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

baby and teddy love

Time to get the photo props out!

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?

Here are my top six prop ideas that you can try at home.

Teddies and dolls:

It doesn’t matter how old you are, teddies and dolls can actually help to tell a story.  You can stage a photo with them or else capture children at play with them.  Furthermore, these photos are great to look back on in years to come when they have been made redundant to the bottom of the toy box or the loft!

Teddy and baby love

Books:

If you house is anything like ours, books play a major part.  We are encouraged to read to our children no end and so it’s a perfect story to capture.  I love this picture of Mum and Dad reading to their sons and the set up of making them look like a pair of book ends was intentional!

Seasonal items:

This is definitely an easy one to forget but is an important part of childhood.  Try and think out of the box and attempt action shots when you can.  This is one of my favourite photos of Joseph and Victoria and brings back countless, wonderful memories.

Message boards or slogans:

I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it is definitely mine!  If you have slogans or boards around your house, investigate how creative you can be with them.

Evans family photo shoot, wirral

Mirrors:

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?  An easy prop to forget about but one that we all have, it’s a definite in my book.  Furthermore, it’s also an excellent way to practice selfies!  (Why not take a look at my quick selfie guide here?)

Anything with meaning:

To conclude, I’ve purposefully left this one open.  The only limitations that you have with props is your imagination so have an investigate around your house and experiment to your heart’s content.

I’d love to see how you get on so why not post a comment below and update us all?

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My top 5 tips for taking better photos

The Duchess of Cambridge is spot on!

6 tips for the perfect christmas selfie

 

Two things you could do for women on International Women’s Day

International Womens Day

Happy International Women’s Day

As a photographer, I have the pleasure of photographing some amazing women. Mums, sisters, daughter, friends, cousins, nieces; all with their own labels that they carry around day to day.  Life stories that continue to inspire me as I inspire to help them record their amazing lives through the art of photography.

Here are just a few of my favourite female photos that make me smile!

International Womens Day

Could you do these two things this International Women’s Day?  (You too guys!)

We all know women in our lives who mean the world to us and have a positive effect on our life.  So, this International Women’s Day why not do these two small things which I am sure will have a big impact on the recipient.

Say thank you.

Pick a women who has recently done good for you and say thank you.  Not just the usual ‘thanks’ most of us are accustomed to but a well thought out thanks.  Maybe a hand written note or even just a short telephone call saying how their support has helped you.

Give a little to a women who needs it.

Offer to buy your friend her next coffee, add  a bunch of flowers to the next shopping trip for a relative or make a meal for a friend who is time starved (no pun intended!)  The impact could be much greater than you think.

To all my female readers out there, Happy International Women’s Day, you rock!!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

The six biggest lessons I have learned as a photographer

8 reasons I love photography

 

Check this out when your baby is 11 months old!

Cake smash photography can be the icing on the cake at first birthday time

I’ve had a run of cake smash bookings particularly in the Saddleworth Tameside area recently so thought it useful to talk a little more about them on my blog as it’s still a relatively new concept to the UK market.  It’s a chance to celebrate that significant milestone that has come and gone far quicker than you ever imagined I am sure!  Usually centred around a birthday cake, the child has the chance to explore and play to their hearts content.  Add in a few extra props and you are left with a simply fun session!

Showcasing children’s personalities is sweet!

At Inspired By Joseph photography, the cake however, is not the star of the show! The session is focused 100% on the child and how they react to the cake. After all, for some it may be the first time that they have experienced cake!  Some children dive straight in and there is cake everywhere whilst for others, it’s a more quiet and organised affair.  It’s always fun to watch how the session turns out but either way it is a great way of showing your child’s personality.  There is also the added bonus that I clean up after the session, not you!
Suzie has never looked back having had a cake smash session with her daughter, Olivia.   This is what she had to say…

Bev is amazing and very accommodating. We did a cake smash shoot with her for our little girls first birthday. She made Olivia feel really special and took the time with her to get that perfect photo (all of them were perfect!). I couldn’t recommend Bev highly enough. We have amazing photos to cherish for a lifetime. Thanks Bev

If this sounds like your cup of tea then why not treat yourself and I promise your future self (and child!) will look back and smile at the memories created at this special time.  If you live in the Oldham, Saddleworth or Tameside area and are interested in my latest special offers for cake smash sessions, contact me and let’s have a chat.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

If you are organising a first birthday party, check this out

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

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

 

Three flippin’ must have photo ideas for pancake day plus my favourite pancake recipe

pancake day

Yes its here folks, pancake day.  Are you all organized with ingredients at the ready or have you totally forgot?  If it’s the latter, scroll to the bottom of the page to check out my favourite recipe and hit the shops before dinner for the few simple ingredients needed.  Nevertheless, here are my top three photo ideas for pancake day.

Pre cooking photo.

Gather all of your ingredients together and work creatively!  You could sprinkle flour on a surface and place the ingredients within for that ‘just ready to cook’ feel.  Equally, take an aerial image just as the batter goes into the pan.

Eating pancakes.

Sometimes we become too obsessed with the pancake flipping photo that we forget about the enjoyment of the ‘quick let’s eat it whilst its still warm and we need to get the next pancake on the go’ photo! Consequently, this can beautifully illustrate that in the moment feeling.

The finished article.

Perfect for those of you with children!  Chocolate all around their mouths?  Lemon juice all over the table?  Capture it.  Again, it’s a celebratory story to share when the children are older.

My favourite pancake recipe is lush!

If you aren’t at all prepared for tonight or you are looking for a recipe that is a little different, I can highly recommend these lemon and raisin pancakes.  In reality, we cook these year round in our house we love them so much.  Consequently, they don’t hang around for long the children love them!  Saddleworth and Tameside pancakes at their best!

pancake day

If you have a favourite recipe, why not share it below?

Other blog posts you might find useful:

When should we leave the camera alone?

I shop local and support small businesses, do you?

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

 

If you are organising a birthday party and don’t take this advice, you will hate yourself later

birthday presents

Five super quick tips for taking amazing photos of your little ones birthday party

Put your hand in the air if you have been to a birthday party and either:

  1. Not taken enough photos
  2. Not been in enough photos
  3. Left it to others to take photos on your behalf and perhaps been disappointed

It’s a horrid feeling isn’t it?  You can’t relive that experience so it is vital that you master a plan in order to ensure that you don’t feel like that.  Therefore, here’s my five super quick tips for taking amazing photos of your little ones birthday.

1.  Start early

Don’t wait for the guests to arrive, the story of a birthday party starts way before then.  Get photos of party bags being prepared, balloons being blown up and food being created.   Likewise, at the end of the party take the opportunity to get photos of messy floors, presents collated and anything else you think summarises the party.

2.  Capture everyone

In truth, it’s easy to focus on the birthday girl or boy and centre photographs on them.  Absolutely do this but remember all of the other guests too.  In other words, try some candid shots of people just milling around, chatting and generally having fun.   In reality, this all contributes to the essence of the birthday party.

3.  Get in close

There is so much going on at a party, in order to capture everything going on, get in close!  Keep your eyes peeled for things happening that you can capture great expressions.  In reality, it could be a child’s reaction to opening a layer of pass the parcel, or sneaking a finger into the birthday cake!  Remember the adults too who might be enjoying a beer or two!

4.  Aim for a group shot

How often do the most amazing people in the birthday girl/boys life come into one place at the same time?  If you can find a spot to capture everyone together, do it!  Try climbing some stairs or even just asking everyone to squeeze in.  Trust me, they will be truly grateful you for it when they are older.

5.  Put the camera down

Enjoy the party yourself!  In reality, it’s easy to keep taking photos but rubbish if you can’t enjoy the party.  Plus, you need to be in some photos too so don’t forget that either!  This one was taken by another Mum for Joseph’s second birthday – without this I wouldn’t be in any!!!

I’m very busy right now particularly with my cake smash package.  This is a brilliant way of capturing special memories in the early years of childhood and alot of fun along the way.  If you would like further information or want to have a chat about it, contact me and let’s chat!

Do you want to know four super easy ways to keep costs down on for an event?

As well as loving photography, I’ve over 12 years of marketing and events experience which really does come in handy!  I’ve done everything from opening new branches of Halifax/Bank of Scotland’s to launching new airlines from Manchester Airport so I know a load of short cuts to help.   If you want to check out my super handy guide which I created for a christening but is easily transferable for a birthday party , fill in the form below detailing ‘Birthday Party Guide’ in the subject and I will whizz a copy over to you as quick as you can say ‘Yes Please!’

