Ancestry and the National Portrait Gallery are collaborating to create a Nations Family Album – the first ever holistic visual representation of the British population in photographic form. So they are inviting the British Public (all ages, backgrounds, cultures) to submit photos of family members (old, recent, together, separate). The winning entries will not only feature in this online Nations Family Album gallery, but also in an exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery when it reopens early next year.
I am honoured to say that I’ve been elected as one of the four judges on the panel of experts, along with the baritone singer Peter Brathwaite, renowned for his series of photographs on Rediscovering Black Portraiture, the National Portrait Gallery’s Chief Curator, Dr Alison Smith and Simon Pearce from Ancestry.
Themes for the photos are: legacy, belonging, connection and identity – all of which reflect the emotions experienced when looking through old family photos or starting a journey on your family history. You can submit up to 3 photographs per person. And the deadline is 11.59pm on 30th June. For more information, visit the Ancestry website.
I’m really looking forward to seeing all your entries.
One of the highlights of being a portrait photographer, is meeting so many interesting and inspiring people. As such, this latest shoot for Country Life to capture a portrait of Alice Temperley in her new studio in Ilminster, Somerset.
The 28,000 sq ft semi derelict victorian building Alice bought cost the same as one year’s rent in her Mayfair office! Not only has this move provided her with a lot more space for a lot less cost, it has enabled her to connect with local artisans and producers, which is wonderful for the local community economy.
In due course, Alice plans to convert the rest of the building to include a restaurant, art gallery and a spa. Somerset born myself, and based in Dorset, it’s great to see this injection of glamour and culture in the West Country. Now I just need to win the lottery so I can indulge myself with one of her fabulous designer dresses!
Meet the beautiful Morwenna Lytton Cobbold, out this week’s Best of Britain issue of Country Life Magazine, photographed at home at Knebworth House.
Morwenna has always flicked through each issue of Country Life Magazine to see who was the latest ‘girl in pearls’. So when she got engaged to Phil Bush, it seemed like a rite of passage. However, she chose to wear a stunning Vivienne Westwood dress, with black boots and and a black manicure.
She was a total joy to photograph. She looked incredible in every single image, my favourite of which you’ll find in the portrait section of my website.
Finally, two households are allowed to mix again. Hooray! I have been counting down the days to this moment. This means that I’m officially now allowed out to capture some spring family photoshoots. My goodness I have missed photographing children and family photoshoots. Bookings are flying in again now. I still have a few spaces this Easter holidays but am almost fully booked in the summer half term (with just one slot left). In fact, July is also already looking pretty busy. So please get in touch soon if you’re thinking of booking a shoot. Be it to commemorate lockdown hairstyles, celebrate a birthday, or capture the whole family together again after months of isolation.
To see more examples of my children photography, please visit the portrait section on my website. Or if you’d like to discuss in more detail, please email me at [email protected] or call me on 07815 750 141.
I love this image from a teenage family photoshoot in Berkshire last summer. I started with the more predictable angle, capturing his profile, and his hands on the piano keys. In fact, one of my favourite photographs I took as a student was of a jazz pianist’s hands moving swiftly along the keys. With a few lovely shots under my belt from the side, I moved around the piano, I spotted his reflections through the lid. All the elements came together to make a striking, balanced fine art portrait.
Over the last twenty years, I’d like to think that I’ve grown as a portrait photographer. Whereas to begin with I settled for classic portraits, usually eyes to camera, in lovely natural light, genuine expression etc. Now I want so much more. Rather like painting a picture, I seek creative light and backdrops, interesting ways to compose and frame the subject, story telling props. A painting says 1000 words. Well, so can a portrait photograph. This image will remind the teenage boy of endless hours tinkering on the piano. The good times, the bad times. The peace and tranquility in his home. The freedom to be himself, to compose his thoughts into notes, to grow. This is not just a beautiful boy smiling at the camera. It’s a whole decade of memories presented in an array of reflections, light and shape. I would like to think that this images says 1000 words to this pianist in the making.
Please do visit my portraiture page on my website to get a feeling for the variety of ways I like to capture portraits. Please contact me if you’d like to discuss in more detail.
A real honour to spend Mothering Sunday photographing Dame Esther Rantzen at home for the Guardian. Best known for presenting That’s Life, and starting Childline (and recently Silverline), she is another of the UK’s national treasures.
I eyed up the swing on arrival, but figured that might be a stretch too far for an 80 year old. So I explored her garden and decided on three other compositions. The first was on on a bench in honour of her husband Desmond Wilcox who sadly died in 2000. It was a short climb up a little hill, in a little copse, surrounded by daffodils. Bingo! Lovely set up and lovely light. Sadly a not so lovely gale force wind too so we didnt’ stay up their for long! The other challenge was to avoid stepping on the daffodils. I get so wrapped up in what I’m taking I forget what’s around my feet. But we to captured some beautiful portraits here, one of which is in my portrait gallery.
The second two were in her garden and I was again very happy with the results. As I was leaving, she said she’d be up for a photo on the swing. Thankfully we nailed it first time. I think this photo befits her the best. Indeed the Guardian chose it to accompany the feature, along with her quote “I’ve become one of the funny old ladies I used to talk to in the street”. Fun, quick witted, energetic, charming, warm and photogenic. I hope I can be like that when I’m 80. God willing I should reach it!
