My Mum #17. Meet Jenny Howard

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story continues.  Meet Jenny, aged 42, a full time working mum, wife to Chris and type one diabetic. Jenny is a qualified accountant, has spent the last ten years as an external audit manager and is about to take on an exciting new challenge with a brand new career in industry after 19 years in the world of audit. Her favourite time is weekends and school holidays spending precious time with her family. Her favourite weekend pastime is going for a walk, having a spot of lunch out and a few cheeky glasses of wine.

I am Mum to….

Alfie, aged 5

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Being a significant influence in Alfie’s life and helping him to become a confident and well-rounded little man. He is always on the go and is a loveable, cheeky, very funny, bright and happy child. Our favourite time together is using our imagination to tell each other stories and come up with wild adventures.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Trying to fit everything in with work, homework, trying to be super mum, cleaning the house, managing my condition and still having a tiny amount of time to spoil myself.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

Listen to your child and don’t feel guilty for spending quality time on yourself.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

have become more confident, learnt to multi task on a whole new level with very little time and speak up a lot more than I used to.

My best mum photo is this one because….

I am with my best bud whilst on holiday in France where we spent three amazing weeks together this summer.

Mum Story - Jenny Howard
Mum Story – Jenny Howard

Feeling inspired?

Read more Mum Stories here!

My Mum #16. Meet Lucinda Lewis

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story continues.  Meet Lucinda, a self employed and full time nail technician and beauty therapist.  Lucinda loves family time and cosy nights in front of the fire (don’t we all, sounds bliss!).

I am Mum to….

Prime (2) and Spencer (36) 🤣

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Tucking them in at night and hearing that little voice say “I love you Mummy”as  it melts my heart. 

The proud feeling you get when your child accomplishes a new skill or comes out with something super cute.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Learning myself that I am not only his best friend but also the discipliner and parent.  There are days when  Prime cries at me, tants (tantrums!) and sulks but that just means that I am doing my job.  Sometimes it has to be that way.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

Cherish every single tiny moment!  From the day Prime was born I listened to so many people say “enjoy every moment” and “they will grow up so fast” and it genuinely does .  I feel like I have blinked and he is almost 3!!

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have grown up – a hell of a lot.  I have learnt that life is too short – or flies by too fast and to enjoy the little things in life. Every smile, chuckle, cuddle and kiss I am going to embrace like it was his first.

My best mum photo is this one because….

It was my first 24 hours of being a mother.

I was tired, worried, emotional – completely overwhelmed! It was all so worth it

My Mum Story - Lucinda Lewis
Mum Story – Lucinda LewisFeeling inspired? 

Feeling inspired?

Read more Mum Stories here!

My Mum #15. Meet Claire Moore

saddleworth tameside family photographer

Meet Claire a physio within the NHS who lives with Chris and together are new to this world of parenting. Claire just takes each day as it comes and hopes they are getting it right. Claire is pretty laid back like that.

I am Mum to….

9 month old Isla Rose.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Can I say the year off work!?!? 

Sorry, jokes aside I would say the best part of being a mummy is watching the tiny little thing you created change each day; discover new things, achieve each milestone and develop their own personality. It’s not always the easiest thing I will admit, but for every challenging discovery or milestone (tantrums and separation anxiety the current examples) there are hundreds of happy smiley moments that just make me melt. It amazes me how far she’s come on already. 

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

The feeling of exhaustion. It’s not so much sleep deprivation (I am sooooo lucky to have a good sleeper) but the fact that you never stop; well that’s how I feel with a very active toddler who can’t quite do it all on her own yet and will not nap willingly. Then added to that there’s still the housework etc to do, I have no idea how I’m going to cope when I have returning to work to factor in to that as well!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

I agree completely when people say to take the advice everyone and their dog gives you with a pinch of salt and make your own decision. 

But I would also say that if you are going to take anybody’s advice, listen to your own mum. She’s done a great job of raising you and obviously did something right so she might have a point with some things. 

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have cried more than I ever have!! Tears of pain, joy, sadness, frustration, exhaustion, laughter, you name it I’ve cried. Sometimes I don’t even know why. I have basically become an emotional wreck. 

My best mum photo is this one because….

I’m in it and it’s not a selfie. 

I got myself a proper camera just after Isla was born so I could take decent photos, but they all tend to be of her or with her daddy. (I need to master the self-timer +/- remote trigger)

My sister was visiting and I’d taken some photos of the two of them, when she picked up my camera to have a play and got this picture of me and Isla. 

claire moore my mum stories

The truth about wedding photography the Inspired By Joseph way

oldham wedding photographer - bride and groom

You probably don’t know this about me but…

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

And I’m fine with that!

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

Why I take this approach

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

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

And here’s why.  I :

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

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

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

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

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

Tied shoelaces to stop kids falling over

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

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

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

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

Oh.  And I took a few wedding photos too!

 

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

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

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

Here are  a few kind words from Alison:

 

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

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

Oldham wedding photographer - wedding ring

Oldham wedding photographer - flowers

Oldham wedding photographer - bridal party

Oldham wedding photographer - bridal party Oldham wedding photographer - bridal party

Oldham wedding photographer - father of bride

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

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

Oldham wedding photographer - bride and groom

Oldham wedding photographer - family photo

Oldham wedding photographer - cake cuttingOldham wedding photographer - first danceOldham wedding photographer - first dance

The creative team included:

Simply Beautiful

Devine Cakes

Candy Ever After

Stitch & Steam

Connie’s Keepsakes

C and C Catering

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

oldham photographer

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

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

Experience tells me that we are all in the same boat

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

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

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

The proof is in the pudding….

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

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

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

In my opinion

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

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The Awesome Orsons Spring Wedding from an Oldham family wedding photographer

Saddleworth wedding photographer

Everything is Awesome!

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

Such a solid couple!

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

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

Consequently, I had the BEST day ever!

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

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

 

Wedding ring Oldham photographer

 

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

Saddleworth wedding photographer

 

Saddleworth wedding photographer

Saddleworth wedding photographer

Saddleworth wedding photographer

The Creative team included:

Adele Howarth Winstanley Bride

The Bobby Pin

Beauty Bespoke Middleton

Siobhan Northfield Cosmetic make up artistry

The Edge Hair and Beauty

LA Florist

The Fleece Countryside Inn

The Deeds Music 

The Cheese Hamlet

Bake & Roast

 

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

I am so ready for Spring!

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

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

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

  1.  Capture the weather.

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

2.  Look for patterns.

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

wirral family photography

 

a pile of logs stacked up

3.  Stay indoors.

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

My Mum Story Keith Orson

 

4.  Time lapse photos.

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

5.  Create your own project.

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

6.  Sort your photos out!

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

Enjoy this lovely season

My Mum #14. Meet Katie Boon

saddleworth tameside family photographer

Meet Katie so grab a cuppa and enjoy my fourteenth installment of My Mum Story!

I am Mum to….

Evie who has just turned 4 and Klara who has just turned 1.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

I feel super lucky to be a Mum and watch these little girls grow into strong women. I love watching their milestones and sharing in their laughter (and tears) and helping them find their way.
I also love the fact we get to do lots of fun things like go to Eureka and play in the snow at the Chill Factor which we didn’t do before babies. They have both shown me what is important in life and to take my time and worry less. I think they often teach me more than I teach them.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

I have always been a worrier and since having them I worry less about other things but I worry a lot about them. I worry about schools, other kids, whether they had a good day, whether I could be a better Mum.

I also find I feel guilty a lot, guilty for shouting or having a house day rather than doing something exciting. My friend once told me though that feeling guilty makes you a good Mum, it shows you care!

My other worst bit is making pack lunches honestly I don’t know why but I hate making them!!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

I learnt the second time to not feel rushed the first few weeks they arrive. Not to feel pressure to put your makeup on, go out or do all the jobs (I learned the hard way with Evie).

Also to try and make your life as easy as possible, we learnt a lot of things with Evie and Klara is definitely the easier baby. Maybe it’s because we are more relaxed or because we choose our battles!

Also don’t be scared to say No!! You can’t be everything to everybody sometimes you need to be a little bit selfish and that’s okay.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

I have learnt we have one life and we need to enjoy it. You can’t go back and relive days as much as you want to.

When I had Evie I worked for myself as a Recruitment Manager but this was a 7 day a week job and just didn’t fit in with Evie. I moved to becoming a European Recruitment Manager for a Global Oil Company but this involved lots of travel and although it was part time it was taking over everything trying to communicate with Australia in the morning and the US in the evening.

While on maternity leave with Klara I retrained as a makeup artist and decided to do this full time. I really enjoy working, meeting new people and often helping other people feel happy and confident. The role fits around my girls and for the second time I am my own boss!

My best mum photo is this one because….

it is the photo is the first time Evie met Klara, Klara was 6 hours old!

My Mum Story Katie B makeup

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

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

Happy 2019 everybody!

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

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

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

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

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

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

Followed by this:

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

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

Bingo!

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

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

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

Inspired By Joseph naming ceremony, Prestwich

The four things that I have learned from #my18in18 experience

my best #my18in18

The four things that I have learned from #my18in18 experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#my18in18

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

Inspired By Joseph – rounding up another wonderful year

saddleworth family photographer

Inspired By Joseph – looking back on my best bits!

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

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

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

inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

1.Debbie and the boys

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

This is what Debbie said about our time together:

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

2. Jack turns one

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

Amy said this about her experience with Inspired By Joseph:

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

3.  It’s all about the wellies!

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

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

4.  My first time photographing twins

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

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

5.  I just love the backlighting!

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

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

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

6.  Always giving back

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

Another lovely compliment that keeps me going!

