Children’s portrait photography courses, Cheltenham

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.

If you would like to join me on the next Childrens portraiture course, the next one is being held again in the studio in Cheltenham in August! It would be great if you could join us! just click on the link to purchase or find out more details.

As for Ava it was great working with such a great personality and beautiful little one! ūüôā 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!

Big smiles!

Saraya xx

Portrait photographer, North London

Well I don’t want to jinx it, but I do ALWAYS seem to get very lucky with the weather on my location portraits! Saturday was no exception!

Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath was the location and when I arrived it was just glorious sunshine, the park was pretty much empty apart from a couple of dog walkers, and joggers.

I was slightly early , so I parked the camera bag on a bench and sat in the sunshine contemplating life, you can’t get better than a beautiful, spring morning in London.

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The portraits I was shooting were of four cousins, ages ranged between 3 and 7, so I new it was going to be a lively one, I made the most of the peace until they arrived! ūüôā

All four had their own unique personalities, which is really lovely to image, and all had a great relationship with each other, which is so lovely to capture.

The colours of the shrubs in the park were glorious and made a perfect backdrop to the portraits of the children, I will defiantly be suggesting this location for further portraits, so many wonderful places.

Here are a few of my favourites, the expressions are just priceless!

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If you would like a portrait shoot anytime up until July I have some special offers running on my website, but only very limited availability. Especially for weekends.

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Family portraits, London

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Family photographer, London

After this I will be away volunteering for Raleigh International in Nicaragua for nearly three months and will return early September for some gorgeous Autumn shoots, If you would like to book a shoot for the Autumn shoots please donate to the just giving page for my up and coming trip to secure your place. A minimum donation of £75 is required.

I look forward to seeing you all when I get back! And if you would like to keep up to date with my travels, please join the instagram page, (link above) or follow this blog!

Saraya x

 

 

The perfectly formed, FUJI X-T20!

I am sure all of you by now have read all of the amazing reviews of all of the new Fuji film products that were excitingly released on the 19th of Jan! So my experiences? Well where to begin

As a portrait and travel photographer the obvious choice for me of the new arrivals was the X-T20, a smaller more compact little sister of the the X-T2 (a camera that I now use for ALL of my portraiture and travel commissions).

In November 2016, I was approached by Fujifilm asking if I would be interested in having a trial of another of their prototype cameras. Now is any photographer going to say no, to such a great opportunity? You’d be a fool not to get involved!

The very next day I was off on my travels again as a trainer for the wonderful Photojourney in Nepal, I packed up the x-T2 in my Billy bag and  just popped in the X-T20, and hoped that I would get a chance to give it a go.

With most of the prototypes that are sent out there are always some initial glitches, but I managed to get it up and running for a few days whilst up in the hills of Barpak, Nepal.

It was so small I would often take it out on my golden hour walks, something that I try and do everyday whilst visiting a new area, I would pop on either the 90mm or 56mm prime lens on and that would be it!

The following images were taken a year and a half after the devastating earthquake in Nepal, and I wanted to really highlight the way the town had managed to regenerate and develop with vigour and pride after such an epic event, it was really very inspiring!

As the X-t20 was a pre-production model, I was unable to shoot RAW so shot all of the images in Jpeg, and then processed after in Nik software as I love the BW conversion, I was amazed by the quality and depth of the files and the sharpness! Sheesh! That 56mm APD lens is something else!

The biggest benefit to the size was that I found was that I could very discreetly hand hold the camera, in all situations and it is pretty much unnoticed, really nice when you are trying to get natural portraits.

Even more so when imaging the children of Barpak, (and there were LOTS of children!) as they were certainly less intimidated with the smaller body, I was amazed how close to the subjects I was able to get.

I’m not one to go into to all the new technologies and features, but as a photographer who likes things easy I just like things to work the way they should!

Photography for me is more about the connection and interaction with the subject, and this lovely little piece of kit certainly allowed me to have that! The eye contact that I was able to maintain was easier as I was not behind a huge DSLR,  quite often I would use the flip screen with my eyes above camera to draw an expression from the subject!

The controls and menus are pretty much the same as the X-T2, so I was used to where everything was, just slight differences were noted but nothing too out of the way.

