Tag: portraits

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

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






Hill tribe portraits!

As most of you know I can’t resist, (even when i’m supposed to be on holiday) on carrying my massive Nikon D5 and 2 lenses around, just on the of chance that I will see a beautiful face or a character that is just asking to be photographed!

Just before the off to Nepal, I decided to head off into the hills of Northern Thailand, about three hours North of Chiang Mai.

I had been given a very good recommendation of a trekking company, and decided to “rough it” for two night and three days, to try and experience a part of Thailand that most tourists don’t see!

Bags packed and water bottles filled we hiked through some spectacular landscape upto the beautiful hills, to visit the Karen tribe, who were keen to meet their new visitors! We spent a very memorable two nights in the jungle, and it was an experience that I will never forget! A definite must if you are visiting Chiang Mai! The best trip I did on my three week visit!

Here are some of the images that I took along the way!

travel photographer Thailand


Week one Nepal!

So with many thanks to my lovely clients, friends and family, I have been able to join the fantastic charity, Raleigh international, on their first ever program based in Nepal.

After heading off to Tanzania last year for nearly four months, in 2015, I am really very excited and honoured to have been asked again to document the wonderful work that they do within communities, especially as this is the charities opening program in these communities, and as such, unknown territories!

I have now been based at the Raleigh country office in Kathmandu for the last week, and what a time we have had already! The city itself, is a vibrant and active one, full of colours, smells, there is a constant hum of traffic, (even with the fuel crisis) and the dust gets everywhere.

The time here at field base has been used for training, and preparation for deployment into the villages, just South of Hetauda in the Makwanpur district of Nepal, where our volunteers will be heading to in just a matter of weeks. Everybody is extremely keen to get started and bursting with enthusiasm.

We have also been able to have a small amount of free time with which to explore, the people are welcoming and friendly, always a big smile to greet you, no matter their situation, some are still living with the very real effects of the devastating earthquake from 2015, and are in makeshift dwellings built next to piles of rubble that were once grand and substantial houses, but will still welcome you in and freely talk about their experiences.

Rebuilding is obviously taking some time, but the majority of the city is in the process of this, and the fuel crisis is certainly not making this any easier, even so you can see progress everywhere and they are keen to put it behind them. The villages may be a different story as they obviously are far more remote and inaccessible, so the process of getting back to normality will be slower.

As a team we will next week make the journey down into Hetauda, and then the team leaders will split into four groups to visit the specific villages in which they will be based for the next few months.

As the team photographer I will be visiting two of the villages Bhalu Khola, and Kiteni over the next week, to begin documenting the communities and the impact that the Raleigh volunteers will impart on the families and their lives.

Here are a few travel portraits¬†that I have taken whilst walking Kathmandu…

Nepal travel portraits
portrait photographer Nepal



A big thank you!

So it’s been awhile! A LONG while since I have posted here!

Because of all of your wonderful support I have been enjoying my time in the beautiful country of Tanzania in Eastern Africa, volunteering for the great charity Raleigh International.

It was really the experience of a life time, and I feel privileged to have been a part of the organisation for the last few months!

The projects and people were an inspiration, and I will never forget this.

The images that I took were used to document the volunteers time in this amazing country and to chart the progress that was made in the various communities that we visited.

The images were probably some of the best that I have taken in my career, as they were so out of the norm from what I generally do within my working life, and this pushed me to really think creatively and emotionally how to communicate what a wonderful experience this was for all involved.

With so many images to share here I was mainly posting onto my intsagram account which can be viewed here…

Mamma Grace

I am now back in my hometown, and starting to shoot more environmental portraiture, as this is what I am enjoying at the moment! I will now be posting further images to give you an idea of what to expect from this new move!

If you would like a location portrait shoot in London, Essex or Hertfordshire please do contact me! I would be very happy to discuss your requirements!

Saraya x

Location portraits, London

One very very sunny and hot Saturday afternoon I met two lovely ladies on Hadley Wood common. Just a short 5 minute walk from the studio in High Barnet.

Trying to avoid the sun most of the time we resorted to finding lovely shaded areas of the wood and common to take some fabulous portraits of the two girls and the whole family! The pink flowers really do set off some striking images!

A great location with a wide variety of opportunity for great backdrops and wonderful textures, the portraits really are some of my favourites from this year! And just around the corner!




If you would like some location portraits please do contact the studio for more details!

Especially if you have a particular location in mind that may be significant to you or your family! These can make the portraits that much more personal to you!

Saraya xx

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