Arnold family – Singleton park family maternity session

Arnold family – Singleton park family maternity session

I feel almost certain that I’ve shared these photos already.  But a look back through the archives seems to suggest that I actually haven’t.

So, much longer after the session than it should be, I’m sharing my favourite photos from a fun afternoon spent in Singleton park with the Arnold family for a maternity session.

Arnold family -Singleton park family maternity session


We have a bit of history with Singleton park, the Arnolds and I.

We went there for a maternity session when Kim was pregnant with their oldest, and then again for a family session when Teddy was a few years old.  So it was so lovely to head back there again to take some family photos while Kim was expecting their second child.

Most of the session was spent in the botanical gardens in Singleton Park.  We went in to the temperate house so that Ted could have a look at the fish and then we wandered around the gardens a bit to look at the plants and flowers.

And of course there was some time for a sit down and some bubbles!

Singleton park lifestyle maternity family session Swansea


I absolutely love photographing maternity sessions.

There’s something so wonderful about this time before life as you know it changes.  Whether you’re expecting your first child or your fifth, this time before the baby arrives is full of so many different emotions and routines that will never be the same again.

It’s the perfect stage in life to record with a documentary and lifestyle photo session.


If you’d like to have a chat to discuss booking a session for your growing family please do get in touch – I’d love to hear from you!


Madeline Littlejohns Photography relaxed fun family photos Swansea documentaryMadeline Littlejohns is a family photographer in central Swansea offering relaxed, natural portraits and documentary family photography to record your family’s story.

If you’d like to have a chat about a fun family photo session in Swansea, please do get in touch to say hi and discuss booking a parenthood session.

Posted by Madeline Littlejohns in Parenthood, 0 comments
37 photos to take to tell the story of your Christmas

37 photos to take to tell the story of your Christmas

I don’t always take that many photos at Christmas.  It’s a bit of a funny thing to admit as a photographer, and I’m not sure why it’s the case.

What I do know is that it’s something I want to change this year.  I want to take a bit of time this year to photograph our Christmas.  Now, I’m not talking about Christmas-card-perfect images of the family.

I would love for me, and you, to photograph so much more than that this year.

We’re talking about taking the photos that will tell the story of your Christmas.  The big picture and the little details.  The moments, the traditions, the little things.

So if you’re like me and want some inspiration to really capture Christmas this year, here’s a lovely list of ideas for photos you can take to tell the story of your Christmas:

37 photos to take to tell the story of your Christmas

The Christmas tree and decorations

  • Photos from your trip to pick out a Christmas tree
  • Wide shot of your family decorating the Christmas tree
  • Close up of little hands hanging baubles on the tree
  • Detail shots of your favourite tree ornaments
  • Detail shots of the handmade ornaments that your children brought home from school or nursery
  • Putting the angel or the star on the top of the tree
  • Wide shot of the Christmas tree lit up and decorated


Festive food and drink

  • Close ups of little hands digging in to the tin of chocolates
  • Detail shots of plates of mince pies
  • Drinking your favourite festive drink – a mug of hot chocolate, a glass of mulled wine, a takeaway cup of Christmas coffee from Costa
  • Baking Christmas cookies or mince pies
  • Detail shots of cookie cutters and festive sprinkles
  • Detail shots of special festive plates and mugs
  • Details shots of handwritten family recipes and well-loved recipe books
  • Preparing the Christmas dinner


Christmas traditions and activities

  • Making Christmas crafts and playing with festive sticker books
  • Opening a door on the advent calendar
  • Detail shots of the letter to Father Christmas being written
  • Wide shot and close ups of the letter to Father Christmas being posted
  • Visiting Father Christmas
  • Feeding the reindeer
  • Wide shot and detail shots of reading Christmas books with your children
  • Close ups of your favourite Christmas books
  • Building a gingerbread house
  • The wreath hanging on the front door
  • Detail shots of anything with the year on, or ‘baby’s first Christmas’ if you have a new addition to the family
  • Christmas eve box – the contents and the children opening them
  • Everyone in Christmas jumpers
  • The children in their new pyjamas on Christmas eve
  • Skyping with relatives and friends you won’t see in person
  • The children in their costumes for the nativity play or Christmas concert
  • Close ups of details on festive outfits.  Snowflakes and reindeer noses on Christmas jumpers.  Angel earrings and sparkly headbands.
  • The plate of food left out for Father Christmas
  • Stockings hanging up
  • Opening stockings in the morning
  • Opening presents
  • Pulling crackers during the Christmas meal


Here’s the thing.