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

7. Meet baby Alyssa

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

Mum Becky had this to say about our time together:

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

8.  Photographing another Joseph makes my day!

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

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

9.  I’ve never felt more at home….

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

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

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

Thank you 2018 and here is to an amazing 2019!

inspired By Joseph 2018 highlights

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired By Joseph gets personal….

Inspired By Joseph personal 2018 highlights

Inspired By Joseph and the personal side….

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

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

I still marvel at how fast the year has gone!

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 personal highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I wouldn’t change it for the world!

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

Inspired By Joseph 2018 personal highlights

 

 

WHY I LOVE MY JOB: Inspiring others is priceless!

Summer, where did you go?

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

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

Anyway, back to our session….

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

My photos for this session are irrelevant!

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

My Mum #13. Meet Nicola Seward

saddleworth tameside family photographer

I have to start by saying Nic is my wonderful sister!  She is the most selfless and helpful person I know and despite our physical distance, our friendship is one of the things I value most as a Mum.  I am proud to introduce her story to you all today….

 

Nic is aged 35 and a first time Mum and wife to Carl. Lover of Everton Football Club, food and family, Nic is a teacher and loves trying to make a positive contribution to the lives of young people. Apart from family days out, if she’s not at the match Nic loves nothing better than going to the pub for a few beers and to read the paper with her best friend and husband Carl.

I am Mum to….

Peter, who turns one this month!

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Being lucky enough to spend every day with my boy and to watch him smile, laugh and get so excited at the small things we take for granted! Peter is such a happy little boy. He is forever smiling and giggling and I can’t help but laugh and be silly with him! I am gob smocked at how much he changes every single day and I love watching his face as he does new things for the first time! I have also really enjoyed going to all of the different baby groups, meeting other Mums and watching Peter interact, chat and laugh with other babies.

I am so proud to have the responsibility of nurturing another human being. I also love being a family unit and watching the change in my husband Carl. Although very excited to become a Father, when I was pregnant Carl would say “I won’t be pulling any silly faces or making silly noises!” How wrong he was! He can make farmyard animals with the best of them and is the king of accents when reading books! The love I see between Carl and Peter every day blows me away. He is the best Father to Peter that I could ever have hoped for and I could watch them play together and listen to them laughing all day long.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

I know that big challenges lie ahead, but I feel as though we have already overcome one of our greatest challenges in coping with Peter arriving 6 weeks early. Nothing could have prepared me for being told that our little boy was to be taken to the Special Care Baby Unit when he was a couple of hours old and being separated for the first 5 days of his life.

It was extremely difficult caring for Peter on the Neonatal ward. It was so tough to watch him in his incubator, not being able to just pick him up and give him a cuddle. This was heightened through our separation, as I was up on the maternity ward, watching families take their beautiful newborns home in time for Christmas.  It was fantastic when we got to take him home, but again very difficult as we did not understand the complexities surrounding having a premature baby.

I would take Peter out in the pram and I couldn’t go anywhere without being stopped and being told how tiny Peter was. We went for Peter’s six week check at the Doctor’s and he wasn’t meeting the necessary milestones and I went home very upset. It was only after doing some research that I realised that this was perfectly normal as Peter should still be in the womb! The research I did helped us a lot and gradually with the support Peter was given by a number of professionals he started to thrive and we have never looked back!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

I have learnt so much since becoming a Mum that I want to cheat and give two pieces of advice.

Do not compare your baby’s development to other babies the same age!

Before I did my research surrounding premature babies, I stopped taking Peter to baby groups. It upset me when people would look at me in shock when they asked how old he was. I would look at babies of the same age and wonder why Peter could not do the same things as them.

We waited 15 weeks for Peter’s first smile! When he smiled for the first time it was the best thing ever! This was a turning point for me and I told myself I would never worry again, Peter will do everything in his own time and so far I’ve been right! Why rush such a precious time, cherish every moment, you only get it once! Every baby is completely unique and will do things when they are ready.

Listen to the advice of other’s but listen with caution!

I always remember when I was pregnant our Bev’s advice was DON’T READ FORUMS (she will laugh when she reads this!) However, in the early weeks when I was worrying about Peter, the Facebook premature baby support groups were a lifeline to me. Reading the stories of other Mum’s who were going through the same as me was invaluable and helped me to learn so much and feel so much better.

We were also so lucky to have the support of so many professionals through the fantastic NHS and of course my amazing sister and own Mum, all who gave us advice which has been so helpful. However, you know your own baby and Mama always knows best!

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have become much more assertive. Wo betide anyone that is bad mannered, provides poor service or does not take me seriously, especially where Peter is concerned! I am coming for you! I thought I was pretty good before, but now I really don’t know what has come over me. I say it how it is and will always challenge what I think is wrong!

Since becoming a Mum I have took time to reflect on just how lucky I am. I have a wonderful family which includes the most amazing husband and son and a fantastic set of friends. When I was pregnant I was firmly in the camp of “I will go to baby groups for the baby, but I won’t make friends with anyone as I have enough friends!” My attitude has completely changed and whenever I walk into a baby group now, there is always someone I know and can go and share stories with. Sharing experiences and ideas has been great, but I always take it with a pinch of salt when you meet that one Mum whose baby never wakes up in the night, never cries and is a genius!

My best mum photo is this one because….

I have cheated again as I have two! The first is the day we came home from hospital on Boxing Day. We will treasure this memory forever! The second is Peter’s first proper smile! I’m sure you will agree it’s a belter!

 

THE TRUTH: It was all about the wellies….

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

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

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

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

Instead I want to talk about one theme.  Wellies.

That’s right, wellies!

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

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

You know where this is heading don’t you?

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

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

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

Fancy reading about my series of Mum Stories?  Sit down, relax and grab a cuppa, you deserve it!

My Mum #12. Meet Drew Fivey

saddleworth tameside family photographer

Drew is a 23 year old mama and runs her own little business from home where she is passionate about creating beautiful spaces for little ones to dream, play and imagine. Drew love all thing Scandinavian and is a sucker for a packet of dairy milk chocolate buttons (family sized of course).

 

I am Mum to….

my 15 month old son, Rowan.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

I’d say the best thing about being a mum is all those little moments that really are the big moments.. those little kisses in the morning, the first time they say your name, when they come over for a story and a snuggle.. he’s just my little bestie and makes me laugh every day!

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Falling pregnant in my final year at uni and then adapting to motherhood has a graduate has been really tough for me. I think you almost have life planned out in your head that you’re going to find a fantastic job and get yourself out there but motherhood almost puts all of that on pause. It’s been really difficult for me adapting to being in the house with no one really to talk to but a toddler. But I’d say it’s taken until now to realise that although lots of my friends are “getting on with their lives” – motherhood is the best thing that could have happened in mine.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

To get yourself out there. I almost got stuck in a bit of a rut in the early phases of motherhood where I became obsessed over routine and found myself struggling with anxiety. I definitely think going to baby groups and meeting other mums, even if it’s just for one hour a morning really helped me unwind and realise there’s hundreds of other mums out there feeling the exact way that I am.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

So many aspects of my life have changed since becoming a mum. I’ve learned how to change a nappy, survive on no sleep, make a cup of tea with one hand etc.. but I’d say the most important thing I’ve learnt is how to love myself whilst giving all of my love to another. In the busy life of being a mum, it’s so important to remember to focus on yourself, your own state of mind and your own basic needs – even if it’s just taking 10 minutes out for a peaceful bath or trying something out that you used to love. Its really easy when becoming a new mum to lose your sense of identity so it’s really important to make sure you do something just for you too!

My best mum photo is this one because….

It reminds me of the days we would sofa snuggle all day! There’s absolutely no chance of that happening now… he’d rather be climbing I the fireplace or pulling out the shoe rack or causing mischief elsewhere!

 

My Mum Story Drew Fivey

You can’t beat the simplicity of brotherly love

I love seeing tiny people grow

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

We had so much fun

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

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

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

You can’t beat a bit of tree shaking

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

My Mum Story is always top of mind

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

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

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

 Are you like me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Having photographs taken outdoors can be quite overwhelming.

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

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

Patience is a virtue….

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

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

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

out and about mummy oldham

Social media has a way of portraying the simplicity of business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adding kids into the mix made it tougher

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

Mamma with baby in a sling looking to the distance

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

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

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

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

Inspired By Joseph logo

Inspired By Joseph begins!

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

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

Reality hits home after maternity!

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

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

inspired by joseph

Onwards and upwards

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

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

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

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

The things I am super proud of!

I have:

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

But most importantly…..

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

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

Another Joseph to photograph makes my day!

saddleworth family photographer

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

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

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

Children are the reason I set up my business!

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

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

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

But Mum and Dad are important too!

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

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

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

A newborn session in the eyes of an Oldham photographer

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

oldham baby photographer

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

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

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

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

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

oldham baby photographer

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

oldham baby photographer

oldham baby photographer

I smiled all the way home!

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

oldham baby photographer

 

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

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

Been there, done that, got the t shirt!

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

A beautiful church ceremony

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

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

Five minutes turned to twenty five

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

I want guests to nail the perfect photo too!

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

I love to interact with guests

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

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

wirral wedding photographer

Good job I have a camera to hide behind!

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

Thank you

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

wirral wedding photographer - grove house hotel, wallasey

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

how to get better at photography

Have you met me? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

how to get better at photography

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

saddleworth cake smash photography

Turning one is major. 

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

My Mum clients just get it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The embarrassing thing about having photographs taken outdoors direct from an Oldham family photographer!

Does the thought of being photographed outdoors bring you out in a cold sweat?

Being an Oldham family photographer who focuses on authentic photographs of families being families, a lot of my work takes place outside.  As a Mum myself, I know that being outdoors is often a priority for parents so naturally my photography follows the same pattern.  Kids love playing, running, cycling and the like to their hearts content without a care in the world yet it can’t always be said that it is the same for parents.

