Monday, 31 October 2011

Children's Portrait Photography West Yorkshire | Creative Portraits for Bo and Ava

As professional children's portrait photographers in West Yorkshire we sometimes get the chance to work with clients who, like us, are very creative and who are looking for portraits which are a bit different.  We get really excited about opportunities like this and when we chatted to our friend and very talented professional make-up artist, Katherine, about working together to create some artistic children's portraits of her beautiful daughters, Bo and Ava, we knew that together, we would get some outstanding images.

Katherine had told us that Bo was very amenable and patient and that she had a great look for the kind of images we had in mind. She was less sure about getting co-operation from Ava who she warned us would not do something she didn't want to do, including pose for the camera.  So we had high hopes for Bo but an open mind about Ava!

Well the results speak for themselves.  Katherine's expert styling, a few ideas which developed as the session progressed, some images with a bit of a Les Miserables feel to them and some old fashioned, dressing up type images using some fabulous hats, plus two stunning, photogenic and expressive little girls who co-operated like a dream meant that everything came together perfectly for a fantastic photo session.  So happy with these images!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Wedding Photographer Waterton Park | Kelly and Jamie's Wedding Photography at Walton Hall

Kelly and Jamie married in a late afternoon civil ceremony.  As Waterton Park wedding photographers, we were really pleased to be working at this stunning venue on such a beautiful autumn day.  Apparently, Cliff Richard had stayed at Waterton Park the day before and Jamie suggested that as Cliff is quite religious, maybe he'd prayed for good weather for himself and it had spilled over into Kelly and Jamie's wedding day!  That was the theory anyway but nobody minded how it happened, they were just delighted that it had.

We started at Kelly's mum and dad's house where we took photographs of her beautiful dress which she'd previously described as quite plain.  Well plain isn't the word that came to mind for her Pronovias gown - more like elegant - and it suited her perfectly.  Kelly had already told us that she wasn't keen on having photographs taken whilst she was putting on make-up and getting ready but she did agree to some images being captured whilst her sister, Kirsty, fastened the back of her dress.  Kelly was ready for photographs in good time before we had to leave for Waterton Park.

We met Jamie, his best man Anees and brother, Dave for their photographs before Kelly's arrival in an impressive classic Jaguar, accompanied by her proud dad, Stuart.  The registrars at Waterton Park are always great to work with, allowing photography during the ceremony without a problem. We were soon outside again capturing the confetti throwing on the grass beside the lake before everyone crossed the bridge for the big group shot on the lawn facing Walton Hall.

We knew that the time available was pretty tight but because of great weather and everyone's co-operation during the group photo session, things went really smoothly and we managed to get all the groups which Kelly and Jamie wanted, plus a short bride and groom photo session for the newly married Mr and Mrs Francis before we went inside.

Anees's speech was very funny and it was great to capture images of the reactions of the bridal party as he delivered it.  We'd arranged for some evening wedding photographs outside Walton Hall after the first dance but because the wedding breakfast and speeches ran late, Kelly and Jamie decided to have these taken before they hit the dance floor.

A fantastic couple, lovely guests and beautiful autumn weather.  Congratulations guys and thank you for giving us the opportunity to share your big day.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Wedding Photography Wentbridge House | Rebecca and Craig's Wedding Blessing in Conisbrough

Having booked us to be their Wentbridge House wedding photographers, Becky and Craig planned to marry at Wentbridge church and then celebrate afterwards at Wentbridge House Hotel, just down the road.  However, unforeseen circumstances disrupted their plans somewhat and their first problem was that as Craig is in the military, the couple were told that in order for them to have a home together in Cornwall where Craig is posted, they had to be married first.  

We received a call from Becky explaining that she and Craig had already got married, that they were having a blessing on their original wedding date and that this would no longer be taking place at Wentbridge church.  She really wanted the church ceremony to be her "wedding" and it was extremely important to Becky that she could walk down the aisle on her dad's arm.  The vicar's policy was that with a blessing, because the couple are already married, they had to walk into the ceremony together.  This didn't fit in with Becky's wishes at all and so she and Craig decided to have their blessing at Conisbrough church, near to where her parents live and just a stone's throw from the beautiful backdrop of Conisbrough castle.  What a bonus this was!  Becky was concerned that the change from wedding to blessing and a different location might be a problem for us but was very relieved to hear that it was no problem whatsoever.  We just wanted her to have a perfect day, wherever that happened to be.