This isn’t a list of photos you absolutely have to take.  It’s not meant to be a check list where you need to tick every item off.

What it’s meant to be is a prompt.

A reminder to think about your family’s story and the parts of Christmas that you’ll want to remember when you and your children are older.

So that you can capture those moments and details that mean the world to you.


If you’d like to print a copy of this list then please feel free to download this printable version, and share it with anyone you think might like it!

Just click on the image and a pdf version will open up in a new window for you to download and save.

37 photos to take to tell the story of your Christmas list (1)


What are your favourite things about Christmas?  Please do leave me a comment and let me know!



Madeline Littlejohns Photography relaxed fun family photos Swansea documentaryMadeline Littlejohns is an on-location family photographer in central Swansea (Sketty, Brynmill, Uplands) offering relaxed, natural portraits and documentary family photography to record your family’s story.

If you’d like to have a chat about a fun family photo session in Swansea, please do get in touch to say hi and discuss booking a parenthood session.


Posted by Madeline Littlejohns in Parenthood, 0 comments
The beauty and power of looking back

The beauty and power of looking back

I’m a pretty sentimental person.

I absolutely love looking through our old photos, listening to music from when I was younger, and watching films and tv shows that I’ve seen multiple times before.

There’s a real comfort in those old familiar things.

And while I don’t want to spend my life looking back, there are some real benefits to indulging in a bit of nostalgia now and then.

The beauty and power of looking back


There was a study carried out by Constantine Sedikides that showed there are all sorts of positives to looking back and reminiscing.

Looking back at where we’ve been and what we’ve done in our lives can help to remind us of what we’ve achieved, and can give us a sense of worth when we might be feeling a bit down.  This then makes life feel more meaningful, helping us to feel more inspired about things, and more optimistic for the future.


So, in a way, looking back can be really powerful in helping us move forward.

As a parent life seems to move in phases and stages, and when you’re slap bang in the middle of one it can feel like life will always be the way it is right now.  At times like that it can be helpful to look back at photos of our children when they were babies.

Photos from those days of teething and nappies and sleepless nights can act as a reminder of how these phases really don’t last forever.  Things change and when we look back we realise how quickly it all actually happens.

Looking back to help us move forwards


Studies have also found that nostalgia can help beat feelings of loneliness, boredom and anxiety.

So looking at old photos from our childhood, or even family photos from a few summers ago, can give us a real emotional boost when we need one.

The power of looking back to help us move forwards


Reminiscing about the past has even been found to be a powerful tool to help people with dementia.

Talking through a person’s life history is known as reminiscence therapy, and it uses things like photos and objects from their past to help trigger memories.  This is something I love so much about photography.  Photos capture these moments and memories for us, some of which might otherwise be completely lost over the years.


You know that feeling when you look at a photo and it just takes you right back to that moment?

There are photos of me on the beach we went to every summer in France when I was growing up.  Just looking at them brings back such vivid memories.  The sound of the sea.  The feel of the stones underneath my beach towel.  The smell of ambre solaire sun cream.


It’s all there, safe in those photos.


And it’s why I keep on taking photos.

They tell my story.  And my family’s story.  They’re my tangible links back to the past.

So whenever I need an emotional boost.  Or if I feel stuck in life.

I can indulge in a beautiful bit of nostalgia.


Madeline Littlejohns Photography relaxed fun family photos Swansea documentaryMadeline Littlejohns is an on-location family photographer in central Swansea (Sketty, Brynmill, Uplands) offering relaxed, natural portraits and documentary family photography to record your family’s story.

If you’d like to have a chat about a fun family photo session in Swansea, please do get in touch to say hi and discuss booking a parenthood session.