 

The fabulous Evans family, Wirral, are my ideal clients

Evans family photo shoot, wirral

A fabulous morning spent with the Evans family

I recognise that the early weeks of bringing baby number two in the world is nothing short of challenging.  Realistically, there’s nothing that can prepare you for the sudden double-ness of everything!  Coupled with the fact that Christmas was literally  round the corner, some might say that photography should be the last thing on your mind. Well, not for Helen.  Helen is my kinda lady.  Her house is full of photographs, a good mix of professional and personal.  She uses frames, pegs on string and apps on her phone to create collages.  Documenting the progress of her family’s growth is high on her priority list.  Helen is one of my regular clients and was one of the first families I ever photographed!  You can check this out on my previous blog.  As a result, I am sure you can appreciate why I was excited about this session.

A range of photographs taken through loads of fun

I walked into Helen’s house to the smell of a scented candle smelling of Christmas, the offer of a bacon butty and a coffee.  I kid you not. This is the woman with a toddler and a baby!  In reality, it didn’t take long for us to get started, the fact that the family are all used to me and vice versa was a massive bonus.  In fact, I know how difficult it can be to get that perfect photograph with everyone looking (something I have recently blogged about!) but we had so much fun along the way we managed to get a range of fabulous photographs.

Evans family photo shoot, wirral

 

Evans family photo shoot, wirral

Using personalised gifts was a winner

Helen is fond of using items of special meaning in her photos.  We used a combination of gifts from friends and family, mainly personalised gifts to accentuate some of our images with baby Thomas.  Such items also help to keep children entertained!  Equally, with the package that Helen purchased, we had heaps of time for outfit changes and a few Christmas themed photographs too!

Evans family photo shoot, wirral

 

Evans family photo shoot, wirral

If I can involve children in the session I always do.  Check this out, taken by Helen, I love it!

behind the scenes at Inspired By Joseph photography

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

Three useful photo apps that will help you create better photographs

Wirral photography – the Evans family

 

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

In the middle of January, I had a charming session with a family of three, celebrating their little one crawling, sitting and doing all of the things a seven month old usually does.  Such a cheerful little boy.  One of the zillions of reasons I just love my job!

To post photos of your children on social media, or not?  It’s all about personal preference

When I work with clients, one of the things I always ask is whether or not I can use a few of their photographs for my marketing. In reality, this could be a blog about our session or an update to my photo library on Facebook.  This is always personal preference as we are all so different when it comes to how we share our photographs with loved ones.

What do I choose?

Personally, I do share photos periodically on Facebook.  Photography is an enormous part of both mine and our families life.  It’s usually relates to key milestones such as birthdays or major events in our lives.  Therefore, this is one of the main ways I can share this with close friends and family who are dotted all over the world. My settings are set to the level I am pleased with.  I understand that some people don’t want to share on social media, it’s all about personal preference.  (If you want to read up about Facebook’s latest settings, have a look here)

How do I decide?

As a result, I have two practical pieces of advice I tend to consider before posting photos online.
1.  Would my child (or the one that I am photographing) be happy if they saw this aged 12, 15, 18?  If not, it’s not even a contender
2.  Does the photo have any other children in it?  Would their parents be happy for this to be posted online?  Have I check in with them?

Social media is not the only way

From the day we had our first scan with Joseph back in December 2013, I’ve taken one photo to document our life, every day.  That’s right. Every day.   As much as I have enjoyed it, it’s been hard and at times I have wanted to give up but over 1000 pictures on I’m delighted that I’ve done it.   You can take a look at some of my favourites here…

The vast majority would never, ever make the cut to go online but why not take a look at the following blog post which showcases some of the ways these photographs are displayed around my home.

So, back to last week’s photo shoot where this blog originated.  The family decided they didn’t want me to use any of their photos online.  Absolutely fine and decision totally respected. They aren’t the first and they certainly won’t be the last clients to make this request.  What I do know though is that they will enjoy displaying their fabulous memories around their house to share with generations to come.

Do you have some useful tips? Why not comment below and share them with my community so that we can all help each other?

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Three useful photo apps that will help you create better photographs

My top 5 super quick and easy tips for taking better photos

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

When should we leave the camera alone?

Whatever your opinion of Donald Trump, I am sure that you were unable to avoid the media coverage over the last week regrading his inauguration.  I always tend to watch as much of these things as possible.  After all it is history in the making and it is something I will be able to share with Joseph and Victoria when they are older.

Watching the inauguration got me thinking…

With the rise of camera phones in particular, we are never far from a camera.  We can take photographs at the drop of a hat.  Whilst watching the inauguration I noticed that so many people who were attending chose to watch the ceremony through their phone, either videoing or taking photos, rather than watching it, for real, in the flesh.  It got me thinking…  So when is it appropriate, or right, to take photos?  Is there a time and a place?  Or is it just down to personal preference?

I believe it is about choosing wisely

For me, if I was at such an important, history making event, I think I would want to savour that moment for real.  I’m not sure I could replicate that moment through my own camera lens. Plus, the worlds media got it covered!  Events and moments pass by us so quickly that it is important to enjoy things as they happen and remember them through our own internal lens.  I think back to concerts I’ve been to, for example, when I’ve recorded so many short videos of my favourite songs.  But if the truth be told, I’ve never done anything with them which makes me wish I had just enjoyed them for what they were.

As a photographer, this can be difficult to achieve but can be done with practice and a bit of self talk.  I don’t always get it right but I try.  What I will often do, for significant events (like Victoria’s recent 1st birthday party) is to pass the camera to a family member or friend.  This allows me the freedom to enjoy the event and for someone else to record the memories.  Win, win!  Next time, why not give it a go yourself and hand the camera over so you can enjoy the experience yourself?

What do you think?  Is there a time and a place for a camera?  Comment below as I would love to hear from you.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

The 6 biggest lessons that I have learned as a photographer

Take 5 minutes to read this – you must do it!

My 28 day photo challenge

baby and teddy love

My 28 day photo challenge

Would you like to:

  • Take more photographs in one month?
  • Improve on the type of photographs you take?
  • Increase the number of photographs that you, personally, are in?
  • And do this, absolutely free, without it taking up lots of your precious time?

 

Take part in #my28dayphotochallenge by committing to taking just one photograph every day.  It’s fun, free & will inspire you in just 28 days.

On a weekly basis I will send you the week’s theme and 7 day photo challenge with 7 different photos to take, plus some extra bonuses to help you improve.

It’s that simple.  And if you don’t do all 28 days it doesn’t matter.  Do what you can.

‘Bev really does inspire you with all things photography, I cannot recommend her enough.’

(kind words from a client)

Join me now!

Simply fill in the form below detailing ‘My 28 day photo challenge’ in the message box.  An invite to the Facebook group will be sent to you before we start on 1st February.  Make sure you keep an eye on your junk folder in case your invite ends up there!

Feel free to copy this link and send it on to a friend who you think would be up for the challenge.

I look forward to inspiring you in Feb!  Bev x

 

My new series. A day in the life of… #1 Debbie Palmer from Confidence Culture

a day in the life

Introducing my new series, A day in the life of…

Since I own my own small business, I know that I now make more of an effort to shop local and support other local and small businesses.  Keeping money in the local economy benefits local people.  Local businesses can often be more flexible and provide a more personalised service.  Plus a better product range.

With that in mind, I will be showcasing some of the amazing small businesses that I use through a new series called ‘A day in the life of’.  Until you own your own business I’m not sure that you can imagine how much time, effort and passion owners put in to making their business a success.  Every few weeks, I will be adding to this blogpost so please do come back often, have a read and see if there are any local businesses which float your boat!

Leave me a comment below if you are a user of any of the businesses featured as I would love to hear from you.

#1  A day in the life of Debbie Palmer from Confidence Culture

Debbie Palmer runs a business called Confidence Culture.  I met Debbie back in 2010 when I won a place at the fabulous Marketing Academy which changed my life!  I have worked with Debbie on several occasions since then.  When I’ve needed some support, guidance and coaching, Debbie is one of the people I turn to.  This is something I have done through organisations I have worked for in the past but also personally when I have needed to refocus.  Read more about Debbie’s story below…..

So, tell my followers, what is Confidence Culture?

A coaching consultancy working with individuals to create or manage change within their career or business – everything from developing personal leadership and making career choices, to returning to work after cancer or maternity leave. Basically anything which supports personal growth to impact performance at work.

Powerful stuff!  What does a day at Confidence Culture look like?

No two days are the same! Some days I might be out working with a team looking at resilience or strengths, another day back at my coaching suite near Huddersfield with leaders who have escaped the pressure of the office for some development time. I also work via SKYPE. Whatever I’m doing it will involve helping people to change their mindset and sharpen their focus.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Seeing the immediate impact a session can have as people gain personal insights, shift resistance and get fired up to take action.

What are you most proud of in your job?

How working with a single person can impact on the lives of so many others. Knowing the ripple effect that a shift in mindset can have on friends, family and colleagues as well as the client themselves. All contributing to my purpose of helping people enjoy their work more.

