How to avoid that awful feeling at a wedding when you see the photographer from the eyes of an Oldham wedding photographer…

bride and flower girl shoes
Come on, hands up if you've got to a wedding and spotted the photographer out of the corner of your eye and thought "leave me alone, I hate having my photograph taken!"  Even though you could be dressed up to the nines, you want to avoid the camera at all costs.  I'm sure many people can relate to that.  I used to be like that before I turned photographer so I want to share a few insights from the other side now that I am an Oldham family photographer...

1.  Photographers have a job to do.

This might sound a bit blunt, but it is.  Unlike guests who are there to enjoy the experience, lap up the emotion and swoon at the details, the photographer is there to document the day on behalf of the bride and groom.  Their job is to capture all of those special, intimate moments as well as the sad ones, and the happy, and everything in between.  This can be easy to forget!

2.  The majority of photos will be of the bride and groom.

Naturally, most of the photos are unlikely to have you in them!  The day is centred around the special couple so this will be reflected in the photos. Just as you would expect, right?

3.  The photographers intention is always to take photos!

Just think about one thing in your life you are obsessed with.  How does that feel and how can others see what you are passionate about? Well that's how I feel about photography. It's a bug that I have to feed constantly, like an itch that needs scratching.  I can't help it!  I love taking photos, what else can I say?  

4.  Sometimes it can take several attempts to get that one photo.

Whist some photographers capture a wedding reportage, as it happens, others may stage some of the photos, such as a big group photo.  Remember that photographers take a a lot of photos but they won't all make the final cut when they are presented to the bride and groom.  Just think about it, photographers won't intentionally present photos when people don't look their best.  And we have a host of tips and tricks up our sleeve to help you look fabulous!

5.  It is our natural instinct to have the camera in our hands as we don't always know what is going to happen next.

I see my camera as an extension of my arm and seriously, when it's in my hand, that's it, it takes a lot to take it away! I'd hate to miss a photo that illustrates a particular story so the best thing to do is always be prepared.   So, next time you see a photographer at a wedding, just remember, they have a job to do!

Oldham family photographer helps you to take better photos of your own children too!

oldham family photographer Bev Ridyard with her daughter

I love being a helpful Mum and Oldham photographer for families who want to preserve memories before they fade.  I want to serve clients and go way beyond just taking photos.  So, what not take a look at my favourite five blog posts when it comes to children which could inspire you when it comes to taking photos of your own family?

Blog one:  How to photograph the child who doesn't like to be photographed.

We've all been there.  At some point, we want to capture a social moment but our little ones have other ideas!  Read this to see showman practical tips which could help you.  If you fancy booking a family session with me, I promise I have loads of things up my sleeve.  I can make any child get in "that" photo - guaranteed! ;)

Blog two:  Five super quick tips for taking amazing photos of your little ones birthday 

It's really easy to be that focuses on the running of the party that you forget to document the day with a range of photographs over the day.  A few reminders here could be just the trick ;)   Blog three:  Have a bit of fun with my top six household props to add to your family photos Getting into a photo rut is really easy.  Adding a row simple props that are already to hand can transform a photo from OK to wow!

Blog four:  Three top tips to get your kids loving photography

If your little one is creative or just fancy a bit of extra peace and quiet (who doesn't?!?) then my three tips are easy to implement for children of all ages!

Blog five:  The best photo apps for Mums with no time

Do you wish that your photos just looked better?  Take a look at this, get inspired and make a difference to your photos. What are your frustrations when it comes to taking photos of your family? Reply below and who knows, I may even be able to help!

The best photo apps for Mum’s with no time

oldham family photographer

Does this happen to you?

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!’

Get better at the photo in the first place!

Take a bit longer to get the photo right in the first place.  It can often only take a few extra seconds to stop and think through the shot or a few extra ‘clicks’ to absolutely ensure you’ve got the right photo so make that a priority.  Otherwise, take a look at my 5 top tips for taking better photos.

 Choose your apps wisely!

Consequently my job here isn’t to
tell you the best app to source as it purely depends on which ones work for you.
  What I will say though is I bet if you look on your phone right now, you have a few on there already.  I say start with the ones you have and perfect them rather than wasting time looking for new ones and working out how to use them.  If you still aren’t sure which ones to use, my top 3 useful apps could be just the trick!

Give yourself just 2 minutes to edit

Before you know it you have opened an app and spent ten minutes trying to create a perfect photo and are probably still not too pleased with the end result. It’s not needed!  I know if you limit yourself to just 2 minutes and do what you can in that time, it will create a difference!  Remaining focused and time constrained will have you working smarter, not harder!

It is that easy!

So, can you picture how easy it can be?  Get better at taking photos in the first pace, choose your apps wisely and give yourself just 2 minutes to edit.  I challenge you to not have a better photo
than you did before!

Three top tips to get your kids loving photography

oldham family photographer
As an Oldham family photographer, you can imagine, my two little ones love all things photography.  Whether I've my iPhone or one of two Canon cameras out, they both want to get involved, in front or behind the camera.  Consequently, I'm a little more careful with my Canons but when it comes to my iPhone, as long as we are on soft ground and there is no liquid around (Victoria put my husbands four months old iPhone down the loo when she was 13 months!) then I'm game.  Photography is a craft, a work of art and a creative skill that I want Joseph and Victoria to explore.  It's subjectivity negates the right or wrong that comes with so many things in life which makes it perfect for all children to explore.  So, if you want to explore photography with your kids, my three simple and super easy tips are a guaranteed winner.

