Make-up is one of those things that you may not think about when it comes to having our photograph taken - we want to look natural in the photographs, so surely it’s better to just wear the same makeup we wear every day?
Unfortunately not. Generally speaking, the makeup we wear day to day won’t show up as well on camera as it does in real life. And since you’re investing in professional photographs it’s well worth investing some time in your makeup too, so that you walk away with a set of photographs that show you off at your best. Here are my recommendations for applying your makeup for photographs yourself:
Apply your makeup in natural light
Just as the kind of light you take a photograph in will make a difference to the final result, so will the kind of light you apply your makeup in. Since I almost always work with natural light on photo shoots, I recommend that you apply your makeup in natural light too.
Find a large, bright window and face towards it as you apply your make-up.
Prepare your skin first
Using a primer to prepare your skin before you apply your makeup can help to give a better finish, and make your makeup last longer. If you’re not sure which primer is right for you, this guide might be a good place to start.
Use a full coverage foundation
Day to day I wear a tinted moisturiser rather than foundation, but this never looks good in photographs as I hope. As I mentioned before, make-up rarely looks the same in photos as it does in real life - it tends to look less vibrant. With all of your make-up I recommend going heavier than usual - and in the case of your base use a full-coverage foundation.
Anything with a shimmer in it is a no-no for photographs. All that shimmer will reflect light, and not give the look you’re after. It’s not just eye shadows and highlighters that you need to watch out for here - lots of foundations have a shimmer too, including mineral make-up.
Talk to a Pro
If you’re not feeling confident about applying your own make-up, do talk to a professional. This doesn’t have to mean booking a professional make-up artist (although I do recommend doing this for headshots in particular.) Instead you could go to your local department store and spend time at one of the beauty counters there. Usually if you’re thinking of buying a new product, the consultants will be happy to apply it for you, show you different options and give you advice on the best way to use it. Some counters also offer makeovers or make-up lessons for a fee, and if you really aren’t sure where to begin this could be a great option for you.
Over to you
I hope you find these tips helpful as you prepare for your photoshoot. Let me know how you get on with them in the comments below.
I recently had the pleasure of getting to know Charlotte Wood, a Surrey Based Speech and Language Therapist . Charlotte asked me to take some photographs for her business, Communicate With Me, and I'm excited to share her story (and photographs from our shoot together) with you today as part of my brand story series.
I always spend quite a bit of time on the phone with business owners before our shoot - it helps us both get clear on the vision for the shoot, and make sure that they walk away with photos that communicate exactly the right message. What struck me every time I spoke to Charlotte, and during the shoot is her passion, professionalism and energy for doing a great job for the children she works with. During our shoot Charlotte did real therapy activities with the children and you can see her in action in the photographs below. I hope you enjoy hearing her story.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family life
My husband and I are parents to our much loved son Thomas and our doggy Milo. My husband and I seem to be on an endless journey of renovating our house in Worcester Park. We moved to the area about 4 years ago and now feel pretty settled here. We are close by to some lovely parks, Milo loves being able to roam around off lead and Thomas delights in watching him get up to mischief.
One of my big passions or even obsessions in life is food. I try to cook most days and weeks, and am guilty of filling my Instagram with mostly pictures of food (and pics of my son). We love spending time together as a family. Both my husband and I love being parents and in the future we would really like to expand our brood.
I’d love to know more about your business. What do you do?
I'm a children's speech and language therapist. I find a lot of people don't know much about speech and language therapy, and our jobs are really so varied depending on the client group.
I have to admit that I didn't know much about speech and language therapy either until we started working together on your shoot. How did you specialise in working with children?
Over the last 10 years I have was lucky enough to have worked in spilt posts where I practiced in different settings e.g. a couple of days in schools, half a week in a clinic or a couple of days visiting children in their homes. Throughout my whole career though, I have always worked in primary and secondary schools with school age children who have Special Educational Needs. Many of these children have learning difficulties, and often have diagnoses such as global developmental delay, general learning difficulties, dyslexia, dyspraxia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and speech delay, speech disorder, language delay and language disorder. Dyslexia and dyspraxia are disabilities that are close to my heart and I understand well as I also have these specific learning difficulties myself.
What does your work involve?
The most common disabilities in childhood are speech, language and social communication difficulties and they represent the most prevalent type of special educational needs. My job is to work directly with the children improving all aspects of their communication and learning skills including attention skills, vocabulary, speech articulation and conversation skills. Having a good rapport with the children is absolutely essential. When children are motivated and captivated their potential for learning is immense. I strive to create fun, engaging therapy activities and programmes that children delight in. The best time to teach a child new knowledge and skills is when they are happy, interested and intrigued.
