Hello and welcome to the blog of Caroline Ann Photography. Caroline Ann Photography specialises in Children and Family Photography, serving Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Peterborough and Hertfordshire areas, but travels around the UK on request.
I'm so excited about this new range of products that I've added for my clients. The Portrait Book is divine: extra thick pages for that quality feel with a choice of contemporary linen or your own picture cover. Starting from 10 pages, it's perfect for smaller photo shoots, like a milestone or children's session, or to hold your favourite images from your First Year package. Built to last, it will have pride of place on your coffee table for years to come.
Take a look at my new Collections to see how you can get one!
When Hayley, mum to nine-day-old Finlay and three-year-old Hannah, from Cambridge, got in touch I was so excited as I LOVE photographing siblings. Hayley wanted images of Finlay but also of him with his older sister Hannah. Young siblings, especially those under three years old, can take time to warm up to a new baby so we never want to thrust a newborn onto an unpredictable toddler, but Hannah was a dream! She was so in love with Finlay already – beaming smiles and cuddles galore.
All these images were captured in their conservatory as it offered the best natural light, but I often work in front of a single window or french doors or whip out my Bowens Continuous Light if a client's home is too dark.
It's been a busy few months with magazine shoots and some lovely family sessions, so I'm a little behind in my blogging but here's one of my latest at-home newborn sessions. I love photographing newborns in their home: it's so relaxed and mum doesn't have to get out her PJs if she doesn't want to! I met Rubin's mum, Hazel, while exhibiting at the Roundhouse Primary School on Loves Farm, St Neots, while she was still pregnant with him in May. She booked and got in touch as soon her and Rubin were home from the hospital in June, and within a few days we were making the most of this little bundle. Rubin didn't make it easy for us, he loves to kick and stretch, but we got there in the end. Here's a few of mum's favourites...
It feels like only yesterday that I was photographing Lucy at 10 months old, so determined to start crawling, now look at her! She's running around and full of even more beautiful character. Thank you having me photograph your wonderful family again Helen and Paul, from Papworth Everard, Cambridgeshire, I hope you love the pictures as much as I do.
What better way to celebrate a first birthday than with a Cake Smash!
Cake Smashes are so much fun to do and watch, plus you can get some great pictures bursting with personality. All you need is a backdrop, good lighting, a hungry subject and a cake – oh, and a photographer if you didn't want to attempt it yourself. And as you can see from my latest cake smash, you don't need the prettiest of cakes either, though it does make for better photographs. I've a list of recommended bakers, and one in particular who does intolerance baking, so feel free to ask for a referral.
Back on topic. You honestly don't need a professional photographer for a cake smash unless you want to mark the occasion with a framed wall print or to finish off a First Year album – I've done mine just because it looked fun and may pull the digitals out for his 18th birthday (yes, I'm one of those mums). But while I tend to opt for all-about-baby simplicity in my set-ups, you could go to town with yours...
- You can do it in dress-up, a favourite outfit or even in their birthday suit
- Decorate the backdrop in bunting, balloons and streamers
- Have a bubble bath ready for when you're finished, I do this one with my clients. For my own son, I just got the hose out!
I personally love the simplicity of a coloured background as it focuses the eye on the smiles and squeamish or cheeky expressions that keep flowing throughout the session.
Five top tips for your DIY Cake Smash
1. Stretch a plain sheet or roll of seamless background paper to a frame or a couple of chairs, making sure there are no creases or ripples in the fabric/paper. Leave plain or decorate to taste. I'd recommend shooting in the garage or kitchen, with the set-up facing the light, or if it's a still day head out into the garden.
3. Have a bath run, a big tub next to your set-up or washing up bowl full of soapy suds at the ready
4. If you're not comfortable with your child eating cake due to sugar or colourings, consider commissioning someone to bake you a sugar-free or even veggie cake if you want it to look pretty and can't bake yourself. A sugar-free sponge is easy to make (shredded carrots make it extra moist) and cream cheese frosting can be made with fruit sugar, which is sweeter, healthier and you need far less. Also, although it might not taste sweet to us, it will to our little sugar virgins. I can recommend a few fantastic cake bakers/decorators, too: if you want to know more, leave me a comment on the blog and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
5. Lastly, consider hiring me. If you want to take the hassle out your photo shoot, to sit back and watch the fun and have a collection of fully-edited memorable photographs, then get in touch!
For £75 you get all this...
- An at-home studio, set up in your home and decorated to your taste.
- A 30-minute photo shoot
- A cake (allergies can be catered for by may cost extra – and no, I won't be baking the cake!)
- A collection of fully-edited images for you to download from your gallery and treasure forever, including a ready-to-print collage perfect for framing or adding to a memory book
To book, simply email me at email@example.com or call for a chat on 0770 327 4439
Are you ready for a covert operation?
Your last mission of the weekend, if you choose to accept it, is to take a photograph of your sleeping child. You'll need to be stealthy and have a steady hand, but the challenge is well worth it - or at least I think so. It's rare that these little people are still and silent, and they can look so sweet that it can melt any parent's heart after the most chaotic of days. I do not recommend trying this during the daytime naps as if you do wake them, you'll probably have no chance of getting them back to sleep. Photographing them in the first part of their night-time slumber, when they're in their deepest sleep of the night, will allow you to soothe them back if your stealthy nature or shutter is too loud. Aiden is still in his cot, which can make it tricky as you've got to negotiate the bars, so I cannot wait until he's in a big boy bed to try this technique again. I may even try it one day at nap time and put him to sleep in my double bed, when natural light can illuminate the room, as that would look beautiful while he's still so miniature.
