Beginners Photography course

I recently started offering Photography Training workshops aimed at helping people to get the most out of their photography.  These days everyone carries round a camera in their pocket (aka  a phone), and whether you like to take photos with your phone or the latest digital SLR, there is so much to learn about photography and a little bit of knowledge goes a long way in term of transforming your photos from average to amazing.  My first two courses in Beginners’ Digital Photography were run at Studio Portobello  in Chesham.  Studio  Portobello offers courses on a wide variety of creative and interesting topics where you can spend a morning with friends learning something new or refining a talent you already have.  As well as photography, other courses as Studio Portobello have included cooking for friends, vegetable gardening, health and nutrition, and personal branding.  Check it out here!

My Beginners Photography course is all about getting hands on with your camera and understanding how to get it off Auto setting to really get the best out of it.  We mix some discussion about lighting, composition and colour with some practical elements so that everyone gets a chance to put into practice some of the theory we cover.  The group size is small so there is plenty of time for one to one discussion and sharing of views and images.

I hope that people go away filled with enthusiasm to get out there and experiment some more with their cameras, and we have our own Facebook group for course attendees so that people can share their images and get advice and feedback from within the group.

The next course is planned for Tuesday 17th March 2018 in Beaconsfield and there will be others later in the year so do get in touch if you are interested to find out more.  Or if you think this might make a good present for a friend then gift vouchers are available for future course dates.  See below for what some of the past participants had to say about the day ………




How to take photos of Fireworks

Bonfire night is nearly here, so I thought I would post a few useful tips for taking photos of them.  They are notoriously difficult to photograph well, so don’t be disheartened if you find it tricky to get that perfect shot.

Find your spot

You will want a decent amount of space rather than being in the middle of a crush of people, so it is worth getting to the display in good time to find your ideal spot.  Bear in mind that you will want to check your camera controls so you need to be somewhere with a little bit of light or to take along a torch so that you can see your camera buttons.

If you can find a location with a more interesting foreground or background then that is a bonus.  Fireworks themselves look great in photos but if there is foreground, even if it is just the backs of people’s heads, then this can add to the shot.

Fireworks South Korea

Beaconsfield 2011


Take the right camera kit

To take good fireworks photos you will need a tripod and ideally a remote shutter release.  In order to capture them well, your shutter speed will be quite slow so you cannot afford to have camera shake that will result from hand holding the camera.  Just a normal or wide angle lens will do the job better than a zoom lens.  Using a remote shutter release means that you don’t ‘jolt’ the camera by pressing the shutter – even this little movement can result in shaky photos.

Manual focus

This is one of the relatively rare occasions when you really want to turn the Auto focus on the camera OFF.  With the camera in manual focus, select a focus point very far away or set it to infinity.  Once this is set you don’t need to think about it any more.

Camera settings

I would suggest setting to a low ISO to avoid graininess in the image (eg 200) and an aperture of around f11.   You will need to experiment with the shutter speed and how long you need will depend on what fireworks are being set off – so it is a bit of a lottery as each one is different.  It’s really a case of trial and error and a little bit of luck as well, but typically you will have a shutter speed of between 1 and 5 seconds.  Obviously don’t use a flash and don’t have your camera in Auto or it will try to achieve a ‘well lit’ image which will be far too bright.

Enjoy the Display!

Try and enjoy the display.  It is easy to get so caught up in the technicalities of getting a great shot that actually you forget to watch and enjoy the fireworks display.  It’s only once a year, so make the most of it!



Photos in the bluebells

A taste of summer at the weekend and the first bluebells are already starting to flower – hooray!  I love to get into the bluebell woods to combine the natural beauty of these spring flowers with family photo sessions .. or just the kids for those shy parents out there.   One of my favourite shots of all is the one of my daughter in a green dress in the bluebells which I tend to use on a lot of my marketing.  This year the bluebells will be at their best in a week or so and I am currently taking bookings for bluebell shoots up until early May when they will be past their peak – it’s not a big window of opportunity but I can do sessions after school to capture the lovely evening light as well as at weekends.

Do get in touch if you would like to book a bluebell shoot with me by either calling on 07944 838045 or emailing me at



Photos with the family pet

What is it they say?  Never work with animals and children?!  One of the great things about my job is that I get to work with such a range of  clients – from corporate executives for business headshots, to families with animals and children, to teenagers or product shots.   After a few days of chasing toddlers round at a nursery, some product photography can be just what I need!   Often when photographing families, I get asked if I can take photos of the family pet as well – they are very much part of the family after all.  In the past this has included rabbits, cats, dogs and even the odd horse!  Needless to say, not all these shoots take place in my Beaconsfield studio and I think that animals are usually better photographed in the great outdoors where we will have the best opportunity of creating natural shots.

Adding an animal to the shoot will also change the whole dynamics of the session and provides a great diversion for camera shy children who can focus on playing or engaging with the animals involved rather than worrying about what I am up to and this can result in beautiful natural imagery that really evokes the relationships involved.



Commercial Photography

Commercial photography comes in many shapes and forms – from headshots to product photography to events, and this post explores commercial photography for companies offering with a  service proposition.  This can sometimes be more difficult to demonstrate than a physical product as the end result is somewhat intangible.  Often it is about conveying a feeling or emotion or a change in behaviour which makes the imagery less obvious in terms of what is required.  I was delighted to be asked to take photographs for Partners With You, a company offering Communication training.  They combine a passion for effective communication with experience in drama and presenting to assist business men and women in all aspects of communication – everything from pitching for business to elevator pitches to interview presentations.  We had great fun taking the photos for this shoot, trying to convey a variety of different emotions that might be experienced in the workplace.


Another recent client has been the Independent Education Consultants, who offer “timely advice for parents on all aspects of education. From choosing a school, assessment of special needs, transition at 7+, 11+, 13+ and 16+ to career planning and applying to university.”  For this shoot we gathered together a selection of children aged from 4 to 18 and had a great afternoon shooting all sorts of activities from football to lacrosse, reading, chilling, as well as some more posed shots for the ‘results day’ shot.




Looking for powerful imagery for your business?  Get in touch for a chat about your requirements!



claire - -

Jenny – thank you – we love the pictures and are getting some excellent use from them!

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