1.  Find fifteen minutes to focus and explore

Kids don't need a whole lot of time to have a go at creating a few photos.  Concentration and focus for short periods will work best.  Pick a time when you have no chores to do and, if you have more than one child, a time when someone else can look after the other kids, as this really is best done one to one!  Take a few minutes to yourself to think about where would be good to take the photos.  Could a space in the garden work? How about their bedroom?  What types of things do you think they will want to take photos of?  For example, Joseph loves trains so setting up his track and favourite trains in his bedroom is a winner.  Next, grab your phone or camera and let them work through a few different compositions with you.  Talk about what you are both doing and how you can change elements, such as moving from portrait to landscape.  Keep it simple and easy.  Above all, make it fun. Understandably, you are likely to get a mix of quality photos to blurry ones to some that may genuinely surprise you!   This isn't about a perfect image but about them expressing themselves and experimenting.  Giving them the opportunity to do it for themselves, whatever the outcome, is what is important.  

A word of caution, if you are worried about your child using your phone or camera, consider letting them use an old phone or camera.  Ask friends and family if they have a spare one as you'll be surprised how many people say yes!

2.  Find fifteen minutes to experiment with filters

The beauty of photography can often be in the post editing.  Exploring the opportunities to "play" with their creations can be half the fun.  Ordinarily, this is something that can be done at any time too so you can wait for an appropriate time rather than cramming it in.  Whether you edit direct from your phones camera or try out one of the zillion apps there are available, your child will love it.  If it's applicable, take the time to talk through the impact of changes made to the mood and overall feel of the photo.  From cropping an image to creating a black and white version or adding text, the possibilities for transforming an image is endless.

3.  Print it!

Easier said than done, I know but just do it!  One of my biggest pet peeves is people who take great photos but leave them on their phone or camera! Go one step further and why not frame it too as a surprise?  Imagine their little face when they see it!  

I promise you that if you start to incorporate this into your everyday life, it makes a huge difference!  When I take a photo that Joseph likes, or he does, he now tells me which ones he wants me to print so that he can put them in his room.  Fantastic!  

Let me know how you go as I always love to hear form my readers....

Other blog posts you might find useful:

8 top tips for choosing a photographer What everyone hates talking about... Pricing.  A true story The Truth:  Why are photographers are so expensive?

The seven most common reasons for not having photographs taken professionally from an Oldham photographer

Oldham photogrpaher

For those of you reading this who don’t know me well, I love a bit of feedback.  I love it when people come up to me and tell me how gorgeous my photos are.  It means that, as an Oldham photographer,  the the financial as well as timely efforts to improve is paying off.  When people express their gratitude for My Mum Stories, it makes me happy that 100% of what I achieve through my business is down to the efforts I put in.  Likewise, when I get given an idea for something to try or improve, I love it!

I understand

Photography is a considered purchase that doesn’t usually require specific action by a deadline. I understand that some view it as a luxury whilst others don’t see it as a necessity. On the other hand, others believe it is one of the best investments you can make in documenting your life in a way that just can’t be replicated on a mobile phone camera.  Unless you take the time to consider and use your judgement when it comes to professional photography,  you could be making a huge mistake, either financially in paying more or less than you wish or even the regret of not investing in photography before the moment passes.

Common concern #1 It’s not the right time

With this one I totally acknowledge it. As an Oldham photographer, mum of two, school Trustee and then some, I could certainly do with a few extra hours every day. In reality that’s not going to happen so I know that I need to be wise and use my time more effectively when I need to, which will enable me to do the things that matter. Does that ring a bell with you?  When I overlay that with the fear of regret and how I would feel for NOT doing something, that usually spurs me on to find the time to do what I want or need to do. Personally, I know that the regret of not capturing key milestones in my families life through the art of photography can be a popular one.  I know if I got run over by a bus tomorrow, I literally have no regrets because I find time to do what I need to.

(aka I’m too busy)

Similarly, if you think you don’t have the time, consider how important and how much of a priority having a suite of family photographs is to you just now.  See the time as a chance to connect, make new memories and have fun!  With me, sessions are not timed so I work to your needs and requirements working swiftly and effectively to create fab and fun photos.  I have a knack with kids, all kids. I just do! My big ‘bag of tricks’ to make our time together such an adventure for kids of all ages is always a winner. Of course, I am CRB checked too so you can rest assured that you are in safe hands.  Just to give you an idea, this session with Archie took well over two hours, which is absolutely fine!  Time is a gift.

Newborn baby photography

Common concern #2 Im too thin/fat/my hair need washing/etc etc

This is me everyday! There is always something, usually the fact that I am leaving the house with no make up on! To be fair, it is this concern that has inspired me to take 18 photos of myself in 2018. However, at the heart of Inspired by Joseph is authentic photography, capturing real moments in real life. It’s not about a blemish free face, it’s about an intimate moment between a family. I work with all of my clients on how to be confident in front of the camera before we meet as well as on the day plus I challenge anyone to give me a go and not be pleased not just with the final photos but with the process of getting to those photos too!

