the opportunity for a photo of just the two of you otherwise?  I love the laughter that enveloped this part of the session.

Beth, Andy, Joseph and Thea, to say you brightened up a wet and miserable Saturday afternoon is an understatement.  the pleasure was all mine!!

Welcome baby Isla to the world, you and your new ‘friends’ are going to love it!

A newborn session in the eyes of an Oldham photographer

When I arrived at Clare and Chris’ house the first discussion we had was to work out was how many weeks prior we had met.  Rewind back six weeks and as we enjoyed a maternity  photo session at Alexandra Park in Oldham.  I recalled calling them Mummy and Daddy and explaining that, in fact, it     wouldn’t be long until that was a reality!

oldham baby photographer

Meeting a new baby for the first time is always delightful as the last

Baby Isla was no different.  Finishing her milk and demonstrating that milk drunk look that is oh so familiar to most of us.  Instantly I recalled my days as a new mum and smiled.  Observing a mum and baby during those first few minutes remind me of just why I love to do the job that I do.  From experience I know that this tininess lasts a heartbeat!  Savvy parents ensure that they capture this unique time of life through the art of photography.

Settling down to begin, it was clear to notice how Isla was going to be a dream to photograph.  Chilled after her milk, I had a great opportunity to photograph her with her new friends.  The newness and soft tangibility of new teddies gets me every time.  I am sure they were not this soft when I was a child!! Surely, it is mandatory to have the most fabulous teddies as a newborn isn’t it?  It made me smile as Joseph has the same white bunny (which I think half of the UK child population must have!!)  Don’t you just want to stroke them all??

You can’t beat a good pair of red shoes, can you?

During our previous session we had incorporated a gorgeous pair of Spanish red shoes.  Consequently, we made sure that we replicated that now Isla was actually here.  Usually, I always encourage my clients to bring sentimental gifts as these can often bring a new dimension to the photographs.  Before Claire and Chris know, Isla will have outgrown these shoes and will be onto her next!!!

oldham baby photographer

Thankfully, the majority of my clients return for future photography sessions.  One of the things that I love the most is seeing how the little ones personalities grow.  From a very early age it can be easy to spot signs that give a clue as to what they might be like next time we meet.  I put money on Isla being sitting and crawling early days from watching her wriggle about.  I swear she was trying to roll over at one point!

oldham baby photographer

oldham baby photographer

I smiled all the way home!

Chris and Claire, both sessions with you have been truly brilliant and I wish you the very best on this exciting journey we call parenting.

oldham baby photographer

 

Reason 9/12 – I make it my mission to get to know your guests!

Let this Wirral Wedding photographer ask you a question….  Come on, hands up who goes to a wedding, looking all glamorous , pampered and pristine but still, when chatting away does that “ah, there’s the photographer so look the other way!”

Been there, done that, got the t shirt!

The converse happens at an Inspired by Joseph wedding! Meet Rachael and Brian who I had the pleasure of documenting their wedding at Holy Apostles and Martyrs’ Parish Church church in Wallasey, Wirral.  Such a lovely couple, I spent the entire day feeling like a guest at the wedding, enjoying the company of their closest nearest and dearest and capturing hundreds of tiny little stories along the way.  Now, some might say the photographers job is to document the day but with me, building relations with guests creates something magical.

A beautiful church ceremony

Preparation is key and I always arrive early to prepare.  Father Tom made me feel at ease and welcomed me with a great tour of the church and also pointed out some great vantage points that I could take advantage of.  It was evident that he had an eye for photography too.

The ceremomy was delightful and utterly personal to the happy couple.  I was able to take advantage of all of the places Father Tom had pointed out to me!  I like to keep a fair distance in church band appear to look in more than anything.

Five minutes turned to twenty five

More often than not, couples do not like having their photograph taken and don’t know how to ‘pose’.  Rachael and Brian were no different and at first I imagined just having five minutes with them before they wanted to return to their guests at The Grove House, Wallasey.  Fast forward twenty five minutes and we were still going.  Evidently they had so much fun and it was clear to see that they enjoyed spending time just the two of them.  Just look….

I want guests to nail the perfect photo too!

When it came to the group photos, I know how important it is for guests to secure their perfect picture so I always set the bride and groom up in position then give the guests free reign.  I love a surprising photo of a guest taking a photo, hee hee!  Then we always have some fun set ups as life is too short to stand to attention all of the time!

I love to interact with guests

Subsequently one of the highlights of the day was spent with Brian’s family who had come over from Ireland and New York.   One of eleven, it was a pleasure to photograph Brian with all of his siblings.  In this day and age, I know how difficult it is to bring  family in one place at the right time so I wanted all of them to have photos that can sit on their mantelpiece.

Consequently, having spoken to Brian’s parents, I couldn’t resist asking how they managed to bring up eleven children as I can just about manage with two!  Love and the strength of bond between them all instantly brought a warmth to me.  Laughter and love filled the air and it’s times like this that remind me why I do what I do.

wirral wedding photographer

Good job I have a camera to hide behind!

When it came to the speeches, I found I was having to wipe tears away from behind the camera.  Demonstrating how proud they were of their children and seeing their smiles was probably the highlight of my day.   The speeches were so delightful it took away from the tiredness in my feet, despite the fact I had flat shoes on!!  I also had a permanent reminder of my wedding as the colours were identical!

Thank you

Rachael and Brian, to say I actually felt like a guest rather than a supplier on your special day says tonnes about you as a couple plus your delightful friends and family.  Thank you for allowing me to play a part in your special day.

wirral wedding photographer - grove house hotel, wallasey

My five most read blogs to help you get better at photography

how to get better at photography

Have you met me? 

I am assuming that MOST of you reading this have not met me.  If you have, you know I am not like any other photographer.  I am just not.  I am the helpful Mum and Oldham photographer for families who want to preserve memories before they fade.  Here to serve clients and go way beyond just taking photos is my passion.  Don’t let life pass you by.  The best thing about memories is making them.  One of the many things that I love about my job is sharing hints and tips on how you too can be a better photographer.  So, let me share my five most read blogs to help you get better at photography.

1.  The best photo apps for Mum’s with no time!

Do you ever stare at one of your photos and say I wish I could make it better?  But then, just as soon as the thought enters your mind the kids are at your ankles or asking one of a million questions to you?  I know the feeling!  Follow this three step rule in less than five minutes and you will be onto better photos quicker than you can say ‘Mummy wants five minutes to herself!’

2.  Explained: Which photo to keep and which photos to delete in three simple steps

Picture the scene.  It’s a glorious day of sunshine and you are out with the kids when suddenly your little one manages to ride his bike all on his own.  Fabulous!  You’ve been waiting for this moment for ages!  Instantly, you grab your phone and take a number of photos, snapping happy just hoping that there will be one half decent in there.  Shouting ‘look at Mummy’ or ‘stop just there’ is bound to help the process!  Since the rise of the mobile phone and digital technology, we are blessed to be able to take unlimited photos.   Whether you have pressed that button twenty times or managed to secure in one continuous burst, you now have to go through them to pick which is the best one to keep, a difficult process at times.

3.  My top three photo tips guaranteed to make you feel more like Beauty, not the Beast!

I wanted to share with you my three top tips to help you feel more like Beauty and not the Beast!  I understand that most people do not like having their photograph taken, I do.  Surprisingly in this day and age of the selfie, I have numerous clients who feel that way.  Therefore, take these tips on board and observe how it feels!

4.  Have a bit of fun with my top six household props to add to your family photos

Sometimes we find ourselves in a rut taking the same type of photos, even us photographers.  In reality, it’s easy to do what we have always done without stopping to actually think before we take a photo.  Granted, if you have children this can be difficult but give it a whirl, what’s the worst that can happen?

5.  My simple four tips for guaranteeing pictures that transform from ok to wow

Photography is a skill that we can all continuously improve.  Do you want to brush up on your photography skills? Discover my top tips to turn the volume of brilliance up on your next set of photographs whether you are using a phone, tablet or camera.

how to get better at photography

Saddleworth cake smash photography is the top choice for savvy parents to celebrate the major milestone of baby turning one

saddleworth cake smash photography

Turning one is major. 

For me  it is huge.  For everyone.  A time to celebrate the rollercoaster ride that is babies first year is one of the best times in life.  It’s also a chance to reflect on how different life is and as parents, to do a bit of high fiving for getting from tiny bundle to an eating and crawling and perhaps even walking mini person.  It’s simply massive and the perfect time to stop and celebrate with a cake smash experience that will cement those memories for generations to come.

My Mum clients just get it.

Amy contacted me to arrange a cake smash for her soon to be little boy, Jack.  I like Amy, she is my type of lady! Evidently, the concept and experience of the cake smash seemed much more important than the actual photos created which normally results in a better outcome anyway.  Likewise and like so many other savvy Mums, Amy agreed that creating photos slightly ahead of Jack’s first birthday would be fruitful.  Creating part invites, thank you cards and the like makes me an even smarter investment too!  Plus, I offer the opportunity to create a few family photos beforehand.  I also try and get a few of Mum and Dad on their own, which they don’t usually want but are glad that they do!

Interestingly, cake smash photography is always one of my favourites. 

Why?  They are always so different in so many ways! Each child responds so differently to the experience.  And then there is the parents too!  Consequently this cake smash will stay with me for a long time!  Daddy, come rapper, blew me away with his rapping skills to help keep Jack entertained which you can see below.  It came from nowhere but was brilliant to watch and made me chuckle out loud – he loved it! Subsequently, we then had Grandma Shellie who was, from a photographers perspective the star of the show.  Willing to do ANYTHING to get and keep Jack’s attention, she was up for it!  Jumping, dancing, singing, the lot, it really did make my job easier and I even joked about hiring her to come with me to future client bookings!  Subsequently, Jack drunk it all up with smiles and twinkles in his eyes was enough to melt anyone’s heart!  Photographing him really was an absolute pleasure.  He took the entire session in his stride and soaked up every moment especially when we put his favourite maracas in the cake!  Documenting life as it actually is makes the session so very worthwhile!

Trust me, the absolute worst thing you can do is think:

I can’t find time for a cake smash, life is too busy!  Honestly, I can work around your schedule for a minimum of an hour, maximum two.  I can come to you too so it really doesn’t take as as long as you think

I have a load of toys and gifts to buy for the birthday.  From experience, I know that toys and books come and go in a heartbeat before being replaced with the next fascination.  However, photos last a lifetime and bring so much more happiness and joy!

If you are still on the fence, you can see what Amy said right here:

We had the most amazing experience with Bev for our sons 1st birthday cake smash shoot. It was so relaxed, friendly and everything we imagined. We all just ‘went with the flow’ with no time limits, in our parents back garden, a perfect scenario for a 1 year old boy. The end result is amazing, with all the photos to hand we have been able to sort thank you cards, birthday and Xmas presents way in advance. The most memorable day! Thank you so much!

Do you agree? I would love to hear so leave me a reply below….

I definitely need more baby bump photography in my life!

Time to chuckle to myself!

As I walked in one of my favourite local venues, Alexandra Park in Oldham, I chuckled to myself.  As the helpful Mum and Oldham family photographer, as you can imagine, most of my sessions have babies and children present.  However, this one was a little different with baby still being in Mummy’s tummy!  Favourably, baby bump sessions make me glad to have the vocation I do.  I have blogged in the past about why baby bump photography isn’t what you think it is and how it is a great way to celebrate this epic milestone but to be honest, it’s one of my least popular collections and I wish it wasn’t the case!  It is definitely such a great time to document life and between us, we make the session fun and memorable, like with the brilliant Chris and Claire!

Making guys laugh is a must for me

Usually, it is always the female who books in for sessions with Inspired By Joseph so one of the first things I usually do is joke with the bloke that they are here because they have to so they may as well enjoy it!  Chris took the whole session in his stride and it was clear to see that he just got why this was important to Claire.  Brilliant man!

Anyhow, back to the story!

The reason I smiled is because I realised that because I had just two adults (and a bump), everyone would firmly have their listening ears in and between us, we could create some fab images!  Consequently, I found I took a zillion more photos than I imagined and we were able to extend the session by taking in more areas of the park, a winner!  Definitely need to get more baby bump sessions in!

As all good photographers do, I always try to use my clients name throughout the session but what usually happens about half way through is that I automatically refer to everyone as Mummy and Daddy, it’s just a habit!!  I found myself in the same position today and with Claire and Chris being first time parents found it quite funny adjusting to their new titles as you can imagine!

Pregnancy is a powerful time of life

What I loved about the session was the level of confidence and assurance from Claire at this epic time in her life.  Just look at these!  Claire exuded happiness and love in bucket loads towards her ever growing bump which, at one time, made me gather my thoughts as I recalled both of my pregnancies with love and pride too…

During a baby bump session, I always capture photos without the bump and the guys nailed it today, don’t you think??  I cannot wait until baby comes along and I get to work with such a lovely all again!

Meet Alyssa through the eyes of a newborn photographer in Oldham

Time for a new baby, Bev?

People often ask me if we are going to have another baby.  When you have the job I have, I have the pleasure of meeting tiny new babies all of the time. I usually guarantee a cuddle time experienced that sense of newborn so that is usually my fix!

