Month: May 2015

My Sunday Photo

On bank holiday Monday we went to visit the miniature railway in Derwen Fawr, Swansea.  Quite a few of my parent friends have mentioned it to me over the past year or so and I’d been really intrigued to go and see it for myself.  I’m so pleased we finally went – it was so much fun!

I didn’t manage to get any photos of us actually on the train, but did get a few of Steve and the children while we were waiting to go on.  I really love this one of Nerys and her Daddy, waiting patiently for our turn.



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Flashback Friday

Nerys turned 15 months this week and is just full of mischief and fun.  She’s quite an adventurous child, desperate to walk down the stairs rather than come down on her tummy like we’ve taught her, and so badly wanting to play on the big climbing frame at the park.  I lifted her up there the other day and realised straight away that it wasn’t my best idea ever, as she headed straight for the helter skelter slide and proceeded to whizz down it.  I think she was a bit stunned by the whole thing because she didn’t try and get back up there!

Seeing her develop so rapidly just makes me think of how she was when she was first born, which is why this week’s flashback friday photo is this one from when she was just a month old.  Where have the 14 months since then gone?!

You might also like this previous flashback Friday

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Ellie’s Friends

I mentioned the other day over on my blog ‘This Glorious Life that I really feel like things and people come into our lives at just the right time, if you’re open to them.  There’ve been too many coincidences and instances of perfect timing in my life for me to think otherwise!

So when I started thinking recently about how I can use my photography, and especially all the things I’ve been learning from studying Beloved photography, to maybe help other people I should have been prepared for the universe to send a message my way!  That message came via the lovely Briony at the Natural Health Service in Swansea.  I first met the team there when I offered to photograph a launch at the clinic.  That launch was for Ellie’s Friends Fridays, where the clinic offers free treatments to people who are living with cancer.  When I popped into the clinic recently Briony and I got talking about Ellie’s Friends and she gave me contact details for them to I could discuss offering my services too – perfect! 

So it’s possible that at this point you’re wondering what Ellie’s Friends is all about.  Well, it’s an initiative that was established by the Eleanor Rose foundation that enables adults living with cancer to access free and discounted services or products in their area.  Their goal is “to give adults living with cancer the opportunity to enjoy life, not just survive it!”

The Eleanor Rose foundation was set up by Tom Thostrup in memory of his fiancée Ellie, who passed away in 2012 after a battle with cancer.  Tom saw first hand how little things like a good meal or a night away can really make a difference to the life of someone coping with the challenges of cancer treatment.  His aim is to make sure Ellie’s light shines on through the foundation, brightening the lives of other living with cancer.

I’ve now chatted with the wonderful people at Ellie’s friends and have set up an offer that I hope might be really appreciated by a few people.  I’m offering 4 portrait sessions a year, including the images on a usb, and I’m really excited about it.  I think that the Beloved technique will work so well in this situation, allowing someone living with cancer to spend some real quality time with their loved ones, talking and remembering all the things they love about each other, with a collection of photos to take away as a permanent reminder.

If you’re living with cancer, or know anyone else who is, you really should go and browse the Ellie’s friends website to find out more about it and see what treats might be available to you.  

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An art of observation

I was looking around for some interesting quotes on photography recently and this one just really struck me when I read it.  It fits so perfectly with everything I’ve been learning since I really started digging into the Beloved concept and the philosophy behind it.

Photography is so much more than just taking pictures of the things in front of us.  Beloved photography especially is about seeing beyond what’s on the surface.  It’s about bringing out, seeing and capturing the wonderful connections between people.  It’s about seeing the true beauty of the person in front of your camera.  That’s one of the things I love about it, how it reveals the natural beauty that’s inside all of us.

As soon as people open up to you, and reveal their true selves you can’t help but see them for the absolutely beautiful person they are!   

Cuddle Fairy
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Cheryll and Ross’ Beloved maternity and family portrait session 

Looking at these photos is getting me all excited at the thought of getting back to the beach for more sunny sessions like this!