Starting at Becky's mum and dad's house whilst Becky was still out getting her hair and make-up done, we photographed her beautiful dress, a pair of wicked shoes and all the other girly things and we were just finishing off as Becky arrived back, ready for a few portraits and some shots with her ladies.

After checking with our bride about when she would be getting into her dress and being told that this wouldn't be until quite a bit later, mainly because Becky had baby daughter, Isabell to look after and baby food and milk aren't ideal things to have near you when you've just got into your wedding dress, we left to meet Craig at the church.  He was perfectly on time and looked really smart in his uniform. With the boys' photographs taken care of with time to spare, we left Craig to greet his guests and went to check with the vicar to see what his thoughts were regarding photography.  From the back only, but still, better these than none at all.

Becky arrived with her proud dad Adrian and got her wish, walking down the aisle with him and arriving at Craig's side.  The only difference between this and any other church wedding was that there was no register to sign.  The couple came out after the ceremony to congratulations from their guests and a shower of confetti at the gate.  Fortunately, although it looked a bit iffy, this was the only shower all day and we left for the park so that Mr and Mrs Maskery could enjoy champagne and have some wedding photographs taken with Conisbrough castle as a backdrop before leaving for their reception at Wentbridge House.

They arrived a few minutes after us and the photographs of the two of them with the lovely car was our first job so that the chauffeur wasn't waiting around for too long.  Next was their group photo session followed by some fun with the girls who looked fantastic and who were up for having a great time which is what weddings are all about.  A short bride and groom photo session followed before we went inside to photograph the Crystal Suite.  

When the wedding breakfast and the speeches were over, Craig went off to get changed into cocktail uniform and having discussed this with the couple a few weeks before their wedding, we knew that Becky wanted to use the time whilst Craig wasn't around for some portraits in the bridal suite.  Very happy to oblige - she looked amazing!

We've noticed that the nights are drawing in now and we no longer have the luxury of it being light until late, so taking action shots isn't possible.  However, it's now time for evening and after dark images and we love doing these.

We ended our coverage for Becky and Craig by photographing their first dance together. Thank you for booking us to share your celebrations and we are delighted that you chose us to capture your special day.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Pet Portraits Yorkshire | Dog Photographs for Bear Baines

We recently photographed Alex and John's wedding and as well as finding out the happy news, on the wedding day no less, that the couple are expecting a baby in February, we also got to know that Alex and John have two dogs, Diesel and Bear, and although they've had photographs taken of Diesel, Bear the chow hadn't had his turn in front of a professional West Yorkshire pet photographer.

We asked Alex and John the usual question we ask when we're approached to take photographs of dogs.  Does he sit to command?  Yes, he will sit, was the answer.  Great - that's always a good start.  We were quite excited about welcoming Bear into the studio as we'd never photographed a chow before and we suspected that he'd make a great subject, looking as he does, like a big teddy bear.

Alex and John arrived with Bear and a bribe - a tub of cheese!  This was to be used to keep Bear looking in the appropriate direction and sitting in the right spot.  At least that was the plan.  Bear did sit to command - occasionally - but only for a nano second.  We'd get him in just the right position with great lighting on him, Alex would wave a lump of cheese at him to get him looking somewhere in the region of the right direction and each time, with the camera focussed on him, Alex the photographer would call Bear's name get him to look towards to the camera and Bear would move completely.  What is it they say about never working with children and animals?  Well we do both and with patience and fast reactions, you sometimes get pictures like this one.

Family Photographer West Yorkshire | Naylor Family Portrait

We're very excited about being Louise and Phil's wedding photographers in June next year.  They are good friends of Faye and Ken whose wedding we photographed in February 2010 and we were over the moon that they recommended us to Louise and Phil.

It was so nice to hear from the couple when they asked about a family portrait for a special birthday. This was to be a gift for Louise's parents and the timing of the session was crucial as her brother, Andrew, lives in Singapore and we had to organise the portrait session for when he was visiting his family.  

So we welcomed the lovely Naylors to the studio and had a really good time with them, working through several different groupings and even taking a few corporate head shots for Andrew to use for work.  It was also nice to get to meet Louise's immediate family ahead of the wedding but the main reason for this portrait session was the image below - Louise's parents' favourite.