Inspired By Joseph oldham family photographer Saddleworth adventures

I get it, honestly I do!

I know from experience and insight from prospective and current clients that people can feel quite embarrassed about having their photographs taken outdoors. I get it, I promise you, I do.  There can be loads of numerous things whizzing around your head such as:

  • People will look and say oooo look at them!
  • Oh, I couldn’t do that!
  • Everyone will be staring at us!
  • This is just plain embarrassing!
  • I can’t be myself with people watching me!
  • I don’t fancy an audience peeking into our family time together!

Can I let you into a secret?

The only embarrassing point about having photographs taken outdoors is nothing! Seriously, there is nothing to it and let me tell you why.  People are more interested in what they are doing themselves in their own lives with little time or capacity to do anything other than focus on their own life, challenges, to do lists etc.  Most would not even notice that you were in the middle of a photo shoot.  Consequently, those that might look do so wishing that they had the courage or ability to document their own lives in a similar way.  Then in a heartbeat, once again you would be forgotten as they carried on with their own lives.

rachel out and about mummy

Let me ask you the reverse.

Have you ever been out and about and noticed a family having their photograph taken.  Did you stop and stare, pull up a chair and chomp at the popcorn for half an hour?  I imagine not!

So, don’t let the thought of outdoor family photography put you off.  If you don’t believe me, all of these clients can’t be wrong!

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

I definitely need more baby bump photography in my life!

Time to chuckle to myself!

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

Making guys laugh is a must for me

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

Anyhow, back to the story!

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

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

Pregnancy is a powerful time of life

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

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

Meet Alyssa through the eyes of a newborn photographer in Oldham

Time for a new baby, Bev?

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

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

newborn photographer oldham

oldham family photographer

Why being a female and a Mum really helps…

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

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

newborn family photographer oldham

oldham baby photographer

oldham baby photographer

Experience matters..

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

oldham baby photographer

family photography oldham

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

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

saddleworth family photographer

saddleworth family photographer

What did I learn on my holiday?

holiday photo challenge

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

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

This challenge is harder than it sounds!

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

First things first….

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

The challenge kept challenging!

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

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

But it was so worth it!

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

Mission accomplished!

Note to self, ditch the mobile more often!

How is my little Joseph four?

Tears at bedtime

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

In reality, I have nothing to cry about!

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

Photography has enabled me to start my own family traditions

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

oldham photography cake smash

 

This year has been no different…

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

It started so well with some actual posing……

Then the cake eating started and creativity set in….

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

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

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

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

My first family session with twins was just delightful

rachel out and about mummy

It’s nice to be nice!

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

Off for a family session we went!

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

mum and daughter time

flower girl

mum and daughter time

baby girl shoes

dad and son love

Authentic photography is at the heart of what I do!

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

rachel out and about mummy
rachel out and about mummy

rachel out and about mummy

The children were such a great help

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

It’s all about the feedback!

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

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

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

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

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

My Mum Stories – taken over by Dads #3!

My Mum Story Keith Orson

My Mum Story has been taken over by Dad’s in the run up to Father’s Day!

In the run up to Father’s Day, here’s the third Dad installment of My Mum Stories.  So, let me introduce to you my very own dear and beloved dad, Peter Lam.  Until you become a parent yourself, you really don’t get to appreciate how much time, effort and love goes into bringing up kids.  I am ever so thankful to my Dad (and my Mum) for taking the approach that they did to raise me, letting me make my own decisions, follow our own path and supporting us with everything we did (even if they didn’t agree, which they often wouldn’t have told us anyway!) and for spending so much time with us as kids.  So, I am proud to present, my Dad!!

What is the best thing about being a dad?

It’s the bond between a father and child and the undying instant love from birth that you never knew existed.  Hard to describe but so amazing!

The most challenging bits about being a Dad?

Finding the right balance between discipline and your child’s acceptance that Dad is right ( most of the time ).  *An edit from Bev is as follows….. Also knowing when to say the money tree is bare! 🙂

The best piece of advice I could give other dads is…..

Be patient.  There are always other children worse than yours and as they grow you realise how good your children are.  Manners matter.  They cost nothing but have a massive impact!  One of the biggest lessons in life!

Since I’ve become a Dad I’ve… 

Realised that its not a text book life to bring children in to this world. It’s certainly not easy but the rewards outweigh all those times you could scream!  Very often and certainly for my kids, it’s Mum who is the major factor in bringing up children so credit to Mum’s!!

My best photo is this one…

 

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

event photography oldham

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

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

I love a christening!

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

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

And I love my clients too!

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

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

Photography can be worth the investment

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

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

More from Seamless:

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

event photography christening

My Mum Stories – taken over by Dads #2!

My Mum Story Keith Orson

My Mum Story has been taken over by Dad’s in the run up to Father’s Day!

In the run up to Father’s Day, here’s the second Dad installment of My Mum Stories.  So, let me introduce Darren Edwards dad of 2, Jacob, 4 and Ivan, 1.

What is the best thing about being a dad?

For me personally, the best thing about being a Dad has been the increased sense of purpose and meaning that they have brought into to my life.  Having little people that love you unconditionally and without an agenda is something that nothing else in the world compares against, having little people that look to you for fun, comfort and direction is the best.

The most challenging bits about being a Dad?

In these early years the most challenging aspect about being a Dad is probably the mental carnage that’s caused by sleep deprivation and the increased worry that follows the arrival of little ones.  I can live without the social aspects and even the ‘me time’ in life quite well, but what wreaks havoc is sleep deprivation and the toll is can take on you sense of normality and your personal relationships.  The absent mindedness, sniping and edginess that flows in the first few years is probably one of the largest contributors to relationship break downs you hear about just after a couple has had a child.

The best piece of advice I could give other dads is…..

The best piece of advice I can give to any dad is to always be there to support your family first and foremost but keep a very close watch on your mental sanctity.

Go to bed as early as you can (I didn’t do this and it wasn’t not pretty after a while) – Yes, turn into your ‘early to bed parents’, there is a reason they did and we are not all zombies.

Let other people help you to raise your kids and to look after your children, pay for it if you have no family and friends around and you can afford it, this leads on to my last piece of advice – Make time for yourself, because you become a fairly sad and disengaged individual when you are only spending time with yourself and your family.  So, don’t forget that you exist, have purpose and a life journey of your own.

Since I’ve become a Dad I’ve… 

Since I’ve become a dad, I’ve become more aware of maximizing opportunities to do new and interesting things.  I have fair less personal time and less money than ever, so the importance of ‘providing’ seems to be at the forefront of any decision or direction.  But despite this my life is rich with fun, caring, silliness and love and the only thing I’d change about being a dad would be having even more energy to do even more as a dad.

My best photo is this one…

My dad Story Darren Edwards

 

My Mum Stories – taken over by Dads!

My Mum Story Keith Orson

My Mum Story has been taken over by Dad’s in the run up to Father’s Day!

I’ve decided to switch things up a bit in the run up to Father’s day!  The next few stories will be from Dad’s to celebrate the amazing work they do too!  So, let me introduce Keith Orson, dad of 2, Sam 3 and Lauren, 2.

What is the best thing about being a dad?

So far (being that my two are 2 & almost 4 years old), it’s the transition from talking and gesturing at them, to having a conversation with them. Sam our eldest is great with his speech and understanding, Lauren I’m sure will be quick follow, no doubt to the point where Sam can’t get a word in. I regularly do the school and nursery pickup on the way home and those few minutes are great to see if they can properly recall their day’s activity. It’s also amazing (and scary) how much and how quickly they pick things up…

The most challenging bits about being a Dad?

Finding enough time to achieve everything, not just entertaining the family but keeping on top of everything else… Never has the joke about going to work for a rest been more true than since entering parenthood.

The best piece of advice I could give other dads is…..

I guess the cliché is to say ‘make the most of it whilst they’re young’ but it’s true, they really do grow up so fast! Also, get a good coffee machine and make sure you have a secret stash of chocolate & biscuits somewhere!

Since I’ve become a Dad I’ve… 

Put on a few pounds, gone grey(er), bought a more sensible car, gone to bed earlier, got out of bed earlier, mastered the art of the car boot nappy change, accepted that just because I’ve tidied the house it doesn’t mean it won’t look like a bomb’s gone off 5 minutes later & made some memories that will stay with me forever.

My best photo is this one…

My Mum story - Keith Orson

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

36 hour old baby

 Like no other time of life!

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

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

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

The early bird catches the worm!

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

This family just GETS photography!

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

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

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

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!

My Mum #8. Meet Kate Hayes

saddleworth tameside family photographer
I am Mum to....

Emily Kate Hayes, 7 and a half months old

The best bits about being a Mum are....

Watching our little girl change every single day! It is just incredible to see her personality develop, sense of humour evolve and determination grow. I love seeing bits of us both in her. She is the image of Daddy, has even started saying ‘Dada’ but she’s feisty like me and I wonder how I’ll cope with that when she gets older! We laugh everyday and she is honestly such good company. I had no expectations about feeding. If I could, I could, if I couldn’t, I couldn’t. Fed is best! As it happened, I could and I have to say I have really enjoyed it. In the main It’s been a very positive experience and such a special time, it took me by surprise. Being 1/3 of Team Hayes! Creating a human with someone you love is a miracle; it is a privilege to be a parent. For me, some of the best bits about being a Mum is sharing it with Dad. Spending time as a family is the best and sharing our hobbies with Emily will hopefully encourage her own sense of adventure.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are....

