For anyone who knows me well, they know that my most precious part of my life outside of my family, is my choir. I have for the last 20 years sung with the wonderful group of singers known as Canticum Chamber Choir. We are a group of around 30 who despite mostly being made up of choral scholars, have chosen to go into the world of work rather than music and so we carry on our need to sing in Canticum to a rather high level, in fact I would happily claim we are the best choir in London, not only from the quality of our singing, but to the wonderful mix of people we are made up of, and our fantastic musical director Mark Forkgen.
We are usually around 30 strong, and range in age from 17 to 80, in fact we have one member of our choir who actually sung at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2nd!!! And the youngest member is taking her A-Levels!! I just love the fact that I can sit next to anyone of our members and enjoy singing together, I can’t believe I have been with them for over 20 years, but I am never leaving, unless they chuck me out!!
We sing around 7/8 concerts a year in and around London but also venture further afield. You can see our forthcoming London concerts on our website and book tickets.. oh yes all the high tech stuff!
We tackle both classical and modern music and have recently recorded a CD of music composed by Charles Wainwright. We are involved in a lot of charity concerts through the year including Marie Curie and Livability and sing regularly at the Greenwich Festival in October.
I do get a lot of questions about having a home photo shoot as apposed to having a studio photo shoot with your newborn. It’s difficult for me to say really. I have done probably 75% of my newborn shoots at peoples homes and the rest in the studio. This is because people are still getting used to having a little person to look after and actually it’s hard to get organised to get out of the house when you’re exhausted and need so much stuff compared to what you needed a few weeks earlier!!
The big difference is light – natural versus studio. Now with natural light the images will be more soft, I’ll be using window light so access to a big enough window is essential. I can usually make a space either on the floor or on a bed in order to get the light I need and unless it’s a really dark day there is enough light for me to work with.
Studio light and backdrops are clearly going to give you a lot more options. I can create more dramatic and impactful images as there won’t be any clutter in the background and the light can be directed exactly to get the best angles.
To be honest I like both locations. My West London Photographer studio is in my home and feels very relaxing to be in, close to the kettle and toilet to be easy and not too austere as to make you feel nervous.
OK so as a family photographer in London you might think that it’s much easier for me to sort out the family photos and get them printed but I’m struggling just as much as you. It takes a great effort of will to take the camera out and create fun moments in order to capture the kids at the various stages of their life so far and to create some sort of heritage by way of photographs.
It’s so important that you get your images printed off the computer so that your children will have something tangible to hand down to their children and to look back on. I use a company called MyPublisher which is based in the US but still is more competitively priced than much of the UK album market for what it is. They are lovely hard backed coffee table book albums and once a year I will gather the images I have and create a book so that each year of their lives we have a family album.
I have been a London Children’s photographer now for over 10 years and I know that photo sessions with your own kids should be short and sweet, limit them to 10 mins at a time or the kids will learn to grump as soon as you get the camera out. I now have the problem of persuading a teenager to come and have his photos taken which requires quite a lot of persuasion and careful timing to make it work. He’s great with the moody teenager look needless to say.
Of course if you don’t have the time or the inclination to do your own photography and albums then you need to contact a Family Photographer to do it for you…not naming any names of course!!
So I finally get a day sorted for my own family photo shoot, whereby both my son’s are up for it and in a good mood, and the weather is fine, and my husband isn’t stressed. We all went to Kew Gardens last weekend and I took a couple of short and sweet shoots one by the pogoda and one in amongst the bluebells. It was really great, lovely light, no crowds, happy boys etc.
I then had computer issues for 2 days which frustrated the hell out of me as I had 2 of my clients’ shoots to get processed and I couldn’t get them started. I ended up downloading Photoshop legitimately, yes I’ve been using a dodgy version for 10 years… well it worked, until now. So I’m now a signed up member of the Adobe family for £8.50 a month (probably forever!!). I then managed to get my client photoshoots sorted out an online for viewing..phew.
Finally got round to looking at my own family photos, and when I was deleting the rubbish shots, the ones where people were blinking or making strange faces or talking etc, I managed to delete the whole bloomin lot. !!!! Oh boy. Of course I don’t save 2 copes of my own photos, as it takes up a lot of space on the hard drive, so I only save 2 copies of my client photos. I then thought, no of course there will be a version somewhere, my computer man has managed to pull stuff out of thin air on a number of occasions when I thought things were lost. But no. Not this time. They were well and truly DELETED. GRRRRRRR. So one large gin later, I’m planning another trip to Kew this weekend to capture the boys again and hopefully not with ‘for-gods-sake-get-this-over-and-done-with’ faces on them all.