My latest meet was with a gorgeous baby girl called Alyssa who was just eleven days old.  Even though I’ve had my own two babies in the last four years and I photograph babies for a living, it is still exceptionally easy to forget just how tiny babies are and how quickly they grow day by day! Saying that Alyssa seemed older (and wiser!) than her eleven days, especially when she had her eyes wide open!  I think she has her Mamma’s eyes…

newborn photographer oldham

oldham family photographer

Why being a female and a Mum really helps…

As a female and a Mum, I could totally empathise with Mum, Becky. Joseph was born at the same time of year and I remember how challenging I found the heat.  Becky took it in her stride though (unlike me!) but I still made sure we took loads of breaks in between. As you know, with me, I have all of the time in the world!

Both Becky and Phil decided to work with me as they wanted the authenticity of family life from the comfort of home.  They were totally at ease as I documented this amazing stage of their life.  At one point Phil asked me if I was obsessed about hands and feet to which I replied “absolutely Phil, before you know it these tiny things will be running away from you!”

newborn family photographer oldham

oldham baby photographer

oldham baby photographer

Experience matters..

Becky was also keen for their family dog to appear in photos too.  That’s the benefit of sessions held at home, we can incorporate whatever you so wish into the many, many photos that you receive at the end.

oldham baby photographer

family photography oldham

Congratulations Becky and Phil on such a great experience and thank you so much for the wonderful feedback:

Bev came to do a photoshoot in our home for our 11 day old baby! She was very calm and patient with us and our baby and the time flew by. We absolutely love the pictures and will treasure those memories forever.   Also extremely good value for what you pay, no extortionate prices and no hidden costs at the end!  We could tell Bev totally loves doing photography which made it all the better.
Thank you Bev! 

saddleworth family photographer

saddleworth family photographer

What did I learn on my holiday?

holiday photo challenge

When we have an idea in our house, we just do it!

We decided to book a last minute holiday before we have to pay school holiday prices (gggrrr!) so, as usual, I decided to set myself a challenge.  To ONLY take photos with my digital camera.

This challenge is harder than it sounds!

In reality, I have several cameras so decided to take my trusted first purchased camera, and two lens, a zoom and a prime lens (which basically doesn’t zoom, you or the subject has to move).  In my head, now the kids are older and we don’t have to carry as much ‘stuff’, I thought it would be easy for me to just carry my kit with me.  And on the whole, it was but what did I learn about the experience and did I complete my challenge?

First things first….

So to start us off, I never took any photos at the airport, which is usually mandatory for me.  Trying to maneuver a camera, bag, children, passports etc in a deadline driven environment did not work on this occasion, we just about made it to the plane on time!  For example, usually when we board the plane, I  get the ‘stand by the plane’ shot but I wasn’t organised to get my camera around my neck as I was too busy thinking through what was going in the overhead locker vs under the floor.  Lesson learnt.

The challenge kept challenging!

Once we arrived in Menorca, I realised how heavy it was to carry my camera bag around all of the time in the heat.    Reflecting on the ease of a camera phone in a back pocket crept into my mind but I was determined to carry on and remember why I wanted to take the challenge.  Life isn’t always supposed to be easy so I was determined to persevere!

Another thing that hit me throughout the holiday was the tiny number of people who carry a digital camera around with them.  I could count on one hand the amount of cameras I saw which, to be fair, shocked me as I was expecting to see more.  Again I reminded myself of the advantages of using a proper camera that enable me to get the best possible photo.  I shoot in manual and just can’t get this from a mobile phone!

But it was so worth it!

A couple of days in and I was used to having the camera with me.  I smiled daily at the photos I was able to take that I just wouldn’t have been the same  on my phone.  I reckon that I came away with 100 really good photos that I would happily put on my wall so definitely worth it in the end!

Mission accomplished!

Note to self, ditch the mobile more often!

How is my little Joseph four?

Tears at bedtime

Drafting this post at the end of the day has not been the wisest of moves.  See, I’ve just come back from a parents induction at the school he starts in September and  the reality of it all has finally started to sink in.  I’m actually not the best at change, I will admit that and the gigantic (to me anyway!) changes that are about to take place in Joseph’s life are still hard for me to get my head around.  Is he actually really four and is school really on the horizon????

In reality, I have nothing to cry about!

I fell absolutely privileged that I have created a life that has enabled me to spend as much time as I can with both of my kids.  Apart from his three sessions at preschool, the rest of the week we fill as we wish.  I also have my daily photos which remind me of all of the adventures that we have had together as well as his journal of memories which, when he is older I will share with him.  Despite all of my ‘records’ I still cannot understand where the time has gone. I know we all say time goes fast but really, four years??

Photography has enabled me to start my own family traditions

There are many things that I replicate when it comes to family photos.  When I visit Uncle Stan and Aunty Margaret, I always get a photo under the archway to their garden.  At the Delph Scarecrow Festival, I always get a photo at The Old Bell Inn (who always do such a  great job!)  I also have taken the concept of a cake smash to new levels replicating this every year.  Just take a look below at some of my favorites which includes Joseph and two of his friends when he was three…

oldham photography cake smash

 

This year has been no different…

So when I decided to keep the tradition going with three of Joseph’s friends for his fourth birthday, I wondered if I had swallowed more than I could chew!  At this age it is lovely to see the three very different relationships he has with his three besties, Scarlett, Henry and Max.  Plus at this age, I was VERY curious as to what would happen.  They say a picture speaks a thousand words so I needn’t say any more…

It started so well with some actual posing……

Then the cake eating started and creativity set in….

Before absolute carnage!!  And yes that is cake being thrown before siblings got in on the action! 😉

Do you know what?  We all had an absolute ball.  Cake smashes really aren’t just for one year olds, they are a great way of cementing memories and are ideal for thank you cards and gifts.  It’s also great if your little one isn’t too keen on a big birthday party, this could be the ideal alternative.

Happy 4th Birthday Joseph.  Thank you for being you….

If you want to know more, check out my collections here.

My first family session with twins was just delightful

rachel out and about mummy

It’s nice to be nice!

If you have never heard of Out and About Mummy, it’s a good place to start!  Rachel is an Oldham Mum of three who loves being busy and is great at sharing  things to do locally.  Many a time I have found something on her Facebook page or website that has been interesting to me, or more so, the kids.  Rachel has also written a  piece for My Mum Story which is a great read.  Bearing all of that in mind, I wanted to say thanks to a local Mum who does a LOT to help others.

Off for a family session we went!

I’m putting it out there, we all know how hard it is to photograph children.  Luckily I have a range of skills and techniques which help me bring out the absolute best in children.  Joshua, the eldest took charge and was a great help throughout.  Oscar and Isla both did a fab job too and, considering their age, got involved and participated throughout.  Early doors I was able to capture some gorgeous Mum and daughter moments, whilst wishing that they made Isla’s shoes in my size!   The same applied to Dad and Joshua too, just take a look!

mum and daughter time

flower girl

mum and daughter time

baby girl shoes

dad and son love

Authentic photography is at the heart of what I do!

The entire family had so much fun during our time together.  Whether they were daisy chain making, running around or plain simply having fun, I was able to capture all of those intricate moments.  I mean, come on, how happy do they all look??

rachel out and about mummy
rachel out and about mummy

rachel out and about mummy

The children were such a great help

Parents always worry about how the children will be on a session but I always say there is nothing to worry about.  Joshua, Isla and Oscar were all amazing.  Check out one of my favourite images of the day, Joshua carrying my reflector!

It’s all about the feedback!

Whilst, 100% of the time, my clients tell me that they love my work, what I love more than anything is when I hear clients friends and family say things like this:

Quite possibly the most beautiful family photos I have seen…really captured the Evans family and what they are all about….beautiful x

Rachel was also kind enough to share her thoughts on the Inspired By Joseph experience which made me smile and smile some more….

People think it’s REALLY difficult to get photographs like this but trust me, with me, it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy!

If you want to know more, check out my collections here.

1500 photos and counting…

1500 daily family photos

Isn’t it funny how, before you know it, things can become a habit?

Turn the clock back 1500 days and so begins the birth of a habit that has become part of our family culture, well known to family and friends and a vital part of everyday life.  I have spent the past 1500 days capturing family life through a photo a day.

Where does the time go?

Since my exhilarating, life changing moment of a twelve week scan for my first born, Joseph, I have documented family life on a daily basis.  What started as a bit of fun to document my pregnancy ultimately led to a total change in lifestyle for sure!

Every day, I take the opportunity to capture a memory from that day. Sometimes it is the mundane, such as the chaos of meal times but others, it is a new milestone, such as taking Joseph and Victoria out for the first time with no buggy.  Things that come and go in a heartbeat. It gives me the opportunity to document new traditions that now form a part of my family culture too.

I see no end to this daily challenge.

Yes we all have good and bad days but usually each day is a limiting balance and therefore the ideal time to take the everyday moments which illustrate beautifully and authentically the story of life as a Mum.  In reality, being a Mum isn’t always plain sailing but that isn’t a reason NOT to photograph our story.  It’s really easy to let life pass you by in the mundane of day to day life but the best part about memories is making them.

I am so proud that I have been able to keep this tradition going and I see no end!  Now that we are preparing for Joseph to start primary school and Victoria is spending more time at preschool, it’s given me the chance to look back and reflect on what have been the happiest four years of my life.  Here are a few of my highlights:

Joseph has loved trains since day dot.  I am sure it’s because we took him to the National Rail Museum in York when he was tiny.  I waited until everyone got off the train to take this one.  I love how tiny he looks compared to the size of the train itself…

1500 daily family photos

If anything is daring, exciting or just plain adventurous, Victoria is up for it.  Holidays are the life blood that run through our family. It’s one of the only times I really relax, we all reconnect as a family and enjoy being together, just the four of us.  Daddy hadn’t seen Victoria swim for a few months and he was delighted to see how high he could throw her in the air in Tenerife last year.

1500 daily family photos

 

This is my absolute favourite photo of the kids with a story behind it.  It was snowing outside and I just didn’t have the energy to get myself, my kit and the kids prepared for it but boy was I glad that I did! This proves that a few minutes effort can go a long way!  Just look at them… I say no more!

This is my current favourite photo of me.  Ironically you might say, I am not a fan of being in photographs but I love this photo, not necessarily because of how I look but more how I felt at the time the photo was being taken, happy and content with my family around me.

Bev Ridyard Oldham photographer

As well as families having a range of photographs that they love, if you know me, you know I am passionate about other Mum’s getting in enough photos and documenting their stories too.  It’s never too late to start!  I am currently running two initiatives which are perfect if you are reading this!

  1. To help Mums (in particular) to get in photos, I run a challenge on Instagram called #my18in18 and ask Mums to get in 18 photos in 2018 so that they have SOME photos of themselves to look back on at the end of the year.  Get involved here.
  2. I am running a seven day photo challenge to help people to take better photos. It is totally free and starts on Monday 25th June 2018.  You don’t need a fancy camera, just access to a phone and the internet and positive enthusiasm!  Each day, you will receive an email with a challenge plus some hints and tips from me.  Simply take a photo that day, it’s that easy!  Click here to participate! 

The best money that you can spend at an event is on a photographer

event photography oldham

It’s great to have an event to look forward to isn’t it? 

If you are anything like me, the organising is the best bit!  Planning the theme, food, decorations, entertainment and everything else is fun in itself.  The investment of time, effort and money that we make can play a significant part in the actual event.

I love a christening!

I recently had the pleasure of photographing baby Emily’s christening.  It was clearly evident that Kate and Matt worked super hard preparing for the day.  The service was gorgeous, the food amazing, the kids entertainer a hoot and the little touches (like giving our sunflower seeds for guest to plant) did not go unnoticed.  The highlight of the day for me though?  Emily’s dress!  Let me tell you why...

Choosing a christening outfit it stressful (I’ve done it twice!) so when I heard about Emily’s outfit I actually squealed with delight!  Kate commissioned the services of Seamless by Sarah Tait, who offers a unique service to convert your wedding dress into a christening gown or christening romper, both complete with all the matching accessories. Working with you, Seamless will design a christening gown using all the fabric and trims from your wedding dress.  I am sure you will agree this is just sensational and such a clever idea!

And I love my clients too!

In fact, Kate and Matt were incredibly savvy.  They know the importance of photographs in their lives and usually have their phones close at hand to capture special moments.  And I know they take a decent photo themselves!  However, for their daughters christening, they knew that the best solution that they could have was to put their phones down and enjoy the day, minute by minute, hour by hour without taking a single photo.  They were present and focused in the moment, something that they can keep in their hearts and minds forever. 

Ultimately, deciding to apportion some of their budget to photography was the best decision that they could have made.  Whilst all other elements of their budget were consumed on the day, the legacy of the photos they have forever, as well as their own memories, win, win!  Add in the fact that they used photos as thank you cards and gifts is just the icing on the cake!

Photography can be worth the investment

Christening photography isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but if you want to treasure the moments, I promise you it is worth it.  I can work to ensure that your stories are captured and treasured for generations to come.

Plus, did you know that prior to my photography career I worked in marketing?  During that time I have run more events, new branch openings (for Halifax banks) and saw more airlines launch more new routes than I can remember!  I always try to share this knowledge with clients to help keep wedding, party and christening costs down.  If you want to know ways to keep costs down for an event, contact me and I can send you a super useful guide!

More from Seamless:

If you have an idea for that dream dress that you want being sewn to reality, or a bespoke occasion wear outfit then I want to hear about it.  For regular up to date information or for any inquiries get in touch with Sarah.

event photography christening

Why I love my job #7 I get to photograph 36 hour old babies!

