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 admin 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 admin 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 admin, 0 comments
Sian and Michael – family lifestyle and documentary portraits in Singleton Park, Swansea

Sian and Michael – family lifestyle and documentary portraits in Singleton Park, Swansea

Anyone who has a child will tell you that they very rarely perform when you want them to.

How many children have sat through their 2 year review and refused to say a word, or even attempt the jigsaw puzzle that the health visitor brought along?  Something about the expectation on them to do something makes our chatterboxes go silent and our jigsaw whizzes completely uncooperative.

So it’s not entirely surprising that normally happy, smiley babies suddenly turn serious when you want them to smile most of all – during a photo session.

When I met Siân and Michael in Singleton Park for their family photo session a few weeks ago, this is exactly what happened with their gorgeous son Jacob.   At the beginning of their session he was incredibly serious.

baby lifestyle documentary photography swansea singleton park 006

What I love so much about lifestyle and documentary sessions though is that if this happens it’s absolutely fine!

We’re not in a studio, trying to get them to sit still and smile nicely for the camera.  We have plenty of time to relax and have fun, and after a while those smiles start coming naturally.

In Jacob’s case, a few kisses from Michael and a little bit of flying through the air was all that was needed to bring him out of his shell a bit!

baby lifestyle documentary photography swansea singleton park 005

baby lifestyle documentary photography swansea singleton park 004

With a session that takes a more documentary approach even the things that would normally mean a break in the session become part of it too.  When Jacob got hungry during his session in Singleton Park I was really happy because it meant I got to document that moment for Siân.

There are hardly any photos of me feeding either of my children (I bottle fed one and breastfed the other) and that makes me really quite sad.  So I jump at the chance to document these moments for other parents.  At the time it all feels so ordinary and just part of the daily routine with a baby, but as they get older and move away from milk feeds you realise how special that time was.  So please, do get some photos of it while you can!

swansea baby breastfeeding lifestyle documentary photography singleton park 002

With his tummy filled Jacob was ready for a bit more fun so we strolled round to another part of the park for some bubbles and some fun singing row, row, row your boat.

baby lifestyle documentary photography swansea singleton park 003

baby lifestyle documentary photography swansea singleton park 002

Siân and Michael wanted some family photos as well as some of just Jacob, so we took a few minutes for them to sit and play all together while I snapped away.  The beauty of a lifestyle and documentary session is that you can get the best of both worlds.  You get this moment in your parenthood journey documented, in a way that is authentically you, and you also get the individual and group photos that you would want from a more traditional portrait session.

swansea baby family lifestyle documentary photography singleton park 002

As Siân and Michael’s session went on it started to get a little bit chilly in Singleton Park, which actually worked out well because it meant Jacob could put on his unbelievably cute teddy bear suit.  I’ve always been a sucker for hats and hoods with ears on for little ones and this outfit just made my heart melt a little bit.  It was so soft too, Jacob really was like a little teddy bear in it!

swansea baby family lifestyle documentary photography singleton park

After a few last cuddles Jacob let us know that he was getting hungry again and so we said our goodbyes and I headed off home where I couldn’t wait to get the photos off my camera and on to my computer and start editing.

When I followed up with Siân after sending her their photos I was absolutely thrilled to hear that they loved the photos, so much so that they’re now up on the walls in their home.  Exactly where they should be!


Whether you’re expecting your first child or have just completed your family with a new puppy, a Parenthood session is the perfect way to document where your life is right now.

If you’d like to have a chat about arranging a session please do get in touch, I can’t wait to hear from you!


Posted by admin, 0 comments
The long walk home

The long walk home

Last week Nerys asked if we could walk home when I picked her up from school at lunchtime, instead of going in the car.

So on Friday I walked to meet her.  It took me just over twenty minutes to get from home to the school.

It then took us over two hours to walk home again.

We got off to a slow start because she came out of school clutching a biscuit she had decorated in school as part of their children in need activities.  So we had to stop for a minute or two while she tucked in, because she couldn’t push her baby’s buggy and eat at the same time.

swansea child eating spotty decorated biscuit

After a few minutes though we did get moving.  And for a little while we actually went quite fast as Nerys rushed to try and put some distance between us and a dog walker coming along the path behind us.

swansea child pushing toy buggy

That burst of speed walking though meant that we had to stop soon after to refuel with a few Pom Bear crisps.

