This portrait of Trudie Styler for Country Life Magazine’s feature on Irish Wolfhounds, was taken at Trudie and Sting’s residence in Wiltshire on a filthy winter’s day in December.
Portrait photography in the rain is always a challenge. Standing in a fast running river with water flowing in over the brim of my wellies, Lucy precariously holding my lighting in strong gusts of wind, 6 irish wolfounds on a bridge eyeing up potential fun in the water below, all whilst being overlooked by Sting – made it all the more exciting! Trudie also had her hands full with these enormous hounds so I’m not sure who was more relieved when all the elements came together within a few minutes and we captured the shot without any of the wolfhounds joining Lucy and I for a splash!
This was a truly memorable evening in aid of www.childbereavementuk.org, with performances & contributions from musicians, actors and authors including: Sir Tom Jones and Jools Holland, Bill Nighy, Ben and Marina Fogle, Brendan Cox, Michael Morpurgo, the Taplow Youth Choir and The African Gospel Choir. As a portrait photographer specialising in children photography, a mother of three gorgeous girls and wife to a wonderful husband, I am aware of how lucky I am. It is a wonderful to give back to a charity providing a lifeline to bereaved families.
This portrait commission for Country Life Magazine, accompanied an article in the issue on 22nd November 2017 about the Country House Foundation which offers grants to help the preservation of buildings of historical or architectural significance. Indeed, this charitable foundation has helped the Nick Ashley Cooper, the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, restore the St Giles House Estate, Wimborne St Giles, back to its former glory. The earl explained: “During the restoration, we wanted to showcase one room in its unrestored state. The Great Dining room seemed the perfect space to do that, with its bare brick walls and layers of history.”
My aim was create an informal portrait from an angle which best displayed these ‘layers of history’, with particular focus on the juxtaposition between the bare brick and remaining plaster. What you can’t see are the two new layers of history on the carpet where Hettie (taking pride of place on the chair) was sick when she came in!
Another very enjoyable portrait commission from Country Life Magazine: photographing Cecily Offord at home in Devon for the frontispiece with my great friend and very talented make up artist Amanda Jackson Sytner.
Although the weather was rather dreary, the light was soft and there was little wind – so great conditions for portrait photography. The only set back with soft lighting is that it’s flat and lacking in shadow which adds a depth and mood I love particularly in close up portraiture. However, I found an ideal location under a pergola offering opportunity for creating soft shadows, a lovely wall with plants growing up in the background, and soft light flowing in from the front and right. I positioned the chair towards the front on the right, where there was sufficient light behind to avoid her her being lost in the dark background, and angled it so as create some soft shadow on the left of Cecily (from the viewer’s perspective).
We then worked through a variety of poses on & around the chair, which resulted in a wonderful selection of stunning portraits. The combination of a stunning model, make up, red velvet jacket and set up all worked in my favour. The one Country Life chose is but one of my many favourites.
As a children and portrait photographer, I’m often asked to capture a family together. This is I think one of the most challenging jobs for a portrait photographer – everyone looking good at the same time in a not too cheesy pose! I have however learned over my years of photography that a family portrait doesn’t need to have everyone smiling perfectly at the camera. In fact, they tend to be more compelling if they look more natural and capture a moment. This requires a little forethought – composing the image and then creating the moment.
In this case, the brothers were all sitting on the bales of hay, when on cue, their father ran in to give them a good tickling, enabling me the change to capture a spontaneous image which exudes the fun, laughter and love shared between the father and his sons.
I find these type of family portraits far more meaningful and likely to stand the course of time. Indeed, I hope this photo will remind these boys of how much their father loves them… forever.
One of the many things I love about my job is returning to photograph the same children and families over the course of many years. I have been photographing these siblings every 2-3 years for over 15 years – now with a pretty unbeatable collection of A* A’Levels and GCSEs behind them, they were a far cry from the little rascals I photographed in my studio in London aged 4 and 2 years old!
I love the composition of this image – the sister on the fence smiling down at her younger brother, both looking happy, relaxed and confident, framed within the urban context in which they have grown up.
It is often said that you should ‘never work with animals and children’… However, as a Dorset photographer surrounded by children whose lives revolve around ponies & dogs, most of my local portraiture shoots involve both! This can often be a challenge, and I have certainly taken quite a few hilariously disastrous photos in the process; but with a little patience I often capture a really special image that pulls at the heart strings. This, for me, is one of them. Love really is…
What a privilege to return to photograph Kate Adie in her home town in Dorset, this time for a feature I was covering for Country Life Magazine, out this month. At 71 she looks incredible – perhaps her secret is keeping busy. Although her days of being a war correspondent may be over, she is certainly not one to sit still. Indeed she still works as a freelance journalist and public speaker, she presents ‘From our own Correspondent’ on Radio 4, is ambassador for various charities, and has written 5 books – including her best selling autobiography, ‘The Kindness of Strangers’.
I think this photo captures the essence of this remarkable lady – intelligence, humour, integrity, determination, strength and charm.
I’m just surfacing from a crazy couple of months of photography, with back to back weddings, school marketing & prospectus photoshoots, family portraits, Country Life editorial and frontispiece shoots, sculpture and new product shots and so forth. The highlight however was being commissioned to photograph another incredible Middleton wedding.
As the official photographer for Pippa Middleton & James Matthews’ wedding, I captured the bridal preparations, church service, formal groups, reception, speeches, departure and of course the fantastic party in the evening. It was a tremendous day and huge honour. I am one lucky Dorset photographer!
I would like to thank Dan Pangbourne, a fantastic photographer and great friend, for his help in setting up the lighting for the formal group photographs. These were a great success and I’m thrilled with the final images.
Working alongside with me for the rest of the day were photographer Matt Porteous, and film makers James O’Garra and Patrick Gather – all of whom were a joy to work with.
As a mother of three daughters myself, I love photographing girls.
There was something so special about these two sisters (aside from both being naturally beautiful and photogenic). A combination of their contagiously happy spirit, gentle confidence, humility, kindness, and deep routed love for each other. Whilst I captured a variety of stunning portraits of the two of them together (and individually), this image epitomises their relationship. The subjects don’t have to be looking into the your eye to capture your attention – a moment can be every bit as powerful. This was a moment for me.