‘Belle Bébés asks…’ posts

Belle Bébés asks… SPT Photography

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…

The interview

Introduction:
I am what I call a Fine Art family portrait photographer specialising in Maternity shoots, natural newborn shoots and location family shoots.

Location:
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.

Belle Bébés asks... SPT Photography

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.

Belle Bébés asks... SPT Photography

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

Belle Bébés asks... SPT Photography

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.

Belle Bébés asks... SPT Photography

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!

Belle Bébés asks... SPT Photography

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?

  1. Singing – I’ve sung in great choirs since I was in school and love it (my husband is a pro singer).
  2. Baking – I’m forever baking bread and cakes and biscuits.
  3. Walking – I can’t do much else on the exercise front but love walking.
  4. Audio books – fantastic, whilst walking/baking/snoozing!
  5. Sleeping – never seem to get enough of it!

And 5 things you dislike?

  1. My kids fighting.
  2. Being late.
  3. Hot summers.
  4. London traffic.
  5. Sales calls.

Belle Bébés asks... SPT Photography

What are your aspirations for the future, in photography or otherwise?
I want to see my clients’ children through to their weddings.

 Heart Debs

Photographer Details:
SPT Photography website
Facebook
SPT Photography blog
Contact SPT Photography

Belle Bébés asks… Agata Photography

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…

The interview

Introduction:
My name is Agata Szymanowicz and my company is called simply Agata Photography. I am a professional photographer specialising in family, portrait and wedding photography. I also have a psychology background – something I have found very helpful in photographing people and capturing not only their looks but also personalities. Which, in my view, is what photography is really about.

Location: London.

When and how did you fall in love with photography?
I got my first camera when I was 18. That age for me coincided with a turbulent period of soul searching and exploring the human condition. Well, at least that’s what I thought it was. I loved photographing miserable-looking subjects in decrepit locations and thought I was being artistic (a perception strengthened by winning a couple of photographic competitions). And then, thank God, I grew out of it.

Have you had any formal training?
Yes. I have done a significant number of photographic courses, both in the UK and abroad. Many of them were organised by London University of Arts and the Royal Photographic Society. I have also had one-to-one training with a couple of the most well known lifestyle photographers in the UK. And I graduated from the Bespoke programme – a one year course for professional photographers organised by Aspire Training, very highly regarded in the photographic industry.

Interview with Agata Photography

How would you describe your photography style?
Lifestyle portraiture. I want to capture people as they are, interacting with their loved ones in familiar contexts that say something about them. I want my images to be beautiful but also funny, quirky and, first of all, real.

What inspires your work?
Documentary photography. I also look at other photographers’ work a lot. I want to know what my colleagues are doing and then… try to offer my clients something a bit different.

When did you first start out in portraiture photography?
I’ve been a professional photographer for over three years now. Before that there was a long period of training on my family, friends, their friends – basically anybody who was willing to model for me.

Interview with Agata Photography

Where in the UK are you based and how far would you travel for a shoot?
I am based in London but am happy to travel further out if the client is ready to cover my expenses.

How many portrait sessions do you shoot per year?
I limit myself to no more than four shoots per month. This enables me to spend more time in post production and designing beautiful, bespoke albums for my clients. Summers are always more busy (I photograph weddings as well) but in winters family photography slows down. That is when I like to concentrate more on maternity and boudoir photography.

Could you please share some details of a shoot you particularly enjoyed capturing?
It was a first birthday shoot for a cute girl named Charlotte. I had photographed her before, when she was only 12 days old, and it was great to meet her again and see how she had grown. The shoot took place in early October in Richmond Park in London. (I love photographing in autumn – there is something magical about the light and colours then.) We had a cake smash under the trees and then took lots of photographs of Charlotte and her parents interacting and enjoying themselves. When the little one was having her nap I took some photos of her parents. Usually people don’t often get a chance to be photographed together by a professional after their wedding day and I love filling that gap in their family albums.

What would be your idea of a dream portraiture shoot?
An autumn shoot in the mountains, with all their drama, space, colour and light. Or a forest shoot on an early, misty morning.

Interview with Agata Photography

What is your favourite age to photograph and why?
I really like photographing babies when they are about 9-12 months. They can usually sit on their own by then and are so expressive and curious. I also love pregnancy shoots – there is something really special capturing a relationship between people waiting for their baby to arrive.