What or who inspires you?

My daughter. Seeing her grow up and her personality develop, inspires me to be the change I want to see in the world.

What piece of advice would you give to your future self?

Always take the time to celebrate what you’ve achieved.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take with you?

A wind up Kindle (poetic license!), a wind up radio and sun lotion!

What is your favourite photo of all time?

Such a hard one but I’ll go for a recent one from Christmas. This shows two very important people in my life and celebrates the close relationship my daughter has with her Grandma. Very special.

Debbie Palmer, Confidence Culture

 

Debbie Palmer is an executive, career and business coach based near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire.  She is currently offering 50% off all personal packages and sessions booked during January 2017 – with the first session to be taken by 31st March 2017. Sessions for new clients are available from £75. Please contact Debbie at [email protected] for more information.

https://www.facebook.com/confidenceculture/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/debbiepalmer

https://www.confidenceculture.com/

@debbieapalmer

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Celebrating Small Business Saturday

The six biggest lessons that I have learnt as a photographer

 

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

the child who does not like to be photographed looking at the christmas tree

One of the things I hear frequently is from frustrated Mum’s who are desperate for a delightful family photo but have children who don’t sit still/pull funny faces or quite simply just point blank don’t like the  look of a camera.  I get it.  My Joseph is transitioning through that phase right now.  He will often say ‘I don’t want my picture taken Mamma’ so I just put the camera away.  The first golden rule, don’t push it and fall at the first hurdle.  So, how to photograph the child who doesn’t like to be photographed?  Read on.

I love a personal mission

I met Ruby at Delph Tots Playgroup in December during their Christmas Party.  Taking photographs at playgroups is essential for me, a vital part of childhood too important not to document.  Fellow Mum, Lindsay, had the same idea but her daughter Ruby had other ideas.  Similar to Joseph, she does not like to have her photograph taken just now so I made it my personal mission to capture just one photo (my emphasis is on one on this occasion, you don’t need more!) that Mum could frame on the mantelpiece ready for Christmas.

Challenge accepted.  How did I do?

Did I pass my challenge?  Yes I did!  Lindsay said:

I absolutely love the pictures, you have done an amazing job of capturing Ruby.  Thanks again for persevering, you have done a fab job.

So, here are the four steps I took to photograph the child who doesn’t like to be photographed…

1.  Put the camera down

With Joseph, the camera goes away.   Even with Ruby, if she saw me with the camera, I put it away and gave her time to become used to me before seeing the camera. I also let Ruby watch me taking photos of others, like her Mummy!

2.  No clock watching

Lindsay hit the nail on the head, perseverance.  Therefore, patience and being super relaxed whilst at the same time being ready to capture that moment is the balance to strive for.  Take the pressure off waiting for ‘that’ photo and just relax and see that whatever photos you end up with are better than none at all.  Furthermore, don’t worry if part of the photo is blurred as the child is moving, these things take practice.

3.  Educate and inspire

I’ll often take children through my camera, let them look through the lens and have a go themselves.  With camera phones and a soft surface underneath, it can be a real winner.

4.  Don’t push for a full on, smiley photograph

Seriously, it’s not going to happen.  If you are VERY lucky you might muster a half smile but if you change your mindset and discover something else, you never know what you might find. In other words, a loving glance at a parent, a hug for a sibling, playing with a favorite toy?  Have a go and notice what happens.

To conclude, what frustrates you about photographing your children?  Let me know by commenting below and I promise to come back to you with my hints and tips.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

3 quick tips to encourage you to take more photos now

I love photographing children!

My top 5 super quick and easy tips for taking better photos

 

Celebrating baby Harry’s christening in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester

Baby Harry's christening

Celebrating baby Harry’s christening in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester

Let’s be honest, Christening photography isn’t something that you hear people talk about often.  It’s just the same as a regular birthday party right?

One of my most recent clients, Claire, embraced the idea of hiring me to capture her second born boy, Harry’s, christening.  Claire wanted to make sure that she got all of the photographs that she felt were missed from her first born, Max’s christening whilst at the same time being able to relax and enjoy their special day without having to think too much about it.

I know how stressful the ‘getting ready’ for the christening can be!

As a Mum of two, I know how stressful the run up to the christening can be.  Trying to get everyone ready, be on time and fit in naps/snacks etc in between can be a difficult task.  As part of my christening package, I offer a family shoot before the christening day.  In reality, this allows the family to become used to the camera and ensure that there are some great pre christening photographs whilst in a calm and unhurried environment.  Trust me, on the day, there is not always the time to get these sacred images and this allows everyone the time they need to ensure that there are some fabulous photos to share.  At the same time, we had the benefit of getting some great Christmas themed photographs too.  I just love the of Mum and Son, captured right when they were in the middle of a gorgeous cuddle.

Harry's christening celebration

 

Many memories documented on such a special day that passes so fast!

The christening was a brilliant event.  Quite surprisingly you might say, the sun shone down on a mild December morning and hit the stained glass windows like a summers day.  The service was as friendly as it was warm and welcoming.  With the weather being so beautiful we managed a group photograph that I am sure will provide countless stories with Harry when he is older.  I mean, how often do you get a group photograph like that for the baby book?

After the ceremony, I especially enjoyed taking photographs of ‘Harry Robb’ with the two men he was named after – Harry and Rob!  I adore the picture of Claire whispering to her Mum.  It makes me smile.  None of us will ever have any idea what she was saying but I bet it will stay with Claire and her Mum as a special part of their day.

Then for the client comments and feedback that quite simply made me cry!

As a result of capturing countless photographs (just shy of 200!!) this left Claire with an extensive range to choose from for family gifts and thank you cards.   The bit I love most of all is the feedback from my clients, either directly or through seeing their friends and families reaction to the memories of a special day.  Claire posted this on her Facebook page with a picture of her Mum and brother outside the church which I will admit, did make me cry!:

Every photo tells a story….. this tells me that my “little” brother is actually a man (not a pretend one a real one)

and that he is way cooler than i will ever be. Not enough words to explain just how proud I am of this man who is

my very first best friend & taught me how to “mother” nearly 25 years ago.

Claire, Rick, Max and Harry, you are such a special family and the privilege was all mine…..  This is definitely one of my favourite shoots of recent times.

Do you want to know four super easy ways to keep costs down on your little ones christening day?

As well as loving photography, I’ve over 12 years of marketing and events experience which really does come in handy!  I’ve done everything from opening new branches of Halifax/Bank of Scotland’s to launching new airlines from Manchester Airport so I know a load of short cuts to help.   If you want to check out my super handy guide, fill in the form below detailing ‘Christening Guide’ in the subject and I will whizz a copy over to you as quick as you can say ‘Yes Please!’

 

A winters walk and all things baby carriers in Tandle Hill, Oldham

A winters walk and all things baby carriers in Tandle Hill, Oldham family photography

Last year, I had the pleasure of blogging my first baby bump shoot with Christine, Keith and Sam.  Christine was dedicated to documenting her second born, the lovely little Lauren, right from the beginning.  As such, it was an absolute pleasure to follow the family around Tandle Hill.  Christine and Keith are huge fans of displaying up to date photos around their house which is fabulous!  In reality, a family who enjoy the great outdoors, you could, if the truth be told, get a real sense of their playfulness and adventurousness.

Winter really is a tremendous time of year for family photographs

Many people think winter time (yes, that’s right December!) is not the most appropriate time for outdoor photography.  However, I am sure that you will agree the colours and the weather were very kind to us.  As long as you are dressed for the weather as my Mum always says….

Lauren is such a cutie pie!  Her smile is infectious and you wouldn’t believe that she had kept Mum and Dad up for the majority of the previous night!  I adore how she would always be staring straight through the camera lens, right when the rest of the family was preoccupied looking the other way.

 

We even had time for a bit of on-the-job training!

At the same time, Sam took a genuine interest in my efforts and assisted not only to direct this particular image below but to capture this exact photo too!  If I can inspire the next generation, so be it!  Fantastic job Sam, your first photograph published!

 

Double baby carrier time!

My favourite part of the session was unquestionably the double baby carrier challenge!  Both Christine and Keith are huge fans of baby carriers (as am I!) so it was a delight to document this.  Surprisingly, when you are carrying a child it is often challenging to see their expressions so this was a perfect opportunity to record this!  Keith was a star and managed to carry both Sam and Lauren at the same time.  Proud Dad moment!  He actually made it look really easy to do too.

When clients come back again and again for more photos, I am able to replicate previous pictures and show progress.  Check this one out!

It is always so much fun to be outdoors with you guys.  There is never a dull moment and the love you all have for each other is clear to see!  Here’s to the next time we meet….

Goodbye 2016 and hello there 2017!

