“Learn as if you were to live forever” Mahatma Gahndi
With 2020 fast approaching and my diary already filling fast with other commitments I thought it would be a good idea to plan ahead and set out some dates for my every popular Photography Training workshops.
I have also now introduced two further workshops especially designed for those who have already been on courses and would like to expand their photographic skills with an experienced mentor and trainer.
I have also made a few changes to the original workshops to give you a little more choice as to which one might suit you!
The popular Children’s Portraiture Workshops and the new Mastering Natural Light Workshops that I run will now each be styled to the season so each will have a Spring, Summer Autumn and Winter styled shoot. So if you are looking to expand location shoot portfolio you may want to book a few of these courses together. Each will all feature an experienced model all different for each session so as to give variety to your portfolio if you are to attend more than one shoot.
You will also at the end of each course (beginners included) now learn some basic editing techniques for your images, for example Black and white conversions, simple skin retouching and colour correction through to print.
Each delegate will then leave the workshop with a print of their favourite image taken on the day.
The two new courses are…Studio Lighting for Portraiture, and Mastering Natural Light Workshop. I have added these courses as a need from the clients who have already been to my original workshops and wanted to build on their skills.
All of the courses will now be held at the new Studio in Charlton Kings or in Cheltenham depending on the workshop. More details will be forwarded once a booking is made.
This last month has been a real mix of crazy busy and relaxation!
We have spent some lovely family time in Spain before three weeks of travelling the country with speaking gigs and child portraits all over the country!
When on holiday I normally try to experiment a little with photography, kind of a holiday from my normal portrait work and push myself creatively.
I had just attended Cambrian Photography, in Colwyn Bay for a speaking role and as usual had stuck around to see all of the other inspiring speakers.
One speaker struck me particularly, the amazing Rachael Talibart, her work was just so beautiful using techniques that I had not really used myself before.
The images that most intrigued me were those where she had used Intentional Camera Movement the more I had looked into this technique the more I wanted to give it a try!
So I thought I would give it a go!
It really is harder than you think to capture the images that you want.
Quite often the results are just a blurry mess! But sometimes, just sometimes the images can just dance infront of your eyes like happy little accidents!
I also looked more some abstract seascapes (I probably did look a little odd taking images of the water) and I just love the shapes and light in these images.
Taking these images I really did try and push my camera into settings that I wouldn’t do normally when taking my portraiture commissions. When taking portraits I try and keep my camera settings pretty simple so this was a really organic and suck it and see way for me to shoot which I have to say was rather liberating!
For me it was wonderful to try something different and produce images that I was happy with. There images themselves still give me the memories of my holidays just with more of an atmosphere and feel rather than the obvious.
I would really encourage you all to go out there and try something a little different!
Thank you so much for last Sunday. I cannot tell you how much it meant to Donna and I.
It was totally inspiring and had us both chatting like kids on the way home, thinking about what we can do to improve and challenge ourselves. It was a really amazing day and it was a real honour to learn from you.
Thank you for being patient with us and sharing as openly as you did – we really have come away with so much to use and build on.
Today we hosted the first of our children’s portrait photography courses from our beautiful new home in Cheltenham.
Starting in the gorgeous studio in Pittville we had a morning of theory and the process of how I shoot a portrait, what I look for for the perfect location alongside some business and marketing advise.
After lunch we headed out of the front door and walked into the park to scout for locations where we would be taking our model and capturing some fabulous lifestyle portraits.
Pitville Park is an amazing place for some location portraits as it really does have the perfect mix of great places to take a good variety of portraits.
The graffiti on the other side of the lake makes for some vibrant and colourful images which fitted perfectly with Ava’s REALLY? sweatshirt!
The Pump rooms and the surrounding park also gave us some lovely areas with beautiful light and fabulous textures.
For her first time modelling Ava was a little superstar, and took to the camera very well! Our delegates Craig and Donna were lovely with her and managed to capture a great variety of images for their portfolios.
As for Ava it was great working with such a great personality and beautiful little one! 🙂 And with those lovely big blue eyes I see trouble in those teenage years for mummy and daddy!
If group training isn’t the option for you I can also offer similar training on a 1-2-1 basis as part of a mentoring programme! There are some wonderful special offers for photography mentoring currently here!