Emily has been a relatively ‘easy’ baby and I think we have taken it all in our stride so far. I think the most challenging bit is yet to come... In four weeks I go back to work full time as a teacher with a senior position in school. I enjoy my job, I always have and I am not dreading going back. However, I worry that I will be able to have a work / life balance and continue to be a good mum and do what is best for our daughter. Whatever I do, I try my best. It’s not in my nature to do anything half hearted, but will I be able to give 100% to everything? Will something have to give? I do believe if you want something you have to work hard for it and that’s exactly what I’ll have to do. My husband is my rock, we are a team and I know I couldn’t do it without him. It maybe challenging but we will make it work, we always do. I’ll miss Emily like mad but will make every second of family time precious. I know as a working mum who enjoys her career, I will be a positive role model for Emily.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is....

I worried before Emily came, we didn’t have much experience with babies but when people say you will know what to do, you really do! Read, listen and talk for support but always go with your instinct, you know your child better than anyone. My other advice is to do something you enjoy for yourself. I went back to playing netball and badminton after 5 weeks. This was challenging as Emily wouldn’t take a bottle at the time so I literally fed, pegged it, played sport, bombed it home ready for another feed! It was totally worth it, I need to exercise and this has helped me feel mentally and physically well postpartum and I am definitely a better mum because of it.

Since I’ve become a Mum I....

Become part of the nappy police, how much poo, what colour poo, how often poo! Often smelt of sick! Not sure you can ever become immune to that smell!! Felt like a cow! Learnt lots of nursery rhymes Enjoyed the guilty pleasure of an afternoon nap! Gained lots more patience Thought about consequences more Worried more Made courgette muffins!!! (Amongst tonnes of other weaning recipes!) Realised I am physically and mentally much stronger than I ever thought I was. Definitely become a better person Realised it’s the best job in the world!

My best mum photo is this one because....

It was our first family holiday snowboarding in France! Emily loved every minute of it and came on so much during the week. She loved the snow! Nanny and Grandad got to spend some quality time with her, we had fun as a family and Mummy and Daddy got to be Kate and Matt too! For me this photo sums up the importance of balance - I think that’s what hopefully makes me a good mum. Time for Emily, time for family, time for Daddy, time for me.  
My Mum Story Kate Hayes

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?

My Mum #7. Meet Michelle Asquith

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #7.  Meet Michelle Asquith!

Michelle is a 47 year old (mad woman) mum of 3, her words not mine!  Michelle is married to the very tolerant Steve, loves the smell of cakes baking in the oven and a freshly mowed lawn, not at the same time! Spring makes Michelle happy and fills her with excitement as to what the summer will bring. Her children are my world.

I am Mum to….

Charlotte 21, Olivia 19 and Oscar 3.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

With having two older girls I find such joy in watching them with their little brother. Well, just Charlotte at the moment, Olivia is studying in Georgia. We all chat on face time so Olivia can see Oscar and Charlotte sends Olivia snap chats of him all the time. We all miss her.
I adore watching them, how they interact with other people from work colleagues to children at nursery. I stand in awe, sometimes unable to quite believe I’ve brought them into the world. I am so proud and filled with anticipation of where their paths will lead. To have such a big gap between them has made me more tolerant. I have more patience and I try to embrace and enjoy every second they’re around me. Watching Oscar grow, develop and learn is fascinating, like I’ve never done it before. Time goes so fast. I’m still learning and it’s a pleasure.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

When they (the girls) wind each other up….. I used to step in between them, tell them to stop (at the point where they were ready to pull hair or throw a punch). Now they’re too big for me to get involved! I just shut the door and let them get on with it!
I find being an older mum to Oscar challenging physically. Sometimes just bed time routine can be hard work though I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s all worth it, even the inquisitive mind as he’s listening to me reading a book. I’m ready for bed myself and yet he’s still a million miles an hour. Bless him.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

If they don’t sleep…. do what you need to do to get through the night. Even if that means letting them sleep with you.
If they have a tantrum….. make them safe, step over them, leave them to where you can still see them. Give them a few minutes to settle down themselves.
If they don’t eat the ‘right stuff’, don’t stress. Try to put the good stuff in front of them when you can.
If the ‘in laws’ know best…. remember, you’re the mum!
If the person on the bus or in the shop tuts at you for your child’s behaviour, just smile, stay calm and breathe. You’re the Mum!
Above all, every day take a few moments to see what you have. Your children are a gift. You only get them once and trust me, it goes far too fast!

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Actually, I’m 47…… I can’t remember!!!
No, really…..
I’ve lived in 5 houses, collected dogs, ducks, hamsters, chickens and rabbits alongside children!
Had a beauty business for 20years. Now run a Pro Shop at a golf club.
Play golf when I can.
Performed in many a production, even at the Palace theatre in Manchester!
Danced until….
I had major hip surgery (it’s not worked…. watch this space). I can still dance the Argentine Tango with Steve. When I can no longer do that I’ll be one very unhappy dancer!
Had a C section with Oscar, which nearly ended our lives. I said my goodbyes going into theatre. Thank the Lord we lived to tell the tale!
I’ve watched my mum go through Breast cancer. She is an amazing woman, 74 and puts me to shame!
Having children made me.
I had my girls for 18 years then along came my boy! They’ve turned my world upside down. I’ve been through divorce, heartache, sadness, pain and happiness I’ve held hands, wiped tears, been nursemaid, house wife, cleaner, cook and everything else in between.
Women are the eternal peace keepers. I’m proud to be one of them!

My best mum photo is this one because….

It has my kids in it!

 

My Mum Story - Michelle Asquith

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My Mum story#5.  Meet Susan Rushworth

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story

My Mum #6. Meet Chrissy Hampshire

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #6.  Meet Chrissy Hampshire!

The feedback from My Mum Stories has been fab so here’s Mum Story #6 for you!

I am Mum to….

Sam 3 and a half, Lauren 2. (Oh and not forgetting Jenson the dog who is 8 but still thinks he’s a puppy, particularly when running round with the other two!)

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Watching my beautiful family grow and change everyday. My children never fail to make me laugh, especially Sam’s never-ending commentary on life. Even when the questions drive me mad I can’t help but marvel at how such little people can be so enthusiastic and interested by the everyday stuff.

I love family days out – somewhere where we can all go together and wrap up warm and go for a long walk trudging through muddy puddles or to the seaside to play on the beach.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Sleep deprivation – I definitely drink more coffee these days! And constantly questioning yourself about whether you’re doing the right thing or handling tantrums the best way or if they’re eating enough vegetables… That can easily become a minefield! There’s so many ways to do everything that it’s about finding what works for your own family.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

‘This too shall pass’ – when the sleepless nights, or the breastfeeding troubles or any challenging stages seem like they will never end, remember they won’t be that way forever. So what if your baby is teething and has slept (safely!) in your bed for two weeks straight? It doesn’t mean that they will be there till they’re 18. Do what works for you and that you feel comfortable with to get through each challenging stage.

Trust your judgement and don’t feel like you’ve got to take anyone’s advice (because people will give it whether you want it or not! Haha)

And do not be afraid to ask for help – it takes a village to raise a child, so if your best friend offers to take the baby for a walk so you can shower and take a nap – great! You will feel so much better and happy mummy = happy baby.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have learnt to trust myself more and perfected the art of juggling! Working, studying, being pregnant and mum to a one year old was super hard but with support and determination I got though it. I might never finish a conversation anymore but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

My best mum photo is this one because….

To be fair, this isn’t my favourite but it’s my most recent.  I think I need to up my game with the #my18in18 challenge that Bev has set up! 😉

my mum story chrissy hampshire

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My Mum story#5.  Meet Susan Rushworth

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story

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?

My Mum #5. Meet Susan Rushworth

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #5.  Meet Susan Rushworth!

Susan Rushworth is married to Alistair.  She has a boy called Harry plus Freddie, the schnauzer dog.  All three are her world.

I am Mum to….

Harry, aged 13.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Cuddles, even at 13.

Watching your child take on life using the skills you’ve helped them to develop is pretty amazing.

The smile on their face when they have achieved something independently – it’s amazing!

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Being told that your child doesn’t fit ‘in the box’  and that they need extra support. Having to find alternative ways to help your child understand the world around them and cope with the challenges of everyday tasks can be challenging but at the same time this is also the best bit of being a Mum!

Every day I tell Harry to never give up and always try his best.  Every night after school he tells me he’s tried his best and one new thing he has learnt today.  It’s magical.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

Be kind to yourself!!!

Don’t ever compare your child’s achievements as they are all so different.

Do what you feel is best for your family.

Accept offers of help and advice.  You never know when you are going to need it.  In other words, just embrace it and accept it as it comes from a place of good!

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have learnt to be more patient than ever before!

Have spoken to strangers about sleep (lack of it), routines and behaviour strategies.

Have gained an Early Years qualification to help me understand Child Development.  To begin with it was so I could support my son, but this is now my full time career and one I’m very passionate about.

My best mum photo is this one because….

This is when Harry was awarded commendation for progress and presented with an award by Sir Kevin Sinfield and Mr Meadowcroft. THE best feeling ever!!

My Mum Story Susan Rushworth

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My Mum story#3 Meet Rachel Evans

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story

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?

My Mum #4. Meet Claire Basterfield

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #4.  Meet Claire Basterfield!

I am Mum to….

2 energetic and loving boys: Max 3 ½ and Harry 18 months.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

watching your child grow and learn new things every day.  It’s also pretty special to see the world through your child’s innocent eyes.  They see the world in its purest form, they have no prejudice, no hate, no pre-conceived ideas about what they should or shouldn’t like, they are just busy loving life.  That in itself is pretty special.