For these types of shots, you're literally shooting in the dark. You won't want to use flash as it will kill any atmosphere and is almost guaranteed to alert your sleepy subject. A constant light, like a desk lamp, will work but what's even better is a tablet or smartphone and that's all I've used to photograph these.
Here's some tips if you want to try it for yourself...
1. Set a wide aperture as you'll need to let in all the light you can
2. Crank up the ISO and remember the Reciprocal Rule: don't let you shutter speed drop below your focal length ie 50mm lens 1/50sec. You can try using a tripod but you may find it easier to negotiate the room and compose handheld. It will be at the cost of image quality as you'll probably get a lot of noise, but I love grain in a black & white image.
3. Focus on the eyes, unless you're framing to isolate a detail like the hands, mouth or comforter.
4. Use manual focus: your autofocus will struggle in such low light.
5. Watch for ugly shadows under the eyes. If you do cast any, bring the light lower (45° to the face) so it fills in the facial shadows - you want an even, soft light over the baby's face for that angelic look.
It's true that photographing portraits on an overcast day, or in a shaded area, is often preferable as you've no hard shadows to contend with, but shooting into the sun can make more creative images. It's tricky though: your camera's automatic metering system is likely to underexpose your subject and, love it or hate it, you may get flare. Using Spot metering on your subject's face or from a midtone (like grass or concrete) will ensure the camera doesn't expose for the background, a lens hood will help reduce flare and a silver or gold reflector will bounce light back on to your subject's face.
I love shooting into the sun to get rim lighting (the glow around the edges of your subject) and, occasionally, even flare but I treat the images differently depending on the time of day. A low, soft evening sun provides a glorious warm backlight that should nearly always be kept in colour to retain its signature glow, but if the light is hard and high consider turning them black & white to make the most of the strong contrast. Go on, give it ago tomorrow and see what you get!
Top tip: How to avoid flare
Use your lens hood
Block the sun with your hand
Position your subject in front of the sun
Angle yourself so the sun is hidden by trees or a building
Mums, it's so important to exist in photographs for your children. The first six months of their little lives fly by amidst a cloudy brain of sleepless nights, teething and feeding frenzies, and before you know it they're on the move, walking and leaving for University! Understandably, new mums feel less than glamorous during this special time, especially if you're outnumbered in the parent:kid department or had a difficult birth, so being photographed with your new baby even with a smartphone is probably the last thing you feel like doing.
There are a million reasons you can tell yourself why now is not the right time to have your professional portrait taken or why you probably prefer to avoid the camera completely. Perhaps you want to shed your excess baby weight or the luggage residing under your eyes, but honestly NOW is the RIGHT time as you'll never get NOW back and it's a different ball game once they're mobile!
With all these excuses in mind, I've designed this special package especially for you and your mummy buddies. You deserve to be pampered and to have gorgeous portraits to mark this incredible time in your life, both for you and your child to treasure in the future. Ask yourself, if the worst was to happen to you – what images would you be leaving your children to cling on to?
The session is designed for groups of friends (3-7), so you can help look after each others' infants while mum is having her professional hair and make-up done by make-up artist Samantha Kibbler, a specialist in airbrushing. Coffee and cake will be flowing, and lunch if you opt for a full-day shoot, and you'll have a private comfortable room for babies to play and for mums to breastfeed at the studio, Saracens House in Milton Keynes. There's also kitchen facilities for warming and storing bottles. (If you're not local to Milton Keynes, we also have other studios where the session can take place across the country, for instance Studio6, in Letchworth).
While every mum gets their choice of 12x8 print and digital file included in the session, with the chance to purchase more or upgrade to premium-quality products. The group's organiser, however, gets their image as an 11 x14" framed print (worth £129)!
You can have a full day (ideal for up to seven mums and babies) or half a day's (ideal for 3 mums and babies). Individual or smaller groups can also be accommodated so please contact us to discuss what it is that you'd like in more detail. The price depends on your group booking, but starts from £129. What are you waiting for - contact me to book now!
Caroline Ann Photography 2017
Hello and welcome to Caroline Ann Photography's blog where you can see some of my latest work and personal projects, pick up some photography tips from the odd tutorial and get a sense for the services I offer. Caroline Ann Photography specialises in Children and Family Photography, serving mostly the Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Herfordshire area but travels around the UK on request.
Recent PostsNew Storytelling Products Available - Treasure your memories forever Cambridge | Simply Newborn and Sibling Portrait Session | Fabulous Finlay St Neots | Simply Newborn Photography in your home | Rubin Papworth Everard Family Photography Session | Lovely Lucy Birthday Bash: Cake Smash | DIY Photography Tutorial | Cambridgeshire Photographer Personal Photography Project | Sleeping Beauties | Cambridgeshire Children's Photographer Top Tips to Improve your Photography | Easter long weekend | Shoot into the sun Milton Keynes Saracen House Studio | NCT Mummy & Me Pamper Package | HUGE SUCCESS!