Bev Ridyard Oldham photographer

Common concern #3 The weather

Four very different seasons means rain, sun, or anything in between is the norm!   As an Oldham photographer, some of the best photos I have ever taken are in the month of November with a beautifully crisp winter sky and gorgeous sun. Clients often come to me thinking photographs are only for summer, wrong! Harsh sunlight is something that photographers avoid! I always work with my clients in the run up to the big day and we can always reschedule if the weather is not on our side. Saying that, you can do great things with a brolly and a pair of wellies…..  See this photo below?  I cannot tell you how cold it was on this day but you can’t tell, can you?

oldham family photographer

Common concern #4 I can do it myself

I have no doubt that most people can take a decent enough photo, on the go, from their mobile. The problem often lies in that there is always someone who misses out by taking the photograph! Also, it is usually that same person behind the camera time and time again which means they don’t feature in many, if not any, photos. Yes, selfies are great too and have their time and place but for me, it just isn’t the same. You could be really unlucky like I was!  Having climbed to the top of Mount Vesuvius and asking a passer by to take a family photo, this happened, I kid you not.  And because I was so hot and sweaty having carried Victoria the whole way I didn’t notice til we got to the bottom.  Tragic.

Add in a photographers experience and talent, not to mention extensive equipment and investment in training, it makes for an easy decision.

Common concern #5 I can’t afford it

I understand that money is tight when you have a baby and photography can be classed as a luxury.  If I can’t afford something, what I tend to do is flip it on it’s head and ask myself what could I do to make it happen?  Reviewing what I currently spend to calculate what I can ditch usually means I can work through it!  If you want something and put your mind to it, and do it!   Sometimes this may mean a few months of saving but it is totally worth it!  Presently, I also offer a payment plan if you want to spread the cost.  Simply contact me for further information.

Common concern #6 I didn’t like a past experience with a photographer or didn’t like the photos

I’m sorry to hear that!  I’ve been in that boat too so I can totally relate.  Consequently, all I can say is that all photographers are not the same.  It may just be that you didn’t pick the right one last time.  I have 8 top tips for choosing the right photographer which could be really helpful.  Or check out what others have made of the Inspired By Joseph experience.

Common concern #7 I don’t live in Oldham

Not a problem as I can be anywhere you need me to be!  I’ve been as far away as Sorrento so I am here ready and waiting!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

8 top tips for choosing a photographer

What everyone hates talking about… Pricing.  A true story

The Truth:  Why are photographers are so expensive?

Happy Mothers Day – The best gift could be one you do for yourself right now

Happy Mother’s Day from one Mamma to another.

Becoming a Mamma myself radically changed how I see Mother’s Day.  It made me appreciate my own Mum in a whole new way that I didn’t even know was possible.  Consequently, it also made the urge for a lie in (8am will do!) and a peace free morning more than ever!

Mother’s Day is super special so make today your day; hell you deserve it!  If there was ever a day to stop, take some time for yourself and do what you will, it is today.  Life passes by so quickly and before you know it, today will be over.  In three minutes you can read this and pick just one small thing you can do that will make you feel instantly better.  Consequently you could be cementing a moment in time for years to come.  You’re welcome!  😉

Do one thing for yourself today

In reality, the below tasks start easy and each one requires a little more effort so choose wisely!  I’m heading straight to number five to arrange for a mega one to be created whilst I have a child free house and some time on my hands this morning!

1.  Get on your phone

Swipe through the photos on your phone and laugh, smile or cry at the many Mum moments you can reminisce. In reality, how often do we take all of these photos on our phone and do something with them?  At least honour the moment and effort you took to take those photos and appreciate them. However, if the thought of trying to find those special moments is making you feel queasy attempting to find them amongst the sheer weight of thousands of photos held on your phone, then read this).  Here are some of my most recent personal favourites of the two most fabulous people in my life…

2.  Have a wander

Take a few minutes to wander around your house and actually look and admire your photos on the wall or in frames.  In reality, how often do you actually stop and really (I mean really) look at these?  Take yourself back to that moment in time and enjoy it.  Hell, why not grab a cloth and glass cleaner and give them a quick clean whilst you are there?

3.  Get inspired

Grab a cuppa or a glass of fizz and feel inspired by reading a selection of my Mum Stories or read why I’ve taken a photo every day for over four years. Created to inspire other Mums, these are a great read and if you fancy submitting your own story, get in touch!  Being a Mum is super hard and sometimes hearing other people’s stories can be a nice thing to do as we cheer each other on this fabulous but hard journey we are on together.

4.  Start a new tradition

Take a selfie, with your own kids or Mum.  In other words, take a photo with everyone in it! Why not set yourself a new tradition to create a photo on every Mother’s Day going forward?  You can grab a few tips on how to make it the best selfie ever or check out my five super quick and easy tips to take a better photo.

5.  Start shopping

Order a new print of your favourite photo for your home. Consequently, it won’t arrive on Mother’s Day but it’s the action of doing it and not putting it off that will make your Mother’s Day.  I’ve some useful reading on where to print your photo and which type of frame to use.

6.  Take action that your future self will thank you for

Book in for a family session with me. Time passes quickly so don’t put off what you may regret not getting around to.  Investing in professional photography can be daunting but I promise, with the Inspired By Joseph experience, unlimited digital images and loads more, it is definitely worth it.  No one ever said they wished they had spent the money on something else.  Check out the offers section of my Facebook page for further information.

I’d love to know which of the above actions you took on this day reserved for my favourite people, Mum’s!  Comment below and let’s see which Mum’s have done something for themselves today!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

8 top tips for choosing a photographer

What everyone hates talking about… Pricing.  A true story

The Truth:  Why are photographers are so expensive?