2018 was super busy for me with lots of public speaking, inspiring talks and photography workshops, 2019 however has literally gone crazy!
Each month I can be found somewhere in the country! So if you are nearby please do come and say hello, you will be most welcome at many of the lectures or events, but please click on the date to check for further details!
More dates will be added throughout the year, but this little lot should keep you going for a bit! Please contact me if you would like me speak at your event or would like further details of the dates below!
The workshops will generally be focussed on my Award winning Children’s Portraiture.
With the evening talks covering both my Childrens portraiture and my Travel portraiture, please click on the available links for further details of each event.
Being a portrait photographer in London I am lucky enough to go to some amazing locations to capture my beautiful children’s portraits.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to have taken some beautiful children’s portraits on a vintage double decker bus, The Cutty Sark, Gods own Junkyard, Southbank Skate park to name just a few!
Each wonderful location has been chosen by the client as a place that is important and personal to them, making their images totally unique to them.
The images below are all from a recent shoot taken in Shorditch of the gorgeous little Zoe! We started the shoot in her families amazing Butchers shop! a brilliant start to a couple of hours wondering the vibrant and colourful streets!
These next images are from another favourite of mine the grounds of the Horniman Museum with a very energetic Cooper! With the fabulous views over London we never fail to get brilliant shots here and there are so many wonderful locations to choose from!
In the coming weeks I have some special shoots booked up for Camden, Fulham Palace Gardens, Kenwood house and The British Library!
These are lovely shoots for me as I know the client has a personal connection to each of these venues making the images far more special to them.
If you and your family have a unique location that you would like to have your portraits taken please do contact me to discuss your requirements I would love to hear from you!
A recent featured interview about my work with the Non Government Organisations that I work with all around the world, and how they have helped me to change my photographic career in ways I would never have expected.
What style of photography do you shoot the most?
Travel portraiture is my photographic passion, I try to spend a few of months every year capturing images of people in their natural environments, in the past years I have lived in remote villages in Tanzania, Nepal and Nicaragua to name a few.
What camera and lens combination do you use most often and why does it work for you?
My main kit for my travel photography is the Fujifilm XT-2 paired with the battery grip. I also generally take along the extremely lightweight Fujifim XT-20 as I feel it compliments the X-T2 perfectly and for me it is always a good idea to take a spare when travelling remotely.
As my primary subject is travel portraiture myoihggwith the X system is the 50-140 mm f2.8, this lens is perfect for my style of portraiture as it manages to perfectly isolate the subject from their backdrop really drawing you into their emotions.
With a beautiful drop off with the aperture wide open at 2.8 and being slightly smaller than its DSLR equivalent this lens is a permanent piece of my travel kit. The fact that the lens is weather proof and a robust build is essential for me especially within the wide range of climates that I visit.
I also use the 16-55mm f2.8, and the 90mm prime f2, as they offer extra features that the long lens doesn’t, for example, for landscapes and portraits with a context the 16-55 is a beautiful lens, the fact that it is weather proof is great as mentioned previously.
The XT-2 is the perfect travel body, with all of the outstanding quality you would expect from a Fujifilm body, being mirrorless it has the advantage of being lighter and more compact. The battery grip does make the body larger however it is essential for me with this kit as when travelling to some very remote areas I need to longevity of the extra two batteries,
The super fast two hour charge of two batteries is perfect for keeping everything full of life, especially in Africa or Nepal where the electricity supply can be very sporadic or sometimes non-existant, I take it where I can get it.
If you could provide other photographers with one or two top photography tips, what would they be?
The tip that I give all of the photographers that I mentor is to learn to “see” light. This for me is the most important skill for the photographer to have. Learning how to use the light in any situation is key to producing stunning portraiture. The other tip, would be to become visually aware, studying other genres of creative media to draw inspiration for their own work, learning how to use light, textures, colour and composition.
Please pick one photo which you are the most proud of or admire the most and explain a little as to why you chose this one.
The image that I am most proud of, is one that I shot on my first expedition for Raleigh International. I was in an extremely remote village Miganga in the centre of Tanzania. As part of the communications team we had been asked to write a piece on the wife of the village leader, for International Women’s day.