Posted by Madeline Littlejohns in Parenthood, 2 comments
Anderson family photo session

Anderson family photo session

I should have shared this session long before now.  But I’m taking the line of better late than never because I can’t just not share these photos properly on here!

A while ago I met with the Anderson family for a relaxed family photo session in Clyne gardens here in Swansea.

Anderson family sunny Clyne gardens lifestyle family photo session Swansea


Sue and I actually used to work together and it was amazing to get together again and to spend some time with her and her lovely family.

We all went for a walk around Clyne gardens and took in the gorgeous autumn colours.


Once the children had had a chance to get used to me and my camera I took some individual portraits of them.  If you book a session with me you’ll see that I love getting a mix of photos, with some where you’re looking right at the camera and some where you’re not.

relaxed autumn lifestyle family photo session Clyne gardens Swansea

relaxed lifestyle family photo session Clyne gardens Swansea


At the time of our family session in Clyne Sue’s daughter had only just started walking independently.

It’s such a lovely stage when they’re just walking and are still just that bit wobbly and unsteady on their feet.  I’m so pleased Sue and her husband have these photos to help remember that time in their family’s lives.

After a while of walking though she got a bit tired, so went to have cuddles with her daddy in the baby carrier.


babywearing photo family portrait session Clyne gardens Swansea


I have such a soft spot for baby wearing and really love it when families include it in their session.

I would actually love to build a whole documentary session around baby wearing so please do get in touch with me if this is something you’d be interested in!


Towards the end of their session the whole family got together for some relaxed, natural family portraits.

There was no saying cheese and smiling for the camera here.

Just some fun, some cuddles, maybe a few tickles and some beautiful natural expressions and interactions.

relaxed lifestyle family portrait session Clyne gardens Swansea

Have you visited Clyne gardens in autumn?  

It’s well worth a visit, with so many interesting species of trees turning beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red.

Actually, it’s a stunning place to walk around any time of year and is the perfect setting for a relaxed family photo session.  There are winding paths and little bridges to explore, the admiral’s tower to climb and gorgeous flower displays in the warmer months.  The bluebell woods in particular is so pretty and a lovely spot for some lifestyle family photos before heading off for a walk or a play.


If you’d like this kind of relaxed, un-posed photography for you and your family in Swansea, then I would love to have a chat and arrange a session with you.  

If you’re still not quite sure then pop over and read this post to help you decide if I’m the right Swansea family photographer for you.


Madeline Littlejohns Photography relaxed fun family photos Swansea documentaryMadeline Littlejohns is an on-location family photographer in central Swansea (Sketty, Brynmill, Uplands) offering relaxed, natural portraits and documentary family photography to record your family’s story.

If you’d like to have a chat about a fun family photo session in Swansea, please do get in touch to say hi and discuss booking a parenthood session.

Posted by Madeline Littlejohns in Parenthood, 0 comments
Am I the right photographer for you – lifestyle and documentary family photography in Swansea

Am I the right photographer for you – lifestyle and documentary family photography in Swansea

If you’re here, it’s because you’d like to have some family photos taken in Swansea.

The thing is, there are so many different baby and family photographers to choose from in the Swansea area, so how do you know who will be the perfect fit for you?

I would love to be the right photographer for everyone, but realistically that’s just not going to happen.

I offer a style of natural, lifestyle and documentary family photography that might not be for everyone.

But if you’re looking for something a bit more than photos of you and your family in a plain studio, smiling nicely for the camera, then keep reading to see if I might be the right photographer to give you something a bit more special.

Lifestyle and documentary family photography in Swansea (1)


I suppose the best place to start, to save you some time, is with a few questions that will help you know if I’m NOT the right photographer to take your family photos in Swansea.

Here we go:

  • Are you looking for posed, styled newborn photos?

If you’re looking for photos of your baby wrapped up in pretty blankets, fast asleep and gently positioned into sweet poses in a bucket or basket, then I’m not the photographer for you.  There are other photographers in Swansea who create these kinds of images, and they are beautiful, but that’s not what I do at all.


  • Do you want themed photos, with special outfits and editing?