5 helpful blog posts on how to choose the right photo frames for your family photos

where to print photos

One of the things I always get asked from clients is how best to show off their new photos at home.  With all of my collections, as you get all of the edited, digital photos, it is often hard for my customers to pick just one or two to go on the wall. That’s why I have shared my top five blog posts on how to choose the right photo frames for your family photos.

Blog one: How to frame a picture: 7 tips from an expert

Blog one asks the question “What am I framing and what do I want this piece to say about me?” Point seven is my favourite!  Framing helps to tell the story of the photo so you want to get it right!

Blog Two: How to choose the perfect picture frame

Blog two talks about the popular types of frames and what impact this can have on your photo.  I love this tip “select a lighter frame for casual or simple art—and choose a darker frame for more elegant or formal pieces”.

Blog Three: How to frame and hang pictures

Blog three offers five tips.  My favourite is one that I bet most people don’t even think about.  “When hanging pictures at home, think about how artificial light and sunlight will reflect off the glazing and affect the artwork inside”.

Blog Four: How to choose the right frames for your family photos

Blog four wants you to make sure those family photos are framed.  The highlight for me is to never “forget to trust your instincts, and remember that a great frame isn’t worth much if the print of the photograph isn’t high-quality as well”.

Blog Five: Helpful hints for displaying family photos on your wall

Blog five has some great examples of how to display multiple photos on a wall.  One suggestion is to focus on one colour frame but perhaps vary the sizes.

If you are after a quick fix with some of your own photos, why not get in touch?  I produce bespoke frames like the ones below at an affordable price, see my shop on Facebook for details.

Did you find this useful?

Go ahead, I would love to know your thoughts so please comment below…

Other blog posts you might find useful:

I love a November photo session at Alexandra Park, Oldham

Autumn family photos with the amazing Alfie

Autumn family photography makes me smile with the fabulous Faye!

Has this ever happened to you when you check Facebook?

#my18in18 is going to look different!

Picture the scene…

You’ve had a crazy weekend that has come and gone as quick as you can say “I need some peace”.  You wake up Monday morning feeling shattered, grumpy that this morning is hair wash day and remember that you are out of concealer! You log on to Facebook for a quick check of news and see one of your friends has a new Facebook profile picture.

It’s gorgeous; just plain gorgeous

Classy and beautiful in one hit. It’s a “proper”profile picture that’s had no dodgy cropping with half of another persons arms still on show. It’s current and up to date and a true reflection of them. It has 45 likes, 10 loves and more compliments than you have time to read.

It happens to us all

Even though I am a photographer myself taking thousands of photographs a year, Im not a fan of my own profile picture! Hard to believe heh? I can totally empathise with the above story, particularly at this time of year when all social media channels are flooded with photos after the Christmas period.

I understand that getting that “perfect”photograph of yourself is tough. Capturing a moment in time that truly reflects you as a person requires skill. More importantly, it requires you to stop and make an investment in you in two ways. financially and probably more significantly, the time required to do it.

Well let me tell you sister, you deserve it!

You deserve to invest in yourself for this quality photograph that will stand the test of time and leave you feeling amazing! With all of my photography packages, I take the lead from you in terms of the photographs you would like and will use my creative juices and magic to bring them to life. By the end, you could leave with a range of different photographs which can include individual photos to nail that Facebook profile picture.  How will that make you feel?

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Did your #bestofnine2017 photos have the same problems as mine?

What everyone hates talking about… Pricing.  A true story

Reason 4/12:  It’s not just about photography

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

TRUTH: A photo mount makes or breaks a photo for me!

photo mount

My fascination with the photo mount!

Ever since I began putting photos in frames as a teenager, my Dad always drilled it into me to make sure I mount them first, as opposed to just placing them straight into a frame.

What’s the point?

You might think that the main reason for using a mount is to protect the photo but it goes way beyond that.  In reality, it’s a make or break decision for me as it can really enhance and compliment the photo at hand.  In other words it helps to create an image which stands out and looks better overall.  Not sure what I mean, just take a look below and make your own decision….

photo mount

The beauty of mounts

Like most people, because I am tight on time I try to buy my photo frames with a mount already included but it is easy to source them either online or in a local photography shop.  In fact, the beauty of mounts too is that you don’t have to go for just the bog standard white version there are loads of colours to choose.  For example, if you are close to a Hobbycraft, they have a great range!

Which colour to choose?

The majority of frames come in pretty neutral colours but if your photo requires something a bit brighter, it can be done.  For this reason, the best way to choose the colour of the mount is to consider the following:

With colour photos I usually stick with a main colour in the photo and pick a similar shade to compliment.

For black and white photos I would tend to stick with black, white or grey to compliment the colours in the photo.

In both instances, why not hold your photo up to a number of different colours and decide which one is more visually appealing? Ask for a second opinion too if you aren’t sure but always remember that photography (and mount colours!) are all subjective!

A note of caution!

How often do you purchase a frame you like and buy it without thinking of the size and more importantly how a mount then reduces the size?  I used to always be guilty of this so my advice would be to print the photo first and then select the frame!

After reading this post, I hope you see the benefits of mounts and that it inspires you to get cracking!  If you have any questions, simply comment below…


Other blog posts you might find useful:

5 cheap and creative ways to showcase your photos

A day in the life of a portrait photographer Answered:  Where to print your photos

Never miss that photo again

Reason 4/12:  It’s not just about the photography….

