I love the energy of my Shooting Stars parties – everyone arrives so full of excitement and it really shines through in the photos. This fun bunch really enjoyed their themes of Pyjamas, Bright colours and all in black. I had also spent some time making some new props and a backdrop to brighten things up, which along with the balloons and party poppers really made the party go with a bang!
The work of Swedish painter Carl Larsson (1853- 1919) has long been an inspiration to me. I love his use of light and the warm way his depicts family. Larsson had 8 children (one of whom died very young) and often chose to paint domestic scenes including his offspring and his wife. For me, the delicate details and glimpse of 19th century life are fascinating.
In his book “A Home”, Carl Larsson writes: “On sunny and not so sunny days we eat behind the house below the big birch tree and, do you know, that really tops it off! If it wasn’t for the birch tree the whole place would be of no value to me. It gives such a magnificent shadow and it’s just windy enough to make the mosquitos go elsewhere.”
For me, Larsson is a perfect example of what I wrote about last week – being in the moment.
I have had a lovely time making a pinterest gallery of Carl Larsson paintings. I hope you enjoy looking at the them.
Breakfast under the big birch
© Estate of Carl Larsson
Flowers on the windowsill, c.1894
© Estate of Carl Larsson
The First Lesson
© Estate of Carl Larsson
These two images of my youngest are very precious to me. They were taken some years ago, when he was two and a half and we were on holiday with family in America. We were staying in some wonderful log cabins at Friday Harbour, Washington. Adam somehow never really got over his jetlag in the two weeks we stayed and this particular day he padded in to me at 4 in the morning. Both of us bleary eyed, we trooped to the kitchen and I made up a bowl of cereal.
These were pre-digital days for me and I took my Nikon FM2 with me everywhere, usually loaded with black and white film. The light was perfect, Adam had his morning hair and was intent on eating breakfast half asleep, I couldn’t resist snapping.
Shots that mean this much aren’t just about the image itself but how you were feeling when you took it too. They don’t have to be a masterpiece, they don’t even have to be in focus, they just have to conjure up emotion. They’re about being there, in the moment.
I’ve been photographing for Haywards Butchers this week, some delicious meat for your winter dishes. Above you can see stuffed duck, mixed game casserole and stuffed pheasant. Yum!
I had a lovely morning yesterday photographing some gorgeous pieces of glass made by my talented friend Ruth Willis. The lizard is a commissioned piece. The challenge was to find a way of lighting them pieces to show off their texture and colour without reflecting the flash or our ourselves.
I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve neglected to post any of my sessions, but I really wanted to share this one with you and I promise to post more soon. A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of photographing these 5 lovely sisters. Never was the studio more full of fun and energy! My challenge was to take pictures that showed off each of the girl’s individual personalities while capturing them as a family unit. Much giggling and running around ensued and I’m delighted with the results.
It happens to us all – you’re sitting there watching your friends or family totally relaxed and having fun, so you whip out a camera to capture the moment and suddenly everyone becomes stiff and self conscious. It’s so frustrating and feels unavoidable. Yet there are simple ways to capture natural photos.
My first piece of advice is to be at ease with your camera – let people know you have it with you and that you mean to take some pictures. Don’t wield it like a weapon but make sure that everyone know it’s there.
One of the things that makes people feel so self conscious about having their photo taken, is not knowing what to do with themselves. This is where you come into things – yes you! – you’re not just there to point the camera and shoot, you need to be involved. A little bit of direction is a real help when someone is ill at ease, so don’t be afraid to direct the action (but not too much).
When you point a camera at someone their first instinct is to stand up straight and grimace, which rarely looks good, so it’s up to you to guide people by telling them to lean against a wall, put their hands in their pockets, even to look away from the camera at someone else. Some people hate having their photo taken so much that the best way to get a good shot of them is not to make them look into the lens but to distract their attention with another subject – preferably one within the frame. Far from spoiling an image by having subjects who aren’t looking at the camera, sometimes the best shots are about the interactions going on within the frame.
Two or more people in a photo will be much more relaxed than just one, as everyone is made more confident by the others around them. Equally, if a single subject has something to hide behind/lean against, they don’t feel so ‘naked’ in front of the lens.
Natural posing isn’t a matter of one shot and it’s over, it may take more than one photo to get that relaxed stance you’re after. Once the initial shot is taken, your subject will relax, which is just the time to take that sneaky second shot!
So, to recap, the key to natural posing is:
Be at ease with your camera and yourself, and your subject will trust you
Be patient and wait for moment to shoot, and when it comes, shoot lots
Watch for interactions between your subjects
Give your subject something to do, or they’ll feel very uncomfortable
Don’t be afraid to be a little bit bossy
I am so excited about launching my wedding album. It is a truly lovely thing
As you can see from the images above, it is a printed book so I can really play around with the layout. This includes, printing right to the edges and overlaying images. The album lays flat with virtually no image loss in the centre, for real impact and the pages are beautifully heavyweight.
The Infinity album cover is a photographically printed hardback cover and comes in a black presentation box.
It is great to be able to roll out this new album now to coincide with my pricing change for weddings. The good news is that this gorgeous album now comes as part of the package when you book your wedding with me.
Having blogged a couple of weeks ago about a lovely little product that I can now offer portrait clients, I just wanted to share how great it looks for weddings too. This is such a perfect product to put in your pocket or handbag and whisk out when you want to tell people about your wonderful day.
As a photographer, it is so important to be constantly learning and exploring all sorts of genres of photography. Food photography may not seem like an obvious choice for me to be looking at but I have spent the weekend watching the amazing food photographer, Penny de los Santos, running an on-line workshop with CreativeLive.com.
It is a privilege to watch another photographer at work, to see their techniques and style and how they work with the light.
Even though I primarily shoot people, I have learned so much and been inspired by the course.
I would recommend to any photographer, taking time out to learn a new technique or a different style of photography as it all informs what you do.
To celebrate the launch of my new website, I am offering the chance to win a gift voucher for Janet Penny Photography
Simply follow me on Twitter and tweet the following:
RT @JPJanetPenny I’m giving away a £50 voucher for Janet Penny Photography until 31/5/11. Just follow & RT www.janetpenny.com to win
Welcome to my new website!!
It has been a long time on the making but it’s finally here.
Keep coming back for exciting news and updates
I have been busy this month, moving house, so not much work to post at the moment. Keep popping back though, there’ll be more to report soon.
> I have two Christmas craft shows this weekend where I be selling calendars, postcards and prints as well as discounted offers on photo session gift vouchers. Do come along and say hello:
Friday 27th November – 6-9pm Christmas Shopping Event @ St Margaret Clitherow school, Tonbridge
Saturday 28th November – 10am-5pm Christmas Fayre @ The Old School House, Tunbridge Wells
Exciting news! I have been shortlisted for the remote workers awards. It is an award for freelancers who work from home – that’s me. The award ceremony is in September and I will keep you posted on the results.
I had a great day on Saturday. There were lots of complimentary words about the frames and the beautiful children featured in them and I talked to lots of lovely people about the work I do.
Hopefully I will get a chance to photograph them in the near future.
Didn’t want anyone to think that I have been neglecting my blog, or that I haven’t had any work. I am currently working on some one off portrait/artworks using a combination of salt prints and canvas. Above is a work in progress. It’s a lovely project to be doing, allowing me great artistic input and I’m hoping the results will be stunning.
There’s always lots of other projects bubbling under the surface, including exam board work and a wedding coming up in October.