Sketty swansea family documentary photography 3

It took a while but we eventually made it to the little park on Park View Terrace in Sketty.  It’s a tiny park really, but perfectly located just behind the shops in Sketty to I can let Nerys play for a bit then head to the shops for a few bits and pieces before heading on home.

child climbing in park in sketty swansea

child playing in park in sketty swansea

swansea family documentary photography sketty 2

Some days we follow this routine and I manage to hurry Nerys out of the park relatively quickly.

Friday though was a day of negotiations.

One more go on the see saw.  Five more pushes on the swing.  One last balance.

Sketty swansea family documentary photography 4

By the time I eventually got her out the gate she told me she needed the toilet.

So our walk home included a detour via the botanical gardens in Singleton park to find a toilet.

child pushing toy buggy singleton park swansea

Of course while we were there we had to pop into the temperate house to see the fish.  Well it would be rude not to wouldn’t it!

By the time we got home that day we had just about enough time to sit down and have something for lunch before we had to head back out to pick Rhys up from school.

We took the car for that trip.

Some days I rush through, hurrying home from school so I can get on with lunch and jobs and household chores.  Other days though I love to slow down.  To go at Nerys’ pace.  To savour these little moments with her.

These everyday activities like this walk home from school, these little stories of our lives, are so normal, so routine that we don’t always stop and appreciate them for what they are.

But these are the moments that I will miss so much when they’re gone.

These are the little stories of my life that I want to record, to hold on to, to be able to look back on in years to come when my children are grown up and creating their own stories.

This for me is what documentary photography is all about.  

Documenting our lives.  Because they are beautiful in all their ordinariness.  I would love to help you document your life too.

Whatever stage of your parenthood journey you’re at, there’s a story to tell.  Get in touch to have a chat, and to book your parenthood session.


Posted by admin, 0 comments
A sunny engagement and family portrait session in Clyne Gardens, Swansea

A sunny engagement and family portrait session in Clyne Gardens, Swansea

I’m so happy to be sharing this fun portrait session with you all!  I met with Charlotte and Adrian and their boys back in the Autumn for an engagement/family portrait session in Clyne Gardens, which was a perfect way for me to get to know them (and vice versa) before I take their wedding photos in the summer!

Charlotte had told me before their session that they loved the photos that I took of their friends, Lara and Steve, as they were relaxed and natural, rather than being too posed, but that they also wanted to have photos where they were all looking at the camera and smiling.

So, with that in mind, I gently guided them into some group poses and then encouraged the natural smiles and laughter to come out with some Beloved prompts.  We’re all really happy with the resulting portraits!

Charlotte and Adrian were keen to have some portraits taken of just them, to celebrate their engagement, which I was really pleased to hear.  I absolutely love taking some time during family portrait sessions to take some photos of just the parents.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these photos will mean a huge amount to the children in the future!

This was such a fun session, and with 2 lively, independent boys there was never a dull moment!  One of the things I love about Beloved and moment design is that it creates sessions that are fun, and relaxed, leading to much more natural expressions and a great experience for those being photographed (the photographee?!).

When you have children who don’t really like having their photo taken, especially if that involves being asked to stand still and smile for the camera, then the thought of having a portrait session can be really stressful.

But with the tricks of Beloved and moment design up my sleeve you really don’t have to worry!

Charlotte and Adrian walked away from their session still smiling and relaxed, and really happy with their photos that showed the boys looking at the camera, but still looking like them!  Not ‘on their best behaviour’, not ‘smiling for the camera’, but just smiling, full of fun and energy, how kids should be!

You can keep up to date with my news on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Posted by admin in , 0 comments
My baby girl is two

My baby girl is two

Two.  My baby girl is two.

How did that happen?  Where did the time go?

All of sudden she’s turned into this big, chatty, curious, charming girl.

A tall bundle of smiles and shyness and questions, questions, questions.

I get asked 100 times a day “Mummy, what you doing?” and 101 times “why?”.