36 hour old baby

 Like no other time of life!

If you’ve brought one or more babies into the world and you recall the first few days, you will like this post!

The first few days are a whirlwind. Indescribable and unrecognisable in a haze of fatigue and joy all in one go.  It’s a time when your world is turned upside down as your body and mind have been through it, let alone the fact that there’s suddenly an addition to the family.  It certainly does produce a whirlwind of emotions.

If you have had baby number two or more though, things are ever so different. You know the drill. You’ve done it before. It comes back to you in an instant.  I guess it’s like riding a bike, you never forget it.  That’s why a session with Inspired by Joseph, at home, could be the perfect way to celebrate.

The early bird catches the worm!

Booking a session to take place within the first 48 hours of birth (whether this be at hospital or home) offers the chance to document the reality of baby as early as possible.  In reality I’m talking the “newness” of baby and everything that comes with it. What I’m not talking about is just posed images of baby but a range of photographs that capture the experience for all family members, as it happens in reality, which is what the Hardy family recently experienced.

This family just GETS photography!

Baby Sophie entered the world and as they say, the rest is history! Having photographed the family no less than six times, I walked into their house and it was like she had always been there.  Big sister Olivia has took to her duties like a duck to water and Mum and Dad, despite the obvious tiredness were doing great.  The relaxed and informal session brought a wide ranging collection of photos that documented this special time but it did more than that.  It allowed the family to be just that, a family.  I know from experience it’s really easy to get on that treadmill of life and just be without taking stock of what’s actually happening.  Nick and Suzie definitely embraced their time together and enjoyed each others company when, in reality, it would have been really easy for them to be busy doing washing, putting clothes away, cleaning and the like – which can all wait. This new moment can’t!

Hardy’s, as ever you did a cracking job and thank you for allowing me into your lives as such as significant time.  And thank you for this LOVELY review:

We couldn’t recommend Bev highly enough. We have used Inspired by Joseph to capture our family milestones in the past and when we got pregnant with our second, Bev was there to document it. With my first born we had the photos taken by at hospital. Whilst they were lovely photos, they were very expensive and we only got 7 images! I knew I didn’t want to do this again and asked Bev to do our photos for Sophie. She was amazing and so accommodating (including being ‘on call’ for a few weeks as I wanted the photos in the first 48 hours). Inspired by Joseph is a personal service and is great value for money. Bev was very patient on the shoot with a newborn (less than 36 hours), a toddler, a sleep deprived dad and a very weary mum and the images she got sum up our little family of 4 perfectly. Thanks for everything, Bev.

What it really feels like to become an aunty for the first time!

18th December will always be a special date for me. The day I became an Aunty for the first time will always stay with me. I recall getting the call from my sister and thinking “this is actually it!”

I am actually an Aunty!

I’m one of those people whereby, until something finally happens, it just doesn’t sink in. Obviously I’ve known about this for a while. Seeing my sisters bump grow, hearing all of her plans brought back memories of my own two pregnancies in a heartbeat. Knowing baby was on the way was a given. However, when baby arrived six weeks early, I didn’t feel ready so I can’t even contemplate how Nic and Carl felt.

He is here!

Meeting baby Peter for the first time was an absolute joy but a bit nerve wracking too! Forgetting the tiny-ness of a new baby is easy! Minutes later though and the love for him soon overtook the nerves. Straight away I began my life lessons to him but kept calling his Mummy Aunty Nic instead! I’m still struggling with that a month on!

As you can imagine, I was itching to take photos from the moment I met him, I couldn’t wait! I know how much babies change in such a short time so I’m always keen to get cracking. Acknowledging that getting prepared for photos is usually not at the top of new mums minds, you can imagine that Nic knew that they would be high on the agenda.

No pressure then…

Consequently, I wanted to smash the first photos of my nephew. Greeted with Peter in his first Everton outfit, I knew we would be in for a great session. I mean, just look at those booties!!!

 

Peter was so content the camera did not bother him at all, he was far too busy sleeping!

Capturing the early Mum and Baby moments are so precious. That lovingly glance or peck on the cheek captures love like no other. It makes any heart melt, especially when it’s your sister and nephew!

Peter, welcome to the world!

You have the best Mum and Dad and are in for a great life ahead! I’ve just got to get used to saying I’ve got a nephew!!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Welcoming Victoria Grace to the family

The six biggest lessons I have learnt as a photographer

The Truth:  Why are photographers are so expensive?

Did Your #bestnine2017 Photos Have The Same Problem as Mine?

#my18in18 is going to look different!

I’ve purposeful held back from posting this for the first few days of 2018. Assuming you have been swamped by stories of how to save money, lose weight, write goals, sleep more, give up alcohol and then some, it all just becomes wallpaper, right? If you don’t start bang on New Years Day, is it even worth doing?? I beg to differ.

Peeking into the lives of others on New Years Eve was addictive

Floods of social media feeds were filled with #bestnine2017 grids on the last day of the year. Peeking into the highlights of other people became addictive as I marveled in seeing nine squares of joy, happiness and love. Weddings, new borns, holidays, significant milestones, the lot! As an authentic family photographer from Saddleworth, Oldham, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing photos illustrate the finest stories of a person’s year. However, it struck me how most grids created by females, on the whole, had one type of photo missing. Photos of themselves. Just them. No one else; just them.

Last year, I blogged about my Mum Story. I talked about how I want to empower Mums to take personal responsibility for realising the benefits of being in more photos with their children on a continuous basis. It bugs me that most Mum’s don’t get in enough photos and I am still on a mission to stop this for the sake of our children. And it shouldn’t be up to the Dads either, don’t get me started!

A Mums Story. Take that photo!

It was definitely telling me something!

There seemed a definite connection to this too. Unintentionally my grid was the same! Ashamedly, four years to the date, I’ve taken a photograph of my families life every day yet individual photos of me, whether selfies or not, rarely appear. And that’s coming from a photographer! Consequently, I’m always too busy taking photos of others to focus on me.

There seemed a definite connection to this too. Unintentionally my grid was the same! Ashamedly, four years to the date, I've taken a photograph of my families life every day yet individual photos of me, whether selfies or not, rarely appear. And that's coming from a photographer! Consequently, I'm always too busy taking photos of others to focus on me.2018 is going to be my year!

Needless to say, this is going to be a focus for 2018. Why? Purely because I deserve to have a few half decent photos of me. Just me being me rather than mother, wife, sister, daughter or friend. Photos that I can look back on and think “yes, that small slice of my chaotic world is reserved just for me”. Whether it be a moment of tranquility once the kids go to bed, or a rare time reserved without the kids (like the below!) then bring it on I say!

#my18in18 is going to look different!

Going public commits action

Sharing a goal publicly will spur me on. Committing to just 18 authentic photos of me being me, all on my own will give me the opportunity, if I wish, to produce two #bestnine2018 grids just of me! Simply put, it’s just one photo every 20 days. Realistically it’s going to be a bit more fluid than that but it’s achievable when it’s broken down isn’t it? Time consuming it won’t be, easy and focused it will. I can’t wait to get started!

Care to join me?

Inspiration is part of my DNA (after all it was my first born, Joseph, who inspired me to set up my own business, Inspired By Joseph Photography) so if you would like to get involved use #my18in18 on Facebook or Instagram. I’ll be your cheerleader cheering you on as we travel this journey together. Come on ladies (and gents!), do this one small and achievable thing for you this year…

Get involved and share your commitment via my Facebook or Instagram page.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

6 tips for the perfect selfie this Christmas

The blog post which brought me to tears!

8 reasons I love photography

The blog post from an Oldham photographer that comes with tears!

The blog post from an Oldham photographer that comes with tears!

How often do we tell ourselves how quickly time passes? I do it all the time.  Talking to other mums about how fast the kids are growing up.  To my partner about how it only feels like five minutes we have been married as opposed to seven years this month.  It happens all of the time.

I have taken the time to stop and reflect

Since I’ve left the corporate world and set up my own photography business, I can’t believe where my first full year of business has gone (I had a little break after three months of business to have my beautiful girl, Victoria).  I genuinely don’t.  So much has happened and it’s not until pressing pause and taking the time to reflect on the past twelve months that I actually realise what and how much I have achieved.  And let me tell you, it makes me feel proud doing something so brave and risky.

I am ever so thankful to all of the clients who have believed in me

When I started to go through the thousands of photos I’ve taken this year to find my top nine, it was a difficult task!  I have so many amazing memories and stories that I’ve captured it was difficult to start.  I’ve had the pleasure of serving clients for many of the significant stages of this precious thing we call life.  New borns, christenings, first birthdays, school days, engagements, weddings, baby bump sessions; all of these chapters of our lives that come and go in a heartbeat. I’ve documented a client moving house, hidden around corners for surprise sessions and worked with more clients who say they hate having their photos taken then you would imagine.  Yet I love to see their reaction when they see my photography magic complete!

They have, ultimately, helped me to be the happiest I have ever been

Twenty five of my best photos turned to twelve and the final nine are here to share.  Each one has its own story which contributes towards how proud I am to serve my clients and build a business which makes me happier than I’ve ever been.

best of 2017I’m proud to be a photographer who is different

Ultimately, the thing that I am most proud of is taking my passion and sharing it with others.  I’ve helped hundreds of people improve their photography skills.  Similarly, I’ve ran a photography course, ran several photos challenges online and have written sixty blogs including this one to give just little sprinkles of  photography inspiration and share my client stories.  I’ve held a kindness event and donated so many pieces of children’s clothing to charity that it was overwhelming!  I’ve even become a Huffington Post blogger!  Finally, I’ve also donated a small portion of my fees to my chosen charity, 52 Lives as it follows the belief that we can all be good to each other.  Thankfully, I’ve also had great support and coverage from The Saddleworth Independent who are a fantastic champion of small, local businesses. The many messages I’ve had both from clients and strangers alike are just the things needed to keep my ambitions high.  Ultimately, I want to continue growing my business so that I can spend the time I want to with my two amazing children.

Thank you 2017 for being so amazing!

As we come to the end of 2017, I want to say a huge thanks to every single person who has supported me in my journey this year.  Whether you’ve been a client I’ve served once or in some cases three times, you’ve participated in a challenge, read a blog or simply posted a commented on my Facebook page, you absolutely rock and truly are a huge part of what keeps me going!  Thank you…. X

Other blog posts you might find useful:

6 tips for the perfect selfie this Christmas

Goodbye 2016, hello 2017!

8 reasons I love photography

I love a November family photography session at Alexandra Park, Oldham

oldham family photographer

I love a November family photography session at Alexandra Park, Oldham

I recall moving to Oldham and the signposts for Alexandra Park just passing me by, like so many things in life.  Consequently, it wasn’t until Joseph, then Victoria came along and I left the corporate world to become an Oldham family photographer that I became such a frequent visitor.  Alexandra Park has so much to offer children and grown ups alike.  You have the usual, obligatory duck pond and children’s play area (complete with sand pit) but also a beautiful conservatory, Chinese building and garden, fountain area, band stand, bowling green, fabulous little Cafe and much, much more.

One of my favourite places

As a result, Alexandra Park is one of my favourite outdoor locations so when Jess, Andrew and Rose agreed to have their session there, I was super pleased!  Having photographed my summer challenge winner, Faye, at the same location a few weeks back, I looked forward to it all week as I worked through my favourite areas of the park to visit.

You can never have enough family photos

It’s very rare I meet a family who say they have enough family photos on display in their homes so for all of my sessions, I always guarantee that by the end they will have at least a handful that they love.  Specifically, one that makes their heart beat a little faster and make them smile as they reminisce on this particular time in their life.

In fact, when I’m working with families with small children, I always go out of my way to get a photo of just Mum and Dad.  Likewise, I know from experience that, when children come along, couple photos just never happen.  With so many things, they just get put to the bottom of the pile.  So, I was very pleased to capture a few special moments between Jess and Andrew which I am sure you will agree show a couple who look super happy and content in each other’s company.

oldham family photographer

I just love my job!

My clients know that I love a challenge! More often than you might think, I get parents apologising, warning me in advance and basically highlighting how difficult it might be for me to get photos of their children looking happy, smiley, laughing, you name it.  In fact, so much so that I actually wrote a blog on the subject to help parents take better photos of their children in their own time.

In keeping with the theme, I was told it would be no different with Rose.  Subsequently, yes it did take time to get used to the camera (and me!) as it does with most children but as none of my sessions are timed and are always led by the children, never the adults, things turned out just fine.  I particularly like this photograph which, I’m not going to lie, followed a bit of bribery from Mum with a pack of cheddars.  I say no more! What I love about that is that this photo will always be the cheddars one.  Happy days!

oldham family photographer

Jess, Andrew and Rose, I had so much fun with you guys and can’t believe how many photographs together we captured in such a small amount of time.  You guys rock!

 

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Autumn family photography makes me smile with the fabulous Faye!

I never, ever thought that this would be a reason that a client contacted me…

Explained:  Which photos to keep and which to delete in three easy steps

Weddings with loads of children equal loads of fun!

oldham tamside wedding with children

The best weddings have loads of children!

One of the first moments that gives me goose bumps at a wedding is the seconds leading up to the brides entrance.  Tawnia, with her arm snuggled in to her super proud Dad, looked classically elegant in her dress.  Capturing a final daughter and Dad time together before Tawnia’s special moment was all the more lovely especially with the gorgeous staircase at Chadderton Town Hall as a backdrop.

