Tag: london portraits

When big Saraya met little Saraya

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.

Lots of Love Big Saraya xxx


The X-T20, for the Junkyard?

Just before christmas last year, after my trip to Nepal, I was involved in a really exiting little project…….

I am lucky enough to be able to shoot some of my children’s portraits in some of the coolest places in London, and Gods own Junk Yard, has to be high on the list of SUPER COOL places to shoot!

Hidden away on an industrial estate in Walthamstow, the exterior really hides the secrets of this amazing place.

I first shot a lovely family of 6 here last summer, and knew I needed to come back! It was just amazing!

The images below were both shot on the Fuji X-T2, when the junkyard was open to the public (its a coffee shop also!) it gets very busy! And we needed to be quick.



I had since been asked to create a short film of me using the new X-T20, that I had been given a prototype version to test, and knew the perfect location to do this!

My model was the amazing Misha, whom I had worked with before, so I knew she would perform under pressure! This time we were lucky enough to have the whole place to ourselves for a couple of hours and this gave us a good time to explore and use the entire space, what a treat! If you ever get a chance to visit the Junkyard you must, its a real gem!

We managed to give the camera a proper trial, and it performed as expected, the fast focusing, wide focusing points, and ease of control were perfect to use in this situation!

The new touch screen feature was brilliant, and allowed me to quickly see if the images were in focus and colours correct, an action that is something that we are so used to doing now with our phones, it doesn’t take much to figure out what you are meant to do! Swiping from shot to shot or zooming in or out, its fast and makes sense.

The X-T20 coped extremely well with some tricky lighting and colour scenarios, which for me was reassuring, I should have expected this from the Fuji team, with colour a speciality. We lit all of the portraits with continuous LED’s to combat the colour casts from all of that lovely neon, and the EVF read the light perfectly!

Yet again, I am left feeling that Fuji has made a body that is just instinctive, something to just pick up and shoot, without have to trudge through pages and pages of instructions.

The retro feel and design of the Fuji X system cameras that we already love, paired with the technologies of the present and the future all rolled into one! A great little camera that I am looking forward to introducing into my kit,  I may even go for the silver X-T20 how gorgeous is that!


At the end of the project the final out come was this lovely little film highlighting some of the features of the X-T20, movie of portrait photographer Saraya Cortaville. Please take a look!

And of course some great vibrant images for Misha and her mum!



What a little superstar!

And thank you very much to the wonderful Neal James for all of his hard work producing the film.

Saraya x



Beautiful kids portraits, North London.

Last week, on a beautiful Autumn day, I met the wonderful Zoe and Ciara and their family, in stunning Trent Park, North London.


portrait photographer, Cheltenham
portrait photographer, London

The GORGEOUS colours and textures of the woods, and the tree lines paths, were a lovely backdrop to some beautiful family portraits, and we had a great time walking around and taking images of the girls!

Photographing siblings is great as we will always manage to get expressions from their reactions to each other, it makes it so natural.

I just love taking images at this time of year, the light is lovely and soft, perfect for flattering portraits. and the vibrant colours of the trees just add to the whole autumnal feel of the images.

The girls dressed perfectly for the time of year, and in outfits that went very well together, this always helps with the overall look of the final images.

portrait photographer, Cheltenham

As a Fuji ambassador, of course, all of the images were taken with my lovely new personalised Fuji X-T2, and a mixture of fuji lenses, 16-55mm, and the 50-140mm and the 90mm prime (this was used for the head shots), please click on the individual images to see the metadata.

If you would like some portraits of you and your family at a lovely location near you, please do contact me for details. I have a few weekend slots still available, for shoots that can be ready before the Christmas cut off point, at the end of November.

Saraya x


Beautiful childrens Portraits, Kew Gardens.

Just before Christmas last year, I met the wonderful Evelyn and her gorgeous little sister Leonore.

The weather was chilly, so we dressed up nice and warm in our winter coats, hats and scarves, and the light was simply gorgeous, with the winter sun giving us the last light over the beautiful grounds of Kew Gardens.