It all started a bit wobbly at 6.30am as Jamie woke us up feeling sick… thankfully after a bit of yogurt and some water things settled down, especially at the thought of opening presents came back into his mind. So he assumed his regal possition on the bean bag and began opening his pile of presents, accumulated over the last few months by me of course. The only present that his father managed to purchase was a pack of cards…woop de doo!! What is it about men that they can’t think beyond the next day let alone next month and so any sort of forward planning is left up to the women..? Why? So friggin annoying.
Anyway, rant over..Jamie then played with his presents, clearly not feeling his usually tigger self, until we had to leave around 11am. His party this year was at Go Ape, which is a tree top scramble and zip wire thing in the country park of Black Wood. Great fun and thankfully fantastic weather. He had 7 friends scrambling around the tree tops whilst I stood doing the photography of course.
Then lunch and this is the bit I’m most proud of, I actually managed to get the right amount of food … I did chicken wings, mini sausages and mini buns, with some cucumber and then did the cake as pudding..perfect. No food left apart from a bit of cake. Very pleased with myself.
Got home and made some cheese scones as my mother and aunt wanted to come over for tea and don’t do sweet things that much. so got brownie points there…then collapse. David actually pulled his finger out and made supper…followed by a lot of self praise as the kids ate loads…gee well done that man…you cook one meal out of every 20 and yet clearly you’re amazing..grrr
Anyway, here are a few good photos of the day. Children at their best up in the trees acting like monkeys..
So I’ve been a photographer Now for 10 years and for some reason I’m now getting a lot of twins requests, largely newborn twins but also toddler twins, which is really fantastic but very hard work. As I don’t generally do the sleepy baby in weird poses look (I really think this is a step too far and anyway every other photographer that does newborn photography in London does these highly posed shots) this is fine as actually newborn twins are no harder to shoot than a single newborn. Natural newborn photography is the way to go, and is, I think, far more individual.
So given another gorgeous set of 2 yr old twins, we went to Richmond Park’s inner sanctum, the Isabella Plantation, which is just like a treasure trove of gorgeousness. Definitely worth a visit as it’s very different to the rest of Richmond Park in that it’s contained and safe environment for little ones to run around in but there are lots of great trees to climb, a little stream, some ducks on a pond and lots of great places for picnics. So for a photo shoot, it’s perfect. These two were really gorgeous and apart from not necessarily wanting to be in the same place at the same time, they were pretty good…
So I know I’m not the only one with children who find it stressful in the mornings trying to get the kids ready for school but this morning seemed to be worse than usual. So Mondays means early cricket practice for my 13 yr old so we need to be in school by 7.45am… that’s a stretch at the best of times, but this morning, we discovered that Sam had left his cricket bag at school so couldn’t go in his kit, but had to go in his uniform and then change once in school…so extra time was needed. Then Jamie (nearly 8) tells me he still has homework to do, which is both english and maths…not his best subject especially when his mentor is REALLY NOT HAVING A GOOD MORNING!
To top it all, it seems that only I have the ability to read a clock in the house, and seeing as my watch is out of order right now, I sort or rely on others and wall clocks to keep me on track. So of course, husband doesn’t have a clue and I come down after my shower to find nothing has moved on and Jamie still doing his homework and Sam in his underpants…..aggghhh…why why why can’t men think ahead and maybe work out that it takes a 7 yr old a bit of time to do his teeth and put his shoes on etc…and that it’s likely that something will need to be looked for and to allow for this extra time..in this case Sam;’s jumper. God almighty..I was so stressed by the time I got home from delivering them to school I could have done with a gin!!
I feel like I’ve had the most amazingly constructive weekend… We all had a home day yesterday which was fantastically relaxing, I managed to bake some new bread, made some soup, plus a gorgeous curried lamb dish for supper…not only that but I started to make my skirt up.. I’ve got a skirt pattern from which I will hopefully make a stonking skirt to wear at the Jive night in a month’s time. Well I did get a new sewing maching for christmas…yey..bit complicated but my Mum has been helping me..phew.