Oldham wedding Chadderton Town Hall

The excitement was tremendous!

Meanwhile, little did she know that the flutter of tiny feet just above her head was happening as her happy little boy, Albie, was grinning from ear to ear, practicing his walking up the aisle.  Surrounded by all of the special people in his life, he was having a whale of a time!

Oldham wedding Chadderton Town Hall

A gorgeous ceremony

Intimate moments throughout the ceremony usually make me do a bit of blinking (and if it gets severe, a subtle and quiet cough) to avoid me crying! Like this moment during the exchange of rings when it’s like the happy couple are the only people present, or when Tawnia read out the most beautifully written and personalised commitment to her little boy Albie, on behalf of herself  and Tony. Now that I have children of my own, intimate moments like this make me proud of capture such times for generations to come.

Oldham wedding Chadderton Town Hall

My favourite kind of colours

The minutes after the ceremony offer the opportunity to highlight relaxed and happy faces, bursting with pride and joy.  I just love the creamy, dreamy colours that sum up the theme of the wedding to a tee! To be fair, I’d love one of those Bridesmaid dresses myself!

Oldham wedding Chadderton Town Hall

 

 

 

A cake too good to eat!

Arriving at the reception is an exciting time as I anticipate how the theme is brought to life.  Tawnia and Tony’s was just as expected as the dreamy, creamy theme continued with gorgeous florals.  As I got stuck into photographing the wedding cake, the story behind it unfolded.  Tawnia’s super talented Mum and sister had created it! Trust me when I say it looked too good to eat!

Fun times with all of the children

Following the wedding breakfast, I have to admit I had tonnes of fun with all of the younger members of the wedding party.  With fifteen (ish) young and fabulous children, at times I felt like the Pied Piper as I had children follow me round as we created individual portraits, created short videos and even roped a few Mums in for party time!

Oldham wedding Chadderton Town Hall

Tawnia and Tony, it was a pleasure to spend the day capturing your special day.  Your family and friends were so much fun and I wish you and your gorgeously happy boy a long and prosperous future together

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My love of weddings for couples with small children

Reason 4/12 – It’s not just about the photography

My four top tips for keeping small children entertained at a wedding

A cake smash with the best twist EVER, EVER!

A cake smash with the best twist EVER, EVER!

One of the proudest parts of my job as a photographer is when clients come back again and again, trusting me to help them document chapters in their lives which come and go in a heartbeat. I’m honoured to have many savvy clients who recognise the invaluable investment that will stay with them, and generations to come for years and then some.

The Hardy’s are such clients. Every time a new chapter opens in their lives, they get in contact and book in with me. They understand that my affordability and huge amount of digital, all edited photos make it easy to capture major milestones in their lives which to date has included an engagement session, cake smash and a wedding! So when they decided to recreate Olivia’s first birthday cake smash when she turned two, I was looking forward to documenting all of the changes that twelve months can bring.

Getting to know my clients makes for better photos

Moreover, I love the familiar-ness that our relationship has brought over time.  A level of familiarity that puts everyone at ease from the word go.    Watching Olivia grow from a tiny bundle of joy to the content and joyful little girl she now is makes me smile with fondness and reflect on the speed of change in all of our lives.

 

cake smash oldham tameside

Consequently the change is huge! At two, kids just dive in as the familiarity of cake is top of mind. It’s great as children listen a little more as they experiment in ways that just doesn’t happen aged one. Olivia was in her element and I am sure you will agree she looks absolutely gorgeous. The blues in her dress absolutely brings out her gorgeous skin complexion and eye colour. I’m sure you will agree she looks like a princess.

And it wasn’t the only element that I got to document either.

My heart literally skipped a beat when I was then asked to do this….

cake smash oldham tameside

I remember this feeling with such fondness that it enveloped me all over again.  That magical moment of pregnancy that brings with it tiredness and joy coupled with sickness and wonder as to what baby will bring to your life.  To say this absolutely made my day is an understatement and I did have to brave up and try not to cry!

Team Hardy, you are such a special family and I wish you tonnes of love in this new journey you are undertaking. And baby is going to love being a part of your fabulous family…

Other blog posts you might find useful:

8 reasons I love photography!

Revealed:  Why cake smash photography is not just for one year olds!

The benefits of a cake smash before a one year olds birthday

Newborn baby photography reminded me of my first ten days as a Mum

an imaged of Emily, a sleeping baby, clutching the letter E during an Oldham family photography session

Newborn baby photography reminded me of my first ten days as a Mum

May I introduce you to the gorgeous Emily!

From the moment I met Emily, aged ten days, I was blown away by how grown up she looks!  Beautifully dark hair and wide open eyes would make it simple to mistake her for a baby somewhere between twice and five times her actual age.  Utterly content lying on Mums lap, I knew that we were all in for some amazing photographs.

Emily didn’t disappoint.  Following on from some great sleeping photos and in between feeds and nappy changes (three nappies one after the other!) came some fantastic photos with Mummy and Daddy.  In reality, the atmosphere in the room was one of calm and tranquility with soft music playing in the background and the sun shining through the window.  Consequently, I rewound to my first ten days with Joseph and can guarantee that my reality was far from this!  Topped off with a slice of homemade (yes homemade!!) coffee cake, I quite fancied hanging around for a while and not travelling home!  Just another reason why I love my job, it’s not working at all!

Emily, welcome to the world.   You are going to love it!!

Newborn baby photography

Newborn baby photography

 

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Welcome to the world beautiful Francesca!

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

Explained:  Which photos to keep and which to delete in three easy steps

Seven things to ‘nail’ your Halloween photos this year

halloween photography

Halloween gets more magical each year in our house!

You’ve gotta love this time of year.  One of my personal highlights of autumn is the arrival of Halloween. Memories of my youth, straddling Mums kitchen brush with a bin bag tied round my neck complete with a black plastic hat was all I needed for a bit of fun!  Now I have two children of my own, Halloween is a bit more magical with costumes and gadgets galore!  Therefore I want to share my top seven things to ‘nail’ your photos this year.

  1.   Request their best impressions

This is a time of year when you can get children to play up to the camera!  Get the scariest and funniest impressions possible to fit with their character and snap happy.

 2.  Take them the day before

Don’t rush everything in one day.  Consider taking a mix of photographs the day before.  See it as a dress rehearsal before the big day.

3.  Use alternative light

A torch under the chin or glow sticks can work a ‘treat’.  Remember to take some in good light conditions though so that you have a mix of photos.

4.  Up the lighting in pumpkins to really show off carving skills

Some of the best pumpkin photos have had a bucket load of light added to enhance the drama.  Last year we used numerous battery operated tea lights to get a memorable effect.

5.   Photograph with mask on AND mask off

Remember to get one of each.  Trust me, it’s easily forgotten!

 6.  Get down to their level

You will see things from a whole new perspective.  Give it a try and see what happens!

 7.  Remember the non people pictures

Decorations and goodies in the trick or treat bags are just as effective.  These are the ideal type of photographs you could cover from point two.

I’d love to see your photos so why not post your proudest one below for all to see?

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My four simple tips for taking your photos from ok to wow!

3 useful photo apps which will transform your photos

Explained:  Which photos to keep and which to delete in three easy steps

Newborn baby photography is the best!

Newborn baby photography

Newborn baby photography is the best!

 

When I receive an enquiry about photographing a tiny, newborn mini person, it can often make my day!  Despite having my own two children who were both super tiny for months on end, it is true, you do forget the smallness of a new born.

So when I arrived at Charlotte and Marcus’s house to photograph Alfie, I was all ready for the tiny bundle of joy.  Fully expecting a soundly asleep baby, I was surprised to see his two gorgeous eyes looking right at me!  He looked so content it was magic.  In reality and to be fair, I imagine it might have been the scouse accent that he is not used to!!

Time is patience

In reality, every newborn session is different.  The golden thread which makes them identical is the length of time taken to secure the most perfect photographs.  Consequently the last thing I want is anxious parents or babies so I always emphasise that there is no rush and that the photography doesn’t start until baby is ready.  Take Alfie.  It was an hour before we got going which, I emphasise, is absolutely fine.  But once we did then that was it.  What an absolute superstar!

Thankfully we managed to create a few sleeping photos before he woke up to compliment the awake images.  I am sure that he could hear my shutter clicking away as he kept looking right into the lens.  Charlotte and Marcus got stuck in too and allowed me to guide them in a way that ensures that the photos truly reflect their tiny little family.  Despite the tiredness that new babies bring, the sparkle in their eyes made me smile inside.  Thank you for the privilege of photographing you….

Newborn baby photography

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Welcome to the world beautiful Francesca!

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

Explained:  Which photos to keep and which to delete in three easy steps

Baby bump photography with the loveliest of couples

Baby bump photography with the loveliest of couples

Pregnancy and motherhood is such an epic time of life.  Key milestones come and go at the blink of an eye.  In reality, the speed of change starts as soon as the baby bump appears!  I love how easy it is to track babies size on a week by week basis.  I often reminisce on the speed of both of my pregnancies.

Thankfully, I have no regrets

Luckily, I have a suit of photographs that will always remind me of this particular chapter of my life.  Consequently, I make it my mission to encourage as many expectant Mums to do the same whether this is with a camera phone at home or through the art of professional photography.

Neither does Kate and Matt

Kate and Matt are one of the loveliest couples you could ever meet.  Together, they bring a sense of warmth and happiness to any room which is enveloped in the love they hold for each other and the strength of their relationship.  Yes, I might be biased as Kate is a long and dear friend but I genuinely mean it!  So when I worked in secret with Matt to arrange a surprise baby bump session, the flutters of excitement, coupled with a Venti Starbucks down my neck made it difficult to compose myself.

Hidden behind a set of trees, I waited with baited breath for the car to arrive.  Edging my way towards the car, the look on Kate’s face was priceless.  She was speechless – which NEVER happens!  Following hugs and a realisation about why I was actually there, we set to work.  In reality, my main focus is always to ensure that my clients are at ease, comfortable and relaxed.  I want them to be just like themselves so that my suite of photographs tell a realistic and authentic story that will last for generations to come.

Then it got emotional…

Unsurprisingly, I shed a few tears during this session, sniffing quietly behind my lens.  It was an honour to photograph such a remarkable couple and to witness their love for each other magnify in the run up to the most fabulous time of their lives.  For sure, this session will stick with me for a long time to come…..

 

 

baby bump photography

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Revealed:  Why baby bump photography is not what you think!

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive?

Explained:  Which photos to keep and which to delete in three easy steps

Autumn family photography in Oldham with Amazing Alfie

Autumn family photography in Oldham makes me happy

When the sun is shining leaving a light glow and warmth on my skin, it’s easy to forget that it’s autumn. Gazing up at a near cloudless sky and a multitude of greens, it could be mistaken for another season.  I’ve lived in Saddleworth for a number of years now but am still pleasantly surprised to find areas I didn’t even know existed.  In reality, this place is pretty special.

And when you get to spend the morning with a lovely family who get to enjoy the beauty of Saddleworth every day, then all is marvellous in the world.  Young Alfie won my summer photo challenge, a six week programme for local children.  I was so excited to meet the boy behind the photos and along with his family, enjoyed their energetic and enthusiastic company during our outdoor wander.

Time passes quickly so these moments are precious

Moments like this still make me smile and tingle at the same time.  The simplicity of a line of holding hands is timeless and joyful in bucket loads. Small hands soon become bigger as arms grow longer and time passes by.  I love getting clients to walk together and enjoy watching the side glances, the laughter and of course, the obligatory “strike a pose!”  Being silly for a few moments is something that can often become lost in the grind of everyday life but is thoroughly recommended.

I got a real sense of how important the great outdoors is to Alfie and his family.  You can understand why with the gorgeous backdrop.  With such a lovely family to photograph, I enjoyed myself in spades.  Thank you for a fun morning boys!

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3 tips for better autumn photography

Autumn family photograph makes me happy with the fabulous Faye!

How to photograph the child who doesn’t like to be photographed

Autumn family photography makes me happy with the fabulous Faye

Autumn family photography in Oldham makes me happy

When Faye and her family arrived at Alexandra Park, Oldham for their family photo shoot, I was so giddy! With bright October sun glistening through autumnal yellow, orange and red trees sitting within the backdrop of some of the tallest green trees around, I was ready for action!  Faye won my summer photo challenge, a six week programme for local children.  Consequently, enthusiasm and positivity oozed out of Faye from the start of the session as her passion for photography was evident.

Family life is so important to document

Intricacies of family life are the things that make each unit unique.  Connections between siblings and parents are easily demonstrable through a camera lens.  Faye’s role as older sister is plain to see and her kindness for her siblings is seen through the sparkle in her eyes that you can see.  Similarly, baby Jack took the whole thing in his stride and it’s striking to see the absolute resemblance to Dad!

In reality, what I love about my job is seeing family spending time just being.  Doing nothing but being in and enjoying each other’s company.  As a result, conversations spark timeless photos like this which just burst personalities out in bucket loads.  Tiny moments which come and go so quickly that can be forgotten in the blink of an eye.

Leanne, you have three beautiful children and it was a pleasure to capture this stage of your life for you!  Faye, I have no doubt that your photography journey will continue to grow and hope you share some of your new work with me!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

3 tips for better autumn photography

To post photos of your children on social media or not?

