A first birthday photoshoot in London

First of all apologies for being so quiet on the blog lately. I’ve been so busy with all kinds of family photo sessions that I simply haven’t had the time to update my website. But, now that I’m here, I’d like to share with you this lovely first birthday photoshoot that I did back in July. 

A first birthday is a big one and this photoshoot was extra special to me because it was the first time I photographed twins! It was such a lovely party to document and I was really pleased to hear the family loved their photos.

Here are some of my top tips for photographing children’s birthday parties - documentary style:

1. Get low and close to the kids you are photographing so you can capture a child’s perspective.

2. Use a wide angle lens (50 mm or wider) - I absolutely love my 35 mm lens and it’s the lens I use the most photographing families. By using a wide angle lens you will add a lot of context to your photo - something that’s really important when you’re a documentary family photographer.

3. Keep photographing. Taking photos of kids means that, 99% of the time, at some point in the shoot, there will be a meltdown. This is real life. Don’t shy away from these moments and don’t stop shooting. Parents often really love these type of images as they reflect actual family life - this is why they book a documentary family photographer!

4. Mix up your shooting angles. Try some shots from standing up high, but also get down really low and shoot looking up.

5. Include adults in your photos. At a first birthday party it is obviously important to have a lot of photos of the child(ren) having the birthday. However, including images of the other people at the party is just as important in helping you to tell the whole story.

Family mini photoshoots around East Dulwich

My family mini photoshoots are a quick, easy and affordable way to try out a family documentary photography session. I run these shoots on set days and set times so I can photograph several families over the course of a day - which means I can offer a slightly lower price for my photo sessions and a shorter session time.

My mini shoots are done outdoors, taking advantage of the fact that here in East Dulwich we’re so lucky to be surrounded by gorgeous parks - all within walking distance. My absolute favourite park in which to take family photos is Peckham Rye Park. I love photographing in and around the Sexby Garden and the Japanese Garden, especially at this time of year, when all the flowers and trees are in full bloom.

Now, last month we had some pretty horrendous weather in London. And I do get a lot of people asking me what happens when it rains on the day of the photoshoot. I totally understand that, when you invest in a family photo session, you don’t want to end up getting caught in the rain in the middle of your shoot. And I’m not a big fan of taking my camera out on a rainy day either! So, if the weather forecast is terrible on the day of your photo session, don’t worry - I always offer the option to reschedule. 

So, if you’d like me to photograph you and your family in either Dulwich Park or Peckham Rye Park this Summer, do get in touch!

7 family photographs that capture emotion

During each photo session families allow me into their homes, so I can capture their family story. I’m always extremely grateful that people let me have this little window into their lives. 

My documentary approach means that I try to capture each family honestly and objectively. What I’m after during a family photoshoot is “emotion”. By spending at least a couple of hours with a family there’s enough time for everyone to relax and for me to get those intimate shots. 

Life can be messy and complicated and doesn’t always go as you’d like it to. The same goes for documentary family photography - I’m capturing moments as they unfold and I  accept that I can’t influence these. While the images may not appear as ‘perfect’ as posed photos, my aim is to capture fleeting emotions and create meaningful stories. 

I’ve been going through the archives and have selected 7 family photographs for you that capture emotion - hopefully they’ll make you feel something! 

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