There are photographers who do themed sessions, like princess or fairy sessions where your children can dress up and have their photo taken on special sets, with magical elements edited in later.  Again, these photos are amazing and there are photographers in Swansea who are really talented in this area, but this isn’t something I offer.


  • Do you just want a few photos of the family together, smiling for the camera?

A lifestyle family photo session with me does normally include a few more traditional photos of the family together, but it is so much more than that.

If all you’re really after are some photos of the family, to capture what you look like right now, then I may not be the photographer for you.


If you’re still here with me, hurray!

Now lets take a look at some of the things you might want that you can get from a session with me, to help you decide if I am the right photographer for you.


You want photos that capture genuine expressions and connections

I think we all know that slightly forced smile you see in photos where you’ve been asked to say ‘cheese’ or smile for the camera.

With the mix of lifestyle and documentary approaches that you would get in a session with me, you would get so many more genuine and authentic expressions in your photos.  Natural smiles and real laughter.  The look of concentration on your toddlers face as they measure out ingredients to bake with you, or that determined expression they get when they go to face the fireman’s pole in Brynmill Park.


Natural family photography Swansea


You want photos that show the love that you and your family have for each other

You’ll also get photos that show the love and connections between you all.

The way your baby looks you at you when you feed her.  The way your child holds your partners hand as you walk along the beach at Swansea bay.  The hugs and the shoulder rides that are part and parcel of this stage of your parenthood journey.

Relaxed lifestyle documentary family portraits Swansea


You love photos where no one is actually looking at the camera

We will get some photos during your session where everyone is looking right at the camera.  But there’ll also be lots of photos from the session where not everyone is looking.

There will be some photos where no one is looking at the camera at all.

Because a session with me isn’t just about ‘nice’ photos of you all.  It’s about your life as it is right now.

It’s about giving you photos that show the way you look at each other, not how you look at the camera.

Relaxed family portraits Swansea bay


You want to remember more than what you look like, you want to remember how your life feels right now.

A few years ago I saw an exhibition at the Glynn Vivian art gallery here in Swansea.

It was full of all sorts of photographs, including one of a little girl sitting down and smiling for the camera.

Next to it was a quote of a question that the child was asked, and the answer she gave:

“What are you doing in this photo?”

“Having my picture taken”

It has stuck with me ever since, and drives me to offer so much more for my clients than just ‘having your picture taken’.

I want you to look at your photos in the future and remember how you felt at that moment in time.  The routine of your life at that stage.  The little details that will be long gone as your children grow.

Natural breastfeeding family photography Sketty Swansea (1)


You like photos that are natural, relaxed and real

Like I said at the beginning of this post, if you’re looking for creative, fantasy photography with props and digitally enhanced images then I am not the photographer for you.

If, on the other hand, you want photos of your parenthood journey that are natural, relaxed and real then we really should talk!

Real is the new perfect after all.

Relaxed lifestyle documentary maternity pregnancy portraits Swansea


You want your photo session to be fun.

You want your session to feel like a normal day with your family rather than a stressful experience where you worry about everyone behaving.

The whole point of a session with me is to capture your life as it is right now, not to capture photos of you in front of a screen, worrying about the children smiling nicely and staying still.

With a lifestyle and documentary session your real family memories will be captured.

Before your session we’ll discuss a few activities that you like to do as a family.  It might be baking fairy cakes at home, feeding the ducks in Brynmill park and having an ice cream from the kiosk or building sandcastles and flying kites on the beach at Swansea bay.

Whatever it is that you tend to do as a family at the moment.

This way the whole family can feel more relaxed.  There’s no pressure on the children to ‘be good’ and sit still.  They can run wild and have fun doing the things they like to do.

And the photos we’ll create together will mean you can look back in years to come and remember how much you loved doing these things together.

Swansea singleton park family lifestyle photographer


If you’re still not sure if I’m the right photographer for you, here’s a bit more information about what I do.

My approach to sessions is a mix of lifestyle and documentary family photography.  

During a session we’ll get some lifestyle images; these are the ones that are a bit more posed, where I’ll give you a bit of direction to guide you into position and encourage genuine expressions.  These photos are most likely to be the ones where you’re all looking at the camera.  The grandma shots if you will.