My job also includes assessing these children and writing reports and recommendations about therapy and educational provision. This is a very important part of my job that I am also passionate about, as it's a way of ensuring that the children I work with are given every chance that they deserve at succeeding in school and making friends. A huge part of my work involves working directly with parents and teachers advising, training and demonstrating how to support their children at home and in school. I am qualified tutor and have really enjoyed training and accrediting adult learners such as teachers and nursery staff with GCSE and A-level equivalent qualifications in speech, language and communication difficulties.
As we worked together, I also learned that you work with children before they reach school age, and I saw you in action at our shoot! When would you work with young children like this?
Throughout my career I have also worked with much younger children, pre-schoolers and toddlers, who present with similar but also very different needs. It's common for children to have speech or language delay in their early years. Almost anyone you meet knows someone or may themselves have been late talkers, had speech sound difficulties or stammered. Although speech and language difficulties are common, the importance of these skills shouldn't be underestimated. Communication skills are the most sought after qualities needed in today's workforce. Reading, writing and listening carefully are some of most fundamental skills needed to develop working relationships and friendships. The time before a child starts school is critical for their visual, language and emotional development. There is a small window of opportunity in identifying speech, language and social communication difficulties early, intervening with appropriate support, and preventing speech, language, social communication, and literacy difficulties from persisting into later childhood and adult life.
I work with parents, child minders and nursery staff in identifying children whose speech, language or social skills may be delayed. Sometimes all that parents need is reassurance their children are developing age appropriately. Other times they need some advice or a few sessions where I can give more detailed recommendations and demonstrations on how to structure everyday experiences so that there are opportunities not barriers to language development. In other cases where a child may have speech sound delay or disorder, or language difficulties e.g with vocabulary or grammar it is important that I provide more direct and intensive speech & language therapy with the child and their parent, and this often takes the form of a block of weekly or fortnightly therapy sessions.
What inspired you to start your own private practice?
Working in senior therapist roles in the NHS was rewarding but also demanding. There were many aspects of my job that detracted from being able to give face to face time to the children. It was frustrating when I couldn't work with certain children in their schools because they lived in the wrong postcode! I also found it heartbreaking when I had to discontinue therapy or transfer children to a different team because they had started or changed school.
I really value the importance of developing lasting relationships with children and their families. I have been fortunate enough to have been employed directly by the same school for six years. I have personally seen the huge benefits to both myself in terms of my professional development and to the children and their families in having continuity of the same therapist.
I had grown a passion for and gained experience in working with 3- 16 yr olds, and had found a particular niche with special educational needs. I had also gained experience in training other speech and language therapy students, managing other speech and language therapists, and leading on service development projects. After years of specialising I felt it was the right time to set up my own speech and language therapy service for children and young people in my local community.
How have you found the experience of setting your practice up whilst balancing work and looking after your son? What advice would you have for other mums wanting to do something similar?
I have found the experience both exciting and nerve wracking. I am so fortunate to have supportive friends and family around me. I have a really amazing husband, we work as a great team and have supported each others careers at different stages in our life. The best recommendation I can give is to meet and network with other parents who are self employed too, it's useful to network with similar professionals in your own field, but also different business types as it encourages you to 'think outside the box'.
What made you decide to have professional photos taken for your business?
I have always been wary of the medical model that was associated with my profession when I was employed by the NHS. From my own gut feeling and talking to other parent friends I felt that this could sometimes put parents off, maybe they'd had bad experiences with a particular NHS trust, they felt that they were going to a doctors appointment, or they felt like their child was being tested or their parenting skills judged. I wanted my Speech and Language Therapy services to represent me and my holistic therapy philosophy rather than a clinic or a hospital.
How do you plan to use the photos from our session?
I will be using the photos for my website and Facebook page, and social media accounts. I will also use the head shot photos of myself for Linkedin, and on the listings page on the Association of Speech and Language Therapists in Independent Practice (ASLTIP) website.
Thank you Charlotte for sharing your story today. Where can readers find you if they want to know more?
Although most of us are hoping that summer will last just a bit longer, I’ve already got my mind on the autumn. It’s one of the most popular times for outdoor family photo sessions, and my diary is already filling up. If you’re thinking about booking a family photography session, here are five good reasons to do it this autumn.
