Family Photography in Kingston

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It is such an honour to photograph another photographer, that they trust you to get on with it and take precious photographs of their family. 
It was particularly lovely to work with local family photographer Kirsty Hamilton, she lives locally and we can have a chat at the park. Photography can be a solitary job so it is good to chat to people who understand the same struggles and joys you are experiencing. Kirsty is so friendly as well, she is my first recommendation if I am unable to do a session.
This location was fabulous for its Autumn colours, these are a few of my favourite photographs from Kirsty's session.

 

Breast Feeding at The London Transport Musuem.

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We hear so much in the media about places who are rude to breastfeeding mothers, and I have had my share of comments from others about it. So I thought it only fair that I share this positive story.

On Thursday afternoon we took our two girls aged 2 and 16 months to The London Transport Museum at Covent Garden and as my husband sorted out the tickets I asked the customer service guy if there was anywhere I could breastfeed my 16 month old. 

He started out... 'Well there is a family...', then with barely a pause stated something to the effect of 'Actually you can breastfeed where ever you like and feel comfortable, as there are chairs and benches throughout, however if you wish to use it there is a family room' and proceeded to give me the directions.

So - to the London Transport Museum, from a breastfeeding mother, thankyou for making me feel so welcome. Your staff member was an asset to you, and I can't begin to tell you how welcoming and encouraging it was to receive this wonderful service. I found a nice corner of sofas (they probably could do with some cushions to stop your guests disappearing in to them though). 

 

 

Reflections on the Common

Dad shows girl ducks at Wandsworth Common by London Photographer

It is becoming a bit of a tradition on the days we get out the house early enough for nursery, that we get off the bus early and walk through Wandsworth Common, London. 
This week we have the privilege of my husband joining us. Dessi is delighted to have her Dad around whilst he is on annual leave!
On our walk we were treated to the most wonderful frost, the first time Dessi has seen it for real as an older child and the most wonderful reflections on the lake. It was great opportunity to get a million photos for my instagram account, and though I was a little sad to not have the real camera I was relieved to have my phone at least!
Whilst still lovely later on, the lighting is often at it's best when low in the sky like this and I (like most family photographers) love to do my outdoor portrait sessions either earlier or later in the day.
It is these daily moments that can be the most important to photograph, to remember. When we enjoy precious time with our loved ones. It isn't just photographers that will appreciate these photos in years to come.

 

Children's Portraits: Camera vs Professional

Whilst at the park last week with my nieces and daughters, I took my camera to get a few photographs of them playing. Except it didn't work out like that, Dessi decided her favourite game was for me to catch her as she ran away. I had my camera around my neck and she took me back to the buggy and told me to leave it in the buggy.
You have probably seen that yourselves. You see your child do something really cute and you just have to get a photograph of it, as you take your camera out for that cheeky photo - your child notices and moves away.
It is perhaps a difficult to realise, just how much our children value our attention. For them the camera isn't a great way of capturing memories, it is a distraction from the now they live in. So whilst phone cameras are fantastic at capturing those moments, the professionals are present for - it isn't a substitute.
Having an experienced professional allows you to:

- Use their creative expertise to get high quality and interesting photographs than you might be able to take (unless of course you are a photographer!)
- Use their equipment to help them achieve their vision.
- Have everyone to be photographed without having to take the photos themselves, your children are going to love see photos of you playing with you!
- Gives you the opportunity to see your portraits turned in to beautiful and high quality wall art and albums.
- They will be able to capture the moments that count, they know what to look for and know how to take the photo without interfering or disruption.

Hiring an experienced professional doesn't come cheap, but like many things you get what you pay for and it is an investment that pays over throughout your life...
As you sit with your child thumbing through their special albums. 
As you eat breakfast and your child starts talking about the day you had those portraits done.
As your child sees everyday a photograph of their parents embracing them and it makes them feel loved.
 

How Displaying Photos Supports Your Child's Development.

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We have these photographs up in our living room, three selfies taken at various points of our pre-marriage relationship, that I actually got around to printing and put up on the wall. 

In the general mayhem of life I barely notice them at the moment. 
But Dessi notices it and every time she does, says 'That's my Daddy and Mummy'.
It seems rather insignificant in the big scheme of things but actually I wonder if it is?

We send our pre-school children to nurseries and other child care settings to help them learn and develop, but we must remember there is a lot we can do at home too.
In seeing around her the photographs of the people who love her, Dessi is developing her personal, social and emotional skills (as promoted by the Early Years Foundation Stage


Displaying Family Photographs 
- Shows your child how much you value them and the members of your family.
- It gives you an opportunity to talk together about the family members (this also helps your child's speech and listening, which is no bad thing!
- It promotes a positive body image for your child and the members of your family. They will see they have a body and face to be proud of!
- Your child can have access to their photos any time, when they are easily displayed (rather than hidden away on the computer).
- These photos will stay with a child all their lives, less likelihood of being lost and damaged when treated with care.