Family Photography West Yorkshire | Portrait Session for the Saul Family

We've been very lucky to have been the Castleford family photographers for the wonderful Saul family for several years.  For mum and dad, Paula and Duncan, regular family photographs are really important so that they have a record of themselves together with their children as they grow up and for us as professional portrait photographers in West Yorkshire, hearing this is music to our ears, not just because it earns us some money, but because family photographs are something which many people don't value enough and we hear sometimes from mums that they wish they'd had a family portrait taken whilst their children were young.  Also, clients often ask us to photograph their children but usually they don't want to be in the photographs themselves.  This is a shame because when your children are grown up, they will treasure photographs of themselves with their proud parents.

Back to the Saul family and as I mentioned, we've photographed them every summer for several years, starting when Bailey was small and Eli was a baby.  Except for last year and we did wonder why we hadn't heard from Paula.  Turns out she was expecting the newest addition to the family, gorgeous Madeleine, a sister for those handsome big brothers.

We are starting our run up to the festive season now, with Christmas portrait bookings coming in. Our portrait session fee including editing your images and inviting your for a private viewing session so that you can choose your favourite photographs costs just £35.  Please call Janet on 01977 730159 and book early as we limit our sessions to just two per day to give you plenty of time and the best possible service. 


Friday, 7 October 2011

Family Photography Castleford | Portraits for the Crowther Family

Several months ago a close friend of Nikki contacted us as she wanted to buy her a portrait voucher as a gift for a special birthday.  We were happy to hear from Matthew, Nikki's husband, when he called to say that he, Nikki and their children, Zach and Poppy were ready to come to the studio for their family portrait session.

Zach wasn't in the best of moods when the family arrived, clinging to his dad for dear life and "crying".  Aren't kids brilliant at making parents squirm at the worst possible time?  Matthew was worried and he said that Zach was never like that but mum Nikki's advice worked a treat - ignore him and he'll come round!  

A bit of fun, banter and a high five or two later and we managed to get Zach on side and the reward was several great photographs of the family together before we let mum and dad have a bit of a rest on the sofa and allowed Zach and Poppy to play, dance and do their own thing as this seemed to work better than trying to get these two, who were full of beans, to sit still together. 

Sometimes cracking photographs just happen and the shot of Poppy on her toes, kissing her big brother, is our favourite.  

If you'd like to book a studio session for your family, kids or even the dog, a session costs just £35. Alternatively, a portrait gift certificate can be personalised to your exact requirements for any amount you wish from £35 upwards.  Call Janet on 01977 730159 now.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Family Photography West Yorkshire | Portraits for the Smith Family

As family portrait photographers in West Yorkshire, we recently welcomed the Smith family to our studio.  They were such a laugh to work with as Jay has a very funny sense of humour, all of them were really happy and it was obvious that they enjoyed their time with us.  We worked though several ideas for family photographs before giving mum and dad the job of standing behind the camera and helping to make Brooke laugh.  However, she's such a gorgeous smiley baby anyway that it wasn't difficult.  We took  some baby photographs of Brooke on her own before bringing in the brightly coloured tub stack which she loves.  It was hilarious because Cara and I had to stack the tubs whilst Jay held firmly onto Brooke, as she just wanted to crawl to the tub stack and demolish it before we could get it fully assembled.  A great session!

If you would like to book a family portrait session, please call Janet on 01977 730159

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Wedding Photography Oakwood Hall | Claire and Andrew

We arrived at Claire's mum's house which has stunning views over the moors.  She said that it was wonderful watching the seasons change and what a spectacular view!  

Once we'd photographed Claire's preparations, we left to meet Andy and the guys at a cafe bar in Baildon, just down the road from the methodist church where he and Claire were getting married.  We walked the short distance to the church where we met up with Terry and Lauren from Picture House Wedding Films who were the videographers for the day and who we like working with a lot as they are a lovely father and daughter team and extremely good at what they do.

We managed to get all the boys' photographs before the rain started just before the bridesmaids arrived, resulting in brollies at the ready and photographs in the church porch and it was still drizzling when Claire arrived with her brother, James, who gave her away.

Claire and Andy had decided against having photographs taken from the front during the ceremony so we stayed at the back, along with Lauren, whilst Terry captured the proceedings at the front.  The flower petals in the aisle made a beautiful feature in the photographs.  