After returning from Nepal and a couple of firmware updates (very normal for the pre-production models) I was able to shoot RAW and the files as expected did not disappoint! The files are BIG! And again lots of depth and clarity.

I am still experimenting with the body and it has also recently been in my kit for a recent family holiday to Costa Rica, it was a great to take out on days and to the beach, and I am sure it will be a great add on to my work kit also!

I am now thinking of carrying two bodies (this one being the extra) to my portrait shoots, so that I am able to seamlessly shoot both wide and long lenses quickly! When shooting children at speed this can only be of benefit! I will update you when I have started my London portrait shoots in a few weeks! (its just too cold out there at the moment!)

In the meantime for all of the camera details just click on the images above we really could learn a lot from their strength of character!

Saraya x

 

 

 

 

 

Three kids, three chickens, two cats and a dog! :)

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting three wonderful little ones for some lovely family portraits in North London!

It was a gorgeously sunny day at the end of summer, and  such a perfect location for some portraits! The back garden, which was just amazing! And full of great little areas for some portraits of the children.

Animals everywhere just added to the fun, and make these images extremely personal to this brilliant family! x

I absolutely LOVE portrait shoots like this, they make such beautifully natural images, The children were relaxed, great in front of the lens,and eager to show you all of their things, (chickens included!)

The set of images that I have decided to share are all in monochrome, but we did take some beautiful colour images, especially as the light was so good that day!

portrait photographer, Cheltenham
portrait photographer, Cheltenham.

If you would like some beautiful natural portraits of your children in or around London, please do get in contact with me to discuss your ideas!

I am happy to travel anywhere in and around London for portraiture commissions, just contact me for details!

Saraya x

Exciting (And unbelievably busy)August!

So wow this has really been one of busiest months, EVER since leaving the studio a year and a half ago!

17 location shoots, eight weddings, preparing for my talks for Fuji in Cologne, and a precious need for some mummy daughter time, and I have felt stretched beyond belief, but its nearly over and I am looking very much forward to a few days off !

Leaving the studio before my trip to Africa was a brave move, and one that I must admit, made me a little nervous to say the least! But I am so pleased that I made the jump, to a better work life balance!

My trips abroad were the push to leave the daily grind of the commute and the rent payments (dont get me wrong I bloody loved that studio!) but it was time for a change! And for the first time since I have been back, it has felt that my business has got back to where is was before! Phew! It took a while!

But now from strength to strength as they say, and because I am no longer tied to the studio I am able to take up some wonderful opportunities that have come my way!

Sometimes you just have to jump, and hope that you’ll land ok! And with a lot of hard work that generally tends to happen fortunately!

So from my amazing trip to Nepal earlier this year with Raleigh International, I was offered a great chance to return again with another project, photo journeys with the brilliant Jonny Fenn.

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Travel portraiture, Nepal
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Nepal travel portraits

We will be visiting the epicentre of the Nepali earthquake that tragically took so many lives last year to see how the area has progressed since. From my visit in January this year I have no doubt that the Nepalis will be smiling through it all and welcoming us into what ever shelter they have! I hope that the government has released the much needed fund to rebuild!? I will wait and see.

The next great opportunity actually happened a while ago, as you can see from my last post I was approached by the lovely guys from Fuji, to test out their new flagship Fuji XT2 in the hope that I would see the benefits of using the mirrorless system over my Nikon DSLR.

It was a bit of a steep learning curve, especially with a prototype model, but even with that factored in, I was impressed! I have now completely switched, and am now looking forward to speaking in Cologne at Photokina telling of my experiences! Its been a bit of a whirlwind of a year, and my advice to anybody stuck in a bit of a rut?

Go out there and do something that pushes your boundaries and your buttons of creativity! It really has taken my life in a completely different way!

I am so excited for the few next months and years! And never expected that volunteering for four months for an NGO would take me so far!

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They do say you get back what you put in , and seems to have rung true with my year!

Here’s to more adventures and exciting projects!

Saraya xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lets go outside!

Having returned from another wonderful trip to Nepal with the charity Raleigh International, I am now back to shooting my day job, with some lovely location portraits in and around London.