The Gardens are an amazing location for a family portrait, with many different locations and areas in which to shoot some beautiful children portraits in London.

Evelyn, was only two at the time, and what a little star she was! We had great fun, walking around, chatting, and playing, and as a result we managed to capture some lovely natural portraits of the two of them.

The expressions and character are to me what makes a successful children portrait, and there was no shortage of expression with this little one as you can see….the bottom one in particular makes me smile!

Childrens portraits, London
Childrens photographer, London
London portrait photographer

Even more impressive, was that Evelyn had managed to keep it a secret from her Mummy and Daddy all the way to Christmas, as the portrait collection was to be a beautiful personalised gift for them both.

The colours and the light on the day were just spectacular for portraiture, just a lovely way to capture a family portrait in a natural environment, if you would like to capture your family in this way please do not hesitate to contact me for more details or to discuss your ideas!

childrens photographer, Kew
childrens photography, London
Childrens photographer, London
Lifestyle photographer, London
family photographer, London
Childrens photographer, London


All the best! Saraya xx



Two beautiful girls portraits,Winchmore Hill.

Last week, I had the pleasure of returning to a fabulous house in Winchmore Hill, North London, for some natural portrait images, of two gorgeous little girlies!

This is a yearly occurrence for this family, as they want to capture their growing family and how their girls are changing so quickly! It is really lovely to see how the girls are really getting such lovely little personalities!

I have been imaging the girls for a few years now, and started doing this in the studio in High Barnet, I now have moved all of my shoots outside, and on location, as this seemed like the natural progression!

The kids are loving the freedom of being able to go outside, and as a result the images taken are more natural and unique to each client, something which clients are really embracing.

If you are thinking of having some beautiful natural portraits of your family or children, please do contact me for details! It would be a pleasure to chat with you!

Portrait photographer, North London
Portrait photographer, North London
Portrait photographer, North london

I am available for portrait shoots in and around London, and can travel further afield for the right commission!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Saraya xx




Kids portraiture, London!

A few weeks ago, I met a very cool twosome, down on the Southbank in London for some funky kids portraits!

Lola and Jon were brilliant, and the clothes and props that they had bought along for their photoshoot were just great for this wonderful location!

We got straight in and started taking images in the very cool skate park! We had arranged to meet quite early, as it was the summer holidays and we didn’t want the park to be busy!

The bright graffiti and urban feel, were just perfect for these two and their cool clothes and skate boards! And we managed to have the park all to ourselves, which was just great!

Southbank portraits
Southbank portraits

Lola and J-424

We then had a little walk around the local area to scout some more areas, for some more portraits and the Southbank is just full of them! Colourful staircases, giant hands, and beautiful murals, just an amazing backdrop for some great fun kids portraits!

The kids just loved exploring the area with me! They even managed to find two giant, and I mean GIANT slides, that they persuaded mum to take them on after the shoot!

If you fancy some unique and funky kids portraits in or around London please do contact me for details! I would love to hear from you!

Portrait photography, London
Portrait photography, London

Beautiful location portraits, Kenwood house.

A few weeks ago on a very sunny Saturday morning I met a wonderful family of three generations down on Hampstead Heath, in North London for some natural family portraits.

With the very beautiful backdrop of Kenwood house we captured some great images of this clearly very close family, with a lot of laughter and some wonderful expressions, we managed to get a wide variant of images, of the family altogether and also some of just the children!

One of my favourite images of the little ones is this one of lovely Aliya and her just amazing hair! She had such a wonderful energy about her! Always hopping about and running all around, and perfectly natural smiles and expressions! This image of her climbing along the railing outside the house just captured her spirit perfectly

London portraits, Hampstead Heath.

The family had all co-ordniated with blue and white tones their outfits to create a lovely overall look which looked really wonderful in the soft summer light.

If you would like to capture some natural portraits of your family anywhere in London or the Southeast please do contact me, to discuss your requirements.

I am happy to travel to your location, be it a park, the seaside, the skate park, anywhere really thats holds any significance to you and your family. Please do also have a look at the rest of my portrait portfolio to give you an idea of the various locations that can work for your unique portraits.

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