This Family Life - Rowan

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It's In The Look.

When  Rowan's Mum was booking this shoot, we had the most lovely email from her. In it she wrote; 'It's just occurring to me how much I want to capture the magic and wonder in Rowan's eyes, and the way she looks at us.'' Rowan is one of life's adventurers, and between the exploring, frog tickling and flower picking she did on her shoot, there were those beautiful moments where she was just looking with wide smiley eyes at her Mum and Dad. Here's Rowan's shoot...

PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography
PortraitPhotography_Yorkshire_FamilyPhotgraphyYorkshire_SarahMasonPhotography

After our shoot together, Rowan's Mum left such kind words on our Facebook page. We always feel a bit funny about sharing this stuff, but these words just summed up why we do what we do; 'Sarah beautifully captured a time in our lives we will treasure. From our first enquiry to collecting our photographic prints, Sarah and Suzi have been a joy to work with. They both have a natural gift to put children at ease. Our daughter adores them. We couldn’t have been happier with the images and really appreciated the time Suzi took to advise us on our products. Until the next time, for I have a sneaking suspicion there will be many more, thank you both'.

As we are waiting for our own little one to arrive, we are slowing down on our family shoots and starting again in September. As we head into the first wave of autumn, if you'd like to book a shoot for your leaf kickers and light catchers, please do let us know.

Capturing Childhood - Taking Better Photos Of Your Kids Part 2

Following on from Part 1 the other day which you can see here, this post is all about composition and creating depth in images. Hopefully these tips will make your photos pop, and help to capture the essence of your kids and their little characters!

COMPOSITION

It's not the easiest thing to think about composition when your kids are racing around, but it does help your photos stand out. It's not always about positioning your subject in the middle of the frame looking right at you (although this can look great too), images can be wonderful with the subject positioned  to one side of the frame with lots of negative space.  

Yorkshire Portrait Photography Sarah Mason Photography

You can have a quick Google at the rule of thirds if you're not familiar with this one. I wouldn't sweat over it, but it sometimes helps. Also, look for natural frames, a frame within a frame, we love looking for these.

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Yorkshire Portrait Photography Sarah Mason Photography

POINT OF VIEW

One of the first things we say to folk when they ask for help with photographing kids, is to get down to the child’s level. I have what I call my photographer’s knee, all my jeans are slightly more worn on the right knee, as this is where I bend!

Yorkshire Portrait Photographer Sarah Mason Photography
Yorkshire Portrait Photographer Sarah Mason Photography

Or sometimes you’ll find me lying flat on the floor too. Try standing over your child too looking down. 

Yorkshire Portrait Photographer Sarah Mason Photography

CREATE DEPTH

Sometimes images can look a bit flat, and don't quite turn out how we're seeing with our eye. One tip for this is to create some depth in your images, use lines like paths and trees to lead into your subject.  

Yorkshire Portrait Photographer Sarah Mason Photography

You can also shoot through things too like grass and leaves, by having them in the foreground and your subject further away - this gives the image another dimension.

Yorkshire Portrait Photographer Sarah Mason Photography
Yorkshire Portrait Photographer Sarah Mason Photography

These tips are certainly not exhaustive, but we do hope they help in some way. In the next post we'll have a look at photographing details, movement, and finding your style.

And if you're interested in any of our training courses, please do let us know so we can put you on the mailing list. Our next retreat is Capturing Childhood on September 22nd & 23rd this year. Do you want to take better photographs of your little people? Are you just setting up your portrait photography business and want to take beautiful emotive shots that really make you feel? Our Capturing Childhood weekend offers a unique opportunity to learn new skills and techniques to create photos of those real moments that make your heart skip a beat. There's a link to more information about the retreat here.

As always, if you'd like to share any of your photos - we'd love to see them!

You Can't Please Everyone.

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I often think back to an incident that happened quite a few years ago now. I had been asked by a wedding venue in the area to take photos for their new brochure. The shoot had gone well, and I was really pleased with the photos, so I went to the venue for a meeting to show the wedding coordinator my images. As I was waiting, one of the volunteers at the venue came up to me. He had seen the shoot unfold and was curious about my images. He asked if he could have a quick look at the photos before the coordinator arrived, so I took my laptop out of my bag and started to scroll through the images I'd taken. At first there was no response as I clicked through images of the couple, the details of the bride's dress, and the flowers. And then came a long 'Mmmmm', I knew it wasn't a satisfied retort, that long drawn out consonant was low in tone. 'Well you missed the focus on that' came the next line. The photo was one of the bride in the foreground and the groom in the background, I'd used a shallow depth of field to get this effect deliberately. 'Oh, you cut their heads off' came the next grumble, it was a photo of the couple holding hands, and I'd decided to focus on that. It carried on for a few more minutes, 'I wouldn't have taken it like that', 'why did you take it just of their shoes?'. It really knocked me for six. I started to feel really uncomfortable, my stomach churned, palms were a little sweaty, and then the coordinator walked in. Convinced I had absolutely missed the mark, I was really nervous showing her the photos. At the end of the viewing came the reassuring response 'these are exactly what we've been looking for'.

I know taste is such a personal thing, and I'm sure everyone has had similar experiences in their lives. In that moment I was really worried, but I am for ever grateful to this man at the venue. I've talked about this incident in our photography retreats as we chat about finding our voice as photographers. It's such a vivid moment for me still. I'm grateful to him as it absolutely made me realise that I couldn't please everyone with my images, and if I tried to do this, it would dilute any style I was trying to build. In that same week when I was showing the venue their photos, I was getting passport photos ready for a family and taking photos of some guttering for a couple who were having a dispute with their builder. I was trying to do so many things, to please everyone, and actually to the detriment of where and who I wanted to be.

I'm writing this now as I had an exchange at the weekend that took me right back to that nervy time of me showing the venue those wedding photos. We opened our doors for Hebden Bridge Open Studios. It was great to see so many new faces and to get a chance to talk about our work. Late on Sunday afternoon, just before we closed, a man walked in with a slightly quizzical look. He reminded me so much of the volunteer at the venue I actually felt my stomach lurch a little. He looked round in silence and then just stopped in front of one photo. 'This is my favourite'.

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Out of all the frames on our wall, I was really surprised, and I had a word with myself for being judgmental. 'I love the feeling, the light, the memory it evokes, there's something almost ethereal about it'. I quickly scribbled his words down after our exchange. I've been wanting to push myself a little further to take more images like this. Like most photographers, artists, makers, I guess our work is always evolving, developing. I almost never want to feel too comfortable, there's always an itch to scratch. I guess if our heart is truly in our work, people will come on this journey with us as they can feel something too. I just know that taking photos like this really excites me, and I think back to myself in that wedding venue all those years ago and I want to be true to that voice.

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