Goodbye 2016 and hello there 2017 from Inspired By Joseph Photography!

 

2016 has been a tough year for many.  Celebrity deaths, Brexit and the economy has meant many are glad to see the back of 2016.  Always an optimist, it’s been a fabulous year despite these things!  On 12th January I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, Victoria.  In reality, she is a mini me but with more tenacity and energy!  At the same time, Joseph turned two, developed an obsession with trains and we mastered the art of the potty!  Looking after two children is like nothing I have ever known, or can truly describe.  In actual fact it is the most rewarding (and tiring!) job I have ever had.

Those of you who know me personally know how important my career is to me.  Surprisingly to some perhaps, I took the brave decision to press pause on Inspired By Joseph Photography when Victoria was born, less than 90 days in to my new venture, so that I could enjoy those precious first few months.  So, I’ve worked just 69 days this year which means my business is still a baby at just 157 days old!

I am proud of my achievements in 69 days!

 

In that time I have had the pleasure of photographing 6 families, 1 cake smash, 1 christening and 2 playgroups, with bookings made as far in advance as next June!  I have written 8 blogs and 85 Facebook posts.  Then there is all the back office stuff that you just don’t see.  Being a working mum who looks after children pretty much full time (NOTE – this is different to being a stay at home Mum!) is tough, in fact very tough, so that is why I am proud of what I have achieved in such a short time.

But the best is yet to come.  I just know it!

Can my most popular blog posts from 2016 help you achieve or record your goals for 2017?

One of my missions for Inspired By Joseph Photography is to leave my clients inspired to take more and better photographs and to display them around their homes.  If you take just one thing from one of my blogs and implement it through 2017, my work here is done!

The six biggest lessons I have learned as a photographer

Three useful photo apps that will help you create better photographs

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

I’ll leave you with my top 9 photographs from 2016

best of 2016 Inspired By Joseph photography

Leave me a reply below and let me know which is your favourite photograph and why.  I’d love to hear from you!

Welcome to the world, beautiful baby Francesca!

baby and teddy love

The fabulously delightful baby Francesca from Stockport, Greater Manchester

It’s been a while since I’ve photographed such a tiny baby, probably back in January when I was photographing my own little girl, Victoria when I started my maternity leave.  I arrived with a sense of enthusiasm as there is something  wonderful about capturing a babies first few weeks.  I’m taking about those precious moments when their smallness is so apparent.  When babies spend their days sleeping on Mum and Dad’s shoulders.  In reality, It just brings a sense of warmth that fills the room.

Angela and Alasdair were so calm and collected when I arrived with Francesca sleeping soundly in Angela’s arms.  Therefore, there was a real sense of peacefulness which I found very refreshing, I don’t remember my house resembling that when either Joseph or Victoria was born!!

The benefits of working from your own home

One of the benefits of working from Angela’s house was that Francesca was settled and content sleeping from the outset.  We started with a few relaxed sleeping photographs slowly adding in a few of her teddy bears.  You will see that Francesca looks like she is holding their hands, which is super charming!  She did this all by herself, a natural reaction, I promise it was not staged!

I adore taking photographs of babies on shoulders since it gives parents the chance to catch sight  of what their babies face is essentially showing.  This was a hold which Francesca loved, she was so peaceful and content here, especially when she was with Daddy.

I love all things tiny!

Equally,  one of my favourite parts of a baby session is showcasing everything that is naturally so tiny, especially when it demonstrates scale.  Baby hands and feet are perfect for this and as long as baby is comfortable to participate the results can be just beautiful.

Today was the first day that Francesca moved from a babygro to a full grown outfit.  I’m sure you will agree she looks adorable.  I felt honoured to be taking pictures of baby Francesca with her proud Mummy and Daddy and feel delighted that the family love the final photographs.  All in a day’s work!

Reid family adventures in Tameside, Greater Manchester

beautiful Oldham photography

There is nothing more fabulous than getting outdoors on a crisp, autumnal Sunday morning to photograph a beautiful family.

Enjoying the canalside at Tameside, Greater Manchester

Adam, Natalie and Henry took me on an adventure in Tameside, Greater Manchester.  We meandered through the woods and Henry loved jumping and splashing in every puddle he could.  The ground was a little damp from overnight rain but Natalie and Adam embraced the circumstances and collected beautiful orange, red and yellow leaves to throw over Henry.  I couldn’t believe that I captured the precise moment a leaf fell on Henry’s head!!   I am sure that you will agree that Henry is such a cheerful, content little boy with such an infectious smile.

 

We explored along the canal path and kept an eye out for trains passing by in between photos. We also took the opportunity to dress up for Christmas so that Natalie and Adam can share some festive pictures with loved ones.

And this has never happened before!

As we stopped for a final few photos to draw the session to a close, I could see a dog running towards us.  Not a problem I deliberated, we often have dogs (and people!) come to see what is going on.  Oh, no, not this time!  The dog decided to come over and wee on my camera bag, ooops!    Well, that was a first and hopefully last!

The Reid family

I shop local and do my bit to support local businesses, do you?

cake smash

The benefits of shopping local have a much bigger impact than on larger corporates

How often do we catch news reports of large, multinational companies dodging tax, treating employees unfairly or bosses taking huge bonuses when perhaps company performance does not correlate?

Shopping locally is just the opposite!  Keeping money in the local economy benefits local people.  Local businesses can often be more flexible and provide a more personalised service.  Plus a better product range.  Local businesses are known for giving back, for example, Inspired By Joseph donates to it’s chosen charity, 52 Lives.  This is a charity which looks to change someone’s life every week of the year.

My current, favourite five local businesses to support

Yesterday the UK celebrated  Small Business Saturday I wanted to share with you just a few of my favourite local businesses  from Saddleworth.

small-business-saturday-uk-logo

Moorland Holistic – When I have a massage, I like to know that I have felt a real difference!  That’s exactly how I feel after I have had a treatment with Rachael.  Based in Diggle, Moorland Holisitic offer treatments including deep tissue massage, reflexology, hot and cold stones massage and much more.  Plus I love it when I can grab a bargain when special offers are announced.

Play! – Play launched in Diggle after Joseph was born and has been a great addition to the local area. Whilst Joseph now loves the ‘big boy area’ (I can never bring him off the yellow slide!), Victoria can use the under three area to her hearts content.  It’s reasonably priced and is a godsend especially in the winter months.

The Bra Spa – Ladies, we all know that a good fitting bra not only makes us look and feel fabulous but has exceptional  health benefits too.  Sue at the Bra Spa in Uppermill offers a great service.  She ensures your bra is individually made for your size and shape and promotes a balanced posture.     I couldn’t go anywhere else for my underwear now!  (And I can’t wait to take all my Mummy friends for a night of fizz and cupcakes in January!)

Grandpa Greene’s – We love ice cream in our house so having this on our doorstep is just plain fabulous! Great to explore the canal in the summer but also great to sit inside with a hot chocolate over the winter.  We love it here!  The reward card is great too as we always look forward to our next complementary drink or ice cream!

Secret Senses – Denise who runs Secret Senses is fabulous!  An ex nurse and health visitor, she now runs baby massage and yoga classes for local mums.  It’s great for baby bonding and meeting new mums locally.  Plus it is great value for money.  Both Joseph and Victoria went through all of her classes and loved them!

Wherever you are in the world, I’d love to know about your favourite local businesses.  Why not hit reply below and share them with us.  After all, supporting local businesses is so important for scores of reasons….

small business saturday inspired by joseph photography
small business saturday inspired by joseph photography

 

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

baby bump photography

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

People often ask what it’s like to be a photographer and what a typical photo shoot looks like so I would like to share a behind the scenes, real life example with you.  Join me below as I meet Christine, Keith, Sam and bump (now Lauren!) for a photography session to celebrate a significant milestone in their lives!

It’s all in the prep

There’s a tonne of prep to do before I actually meet Christine, Keith, Sam and bump!  There is all my equipment to check as a starter for ten, batteries to recharge, spare (and empty) memory cards to prep, lenses to clean and props that you see in the final photographs that all need organising.   In addition, I am also obsessed with my weather app which comes in handy for outdoor sessions.  I then spend time working through the types of photographs that I think we can capture using my experience of my clients and also the venue, Alexandra Park in Oldham, which I know really well.

Arriving ahead of time

I always arrive early to make sure that I can organise myself!  As well as assessing the light and weather, I take some test shots to ensure that I can achieve the right exposure and composition from our first port of call, which in this case was the Chinese Gardens.  Also, I also have a wander around as I like to find new nooks and crannies that may be great to test.  I am a believer in experimenting with new compositions and having fun along the way – sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t but I am always led by my clients.  For example, we tried to compose a quality image of everyone’s feet but it just didn’t work out so was obviously not meant to be.