1. Autumn is a beautiful backdrop for photographs
Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year - the beautiful golden yellows and burnt orange colours of leaves, misty sunrises and golden sunsets. Mother Nature really does put on a good show, and this makes a gorgeous backdrop for your photographs.
2. You can start your photography session a little later in the day
To catch the most beautiful light for my client’s portraits I always like to start early in the morning, or late in the afternoon. In the summer this can mean a very early start! In the autumn and winter we can start a little later as the sun spends more time lower in the sky. This means more time for you to prepare...and perhaps even a little lie in!
3. You can wear bright colours
During the majority of the year, I always suggest wearing softer, muted tones for your photographs. They work well with the pretty flowers of spring, and the long grasses and hazy days of summer. Autumn however opens up a whole new wardrobe of options - you can still opt for softer tones like cream, navy or brown, but pops of bold, bright tones such as red, mustard and purple also work really well.
4. Playing in the autumn leaves is fun
It’s so important to me that children have fun at their photography session - not only is it more enjoyable for them when they do, but it’s also more relaxing and enjoyable for their parents too. I always come to shoots with lots of games up my sleeve, but autumn provides extra fun...who doesn’t love running through or jumping in big piles of autumn leaves?
5. The photographs will make lovely, personalised Christmas presents
After your shoot, not only will your photographs be special for you, they’ll also make wonderful Christmas presents for your friends and family members. Prints, albums and gift portfolios all make very special gifts at this time of year.
You can contact me to book your session here.
A few weeks ago I ran some lavender sessions at the stunning Mayfield Lavender in Banstead. In total I had sessions with three families, and I'm excited to share a few highlights from each family's photo shoot with you today.
Despite a few unexpected showers during the morning, I had a lovely morning at the lavender fields. The lavender makes such a pretty backdrop, and the rows are perfect for running up and down which was a hit with the children!
The family pictured above were the last family I photographed, and this was their first family photo shoot. I really hope these photographs give them a happy memory of this moment in time.
The second family I photographed had a 17 month old son, who really enjoyed running up and down through the lavender as you'll see below! I also discovered that I had photographed some of their friends a few months beforehand, and it was lovely to make the connection.
For the first family I photographed, this was their second session with me. You can see the first here. It was lovely to see how their children have grown and developed since their session last year. I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of my favourite moments from these sessions. You can see more from my family sessions here.
I was thrilled to be asked to write a guest post for Lucy at Starting Conversations last month. Lucy helps small business owners get clear on their messaging, and my post is all about how photography can make your marketing even better. You can read it here.
This morning I'm sharing this lovely maternity session from earlier this summer with you. For this session, I met Emily at her home, and we started with some natural photographs of her and her baby bump there. We then headed out to Emily's local park and continued the photo shoot there.
I think a lot of us often associate pregnancy photography with bare bumps in the studio, but it doesn't have to be that way. I love to photograph mums-to-be naturally, and in a place where they feel relaxed and happy. I also think that this style of shoot gives a wonderful memory of life before baby arrived - especially in this case as this lovely mum and her husband moved house a few days later. I love to think that Emily can look back at these and, and show moments and important places from this stage of her life to her children in years to come.
I hope you enjoy seeing a few favourites from Emily's session...
I was excited to see some more of my photos on the Estila Magazine blog recently. They accompany a piece by Fiona Brass all about how she brought this North London flat back to life. You can find the full piece here.
The first year of your baby’s life is such a special time - they change and grow so rapidly, and there are lots of little milestones along the way to celebrate. You could easily have a number of photo sessions during this year and have lots of very different photographs, but there are certain times of the year that are better than others. Read on to find out about the best times to have a baby or family photography session.
During the first few weeks of a baby’s life they are very sleepy and often prefer to be in that lovely curled up position that they spend so much time in in the womb. The first two weeks of a baby’s life are the best times to have a newborn photography session - baby will usually be happy to sleep through most of it, which allows the photographer to capture those lovely curled up poses, and all of the tiny details that make your baby unique.
After the first two weeks babies have usually started to uncurl and stretch out and are a lot more alert. They’re awake much more but not yet able to move, support their head or do things independently. If you’ve missed the newborn stage I recommend waiting a few months and booking your photo shoot for when your baby is around three months of age.
By three months babies can usually hold their head steady, laugh and smile. Some may even be able to lift themselves up when they’re having tummy time, and all of these characteristics are lovely to capture during a shoot.