Reason 4/12:  It’s not just about the photography….

Photography is subjective.  Photography is personal.  Photography is emotional.

So I wanted to share with you one of the twelve reasons why I believe that my clients have given me the absolute privilege and honour of documenting them and their loved ones across the Oldham Tameside area and beyond.  Whether it be a cake smash, family session, wedding or baby bump adventure, I love them all!

Specifically, when it comes to wedding photography…

When it comes to wedding photography there are thousands of photographers to choose from, each with their own unique style, way of working and of course, price list.  Thorough research is an absolute must to ensure that you choose a photographer who floats your boat and you can imagine being their on your wedding day.

It really is about more than photography!

When I have a chat with couples who are looking to find the perfect photographer, one of the things I talk about is how I’m not just a photographer! With over thirteen years marketing experience, I have tonnes of experience that is of value to clients.  I’ve run tonnes of events from opening new Halifax branches, to organising conferences for hundreds of people and celebrating inaugural flights from Manchester Airport.  As a result, this brings a shed load of hints and tips to become creative and of course, keep costs down for events such as weddings!  It’s simply amazing what can create a real impact on a small budget, which is a bonus so that money can stretch to other elements of a wedding.

Can I share a story with you?

I love to listen at length to understand how clients envisage their wedding day to be.  Not only does it help me to start to think creatively from a photography perspective but it also gives me the opportunity to ask questions and recall if there is anything with my marketing head on that I can do to add value.  So when I was chatting to Suzie about her upcoming, overseas wedding and we got talking about flowers, I wondered if I could help.

Suzie explained that there was an option for her to select a fresh flowered bouquet but that she loved the idea of a brooch bouquet.  I watched as her eyes lit up and she explained how she always fancied the idea of creating one, using brooches from special females in her life.  We spent a while talking through how this may work, she illustrated her ideas with a few pins on Pinterest and I talked about some great places that I imagined she could source some of the items she would need to create the bouquet.

In the run up to the wedding, this bouquet became the golden thread of her wedding for me.  I’d often text to check how it was going and even lent her my glue gun to create her personalised and ever so beautiful bouquet.  I loved watching it develop and on the day of the wedding, even spent time fixing a few of the pins to ensure it was perfect with her sister.  See, I make it my mission to go above and beyond in whatever way I can, not just when it comes down to the photography.

And just look at the end result…

An absolutely stunningly beautiful bouquet that she can keep for a lifetime.  Bursting with brooches and memories of special women in her life, my heart still skips a bit when a picture pops up on screen.  And of course, I absolutely adored photographing it with all of the love, history and dedication that went into it.

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


Other blog posts you might find useful:

5 cheap and cheerful ways to showcase your photos

The secret to keeping your phone memory free

Take five minutes to read this now – you must do it

How to: My three easy tips to create flower photography that you can hang from your wall

flower photography

How to: My three easy tips to create flower photography that you can hang from your wall

With summer in full swing and this slightly unpredictable weather which we are currently experiencing, it’s actually bringing advantage to the majority of the flowers in my garden!  Flowers are a fabulous thing to photograph and not as boring as you might think!  I love learning and as a people person and portrait photographer (although I hate that phrase!) flower and plant photography is definitely an area that I can learn from.  If you want to experiment whilst the majority of flowers are in bloom, why not look at my three simple tips to create a photo of a flower that you can hang on your wall.

Take your time and genuinely look at what is in your line of sight.

Don’t just snap away as soon as you notice a flower that catches your eye.  Equally, stop and thoroughly look at what you can observe.  Is there a better flower (not necessarily the prettiest either!) close by?  If you get closer, or further away, what does this do to the composition?  As a result, being patient can pay off.  For all you know a bee is buzzing close by!  Watch and watch a little more.

flower photography

Get creative.

What can you do to take your photograph up a notch? Perhaps you can spray the flower with a water mist to replicate the early morning dew.  Equally, what would reflect the actual flowers and plants that you can watch in front of you? What story is unfolding right in front of your eyes? What do you use flowers for?  Don’t follow the masses and get super close images if that’s not what you think truly reflects what is in front of you.  Remember, photography is subjective!  Take a look below taken just before the children were about to paint with herbs!

Practice to get your image as sharp as possible.

In reality, this way all of the detail, will show through, especially if you do decide to get super close.  Try and stay as still as you can to avoid shaking which can blur images.  I promise, with practice, it does create a difference.

Oh, and if like me, you aren’t too good from knowing your Hosta from your Hibiscus then check out an online plant encyclopedia so that you know what you have photographed!

Let me know how you get on as I genuinely love to hear from my blog readers!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

5 cheap and cheerful ways to showcase your photos

The secret to keeping your phone memory free

Take five minutes to read this now – you must do it

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

How to choose which photos to keep when you have taken loads!

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.

Let me share with you how I do it!

Personally, I believe that it’s totally subjective how you decide on the best photo to keep but if you have a rough process to follow each time, it can help.  This is the simple, three step process that I follow:

  1. Delete the glaringly obvious rubbish ones. Look for movement, blinks or anything else that means the photo just doesn’t work.  As you can imagine with the photo below, there was lots of blinks and movement!
  2. Remove any that look like they are duplicates. The more you take, the more likely you are to have duplicates.  Train your eyes to look quickly and assess a lack of difference.
  3. Review what is left. Does this leave you with a few to choose from? In reality at this point I usually take the following into account which is where I am usually at:
    1. The first photo is usually a keeper. Why? Intuition led me to take the photo in the moment so it must mean something.  In the case below this was a first photo!
    2. A middle photo is considered. There has likely to have been some movement, expression change that I have recorded.
    3. The last photo is also a strong contender. By this stage I have reviewed the composition in my head, tweaked a few elements and built on the intuition from photograph one

It’s at this point that I become ruthless and pick one.  Just one to keep.  That’s it, done!