Hello Clients!

When Christine, Keith and Sam arrive we spend a bit of time chatting through the session – I want everyone to feel 100% relaxed and at ease before we start.  Therefore, we take our time as we explore Alexandra Park and take in some of the things that they enjoy doing, such as capturing Sam on his new trike and stopping to play on the swings.    Regular breaks are important, especially for the little ones and it often surprises clients to know that this can be the best time to capture a moment, such as this one of Sam and Daddy playing with his car.

 

sam with his car in alexandra park, oldham

I always ask along the way how Christine, Keith and Sam feel to make sure that they are still enjoying the session – that’s truly important after all!  We finish up just as Sam is ready for his dinner and this is when my excitement to just get home and upload the photographs really kicks in!

Time to review

I feel so excited at this point.  I usually can’t do anything else until all the images are on my PC, there is just something in me that screams ‘quick, just have a look!’  Typically I can take 300-500 images so I go through them first and take out the photographs which haven’t made my cut.  This could be because of eyes blinking, the exposure not being quite right, people moving or quite honestly, it just doesn’t feel right.  I then choose a few images to edit that I feel best sum up our time together.

Sneak peek

I enjoy sending my clients that first sneak peek.  It’s hard to explain how it feels whilst you wait in anticipation for their reaction.  On this occasion, it was close to Christmas so I worked really hard to shorten my lead time so the family could use their photographs as soon as possible as I knew that they were keen to use some as Christmas presents.  Surprisingly, literally as soon as I’d sent the email,  Christine replied to explain how much she loved the photographs!  A great feeling to leave me with before bed which really is an incentive to wake up extra early the next day (before the kids wake up!) to crack on with editing the remaining photographs.

 

baby bump

If you want to see what my clients really think of my work, head over to my feedback page for more information:

If I have inspired you to celebrate your family life through photography, why not get in touch for an informal, complimentary chat to see if I can help.

 

 

 

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

Joseph playing

My top fabulously 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.

  1. Change your hold stance

    Do you find that you take all of your photographs in portrait mode? Shake it up and discover landscape or angle the camera half way for an edge!  Do you always work at eye level? Get walking up the stairs or down super low floor for a totally new perspective.  Take the same photo in multiple ways and discover the differences.

    2.  Check out the light

    If you are outside taking photographs of people, it is always advisable to avoid the harsh midday sun therefore leaving yourself with unflattering images.  Always consider standing behind the sun so that your subjects are consequently facing the light and capture a few images in case your subjects blink! If you are inside, use as much natural light as possible so head for a window or a door and pull back the blinds or curtains!

    3.  Use the rule of thirds

    When you look at your phone, camera or camera lens, imagine two horizontal and two vertical lines which therefore create nine even blocks.  If you use this frame to position your subjects along any of the intersections, this helps to create more drama in your composition.

    4.  Remove unwanted clutter

    Before you press the shutter, double check what is in the frame. Is there anything that is distracting that could be eliminated?  As a result, can you readjust your frame to remove them?  If people are walking past, just give them a minute to pass.

As a result of the above, are you not convinced that you should be taking more photos in the first place?  Check out this blog post to find out why you should!

 

Three quick tips to encourage you to take more photographs now!

 

 

Did you find these tips useful?  What do you find frustrating about photography?  Hit reply below and let me know and I will do my best to help you out.

3 Useful Photo Apps that will help you create better photographs

beautiful Oldham photography

Three Useful Photo Apps that will help you create better photographs (oh and they are all free!)

With the explosion of camera phones, the rise of the selfie and the importance of social media to the majority of us, there is a massive range of apps that can, in reality, help turn photos from decent to great. Consequently, these  apps are often a great time saver to more complex editing tools so if you haven’t checked them out, have a look below!

Instagram

One of the most popular and well know apps out there, Instagram has a range of filters and editing tools suitable for all phone users to become hooked on instantly. In addition you can sync up with your other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook therefore saving you time!  I love Instagram due the simplicity of the application.

Diptic

If you are looking for a fun way to show off a range of photos in collage format, try Diptic. Simply select the layout you prefer, add your photos then change the height and width of inner frames, add text, change border colours or add filters.  You can choose to save to your camera roll or share with your social media platforms.  I use this frequently  to show a montage of photos from one occasion such as a birthday party, Halloween or day out with Joseph and Victoria.

Pic Collage

If you fancy being a bit more creative (and arguably more fun!), Pic Collage could be your answer. You choose from a range of backgrounds, then add your photos (which you can position and size as you see fit) before adding a range of super cool stickers (all themed up for ease) and add any additional text you require.  Some backgrounds and stickers carry a reasonable charge but if you have a particular theme in mind, it’s great value for money!  In addition, you can choose to save to your camera roll or share with your social media platforms.

Generally speaking and whilst we are talking about technology, if you aren’t in the process of regularly backing up your photos, take a look at my blog post for more information:

Take 5 minutes to read this too!

Do you have a favourite app that isn’t listed above?  Drop me a comment below as I would love to hear from you.

 

Beautiful Saddleworth Photography
Arguably, the autumn is the best time for Oldham photography sessions given the beauty of our scenery

The 6 biggest lessons that I have learned as a photographer

Mamma with baby in a sling looking to the distance

I remember back in the 1990s receiving  my first camera.  It was metallic blue and I was fascinated popping the film, willing to reach the magic 24 or 36 end of film!  Equally, I took immense pride filling in the details on the Truprint form and posting it off, waiting eagerly for their return.

Wow, how times  have changed!  We are so lucky to have cameras and phones with us for most of the  day!  In reality, we can capture photographs and add filters in a few taps of a mobile phone.  With that in mind I want to share with you the six biggest lessons that I have learned as a photographer over the years.

  1.  THE RATE OF CHANGE WILL NEVER SLOW

Let’s be honest, time is never going to slow down is it?  There will never be enough hours in the day so embrace the speed of life and capture  those moments.  Ironically, I believe that this helps me to slow time down!  At the end of every week, I love to gaze through all the photographs I have taken as  it reminds me of the amazing things I have done!  With this in mind, do you have a to do list with regular reminders on your mobile phone?  Add taking everyday photos to your list!

PS – If you want a list of useful to do list apps, check these ones out:

Great to do list apps

  1. TECHNOLOGY IS BAD AND GOOD

Who doesn’t wish that they spent less time with technology?  In reality, it’s a daily battle I fight.  Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t!  From a photography perspective, technology is amazing  in allowing us to store photographs whilst at the same time allowing us to come up with creative ways to showcase them via the various apps and programs on the market.  Just reflect on how far phones have come on since your first mobile phone!!  One of my most significant lessons though is to remember that technology isn’t everything, it cannot replace an experience.  In addition, it is also useful to put the camera down and observe through our own internal camera, our beautiful eyes.

  1. ITS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT SMILING

Most of my clients, especially those with children prefer  to see smiley faces.  Don’t get me wrong, smiles are great but actually some of the best photographs show other emotions.  A baby sleeping reflects  peacefulness, a child gazing into Mum’s eyes illustrates true love.  I have learned to not always shout ‘say cheeeese’ as it’s not always going to produce an amazing image. In addition, not everyone likes having their face photographed.  That’s ok too, there is always another angle and perspective to bear in mind.

  1. MEETING NEW PEOPLE AND HELPING THEM ALONG THEIR PHOTOGRAPHY JOURNEY FEELS WONDERFUL

This has been my most impactful lesson.  Hand on heart,  I am actually doing a job that I love, working with fantastic people whilst at the same time inspiring them to become better photographers too.  I’ve 100% positive feedback from all of my clients who say I have educated them in some way along their own photography journey.  For this reason, if you take just one thing from this blog make it this, celebrate what you do in life as it is short so make it count.

Feedback from my clients

  1. APPRECIATING THE SMALL

It’s brilliant to go large but actually sometimes we forget to go small!  In the attractive Saddleworth scenery, it is tempting to go large with landscape photographs rather than to reign in on smaller objects such as a beautiful, fresh flower in the field, a baby duckling following the canal or, one of my favourites, a dry stone wall!  On other words, focus in and watch what occurs.

  1. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO BE IN PICTURES TOO!

I am GUILTY as much as the next and so it is something that I work on constantly.  I don’t  always feel that I want to be in a photograph right now.  For this reason  I’ve learned not to let the moment pass by and I certainly don’t want to be one of those Mums who when their children are older ask why Mummy is not in many photographs.  I’ve heard all of the excuses before.  I’ll just lose some weight, I’ll come after holiday…  Challenge yourself to appear in more photographs and embrace it.  In fact, why not take a look at my selfie tips for a sprinkle of inspiration?

6 tips for the perfect selfie

If I have inspired you to celebrate your family life through photography, why not contact me for an informal, complimentary chat to see if I can help.