How to photograph the child who doesn’t like to be photographed

Cake smash photography is not the only way to celebrate first birthdays

first birthday photos oldham tameside

Cake smash photography is not the only way to celebrate

You may have noticed that cake smashes, particularly for one year olds keeps me busy!  Cake smash sessions originate as a great way to document such a momentous milestone for both parents and child alike!  However, it’s not the only way to celebrate and I’m glad to be able to share on my blog a great session I held recently with a new client.

This is different in a brilliant way

Now, you’ll notice in this blog that there are no photos of the session.  There’s a reason behind that and it’s the same reason why approximately 20% of my sessions do not make a blog or a posting on my Facebook page.  Increasingly my clients are choosing to keep their photographs for themselves and do not want me to publish them as part of my own marketing plans.  As an experienced marketer with over 15 years experience,  customer privacy and integrity is at the heart of everything I do.  This is something that I totally respect and honour.

It’s all about the story…

I still want to share with you the story behind our session.  My client didn’t feel that her child would enjoy a cake smash and wanted to just find a way of documenting their birthday.  Having had a chat about locations, we decided that doing the fun activities that they do all of the time as a family would be the best direction to take!  A trip to the park if was then!

A lovely session was had by all!

Reflecting back on the session, I genuinely can’t find a word other than just ‘lovely’ to describe our experience.  To start, we literally had the entire park to ourselves for at least thirty minutes (the benefits of a midweek photo session should never be underestimated!) so could pick and mix as we wanted.  Let’s just say I imagine that Mum enjoyed being on the slide much more than baby!  Following this we found a great area tucked away.  The family could just be themselves and enjoy their time together, reflecting on how their life had changed in the past twelve months.

Cake smash photography is not the only way to celebrate

Concluding this blog is a great way to remind parents that cake smash photography is not the only way to document a babies first birthday.  Just doing you normal activities is just as favourable.  Coupled with a midweek session to avoid the crowds, it can be one of the best birthday gifts your baby could ever ask for….

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

If you are organising a birthday party, you might regret not doing this later

To post photos of your children on social media or not?

How to photograph the child who doesn’t like to be photographed

A new milestone for Inspired By Joseph photography!

wirral family photography

A new milestone for Inspired By Joseph photography!

As I’m still a relatively new business, life is full of firsts.  I’ve recently blogged about my first group cake smash for example.  Consequently, I can add a new one to my list, photographing a family of six with all four children aged nine and under.

Scary, scary!

I’m not going to lie, prepping for this client session was quite scary.  What would it be like to photograph such a large family?  Could I keep their attention long enough to get the quality of photographs I wanted?  In addition, would the ideas in my head ever come to fruition?  Nevertheless, I worked out a plan in my head and off I went to scout out the location.

Ordinarily I always have a level of nervousness before a session ( it’s healthy and helps me create photos that my clients love!) but for this one it felt different! Having done a full review of the location, I waiting with eagerness and a head full of ideas to come to fruition.

So much fun!

What a great session!  The whole family came together for what I can only describe as tremendous photos.  Each idea in my head was easily executed through the fun and laughter that we all had together. I have a whole bag of tricks up my sleeve which never fail and even with such a large family, it didn’t disappoint!

Just have a think for a moment about:
a) how difficult it must be for a family of six to get one decent photo with everyone in with the busy lives we all lead
b) how difficult it must be to get everyone doing the right thing (note that I don’t say everyone looking at the camera!)

I am massively pleased to have had the privilege of taking a wide range of photographs for this family.  I know that they have big plans with the different ways that they can use the photos.  Exactly what I like to see happen!

Always valuing my clients wishes…

Again, like in previous posts, you will see no photos of this session as I respect my clients privacy wishes.  I can share this photo which sums up a photo session that I will never forget!  The kids picked twigs to represent each of them, how cute is that?? Here’s to many more large group family sessions!

wirral family photography

Other blog posts you might find useful:

If you are organising a birthday party, you might regret not doing this later

To post photos of your children on social media or not?

How to photograph the child who doesn’t like to be photographed

My love of weddings for couples who have small children

oldham wedding photography

The world of weddings!

When I created Inspired by Joseph photography, I never ever imagined that a significant portion of my work would be wedding related.  It’s an area that I had never considered feeling that family photography was my focus.  However, I seem to be developing an area of growth specifically in weddings for couples who have small children.  Can I let you in on a secret?  I absolutely love it!  Don’t get me wrong, I find wedding photography seriously nerve wracking.  After all it is such a massive responsibility but when I see my clients reactions when they see their photos, I am so glad that they are becoming an increasingly bigger part of my product offering.

Something for everyone

I first met Natalie months back when she made contact about her upcoming wedding.  I loved hearing all about her plans and the concept she had sounded brilliant!  Wedding budgets can easily spiral out of control but I worked with Natalie on a package that suited her to a tee.  That’s the thing with me, no package is set in stone.  I can alter elements to make it work for you, especially for weddings as each couple can want something totally different from the next.

Being a Girl Guide has it’s advantages!

In the hours that ran up to the wedding, the heavens opened. And I mean opened!  There were rain clouds each way I looked and my plan B/C/D for shooting in the rain at an outdoor venue seemed to be coming to the forefront of my mind.  I’m always prepared for all eventualities (can you tell I was a girl guide?) but still, I knew that Natalie was banking on the sunshine so I crossed my fingers and hoped that it would pass.  And it did.

Oldham wedidng

The sun shone between brilliant white clouds and a fantastic shade of blue from start to finish.  The ceremony was ultra personal.  As Natalie and Stuart read their vows it was an honour to watch friends and family react to the love that was on display for us all to see.  Their smiles were infectious and the laughter you could bottle and sell.  You could feel the energy as the ceremony came to a close and we started on the group photos.  A massive thank you goes to Davina, Natalie’s sister for being the best chief assistant photographer. In reality, she did fantastic getting everyone ready and waiting for what I can only describe as group photos filled with bucket loads of laughter and happiness.   When I talk about authentic photography, this was it in a nutshell.  I mean, look, how happy does everyone look?

I love how unique each wedding is

Moreover, there were elements of the wedding that, along with the photographs will last way longer than other elements of the wedding.  Just take a look at these lovely bears, matched with the bridesmaids dresses!  How nice to keep and much better than a bunch of flowers which only last week if you are lucky!

oldham wedding photography

Thank you Natalie

Thank you Natalie for allowing me the honour of documenting your special day.  You guys made  my experience me so much fun and it will be a wedding that sticks in my mind for a long time to come!

oldham wedding photography

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Reason 4/12 – it’s not just about the photography

My top 4 tips for keeping small children entertained at a wedding

All you need is love

Cake smash photography for toddlers is the way forward!

cake smash photography Saddleworth Tameside

Believe and it will come true!

When an idea surfaces in my head, it tends to grow and develop beyond my initial thoughts!  For this reason, having created a cake smash session for Joseph and his two friends, a three way cake smash for three, three year loads, I was genuinely delighted when Debbie approached me to replicate this again but for four, three year olds!

There’s no strategic planning with me, that’s not how kids rock!

In reality, my style of photography is always to create authentic photographs that beautifully illustrate personalities, behaviours and styles.  There’s no real directing from me and for cake smashes in particular there are no rules!  There is also no strategic placing of icing on noses or the like as, after all, surely that’s what the parents at least will remember when they see the photos years down the line.

So when I arrived and set up, I was delighted to see four gorgeous children come and see what was going on.

This is what happened.

It always makes me tickle when children see cakes, their eyes light up something rotten! So, when I told them to sit behind a cake and just wait, I wondered what would happen.  Guess what? They just sat there and looked right at me! It was so funny, not a single one moved a muscle! I felt like a teacher who had captured the classes attention.  I could hear parents behind me giggling away at their amazement too!

If the truth be told, one of the main reasons I love my job is the variety it brings through the people I meet, especially children.  Ordinarily I smile to myself as I snap away documenting what has become one of my favourite (and most popular!) sessions to photograph.  This time I found myself in fits of laughter as the session grew in energy, thanks to the sugar and eagerness of the children to get involved!

And then some!

Toward the end of the session when we were about to wrap up, I heard one of the Mums shout behind me ‘why don’t you put your faces in and see if there is any treasure’ and guess what? They did.  Just look at the result!

Ordinarily, the beauty of any cake smash session is that there are no right or wrongs and each session is so different from the next thanks to the differences in all of the children I meet. This session will stick in my mind for several reasons:
1) a Mum believed in my concept of a multi cake smash
2) it was my first four way cake smash
3) the children did a fantastic job of celebrating such a special time in their lives.

Thank you superstars for a super special and fun session.  Let’s replicate it again next year!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive

A day in the life of a portrait photographer 

Never miss that photo again

I never, ever thought that this would be a reason a client would contact me

saddleworth tameside family photographer

The truth about photography and my clients

One of the things that keeps me going on the hard and long road that is setting up and growing your own business is this.  The joy that I feel when clients come back time and time again to help me document their lives.

Look, I know that everyone can take photos.  In fact, I know we all have a camera at arms reach most of the day.  At the same time, I understand and appreciate that photography is a considered purchase, not a necessity so is something that people can do without.  To me, it’s no different though than going out for a meal at a restaurant or stopping for a coffee instead of making one at home…

My clients continue to surprise me…

However, Christine is a wise owl who, in my eyes, knows the true value of documenting her life.  I have done no less than six sessions with her family since I set up.  I have had the pleasure of creating memories for significant milestones in her life from baby bump photos with her second child, which turned into baby photos when Lauren arrived.  Swiftly followed by photographs of the wider family as well as replicating a photo from the previous generation of the family.  In my eyes, Christine looks at the bigger life picture.  She is a fantastic example of someone who has the perfect mix of her own plus professional photos to document key family milestones.

This has been my favourite session – until now!

As a result, Christine’s latest session is one that made me think ‘yes, this is SUCH a brilliant reason to take photos!’ which I had never considered before!  As a result, this is definitely something that I would want to do again.  After all, stories of our life, are the perfect time to take photos!

Such a great idea!

So, you may be wondered what it is… It’s moving out of their first family home to a new, bigger home for their growing family. In reality, this is such a clever and unique thing to do.  In Christine’s case, it’s an opportunity to recall the amazing memories that she has created.  How she has watched her family grow.  The sleepless nights.  The baby milestones.  The way her house and garden has changed to accommodate the changing needs of her family is such a great thing to do!  Consequently I know that this is something that Christine will look back on and not regret doing.  Not ever.

saddleworth tameside family photographer

The range of photos made me smile

We started off in the garden.  I photographed the family doing all of the normal things that they do.  The beauty of this is that I document photos of the whole family so nobody is missing which I know can be the norm.  To say I was super impressed with the amount of fruit and vege that they picked is an understatement.  Just take a look!  Next followed the mandatory throw the kids up in the air.  We do this at every session, only it’s increasingly harder for Keith and Christine now that the children are older and growing fast!  Obviously we used the background of the house as a backdrop to help cement those memories.

Once inside, I made sure that I photographed the family by their photo wall.  Inspired by one of my first ever (and most popular may I add!) blog posts, Christine created a fabulous setting which includes a perfect balance of both their own and my photographs plus, what I absolutely loved, a collection of arts and crafts made by the kids at nursery, strategically lodged on some of the frames.  We concluded in the kids bedroom, just look how cute this is…

saddleworth tameside family photographer

Lovely times…

No session would be complete without the obligatory move sign outside their house.  By this stage the kids, dog and parents were all about ready for lunch so I love some of the expressions that I documented at this stage.  Thank you Christine for looking way above how people usually view the services of a photographer and for allowing me the privilege of photographing your gorgeous family!

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive

A day in the life of a portrait photographer 

Never miss that photo again

What everyone hates talking about… pricing! A true story.

Saddleworth Tameside cake smash photography

Everyone hates talking about… pricing!

Pricing.  Eeek!  It’s something that most of us hate talking about.  I remember, years back, purchasing a photo shoot for a few quid in exchange for our favourite image being printed as a 7*5 and a set of 5 christmas cards.  Bargain.  I thought it was great value for money.

One experience left me in cold sweats!

Along we went to the session, had our photos taken and  had to wait just half an hour for the photos to be ready for us to view.  We sat with a lovely hot drink waiting before we were ushered into a room to view the photos.  A nice lady demonstrated the range of photos taken, commenting how amazing we looked.  Now, if you read my blogs, you know how fussy I can be about having my own photo taken, I am very self critical.  In reality, I didn’t like any of the photos, bar two or three. Furthermore, as she continued to scroll through the photos, I found my heart was beating faster as I felt the absolute opposite to the complimentary things she was saying.

I felt bad that I didn’t like many and assumed she thought I was being picky.  It was awful.  I gave my other half a look as if to say, ‘what should we do?’ and got a look back as if to say ‘I don’t know!’  Once we picked the one we wanted for our free image, the lady tried to sell us the other two prints (not the digitals!), plus a few extras thrown in for an eye watering £75.  I found myself sweating whilst trying to justify why I didn’t want them. The whole experience was dreadful to say the least and I came away feeling terrible, vowing I could never go through that type of experience again.  Not for me!

There is something for everyone

Like everything in life, if you take a category or item, businesses make a range of products to fill that need.  For example, take cars.  Some people prefer large cars with big boots, some want something that has the highest possible MPG.  For others, price is not important as they want the latest top of the range motor from a particular brand.  Others want every single extra that they can possibly add.  Finally, some want to stay loyal to the car showroom that has looked after them for years.