I promise, the more you follow this process, the easier it is to decide which photos to keep and which to bin!  Give it a go and discover what happens.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

5 cheap and cheerful ways to showcase your photos

The secret to keeping your phone memory free

Take five minutes to read this now – you must do it

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 


Revealed: Why you should never let anyone else take a holiday photo for you

My passion for photography is consistent

By now, you all know how passionate I am about consistently documenting life through photography.  You may have read My Mum Story with my 1,180+ photos or perhaps you just read my blog on a regular basis.  Don’t let life pass you by and live with the regret.

This is a totally true story

So on a recent trip to Sorrento, when we took each day as it came and didn’t plan our trips (me, not plan I hear you say!) we decided to get the train to Pompeii.  If the truth be known, we only got as far as agreeing that Joseph would love the train as opposed to deciding which tour we would do when we got there.  After several in your face tour guides trying to sell us various walking or coach tours, the kids getting restless and the heat rising, we decided to take the 4*4 adventure tour up to Vesuvius.  Pompeii would be boring for our two kids after just half an hour.

We purchased tickets, hung around for 40 minutes waiting for our bus (fine with Joseph who just waited for trains to pass) to take us several miles down the road to our jeep. When we arrived at the transfer point, we hurled the buggy off the bus only to be told that we couldn’t take it on the jeep.  ‘It’ll be right’ I said, ‘Otherwise they wouldn’t have sold us the tickets!’

Off we go!

We take a half hour rugged and bouncy ride up to Mount Vesuvius.  I started to worry I was going to be car sick.  Victoria fell asleep on Jonny’s knee as Joseph pressed his nose against the window.  Consequently, I wondered how we were going to reach the top through all the greenery.  When we arrived near the top in the glorious heat we were told to be back to pick up our return jeep in an hour.  Off we ventured, handing over our tickets enthusiastically to the park ranger and off we went.

‘Let’s get a photo before we set off’ I announced.


Once we headed up the first few steps, the ground became full of ash, like waking in sand.  Whilst this may have seemed obvious it hadn’t crossed our mind and as I looked up I began to wonder how we were going to get two children under three up, especially given Victoria had fallen asleep and I had failed to bring my sling.  ‘It’ll be right’ I said once again, the positive person that I am.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t.  After ten minutes of carrying Victoria the sweat was pouring off me.  Joseph had given up walking and Jonny had him on his shoulders, sweating just as much as me.   To make it worse, people heading down, dressed appropriately in shorts and hiking books looking at us with pity stating ‘Oh, I hope you make it to the top!’  NOT HELPFUL!!!!

Can it get any worse???

Soon after I became pretty miserable.  The heat belted down and I was desperate for a drink but had to keep hold of Victoria.  Meanwhile, Joseph was crying as he wanted to walk and Jonny was telling him no. People continued walking past looking at us like we were mad.  I didn’t care, this wasn’t going to beat us!  At last we saw the top and I looked at my watch calculating how much time we had before returning to the jeep.  Not long.  ‘Let’s just get up, have a drink, get a few photos and get back down’ I moaned to Jonny.

When we reached the top, Victoria woke as if by magic and the view from the top made it all worth it.  Tremendous.  We were literally on top of a volcano looking down on the world.  I felt amazing and glad that we ploughed on to get to the summit. Finally,  I headed for my phone and selfie stick to get a few photos of us all together when a very nice lady who had just finished taking photos offered to take them for us.  I was so sweaty and tired that I calculated it would be much quicker than setting up my stick.  As she clicked away and I tried to get Victoria to look forward, we thanked her and off we headed for a quick drink before we headed back.  There was no way we were going to miss this jeep.

Time to check in and catch our breathe

Consequently, coming down was a load easier and we arrived with plenty of time to spare.  I felt as chilled as I had all day.  I took a photo of the many lizards we saw and then one of our very inappropriate footwear.  That’s my brand new sandals wrecked!


I looked back at the photos from the top of Vesuvius and this is what I saw….


I was absolutely gutted.  Heartbroken.  After all that blummin’ walking, a thumb had erased the top of Vesuvius!!!  I take full responsibility for not checking the photos straight after but I just wasn’t in the mindset.  In reality though, it totally brought home the message that each and every person should have the confidence to take a good photo, whatever that looks like for you.  I was mad for ten minutes before I started laughing and deciding that the shoe picture was the best representation of the day, as is the story that we can tell Joseph and Victoria when they are older.

And the moral of the story is…

Well, you decide!  For me, it’s to not let strangers take pictures at significant times in my life!!!  To conclude, if you fancy brushing up on your photography skills, why not have a read of one of the below posts or head to my Facebook page and ask me a question as I am ALWAYS willing to help!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Six household props to add to your family photos

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

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


The secret to keeping your phone memory free

The secret to keeping your phone memory free is easy!