 

 

Three quick tips to encourage you to take more photographs now!

First of all, how often do you say to yourself phrases such as:

  • There is always tomorrow…
  • I’m too busy
  • No way can I do it – I hate having my photograph taken
  • I can’t take a decent photograph so consequently I am not in many!

I get it.  Honestly I do.

As a busy Mum of two, I have a daily battle with the above excuses but I find time to take at least one photograph every day because I know I will regret it if I don’t.  It is worth it when I create gems like this.  Here are just a few of my personal favourites when it comes to illustrating Victoria’s personality.  She certainly lives up to the meaning of her name – able to analyze, understand and learn.

It’s about the everyday things not just the big events!

Do you have children?  It is never too late to capture those special moments that happen every day. Celebrate key milestones and first experiences.  There are many milestone cards you can buy online that may be a good prompt for you.

Don’t have kids?  Document the many new things in life such as ski lessons,  a trip to a new bar, whatever!

Rather than just pulling your camera out for the significant events, I challenge you to take photographs on a more regular basis.

Remember, backing up those photographs and  removing them from phones and tablets is JUST as important.  Also, if you haven’t already read my blog on categorising photos , then take five minutes to read it now!

http://www.inspiredbyjoseph.com/categorising-photos/

Three top tips from Inspired By Joseph Photography!

So, my top tips for remembering to take photographs are:

Firstly, find the time on a regular basis – just recall some of the brilliant photographs you have from the past to help!  Look past the excuses and take action now.

Furthermore, give yourself prompts to help remind you, such as milestone cards.

Finally, back up and print out your existing photographs to serve as a reminder of the power of photography.

I am here to help.

So, to conclude, what’s the biggest challenge you face taking photographs of you and your family?  Reply in the comments section below as I’d love to hear from you and promise to reply to all posts.

 

 

Take 5 minutes to read – you MUST do this!

Picture the scene.

Your Mum calls you.  She is trying to create “one of those photo book things” and can’t find that family picture from Christmas last year. She absolutely needs it for her front cover but it’s not on her computer and she knows you have a copy. She needs you to send it now as she’s not going back on her PC to finish it off.  You check your phone, not there, you scan you PC and “what??” There are photos everywhere, in loads of different folders, duplicates, all saved as a load of numbers, where do you start??? Great stuff, you are gonna miss Corrie as its not a quick task!!

Ok, I know that this seems like a boring thing to talk about but trust me saving and categorising photos as you go can be really helpful and save you lots of time in the future.  If you’ve taken the time to take a photo, take the time to file it correctly so that you can find it in the future.

Get categorising 2015 now so you can start afresh in 2016.  You can choose to do it any way you fancy as long as it makes sense to you! I produce a new folder for each event and number them in date order so it looks something like this:

  1.  Mums birthday (Feb 15)
  2.  Chester Zoo (March 15)
  3.  Girls night out (April 15)

 

Once I’ve added all my photos into the subfiles the first thing I do is delete the rubbish ones – why keep them eating up your storage?

Did you know that you can also add star ratings to photographs or tags which might help if you have loads of photos and want to find things even quicker?  Simply right click on an image and select priorities for more information. Once you are in an album you can right click anywhere and use view, sort by or group by to find pictures.

Finally, think about backing up your files on the computer.  Why?  Don’t get caught out like my sister did with her PC.  They got a virus from the Internet and lost all her photos!  Wedding, holidays the lot.  Good job I had a good chunk of these on my PC too…

I know this seems like a boring task but trust me it’s worth it.  Just think how you will feel if you lost your phone with your hundreds of photos on that you just never got round to putting on your PC.  It’s not worth it….

Welcoming Victoria Grace Ridyard to the family

Two weeks ago today, once again my world changed in ways I cannot describe.  The happiness, the feeling of completeness and the utter joy that enveloped me was just indescribable.  And you think that you have shared out all of the love you have with the people already in your life…  Not the case!

On Tuesday 12th January at 11.27am, we welcomed our second child Victoria Grace, our first daughter and sister to brother Joseph, into the world.  A tiny bundle of joy who is very content but knows her own mind, Victoria has already brought so much joy to us.

Victoria 6 days old

Joseph has taken to being a big brother like a duck to water (so far!!) reassigning his toys to Victoria, passing mummy new nappies and generally just making sure that Victoria is always with us.  The only time he forgets about her is when he is playing with his friends!

Joseph and Victoria

And for me, it is true that it’s easier second time around.  You don’t have all of the learning, worry and newness which has provided me with the opportunity to enjoy things a little more… Yes it is still tough, the night time feeds and lack of sleep are really hard (I’m currently surviving on around 4 hours a night but I keep telling myself this is for such a short period of time I’m to enjoy it before it goes!) but having a supportive network, a positive attitude and being organised helps an awful lot!  Every moment I savour as every day brings growth and new developments that resign things to history really quickly.  And because of this, the camera hasn’t really been away from my hands and has found a new, permanent home on the kitchen table!  It has totally reinforced the importance of capturing every moment that passes by – I can’t believe how much Victoria has changed in just 14 days!!  I am so glad that I have been documenting this along the way as I know we won’t get that time back.  It’s important that we therefore celebrate it!

Victoria's tiny foot

What the last two weeks has done is to totally reinforce why I set up my photography business in the first place (why not check out my story for more information).  I am so passionate about recording memories for other people that can last for generations.  I love taking photographs that make people smile.  I love it when people say ‘Oh yes do you remember when…’  And I love it when my clients tell me how great they found not only the end product but the experience too.  100% of my customers to date say I have inspired them to take more photographs as well as to display more photographs which makes me one happy lady!

So in celebration of my beautiful baby Victoria Grace and the bursting of love that continues to envelope me, I am setting up a month long set of promotions for Inspired By Joseph that will take Victoria right through to her six week birthday!  Each Tuesday for the next four weeks I will bring a new promotion to you in the hope that I can make more people feel exactly how I have described my feedback above!  Please check out my Facebook page or Special Offers page on my website each week to see if there is an offer that may suit you, or perhaps a friend or loved one.  There’s also my regular collections that are still popular. As you can imagine I’ve quite a few bookings already in place for the upcoming months so contact me to get your preferred date as soon as you can.  I’d love to help!

Victoria 6 days old

Oldham photography – I love photographing Children!

Christmas is my absolute favourite time of year.  The smell of Christmas trees and mulled wine, the taste of fresh turkey and mince pies and the sight of happy children all excited about the big day makes my heart melt!  Plus seeing Joseph dressed as cute little Elf below – I am not too sure he will thank me for this when he is older!

Joseph at Tiddlers Christmas Party, Oldham

I’ve had the pleasure of photographing some amazing tiny people in and around Oldham last month and I just have to share a few of them with you! For many, it is their first Christmas so a really important time to capture special moments.  Sometimes things happen so quick we forget to take the photographs to cement that memory.  And as we all know, time goes by fast!

Nell at Tiddlers Christmas Party, Oldham

 

Joseph at Tiddlers Christmas Party, Oldham

 

Max at Tiddlers Christmas Party, Oldham

 

Don’t let life pass you by – why not book in for one of my collections?  I offer a range to suit different needs and budgets and also offer payment plans to spread out the cost.  I understand that photography is a considered purchase and I want to make it as easy as possible for you to take advantage.  From time to time I publish special offers so why not sign up to receieve emails by completing the details at the top of the page?  Got any other questions?  Visit my FAQ page for more information or get in contact – I want to help cement your special memories in 2016!

Inspired By Joseph wishes you a fabulous and amazing 2016!

My top photographs from 2015 – Inspired By Joseph photography

Happy New Year guys!  Hope you all had a good one!  As 2016 is now upon us, it’s a good time to reflect back on some happy memories from the short time in 2015 I have been in business.

I’ve spent the first three quarters of the year plucking up the courage to start Inspired By Joseph photography (you can read my story here) working hard at deciding the type of service I want to offer clients, developing a website, creating my brand and of course, taking lots of photographs!  It’s been a hugely time consuming and ever growing task but it’s been an absolute pleasure as I can honestly say I love what I do!  Meeting people, having a great experience with them and creating memories have been fantastic!

I’d like to take this time to thank a few fabulous ladies who have helped me during this time:

Becky Lord Design who created my branding and hitting the nail on the head with her designs!

Sarah from Muslimah Web Designs who did a fantastic job not only at designing my website but providing great strategic input.

Then on 6th October 2015, I pressed GO and launched!  Every day is a huge learning curve but I have been really pleased with the progress I have made in such a short time.  Sure there is still lots to do (which I have to balance with a new baby that is literally days from entering the world!) but I know that if I keep taking baby steps, I can continue to develop and grow as a person, as well as realising the ambition I have for Inspired By Joseph photography.