What difficulties, if any, have you come across with portrait photography and how do you cope with them?
Photographing toddlers can be tricky sometimes – they don’t really take direction too well and if they don’t enjoy themselves that’s it. I often end up making a complete fool of myself to make them laugh and secure their cooperation. I also get the parents involved – they know their children better than anybody else and can most often get the best out of them. Another one is the weather – you are never guaranteed a sunny day in England. If it is a bit rainy on the day I ask parents to bring wellies, colourful jackets, scarves and umbrellas to the shoot to introduce some colour and fun. And children always love jumping in the puddles!

What advice would you give to parents that want you to photograph their little ones?
Give your children space during the shoot. Don’t ask them to look at the camera, smile or, the worst, ‘say cheese’. This results in… well, cheesy, fake smiles and children very soon get fed up with the whole thing. Interact with them in a normal way or just let them be and trust me to capture beautiful images for you.

Interview with Agata Photography

What camera(s) do you use for your portraiture work?
I use Canon 5D MKIII and 5d MKII as a back-up. 5DMKIII has a dual card slot which is great as I don’t risk losing any clients’ images if the card fails.

And your favourite lenses?
70-200mm f/2.8 – great for outdoor shoots and throwing background out of focus.

Do you use any lighting equipment?
I have a speedlight and a whole studio lighting set but when shooting outdoors I almost exclusively rely on natural light. It makes the session more relaxed and more fun for both children and grown-ups. We can just play and move freely without being restricted by any lighting set-ups. I do sometimes use flash for my maternity and boudoir sessions though.

What advice would you give to wannabe portrait photographers?
Get yourself decent equipment, learn to use it and then forget about it. It is you, not your camera, who creates the photographs.

What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
It comes every time when I walk into a client’s house and see my images displayed on the walls. I have also been very proud about the awards from the Guild of Photographers (a professional photographers’ body I’m a member of) recognising the professional standard and quality of my photographs.

Out of all the photographs you have ever taken (professionally or otherwise), which is your favourite and why?
It is the photograph from my friends’ pregnancy session. They had to wait a long time for their baby and being able to capture the tenderness between them, their happiness and anticipation was truly magical. Every time I look at this image I feel fuzzy and warm inside. Especially now, when I myself am pregnant and know what a special time this is.

Agata Photography Favourite Image

If you could capture anybody or anything on camera what would it be?
I would love to be invited to photograph childbirth. Being able to document all the emotions, struggle and happiness of that special day, and to capture baby’s first seconds of life would be really amazing.

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?

  1. Gloomy Eastern European and Scandinavian cinema
  2. Reading
  3. Long nights filled with conversations with friends
  4. Breakfasts in my garden
  5. Feeling my unborn baby kick

And 5 things you dislike?

  1. Getting up early
  2. Unsolicited advice
  3. Cooking
  4. Clothes shopping
  5. Feeling my unborn baby kick at 3am

Interview with Agata Photography

What are your aspirations for the future, in photography or otherwise?
Alongside my family and wedding photography I would like to develop a strong boudoir and women portraiture business. There is a lot of pressure on women to conform to certain standards of beauty these days. As a result of that, most of us are not happy with how we look. I would like to give women more confidence through my images and show them how beautiful, sexy and interesting they are, just being themselves.

 Heart Debs

Photographer Details:
Agata Photography website
Agata’s blog
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Contact Agata
Phone: 07882452461

Belle Bébés asks… Hannah McClune

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…

The interview

Introduction:
Hi there! I am Hannah. I live in Shinfield, Reading, with my wonderful husband and cute (usually) two year old son. My photography style is natural; I take relaxed family photos at home or in the great Berkshire countryside without staging or props to show real expressions, soul and connections. My website is here and you can come to say hi at Facebook.

Location:
Reading, Berkshire

When and how did you fall in love with photography?
Like many others, my love for photography grew with the birth of my son a couple of years ago. I‘ve always loved photography, but it wasn’t until he arrived with his yummy chubby cheeks, tiny toes, squidgy thighs, cute curls… that I became obsessed with capturing every little detail perfectly.

Have you had any formal training?
Yes, after various online and evening courses I opted to do the City & Guilds Photo Imaging course.