So with the weather improving (slightly!) I have started to shoot all of my portraits of children and families out on location, and what a joy! I love to explore the beautiful countryside and parks that we have in and around London. We really do have a wealth of great open spaces that are perfect for family portraiture.

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Childrens photographer, London
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I am loving the freedom of not being tied to the studio, and the results I am finding are much more natural, and in keeping for the growing trend of lifestyle location portraits, although they are definitely more time consuming, clients are relishing choosing locations more personal to them, resulting in more unique portraiture.

Some of the more memorable shoots from last year include, a vintage bus shoot, a skate park shoot, the Cutty Sark, the seaside, and many others!

If you and your family would like to capture some unique portraits in a location personal to you, please do contact me to discuss your ideas! It would be great to hear from you!

I am now taking bookings for the summer holidays! With weddings and other commissions meaning I am very busy, please do contact me as soon as possible to book a particular date.

I look forward to meeting you!

Saraya x

 

And the winner is……

So just before my big trip out to Nepal with the inspiring charity Raleigh International, I blogged the great news, that two of my portfolios had been shortlisted in the National Awards for the British Institute of Professional Photography 2016.

And whilst I was away I received the wonderful news that they both were awarded as finalists!! The portfolio named on the buses, which was shot for the lovely project children of London was awarded a bronze award. This set of portraits were shot on a London bus last year and was in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital. To get involved in the 2016 project please see some of the other incredible portraits here.

Award winning portraits. London.
Childrens portraits, North London.
Portrait photographer, North London
Portrait photographer, North London.
Portrait photographer, North London

The portfolio, Tanzanian women, was awarded a GOLD!! in the visual arts category. This set of images were all shot whilst I was living in Tanzania Jan- May and is a set of portraits that are very dear to me! The trip really has made a huge difference into the way I work and the way that I run my portraiture business. With my focus now on capturing my clients and their families in natural surroundings!

I was also amazed to be informed that my second fellowship panel completed in 2015 had been awarded the very prestigious Peter Grugeon award for the best Fellowship Panel of 2015. To receive even a nomination for this is a great achievement, and to win it just blew me away! Especially when pitted against some of the best photographers in the country!

To see some of the images that were included in the fine art portfolio please see the link here.

 

 

 

Family portraits, Hampstead Heath, London

A few weeks ago, I met a beautiful family down on Hampstead Heath for some lovely natural family portraits.

Three lovely smiley faces, were there to greet me on a marvellously sunny Autumn day in September! I have taken images of this growing family for a number of years and it really is a joy to see them all together for such a fun filled afternoon.

We started outside the very photogenic Kenwood House in North LondonHampstead portraits kids portraits Hampstead. Hampstead Heath, Portraiture Hampstead Heath, Portraits

Such an impressive backdrop for some lovely family portraits. With beautiful tree lined pathways and gorgeous architecture we couldn’t go wrong!

These three little munchkins loved running through the park, and clearly had a great time in and out of the trees! Mum and dad even popped into a few of the images!

If you would like to capture your family or children in this beautiful setting please do contact me for more details! Also take a look at my portfolio to give you a taste of the work that I do.

Lovely family portraits in Bedfordshire!

A little further afield than I would normally go for a portrait shoot, however, I love to scout out new locations and Sandy in Bedfordshire was not going to let me down!

On a bright and breezy Sunday morning, I met the boys (and mum and dad) at The Lodge an RSPB property, as they felt that as they were regular visitors, that it would be a perfect location to capture some natural and fun images where the boys would be comfortable.

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It was a stunning location for portraits, and lots a lovely areas where we could take some natural and relaxed portraits of this lovely family! I especially loved the fern lined pathways and wonderful climbing trees! Just great for some fun images, that tell more of a story than the regular studio shot portraits.

We took a wide variety of shots, with all of the family together and also with the boys by themselves, to give us a wide choice of images for the family.

If you and you family have a special place where you like to spend time together, consider having your portrait shoot there! Not only will the children be familiar with the location, but you will always be guaranteed unique and special images of your family!

Recent portrait shoots have been on Hampstead Heath, Waterlow Park (Highgate), Chalkwell Beach, There Southbank, and many more around London.

Please do contact me for any further details or to discuss your particular requirements for your shoot.

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