But in a session with me you get so much more.  With the documentary approach there’s no posing and no real directions from me.  You just do your thing and I’ll photograph it for you.  So you get the in-between moments.  The little details.  The unposed, unscripted moments that are your real life.


If this sounds like something you would love to have for you and your family, please do get in touch to have a chat about a session.

I can’t wait to meet you!


Madeline Littlejohns Photography relaxed fun family photos Swansea documentaryMadeline Littlejohns is an on-location family photographer in central Swansea (Sketty, Brynmill, Uplands) offering relaxed, natural portraits and documentary family photography to record your family’s story.

If you’d like to have a chat about a fun family photo session in Swansea, please do get in touch to say hi and discuss booking a parenthood session.


Posted by Madeline Littlejohns in Parenthood, 0 comments
7 fascinating facts about our memories

7 fascinating facts about our memories

One of the things that I absolutely love about photography is how it lets us hold on to moments in time that might otherwise slip away.

As much as we might like to think that we’ll remember all the important things, it’s quite scary how much ends up fading away over time.  I find the whole thing really interesting though, and loved studying the psychology of memory back in Uni (not that I can remember everything I learnt about it back then!).

I’ve been reading more about it recently and have found these 7 fascinating facts that you might not know about our memories:

7 fascinating facts about our memories


1. Our brains physical change when we learn new things

When we learn something new it causes actual physical changes in our brain’s structure.

Researchers have used MRI scans to discover that, when we learn something new, there is increased activity in certain areas of the brain as well as long-lasting changes in terms of white and grey matter.


2. We fill in gaps in our memories

We don’t always remember the details of events as accurately as we think we do.

A lot of the time our brains fill in the gaps based on what we think most likely happened.  We do this so subconsciously that we believe the memories to be completely real and accurate.


3. We remember things that didn’t actually happen

Following on from the last point, not only do we fill in gaps in our memories but we can also create entire false memories.

We all have things that we ‘remember’ from our childhoods that we’ve actually just pieced together from stories our parents have told us and photos we’ve seen from that time.

It goes further than that though.

A study carried out at the University of California involved people with normal and superior memories, and found that all the participants could be tricked into creating false memories.  During the study even the people with superior memories ‘remembered’ things like seeing footage of United Flight 93 crashing in Pennsylvania on 9/11.  This footage doesn’t actually exist, but the idea that it does was put in their minds by the researchers and they then went on to describe what they remembered seeing on it later on in the study.


4. We start forming memories before we’re even born.

Studies have been carried out that support what lots of parents have believed for years; that unborn babies can hear and remember sounds that are played to them.

Which is why newborn babies can often be soothed by the sound of songs that they heard a lot before they were born.

This is known as prenatal or foetal memory, and scientists believe it’s crucial in the development of attachment of a baby to its mother.


5. We also start forgetting memories while we’re still children

This is something I’ve noticed with my own children.

Rhys is 7 and has no memory of the time he spent going to nursery as a toddler.

Psychologists at Emory University carried out some research to find out when this ‘childhood amnesia’ starts.  They found that children aged 5-7 could remember over 60% of their earlier life events, while those aged 8 and 9 could only remember around 40% of these memories.


6. Our emotions influence how well we remember things

Dr John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist, has found that we remember emotionally charged events better, for longer and more accurately than events that are more emotionally neutral.

He’s explained that this is most likely down to the dopamine that our brains release when we feel strong emotions.

He describes dopamine as being like a post-it note for our brains, telling them we need to remember this particular event that has an emotional significance for us.

We can use this to our advantage when we’re trying to learn something new, or teach our children something.  If we can teach our children something in a way that engages them emotionally they’ll be more likely to remember it.


7. Taking a photo of something makes your memory of it less clear

This might seem a strange thing for me as a photographer to share but I think it’s an important one to know.

Research has found that taking a photo to remember a particular moment in time can actually make our memory of that moment worse.

Scientists believe that this is down to the fact that our brains are focusing on the act of taking a photo rather than paying full attention to the thing we’re photographing.  So while we want to take a thousand photos of our children, we need to find a balance between that and fully being present in the moment with them to remember those times better.



