I honestly think that nothing beats a labrador puppy photoshoot. They are just too delicious for words. It took all the will in the world not to kidnap the lot and bring them home with me!
The aim here was to capture the ‘mother’ with her puppies before they all left for their new homes. The puppies’ confined space in the kitchen wasn’t remotely photogenic, and outside wasn’t really an option as they would all run wild. And then I spied the pram in the hall.
It took quite a bit of previsualisation, planning, setting up, and then training the mother to jump up onto the side of the pram. And then once they were all in place, I had about 5 seconds before chaos broke loose. But thankfully that was all we needed!
I love the way it looks as if the mum is really ‘nurturing’ her pups. The truth is she’s looking for the treat underneath one of her pup’s bottoms! Crafty!!
The saying never work with animals or children would put me almost instantly out of a job! As a children photographer, I find myself working with both all the time, and thankfully I love it! In fact I find the spontaneity that comes with pets often results in my favourite photographs from the day. This portrait from a children photoshoot near Newbury, Berkshire, is a classic example. The way the girl is rolling her head back exudes pure joy, love and happiness. I also love the dog’s crossed paws and patient expression. No doubt this is a result of years of being smothered with love, poked and prodded.
I often start a shoot with a ‘lightly’ staged group shot of you all together. I find it best to do this first thing when the children are fresh and most co-operative. It also provides a fall back if we don’t succeed in capturing a spontaneous family portrait. But I like to spend the majority of the shoot photographing your children at play, inside and outside. This might include cuddling their pets, climbing a tree, riding a bike, a game of cards, cooking etc. Whatever takes their fancy. These provide wonderful opportunities to capture informal and spontaneous images which best reflect your children’s personalities. They are also wonderful ‘story telling’ images which will remind you of their childhood.
Many of my clients opt for a photo album which includes all the images from the shoot. These are lifetime heirlooms which you will treasure forever. They can be any size, but I usually offer 12″ x 12″ as I find square the best format to display photographs. They can be embossed on the front and spine, and handbound in either pellaq or leather. My printer has the royal warrant, so it goes without saying that the paper is lovely and thick and the end result is top notch.
Please do get in touch if you are are thinking of booking a family or children photoshoot. I’m based in Dorset but happy to travel all over the country – I’m regularly in Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, London, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall. Do also look at some more examples of my children and family photography to give you a more extensive feel of my style of children and portrait photography.
Today I am sharing an example of my children photography with pets. I took this last summer in between lockdowns for a wonderful family, near Newbury, in Hampshire. This was my second shoot for them. We had so much fun and laughter together. And as a consequence we captured some wonderful, informal, natural and fun portraits which really capture their personalities.
Teenagers can be reluctant starters when it comes to a family photoshoot. But with 3 teenagers of my own, and 20 years of experience as a leading family portrait photographer, I’m quick to put them at ease. On arrival, the first thing we do is sit and chat around the kitchen table, so I can hear about what they enjoy doing, what makes them tick. Or not! I love to include their interests in the photo shoot. This could involve playing sport or a musical instrument, or hanging out with the family animals. This results in meaningful portraits which reflect their personalities. It also makes the shoot fun, which ensures the images are full of spirit and character.
On this visit the children wanted to be photographed with all their favourite pets, which included 3 dogs, 2 cats and lots of chickens. I love photographing children with their family animals, as they bring spontaneity. This often results in fun and unpredictable pictures. I love everything about this image: the light, the composition, the chicken’s tilted head and the boy’s expression. It is a natural, candid moment which captures his sense of humour, spirit and love of animals. It’s such a joy to capture those impromptu moments.
If you would like to find out more about my teenager and young children photography, please do take a look at the link. And if you’d like to book a shoot with your family once lockdown has lifted, please do email me at [email protected]
This is David Wilson, Farm Manager at the Duchy Farm Estate in Gloucestershire, chosen by HRH The Prince of Wales as a Country Champion for his guest edited issue of Country Life Magazine, celebrating his 70th birthday.
Whilst lying on the grass to capture this portrait, I spotted the emergence of a gap to the right behind David; seizing the moment and the potential for a perfectly framed image, I rolled quickly (through a freshly laid cowpat) so that the gap was directly behind him. My coat still bears hints of the evidence but it was worth it!
They say ‘never work with animals or children’ and yet I spend most of my working life doing exactly that… and LOVE it. Especially when the impossible all comes together, which it did in this image. We probably had 4 seconds before bedlam broke loose, but that was long enough, just!
Such a happy morning, just wish I could have smuggled one home.
A real honour to photograph Norman Scott for the Times article, 12th April 2018. The full story, beautifully penned by Helen Rumbelow, is available on the Times website.
Norman’s incredible story about his then scandalous affair with Jeremy Thorpe in 1970’s, and his attempted assassination has been made into a BBC series, A Very English Scandal, due out shortly. It boasts Ben Whishaw as Norman and Hugh Grant as Jeremy and promises to as moving as it is gripping. Having heard so much of Norman’s story first hand, I can’t wait to see it.
Dogs and horses play a strong part in Norman’s life in Devon – indeed it was his dog Rinka who took the bullet instead of Norman on the chilling night of his attempted assassination on Exmoor. So it seemed only fitting to photograph Norman with one of his many dogs for this portrait, in this case Pugsy, a rescue dog from a holiday in Cyprus.
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!
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…