I’ve had some great feedback along the way but I 100% believe that others input plays a huge part of the success. Please do contact me with your hints, tips and words of wisdom as I’d love to hear from you!

But for now, I leave you with a selection of my top photographs from 2015 and best wishes for 2016 and all of the happiness, health and wealth that you desire…..

Joseph, now a confident walker, loves being in the garden!  We were exploring a friends garden when their dog suddenly barked and I caught Joseph looking behind him to see what the noise was!

Joseph looking at the doggie!

I loved photographing the fabulous Evans family.  Helped by the most beautiful backdrop in the world, the Liverpool skyline, I caught the moment they watched as people passed by the beach in New Brighton.

The Jones' family enjoy the beautiful Liverpool skyline - the best in the world!

Gemma is so athletic and flexible, this photograph, taken at the stunning St George’s Hall in Liverpool showcases this in an unprompted moment she took to have a stretch!

Gemmas_day_19092015_29a

This photograph was taken the week Max just started to walk!  His Mum was so pleased that I was able to capture this moment for her – a permanent memory for the whole family.

Max just learnt to walk!

Billie was so giddy whilst the whole family played in the leaves.  I love the autumn colours that describe the day so beautifully!

Billie at Tandle Hills, Oldham

This makes me chuckle!  The Howard family enjoying a moment together – beautifully summarised with the love family sign in the foreground.  Like Joseph, Alf loves ducks which we wanted to capture in the photograph.

The Howard family

 

Photographing the McHughs reminded me why I got broody and number two is on it’s way!!  Alice was a treasure!!

 

Alice amongst her teddy bears - and Mummy and Daddy of course!

 

Finally, I love this baby bump picture of the Hampshire family – such an important milestone to photograph!  Everyone kept so still!

Oldham photography - baby bump and family photography

Oldham photography – The Hampshire family

I had so much fun photographing the Hampshire family recently.  We made a trip over to Alexandra Park which is one of my personal favourite parks in Oldham, there is so much to see and do!

Christine is now 28 weeks pregnant so was able to show off her growing bump in the photographs.  She looks fabulous don’t you think?

Oldham photography - baby bump and family photography

Sam was great in front of the camera and I was able to capture some great moments of Mummy and Daddy watching him play.

Oldham photography - baby bump and family photography

 

Oldham photography - baby bump and family photography

The family have so much love for each other which came about so naturally in the photographs.  The rain did not stop us from having fun at all as you can see!

Oldham photography - baby bump and family photography

This is my absolute favourite photograph of their growing family!

Oldham photography - baby bump and family photography

I am really enjoying baby bump photography.  It’s a really important part of life to capture through photos as it doesn’t usually happen very often.  I know lots of women who didn’t get round to having photographs taken, or just thought they looked ‘too fat’ and regret it now.  Don’t be one of those people!  I have had bump photographs taken and yes at the time it was quite nerve wrecking but actually I felt really liberated and empowered afterwards!  Definitely one to add to the list when pregnancy is on the horizon.

6 tips for the perfect Christmas selfie‏

Why does it take soooo long to get the perfect shot?

How come it takes so many takes?

Why don’t I look like I do in real life?

I’m sure over the festive period selfies will be high on the agenda, especially with family dos and on New Years Eve.  Whilst most people just point and shoot without any real thought, there are a few things you can do to make that selfie even better – and means you only need to have one go at the shot instead of the usual three, four, five…. leaving you time to get back on with the party!

Inspired By Joseph has 6 top tips for creating the perfect Christmas selfie

1.  At this time of year, dim the lights – you don’t need the harshness of bright artificial lights and certainly not with lights pointing directly at you.  Use what natural light you can, like standing near to a window.

2.  Step back, you don’t need to be so close!  Use a selfie stick for a more flattering angle, especially if there is a large group of you.  Most of us have one, it’s just tucked away in that bottom draw so get it out and into your bag!  Or download an app such as Cam Me which allows you to step back for body shots or include more people in the photograph.

3.  Want to avoid shadows and double chins? Turn your phone to a 45 degree angle and snap away.

4.  Try using two hands instead of one.  Using two hands can be easier because you can hold the camera with one hand and push the shutter release button with the other, just watch where you put your fingers!
5. Look online for some great selfie examples and get creative.  For example, selfies of feet, event backgrounds and a small part of the body are all popular – it doesn’t have to be your face!  This is one of my own favourites of Joseph and I cuddling.  I love it because it’s doesn’t look like an obvious selfie, was an impromptu photograph and it makes me smile!
Poorly Joseph cuddling Mummy! My perfect selfie!
My perfect selfie!
6.  Relax and don’t take it too seriously – trust me, it shows through on the photos!
Have fun experimenting! Have a good selfie to share? Why not post it below to help others see how it can be done!

Stockport photography – The McHugh family

I had the absolute pleasure of photographing the McHugh family last week.  I seem to have fallen into photographing more boys than girls right now so it was lovely to see dresses and teddy bears galore!

Alice was asleep when I arrived so I got the chance to take some pictures of Mum and Dad (we all know that we NEVER get photos of each other any more with children in our lives, not like the old days!).

Mike and Beccy with the Christmas tree at home

I got some great photographs of the McHughs on a blanket made by Grandma – which in itself is a lovely treasure.  Coupled with some photographs reading Alice in Wonderland, it was all very apt and provides some great stories and memories to share with Alice and wider friends and family for years to come.  It also reminded me that’s exactly why baby number 2 is on it’s way for me (I found myself very broody when I got to cuddle Alice!!)

Alice amongst her teddy bears - and Mummy and Daddy of course!

 

How very apt - Alice with one of her favourite books, Alice in Wonderland!

We ventured outdoors as the rain had stopped and headed to Fred Perry Park, Stockport.  I got some fabulous photographs amongst the trees and Alice seemed to love getting involved – I think she was the warmest of us all in her outfit!  I love the outdoor shots, there is something about the colours even in winter!

The McHughs at Fred Perry Park, Stockport

8 reasons I love photography

Joseph from birth to 13 months

I’ve got to tell you, I  love photography.  I think it’s so important to love what you do, then you don’t actually feel like you have done a days work!  It’s been five years since I got my first ‘proper’ camera and whilst my equipment helps me to take a range of photographs, it’s the people bit that matters most.  I love meeting new people, understanding their family, their needs and then helping them to record permanent memories that they can share with generations to come.  The best bit though, is when I see clients share their photographs on social media (often with lovely comments from their friends and family) and put the frames up in their home.   That’s exactly why I set up Inspired By Joseph.

Here are the eight main reasons I love photography:

1. I love to capture that moment that in a second is then gone forever. As I say, don’t let life pass you by. The world and our lives moves quickly so taking photos is part of the permanent documentation of life.

2. Recording and telling stories is a huge party of Inspired By Joseph. I love that there is a story behind every photograph. It’s there for people to interpret but I love the fact that sometimes it’s just the people in the picture that know the actual story – What did he whisper in her ear? Why is she really laughing?

3. Since Joseph came into the world, documenting progress is a huge part of my passion. For example, most months since Joseph was born, I’ve taken the same picture of him sat in the corner of the couch. It literally makes my heart melt how quickly he is growing up!  It’s never too late to start this up yourself with any time – making a start is better than no start at all!

Joseph from birth to 13 months - Inspired By Joseph photography

4.  I love taking photographs that don’t show the perfect smile. Some of my clients favourite photos are with their backs to the camera or looking at each other.

5. The birthdays, Christmas and formal occasions are all great to photograph but I love the everyday normal events which I believe really matter.  After all, we spend a lot of time doing these things – meal time, a walk in the park…

6. I love helping others to be more confident in front of the camera and to be better photographers themselves. It’s a skill I love to share with others.  If you take one thing from Inspired by Joseph’s website and apply it to your life then I’m a happy lady!

7. I have a massive addiction to displaying photographs, there are so many ways to showcase stories! Check out my blog, 5 cheap and creative ways to showcase your photos for a dash of inspiration.

8. Photography is super creative – like me! Whether it be photography, card making, cooking, making presents, they all belong to the craft family and make me super happy, especially when I see smiles from the receiver!  Take a look at my Pinterest board for a dash of inspiration!

If you love photography but would love to get better, hit reply below and drop me a line with how I can help and I shall see what I can do!

 

The Duchess of Cambridge is spot on!

Logo

As far as I am concerned the Duchess of Cambridge has got it spot on.

Well done to Catherine for showcasing her own photographs of baby Charlotte.  I’m sure she could have had the run of the entire photography world to sit for a studio session but she chose instead to have authentic photographs taken at home by her own fair hands.

I love them!  Authentic, natural, true to life – they make me smile!  All of the qualities that are important to me as a photographer.

I also love the fact that Princess Charlotte is NOT looking directly into the camera (something I am rather passion about at times too!!).

