Models wanted!

Model Testing shoots are my main method of working on new concepts, trying out new ideas, new camera equipment or perfecting Photoshop techniques.

Model Testing ShootsWhilst anyone can take part in a testing shoot, people with some modelling experience are preferred as these sessions can be stop start in nature.

The shoots take place in a hired studio which has great photographic facilities and changing areas.

I am currently looking for a model and a stylist for a shoot to help me gain my LRPS distinction.

For this shoot I am looking for a female model and stylist. The shoot will take place at a studio in Penrith and travel can be arranged from Brampton/Carlisle if needed. If you’re interested, please complete the form below and if you already have a portfolio, please add the link to the form.

The shoot is on a ‘Time for Prints’ basis and you will need to sign a model release form. Time for Prints means that you get a selection of the images as digital files, or prints if you prefer, that you can use for your own personal use and portfolio.

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Family Portrait Locations near Brampton

Brampton is my home town (ok, so its my adopted home town) which has some great locations within easy reach for family portraits.

Talkin Tarn

The Tarn is a popular destination for everyone who enjoys a healthy lifestyle; runners (of all abilities), walkers and rowers to name just a few. The Tarn  lends itself to some great photographs with the tarn itself as the backdrop, the Bird Hide and the wooded areas. If the cafe is open, we can pause for 10 minutes and enjoy a latte and a slice of cake.

Talkin Tarn is a great location for couples and families
Talkin Tarn is a great location for couples and families

The best time to go to the tarn is early evening, as the sun is starts to fall it enhances the light and produces a beautiful golden glow. Of course, I can’t guarantee the presence of the Sun in Cumbria! And if the sun us setting, this makes for fantastic romantic pictures of you and your partner.

Moat Hill

Just outside the town centre, Moat Hill is the most prominent feature that can be seen from almost anywhere in town. Walking up the wooded tracks to the top of the hill leads to the statue of William Howard resides where you can have a well earned rest. Kids will enjoy the walk up and love the run back down and your session can be rounded off in Murray Park.

Moat Hill Brampton
Moat Hill makes a great location for family portraits

Gelt Woods

Gelt Woods was used by the Romans to quarry stones for Hadrian’s Wall. It is a fantastic location for photo sessions, especially if you have pets. A sturdy pair of walking shoes is highly recommended as some of the paths can get boggy. There are some open spaces where kids and pets can run around to get some great photos.

Pet Photography on location in North Cumbria

Quarry Beck, Lanercost

Quarry Beck is one of the hidden gems, situated between Brampton and Lanercost, Bluebells adorn the woods alongside the beck during spring. The beck meanders down until it reaches a waterfall, just before it reaches the River Irthing at Abbey Bridge. At Abbey Bridge we can take a few relaxed shots before heading on to Lanercost Tea Rooms for a well earned cuppa!


Top tips to get the most from your photo session

If you are planning a family portrait photo session on location, you should make sure you and your family are prepared to help the shoot go well. Here are my top tips…

Choose your clothing

Choosing the right clothing is importantMake sure you choose your clothing well in advance and make sure that your choice of outfits are not just comfortable and attractive, but also complement each other. When choosing your clothes, ask yourself if you want to show the fun side of your family, in which case choose coordinating colours with bold accents, or if you want a more relaxed look, then neutral colours such as creams, soft pastels, oatmeals, tans, greys and slate blues will be the order of the day.

Don’t be afraid to add accessories – scarves, headbands, hats etc can add that extra twist and can be easily added in or removed during the shoot.

Don’t turn up exhausted

If you have young children, avoid scheduling your photo session around their nap or bedtime. Ideally you should be looking at a time 2-3 hours before sunset or even after sunrise if you’re early birds! Don’t worry about this too much, these are my preferred times due to the lovely colour of the light, but if it has to be the middle of the day, then we’ll seek out shaded areas, especially as sunset during the summer can be very late!

…or hungry

Photo shoots can be exhausting, especially for the mums and dads chasing the kids! If your plan is to have dinner after the shoot, then make sure you give everyone a good snack beforehand to keep them going.

Leave plenty of time to get ready

Mums are often rushing around before any outing, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. You have taken the time to choose outfits, so why rush at this stage? Leave plenty of time to get everyone ready and what better reason for husbands to treat their wife to a professional makeover? Good preparation will lead to a fantastic photo session so leave plenty of time before you head out.

Dads are allowed to smile and have fun

Dads often dread photo sessions, perhaps because it’s not natural for them to be smiling and laughing on cue. At my sessions, I encourage interaction and play between all members of the family, so it doesn’t take long for dad to smile and have fun.

Cheese is off limits

I have one rule, and that is nobody is allowed to say ‘cheese’. It’s cheesy and produces fake unnatural smiles. Asking kids to say cheese, sausages or whatever is the word of the day, will encourage them to say that word for every photo which will only produce strained and unflattering photographs. During the session, I will ask your kids silly questions – feel free to ask or say something you know will evoke a gorgeous laugh or a smile.

Have fun with your family

Don’t be afraid to interact with your family – picking up children and throwing them in the air almost always elicits a response that shows joy. Give your wife a gentle kiss on her cheek. Have fun, laugh, giggle, joke, hug, snuggle, play! Show me who you really are.

Props, toys and pets welcome!

Bringing props and toys and even the dog, will get the whole family involved. This gives you all something to do that occupies your hands and feet, keeps little ones entertained and results in natural smiles. The activity need not be included in the photographs, it’s the natural responses and interactions that I am looking for. Don’t be afraid to bring a fun board game, cards, footballs or even your dog – the ideas are only limited only by your imagination.