Photographer interview with Hannah McClune

How would you describe your photography style?
Beautiful, modern and relaxed images of people having fun with those they love.

What inspires your work?
Oh everything, from the little models themselves to magazines and Pinterest (I’ve developed an awful addiction to it!), and most of all seeing how the light falls during the session.

When did you first start out in portraiture photography?
A little over a year ago now, I guess my fast growth is due to a mix of my determination and practice. I have also been lucky enough to have clients that shout my praises for me, so nearly all clients have been from word of mouth which is just brilliant – thank you guys!

Photographer interview with Hannah McClune

Where in the UK are you based and how far would you travel for a shoot?
I am in Shinfield, a village near Reading in Berkshire. For family sessions I travel up to 20 miles, but further afield for weddings.

How many portrait sessions do you shoot per year?
Around 35, I try to book no more than a couple in a week so that I can be sure of a relaxed and unrushed session, then plenty of time to edit their images. I also shoot weddings which makes things a heap busier in the summer months.
But I have my own little family and I try hard to not let business consume me, to still have plenty of me left for fun time with the two most important boys in my life.

Could you please share some details of a shoot you particularly enjoyed capturing?
I don’t think there is a shoot I haven’t enjoyed, but my favourites are always when clients come back for repeat sessions. It is great to know they love their photos so much that they return for more as their families grow up.

What would be your idea of a dream portraiture shoot?
A newborn shoot outside – sounds crazy, especially with our typically cool climate. But on one of those hot humid summer days it would be just perfect to take a new family to a pretty countryside location for a golden hour session with the sun setting and lots of yummy hazy back lit pictures.

Photographer interview with Hannah McClune

What is your favourite age to photograph and why?
Babies under 10 days, they are just so delicate and precious. Since becoming a mum myself I am super soppy and just feel so lucky to be able to document the start of so many new lives.

What difficulties, if any, have you come across with portrait photography and how do you cope with them?
Oh well you always get the odd grouchy moment with little ones, it would be a weird world if we didn’t. But the nature of my shoots mean we have plenty of time to turn that around, whether it is for a snack, cuddles or time out for some play.

What advice would you give to parents that want you to photograph their little ones?
For newborns it is best to be early, book in after your 20 week scan; we always pencil a date in that can be adjusted. But it is one less thing to organise as the big day approaches. For the session itself, heat the house up super high, we want it nice and toasty for a snoozy baby and give them a big feed to be sure they’re content.

Photographer interview with Hannah McClune

What camera(s) do you use for your portraiture work?
I am crazy about my Nikon D700, I have another as a backup that I always pack too.

And your favourite lenses?
It would probably be my 50 mm 1.4, but I do love my macro lens for the little details like eyelashes, flaky skin, pouty lips…

Do you use any lighting equipment?
I really try not to as I adore the softness of natural light. It is very rare that I need to set up any lighting, as a tiny space next to a window is ideal.

What advice would you give to wannabe portrait photographers?
Practice, practice, practice! Take your manual and try out all the different settings, play with your focus, understand the effect of your settings on exposure and just have fun with it discovering your own style.

What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
When I changed from online ordering to home viewing sessions, I just loved seeing the parent’s reactions when seeing their photos for the first time. I get so excited as I drive to their house ready for them to see their pictures.

Out of all the photographs you have ever taken (professionally or otherwise), which is your favourite and why?
This was taken last year in Sardinia of my husband and son, I love how they are walking in time and oblivious of me and my camera.

P.S Sardinia. Is. Beautiful. So many stunning beaches and yummy wine too!

Photographer interview with Hannah McClune

If you could capture anybody or anything on camera what would it be?
I’m easy – any people in love and enjoying life are what I adore capturing.

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?

  1. Swimming
  2. Emmental cheese
  3. Sunshine
  4. Jasmine bushes
  5. Travelling around South East Asia

And 5 things you dislike?

  1. Grumpiness
  2. Grey days
  3. Fluffy jumpers
  4. Ironing
  5. Being cold

Photographer interview with Hannah McClune

What are your aspirations for the future, in photography or otherwise?
To keep growing as an artist, pushing myself to try different things but remaining true to my style.

 Heart Debs & Hannah

Photographer Details:
Hannah McClune’s website
Hannah’s blog
Facebook
Twitter
Contact Hannah

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