Bucks Open Studios

Last summer I participated in Bucks Open Studios with a number of fellow artists. Bucks Open Studios happens across the county over two weeks in June, when over 200 local artists (from photographers to sculptors to jewellery makers to artists) open their studios to the public to showcase their work.  It is a fantastic opportunity to meet the artists and get to see and experience their work first hand.  I was part of Studio 24 with fellow artists Claire Burke, Jo Hanrahan, Jane Wilson, Trevor Crompton and Paul Bell in a wonderful garden setting in Beaconsfield with views over the open countryside.

I was sharing the garden studio with Claire and Jane, and in between visitors they were painting away which was fascinating to watch as a blank canvas was transformed before our eyes into a work of art.  Amazing!

Jo Hanrahan (landscapes below from Jo) was our fantastic hostess who very kindly opened up her home and garden during the two weeks to a stream of interested visitors.  The kettle was always on and freshly baked cakes every day kept our visitors refreshed as they explored the work of the artists on show.


Bucks Open Studios is running again for two weeks in June 2015.  Sadly I will not be exhibiting again this year but I am looking forward to the opportunity to visit other local artists – including of course those at Studio 24 – to see what they have on show.

 

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Location portrait sessions

Wonderful weather in the summer meant lots of opportunity to get out of the studio and enjoy the outdoors.  With autumn now upon us there are still some lovely mild days and the autumn colours will be looking fabulous for location shoots.  Some families prefer to have an outdoors family portrait session rather than the studio – this can work particularly well with larger groups, dogs and for families who prefer the freedom of the outdoors to the confines of the studio.  Every location portrait session will be different as the locations, weather, colours and light change according to the time of year and seasons, so it offers the opportunity for a truly unique portrait session.  I am happy to travel to local areas around Beaconsfield, including Amersham, Marlow, Chalfont St Giles, Burnham etc, all of which offer a range of different and colourful settings.

This family had four children and a young dog, and were keen to have their shoot in the local woods and countryside near Marlow where they often walk, so off we went.  Blessed by a beautiful September day, the setting was perfect and after some shots in the woods themselves we found ourselves in a lovely open setting with space for the kids and dog to run about.

 

Having the freedom of space on a location shoot can be great for letting children “be themselves” and result in wonderfully spontaneous photos, allowing the children to interact with each other in a more relaxed way than is feasible in the studio.

If you are interested in having a location family shoot then do get in touch with me to discuss where and when might be the best place for your session.  Your photos will be truly unique!

 

 

 

 

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The importance of a professional headshot

Having a professional headshot has never been more important than now, with the continuing growth of the internet and social media.  People make very quick, sometimes snap decisions about what to look at when on-line, and the impression you create with your headshot is one of the factors that will  contribute to the overall impression they form about you and your company.  Having a professional headshot is your opportunity to portray who you are, what you want to say about your brand and to send a message about how you do business.  If you haven’t taken the time to present a professional appealing headshot image then your customers may well question your attitude to quality and customer service in other aspects of your business.

So what does “professional” mean in this respect – and what is the difference between a professional headshot and one that a friend with a good camera might be able to take?  Well I think the difference lies in a number of different areas.

Firstly, an understanding of your requirements is critical, and this is probably the most important, both in terms of how you intend to use the image, and the sort of brand or image you wish to create.  A professional photographer will discuss how and what the headshot is to be used for, whether you are looking for a fun, informal image or something more traditional and formal.  Where you would like the headshot to be taken – in the studio or on location?  Black and white or colour?  Colours that are important?  What to wear? There are different technical requirements  for an image that will upload easily to websites/ social media sites, compared to ones that will be used on printed media, and a professional photographer will understand the different resolutions and colour profiles required.  Similarly, it is worth considering who and how the image will be viewed.  If it is a headshot for Linked In or Twitter and it is viewed on a mobile device, it may be no more than 2 cms big, whereas a profile article on a website would be displayed much larger.  Many businesses deal with more than one type of customer and may want a different profile picture or headshot for the different channels.

A second important consideration is equipment – having the appropriate range of equipment to create a suitable image.  This will obviously include the camera, but also different lenses, lighting, studio equipment etc.  A headshot taken on location may require a different camera and lens from one taken in the studio, and a professional photographer will understand what is required for different types of photography.

Another area that is important is that of posing.  Different body shapes, skin colours and clothing types will lend themselves better to different poses, and a professional photographer will know how to get you looking at your best, and how to accentuate your best features, and minimise those you are less confident about.

A professional photographer will edit your photograph.  Most of the hard work has already been done in selecting the appropriate location, equipment, lighting, clothing and pose for the photograph.  However, there is always just a little bit of magic that can be done at the last stage to ensure that the colour range and balance is just right, skin blemishes are appropriately edited and the image is presented in the best possible way.  A decision about colour or black and white might be relevant too.

And a final word – do keep your headshot up to date.  Nothing is more disconcerting than finding out at a first meeting that the person in the photograph is actually ten years older than you thought!

 

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Spring photos

A little taste of what felt like summer over the weekend was fantastic, and all around we are beginning to see colourful signs of the arrival of spring.  Now is a great time to think about booking in for an outdoors photo session, where the natural world becomes your backdrop, rather than the confines of a studio.  Right now we have crocuses and snowdrops all around, April is great for Spring daffodils and of course the end of April and early May are when the beautiful bluebells make an appearance.   An outdoor or lifestyle shoot will be quite individual, according to your choice of location and the ever changing colours and textures of the setting.  Below are a few images from families taken last year – if you think that outdoor photos rather than studio might suit you or your family, then do contact me to chat about locations and dates.

 

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Teen photoshoot parties

Teen photoshoot parties continue to be really in demand, with 13-14 year olds the most popular age at which to do them.  They are a lovely idea for teenagers who are looking for something different.  I offer a photoshoot party for 4-8 girls at my home studio which means that I can do both “lifestyle” photos in the garden as well as studio photos.  Teens usually bring a selection of outfits from casual outfits to party dresses to pyjamas.  Depending on the age and preference of the guests I can tailor the shoot accordingly – some like more individual or fashion style photos while others prefer to do more of the group fun and silly photos.  There is generally plenty of time to accommodate a bit of both so that everyone gets a variety of photos both of themselves individually as well as with their friends.  I have a variety of props in the studio which we can incorporate into the shoot or groups can bring their own things along.  And if the girls are looking for some special treatment then I can arrange a make up artist to come along to make them look and feel gorgeous before their photos.

 

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