Family in the Park

Funny story: When I first met my now husband and he told me he was from Earlsfield, I thought that it was somewhere out in the countryside. Despite being from London and living in London almost all my life, I had never heard of it. (I'm from Islington, North London). 
I've discovered Earlsfield really isn't in the middle of the countryside and nearby Tooting isn't all that different looking from Islington. That suits the city girl in me!

It is only after living in South West London for a few years that I have really begun to discover and appreciate Wandsworth Common though. London isn't just about concrete and bricks, there are so many wonderful parks here too.

Wandsworth Common has it all, not too big, two beautiful lakes, two playgrounds and a cafe. And lots and lots of dogs. 

This family portrait session was slightly challenging as it was in the middle of a summer's day, the sun was out and it was high. Whilst the sun makes for excellent barbecues, picnics and sunbathing - it really does make it hard for family photographers! However we were able to take advantage of the trees providing some shade, which was quite helpful.

The best bit about being a lifestyle photographer is allowing children (and their parents!) to be themselves and act naturally. We can take the place a bit more slowly if a child is feeling shy or we find plenty of space if they are full of energy.

When you look at you family lifestyle portraits, you and your children will remember the wonderful time you spent with each other, just playing and being yourselves.

Portrait Session Wandsworth Common
Child Portrait Session Wandsworth Common
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Father and Child Portrait Session by Wandsworth Common
Child portrait session Wandsworth Common Lake
Child Smiles in Wandsworth Portrait Session

Carried Away

 
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If you are anything like me, it is really rather easy to switch off and check out your phone. Parenting is tiring, of course. A lie in for us this week was sleeping in until 6am.
But there is nothing your child loves more than you, and the opportunity to play with and connect with you.
Games do not have to be expensive, piggy backs are firm favourites in our family. You will often see a visible improvement in your child as they can relax and have fun and feel your love. 

 

International Baby Wearing Week

As we say goodbye to baby wearing week, I was thinking about some of my baby wearing memories. Most of the shots I have of me wearing the sling are mostly selfies but I love this beautiful picture of my niece carrying my oldest. They were about 10 years and 1 year at the time which should demonstrate how easy it is with a good sling!

We now have a baby Tula, having started out with the ridiculously uncomfortable and over priced Baby Bjorn. It is designed to take the weight of the baby and is really so comfortable, I can even use it to carry my almost three year daughter on my back. The benefits of which are having her at my level makes it easy to chat.

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Newborn Portraits

The newborn days are so precious and as you adjust it is easy to lose track of time and realise you haven't taken the photos you wanted (even photographers themselves say this!).
This is why I'd highly recommend hiring a professional photographer to come and do the work for you. This little baby boy was such a joy to photograph, he was awake and alert the whole time, far too interested in what was going on, but I was pleased to be able to record his first days and capture the love his Mummy has for him.

Finding Your Worth.

Photograph of baby in a shoot to celebrate 1st birthday, by photographer Evie Winter

Hey You, Yes You! 
You Mum's who have woken up day after day in a new born baby haze.
Who have been screamed, cried, and shouted at before 8am.
Who can't remember the last time you slept for more than 2 hours in a row.
Who can't remember what your pre baby body looked like.
Who can't remember what your pre baby confidence felt like.

It is a cliche, that you are worth something, but when was the last time you felt it?

Do you live like you are worth something? Do you demand others treat you according to your worth? Or do you feel a little lost?

These are all the questions I am battling with right now; what is my worth as a Mum, what is my worth beyond motherhood? And what is my worth as a photographer?

Since I started telling people that I am starting a business as a baby, child and family photographer, the main question I am asked is "Will you be affordable?".
I have sat down and calculated the costs needed to break even and pay my bills. So as much as I'd love to offer photography to everyone who asks, whatever their budget - I do need to keep my costings in mind. 

However I have come to realise that where people spend their time and money is a sign of what they value. Whilst our wedding was largely done on a budget, Andrew and I spent the largest part of our budget on the photography. That is what we valued most.

I can offer you an album or wall art of your most precious memories, that will last you a lifetime for less money than some smartphones that last 2 years.

Where you spend your time and money is a sign of what you value. 

The question for you is not are you worth something? (You certainly are) but what are you worth, and how can you make sure you are being paid your worth?

Your Stories: How to Cope with 3 Children!

The Truth about 3 Children

When I had my second daughter 14 months ago, I don’t think I was really prepared for the challenges coming my way. Admittedly it was made harder with her having reflux, no desire to sleep and wanting to climb at the first opportunity. She now holds her own with her big sister and even with all the grey hairs that have materialised, we love her and can’t imagine life without her.