I love watching how my children’s relationship is developing.  I won’t pretend it is all love and cuddles, they wind each other up and they fight.  But those moments when you can see the love in their eyes for each other is priceless.  When I was pregnant with Harry a work colleague told me that I was giving Max the best gift he could ever receive, a friend for life.  Now when I look at the boys and evaluate my own relationship with my brother, I realize that my work colleague was absolutely right. Finally the friends I have made.   I have been incredibly lucky as motherhood as given me a whole new circle of friends who happen to be pretty awesome.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Sleep deprivation is an actual form of torture and I’m not sure enough recognition is given to that.   People know that babies don’t sleep.  But the reality of not getting enough sleep has very physical and psychological impacts.

The fact that when you become a mum everybody thinks they have a say on your parenting style, giving out unwanted advice.  Whether is breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, baby led weaning or spoon weaning, pram vs sling everybody will have an opinion on every aspect of parenting.  Everybody parents differently and the sooner we embrace these differences and just support each other the better!

Tantrums!!!!  My sons appear to be kings of tantrums and I really struggle with them.  The more I struggle the more I feel like I am failing them due to mum guilt!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

listen to everybody’s pearl of wisdom, read all of the recent research and then trust your gut.  Every family is different and therefore what works for one family wont necessary work for another.  Even through the most rubbish of days remember that nothing lasts forever and they are only little for such a short time.  Get out of the house and get yourself to a local baby group.

Making Mum friends has literally been a lifesaver for me.  Those special women have saved my sanity on more than one occasion.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have changed beyond recognition.  I have always been a bit of a diva at heart and whilst pregnant, one of my biggest fears was how I was going to put another person first.  And yet here I am putting two small people not only first but at the heart of everything I do.

Breastfeeding taught me determination and perseverance that I never knew I had.  I have also learnt to be much more patient (possibly not with the hubby!).

I know this is a cliche but I  have never know love like the love I have for my boys.  Yes I love my husband, my mum, my brother and my friends.  Hell on a good night I love the whole pub!  But that love for your child is something else.  It is a pure raw animalistic instinct that you cannot fully appreciate or know until you have children of your own.

My best mum photo is this one because….

this was our last little outing at a local farm before I returned to work after having the little one.

my mum story claire basterfield

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My Mum story#1 Meet Debbie Wright

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story

My Mum #3. Meet Rachel Evans

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #3.  Meet Rachel Evans!

Rachel is 32, married mum of 3 young children. She’s a lover of family days out, days at the (UK) beach and of course cheese & wine. She also keeps a blog about her family life and aims to keep local families up to date with what’s on. You can check out her page here

I am Mum to….

Joshua aged 5 and Oscar and Isla who will be 2 years old this March.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Watching my children grow and develop, everyday as they learn the way of the world they surprise me and make me so proud. The unconditional love is an amazing feeling and there’s nothing like it.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Trying to fit everything and everyone in is something I find very challenging as a mum. On a daily basis I try to spend time with my twins together but also individually, with my eldest after school, also as a family but with my husband also. Then there’s the mountain of homework, the ever growing washing pile, housework etc etc, the list keeps growing! I try to take a step back, think about what’s important and try not to worry too much. Surely that housework can wait whilst we head to the park?!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

Don’t compare yourself to other mums and realise it’s OK to give yourself a break! Remember your not in competition with anyone.

I try to remember that in the future, my children will remember spending time & playing with their mum rather than how tidy the house was. They really do grow up fast (I know everyone says it, but it’s true!), soon enough they won’t want cuddles or to play with mummy. Us Mums can be our own worst enemies, just take a break and remember that we have the best and hardest job in the world!

My best mum photo is this one because….

Sorry, I take too many photos (can you really have too many?) to be able to choose one best mum photo!

My Mum story rachel evans

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My Mum story#2 Meet Tracy Buckley

My Mum story#1 Meet Debbie Wright

My Mum Story

My Mum #2. Meet Tracy Buckley

saddleworth tameside family photographer

My Mum Story #2.  Meet Tracy Buckly!

Tracy is aged 46, a mum of 2, and partner to one long suffering man . Lover of cake, prosecco, fairy lights and swearing. Tracey is obsessed with those little leaflets of attractions you pick up at service stations. She lives opposite the pub which is always a good thing when you have children( apart from when they ask really loudly ‘are we going to the pub again ?’

I am Mum to….

Frankie, 5 and Scarlett, 3.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

The best bits about being a mum are … The absolute unconditional love you feel for your children, seeing them grow and learn about everything, being able to relive my own childhood by doing the things with them that my mum did with me, doing things all the time that I wouldn’t do if I didn’t have kids…and absolutely loving it! But mainly that having them has made me a better person.

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

THE FEAR! The fear we didn’t have before children which now permeates everything! ‘What if they fall over that bridge/ fall on a knife in the dishwasher/ fall down the stairs/ get abducted/ get ill / fall over a cliff etc etc.  Followed closely by ‘what if I get ill/die/have an accident etc.  Before children I skipped through life throwing blasé comments around ‘ooh when your times up, it’s up!’ …oh yes I’ll do that bungee jump off the highest bridge in the world, no problem!’ No one tells you about the fear because you think it won’t happen to you but it does! Because suddenly you are in charge of little people who rely solely on you to keep them safe and alive every day… No pressure mums!

The sudden realisation that you are in charge of making your child into a good and decent human being!  Which means sometimes being tough, lots of tears and tantrums, lots of soul searching and conversations with each other ‘are we doing this right?’  We can only do the best we can, can’t we?  I am a firm believer that if your child knows how loved they are and that you can teach them to be as honest and open as possible then you are going in the right direction.

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

Not to judge other mums….we are all doing our best! ( And before I became a mum I was the judgiest person ever so I’m talking from experience !!)

To follow your own instincts….advice is fab and I love to hear about other mums experiences with things but you know your own child better than anyone so follow your instincts.

Let other people help you!  We all need friends, and help can always be reciprocated so if someone offers to help you out… Don’t be a martyr… accept it gratefully! (especially if it means having a few hours of precious time for yourself!)

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have learnt to be waaaaay more patient than I ever was before!
Have perfected the art of multi tasking to a fine art, not to mention having 3 conversations at the same time, mainly about nonsense.
Have found myself hiding in the utility room eating a cream egg so I don’t have to share it.
Have had more conversations about poo than I care to imagine.
With strangers.
Have found myself sympathising with Daddy Pig because everyone picks on him.

But mostly, I feel part of a team…..MY team! With my cheerleaders there at every opportunity to make me crack into a big smile and thank the universe every day that I have them!  (apart from when they ask me if I’ve still got a baby in my tummy!)

My best mum photo is this one because….

Obviously I have cheated on this one because I have thousands of photos and it pains me to have to pick one!  But mainly I love these photos simply because the happiness is radiating out of every bit of us all!

my mum story #2 tracy buckley

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My Mum story#1 Meet Debbie Wright

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story

My Mum Story grows….

saddleworth tameside family photographer

Last year, I blogged about My Mum Story, something, I am super passionate about!  In essence, Mum’s need to get in more photos, it’s as simple as that!  This year, I’ve committed to taking 18 photos of myself in 2018 – so far so good!  Consequently, I’ve decided to expand My Mum Story to other Mums, so here is the start of a new initiative that is purely an extension of My Mum Story.

We all know that being a Mum is hard.  Conversely, it’s the best job in the world.  My Mum Story attempts to celebrate this. For me, I know I couldn’t do what I do without the help of other Mum’s.  Whether it’s a Whatsapp rant, a Facebook bursting of pride post, a quick natter on the phone, or googling for help from other Mum’s, it happens.  Whilst sipping a midweek hot coffee with no kids around me (which now happens for six hours a week!) I thought it would be lovely to share other Mum stories on my blog.

My Mum Story #1.  Meet Debbie Wright!

Debbie is a 30 something year old working mum of 2 energetic little boys. She enjoys reading, eating out, exercising, holidays, family time and spending time with friends. She is a girly girl at heart, although being surrounded by all things blue means she doesn’t get to express this part of herself as often as she’d like so when she get’s the chance she likes to pamper myself with a cheeky face mask, nail painting session or trip to the local salon.  Debbie always feels that it recharges her batteries and makes her feel better about herself and that she is ready to take on the world!

I am Mum to….

Raphael 3.5 years and Xavier 17 months.

The best bits about being a Mum are….

Cuddles, giggles and watching your small people live, learn and grow!

The most challenging bits about being a Mum are….

Tantrums, sleep deprivation and mummy guilt!  The best way to get over it is caffeine, chocolate, wine, patience and a sound proof pantry to sit in and rock! Haha!

The best piece of advice I could give other mums is….

Accept help, ask for help and recognise when you need help. Having the support of my family has been incredible and I don’t know what I would do most days without them.

Since I’ve become a Mum I….

Have learned that no matter what difficulties you are facing you are not alone. We’re all fighting one great big parenting battle to raise well rounded little humans and we are all doing the best we can. So take a deep breath and remember that tomorrow is a new day!

My best mum photo is this one because….

It is of me and my mum and then my boys with their Mum (me!) It also has memories of a special day out.

 

My Mum Story Debbie Wright

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Did your #bestnine2017 photos have the same problem as mine?

My Mum Story

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!

4 reasons not to have your photographs taken in winter – not!!

oldham family photographer

If I had a shiny pound coin for every time I heard someone say that winter is not the time to have photographs taken, my piggy bank would be full!! Let me dispel four myths for you that may just get you thinking differently….

Myth: It might rain

Yes it might! You need to decide beforehand if you and your family want to embrace the chance of rain (think colourful macs and funky unmbrellas and wellies) or reschedule, which is absolutely fine.  Personally I think it depends on what type of family you are, there’s no right or wrong. Saying that, weather apps are so predictable these days that often a short spell of rain can pass. Given I usually only offer one shoot a day, we can be flexible with times.