Mumma Grace was extremely nervous whilst we were capturing the images, (Tanzanians still have the belief that an image taken of them takes a piece of their soul). Thankfully with the aid of a wonderful volunteer translator, I was able to reassure her that it would be a good experience for her to have a portrait taken for the article. When complete we were able to give Grace a copy of the with accompanying images and the smile on her face relayed a thousand words! To see herself in print was a new experience for her, the pride was infectious! They even mounted it and popped it in a frame for her wall pride of place.
Why do you prefer shooting mirrorless? What advantages of mirrorless are important to you and why?
Initially I was sceptical about changing systems, however now when I pick up cumbersome and clunky DSLR’ s I wonder why! There are so many advantages to the system, which is clearly why now nearly all are following suit however initially I was struck by two main reasons to change system, these being:
Size and weight
When travelling the flexibility of being able to fit more kit into my bag is great, giving me the choice of a wider variety of lenses for use in the field. I can fit everything I need into my flight bag no question.
The EVF (electronic View Finder)
The electronic view finder also for me was a revelation when I switched from DSLR to a mirrorless system being able to see in the viewfinder the actual exposure is wonderfully useful, and gives me more time to consider my composition, framing and the expression of the subject, knowing that the final outcome will be exactly as I see it in camera.
Do you use film simulation modes? Which do you use the most often and why do you use this Film Simulation mode?
I tend to use the film simulation modes in editing, I shoot Raw files and then process them in Camera Raw and assign a profile here, depending on the style of the shot, I generally use either, pro neg high or classic chrome, as these tend to compliment my style of portraiture, giving good skin tones,and wonderful depth to the images.
Where / what is your favourite town, city, landscape, location, or subject to photograph and why?
Wherever I travel, people always ask me this question, and to be honest its a pretty difficult one to answer, having been lucky enough to travel to some incredible places. They are all so different and have qualities that the others don’t. However Kathmandhu, Nepal, has to be up there as one of my favourites, the vibrant colours and textures, beautiful characters and amazing scenery make for a wonderful location for portraiture. In particular, Pashupatinath Temple on the river is hugely atmospheric and culturally very important to the Nepali’s. Whenever I am there I try and have a good walk around at dusk when the light is just magical, and the atmosphere is inspiring.
New for 2019 I have SIX exciting new portrait days in wonderful locations in and around Cheltenham.
The portrait days are a chance for you and your family to experience a fun portrait session with me in the beautiful Cotswold countryside! With the added bonus of a reduced shoot price of only £50 rather than the normal price of £125.
For this brilliant price you will receive an hour long shoot and a beautiful gallery of images to chose your final prints from.
Having lived with the name Saraya for then last 45 years, I am constantly asked, how do you pronounce it? Where is it from? What does it mean?
In answer to those questions, the first is easy, phonetically, Sa ray ah, easy right? But you would be amazed at how many people struggle with it! I even once had a teacher who refused to call me Saraya and called me Sarah.
Most people think that my name is Soraya, which is a beautiful name, but pronounced slightly differently, and most of the time when people ask me I say that my parents didn’t know how to spell!
Soraya is an Iranian name referring to the Pleiades, a star cluster in the constellation of Taurus. It has connotations meaning “rich” (I wish) and “princess” (again I wish). I believe that my name means something similar, and where the name comes from.
So when I was contacted by one of my old clients to say that they would love shoot for their little Saraya, it was a really happy surprise!
I have never ever met another Saraya, there are a few around the world, but really not many, so we are pretty unique!
I had met the parents a while ago at a shoot in my studio in North London a few years ago, and they contacted me last year when Saraya was born to book a shoot, it is always lovely for me to see past clients. (Although it does sometimes make me feel old! Especially when I see the kids growing so quickly!)
We met in a lovely park in North London, and with that gorgeous Autumn sunshine, we couldn’t help but make some lovely portraits of this smiley little lady.
At not even two, Saraya was brilliant to picture, very chatty, telling me about her favourite dinosaurs and I was so impressed with her attention span. (mum and dad helped with that too!)
It was funny for me, when mum and dad kept calling the name Saraya, I answered sometimes too! It was a first for me, to have a client with the same name! So here we are… the two Saraya’s! And I am sure we will see each other again in the future! (thank you Mummy for the image :)!
If you would like some Autumn portraits of your little one please contact me for shoot details and prices.