After hearing of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expecting their third child, I am in awe of and slightly baffled by anyone wishing to bring this extra hard work into their lives. So I thought I'd chat to three local Mums about their experiences as mothers of three.

"Michelle"
Ages / Sexes of Children: 3 boys aged 5.5, 3.5 and 9m
What was the hardest thing about having three children?: Never having any time off!

What was easier than you thought? My eldest 2 adapting to having another brother. They were both so excited and loved him from the moment they saw him. It is as if he has always been around. I didn't bother with the whole present from the baby this time and it really wasn't needed. The boys were just so excited to have him and couldn't wait to cuddle him.

How do you cope with balancing their different needs? It is hard, especially during the witching hour if someone has a melt down. I am mainly looking after the baby at this time as he is tired and if the other two need me for whatever reason that can be tricky. I haven't quite managed to balance all 3 on my knee for a story but we are close! I have always kept the older children in nursery when a sibling has been born to keep their routine going and to also give them stimulation away from the baby environment. I think this is important especially in the first few months when a lot of time is spent just holding and feeding a baby. I try to give each of the older boys some time with just me - unfortunately at the moment that normally involves the baby coming along too but I am getting to the point where I can leave him for an hour or two now.

Do you find middle child syndrome a problem/ Is there anything you do to help avoid it?: I think our middle child was always destined to be the middle child! He had middle child syndrome from the moment he was born. He is the life and soul of a party on a good day and impossible to do anything with on a bad day. I am not sure it can be avoided - I always stress to him how special he is that he has both a big and little brother and that the others only have big OR little brothers. He quite likes that. I also put him to bed first and it is the least rushed of all of them (it would also be impossible to get the baby down if he was still up and about as he is so LOUD!).

When did they start to play together? They interacted from a very early age. But now the baby is 9m they all get involved - they roll a ball to and fro, the same with a little car. The baby giggles at his brothers and thinks they are fabulous. From maybe 5m I could ask where his big brother was and he would turn to look at him. From being tiny he would follow the boys around the room. The two older boys have been playing nicely for about a year or so now. My middle child is very mature in somethings and loves playing with toys that I would never have thought to give my first child at this age.

What are the best activities to do with three children? At present I am still lucky enough to be able to take the baby in the buggy so we are still mainly catering for the 2 big ones. Family bike rides are fun now as the baby goes on the back of my bike and we can all ride together. Swimming is another activity we can all take part in (although I haven't been able to take all 3 by myself without my husband as most pools don't allow it). We have just bought National Trust membership for the first time and this has been great for getting the 2 older ones out and about. Anything that tires them out gets a tick in my book!

What would you say to encourage future third time mothers? Go for it! It's definitely not been as hard as I was expecting it to be. The first baby is a massive learning curve as you have no idea what you are doing with a baby. The second baby is tricky as you have to learn to juggle 2 schedules. Things become a bit crazy. Add a third one in, the craziness increases and you just keep doing the juggling but with more balls. It's heap of fun, the family dynamics are wonderful and I don't regret it for a second!

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Mum 2: Mary Rose
Luke is 16, Nathan is 15, Holly is 10

Having had two boys very close together I found that quite hard, my second son was born at 30 weeks and was in intensive care for two months and in neonatal for a further two months so that was very tough. I found having the third child, my daughter so much easier as I had 'company' from my 6 and 5 year old and they doted on her. I found I was easier on myself with number three and wasn't so desperate to have her in a rigid routine so she was more relaxed and easy going.

My eldest son has always been incredibly easy, kind hearted and never caused me any trouble. My 'middle child' (he labels himself this at the moment!) is autistic, high functioning and at a mainstream school, he is however very demanding of my time and attention so I find my eldest and youngest are a bit of a tag team and look after one another and are extremely close.

I feel sad for my 'middle child' sometimes as he is a bit of a loner but I have found that due to the age gap having annual merlin passes to theme parks has made the three of them united. It is a great way of entertaining such a big age gap AND my daughter is the bravest of the lot so suddenly age, position in the family is irrelevant! I would not change having three children for the world and recommend it, society doesn't see three as a 'neat' number but there are lots of laughs along the way not being a 2.4 family!!
 

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Mum 3: Hannah
My children are Louis (boy) age 5 Violet (girl) 18 months Poppy (girl) 18 months


The hardest thing about having three children is that you only have two hands.
Getting ready to go out is a lot easier than I thought it would be, just have to be organised and set a time I must leave by. I normally have to entertain either Louis or the girls while meeting the others needs. This usually includes CBeebies or a snack. Luckily Louis is very patient.