It is exactly the same with photography.  There is a product and service for everyone.  Some people are fine with the experience that I vowed never to have again.  Others want to know the exact prices upfront and what specifically you get for your money.  These days, you can literally spend from a few pounds to a several hundred pounds on a photography session.  There really is something for every budget, you just need to find the one that is right for you.

There is how I roll….

My approach is simple.  I understand that photography is a considered purchase.  It isn’t a necessity but a bit of a luxury.  I appreciate that it’s a ‘nice to do’ that most people have on their list.  Therefore, I work with your budget to find a collection that works for you and provides excellent value for money.

My style is not to sell to you but to provide a suite of options that may work for you, namely giving you ALL of the edited, digital images for you to use as you wish with all my collections.  I work like this because this is how I would want to pick a photographer myself.

I believe hugely in transparency and I’ve always shared my pricing online but through my experience to date have found that everyone wants something different.  All of my collections have the same core offering, then in comes the mix and match to suit your needs.  (Wedding prices are available on request but follow the same principles!)

 

My approach to pricing

When I say I love to chat, I really do.  I am so approachable and want to work with new clients to provide what you want at a price that works for you.  A big part of Inspired By Joseph’s mission is to provide affordable photography that offers amazing value for money.  I’m not the cheapest out there, or the most expensive, by a long mile but I know I can offer you something that won’t make you come out in a cold sweat like I did.  The benefits with my pricing structure is that you can print your own canvases, photo books, prints etc to your hearts content.  It really is a cost effective way for you to maximise the use of your photos.

For example, I’ve had a bride come to me for a quote.  We met and she loved my approach.  I put a collection together for her but it was too expensive for her needs.  We worked on a solution that meant we could still work together albeit with a smaller offering.  I did this because having listened to her, I really wanted to help.  She was my type of lady… One happy client.

If you want to know what others think too, you are more than welcome to see their stories!

If I’m not right for you, let me help you find another photographer

If my packages aren’t right for you, please feel free to get in touch and perhaps I can suggest an alternative photographer for you.  I’d be happy to help.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Eight top tips for choosing a photographer

Answered: Your question on where to print out your own photos

If you don’t remind yourself to do this, you might regret it later

 

My school photography story and why I vowed not to repeat this…

school photography

Can you remember your first experience?

When I was younger, my parents had a photo wall which contained a vast array of photos from our childhood.  It’s funny how I remember the majority of the photos being taken.  There’s the ones of my sister and I in matching outfits (which we loved!) and the ones of us dressing up for Halloween sitting on brooms with bin bags round our necks as cloaks.  The one that sticks in my mind though is my first school photo. I’m sat in a wicker chair with my sister stood next to me and my eyes are red and puffy.  You see, I didn’t want my photograph taken but I remember being made to just sit there.  It resonated with me and I’ve vowed that I wouldn’t put my children through the same experience.

Things don’t seem to have moved on for everyone.

Likewise, I’ve recently seen a Facebook post from a friend who posted her child’s photo online and was utterly devastated at how unlike her it was.  This made me think….   School photography doesn’t need to be like that.

Photographs of children can be so much more!  During the school day children are busy exploring, climbing, playing games and generally being active so why not photograph them in action?

So that’s what I did.

Meet Seb and Freddy who I photographed in their last week of term.  They sprung out of school full of energy and I documented their walk home from school and all the fun things that they do on the way.  Mum did a great job of just doing what they do whilst I hung back and snapped happy.

I’m sure you will agree that the photographs show the boys authentically enjoying life!  Their personalities shine through in bucket loads!  I may be biased but I know that they show a tonne more personality than could usually come from a school photo.  A love for life and a level of inquisition and wonder that gets sucked out of so many of us in old age.

school photography

Just look at this one.  I love it.  To me, it shows a boy who has a clear love for adventure and energy.  His passion is clear to see.  PS, can you spot little bro in the background too?

school photography

 

This one is my favourite.  A boy who is tired and ready for the end of term but is still trying to climb in this beautiful area that us locals are blessed to call home.

school photography

So, what did Mum think?

Consequently, here is what Mum had to say about the experience and the final photos:

Time spent with Bev and her camera is always fun.  The boys are instantly relaxed by her warm personality.  The photos captured Seb & Freddy’s personalities in thier natural environment.  I know these photos will be treasured for a long time, lovely memories of lazy, hazy, summer school days.

As the new school year springs on us, I’d love to help parents photograph their children and provide numerous digital photos that they can use over and over again, sharing with friends and family and printing to their hearts content at an affordable price that provides excellent value for money .  Moreover, I’d love to take photos that truly reflect little personalities and for me, there’s no better way than doing that in an unstaged and authentic manner.

Fancy getting involved?

I’m going to be publishing a very special offer on my Facebook page shortly which will have limited availability so if this is something that you are interested in, please make sure you like my page.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive

A day in the life of a portrait photographer 

Never miss that photo again

What I learned after my latest engagement photography session…

saddleworth tameside engagement photography

What I learned after my latest Saddleworth Tameside engagement photo session…

First, I turned back the clock.

Looking back, I remember my own engagement session back in 2010 with utter fondness.  At the time, I wasn’t even sure that we needed one given that we had our wedding just a few months away.  In reality, I wasn’t aware of many other people who had experienced one either.  I wondered why our photographers had offered us the opportunity to have one.  Boy, am I glad we did.

Then I thought about how I felt now.

Now I’m a busy mum of two with a life that has been transformed since then, I now look back on these photos with a heart warming glow.  Minus the cliches, it reminds me of the carefree woman I was.  I had little responsibility and more time on my hands than I ever appreciated, despite how busy I used to think I was!

This was me just after Jonny proposed to me!  We look like spring chickens compared to now!

Then I got all excited!

So when I was approached by a lovely lady called Harriet to document her engagement, I wanted to give it my all.  I wanted her to look back on her photos with happiness however and whenever her life changes in the future. Getting engaged is such a life changing moment and I was so glad that Harriet and Ben wanted me to document this special occasion.  As I always say, once that time has gone, it’s gone and you cannot authentically recreate this feelings and emotions later on.

Blessed with locations

Harriet and Ben chose the beautiful Dove Stone reservoir as a location.  I’ve said it before and I shall say it again. I feel truly blessed to live where we live.  The setting is breathtaking and if you get there at the right time of day, you can pretty much have a section of the reservoir to yourselves.  Coupled with Harriet and Ben being super chilled and ready to just be themselves, we achieved some fabulous photos.

The session flew by!

In reality, couples often hate having photographs taken (particularly men, which you can read about here) but Harriet and Ben took it all in their stride.  With just a bit of guidance from me, they did a fantastic job! Ironic as it may sound, my style of photographing is not to tell my clients how to pose or behave.  After all, that won’t make for authentic photos!  With a bit of warming up and time together, I can’t believe how quickly the session went and the wide range of photos I delivered.  It flew by!

Partly because I love to chat!

We chatted about a huge array of things.  This included me giving them my two pennies on how some suppliers like to add a few zeros to anything with wedding in the title.  I explained how you can avoid this due to my previous experience in events in a previous life!  Equally, I was so pleased to capture a few intricate moments that I believe, despite only just meeting the couple, illustrate the love they feel for each other at this special time.

Job done.

The one thing I always say to my clients is that as long as you have one or two photos that you love and could hang on your walls at home, my job is done.  However, it’s even better when you find out they can’t narrow down their favourites as they have too many.

Harriet and Ben, you guys were fab,  thank you for letting me photograph your engagement!

Ps – I also learned a valuable lesson about my mobile phone during this shoot.  You can read all about it here and I’d love to hear what you think about it!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive

A day in the life of a portrait photographer 

Never miss that photo again

Revealed:  Why baby bump photography isn’t what you think it is..

baby bump photography

Revealed:  Why baby bump photography isn’t what you think it is..

If you google baby bump photography, there’s a whole range of photographs that will be presented to you in a matter of seconds.  Similarly, if you ask people what they think of when you say baby bump photography, you’ll probably obtain a similar response.  The majority of people will say something along the line of:

“Isn’t that when you wrap organza around your tummy!”
Or
“I’ve seen loads of women do that with naked middles showing bra and knickers!”

And yes, that is what some ladies go for.  In fact, when I was pregnant with Joseph, when I first developed a real sense of being brave, I had a baby bump shoot with a naked middle.  I wanted to capture a moment in time when my body looked like it had never before, just for me to keep for years to come when I look back at this significant and life changing part of my life.  But for me, it was to place in my memory box, not to showcase to the world.  I loved the experience and I had a massive feeling of empowerment and confidence but I know it is not for everyone.

Make it count

I loved being pregnant and loved watching my body change.  I was fascinated to understand how a tiny human being was growing inside me.  However, I also know that this isn’t the case for everyone.  Some women suffer through tough pregnancies and the ride is a bumpy one.  Ladies can be on countdown for baby to enter the world.  Medical complications and body confidence can effect women through pregnancy, it does affect us all differently.

However a women feels during pregnancy, photography can be a gorgeous way of documenting this amazing stage of life.  Pregnancy is such a short time of life that for the majority of women, only occurs a handful of times so I am super passionate about helping women record that moment.  Like me, you don’t have to showcase baby bump photos to the world but if you omit to take photos, you can’t acquire them at a later date.  And trust me, you don’t want that regret.

If you know me at all, you should know that I do things differently

If organza wrapper tummies or naked bump seasons don’t sound like your cup of tea, then perhaps I can help!  My sessions are fun and led by you!  I’ll work with you to capture your feelings and emotion at this amazing time of life and showcase your amazing bump.  There’s no awkwardness and I’m totally led by you and how you are feeling.  Swollen feet like I had? We can create loads of sitting down photos.  Don’t particularly like your side profile?  We won’t go there!  Feel more like your old self in black and white photos, not a problem!  Oh, and I won’t be plastering your photos all over my website and social media platforms unless you give me the nod but to be fair, I rarely post any as you can see.

Take a look at a few images below and decide for yourself….  Do they look scary?  Just don’t regret not doing it.  Please…  If you are already a Mum and are glad you have bump photos or if you regret it, I’d love to hear your comments below.

baby bump photography

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive

A day in the life of a portrait photographer 

Never miss that photo again

MUST READ: Never miss that photo again!

Joseph and Victoria having a moment

Never miss that photo again

Picture the scene.  Following weeks of trying, your little cherub has just managed to stand unaided for the first time! You grab your phone and bam! He’s on his bum again.  Never miss that photo again by reading on!

We all know how that feels! Sometimes things happen so quick we catch our breath and it’s gone!! If you have an  iPhone and consistently use these two tips, I guarantee that you are more likely to get *that* photo, if not several!

1.  Get to the camera quicker

It still surprises me how many people don’t know this one! How clunky is it to have to type in your passcode and then locate your camera app?  Not any more!  Simply swipe your finger from right to left and the camera app will open.  It really is that easy!

Tiny foot in parents hands make a heart

2.  Take photos in burst mode

This basically means the camera takes multiple photos in seconds.  Once you press to take that photo, just keep your finger on the shutter.  You will see numbers increasing in the centre bottom of your screen indicating the number of photos taken.  When you revisit your photos in your album you will see one of the photos you’ve taken in burst mode. Hit select and you will see at the top of the screen chose favourites.  Swipe and select the one(s) you like then simply decide if you want to keep just your favourite or all of them.  It really is that simple.

There you have it, two simple tips to never missing that photo again.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My top three photo tips guaranteed to make you feel more like Beauty, not the Beast!

When should we leave the camera alone

Celebrating baby Harry’s christening 

 

A humanist naming ceremony brought tears to my eyes

humanist naming ceremony

A humanist naming ceremony – a first for me

As an Oldham family photographer, I’ve never had the pleasure of photographing a humanist naming ceremony.  In addition, I am looking forward to photographing my first humanist wedding later this year too.  This seems to be a growing theme for me as a Saddleworth business.  As ever, I did my research before the big day.  Not just during the consultation I have with all of my clients before I meet but also investigating as much as I could online too.  I was so excited before the big day I knew it was going to be fantastic!

A remarkable venue with truly fabulous decorations

If you are unfamiliar with Standedge Tunnel & Visitor centre in Marsden, West Yorkshire, it’s Britain’s longest canal tunnel.  It’s a spectacular attraction beneath the Pennines.  The centre is a true reflection of times gone by when goods and products such as coal, flour and wool were destined for the markets of Manchester, Leeds and London.  It reminded me so much of memorable school trips to similar places!  Moreover, with beautiful liberty inspired decorations which hung strategically alongside magnificent streamers with flashes of sunlight hitting the wooden beams, in reality, it was truly remarkable!  I have to say, I totally fell in love with these decorations!!

A ceremony with beautiful words and smiles to match

I find it quite difficult to put into words just how charming the ceremony was.  Brimmed full of beautiful words of wisdom for the gorgeous Liberty Gentle, read beautifully from a range of family and friends, it certainly brought a lump to my throat.  The smiles in the room were so heart warming.  When Gran popped a kiss on Liberty’s head following her reading, my heart melted!  In reality, it is times like this that I am so privileged to be a photographer!  A humanist naming ceremony offers a level of personlisation and individuality I have never experienced before.

 

Little touches that will last a lifetime

Liberty, often referred to as bee by Mummy and Daddy, had a gorgeous cake complimented with an ever so small bee nestled away in the middle.  I envisaged one of the children sneaking this off before it came to the singing but oh no!  Similarly, as Liberty grows up, she will enjoy a beautifully hung tree with fingerprints from all of her guests.  What a wonderful idea!

