Transition Moments

Have you ever had a moment like this one?

I remember when the Littlest Grant finished reception and Biggest Grant finished primary school forever. It felt like the end of an era. I felt happy and proud and sad all at the same time and I wanted to preserve that memory.

And now another school year is over! How did that happen? Life is so busy at this time of year: sports days, summer concerts, parties and day trips. Then BAM, it’s over and the summer is upon us and then suddenly it’s back to school again!

Do you find the end of a school year poignant too?

And have you ever experienced anything like this?

I’ve suddenly noticed that my 13-year-old looks more like a young man than a child…but only some days, other days he is still very much a boy. I find this transition scary, but at the same time wonderful. One evening I was chatting to him and asked him if I could capture an image of him and to my surprise he readily agreed, even to removing his shirt. I can really see the man-boy thing going on in this photograph.

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And my six-year-old has suddenly lost his baby looks and I felt the need to capture that too. He didn’t want to remove his shirt and as a photographer and mum I respect that, and actually the shirt here lends him an air of grown-up gravitas. I’m glad I captured that little moment.

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I know in a year’s time they will both look very different again.

Look at your children right now…really look at them. What is it about them at this moment that you wish you could capture and keep forever? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do that? Well you can. I specialise in exactly that, capturing just what makes people special. Contact me and we’ll talk.

Action Boy! – Why kids don’t need to sit still.

I’d love some shots of my kids but they would never sit still long enough!

Mothers often say this to me (and not just mothers of boys!)

So here is a story.

Once upon a time, not so long ago…about two weeks actually,  there was a beautiful angelic blonde boy…we’ll call him Action Boy! Action Boy’s mum wanted some nice portrait shots for her walls so off I went to photograph them in their garden on a sunny spring evening. Action Boy had other ideas. He was not very interested in being photographed and preferred to run around shooting zombies with a variety of his prized Nerf Guns. Who can blame him? Sounds much more fun than being photographed right? Especially when you’re six.

And actually I kind of agree with him, because as nice as posed portraits are they don’t really capture the full personality of a child or their parents. So I let Action Boy do his thing and  followed with my camera. He was delighted to show off his football skills, his tree-climbing prowess and his impressive Nerf Gun collection. In fact my favourite shot of the session occurred right here, milliseconds before a foam bullet pinged off my head!

Click on any image to enlarge.

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Action Boy has an Action Dad, who also preferred racing around the garden to posing nicely, so I took full advantage!

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And in between we got the shots that mum wanted too.

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So everyone was happy.

The End.

Headshots and portraits – is there a difference?

I’m sometimes asked what the difference is between a headshot and a portrait.

In my opinion there is a difference but it’s subtle. It’s more a question of headshots being a subset of the portrait genre…sort of like all squares being rectangles but not all rectangles being squares!

My aim in any portrait session is to capture the character of the person or people I’m photographing. This is equally as important for headshots as it is for any other type of portrait.

Headshots are primarily shots of the face and maybe a little of the upper body. They are generally taken with the purpose of being used on a website or in a company brochure. As such they have a very specific target audience – potential clients.

So the headshot not only has to capture a likeness, it also has to communicate trustworthiness, integrity, reliabilty and likeability. That’s quite a tall order.

In addition, headshots tend to be well-lit, and face-toward-camera. Portraits can be whole body, half body, moody, serious, playful, even jokey. They can be about relationships between people, or the relationship of a person with an object (a musical instrument for example), they can include props (books, balloons etc.) and may simply be about a particular moment in time. As a gross generalisation portraits are created with the client in mind, headshots are created with the client’s customers in mind.


This is a classic headshot. The subject is instantly recognisable to his clients. He looks relaxed and approachable. It was taken for the owner of a web design business.

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This is also a headshot. This client’s business is all about the fun of music workshops.

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This, on the other hand is a classic portrait of a my own elderly father. You can see it’s shot in a very different way. More of his body is visible, as well as his much-loved rocking chair. There is more use of shadow and more is made of the contrast between light and dark.


This is also a portrait. Bethany is a dancer. We were having fun in a photo session and she suddenly twirled. I thought it looked beautiful in the sunlight so asked her to repeat it a few times and we captured this lovely airy shot.


The style of the last two shots would probably not suit a business website, whereas the first two were taken specifically for that purpose. Yet either of the first two is a nice portrait in its own right and could be framed and used at such.

I hope that helps clear up the difference.