Whether you are a parent wanting beautiful pictures of your children, an amateur photographer looking to learn more about portrait photography or somebody who just likes to read an interesting interview accompanied by pretty pictures, these posts are for you…
I am what I call a Fine Art family portrait photographer specialising in Maternity shoots, natural newborn shoots and location family shoots.
Ealing, London, UK
When and how did you fall in love with photography?
Since a child I’ve always been the annoying one pointing the camera at people at parties and on school trips, and was bought a great manual Olympus OM2 for my 18th Birthday which takes amazing images and still does. I then worked in a large multinational company for nearly 10 years after university before rediscovering my love of photography once my first child was born.
Have you had any formal training?
Yes down in Cape Town, South Africa I did a photography course and photoshop training…most useful.
How would you describe your photography style?
Natural, elegant and artistic.
What inspires your work?
Natural light and colour on location with kids– I couldn’t do studio shoots with children, I just love creating the composition in which to have fun with children. For pregnancy, I am endlessly happy lighting and dressing the gorgeous bumps that come my way, it’s such a great shape. For Newborns, it’s just so wonderful to capture the puppy love of new parents…more natural light again..I don’t want my images to date and so don’t overdo the posing or styling but prefer playing with the light and working around a little baby to get the best timeless shots.
When did you first start out in portraiture photography?
About 10 years ago.
Where in the UK are you based and how far would you travel for a shoot?
I’m in West London, where I have a studio in my home, but travel up to an hour for location shoots.
How many portrait sessions do you shoot per year?
About 150 per year.
Could you please share some details of a shoot you particularly enjoyed capturing?
I think the best one recently was of child number three for this family whom I have photographed about eight times since the pregnancy of the first child. It was a little girl after two very boisterous boys, and the sense of wonder for the two little boys at seeing their new little sister was magical. It was also so great to do a shoot for people I know so well and have shared so many important moments in their lives.
What would be your idea of a dream portraiture shoot?
My perfect shoot would be a family of four with kids aged about five and three in one of London’s fantastic locations with an overcast but warm day. I just love playing with kids and being artistic… it’s a very satisfying job
What is your favourite age to photograph and why?
Following on from the previous question, between five and three I think as they are still oh so cute, but can understand and take direction and play really well.
What difficulties, if any, have you come across with portrait photography and how do you cope with them?
The difficulties usually come from the parents who get a little too stressed by their kids behaviour. Very few children are wilfully naughty on a shoot, but the parents get so worried about little Johnny behaving that they are constantly tellling him off… which of course leads to him looking very sad and possibly angry. I try and tell them that little Johnny is just like any other three year old and really it’s fine. I will lead the way and try not telling him off unless he’s likely to hurt himself in what he’s doing.
What advice would you give to parents that want you to photograph their little ones?
Don’t tell them off unless you really need to… remain calm and relaxed as this will rub off on the kids and they will also be relaxed. If whinging happens, let me distract them, I’m new to the scenario so they will be more likely to take notice of what I’m doing.
What camera(s) do you use for your portraiture work?
Canon 5D MK2.
And your favourite lenses?
Mainly canon 70-200mm f2.8 but for pregnancy and baby I use the 24-105mm f4.
Do you use any lighting equipment?
For the studio work I have Elincrhom lights.
What advice would you give to wannabe portrait photographers?
Practice the techy bit as much as you can because on a shoot you’ll have precious little time to think about it. You need to be able to direct kids/families not just take good photos.
What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
Actually every time I get feedback from my clients it give me a wonderful glow. But also recently one of my maternity images was chosen for a front cover of a new and exclusive pregnancy magazine.
Out of all the photographs you have ever taken (professionally or otherwise), which is your favourite and why?
I think it has to be this one of my oldest son Sam… it was taking pictures of him that made me think I might be able to be a photographer as a professional, and he is still amazing to photograph… boy, if I were a 13 yr old girl!
If you could capture anybody or anything on camera what would it be?
I want to be able to get some good shots of Prince William and Princess Kate as the ones in the press that I’ve seen of them have been rather boring and unartistic.
Just so we can find out a bit more about the person behind the lens, could you tell me 5 things you like that are completely unrelated to photography?
- Singing – I’ve sung in great choirs since I was in school and love it (my husband is a pro singer).
- Baking – I’m forever baking bread and cakes and biscuits.
- Walking – I can’t do much else on the exercise front but love walking.
- Audio books – fantastic, whilst walking/baking/snoozing!
- Sleeping – never seem to get enough of it!
And 5 things you dislike?
- My kids fighting.
- Being late.
- Hot summers.
- London traffic.
- Sales calls.
What are your aspirations for the future, in photography or otherwise?
I want to see my clients’ children through to their weddings.
SPT Photography website
SPT Photography blog
Contact SPT Photography