I met with Cheryll, Ross and their son at Swansea Bay for a maternity portrait session last summer (I’m really not proud of the fact that I’m only just sharing these photos now!).  That gorgeous bump you can see in the photos is now an even more gorgeous baby girl – congratulations Cheryll and Ross!

This was possibly one of the most laid back portrait sessions I’ve ever done, I loved it!  I went armed with some Beloved invites ready to suggest games to play, but I didn’t really need them, this family just went ahead and played their own games which I thought was wonderful.

They chatted and played and relaxed on the beach, enjoying the last warmth of the sun before it set.

This to me is a great example of the type of experience you can expect if you book a family portrait session with me.  No stress and lots of fun and smiles!  If you want to go ahead and do your own thing, that’s great, I love capturing lifestyle images of families just being themselves.  But if you want more direction then that’s fab too, I’ll come ready with Beloved games and prompts to get you playing and chatting in no time!  If this sounds like your kind of thing, then I’d love to hear from you – you can contact me here

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(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

We went on an adventure recently.  Rhys and Steve both drew maps to help us navigate through the vast, wild terrain of Singleton Park, to the swings behind the shops in Sketty.  Rhys had a compass and everything.  We would have been so lost without it!  And of course I took the camera along to record our journey.

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Collide like planets

I was having a wander round the web the other day, looking at the gorgeous images various Beloved photographers are creating, and I came across Susi Seitz’s website.  That’s where I discovered this quote; at the top of a page of wonderful, emotive images were these words.  I must have read it three times over I loved it so much.   
It just describes falling in love so perfectly to me.  I keep reading it and can’t quite find the words to explain why I find it so beautiful!

I think it’s that it brings back all the emotions I felt when I first fell in love with my husband.  The fear of letting myself truly fall, the common sense that was telling me it was too soon to be in love with him.  And the exhilarating joy of feeling it anyway and realising he felt the same way!

I want to pass this on to my children.  I want them to grow up open to love and to go all in when it finds them.

“So take a deep breath, take a step forward, now run, collide like planets in the system of a dying sun, embrace each other with both arms and let all the rules, the opinions and common sense crash down around you”


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Let the children play (why Beloved family sessions are so much better than the traditional posed kind!)

When you book a family portrait session with me you don’t just get the traditional portrait session experience.  I won’t ask you to sit still and all look at me and smile!  I won’t line the children up in height order and make them say ‘cheese’!  I won’t be worried if your child just wants to play!  

In fact, I encourage the children to play; that’s when their true personalities shine through!

A family session that incorporates the Beloved technique is, in my opinion, just so much better than any other kind of portrait session.  Here are my top three reasons why I believe this:

1) It’s less stressful for the parents
Sometimes the thought of having to ‘control’ your kids long enough to get some decent portraits taken is enough to put you off even trying.  I completely understand that concern, my own children are often a flight-risk and the thought of having to try and get them to sit still in a studio and smile for a camera is really quite stressful!

A Beloved session just takes that stress away.  I’ll always start a family session by just letting the kids be, letting them explore the location and just have a play for a bit.  We can get some lovely photos during this time.  Completely stress-free portraits of them just being themselves!

Once they’re relaxed we’ll start with some prompts and games that are just fun for everyone.  It’s really not about posing and making sure everyone’s smiling for the camera.  It’s about you enjoying time engaging and interacting with your family.  I’m just there to capture the magic!

2) You get much more natural expressions
When you ask children to smile for the camera you very rarely get a genuine smile.  With small children you invariably just get them baring their teeth in a weird smile/grimace!  Really not what you want in photos that you want to hang on your walls!

Using the Beloved technique means that we won’t get any of those forced smiles.  All the expressions are real, authentic and simply beautiful!

3) It’s just so much more fun!
Honestly!  Would you rather sit together and be asked to look at me and smile, or hug on demand, or would you rather spend a few hours playing games, chatting and being yourselves; interacting the way you would do naturally?  

I know which one sounds more fun to me!

If you’re curious about Beloved sessions having read all that, and would like some more information, or if you’re already sold and want to discuss booking a session then please do get in touch!  I’d love to hear from you – let’s have some fun!
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