We don't really suffer from middle child syndrome. Maybe twin syndrome!!! Having two toddlers is quite demanding sometimes I feel guilty that Louis doesn't get enough of my attention. But we try to have time when it's Louis time, so maybe the cinema with daddy or flip out.

The girls have just started to play together and sometimes Louis will include himself in this. They like to play football all together and love throwing the ball for the dog. Poppy and Violet like to follow Louis around and copy whatever he is doing.

We enjoy soft play!! As everyone is fenced in and you can see them at all times. We also do mini flippers and flip out which they all love. Play dates are always good as well.

It is 3 times as hectic with 3 of them but you also get 3 lots of cuddles and kisses back at the end of the day so that makes it all worth it.

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Putting Mum in to the Picture

It is all too easy to realise how few photographs you have with your children.  

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The days fly by, you are knee deep in dirty nappies and feeding, seeing to your baby's needs. Seeing to your child's needs. When is there time to have a photoshoot? Even phoning the photographer to book an appointment seems like a hassle. 
Maybe it doesn't matter to you so much, but what about when your baby grows up and wants to see the albums, they want to see their history. As they look back at the photos of themselves living life, will they see the time spent with you?
Don't miss an opportunity to be photographed with your children. 
Let your love for them shine through the lens, make a record of your relationship which will be remembered for years to come. Your children will not see your perceived physical imperfections that might make you feel unworthy of being photographed, they will only see the person that loved them, that raised them.
Get in front of the camera and be photographed. You won't regret it.

The Best Camera is...

The one in your hands!
Life is made up of many seasons, sometimes passing too quickly for us to enjoy. Some are seasons of joy, some of despair, and many in between. I think it is worth photographing all of them. 
So remember, the best camera is the one in your hands!
Even if you just use your phone, learn to make the most of it. A phone camera used quickly can take some pretty cool pictures.

To date, most of my instagram photos were taken on my phone, whilst not the technical standard I'd achieve on my DSLR Camera, they are my memories that would have been lost otherwise. 

Don't Smile! (Be Yourself)

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When you raise a child, you get used to their looks, you learn to understand what they mean. You notice the way the hair hangs, the little dimples on their cheeks. When you see their picture you remember all the times they ever made that face.

This picture of my daughter Dessi, is one of those for me. Whilst she looks serious, that is just the way she looks when she is concentrating, chatting. She could well make this face whilst telling me 'I'm a having lots of fun!'.

I won't be the kind of photographer to tell your child to smile - because I want them to just be themselves. 

Dessi has a terrific smile however I'm equally happy with the serious photos, as that is how she is comfortable. This photograph is a true reflection of her life.

What does Full Service mean?

A full service photographer means that rather than take a bunch of photos, and giving them to you on a disk - I will be working more carefully, taking you through an experience that will result in you taking home your photographs as prints.

It is all very well to hire someone to take photos, but how many of us ever get those photographs printed and put on the wall?

Ahead of the session, we will chat to discuss what you want to do with your photos? Did you want to make an album or maybe some wall art for the nursery? (What can be nicer for baby than to be surrounded by photos of their favourite people?). This is also the time you can let me know about your children's personalities (knowing if one is a bit shy and needs 20 mins to relax would help me to be the best photographer your family needs). I am not here to just take a 'few family snaps' but to capture beautiful photographs that will last a life time.

 

The Benefits of Lifestyle Photography

There are many types of photography around, lifestyle, documentary, studio for a start.

{Life Reflected} is for fairly self explanatory reasons, all about the lifestyle with some documentary.

When providing a portrait session, I want to photograph your life as it happens and where it happens. Before your session we will chat about what you and your family like to do, where you like to be, where you build your most precious memories.

For my family at the moment, it is on the South Bank. Andrew and I had our second date there (as well as many since!). We went to Le Pain Quotidient where I ordered a chia seed and coconut dish, which I didn't really like. All I could think about was how to gracefully eat this dish which I hated, without Andrew thinking I was mad. I made it half way though, Andrew still married me and thankfully we can laugh about it now. We have many more trips to the South Bank under our belt, currently going every Sunday morning to have a Latte at Caffee Nero under the Oxo whilst the girls run around and then go to play in the sand pit.

If I was booking a portrait session, I would choose the South Bank as I know my girls would be there most relaxed there and be able to have lots of fun. I know I'd look back on my photographs and remember the feel of the sand under my toes as the girls made sandcastles, their smiles as they run around. Just completely natural moments.

Starting a Business

Turns out there is lots to do when starting a business, the more I do, the more seems to come and the more real it is all becoming.

This is the second website I've made in the last few months, and I am still trying to decide if I like it. I'd love to know what you think, especially if you are the kind of person to book your photographer from seeing their website!

With so much to do, you might see a few developments, which will all be an improvement I hope!