We all want to remember as much as possible about our parenthood journeys.  From the big milestone moments to the little everyday details that make up the different stages of our children’s lives.

The perfect way to help keep these memories alive is to have a photographer come and document your family for you.

As much as we’d like to think we’ll remember everything, our memories are fallible.  We can’t always rely on them to keep these moments we want to hang on to safe.

So photograph the things you love, record those moments both big and small that you want to remember.

And from time to time, book a session with a photographer to come and record things for you, so you can be truly present in the moment too.


Madeline Littlejohns Photography relaxed fun family photos Swansea documentaryMadeline Littlejohns is a family photographer in central Swansea offering relaxed, natural portraits and documentary family photography to record your family’s story.

If you’d like to have a chat about a fun family photo session in Swansea, please do get in touch to say hi and discuss booking a parenthood session.


Posted by Madeline Littlejohns in Parenthood, 0 comments
10 (more) things you might not know about me

10 (more) things you might not know about me

I’ve been running this business for a good few years now, so it’s been quite a while since I really introduced myself.

A while ago I wrote a post with 10 random facts about me, that you may or may not have read at the time.  Looking back at it though, it’s quite a basic getting-to-know-you type post.  I wanted to share a few more little bits of information about who I am and what I love to help you get to know me even more.

So, whether this is the first time we’re meeting or you’ve known me for a while, here are 10 more things that you might not know about me.

10 things you might not know about me


1. I love coffee, and drink several cups a day.  But I go off the taste of it when I’m ill.  At times like that only tea will do.


2. I write a blog.  It’s a family lifestyle blog called this glorious life and I write about parenting, family life, psychology and photography.


3. I love the smell of rain on a hot pavement, and that of freshly cut grass.  I think my favourite smell though is the one that comes from the tumble dryers at launderettes.


4. I can curl my lip like Elvis, but I can’t roll my tongue.  One of my children can roll their tongue and the other can’t.  I’m actually not sure about their lip-curling abilities.


5. I used to be really shy as a child, but having children of my own has forced me out of my shell loads.  I’m still an introvert at heart though.  I really crave time to myself and love just staying in at home.


6. I still have the teddy bear that was given to me the day I was born.  He is very imaginatively called ‘brown ted’.


7. When I was 10 I fractured my wrist and now it hurts when it’s going to rain.  One summer I was working in a pub back in Kent and looking out the windows it seemed to be a bright, sunny day.  My wrist started hurting so I told a few people that it was going to rain, and they all thought I was mad.  I still remember the looks on their faces when it clouded over and started to pour with rain 5 minutes later!


8. I resisted watching Game of Thrones for years, then binge-watched almost the whole thing to catch up.  Now I can’t wait to see how the whole thing is going to end.


9. I love looking at the little details in old photos.  The things that we might think of as mess and clutter at the time, these are things that bring the memories back when we’re older.  The posters and photos all over the walls of my teenage bedroom.  The jumperoo and babygym filling up the living room when my children were babies.  The random notes and magnets all over my parents’ fridge.  These are the details of life that I love in pictures.


10. One of my favourite films is ‘About Time’.  I love everything about it.  The casting is perfect, the soundtrack is beautiful and the story is just wonderful.


So, there you go.  10 little things that you might not have known about me before.

If I sound like someone you would get on with, and you’d like me to come along and photograph your family’s story for you, please do get in touch to say hi and discuss booking a parenthood session.


Posted by Madeline Littlejohns in Personal, 0 comments
Amber and family – a wild and windy graduation day photo session

Amber and family – a wild and windy graduation day photo session

The summer of 2018 was gorgeous wasn’t it?

Back in July we’d had a run of warm, sunny weather here in Swansea.  Then one day towards the end of the month I woke up to dark grey, rainy skies and wild winds.  Of course, this was the day that hundreds of students from Swansea University would be graduating at the Bay campus.

I was due to head to the campus to meet Amber and her family to take some family portraits as they celebrated her success.

The forecast for the day really didn’t look good but we decided to go for it anyway, and we were all thrilled that we did.

Amber and family graduation day photos swansea


About half an hour after the graduation ceremony there was a break in the weather.

