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!
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!
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.
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?
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!
Could you do these two this International Women’s Day? (You too guys, this isn’t just for women!)
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 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. It doesn’t have to cost anything!
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.
And the bonus is…
Why not take a look at My Mum Stories or even better, get in touch and share your story with us. My Mum Stories are a really popular feature of my website and is REALLY relateable!
To all my female readers out there, Happy International Women’s Day, you rock!!
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.
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.
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!
If you have a favourite recipe, why not share it below?
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:
Not taken enough photos
Not been in enough photos
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!’
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…
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?
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!’
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.
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….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
Your child is doing something for the first time. It’s amazing! Proud parent alert! You grab your phone to take a photo but… oh…. your storage is full! I don’t think I know anyone that this HASN’T happened to!
I know that time to clear your camera roll probably goes to the bottom of the to do list BUT I can guarantee that if you get into a good routine and habit, this need not ever happen to you again!
Yes organising and categorising photos is pretty boring but it is really helpful and can 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.
Follow my three step process and bingo, never be in that position again!
1. Get deleting
At the end of the week, grab your phone and go through your camera roll for that week. Delete all the rubbish photos and you should have no more than one photo of the same thing (which forces you to pick a favourite and delete the rest!).
2. Get saving
Save these photos on your PC. I am old school and whilst clouds are good, I like the reassurance of knowing they are on my hard drive. You can choose to do it any way you fancy as long as it makes sense to you! I file by month, that is it.
From your PC, 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.
3. Get deleting (again)
Go back to your phone and only keep your absolute favourites, you can delete the rest safe in the knowledge that you have them saved already.
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….
Enjoy de-cluttering and creating space to make sure you never miss a photo again!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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 capturing special memories will be high on the agenda, especially with family dos and on New Years Eve. Selfies are massively underestimated whilst inflated as being quite egotistical but I love them and wouldn’t be without them! 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. Remember, you can move yourself and shuffle on the spot til you get it right.
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 first.
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! It does take a bit of practice but it can work!
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!
6. Relax and don’t take it too seriously – trust me, it shows through on the photos! Oh, and rememebr to keep a selfie stick close to hand (I leave mine in my bag) so it is there for when you need it!
Obviously, Inspired By Joseph is now a huge part of my life. You can check out my story but in essence, the twelve week scan photo I took when Joseph was in my tummy changed me forever.
Since then it has been well documented that I have taken a photograph of my life everyday since then, reaching 2,000 photos in November 2019. So much so I changed careers and now do what I really 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.
Ordinarily, I am a people person through and through. As a female, a Mum and a person who loves nothing more than to strike up conversation, I make the Inspired By Joseph experience a super enjoyable one that people always remember just as much as the photos themselves.
Take a look at this video to see things brought to life!
Here are the seven 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. We all mean to capture these milestones which come and go in a heartbeat but in reality, that doesn’t happen. I love taking a snapshot of a story that will mean more to people ten, twenty, thirty years down the line
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? What do they know that we don’t?
3. 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. Many tell me that is the one photo that they really want but in reality, it’s often a different photo that becomes the favourite, like this one where James just wouldn’t line his foot up. The reality is, that’s James and sums up his personality to a tee!
4. 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… Our future selves will thank us for these special everyday moments.
5. 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! Whether it be through on to one coaching, masterclasses for children or my photo challenges which I often run from my Facebook page or the support I often clients before out time together, it is all part of my legacy
As the helpful Mum and Oldham photographer for families who want to preserve memories before they fade, I’m super passionate about photos! It is vital that everyone out there get photos off their phones, laptops and PCs and displays them for the world to see.
Ordinarily, we all take lots of photos but when was the last time you actually did something with them? Life passes us by quickly but we should all make it a priority to actually print photos and share the amazing memories. Therefore, I have some creative ways to showcase your photos which don’t cost a fortune and don’t take a particularly long time to achieve . I promise, if you find the time to do this, you won’t regret it!
Don’t fancy updating 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. If you are tight on time, order online and have it posted to you or visit a retailer on the High Street. Combining the food shop with printing photos is often forgotten!
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 for some inspiration.
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!
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. Pinterest has lots of inspiration for you.
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…
Got any other ideas? Why not share them below in the comments for us all to see!
Oldham photography at it’s best can often be in autumn. Ordinarily, it is a great time to get out and photograph the beautiful red, yellow and orange hazes that surround our beautiful Oldham countryside. It’s the time of year that many savvy families choose to update their family photos. The colours are fabulous, the weather is usually kinder to us than we remember from the previous year and the best advantage of all, it can mean you have Christmas gifts in check for the wider family early on so that you can actually enjoy the Christmas period rather than stress about it. Don’t let the odd bit of rain spoil the chances of great photos like these!
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.
Watch the weather forecast
try and get out on a bright, sunny and dry day to really take advantage of natural light. Even just an hour can be enough. Plus we all want to kick about in dry, crisp leaves rather than muddy, wet ones! If the weather isn’t looking that good then embrace it! Wellies and umbrellas (particularity clear umbrellas) really help to tell a story.
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 or even your reflections. When was the last time you just stopped and was mindful of your surroundings? Just try it!
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 kids 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? Follow me on Facebook for news and tips or contact me to find out more about the Inspired By Joseph experience!
Ordinarily, the essence of Inspired By Joseph is based on sharing my passion on taking better photos. Bev Ridyard is an Oldham photographer put on this planet to serve clients and go way beyond just taking photos. Bev is as passionate about the Inspired By Joseph experience just as much as the end result – the photographs.
Similarly, Bev works hard to educate her clients and followers when it comes to taking their own photographs. Whether it be through one of the many photo challenges she runs several time a year through her Facebook page, sharing blogs like this or telling her story of how she takes a photo herself every day, there really is something for everyone.
Connection and emotion is at the heart of Inspired By Joseph. Don’t let life pass you by. The best thing about memories is making them, something your future self will thank you for. If you aren’t looking for a family photographer just now, take the five tips below on board and I promise you will see a difference.