 

As I said in my last blog, In reality, I totally understand that photography is a considered purchase.  You probably have a thousand other things you could spend your money on.  However, all of my clients who have hired my services for baptisms, christening or naming ceremonies acknowledge the importance of not only photographing these important life events but of allowing ‘someone else’ to do the job for them so that they can enjoy the day!  Why not give it a try?

Other blog posts you might find useful:

If you don’t remind yourself to do this often, you might regret it

Why I just love my clients all year, not just on Valentines Day

Celebrating baby Harry’s christening 

 

Revealed:  Why cake smash photography is not just for one year olds

cake smash photography

You know I love a good cake smash

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that I love a cake smash session.  There is just something about little people’s personalities that shine through and melt my heart!  Two years ago this week when I experimented with my first ever cake smash when Joseph was just one, now I find myself blinking furiously as I wonder where the time has gone!  Just look at him!  Since then I have welcomed the beautifully independent and fabulous Victoria into the world, set up my own Saddleworth photography business and have had the pleasure of meeting heaps of new one year olds and helping them to celebrate their birthdays with cake.  Can you see why I love my job?

Superbaby

But where does the time go?

In reality, this month has been a significant one.  Usually, I always feel emotional when it’s the children’s birthday as I reflect on the massive impact they have had on my life since they entered the world.  I find it difficult to remember life before them as it feels like they have been here forever.  Three years ago, when Joseph entered the world, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing!  (If you want to find out more about my mum journey then take a read of my Huffington Post blog.)  And since Victoria arrived my parenting journey seems to have flown as I’ve enjoyed the journey a little more now I kinda know what I am doing!  I’ve also had a great month work wise with my busiest weekend ever and a solid plan for the next few months.  I’m in a happy place!

I’m doing it!

With a sprinkling of reflection and evaluation, a load of three year old birthday parties and a dollop of sunshine, I decided I wanted to replicate Joseph’s first year cake smash, with a difference!  Now that he is (nearly!) three, I knew plonking a cake in front of him would just mean he would sit and eat it nicely – no fun.  So, I decided to ask his two best friends, Max and Henry, to join him.  I purchased three cakes and thought let’s see what happens.  Nevertheless, ff nothing else it will be fun and a great reminder of life aged three for the baby book!  Moreover, I love trying new things and thought, ‘what is the worst that can happen?’

This is what happened….

I didn’t know what to expect really.  Cake throwing?  Top to toe in cake?  Apart from a bit of cake stealing from each other, they were as good as gold.  I think the fact that they had a whole entire cake to themselves was a huge focus for them.  This is exactly why cake smash photography is not just for one year olds.  I know that when Joseph is older, I will be able to illustrate his life and his friends, aged three, using these photos.   Please do get in touch if I can replicate this for your children at ANY age!!  It’s so much and an affordable way to capture special moments in time.  Our children may not remember days like this but photos can bring it to life for them when they grow up!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Welcoming Victoria Grace Ridyard to the family

The benefits of a cake smash ahead of baby’s first birthday

The sweetness of a cake smash in Saddleworth Tameside is definitely in the air!

The benefits of a cake smash ahead of baby’s first birthday

cake smash photography

The benefits of a cake smash ahead of baby’s first birthday

As a proud Oldham family photographer, one of my most favourite sessions is almost definitely the cake smash.  It is so hard to explain how entirely different each one is!  Little personalities shine through as they all take to the experience ever so differently.  I’ve had babies who dive right in to the cake, others who barely touch the cake, others who tentatively explore but cake doesn’t pass their lips!  Equally, I’ve even had a baby fall asleep straight after!  My latest session with Ivan was like no other though, let me explain why!

oldham photographer cake smash

Mum planned ahead with specific goals in mind

Mum, Tanya, got ahead of the game and planned the session around a month before the big day.  In reality, she had clear ideas of how to maximise use of the photographs in several different ways, making the most out of the opportunities and of course, value for money.  She was able to do this partly because I offer a range of photos at the session, not just purely cake smash!  In summary, we have a selection of baby playing and if we can a few sitting portraits too.

As soon as she received the final edits, she used them instantly in cards to Ivan’s (to be) Godparents, asking them to take on the honour at his upcoming baptism and first birthday party.  Consequently, a winner and super cute!  If I know Tanya, she will be planning to use a collection of photos for family or friends or perhaps even thank you cards.  Moreover and not forgetting of course those framed versions which are likely to end up in her living room some time soon!

So, if you get ahead of the game, you can have multiple uses of cake smash photos at an incredibly affordable price.

Mum let babies personality shine through

As I said, each session is always so varied, which is why I love a cake smash!  Ivan was no exception.  As soon as he sat by the cake, he was off!  He crawled away as fast as he could.  Nothing could keep him at the cake.  Plus he was so quick!  There is no right or wrong, babies will be babies so don’t ever think it’s not right for you and your baby!  Despite all the movements, we still managed to get a selection of photos that have gone down a treat!  In fact when Tanya saw them she said:

Hey, thanks so much for sending the pictures through and for working so late to get them all to us! We are so pleased with them. They are amazing! You do work some magic with that camera!

Don’t let the moment pass.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

In reality, I totally understand that photography is a considered purchase and that you probably have a thousand other things you could spend your money on.  With two children myself, I know that first birthdays can often result in a gigantic amount of presents, many of which can be duplicates or even unsuitable so why not ask for a contribution towards a cake smash instead?  I work tremendously hard to offer affordable photography which offers exceptional value for money and a great experience.  Furthermore, if you don’t believe me, just see what some of my previous clients have said.  And I promise, you and your little one won’t regret it years down the line….

oldham photographer cake smash

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The sweetness of a cake smash

Check this out when you baby is eleven months old

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

 

My top four tips for keeping smaller children entertained at a wedding

keeping smaller children entertained at a wedding

My top four tips for keeping smaller children entertained at a wedding

Two of my most favourite things are children and weddings. Put the two together and I get a little bit giddy!

Take the last wedding I had the honour of photographing for the lovely Vikki and Jamie.  There were numerous children at their wedding and some of my fondest memories are of photographing the mini people whilst Vikki made her final preparations.  In reality, it felt delightful to know I had given the grown ups some time to focus on their getting ready stage – my role as a photographer includes being a bit of an entertainer too!! Similarly, I also loved the mini family portrait session I held after the wedding breakfast for her brother Michael and his lovely family.  In summary, all part of the Inspired By Joseph experience.

wedding at leverhulme hotel, wirralStop judging and just get on!

This weekend, Pippa Middleton married James Matthews and as you can imagine, a lot of the media headlines have been around Prince George and Princess Charlotte.  How did they behave?  Likewise, did they steal the show?  I say, leave it be and let them get on!!  If you’ve read my latest Huffington Post blog, you will notice a bit of a reoccurring theme for me – stop judging and just focus on your own life.

My top four tips for keeping smaller children entertained at a wedding are:
1.  Have them pack a special, small bag full of goodies for quiet times in the day.  This can be full of their favourite toys and books – minus the noisy ones of course. Maybe throw in a few surprises for them.  Make a point about it, do it together and tell them why they are allowed their special bag with them.

2.  Make them feel special and important.  Make sure they can get a suitable view of what is happening.  Are there any jobs you can give them to do on the day?  Perhaps they could help you take some photos of friends and family after the ceremony?  Have they got their own special tub of confetti ready to throw?
3.  I am a super strong believer that it’s all about positive mindset. If you say your kids will misbehave, not sit still or will scream and shout, they probably will!

4.  Ask the photographer to get a lovely family picture of you all to help you remember the day.  An absolute must!

Is that helpful? I’d love to know of any other tips you find invaluable and I’m sure my readers would appreciate any tips!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

How to photograph the child who doesn’t like to be photographed

8 reasons why I love photography

Three quick tips to encourage you to take more photos now

 

READ THIS: Men who hate having their photograph taken

Men who hate having their photograph taken

Men who hate having their photograph taken.  I made a massive assumption that was just plain wrong!

Before I began my photography journey here in the Saddleworth Tameside area, I had an assumption that it was always women who hate getting their photographs taken.  In reality, I am one of those women who are constantly saying phrases like ‘my hair is a mess’, ‘I’ve not got any make up on’ or ‘I am carrying a few too many pounds!’  However, over the years I have learnt to embrace this as I remember that there is no such thing as perfect, in fact we should positively celebrate who we are and everything we have achieved!

Why some men hate having their photograph taken by a photographer

Ordinarily, I find that the more men I meet, the more I realise that in fact that for some, they really prefer not to be in photos and through my experience,  I have worked out why.  One if not more of the following usually apply:

  1. The majority of men have not instigated taking the photo (or the booking in my case)
  2. Men usually hate having to dress up or be told what to wear
  3. Sometimes, they are unsure what to do, where to look or whether to smile or not
  4. They often feel like a spare part as Mum starts playing with the baby/child/children without involving them

And here’s why…

The point is, it’s not that awful.  Honestly it’s not.  In reality, it sounds worse than it actually is.  And here’s why:

1.  I give you loads of handy hints and tips beforehand to help you prepare for our time together.
2.  There is no rush on the day. Unlike some photographers, there is no time limit on the session.  I like to make sure that everyone gets warmed up and used to the camera.  So there is no pressure to perform!  Moreover, none of us are performing seals!!
3.  I’ll give you guidance on the day.  In addition I’ll offer you ways to reflect your family in a way that will help.  I’ll also listen to you and any suggestions you have.
4.  It’s just fun. Honestly you’ll just need to trust me on this.  Most of the time you will just be doing what you do.  That’s always the focus on my photos, authenticity.
5.  It is unusual for blokes to be involved in all of the photos anyway. No offence but at the end of the day it’s usually about the children, or your lovely, better half.  So when you are done, you are done. Equally, you can even go and get changed when your bit is finished or even leave the session – I’ve had this happen before it’s fine, honest!
6.  At the end of the day, you’ve got to do it anyway and keep the other half happy so you might as well just crack on and enjoy the experience.  In addition, I guarantee there will be a good few photos where you reflect “I look quite decent actually!!”

These blokes look mighty fine!

Take a look at these photos of some of the fine gents I have had the pleasure of photographing, they look good heh?

Don’t take my word for it!

If you don’t believe me, take a look at these kind words from a lovely bloke who has been through a cake smash session (with a hangover I might add!) and also an engagement session. Now if the truth be known, I imagine that an engagement session is the absolute hardest photo session for a bloke.  The anticipation of knowing what is going to happen I can only imagine is quite tough! Plus, we decided to go for an early morning shoot at 8am on what ended up being a bitterly cold day!  And Suzie quite rightly said coats off, what a trooper!  Here’s what he had to say.  And this is verbatim:

This was Nick’s interpretation:

Before – Urgh!  I hate photo shoots, why am I doing this?

During:  Cold, too numb to feel anything else, why am I doing this!

After:  I’ve warmed up, I’m alright now!

This was Suzie’s interpretation:

Before the shoot I was quite reluctant to be involved in a photo shoot.  They are steretypically a girl thing to do and definitely not my thing.  however, as we are getting married, and because Suzie is so into pictures, she managed to convince me to take part!  Bev made the photo shoot relaxed and fun (although very cold!  8am at the top of a hill in April wearing just a t shirt is not the warmest of times!)  However after seeing the photos, it was worth it!  It was nice to see the finished photos and Bev even got some good pictures me when I don’t feel like a photogenic person.

Guys, honestly I’m dead approachable so if I can help, get in touch.  Moreover, why not make your other halves day by booking a surprise session? I know a bloke who wants to do this in the summer and I believe that it’s just plain fabulous!!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Eight top tips for choosing a photographer

Answered: Your question on where to print out your own photos

If you don’t remind yourself to do this, you might regret it later

 

All you need is love – Vikki and Jamie were a pleasure to photograph

wedding photographer wirral

Vikki and Jamie tie the knot at the beautiful, picturesque, 4* Leverhulme Hotel, Wirral on the sunniest day of the year so far!

I first met Vikki and Jamie on a dark, cold winters night last year when we met up to talk about their upcoming wedding.  Consequently, I knew instantly that they were my kind of people.  Firstly, they have two gorgeous children, Poppy and Jude, who I took an instant fondness to.  Furthermore, they are similar ages to my own two children, Joseph and Victoria.  Secondly, I knew they wanted a range of authentic, unposey (yes that is a word, I made it up!) photographs that reflected their special day.  Right up my street.  And finally, I had that bit of a challenge that I love from a client.  Each time it can be something different but a common thread is usually that they hate having their photograph taken.  Let’s be honest though, most people do, right?

Mega preparations for a bride, two ‘grown up’ bridesmaids, three ‘mini’ bridesmaids and two page boys was cool as cucumber!

I tell you something, when I got married, I don’t remember my preparation being so relaxed and unrushed.  In reality,  I had no page boys and only two mini bridesmaids!  Vikki was so organised and calm throughout all of her getting ready time I was mega impressed!  It was such a lovely atmosphere and I doubled up as helper to get the little ones dressed.  As a result, we had plenty of time to get photos whilst the grown ups finished getting ready.  Nicola Joyce did a fab job with the hair and make up and the mini bridesmaids loved getting their hair curled, you could tell they felt like princesses!

wedding at leverhulme hotel, wirral

 

wedding at leverhulme hotel, wirral

I just LOVE this one of Poppy sat just in front of Mum’s dress from Opulence Bridalwear (don’t worry, it did’t get creased!) and what you can’t see is that she is watching Mum as she has her final make up applied.  Lovely.

wedding at leverhulme hotel, wirral

There was even time for a few photos before the ceremony started.  I asked Poppy to sit in front of Mummy and for her to count how many flowers she could see.  I defy anyone to say that this isn’t the cutest picture ever!

wedding photographer wirral

To have and to hold, til this day forward….