The rain stopped and everything brightened up, and we dashed across campus to the open space by the beach.  There may have been a few minutes of confusion as we lost Amber’s mum for a bit, but we all made it to the seafront together in the end!


Swansea bay campus family lifestyle photography black and white


We got some gorgeous portraits of Amber in her graduation cap and gown with her mum and her partner.

Whilst it was dry the weather was still pretty wild and windy, and you can see that in the photos, which I actually really love.  There’s a slight wildness to the pictures that tells the story of the day so perfectly.


Relaxed graduation photos Swansea bay


I always think that photos should take you right back to the moment they were taken.

They should spark those memories of what things were like that day, and hopefully these photos will do that for Amber.

In years to come she can look at these photos with her family and remember what a wet and wild day it was when she graduated.  How her cap kept nearly flying off and her gorgeously styled hair was blown every which way (yet somehow she still looked amazing!).

She’ll remember how her sons were there to celebrate with her.  How brilliant they were at actually sitting still long enough for me to grab these individual portraits, before wanting to be off playing around again.


Swansea bay campus family lifestyle photography


Family lifestyle photo session swansea bay campus


Swansea bay campus family lifestyle photographer


Family lifestyle photographer Swansea bay black and white


That’s why we do this isn’t it.  Why we take the time to take photos or book a professional portrait session.

We do it to capture our lives.

To freeze those moments that mean so much to us.

To record the way things are, right now.

To give ourselves a way back to these times, these feelings, once they’re gone.

Relaxed family photos Swansea bay


What is about your life right now that you want to remember?


Fancy a fun and relaxed photo session in Swansea for you and your family?  Get in touch now and we’ll have a chat about the perfect session to tell your story!


Posted by Madeline Littlejohns in Parenthood, 0 comments
9 activity ideas for your family photo session this autumn

9 activity ideas for your family photo session this autumn

When did you last have photos taken of you and your family?

You might think that autumn isn’t the best time of year for photos, with the warm, blue sky days of summer behind us.  The thing is, with the documentary approach that I take to your family photo session the time of year is almost irrelevant.

The aim isn’t to take pretty, styled photos.

It’s to tell your story.

So take a minute to think about what it is about your life at the moment that you want to document.  Think about the things you love to do as a family, the little routines and habits and activities that might be gone by next summer.  Don’t wait for the perfect season, or the perfect moment for your photo session.  That moment is now.  The time to document your family as it is right now, is right now.

If you’re not sure what you would want to do as a family during an autumn photo session in Swansea, then here are nine ideas to inspire you: 

9 activity ideas for your family photos this autumn


If you and your family are most comfortable at home, then you can have your photo session there. 

Here are some ideas for activities you can plan at home for your photo session this autumn:


Play at home

A great at-home option is to simply play.

This is a lovely option for children of all ages.  Young babies can explore their play mats, have some tummy time or bounce in their jumperoo.  These toys will be packed away or passed on before long so it’s lovely to capture photos of your baby when they’re still little enough to use them.

Older children can play with their dolls, or play a board game together.

Have a think about what their favourite toy or game is and we can build a session around that.


Get crafty

If you’d rather have a more structured activity planned then getting the arts and crafts box out is a fun option.

It might be a finger-painting session, home-made play dough or just getting the lego out and seeing who can build the biggest tower.

autumn photo session arts and crafts at home


Do some baking

If you’re not really a crafty family but still prefer the idea of a photo session at home, then you could do some baking instead.

Get everyone involved in making some simple fairy cakes or biscuits.  It’s great fun, makes for some lovely natural photos and you all get to eat the treats afterwards!


For families who want to get out and about for their autumn photo session there are loads of options around central Swansea. 

Here are some of my favourites:


Head to the beach

Who says the beach is just for the summer?

I absolutely love it all year round and Swansea bay is a great place for family photos in autumn.

The beach tends to be quite quiet so you’ll have plenty of space to run around and have fun.  If it’s windy why not take a kite along and see how high you can make it fly!

Pop wellies on and go splash in the waves, build a sandcastle or bring the dog along for a simple family walk.  Whatever you love to do at the beach as a family, lets do it!

autumn photo session visit the beach


Visit the farm 

Have you visited Swansea community farm yet?