Myth: Weather is bad in winter

Not true! I’ve taken some amazing photos particularly in November and January which could have been taken in spring.  The climate is so unpredictable these days that seasons merge into each other.  Bad weather can strike in summer too.  For example, the heavens absolutely opened before this wedding last August!

oldham wedding photography

 

Myth: It’s too cold

True, it might be! However, I work quickly and efficiently to avoid lots of standing around and waiting. Once you have decided on your outfit choices (of which I can share useful guides with you to help you decide) you can layer up and wear your big coat in between photos.  Plus, we can always work inside and outside if you prefer. The choice is yours!

Myth: You need a hot sunny day for photos

This is my biggest bug bear! Take a look at this photo taken in South Africa many moons ago.  Harsh shadows cover me and I can’t even open my eyes!  When the sun is at its highest and brightest, harsh shadows and hot spots appear which we don’t want! Not flattering at all! The beauty of winter is that clouds can act as diffuser to the sun which is perfect!

So, what do you think now?

Can you see how winter photography can be a good idea?  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

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

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

I am actually an Aunty!

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

He is here!

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

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

No pressure then…

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

 

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

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

Peter, welcome to the world!

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Welcoming Victoria Grace to the family

The six biggest lessons I have learnt as a photographer

The Truth:  Why are photographers are so expensive?

A day in the life of… #4 Aimee Belmore at the Saddleworth Independent

a day in the life

A day in the life of… continues with a new guest!

Following on from my third  ‘A day in the life of…’ from Gemma Cooke, I am now pleased to share with you another local story from the Saddleworth Tameside area.  Apologies for not keeping these posts as frequent as I should but it has been non stop!

Aimee has one of those ‘wow’ jobs that I am sure everyone wants to know about so I am going to let her get on and tell you!

A day in the life of… #4 Aimee Belmore at the Saddleworth Independent

So, tell my followers, what do you do?

I am Editor in Chief of Local Communications Limited, running four community newspapers.

What does your typical day look like?

We have a team based in our office from 9am-5pm so I work from there. I do interviews and take pictures for articles, meeting a variety of people in businesses, schools and the community so I can write about their successes and achievements. I also co-ordinate my team of writers, sales staff and designers and organise the content and layouts for each of our papers, as well as updating our websites with stories and pictures.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love going out and meeting interesting people on a daily basis who have done a huge variety of wonderful things. From young children who are showing off what they have done at school to a 100-year-old celebrating her birthday, it is lovely to get to the heart and soul of the community I live in.

What are you most proud of in your job?

We produce newspapers that are well-loved and widely read by the community, and we have become an important and recognized voice for sharing community news, views and issues.

What or who inspires you?

We have an energetic and enthusiastic team who are eager to provide the best paper they can for the community, and they continue to inspire us with their achievements, campaigns, and successes which deserve to be recognised.

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

Always work hard but enjoy what you do as well!

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

My iphone, Haribo and my cat.

What is your favourite photo of all time?

This is my favourite photo – it is me and my husband outside the church at our wedding in Greenfield in June 2016. Lots of happy memories but also – you can’t tell but just literally out of shot is a load of scaffolding around the church which our photographer was really careful to avoid getting in!

a day in the life of Aimee Belmore

 

To keep up to date with all things in Saddleworth, visit Saddleworth Independent for more information.

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Celebrating Small Business Saturday

The six biggest lessons that I have learnt as a photographer

A day in the life of…. Rachael Smith from Moorland Holistic, Saddleworth, Tameside

 

Why investing in professional photography could be a wise move in 2018

I love Birthday and Christmas time

Precious time with family and friends, gift and cards galore make for happy times. Time comes and goes so fast that such milestones are the pillars of the year that often hold family memories together. I’m lucky enough to often get cash as gifts and always place it in my special money box.  I like to make sure that I actually spend it on something that matters, as opposed to it getting sucked up paying for groceries or bills.

But sometimes I get it horribly wrong

Why? Research tells us that experiences outweigh any physical gift and leave a bigger and longer lasting mark. Just think about gifts you have received or money you have spent in the last twelve months and ask yourself if you are still using them? I’ll never forget I badgered my parents for a sewing machine a few years ago.  I am ashamed to say that I have only used it twice. The guilt and regret gets me every time I see it lying under a dust sheet in our spare room.

Is it time to do things different in 2018?

Instead of making those same mistakes again, think about my four reasons why spending money on family photography could be the best investment you make in 2018.

  1. It lasts and lasts for generations to come.

    A classic, well composed, high quality photo can sit on a mantelpiece for years. Outweighing any fad of a present, it is a piece of history that remains with your family forever.

  2. It’s an investment in you because you deserve it.

    Time passes so quickly that you deserve to take the time to appreciate your family for what it is just now. We all do it, complain, particularly when it comes to little ones, about how quickly they grow and develop. Creating a suite of photographs that document time standing still will ensure there is no regrets of “I wish I had taken that photo…..”  NOTE – Mums, I am talking directly to you as you are often your own worst enemy!

    A Mums Story. Take that photo!

  3. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

    If you choose an affordable photographer who provides excellent value for money which includes the digital images, you can use the images to create gifts for friends and family. Whether this be a thank you gift to the person who gave you the funds to buy the photos in the first place, to Mother’s and Father’s Day gift, the choice is yours! We are so lucky these days to be able to purchase everything from the usual frames to mugs, t shirts and phone covers.  Here is just one of the creative things my clients have done in the past!

  4. A photographer can take better, higher quality, creative photos which can include everyone in them!

    There is usually at least one person in every family who hates having their photograph taken but a good photographer will always ensure that everyone feels comfortable and relaxed. There’s no denying either that the quality of photographs taken by a professional photographer just can’t be replicated from an iPhone either.

    oldham family photographer

  5. Photographers can also work magic like this!

    Look carefully, how many things can you see that are different and take away distractions?  This takes time and skill to achieve!

Life’s too short for regrets. Don’t let a lack of family photographs be a regret in your life. Regardless, just make sure that, if nothing else, you spend your gift money wisely this year.

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The truth:  Why are photographers SO expensive?

The blog post which brought me to tears!

READ THIS:  For men who hate having their photograph taken

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

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

oldham family photographer

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

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

One of my favourite places

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

You can never have enough family photos

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

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

oldham family photographer

I just love my job!

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

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

oldham family photographer

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

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Autumn family photography makes me smile with the fabulous Faye!

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

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

Weddings with loads of children equal loads of fun!

oldham tamside wedding with children

The best weddings have loads of children!

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

Oldham wedding Chadderton Town Hall

The excitement was tremendous!

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

Oldham wedding Chadderton Town Hall

A gorgeous ceremony

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

Oldham wedding Chadderton Town Hall

My favourite kind of colours

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

Oldham wedding Chadderton Town Hall

 

 

 

A cake too good to eat!

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

Fun times with all of the children

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

Oldham wedding Chadderton Town Hall

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My love of weddings for couples with small children

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

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

A cake smash with the best twist EVER, EVER!

A cake smash with the best twist EVER, EVER!

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

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

Getting to know my clients makes for better photos

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

 

cake smash oldham tameside

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

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

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

cake smash oldham tameside

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

8 reasons I love photography!

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

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

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

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

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

May I introduce you to the gorgeous Emily!

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

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

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

Newborn baby photography

Newborn baby photography

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Welcome to the world beautiful Francesca!

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

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

Seven things to ‘nail’ your Halloween photos this year

halloween photography

Halloween gets more magical each year in our house!

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

  1.   Request their best impressions

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

 2.  Take them the day before

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

3.  Use alternative light

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

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

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

5.   Photograph with mask on AND mask off

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

 6.  Get down to their level

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

 7.  Remember the non people pictures

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

3 useful photo apps which will transform your photos

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

Newborn baby photography is the best!

Newborn baby photography

Newborn baby photography is the best!

 

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

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

Time is patience

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

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

Newborn baby photography

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Welcome to the world beautiful Francesca!

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

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

Baby bump photography with the loveliest of couples

Baby bump photography with the loveliest of couples

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

Thankfully, I have no regrets

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

Neither does Kate and Matt

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

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

Then it got emotional…

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

 

 

baby bump photography

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive?

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

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

first birthday photos oldham tameside

Cake smash photography is not the only way to celebrate

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

This is different in a brilliant way

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

It’s all about the story…

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

A lovely session was had by all!

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

Cake smash photography is not the only way to celebrate

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

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

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

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

A new milestone for Inspired By Joseph photography!

wirral family photography

A new milestone for Inspired By Joseph photography!

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

Scary, scary!

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

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

So much fun!

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

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

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

Always valuing my clients wishes…

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

wirral family photography

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

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

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

My love of weddings for couples who have small children

oldham wedding photography

The world of weddings!

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

Something for everyone

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

Being a Girl Guide has it’s advantages!

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

Oldham wedidng

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

I love how unique each wedding is

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

oldham wedding photography

Thank you Natalie

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

oldham wedding photography

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

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

All you need is love

Cake smash photography for toddlers is the way forward!

cake smash photography Saddleworth Tameside

Believe and it will come true!

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

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

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

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

This is what happened.

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

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

And then some!

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

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive

A day in the life of a portrait photographer 

Never miss that photo again

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

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

Saddleworth Tameside cake smash photography

Everyone hates talking about… pricing!

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

One experience left me in cold sweats!

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

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

There is something for everyone

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

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

There is how I roll….

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

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

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

 

My approach to pricing

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

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

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

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Eight top tips for choosing a photographer

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

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

 

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

school photography

Can you remember your first experience?

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

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

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

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

So that’s what I did.