As a Dorset based freelance portrait photographer, I travel regularly throughout the South West. In particular Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire, and Hampshire. Please visit my publications page on my website for more examples of my work, or please contact me should you wish to discuss a potential commision in more detail.
One of the perks of lockdown has been testing out my new Canon R6 on my teenage daughters. And practising different techniques and styles for teenage portrait photography. I find teenagers much more relaxed when they can be doing something they enjoy.
I’ve been considering investing in a mirrorless camera for some time now. But when Canon launched their R5 and R6 last summer, I felt the time had come for me to bite the bullet. After extensive research, I concluded that the R6 best suited my requirements. I also invested in two bespoke RF lenses: the RF 24-70mm f2.8 L IS USM and RF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM. I was quite simply blown away with the camera and both these lenses. The speed and accuracy to focus were incredible. And RF 70-200 f2.8 was so light in comparison to my EF equivalent that I could take photos one handed! And what’s more, the quality is every bit as amazing as my Canon 5D iv.
I have since sold all my old cameras and lenses through a fantastic new 2nd hand camera company called MPB. They collected all my kit free of charge, offered very fair prices and speedy payment. An incredibly slick service. This enabled me to invest in the full shebang of RF lenses, including the RF 85mm f1.2 USM. Indeed, I took this portrait of Flora with this very lens, at a f1.2. I love how it throws all the background completely out of focus, despite the fact that this was in fact no further from me than I was to Flora. I can’t wait to share more images with this incredible new camera and lens.
Please visit my website to see more examples of my teenage portraits. And please contact me if you’re interested in a family portrait photography session. Whilst I’m based in Dorset, I travel throughout the UK.
This image from a teenage portrait photography shoot in Berkshire is one of my favourites from last summer. Children portraiture isn’t always about capturing a smile. Indeed many of my favourite portraits are the more serious shots. They eyes are the windows to our souls. It is a portrait photographer’s role to capture the essence of their models. And no better way to do this than a striking portrait where there is a real connection visible in their expression. This portrait stops me in my tracks every time I look at it.
As with all my children and family photoshoots, I provide a variety of images: striking portraits or them individually and together with their siblings, as well as a range of more candid, fun and spontaneous images which are more story telling images. Many photographers struggle with teenage portrait photography, providing rather static staged and soulless images. But as my children have grown up into teenagers themselves, I have found I enjoy photographing older children and teenagers as much as I do young children. They may not be as spontaneous and unpredictable as the latter, but I have found my connection with them, they are so rewarding to photograph.
Please do explore my website to see more examples of my children, teenage and family photography. If you are interested in booking a family or children photoshoot, please do get in touch. I’m based in Dorset but travel all over the country. And I’m also regularly in Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, London, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.
Although many of my photoshoots involve activities indoors and outdoors, there are times when my clients have a specific location in mind. Somewhere that encapsulates an era in their children’s life. On this occasion, the family were moving house and school. So it seemed fitting to have an outdoor children photography shoot in the grounds of Cheam Prep school, Newbury, Berkshire, where the girls had both been at school.
We started the shoot by playing lots of games in the main grounds, using the beautiful avenue and stunning gardens as backdrops. And then headed to the fabulous outdoor play area, which offers an abundance of entertainment. We had so much fun. Playgrounds are perfect locations for outdoor children photography. I love to capture the children’s adventurous spirit whilst they explore, climb, slide and swing. Indeed we explored every nook and cranny, climbed every ladder, slid down every slide, and swung high into the skies. I find static swing shots can look as void of emotion as motion and prefer to capture them moving. This is obviously more challenging photographically but nothing beats that feeling of wind through your hair as you swing high and low.
This shot was one of my favourites. I absolutely love it. There is so much joy, energy and movement. You can feel her excitement at reaching high into the sky. It’s an image that is full of emotion and spirit. It can’t help but make you smile when you look at and remind you of those exhilarating feelings of ‘flying high’ when you were little. This is what I strive to provide in my children photography sessions.
For more examples of my children photography, please do visit my children, teenage and family galleries. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss the possibility of me coming to your home and photographing your children and family.
This editorial photoshoot of David Morgan-Hewitt, Managing Director of the Goring Hotel, was commissioned by Country Life Magazine to accompany a feature on ‘Desert Island Wines’. I met David almost a decade ago, at the Goring, when I was photographing the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding! A very memorable experience for us both so we had lots to talk about. I love to chat to my models, and hear about their interests and passions. This enables me to capture ‘real’ portraits, which ooze personality, spirit and genuine emotion. I am hoping this portrait portrays his charm, wit and kindness.
The shoot took place at his home in Wells, Somerset, with his cellar providing the perfect backdrop. It also provided another talking point! I LOVE wine and was in my element learning about all his favourite wines.
We chose a sitting pose to keep it informal and show off his red socks! I then placed my camera on a tripod to avoid distorting horizontal and vertical lines, and to enable me to engage more freely in conversation. The room was quite a squish, with barely any room for a light. So I removed the soft box and bounced the light off the top corner. This lit the room and his face perfectly.
For more examples of my portrait and editorial photoshoots, please do have a look at my adult, commercial and editorial pages on my website. Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you be interested in booking a portrait shoot with me.