A peek outside at the end of the ceremony confirmed that it was still raining and so we took the close family group photographs inside the church and, unusually, the confetti shots too!  It's not often you get a vicar agreeing to allow this as they usually insist on it being thrown once everyone is off the church premises!  We don't envy the person who had to vacuum all the confetti up afterwards!

The decision was taken to risk going to Oakwood Hall for the rest of the photographs which included some large family groups and a big group shot of everyone.  These pictures were very important to Claire and Andy.  Apparently, Claire's uncle Steve has an iPhone app which is very accurate when it comes to the forecasting the weather and his call was that we should risk it as rain was forecast for only half the time during the afternoon.  Wonder why the weather forecasters can't manage to be anywhere near as accurate because he was spot on and we managed to get the rest of the groups done without another rain drop plus a few pictures of newly married Mr and Mrs Pitts before everyone sat down for the wedding breakfast.

There was a bit of a Disney theme going on which was evident during Andy's speech and there were some lovely details like big jars of sweets on the tables and the couple's table plan which was beautiful and very original - a string of pastel coloured cards hanging across the fireplace.

Claire and Andy joined us for a few photographs on the staircase after dinner before their first dance together.  Our thanks to them for asking us to share their wedding day.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Maternity Photography West Yorkshire | Pregnancy Portraits for Gemma

As professional photographers, we enjoy meeting and working with lots of lovely people and we always work very hard to give them the best possible service and to exceed their expectations. Sometimes a project is offered to us which makes us realise just how special our job is (if you can call it a job!) and we are given the privilege of capturing not just pictures, but an incredibly special event in someone's life and something that can never be repeated.

It's hard to put into words my thoughts about Gemma and her circumstances and how humbled we both felt at being given the chance to document a life changing milestone in Gemma and her husband, Paul's lives that may never have happened, was against all the odds and is something which many people take for granted - parenthood.

Gemma first approached me by email to enquire about a maternity photography shoot so that she could present Paul with an album of images of her proudly showing off her bump.  Nothing too unusual about a pregnancy photo shoot you might think, except that her journey had been anything but smooth and her courage at getting to this point was inspirational.

Time was of the essence, of course, because baby bumps need to be big enough for the photographs but babies sometimes arrive early.  The other important factor was that Gemma really wanted the album to present to Paul on his birthday in October.  The project was to be kept a big secret and so the only contact we had was via email because Paul works from home and ringing Gemma may well have given the game away.  Our communication ran to many emails back and forth which resulted in me inviting Gemma into the studio for a chat in the hope that it would reassure her.  We chatted about ideas and established that the sweet style of maternity photography with ribbons tied around pregnant tummies definitely wasn't Gemma's style.  With a date in the diary for the session, Gemma left, hopefully feeling a bit more relaxed.

A short while later, I received an email from Gemma asking if the session could be brought forward by a couple of weeks as it was suspected that the baby, nicknamed Peanut, might arrive early and we couldn't afford to take the risk of missing the maternity photo shoot.  Gemma came into the studio for the session and I'm sure she won't mind me say so, was very nervous, so she was accompanied by her close friend, Lyndsey, who offered a bit of moral support.

The session went absolutely brilliantly.  We worked through several ideas, some of Gemma's own and some of ours, used different backdrops, drapes and a wind machine to get Gemma a variety of images for choose from.  She said that she'd really enjoyed herself and was delighted with her images even just looking at some of them on the back of the camera.

Soon afterwards, Gemma came in to view her photographs and her reaction to them blew us away - she said she couldn't believe it was her in the pictures.  She chose a selection of images which Alex designed into a beautiful digital album for her.  Just a couple of hours after she collected it and a lovely email arrived.

"Hi Alex and Janet, well I couldn't keep the secret any longer and presented Paul with his present this afternoon.  You've managed to reduce a grown man to tears!!!!  I told him I'd organised some more shoots for Peanut and both of us once she's here and he's totally up for it, can't wait.  I really can't thank you guys enough."

We are used to keeping secrets for our clients and we always exercise the utmost discretion as generally, our boudoir and maternity photographs are not published, but Gemma has very kindly allowed us to share a couple of her beautiful images.

So, we're anxiously awaiting the news that baby "Peanut" has arrived and we will meet her soon afterwards when the family come in for their first of three portrait sessions which will ultimately result in another digital album documenting the story of this very special baby's first year and we can't wait as we know that we've been very privileged to be a part of something incredibly special.