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

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

school photography

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

school photography

 

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

school photography

So, what did Mum think?

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

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

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

Fancy getting involved?

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive

A day in the life of a portrait photographer 

Never miss that photo again

What I learned after my latest engagement photography session…

saddleworth tameside engagement photography

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

First, I turned back the clock.

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

Then I thought about how I felt now.

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

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

Then I got all excited!

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

Blessed with locations

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

The session flew by!

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

Partly because I love to chat!

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

Job done.

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

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive

A day in the life of a portrait photographer 

Never miss that photo again

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

baby bump photography

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

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

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

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

Make it count

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

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

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

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

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

baby bump photography

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The truth:  Why are photographers so expensive

A day in the life of a portrait photographer 

Never miss that photo again

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

The truth: Why are photographers so expensive?

Valentines Day at Dove Stone Reservoir, Saddleworth, Oldham

Why do photographers cost so much?

Put your hand in the bucket if you’ve ever wondered why photographers are so expensive.. Come on, I know you all have!  I know I used to before I created Inspired By Joseph photography.

But let me give you some home truths.  In reality, photographers aren’t expensive.  And like most things in life, you get what you pay for.

Let me show you

I want to illustrate with a blow by blow account of paying for a session with Inspired By Joseph photography.  And I stress this is absolute minimum from me, you can ask my previous clients if you don’t believe me!  So this is what a typical job, say a family session, looks like.

  •  Emailing back and forth with my client, arranging and organising the session and sharing ideas (1.5 hours +)
  • Preparing my equipment and sourcing/travelling for items or props I may need for the session, travelling to the session plus parking fees if applicable (2.5 hours +)
  • Photo session which includes reassuring my often nervous clients, comfort breaks for children, the actual shooting then return home (3 hours +)
  • Two stages of editing.  Culling through hundreds of photos to pick the very best ones plus editing such as colour correction and slight retouching. I don’t do removing wrinkles, birth marks etc! Clients won’t see the extent of editing that I will go to.  Moreover, take a look below at the many items I have removed from the first image to make it cleaner, focusing the eye on the right things, unlike the second image!  (4 hours+)
  • Uploading photos to my secure, password protected website and creating any further elements of the package such as frames, photo books etc (2 hours +)

So that’s an absolute minimum of 13 hours. Really it is an absolute minimum, I’m definitely not doing myself justice here I know.  As our American friends would say, you do the math…

And there’s more!

Oh, and there’s loads of costs to think about too!  Just absolute top line excluding photography equipment, training and client goods (frames, photo books etc) such as:

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Eight top tips for choosing a photographer

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

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

MUST READ: Never miss that photo again!

Joseph and Victoria having a moment

Never miss that photo again

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

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

1.  Get to the camera quicker

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

Tiny foot in parents hands make a heart

2.  Take photos in burst mode

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

When should we leave the camera alone

Celebrating baby Harry’s christening 

 

A day in the life of… #3 Gemma Cooke from Business Gem

a day in the life

A day in the life of… continues with a new guest!

Following on from my second ‘A day in the life of…’ from Rachael from Moorland Holistic, I am now pleased to share with you another local story from the Saddleworth Tameside area.  Gemma Cooke from Business Gem is a Virtual Assistant and a fab one at that, I’m talking from experience!!  Gemma is a fantastic asset to Inspired By Joseph and is like my magic fairy!  There are certain things that I just know if I pass them to Gemma, she can work her magic in a way I just can’t!  I cannot recommend her enough.

#3  A day in the life of Gemma Cooke, Virtual Asisstant, Business Gem

So, tell my followers, what do you do?

I am a Virtual Assistant with a HR background.  You may wonder what a Virtual Assistant (or VA) is, well, VA’s are similar to an office assistant, administrator or PA with the main difference being that with today’s technology, VA’s work remotely from their own office and often have multiple clients.  I offer a range of administrative and HR services on a retainer or one off basis and a couple of the great benefits to my clients are that they are not responsible for employee benefits as I am self-employed, plus they only pay for the work I carry out which is useful for when workload has peaks and troughs.  I am there to take administrative burden from my clients supporting them to grow their business.

What does your typical day look like?

In a nutshell, no two days are the same in terms of the work I do.  I try to have some kind of routine to my day as I balance my work with being with my 2 children age 3 and 11 months.  I tend to get up earlier than the children (luckily, they are both relatively good sleepers!), and get myself prepped for the day – check and prioritise work, action anything urgent and have a quick look at my twitter feed.

Then, I get the children up and ready and do an activity with them, whether its playgroup, feeding the ducks, painting or playing football in the back garden.  After lunch, its nap time for the children and that’s when I grab a coffee and start work for my second stint of the day.  I could be doing anything from writing a job description, document preparation, audio or copy typing, website coding or email, calendar and workload management.  I love the fact that I offer such a variety of services and I can be so productive with my time.  

After nap time, it’s more child friendly activities with a spot of housework because 2 small children can certainly make a mess!  Then family dinner, bath and bed for the children and if I have any work to finish, now is the time.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Providing the support to assist my clients in growing their own businesses.  When I take a new client, I take time to understand their needs and their ethos and I manage their work and standards as if their business was my own.  I am often used as a sounding board for decisions and I have picked up many new skills and knowledge working with clients from a variety of industries.

On a personal level, I love the fact that the hours are so flexible so I can spend time watching my  children grow and thrive, plus I have the work life balance that I want.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard work and my days can be long, but it is worth it to be able to spend the time with my children which I wouldn’t have been able to do in employment.

What are you most proud of in your job?

I am always proud when my clients achieve, because I believe that I have played a part in that happening, even if just a small part, I still helped.  I’m also proud of actually taking the huge step to go self-employed with this idea I had whilst pregnant with my first born.  Having always been in employment, financially, it was a scary decision to make, but with hard work, passion and determination, I made it work!

What or who inspires you?

I have many things which influence and inspire me for different reasons.  My children inspire me because I want to be able to show them that whatever they want out of life, with hard work, they can make it work.  My husband inspires me to be strong during difficult times. In the world of business, Baroness Karren Brady inspires me in her role in a hugely male dominated industry.

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

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

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

Easy, and I’m glad its 3!  My husband, my son and my daughter.

What is your favourite photo of all time?

This is so hard because I have thousands of amazing photos of my family and it is so hard to choose just one, so I have gone for something that makes me smile every time I look at it….

This photo is of Parque Monumento Nacional Bariay in Cuba.  The reason why this photo is so special is that it was taken during the trip that I married my husband, plus the photo itself is of where Christopher Columbus first landed in Cuba in 1492.  This photo is displayed on a wall at home and brings back such lovely memories every time I look at it.  The place and the country are absolutely stunning (my photography skills do not do it justice) with fantastic, caring people. It was an amazing trip which I will never forget.

a day in the life of Gemma Cooke

For more information from Gemma, please visit her website or you can follow her on Twitter.

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Celebrating Small Business Saturday

The six biggest lessons that I have learnt as a photographer

A day in the life of…. Rachael Smith from Moorland Holistic, Saddleworth, Tameside

 

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

 

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

cake smash photography

You know I love a good cake smash

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

Superbaby

But where does the time go?

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

I’m doing it!

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

This is what happened….

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Welcoming Victoria Grace Ridyard to the family

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

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

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

cake smash photography

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

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

oldham photographer cake smash

Mum planned ahead with specific goals in mind

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

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

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

Mum let babies personality shine through

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

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

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

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

oldham photographer cake smash

 

Other blog posts you might find useful:

The sweetness of a cake smash

Check this out when you baby is eleven months old

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

 

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

 

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

keeping smaller children entertained at a wedding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

8 reasons why I love photography

Three quick tips to encourage you to take more photos now

 

READ THIS: Men who hate having their photograph taken

Men who hate having their photograph taken

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

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

Why some men hate having their photograph taken by a photographer

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

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

And here’s why…

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

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

These blokes look mighty fine!

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

Don’t take my word for it!

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

This was Nick’s interpretation:

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

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

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

This was Suzie’s interpretation:

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Eight top tips for choosing a photographer

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

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

 

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

4 Easter photo ideas to try with your family

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!), are off walking the beautiful Saddleworth and Oldham countryside 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 like we have below, 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 photo ideas

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.

 

Participate in a local event

There are tonnes of events happening in your local area so head out and about and document your day.  From farm visits, to egg hunts, there is bound to be something that summarises your Easter.  Furthermore, if you want to spruce photos up, check out my three useful apps here.

Easter photo ideas

 

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

 

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

baby and teddy love

Time to get the photo props out!

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

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

Teddies and dolls:

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

Teddy and baby love

Books:

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

Seasonal items:

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

Message boards or slogans:

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

Evans family photo shoot, wirral

Mirrors:

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

Anything with meaning:

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

My top 5 tips for taking better photos

The Duchess of Cambridge is spot on!

6 tips for the perfect christmas selfie

 

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

International Womens Day

Happy International Women’s Day

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

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

International Womens Day

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

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

Say thank you.

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

Give a little to a women who needs it.

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

The six biggest lessons I have learned as a photographer

8 reasons I love photography

 

Check this out when your baby is 11 months old!

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

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

Showcasing children’s personalities is sweet!

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

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

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

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

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

 

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

pancake day

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

Pre cooking photo.

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

Eating pancakes.

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

The finished article.

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

My favourite pancake recipe is lush!

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

pancake day

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

When should we leave the camera alone?

I shop local and support small businesses, do you?

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

 

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

birthday presents

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

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

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

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

1.  Start early

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

2.  Capture everyone

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

3.  Get in close

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

4.  Aim for a group shot

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

5.  Put the camera down

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

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

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

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

 

My new series. A day in the life of… #2 Rachael Smith from Moorland Holistic, Saddleworth, Tameside

a day in the life

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

Following on from my first ‘A day in the life of…’ from Debbie at Confidence Culture, I am now pleased to share with you another local story from Saddleworth Tameside.