She’s my shadow, my echo, my wonderful companion.  When Rhys is as school and Daddy’s at work it’s just us.  And she is lovely company.  She is my helper at the supermarket.  She is learning all the time through play with stickers, and dolls, and building megablock houses after a tug on my hand and a shout of “lets play me!”

She is feisty and stubborn and extremely independent.  “Me do it” has been a favourite expression for months now.  Yet she is still cautious; checking in to make sure I’m nearby when we’re out anywhere.  Studying my expression to make sure any new visitors to the house are ok to talk to.

She is loving.  So, so loving.  And, like her brother, she gives big hugs and, after making sure her nose is clean, big kisses.  There’s nothing quite like hearing your children say “love do too, Mummy”.

My baby girl.  Not such a baby any more!

Are you on instagram?  Come find me if you are!  
Posted by admin in , 0 comments
A Beloved family portrait session in Singleton Park, Swansea

A Beloved family portrait session in Singleton Park, Swansea

Most mornings when I’m chasing Rhys into school with Nerys in tow I pass these two gorgeous girls, and they always make me smile.  Well, look at those faces, those smiles are pretty infectious!

So I was really looking forward to their family portrait session in Singleton Park, knowing that we would all have a lot of fun!

There’s a branch of the Beloved community called ‘Playful heart’ which is just perfect for family sessions like this, as it’s aimed at embracing the simply joys of childhood, and just having fun.  Victoria and her family were completely open to this approach to their portrait session, and so we jumped straight in with some little games to get them laughing together.
We’ve all got a ‘camera smile’ that we tend to do when we’re asked to pose and smile for photos.  And those smiles can be nice, but that’s it.  They’re just ‘nice’.  They don’t seem to quite make it to the eyes.

But the smiles that Beloved brings out?  They’re so far beyond ‘nice’.  They’re natural, genuine, infectious.
Don’t you think?!  I dare you to look at these gorgeous smiling faces and not start smiling yourself!

I love that these two slowed down long enough for me to grab these shots, but that you can still see that sparkle in their eyes, just that hint of mischief in there!

At all my family portrait sessions here in Swansea I aim to capture a variety of images for you to chose from, so along with group photos I like to take individual portraits that show off each family member’s features and personality just that little bit more.

I was so pleased when, towards the end of the session, Mark asked if I could take a quick few shots of just him and Victoria while the girls were busy examining the flowers in the botanical gardens.

These photos will mean so much to the girls when they’re older.  Seeing Mark and Victoria together, seeing the happiness and love between them, seeing THEM, will mean so much.

I say it every time, but please, please make the effort to exist in photos for your children!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this session, please do leave me a comment below and let me know what you think!

Posted by admin in , 0 comments
10 benefits of pregnancy massage

10 benefits of pregnancy massage

Mums-to-be – how are you feeling right now?  

I’m guessing your answer will be something along the lines of, “excited, happy, full of love, but also sick, exhausted, nervous, sore, and emotional”

Pregnancy takes a LOT out of you, and if you’re working or looking after a toddler or older child then it can really leave you desperate for a sit down, or a sleep, or just a little bit of time for yourself to relax.

So to look after yourself and stop from getting completely run down, you can pack yourself off to bed early, lock yourself in the bathroom for a lovely soak in a bubble bath, or you can treat yourself to a wonderful pregnancy massage.

Here are my top ten reasons why you should chose to go for that massage, right now! 

10 benefits of pregnancy massage Swansea 

1) It will leave you feeling much more relaxed, less anxious and generally much better about everything.  This is because it reduces the levels of stress hormones that are floating round your body.  Having a massage has been found to have the same effect on people as hugging – both activities release oxytocin into the bloodstream which reduces stress and makes you feel calmer.

2) Being pregnant can put a real strain on you, both physically and emotionally, and taking the time out to just rest and enjoy a massage can help you reset and feel more like ‘you’ again.

3) Speaking of the physical strain pregnancy puts on you, having a massage can relieve a whole load of pregnancy discomforts like leg cramps, swollen ankles and back ache.

4) And on the theme of back ache, massage can really help if you’re experiencing sciatic pain, which is very common as the baby grows.

5) Massage in general is great as it can help to increase blood circulation, and this is especially good for mums-to-be because it means more oxygen and nutrients make their way to your baby.