The ceremony was such a lovely affair.  You could feel the love envelope the room as friends and family watched Vikki and Jamie tie the knot.  Having the view I have from the very front, I just love watching people’s reactions to the big moment, makes my heart melt!  I’m sure you agree the happiness on their face is a picture!

wedding photographer wirral

Feeling hot, hot, hot on the hottest day of the year!

Vikki and Jamie got it spot on weather wise, it was absolutely beautiful.  Not a cloud in the sky, the prettiest blue you have ever seen and a warmth to the skin that reminded me of being in the Mediterranean!   The outdoor photos were an absolute pleasure.

When you look at Vikki and Jamie here, does it look like they don’t like their photos being taken?  Mission accomplished!  Some of my favourite photos are of when two people are talking together and only they know what is being said.  I wonder what Jamie was saying to Vikki here?

wedding photographer wirral

Similarly, this photograph of Vikki and Joanne is gorgeous.  Two best friends having a moment together.  Lovely.

wedding photographer wirral

And they’re off!!!!

Not only did Vikki and Jamie pick the hottest day of the year but also Grand National Day!  The theme was brilliant and all guests got a bet on the big race which was so lovely!  The staff at The Leverhulme Hotel did a fantastic job all day!  You could feel the anticipation in the room with people checking phones discreetly whilst at the bar or tucking into the lovely food!

wedding photographer wirral

 

I have to include a photo of the cake too from Amy’s Cake Designs, don’t I?  It looked delicious!!

wirral wedding photographe

 

I think this picture sums up the essence of the day beautifully…

wirral wedding photographer

Vikki and Jamie, you and your gorgeous family and friends were an absolute pleasure to photograph and thank you so much for the kind feedback:

Thank you so much to Bev for photographing our special wedding day. The photos truly are amazing! Bev has captured every little detail of our special day and of all our lovely family/friends. I can’t thank Bev enough for the work she has done and for how lovely she was on the day. Bev – you made everything seem so effortless and natural, thank you so much.. Could not recommend enough xxxxx

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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The quickest and easiest way to get things done

The quickest and easiest way to get things done.

If you have something you want to achieve, just go and do it!

By now, I imagine you all understand how passionate I am about providing affordable and authentic photography, particularly in the Saddleworth Tameside area.  In addition, and equally as important is inspiring others to be better photographers themselves.  It runs through my blood and I will never tire of it.  Ever.

How it feels…

In reality, I’ve wanted to be a Huffington Post blogger for a while now and for a long time did nothing about it.  Time, family life and running my business got in the way.  However, I felt it would be a good way to tell the world my passion for photography and my mantra has always been if I can help one person my job is complete.

… when it happens

Fast forward a few months and I’ve had two blogs featured in the Huffington Post, My Mum Story – 1,180 Ordinary and Everyday photos and Social Media isn’t a true reflection of life – why do we have to be so controversial?  I’ve also featured in my local newspaper, The Oldham Chronicle with My Mum Story too.  The fabulous Paddy McGuiness also gave me a shout out on his Sunday morning breakfast radio show too which made me chuckle!

So, how did I do it and how might this help you in your quest to do that one thing you have always wanted to do:

  1. Tell yourself every day what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it.  Keep it top of mind.
  2. Think about how it will feel if you don’t do it. What regrets might you have?
  3. Start the journey. Even if it’s just five minutes every day.  It soon adds up.  Don’t think you have the time?  What one thing can you replace that is less of a priority?

 

What do you do when you need to get things done?  Comment below as I’d love to hear from you.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Check this out when your baby is eleven months old!

Eight tips for choosing a photographer

If you are organising a birthday party and don’t do this, you will regret it later!

 

The sweetness of a cake smash in Saddleworth Tameside is definitely in the air!

I’m loving the birthday cake smash in Saddleworth Tameside!

I’m not sure what it is about a good cake smash in Saddleworth Tameside at the moment but there seems to be a real increase in  bookings.  Maybe something happened in summer 2016, was it to do with the world cup??

I want to share some photographs of my latest cake smash in Saddleworth Tameside with the gorgeous Rebecca.  For cake smash photography sessions, most Mums always worry about how their child will be but I always reassure them that we are always led by the child, for the best results!  And it shows!

Saddleworth Tameside cake smash photography

So much joy!

The Buckely’s family were bursting with love and joy and as a result were an absolute joy to photograph.  I think you will agree that is reflected in spades in the photographs.  The best element of cake smash photography is you just don’t know how the child will respond to the cake.  Rebecca, whilst cautious at first and no different from the majority, thoroughly enjoyed the texture of the cake on her hands and feet.  Therefore, the tasting bit went out of the window!

Don’t you just love Rebecca’s tutu?  My little girl, Victoria, has recently started Baby Ballet in the Saddleworth Tameside area and loves it!  Perhaps I need to invest in a new tutu for her!  In fact, I believe I became slightly obsessed about photographing the tutu too!

And Jen gets my award for the most engaged Mum!  She embraced it too and probably ended with a good quarter of the cakes icing on her leggings, such a excellent sport!

Saddleworth Tameside cake smash photography

Don’t leave it late to book!

If your little one is turning one soon and you fancy a cake smash in Saddleworth Tameside, I’d suggest getting booked in soon.  Plus, if you get really organised, you can use the photos at birthday time for party invites or thank you cards!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Check this out when your baby is eleven months old!

Eight tips for choosing a photographer

If you are organising a birthday party and don’t do this, you will regret it later!

 

My Mum Story – all 1,180 days photographed by Mothers Day. Will you join me?

My Mum Story

My Mum story – life as a Saddleworth photographer and Mum documented through the art of photography

Welcome to My Mum Story.  Since my exhilarating, life changing moment of a twelve week scan for my first born, Joseph, I’ve documented my family’s life.  My life as a Saddleworth Photographer and Mum with a photograph every day.  In essence, that means by Mothers Day 2017, I will reach a massive 1,180 days.  That’s right.  A photo every day.

In reality, it’s thoroughly demanding and at times, in truth, I can’t be bothered but I know that my future self and two children will thank me no end.  As a busy, tired and overworked Mum, I endeavour to get in as many photos as I can.  Occasionally I manage to have my hair in a nice looking up do (straighteners are saved for extraordinary occasions these days!) with a ten second application of make up but other times my hair hasn’t been washed in five days and the bags under my eyes convey sleepless nights when I was proud to be in the two under two club!

 

my mum story
My first time out with Joseph and daddy. Tired and make up free, I dragged myself out for afternoon tea!  It was hard but worth it!

 

Why does everything have to be extreme?

It saddens me that on social media, the selfie obsession is firmly rooted at both ends of the spectrum.  In other words it’s either the ‘being a Mum is hard and look here’s my evidence with my chaotic house, stained breakfast clothes plus a screaming baby I can’t console’ or the ‘look at my baby beautifully swaddled up, lying peacefully like an angel.’  Conversely it’s the ‘look how fantastically in shape I am just a few weeks after giving birth in my matching neon pink gym outfit’ to the ‘look at my post partum belly a few hours after giving birth’.

In my world, it’s not always like that!

Where are the in between photos?  Why do these get missed out so much?  Yes we all have good and bad days but usually each day is a balance and therefore the ideal time to take what I call the ‘average’ photos.  The everyday moments which illustrate beautifully and authentically the story of life as a Mum.  The regular, routine things that Mums do day in, day out.  Singing to our children, picnicking in the park, trying to sleep.  In reality, being a Mum isn’t always plain sailing but that isn’t a reason NOT to photograph life.

My Mum Story
About 16 weeks pregnant, after a full working day in London I was too busy on my work phone that I got on the wrong tram, I was knackered!

 It’s up to you, Mum!

I want to empower mothers to take personal responsibility for realising the benefits of being in more photos with their children, documenting their day to day lives on a continuous basis like I do.  It bugs me that most Mum’s don’t get in enough photos and I am on a mission to stop this for the sake of our children.  Moreover, what gives us the right to make this decision on their behalf?  And it shouldn’t be up to the Dads to take the photos either, don’t get me started on that one!  In reality, I understand it when we say we don’t have time but if we spent one less minute using our phone for other purposes to instead take just one photo, surely we can all manage that?

A selfie trying to hide the fact that my hair hasn’t been washed in a week AND I’m tired AND the children have nearly every book off the bookshelf! I’m still smiling though!

From one Mum to another…

My own Mum sums up how passionate I am about through this beautiful poem which is meant to hit the core.  Conversely, it doesn’t matter how old your child is, it is never too late to start taking more photos with us Mums included:

If you do one thing today….

Get in more photos.  You owe it to your children….

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Why I love my clients, not just on Valentine’s Day!

Eight tips for choosing a photographer

The fabulous Evans family are my ideal clients!

 

If you don’t remind yourself to do this often, you may regret it later.

Joseph and Victoria having a moment

This is the toughest post I have every written….

I have thought long and hard about this post for many, many months, wondering what the best way to approach it would be.  In addition, I’ve also thought maybe I shouldn’t write it at all.  It’s a difficult and highly emotional topic but I passionately believe it is my duty to write this.  All I can try is to write from the heart and hope that if just one person takes this and puts it into practice, then it’s all been worth it.

Ok, so the subject I am talking about is death.  It’s a certainty that will happen to us all at some point.  Family and friends who leave such a mark on our lives will all experience the same thing too.  In our house, we have had a few significant deaths in the past twelve months which have left a massive hole in our hearts. In reality it has reminded us how precious life is and how important it is to document our lives.  There are various ways of doing this from keeping a journal, telling stories to our children or through the art of photography.

Becoming a Mum has opened my eyes

Now that I’m Mum to Joseph and Victoria, keeping a track of their lives with our family and friends is of enormous importance, particularly with our older generations.  It is so easy to forget to take photos, be too busy or think that a photo opportunity isn’t there when it is right in front of our noses.  Consequently, these simple photos have turned out to be hugely significant for us as we use them with Joseph and Victoria to remind them of the stars that now look down on them with more love and pride then they will ever know…..

Even when death is super close, we have always had the camera out, when the time was right.  Some of these photos we will be unlikely to share but we have them.  And that is the main thing.  In fact, I can tell you something; those photographs mean the world to us.

Please, take one thing away from this post….

Please, take one thing away from this post, keep taking photos in your life.  Don’t regret it….

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The Duchess of Cambridge is spot on!

Welcoming Victoria Grace to the Ridyard family

Goodbye 2016 and hello 2017!

 

Why I just LOVE my clients so much all year, not just on Valentine’s Day!

Valentines Day at Dove Stone Reservoir, Saddleworth, Oldham

Picture the scene

It’s 10am on a Sunday morning and it’s significantly quieter than normal.  Furthermore, it’s cold.  And I mean cold.  Even with three layers head to toe it is freezing.  In fact, the wind is knocking us for six and we can’t see directly ahead of us due to the snow battering down.  It is bitter.

Welcome to my Valentine’s Day mini session with Tanya and Darren.

It’s all about mindset

Tanya decided to surprise Darren with a Valentine’s Day present with a difference, a mini session with me.  Now, some people may have looked out of the window that morning and said ‘Let’s rearrange for when the weather is better’.

Not Tanya.

Instead, we hiked up Dove Stone Reservoir, National Park in Saddleworth, Oldham.  We found a semi sheltered spot and quickly but efficiently captured a range of photographs that capture the essence and spirit of Tanya and Darren’s marriage.  In reality, we had fun, despite the weather and I am sure that you will agree that this shows through in bucket loads in the photographs.  (Plus, do you like the way I got a cheeky shot with baby Ivan in the background!!)

What does this show?

The point of this blog is to illustrate one point. How amazing my clients are.  In other words, Tanya and Darren are typical of the majority of my clients.  They rock.  Moreover, they embrace life and aren’t afraid to do something different.  They are authentic and want that to show through on their photographs.  In other words, they aren’t afraid to try new things and in Darren’s case aren’t taken aback by surprises (he didn’t know about the shoot until he arrived!)  At the same time, they look for the alternatives in life – how much cooler is a photo shoot as a gift than the usual flowers, chocolates or meal, blah blah blah!

I asked Tanya why she went for a photo shoot as a Valentine’s Gift this year and this is what she said…

Photographs mean the world to me as a way to capture and document our life as a family. I wanted to do something different for my husband that would give us a bit of time together and provide lasting memories, so a valentines photo shoot was perfect! We were also able to capture the beauty of our surroundings too. The photos will provide some fun memories for us, especially as it snowed and was freezing, providing those ‘remember when…’ moments traditional presents just don’t provide. Photos last forever.

Thank you Tanya and Darren for being absolute troopers.

Valentines Day at Dove Stone Reservoir, Saddleworth, Oldham

If you fancy a photo session with me, especially if it’s in the beautiful Oldham countryside, get in touch and we can chat about what would suit you best.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

4 Valentine’s Day photo ideas you’ve probably never thought of before!

8 top tips for choosing a photographer

A day in the life of a portrait photographer