#2  A day in the life of Rachael Smith from Moorland Holistic, Saddleworth Tameside

Racheael runs a business called Moorland Holistic.  Before I had children, I used to have the odd massage but since I’ve had children I have tried to make appointments with Rachael as one of my regular treats.  Ultimately, one of the few things that I can do just for myself!  As a busy mum, I rarely get a minutes peace let alone a minute to think and relax so having this time to focus on me does the world of good.  I particularly found these sessions very useful after giving birth so I can highly recommend it!  If like me, when you have a massage, you really want to feel the pressure and come away feeling like it has made a difference I can highly recommend Rachael, she is just fabulous!   Read more about Rachael’s story below…..

So, tell my followers, what is Moorland Holistic

Moorland Holistic is a complementary therapy practice located in Diggle, Saddleworth. We provide treatments such as Advanced Deep Tissue/Swedish massage, Advanced Aromatherapy, Advanced Reflexology, Hot Stone Massage, Hopi Ear Candling and Indian Head Massage.  We work with a range of different people who can be either struggling with muscular tension, aches/pains, complex conditions, stress, depression or people who are in need to some relaxation and pampering!

I began practicing complementary therapy in 2008 then opened a home-based treatment room in Greenfield. As the business and client base expanded, I needed bigger premises and more practitioners. I have been located on Sam Road in Diggle for two and half years now which has really taken off and grown into a busy Holistic therapy practice.

That’s good to hear!  What does a day at Moorland Holistic look like?

It’s very difficult to say as every day is different but first things first.. Kettle on!  On an average day I can have anything from 6-9 clients with various different treatment durations from 30 minutes to 2 hour appointments.

What is your favourite part of your job?

The relaxing nature of providing therapies.

What are you most proud of in your job?

The difference the treatments make to a client’s well-being whether this is releasing some muscle tension and easing their discomfort or providing the hour of relaxation and stress relief they just needed that particular week.

What or who inspires you?

My parents.

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

No amount of knowledge is too much, just keep going.

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

Ray Mears book on survival, a pillow and a saw.

What is your favourite photo of all time?

This is a campsite I go to at least once a year in Cornwall.. I have gone here from the age of about 2 years old with my family where we all stayed in a touring caravan.  Me and my partner now take our own caravan and we meet them down there so this picture reminds me of all the wonderful family holidays I have had!

A day in the life of Rachael Smith, Moorland Holistic, Saddleworth, Tameside

 

For more information from Rachael, please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/moorlandholistic

http://www.moorlandholistic.co.uk/

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Celebrating Small Business Saturday

The six biggest lessons that I have learnt as a photographer

 

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

Saddleworth photographer

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.

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.  In summary, 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!

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.

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.  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

 

Eight top tips for choosing a photographer

Eight top tips for choosing a photographer

If you are thinking about working with a photographer, it can be a nervous thought.  In reality, there are so many photographers out there.  With so many different collections and packages it can be overwhelming to decide which one is right for you and your needs.  Often, just the thought of trying to pick a photographer is enough to put you off even trying! I get it, honestly I do.  However, why not take a look at the below eight top tips that will guarantee you pick the best photographer for your needs.

  1. The photographers style

Every photographer has their own creative style.  At the same time some like to work in black and white, others stay classic whilst others like to modernise through post production editing.  Photography is subjective and is interpreted differently by different people.  Choose a style which closely aligns to your artistic style. Therefore, one of the best way to do this is to check out galleries on their website and ask yourself, is this the type of work that I would like to hang on my wall? If you want to check out my style, take a look here.

  1. The photographers personality

I cannot emphasise this point enough.  Ordinarily, having your photograph taken can be an overwhelming experience.  You need to know that you can build a rapport with your photographer.  Some people might prefer to have a male photographer over a female or vice versa.  For this reason, you might be able to gauge a photographers personality through visiting their website but don’t be afraid to pick up the phone.  I offer a complimentary chat before I take on any new clients just to check that we are compatible and that I can answer any questions ahead of time.

  1. Photographers location and where you would like your photographs taken

Some people like to travel to a studio for their photographs.  Conversely, others like to stay in the comfort of their own home whilst others like to venture into the great outdoors.  Perhaps you want a mix?  Talk this through with your photographer ahead of time so that this can be factored into your package.  I, personally, do not have a studio, opting to work in clients own environments as I find this helps to relax and have fun.  I also work outdoors to capture my clients enjoying the goodness of the fresh air and amazing scenery we have here in the North West.

  1. Value for money

Photography is a considered purchase, it’s not a necessity like a loaf of bread. Therefore, you need to stay realistic with you budget so that costs stay within your limit.  One of the very important questions you need to ask during your research is what is included in the package.  There are a range of fees that could be included in your package such as a studio fee, cost for digital images and cost for prints or framed prints.  This may range from just a few photographs to all of them taken at the session.  Some photographers may offer you a headline fee with say, five prints then you pay extra for more or for them digitally.  As a result, always ask for these costs upfront so that you can budget for them ahead of time.

At Inspired By Joseph my philosophy is simple.  If I’ve taken the time to photograph a client and edit all of the photos, you can have them all digitally.  In reality, they are not useful to me, they aren’t going to hang on my living room wall!  Plus I know from experience that everyone likes different photos, what you like is different to Grandma, Dad, brother etc!  You can see my collections here.

  1. Photographers speed and flexibility

Are you in a rush for your photographs?  Ask how long it will take to receive them.  It may be that you see proofs first online, then may need to narrow down a selection for printing, then wait for the printing and framing.  Or you might just receive all the files digitally in one go.  This is how I work at Inspired By Joseph and I aim to produce all of the photographs to you in super quick time on a secure, password protected website!

  1. Level of personalisation

As I’ve alluded to earlier, photography is subjective.  In reality, some photographers may have quite a fixed way or style of working, whilst others might offer more flexibility.  For example, if you have certain props that you would like to use or a ‘must have’ photo, have that chat beforehand.  In other words, that pre chat is so important!

  1. Your rights to the images

Check out who retains the copyright for your images and always let the photographer know whether or not you consent to them using your photographs in thier marketing material.  You might find this blog post useful.

  1. Recommendations and reviews

I’ve left one of the most important til last.  Ordinarily, you can’t beat asking friends and family for personal recomendations. They will be very honest with you I am sure.  In addition, check out reviews online from google, facebook or other such websites.  As a result, these can often lead to questions too which can be helpful for the pre chat.  You can check out my kind words here.

Is there anything else you think of?  Please let me know by commenting below.  If you have any general questions, please do contact me.  At Inspired By Joseph photography, I am super passionate about making sure I can fit my clients needs before we work together.  I am always happy to direct you to other local photographers who might be more suited to you based on your needs.

 Customer reviews Inspired By Joseph

Other blog posts you might find useful:

A day in the life of a family photographer

Three quick tips to encourage you to take more photos now

8 reasons why I love photography

 

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

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

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

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

What do I choose?

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

How do I decide?

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

Social media is not the only way

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

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

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Three useful photo apps that will help you create better photographs

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

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

When should we leave the camera alone?

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

Watching the inauguration got me thinking…

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

I believe it is about choosing wisely

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

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

The 6 biggest lessons that I have learned as a photographer

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

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

a day in the life

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, tell my followers, what is Confidence Culture?

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

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

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

What is your favourite part of your job?

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

What are you most proud of in your job?

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

What or who inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

What is your favourite photo of all time?

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

Debbie Palmer, Confidence Culture

 

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

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

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

https://www.confidenceculture.com/

@debbieapalmer

Other blog posts you might find useful:

Celebrating Small Business Saturday

The six biggest lessons that I have learnt as a photographer

 

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

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

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

I love a personal mission

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

Challenge accepted.  How did I do?

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

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

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

1.  Put the camera down

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

2.  No clock watching

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

3.  Educate and inspire

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

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

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

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

Other blog posts you might find useful:

3 quick tips to encourage you to take more photos now

I love photographing children!

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

 

Celebrating baby Harry’s christening in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester

Baby Harry's christening

Celebrating baby Harry’s christening in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester

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

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

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

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

Harry's christening celebration

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

cake smash

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

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

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

My current, favourite five local businesses to support

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

small-business-saturday-uk-logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

baby bump photography

A day in the life of a portrait photographer

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

It’s all in the prep

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

Arriving ahead of time

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

Hello Clients!

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

 

sam with his car in alexandra park, oldham

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

Time to review

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

Sneak peek

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

 

baby bump

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

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

 

 

 

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

Joseph playing

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

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

  1. Change your hold stance

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

    2.  Check out the light

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

    3.  Use the rule of thirds

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

    4.  Remove unwanted clutter

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

3 Useful Photo Apps that will help you create better photographs

beautiful Oldham photography

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

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

Instagram

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

Diptic

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

Pic Collage

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

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

Take 5 minutes to read this too!

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

 

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

The 6 biggest lessons that I have learned as a photographer

Mamma with baby in a sling looking to the distance

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

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

  1.  THE RATE OF CHANGE WILL NEVER SLOW

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

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

Great to do list apps

  1. TECHNOLOGY IS BAD AND GOOD

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

  1. ITS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT SMILING

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

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

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

Feedback from my clients

  1. APPRECIATING THE SMALL

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

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

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

6 tips for the perfect selfie

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

 

 

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

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

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

I get it.  Honestly I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three top tips from Inspired By Joseph Photography!

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

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

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

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

I am here to help.

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

 

 

Take 5 minutes to read – you MUST do this!

Picture the scene.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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