6) Having regular massages throughout your pregnancy could potentially help you have an easier birth experience.  The theory behind this is that massage relaxes you, and more relaxed mothers tend to have a lower risk of interventions during labour and birth.

7) Your hormones may well be all over the shop during pregnancy, and massage can help to stabilize them by stimulating the endocrine system, which in turn will help you feel better all round.

8) Massage improves muscle tone and flexibility which can help you to maintain good posture throughout your pregnancy, and help you to adjust your alignment as your baby grows and gets heavier.

9) It can ease the load on your heart and help to keep your blood pressure down.

10) Last, but definitely not least, it can help you sleep better, as you’ll leave feeling more relaxed and more comfortable.

Personally, if I were pregnant right now I would book a massage for reason 10 alone!  How about you?!

10 benefits of pregnancy massage Swansea 

You Baby Me Mummy
Posted by admin in , 0 comments
Swansea small business series – Cheryl Bendle, Oasis alternative therapies

Swansea small business series – Cheryl Bendle, Oasis alternative therapies

To celebrate the introduction of my ‘You, actually’ solo portrait sessions (which are perfect for business owners and entrepreneurs who want to have gorgeous photos of themselves for their websites and social media pages) I’m starting a new blog series all about other small business owners in Swansea and South Wales.

I love supporting local businesses and especially love the personal touch you get from small businesses and one-man-shows, there’s just a different vibe than the one you get from big businesses, don’t you think?

So to kick off this series, I am very happy to introduce Cheryl Bendle who runs Oasis alternative therapies on Brunswick street in Swansea.  

I’ve know Cheryl for about six months now, and she is genuinely one of the nicest, friendliest people I know.  She always has a smile on her face and is just brilliant at making other people smile along with her!

When I asked her to introduce herself she told me “I’m a little bit quirky, overly enthusiastic about everything and I love the colour turquoise”.

Yep, sounds about right to me!  I love how her photos captured her personality so perfectly, there’s nothing shy and retiring about Cheryl!

She’s been a massage therapist for over 9 years now, and has been running her Relaxation Retreat in Swansea since July 2014.  Her boutique therapy centre is in the middle of town and is a gorgeous little oasis of calm, all decked out in her signature turquoise of course!

When you arrive at the Relaxation Retreat Cheryl greets you with a great big smile and a lovely warm welcome, but don’t let the laughs deceive you, she takes her work very seriously!  In fact she goes so far as to describe herself as a “massage-a-holic”!
You can read all about the fab treatments she offers over on her website – – but to give you a taste, here are some of the things she offers:

  • Swedish massage
  • Reflexology
  • Hot stones massage

Cheryl also specialises in treatments that are safe (and a real treat!) during pregnancy, like mum-to-be reflexology and mum-to-be massage.

She has this to say about treatments for pregnant women:

“Mum-to-be massages are one of my favourites and one of the most popular treatments they choose. It’s such a special time to be a part of and the mums are always so receptive to massage as they get a chance to unwind and have some natural pain relief from their increasingly achy muscles, backs and swollen hands and feet. And a relaxed and happy mum is always great environment for the baby too.

When clients are pregnant there are so many things they can’t do throughout the 9 months that they normally would, being able to have a massage gives them a sense of normality and comfort at least.

Massage is suitable from the second trimester of pregnancy and is enjoyed regularly throughout the whole pregnancy. Clients should always check their therapist is “Pregnancy Massage” qualified to ensure safety throughout treatments.”

Stay tuned for future posts about the amazing benefits of massage and reflexology during pregnancy.  There are so many benefits, I really wish I’d taken some time out for myself when I was pregnant (especially the second time around) to have a few treatments.

So, back to the girl behind Oasis alternative therapies.
To get to know her a bit more I asked her a few quick-fire questions, and here are her responses:

Big night out or cosy night in? Cosy night in… a bar with Prosecco!

Favourite quote? “When it rains, look for rainbows, when its dark, look for stars”

Tea or coffee? Coffee… lots of.

All time favourite film? Gladiator

Cake or biscuits? Cake… lots of.

Favourite thing about Swansea? My family & friends, my business and all my memories.

In the mood for a spot of pampering after reading this?  Here are all of Cheryl’s contact details!




Posted by admin in , 0 comments