Can you relate to this?  You’ve grabbed your phone to take a photo of something amazing happening in front of your eyes only to find that your storage is full?  Before there is time to delete some of the hundreds of photos we have, the moment has passed.  As a Mum in the Saddleworth Tameside area, us Mums’s do it a lot.  When do we have time to sort out all of the photos on our phones?  Time is too precious to be getting on with mundane jobs like this, right?  Wrong.

There is an option to suit you.

Some of us are really good at backing photos up using the modern way of the cloud.  Backing up photos on Android or backing up photos on Apple products is relatively easy.  I personally choose to follow this three step process and cover my bases so to speak:

  1.  I delete my photos as I go.  So before I even choose to download photos on to my PC, I make sure that the multiples, or ones that don’t make the cut have been deleted.
  2. Saving them on to my PC is the next step.  To find out my filing system, you can read my blog post to see how easy it is.
  3. Finally, I go through the photos that I have just added to my PC and unless it’s an absolute favourite photo I delete it from my phone, safe in the knowledge that it is saved on my PC.

Each time the process is exactly the same.  I never change it.  I appreciate it might sound complicated but if you do it every few weeks, it’s not that bad, honest.

That moment has gone.  Never to return in the same light.

If you can follow this process then you are safe in the knowledge that you will never miss a photo opportunity because of a storage problem.  What a nice feeling?  Conversely, it feels good to think you won’t have all the kerfuffle of messing around trying to delete photos on the go again.

Just commit and see what happens…..

Now I know the thought of backing up photos is boring.  In reality, none of us have the time.  Let me introduce to you my secret weapon that works every time. Diarising fifteen minutes means managing your photos is easy.  I understand it sounds like a really geeky thing to do but seriously, just as you probably hate filing bills and completing general life admin, if you keep on top of this, it is done in a matter of minutes.  Every Friday afternoon, it’s one of the jobs I do.  Let me tell you, it feels good to know that I am on top of my photos and I’ll never have a moment of ‘storage full’ again!

The secret to keeping your phone memory free?  Easy!

where to print photos
where to print photos

Is that helpful? Reply and let me know as I love hearing from my readers.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

5 cheap and cheerful ways to showcase your photos

My four simple tips for guaranteeing photos go from OK to wow!

A day in the life of a portrait photographer


Colour and photography – why does it matter?

a pile of logs stacked up

Colour and photography go hand in hand.   Colour is everywhere but do we actually notice it?

One of the most obvious but often not prominent element of photography is colour.  In reality, we are surrounded by it but how often do we actually take real notice of it? Stop reading this blog for a moment and just look around you. As a result, what colours can you appreciate?  Imagine it is this pile of logs below.  If you look closer at the various different shades of brown, white, orange and black, what can you discover? In other words, have an experiment and see.

a pile of logs stacked up

Why is colour important?

Colour helps to create mood, express feelings and absolutely bring home the story behind the photo.  Moreover, if your colour composition is just right it can, if the truth be told, complete a photo.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to look at the colours in the scene.  Each colour elicits a different meaning which can be the interpreted by the viewer.  Just imagine for a minute your favourite colour too.  How do you feel when you wear it? Ordinarily, it’s just the same as that!

What does it all mean?

To roughly summarise the meaning of colours to help you during your photography consider this:

Black = power, strength, authority or classic

White = fresh, pure, innocence or clean

Orange= earthy, rich, grounding or trustworthy

Purple = royal, wealth, wisdom or magic

Blue = calm, trust, loyalty or peace

Yellow = happiness, joy, energy or joy

Red = respect, warmth, feminine or sensitive

Green = growth, reassurance, balance or safety

Colour brought to life!

Furthermore, take a look at a few of my favourite photos below, different colours, different story….

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

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

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


Answered: Your question about where to print photos

where to print photos

My biggest bug bear is not printing photos!

If you have worked with me or have simply read my blogs, you know that one of my big bug bears is people not printing off photos.  Think about it, you are likely to have zillions of photos on your phone, on your digital camera or backed up on the cloud.  Why?  I always say, if you decided to make the effort to take that particular photo, there must have been a reason.  Therefore, you need to finish the process off and print out your favourites.  Why?

It’s a moment in your life that you wanted to record so print it off!

It’s cheap to do.  What’s a few pennies for a simple 6*4 or 7*5?

It’s not that difficult a task. In reality, yes, it might seem another item for your to do list but come on, once you arrive in store, it’s instant.

Where to get your photos printed?

I’m often asked this by my clients.  As much as I hate to say it, I don’t particularly mind where you choose to have your photos printed, just do it!  However, here are my top tips to help you decide where to print your photos.

I am a big believer in shopping local (you can see why here) so search for a local independent printers and start there.  If it’s the odd 6*4 or 7*5 print, they are instant and some stores even allow you to email photos in beforehand.

If you have a larger batch to print and you are on a budget, there are loads of online sites offering deals for 50 or 100 prints such as Snapfish or Truprint which are mainstream printers.  Consequently, the quality and colour of each company may differ slightly but it will get the job done for you.

If this has inspired you to print some of your own photos, why not have a look at my top tips for saving photos (super important!) as well as how to showcase your photos in your home?

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

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

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


4 Easter photo ideas to try with your family

Easter photo ideas

Yes, it’s here at last, Easter weekend!  Whether you plan to sit and eat your weight in Easter eggs (this article I read might put you off though!) or are hoping to catch up on jobs around the house or garden, why not give a few of these Easter photo ideas a try?