And if the reports are true, she has great taste in cameras 😉

Numerous pieces of research out there tells us that people value experiences much more than possessions.  This is because the joy of a new object has a limited shelf life whereas an experience provides memories that go way beyond.  If you are thinking about an alternative Christmas present, why not take a look at my collections?  At Inspired By Joseph Photography, I try to accommodate all budgets and offer price plans too.  Perhaps you could join forces with your siblings and chip in for a gift for the parents that they will never forget?  Or give your other half a gift with a difference?  I have a great offer on in the run up to Christmas too so check out my special offers page!

 

Oldham photography – The Howard family

I’ve just had another great adventure with the Howard family. We did intend to walk part of the Delph Donkey but the weather was just a bit too hit and miss so we decided to play indoors and in the garden – which makes for some great memories with Alf’s current favourite toys!

The Howard family

We got some great photographs outside. Alf enjoyed running away from Mummy and Daddy down the garden a little too much which made me giggle!

Alf runs off with his sign!

Indoors, Jenny and Alf recreated their musical talents on the piano which was very impressive. A definite musician in the making!  Saying that Alf could quite as easily be a cook too, or an author…..

The Howard family

A great afternoon spent with a lovely family… Happy days!!

5 cheap and creative ways to showcase your photos

where to print photos

I’m super passionate about everyone out there getting photos off phones, laptops and PCs and displayed for the world to see, so I thought I’d share some creative ways to showcase your photos.  Now is the perfect time of year to do so too – get some of these on your Christmas gift lists!

  1. Don’t fancy your usual frame?  Why not turn your photos into a fun poster?  You choose the size that works for you and decide if you want just the one picture or a montage of memories.  Either order online and have it posted to you or visit a retailer on the High Street.
  2. Buy a digital frame.  These are a great investment!  Simply pop your SD card in and bingo!  It’s a great talking point, you can theme your pictures as you like (I love theming up for birthdays and Christmas) and you never get bored! This is also ideal if you are tight on space.  The average price is around £30 – take a look at Argos or Currys for some inspiration.
  3. Create a postcard and send it to your loved ones.  What a nice surprise to get through the post?  Use a website such as Touchnote (who also have an app for convenience).  Prices start at 99p – bargain!
  4. Get creative with a bit of string or coloured ribbon and mini wooden pegs!  Find a suitable space in your house and off you go!  Like a digital frame, you can update the photos as often as you see fit.
  5. Go multi picture in one space.  Use a number of different frames (have a browse around your local charity shop for some bargains like I did) or buy one large frame to accommodate a number of pictures.  If you fancy, add a slogan to the centre of the wall like I have in my kitchen…

Life is good

Got any other ideas?  Why not share them below for us all to see!

Oldham photography – The Anderson family

It might be November but wow, we had some great sunshine and brightness for our Oldham photography shoot at Tandle Hill!

It seems like everyone wanted to get out and enjoy the good weather which didn’t surprise me at all but we still had lots of space to ourselves.  I met the lovely Anderson family with little boy Billy being the absolute star of the show!

We headed into the depths of the park, sheltering from the sun through the tall trees and got some great shots of Billy on his JCB which made him very excited.

Billy on his JCB

I think Billy and Daddy had the most fun with the leaves. One of the main reasons I love photographing in Autumn.

Billy having too much fun throwing leaves

What trip to the park is complete with a visit to the playground? Billy loved playing shop with Mummy as you can see.

Billy playing shop with Mummy

Beth was a great help on the day keeping Billy entertained in between shots.

The Anderson family enjoying autumn

It was great to share a usual Sunday experience with the Anderson family, especially with such great weather!

 

If you fancy a range of autumnal photographs before the weather changes, get in touch as I have a few November dates free!

Wirral photography – The Evans family


I had the pleasure of spending a Sunday morning with the lovely Evans family photographing some amazing moments of them enjoying a typical visit to the fabulous Vale Park, Wirral.  Thomas loved being on his trike and the sun came out for us, just at the right time too!

Love

We spent lots of time on the beach enjoying the amazing Black Pearl pirate ship.  It was really quiet (the early bird really does catch the worm!) which meant we got some great shots.  Thomas tried eating the sand (which baby doesn’t?) and loved exploring the ship.

The Jones family enjoying the pirate ship at New Brighton

The Jones family enjoying the pirate ship at New Brighton

My favourite photographs are these two, with the brilliant Liverpool waterfront in the background.  Home from home for me and Wirral photography at it’s best!

The Jones family with the Liverpool waterfront behind them

 

The Jones family with the Liverpool waterfront behind them

We finished up back in Vale Park.  Thomas enjoyed the fairy area which has been created by locals artists.  I absolutely love it.

Thomas in the fairy homes at Vale Park

Thomas in the fairy homes at Vale Park

It was an absolute pleasure to photograph this amazing family and I look forward to more adventures with them in the future!  What really meant a lot to me though was the beautiful card they sent to me thanking them for the adventure!  This will stay on my fireplace for a long time!

Thank you card
My lovely thank you card

PS – If you haven’t been to New Brighton, Wirral, it is definitely worth a visit!

Has this inspired you to get out and take more photos now? Why not join me for a complementary chat to see how I can help turn your adventures into photography memories to share forever.

3 simple tips for taking autumn photos across Oldham

Autumn is a great time to get out and photograph the beautiful red, yellow and orange hazes that surround our beautiful Oldham countryside. Whether it’s a stroll along the Huddersfield canal, a visit to Alexandra Park or a trip around Dove Stone reservoir, you are bound to capture the true essence of Autumn right now.  Oldham photography at it’s best!  So, wrap up warm and get out into the fresh air armed with your camera or smart phone, here’s my three simple tips for taking autumn photos.

a row of bicycles sit amongst the leaves
A row of bicycles sit amongst the leaves – it brings back memories of the day beautifully

 

Watch the weather forecast – try and get out on a bright, sunny and dry day to really take advantage of natural light. Plus we all want to kick about in dry, crisp leaves rather than muddy, wet ones!

Capture reflections in still water – showcase the beauty of autumn through water not just land.  You can capture the clouds or nearby trees and bushes.

Get low – there is so much going on at ground level, get down and look! Falling leaves, twigs, conkers you name it! Plus this is where I find Joseph getting involved in the season! Conversely don’t forget to look up and see what is happening to the sky!

Above all, have fun with it. Autumn rocks!

 

Feeling inspired?  Sign up for my regular email newsletters to keep you updated with my latest news, exclusive offers and blog posts.  Simply head over to my hompage and enter your details at the top of the page.

A rose sits amongst the autumn leaves in a park in Harrogate
A single rose sits amongst the autumn leaves in a park in Harrogate – beautiful!

St George’s Hall, Liverpool and photographing a beautiful teenager called Gemma

I’ve taken advantage of the recent sunny weather and took my beautiful God daughter Gemma to have some fun, giggle and capture the true essence of her personality.  Gemma is a lively and energetic teenager with a real passion for life.  Her flexibility is something I could only ever wish for!

Gemmas_day_19092015_05 Gemmas_day_19092015_12

Part of Liverpool’s Word Heritage Site and classed as one of the finest neo-classical building in the world, St George’s Hall is one of the most iconic buildings in the city.  I love the rumour that the gardens were to form an impressive frontage to St Georges Hall and that the Hall was actually built the wrong way round – I can see how that may have been the case!

We had fun exploring!  Gemma loved the flexibility of running around letting off steam and even jumping up on a lampost!  The impressive statues in the garden provided a great place to stretch those legs.  We had a giggle as passers by stopped to watch us!  There was also time to reflect and enjoy the amazing scenery.  Gemma’s confidence and attitude to life really shows through the photos.

I know that Gemma and Mum loved the time we spent together but more importantly the photographs captured.  Mum had no reason to worry about behaviour – we had a great time and I have lots of patience! Gemma now has some great images to display proudly on her social media streams and Mum is having trouble narrowing down which ones to frame!

Gemmas_day_19092015_29a Gemmas_day_19092015_27 Gemmas_day_19092015_20a

 

 

If you fancy an adventure with me, take a look at my collections or get in touch – I love to chat!

PS – If you have never visited St Georges Hall, it is a definite must!  We will be taking Joseph at Christmas for the famous Santa’s Magical Grotto (£8 for two adults and one child) which this year will be transformed into Narnia!

Inspired By Joseph – Top 5 Super Quick and Easy Tips For Taking Better Photos

Inspired By Joseph photography is widely based on sharing my passion on taking better photos.  I love it when a client say they now take better photos that capture loved ones in the moment. That makes me smile. If you take the five tips below on board, I promise you will see a difference.

Continue reading “Inspired By Joseph – Top 5 Super Quick and Easy Tips For Taking Better Photos”