Smiling is not compulsory

Ever watched a comedian and laughed so hard till it hurt, and smiled so much that your face ached? I want you to have fun but you don’t need a perma smile. Not everyone needs to be smiling or looking at the camera all of the time, some of my favourite photographs have kids looking away from the camera. Having fun and enjoying each other’s company ensures that you are focused on each other with natural expressions.

To book your session, send a message via Facebook or use the enquiry form.

Studio Sessions

Studio portrait sessions are a great way to have some fun and get some great family portraits. These are quick to set up and provided you have a suitably sized room – or furniture free room – these sessions can be held in the comfort of your own home.

Props are available, such as those shown below, or you can use your own. A range of photos will be taken with and without props, so that there is a wide variety of images to choose from. See the Studio@Home section on the Portraits page for more information.

These portrait sessions can be used for family, couples or individuals needing headshots or images for their professional portfolio.

Studio portrait photography sessions can be hosted in your own home or a local community centre.

Studio Portrait Photography
Studio Portrait Photography

Book your portrait session now by sending a Facebook message or by completing the enquiry form.

Open Studio Day 21 April

Come along to Brampton Community Centre on 21 Apr for a fun portrait session. These sessions are ideal for young families, I will bring my smiley face photo booth props and you can bring props of your own.

Booking is highly recommended and slots are available on a first come first served basis. Each session is £15 booked in advance or £20 on the day.

In your half hour session, I will take as many photographs as I can to give you as much variety as possible. At the end, you will get to review the images and choose one 6×8″ complementary print to take away with you.

Your images will be available through the online gallery later that day where you can purchase more images as photographic prints and framed images. What’s more, I’ll give you a discount code to get 15% discount (when you spend £30 or more).

Portrait Folio Box

I believe in providing the best quality products to showcase your portrait session photographs. That is why I have chosen the Luxury Folio Box and its smaller sibling the USB Folio box. They are amazing to the touch, solidly built and will protect your memories for years to come.

The folio box contains up to 20 14″x11″ matted prints (print size is 12″x8″) and your images on a matching USB stick. The cover can be customised with your choice of wording so that it is truly unique.

The boxes are available in several colours, the example in the photographs is Duck Egg, colours from left to right below: Duck Egg, Grey, Black, Ivory, Navy, Red.

The USB Box is made to the same high standard and is about the same size as a jewellery box. The USB dongle comes as a jewelled heart or the crystal case pictured above.

Of course, to get one of these, you need to book a portrait session!

Try Something Different

It’s easy to follow the crowd, go with the flow and generally live life by doing the same things day in day out. That’s where photography allows us to break the routine, to break the mold and get out of the rut.

This image was inspired by a magazine article and I don’t mind admitting that, we all need to get our ideas from somewhere. So when I was asked to do a photo session for Jacob Knight, a musician based in Carlisle, I took the opportunity to take this image – and I should mention that he loves everything weird, wacky and unusual, so he didn’t need much persuading.

So how was it done? Its a combination of about 20 images, taken as I walked in a circle around Jacob, who had to turn on the spot to stay facing the camera. A little bit of Photoshop magic dust later and you have this mysterious looking portrait.

Talkin Tarn with Mark and Louise

Mark and Louise wanted a new set of images to celebrate their second wedding anniversary, so where better than Talkin Tarn Country Park?

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Talkin Tarn holds special memories for the Mark and Louise, so the location made perfect sense, great for the dogs to get some exercise too.  Fortunately the weather improved throughout the day giving us clear skies, the lowering sun provided some great light.


Killer at Prom Night

When Shadow Vision first got in touch with me, they wanted a set of group shots which we did a couple of weeks ago.  At our first meeting, they described a scene to complement their forthcoming single, Killer at Prom Night.

The idea was simple, the execution of the whole project wasn’t without it’s problems.  The original location the band chose was a storage yard in Carlisle, but the owners wanted to charge the band for the time we’d be using it.  So after a quick rethink we settled on the site of a converted old factory near the centre of Carlisle where the band practice. The courtyard is narrow and combined with the old metal windows and tall imposing Victorian brickwork, perfect for the scene.  But it was Saturday and the clubs that operate from the building were in full swing, with people coming and going all the time.  Not ideal.

We found a spot out of the way and got everything set up, ready to pop the guys on to the ‘set’ and click the shutter – it turns out we were in the way so had to move on!  Another spot was quickly found, and with no through route and no signs of use – other than to dump rubbish – we set up again.  The lads were great and really got in to it, helped along by the model for the day, Katy, who was playing the part of the femme fatale.

Looking for a dark shot, I was concerned that a rare occurrence of blue sky had broken out, and the sun was shining strong.  Careful positioning ensured the band were out of its harsh light.  Katy’s job was to kill the band having lured them from the prom – following the title and the lyrics of the song – with a rather sharp knife with fake blood dripping off it.

Carlisle band, Shadow Vision's 'Killer at Prom Night'
Carlisle band, Shadow Vision’s ‘Killer at Prom Night’

Shadow Vision!

Introducing Shadow Vision, a new Carlisle based band!  I took the lads to Rickerby Park near Eden Bridge in Carlisle, just outside the city centre for their photo session.  We had a blast trying out different ideas to create a set of images that were not run of the mill posed band photographs they’ve seen.  We have another shoot which we’re really looking forward to, it includes chairs, rope, a femme fatale and a bloody knife – I hope its not me that they’re planning to do away with!

The collage below is just a small sample while I work on the remaining images.

Carlisle based band, Shadow Vision
Carlisle based band, Shadow Vision