Winter outdoor family photography session at Coulsdon Common {Coulsdon family photographer}

If you and your family love the outdoors and are willing to embrace the cold with some extra layers, winter can be a magical time for family photos. The light has a truly unique quality to it, filled with cool but rich tones, while the sun is softer and hangs lower in the sky meaning you don’t need to get up with the birds or keep the kids up late for the best outdoor light.

I met this lovely family for outdoor family photography session at Coulsdon Common in Surrey’s North Downs. Fast becoming one of my favourite locations, Coulsdon Common offers a wonderful mosaic of grassland, scrub and woodland to explore, along with some beautiful views across the Downs. The children were delighted with the touch of left over snow from the previous week. I won’t lie - it was pretty chilly but with a bit of running about and hill climbing we soon warmed up and as the light was so even I only really needed just over an hour to capture some lovely, natural portraits before it was time to head home.

Autumn family photo session {Surrey family photographer}

Autumn is my absolute favourite time of the year for capturing families enjoying themselves outdoors. The colours in our local parks are just spectacular at this time of the year and so I was so excited when this Carshalton family requested an outdoor family shoot at one of their favourite parks in Morden.

I must admit to doing a little happy dance upon meeting this gorgeous family for the first time. The colours and the textures of their outfits were just so perfect for the setting. I provide all my clients with a clothing guide before we meet as sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what will work given the setting and this family absolutely nailed it.

We had a lovely relaxed wander around the park, stopping now and then to explore in the long grass and kick about some Autumn leaves. It was a wonderfully relaxed session and I’m so pleased with these images. Here are just a few of my favourites…

Family photography session at Mayfield Lavender {Family photographer, Carshalton}

It's always lovely when families get back in touch. I really enjoyed photographing this gorgeous family last year just after their second son was born and it was such a pleasure to meet them all again at the Mayfield Lavender Fields in Carshalton.

It really was the perfect morning for a lavender photo session. There was a little bit of cloud cover to protect us all from the harsh summer sun and because we began nice and early we pretty much had the lavender to ourselves for most of the session. Family photo sessions for me are all about having some fun and so after a couple of group shots it was time for running, tossing in the air and lavender hide-and-seek. The boys did so well and I can't praise mum enough for choosing such perfect outfits for them!

It was a pleasure to meet up with this family again at one of my favourite outdoor photography locations. I do hope to offer more lavender photo sessions next year so watch this space!

Why I love editing photos - a before and after example {Family photographer, Surrey}

If you're anything like me you probably have literally thousands of phone pics of your children and I'm sure, like me, you love every single one of them. I keep all these phone pics because they're electronic memories of moments I might not have captured otherwise. Nevertheless, I love the images I've taken with my 'big' camera so much more and a major reason for this is that I've been able to edit them exactly the way I want to. 

Without going into too much technical detail, professional photographers shoot RAW images. These are huge files, rich with very detailed information about the colours and textures across every part of the image. RAW files are designed to be edited and require professional editing software to even open them. I could shoot JPEG files, which are smaller and would actually look better than the RAW image straight from the camera, but they'd lack the detail necessary to apply my own creativity and style through the editing process. A RAW image is like a chef having all the fresh ingredients they need to produce a delicious dish, exactly how they want it to taste, whereas a JPEG is like buying the same dish as a ready meal - you either like it or you don't. Aside from adding a bit of seasoning there's not much you can do to make it better!

A before and after...

Below is a photograph I took of my daughter looking out our dining room window, late afternoon on a rather dull winter's day. The first is the RAW image straight from the camera with no adjustments other than the crop. Although the image is exposed correctly and the focus in nice and sharp on her eyes, it's rather dull and there are a couple of distractions, such as the cord from the blind. The second is the edited version which I hope you'll agree is much more pleasing. The colours are warmer and brighter and I've been able to add contrast and clarity exactly where I want it. Using professional editing software means I was able to be selective in my adjustments - I could remove certain objects from the frame that weren't really adding to the story, or worse still, distracting from her face and reflection.

The way I edit is a fundamental to my photography and the value I offer to my clients. It's where the magic happens. Editing takes time and expertise, and in many cases I'll spend far longer editing a set of photos than I'll actually spend taking them! I'll look at every photo individually and edit depending on the light, the emotion, the mood and the story I want to tell. I'll also aim for consistency across a series of images. This is especially important when you go to display your photographs together. And finally, I'll remove things like left over biscuit crumbs, or scrapes that wouldn't usually be there! 

My style and skill encompasses many other things such as understanding light, composition, timing, and technical skills - all the reasons for choosing a professional photographer to capture beautiful images of your family. But as I've hopefully revealed, editing is a where the photos come alive for me and become the finished product that I can proudly deliver.