Get creative with spring time crafts

We love a decent craft in our house and Easter is no eggception (no more puns, I promise!!)  It doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy, something as simple as growing seeds in colourful containers, making an Easter bonnet or even experiment decorating eggs made from salt dough, there is something for everyone.  Consequently, if you are not too crafty, why not grab a load of plastic eggs and investigate what you can come up with?

Easter flowers and crafts

Food, glorious food!

Whatever takes your fancy, photograph it!  In other words, you could create a chocolate feast or even capture an egg hunt.  Sitting down for a Sunday roast?  That’s the perfect time for a family portrait.

Dig the props out.

I bet you have items around the house that would be perfect for Easter photos.  Toy farm animals or books, eggs in egg cups, ducks from the bath.  Therefore, have an explore and see what fun ideas you can come up with.

Get in on the act!

I always say it, make sure you get on the ‘other’ side of the camera!   Furthermore, if you want to spruce photos up, check out my three useful apps here.

I’d love to know how you get on so drop me a comment below.  Have a fabulous Easter!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

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

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

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!


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!


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

Tiny foot in parents hands make a heart

Tale as old as time….

The long awaited movie, Beauty and the Beast, hits movie screens today.  I am sure there are several of you, young or old, kids or no kids, who are eagerly awaiting to kick back and enjoy this epic film.  The fond memories of Beauty and the Beast as a child, sat with my sister watching it on video (yes, video!) at weekends as we pranced around the living room singing to our hearts content are ever so vivid.  I also remember when Mum and Dad told me and Nic, aged 18 and 17 respectively, that we were off to Tenerife for a week’s holiday, only to be told when we arrived at the airport that we were in fact going to Disneyland, Florida for three weeks!  You can imagine the giddiness at the parades when the likes of Belle, Garcon, Mrs Potts and Chop headed up the parades!

In fact, I’ve had a dig through the old photo archives and found this!  (PS – organising your photos makes tasks like that super easy, why not give it a go!)

Beauty and the beast


Beauty and the Beast…..

For this reason, 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!

  1. Take a look in the mirror

It would be easy for me to say “stand like this” or “turn in towards me” but that can sometimes add to the pressure.  If it makes you feel better have a practice looking at yourself in the mirror, turn different ways, think about what you might do with your hands.  What position makes you feel happy, confident and full of life? Only you know that!

  1. Smile, relax and remember to breath!

Be yourself.  When you smile, your shoulders will relax, so will your face and this will show through on the photographs!

  1. It’s ok to be shy in front of the camera

Just remember, it’s not every day that we all embrace the camera, especially if we actively try to avoid it.  Try not to focus on the action of the photo being taken, instead focus on the intention behind the camera and how others may feel about the memories later.

Do you have any useful tips to share?  I would love to hear them!

Other blog posts you might find useful:

8 reasons I love photography

5 Super Quick and Easy Tips For Taking Better Photos 

6 tips for the perfect christmas selfie


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 the big day or you are looking for a recipe that is a little different, I can highly recommend these lemon and raisin pancakes.  Or check out my food glorious food page and my egg and banana pancakes which are suitable for weaning onwards.  My kids still ask for them now at the weekend!  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!

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!’


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

    Happy couple

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

    Valentine’s Day is definitely one of my favourite holidays of the year, brightening up a winter’s day after the elongated month of January.  Furthermore, being a photographer plus living in beautiful Saddleworth, Oldham, means taking advantage of the stunning scenery.   The breath taking colours and textures are idyllic for Valentines Day, especially if we have a bright sunny day over the Pennines.  Therefore, why not journey outside in the run up to Valentine’s Day and have an experiment with my four photo ideas you’ve probably never thought of before.  Whether you prefer  to be altogether romantic and head for the kiss, or simply have a spot of fun and laughter with the children, there definitely is something for everyone.  Please don’t be out off by the weather either, you need to be in it to win it!

    1.  Find useful props.

    Grab a bag of red balloons, cut a heart out of red card with a personalised message or buy a pack of love hearts and display them in a heart shape.  I bought this love light up sign years ago and it comes out every February!  Better still, if you have kids, let them get involved.  Furthermore, it doesn’t need to be expensive but Valentine’s Day props will help to reinforce the time of year that the photographs were taken.


    2.  Experiment with flowers but in the non traditional sense.

    I have witnessed flowers beginning to bloom around Saddleworth so explore!  Incorporate flowers into your photographs creatively by standing behind or between them.  In essence, this saves forking out for an overpriced bunch of red roses too!  Or if, like me, you have artificial flowers around the house, use them too!

    Cake smash photography near me - Oldham photographer

    3.  Explore locally.

    What things can you find around Saddleworth that links to Valentine’s Day?  How about a photograph next to Lovers Lane in Grasscroft, for example?  A number of people might think it cheesy but I love it.  Have history with a special spot?  Head there like I did with my fabulous clients!

    Men who hate having their photograph taken

    4.  Enjoy the experience!

    Take selfies as a couple or group, or individual photographs and then collate together in a photo app that illustrate the occasion.  Remember, you can always use the timer on your camera to give you time to get set up. Check out three useful apps here.


    I’d love to know how you get on so drop me a comment below, especially if you can think of any other places to try locally for number 3!  If you are interested in treating your other half with a gift that goes way beyond a bottle of fizz, or meal out, why not book a super affordable Valentine’s Day package with me?  I promise the memories will last longer.  Check out my Facebook page for further details.


    Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

    Three quick tips to encourage you to take more photos now

    5 super quick tips for taking better photos