It’s the only city farm in Wales and is a great place to go with the children, and would make a great location for some documentary family photos this autumn.  There are various animals to see, lots of little paths for little feet to run down and even a cafe area for a drink and a snack afterwards.


Explore the marina

Swansea marina is a great place to go for a family walk as part of a documentary photo session.

Make the most of the crisp autumn days and go for a wander to check out the boats.  You can also pop over to Swansea bay beach from the marina, walk down to cross the sail bridge, or have a little play in the marina park right by west pier.


Head to the woods

Take the children on a nature walk through Clyne woods and see what autumnal treasures you can find.

Documentary photo sessions in Swansea with me aren’t about the family looking picture-perfect.  They’re about telling your story.  So if your children love to put their wellies on and stomp through the woods, getting mucky and muddy then, brilliant, lets do that!

autumn photo session walk in the woods


Play in the park 

I remember when I was a child there was a play park in my village that had a helicopter-shaped climbing frame.  I’m not sure if it’s still there, and I don’t think there are any photos of me playing on it, but it’s there in my childhood memories.

Going to the park is such a big part of life for most people with young children, so why not go to your children’s favourite for your photo session.  Whether it’s Cwmdonkin or Brynmill Park, or the little one by Park View terrace in Sketty, let me document this part of your family’s story.  Before the play equipment changes, or the children get too old and it just becomes a fading part of your memories.

autumn photo session play at the park


Feed the ducks 

This time of year the ducks in Brynmill Park will be very happy to have visitors come along with food for them.

Feeding the ducks is another classic childhood activity, one that I remember from when I was little and that I’ve done a lot with my own children over the last 7 years.  It’s a really lovely thing to do as part of your family photo session and is a great part of your story to document and enjoy looking back on when the children are older.



Hopefully this post has given you all sorts of ideas for the sorts of activities you can plan for your own family documentary photo session in Swansea.  If you’re still a bit unsure about what a session with me would be like then you can read more about my Parenthood sessions here.

If this sounds like the type of photos you’d like, to record this part of your family’s story, then get in touch now and we’ll have a chat to start planning your session.


Posted by Madeline Littlejohns in Parenthood, 0 comments

Can I do some painting?

“Can I do some painting?”

A question I was asked a couple of times last week by Nerys.  I kept her home from school on Tuesday with a nasty cough and then we spent our afternoons for the rest of the week in the house, with me trying to get her to rest a bit.

On Friday though I relented and pulled the box of paints and paintbrushes down from its home on top of the fridge.  I thought as activities go, painting is a pretty calm one and not too taxing for a slightly under the weather Nerys.

Swansea family documentary photography painting at home Sketty

I know some parents feel quite tense when their little ones want to paint at home.  Probably because of the potential for paint splattered clothes and murky paint water spillages.  I love it though.  While it can feel a bit of a hassle initially, clearing space on the kitchen table and pulling down all the bits and pieces we need, I really enjoy watching my children paint.

Swansea family documentary photography painting at home Sketty 002

Whether she’s painting an actual picture of flowers, or just exploring colours like she did on Friday, Nerys is so careful and deliberate when she paints.

What I hadn’t even realised until I looked back through these photos is that she was twirling her hair as she painted.  Something about that action just makes it seem like she was just completely caught up in her little world of painting.

I don’t think she realised she was doing it either.

Swansea family documentary photography painting at home

She must have happily painted for about 45 minutes before deciding she’d had enough.

She painted, and twirled her hair.  I pottered around the kitchen, cleaning and tidying.

And I took these photos.  Documented this everyday activity, so easy to overlook because it’s such a normal, everyday thing for us to do.  But that’s exactly why I wanted to document it.  Because this is us, this is Nerys as she is right now.  Before I know it she’ll be past the stage of painting at the kitchen table.  The little pots of paints will dry up and be discarded.  And these days will just be a memory, thought of fondly and wistfully.

So while these days are here, I will record them.  For me and for her.


The Ordinary Moments
Posted by Madeline Littlejohns, 0 comments