At this age I recommend we spend the majority of the session at home. That way baby can still feed and sleep as needed. If a client has older children then I’ll suggest we split the time between home and a nearby green space so that the rest of their family can stretch their legs and have some fun after some photographs at home.
6 - 8 months
Between six and eight months most babies will be able to sit unsupported but aren’t yet crawling. This is one of my favourite times for a session! Baby will love to interact and engage, and will have lots of little personality traits that I can capture, but they won’t be frustrated because they want to crawl away.
At this age we could have the photo shoot at home or outdoors, or divide the time between both. Again what works best for you will depend on your family, and it’s something we can chat about during your pre-session consultation.
At the end of the year your baby is becoming a toddler, and may even be walking. This is a popular time for a photo shoot - capturing the milestone of them reaching their first birthday. By this age we can be quite flexible about the location of the session, and I’ll work with you to schedule it around naps and meals.
Over to you
As you can see there are lots of milestones that you can capture during the first year of your baby’s life, and some times that are better than others for a photo shoot. If you'd like to book a session for your baby I'd love to hear from you - you can get in touch here.
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of photographing a lovely family of four in Teddington. With a new baby in the house, aged 3 months, we decided to start the session at home and finish it nearby in Bushy Park. We had a lovely sunny April day, and found some blossom and daffodils which made the perfect backdrop for our photographs in the park.
Three months of age is a lovely time for a family session - babies are really starting to show their personalities around this age, and I can capture gorgeous smiles and little laughs like the one above!
After the session this family chose to order a set of the digital images, and a beautiful Storyboard frame which shows nine photographs from their session, so that they can enjoy their photographs every day. I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my favourites. You can find information about my family sessions here.
We spent last week in Scotland for a family wedding in Edinburgh. Since the wedding was at the end of the week, and we haven't seen much of Scotland we decided to make a little holiday of it. We spent the start of the week staying on Loch Lomond and had a wonderful time. I knew it would be beautiful - and it really was - but was pleasantly surprised at how family friendly it was, and how many good restaurants and cafes there were.
Since we started travelling as a family I'm always so aware of which places we visit are family friendly...and which are not. As well as sharing a photo-diary of our time on Loch Lomond, I thought it would also be useful to share my tips on where to go, what to see and (most importantly to me) what to eat!
We based ourselves in the town of Luss which is right on the water's edge. It's popular with tourists and therefore busy. We had brilliant weather whilst we were there, and the water was very still - perfect for paddling! Luss is a lovely town to wander around - on the roads down to the waters edge are pretty cottages which used to house workers for nearby quarries. There are also lots of little beaches, and when we visited they were packed with families playing at the edge of the water, sunbathing, and soaking up the sun.
We took two day trips during our stay. One was to Balmaha - a water taxi ride away from Luss. This was my daughter's first time on a boat, and at only 25 minutes each way was very do-able, and very fun for her. We could take our buggy on board too which made things very easy. In Balmaha we took a short walk around the town, stopped for coffee, and my daughter learned how to roll down the little hills in the park surrounding the Tom Weir Statue. There was also a lovely little playground with a climbing frame, slide and a maze made from bamboo plants close to the Visitors Centre Car Park. My little one had a great time running through the maze.
Our second trip was to the Glengoyne Distillery. We spent around an hour there and took one of their distillery tours. Although you can't take buggies on the tour, babies and children are welcome and families with younger children carried them around in a sling. The tour includes a glass of whisky, but if you're driving you can ask for a little container to take yours home in. There's also an option to try whisky and chocolate pairings. Afterwards we had lunch in the village of Killearn, which is just a short drive away.
Our favourite places to eat...
Lunch at The Boat House Restaurant, Cameron House - beautiful views over the loch, and lovely food with lots of seafood on the menu. They are well prepared for young children with crayons and activity packs.
Dinner at The Loch Lomond Arms Hotel - lovely seasonal food, local beers and a good childrens menu. It was very busy for dinner, and so it's a good idea to book ahead.
Homemade Ice Cream from the Luss Village Shop.
Coffee at St Mocha in Balmaha.
Lunch, coffee and cake at Three Sisters Bake in Killearn - it was really difficult to choose what to eat here, as everything looked so good! In the end we settled on the daily salads and daily quiche, and a picnic plate for my daughter - cheese, raising, houmous, toast and vegetable sticks. It was a feast, and the perfect stop after our tour of Glengoyne distillery.
Over to you
Are you planning a family getaway soon? If so you might like my tips for taking great photos on your family holiday.