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.
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.
I’m using these quieter times in the covid pandemic to go through all my children photography and refresh my website and blog. It’s a useful exercise to revisit your old work with fresh eyes. In doing so, I ask what I love about each image, and what I would like to have done better. When I started out as a children photographer, my main aim was simply to capture a beautiful portrait. As I evolved, I strived for perfect lighting and composition. The better I get at taking children portraits, the less photographs I find that tick all the boxes. I gather this is a classic artist and photographer’s flaw. But it is through this process of self criticism that we improve.
This is one of those images that stops me in my tracks. Ironically you can’t even see her face but I still call this a portrait as it’s captured a moment in time which captures her spirit. The moment I took this, I knew I had captured something special that would be treasured forever. I love the graphic shape of the hat with the fingers popping out below, the composition and the light. And I love that itt brings a smile to my face every time I look at it. I hope it brings one to yours too.
If you are interested in booking a family or children photoshoot, please do get in touch. 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 portrait photography.