Mamas Meet Up - From Bump to Business Special

Mamas Meet Up – From Bump to Business Special

I was delighted to be invited along to photograph the first ever Mamas Meet Up From Bump to Business Special held at the Royal Wells Hotel in Tunbridge Wells last month. This was to be the first of a series of networking events organised by Laura and Natalie of Mum’s the Word Events.

There was coffee on arrival (someone knows we need the caffeine!) and a chance to chat before the event began. What made this event unique though, was that you could bring the little ones along too. A separate play area was filled with fabulous toys and dressing up clothes, provided by What About the Kids, so that the children could play while the mums listened to the talks and had a chance to mingle and chat afterwards.

Two speakers were invited along to talk informally about the challenges of starting a business with young children in tow. Rebecca and Dominique of Jem + Bea have designed a range of gorgeous luxury changing bags (now available in John Lewis!) while Steph from Don’t Buy Her Flowers has a website selling thoughtful gifts for new mums and anyone in need of some TLC. Her website also hosts the blog Sisterhood (and all that) where Steph writes about motherhood, men and relationships with the aim of making us laugh at the ridiculous things that life throws at us.

It was a really well organised event and it was great to meet so many other mums in the same boat, as they juggle life with a young family and the challenges of trying to start your own business. It was fantastic to hear the experiences of Rebecca, Dominique and Steph as they have developed their growing businesses. The take home message I think was that we all struggle with similar day to day challenges, and perhaps we have to accept that you can’t always do it all perfectly, all of the time!

​Looking forward to the next event already. For details of future events see: mumstheword.online

Below (from left to right) – Steph from Don’t Buy Her Flowers, Laura and Natalie from Mum’s the Word Events, Dominique and Rebecca from Jem + Bea


Looking Back...

Looking Back…

I’ve now built up a rather huge catalogue of photos of our family (well mainly the girls) and from time to time if I get a chance, I do try to look back through them. At the end of the year, for example, I usually put together a calendar with favourite photos that I’ve taken over the previous 12 months. I’m now looking back even further as I plan to create an album for each of the girls with photos of their first 5 years (something I’ve been meaning to do for quite sometime…hopefully now that I’ve written it down I will actually get around to it!).

What always strikes me when I look back at older photos, is how my perception of them changes with the passage of time. Photos that I perhaps dismissed when I initially took them (probably because I thought I could have done a better job taking them), I appreciate so much more now. I think this is because photos are intrinsically linked to memories of a day or event, and if a photo brings back happy memories, then I will probably love that photo all the more, even though it might not be technically perfect.

I love it when I stumble across photos that I had forgotten I had taken, or a little gem that I hadn’t previously noticed. I try to take the camera whenever we are out and about with the children (most weekends) and just take a few pictures. I’m always looking for the light or a different angle, while being conscious of my background and so on. But lately I’ve tried to remind myself that my photos don’t always have to be technically perfect, because at the end of the day I’m also creating memories, and when I look back it will be the emotions, the expressions and hopefully the smiles that will really tell the story of the day.

I recently heard another photographer say that there is no one magic formula that will always guarantee getting a great photograph. I think that is very true. However, I do think that there are two very important elements to creating great photographs and if you have both of these then you are almost half way there. These are good light and a happy atmosphere…think lazy, summers afternoons in the garden…ideally late afternoon as the light will be so much better!

Okay I know that I’m a little obsessed, but I’m genuinely so glad that I now have this back catalogue of photos which, each year somehow becomes more meaningful. How the children have changed now since I took those first photos with my DSLR!

So if you haven’t picked up your camera in a while then please do. You might not feel that the photos you take are very significant at the time, but they will be in the future. Take photos, keep them, organise them, share them, definitely print some and treasure them. You will appreciate them so much more in years to come and your children, if you have them, will have them to look back on too…


Reflections

Reflections

As Little Olives Photography is approaching it’s first birthday, it seems like a good time to reflect on my photography journey so far. I guess I took up photography relatively late in life. Until a few years ago, I didn’t even know what a DSLR was, let alone how to take a decent photo. I don’t come from a family of photographers so it’s not something I grew up with. However, I’ve always had a love of photos and a fascination with photography. I’m the person that can’t wait to pore over a friend’s wedding album and the first thing I look at when I visit someone’s house is the photos on their wall.

Photography, to me, is all about storytelling and the most compelling images are those that tell stories and evoke emotion. I’ve always been intrigued by photography and used to wonder just how photographers were able to create their images. Having no understanding of aperture or shutter speed, I used to think that they must just have a natural talent for using their camera. I wasn’t sure whether photography was something that I could learn or ever be any good at.

I had been thinking about taking a photography course for sometime, but it was quite a while before I actually got around to it. I guess with two young children, life kept getting in the way. However, I really wanted to be able to take better pictures of our children, I was never happy with the photos we got on our old compact and this was a big incentive in finally booking myself on a course. I finally took my first course in London in the summer of 2013, a one-day photography workshop run by the intriguingly named Hairy Goat. Needless to say, from that day onwards I was totally hooked and very soon afterwards I went out and bought my first DSLR, a Canon 700D accompanied by a rather nice 50mm, f1.4 lens (otherwise known as a ‘nifty fifty’).

I knew that I wanted to do portrait photography, I have always been drawn to photographing people. My main subjects in the early days were of course my children. Back then, I was just trying to get my head around how to use my new camera. I shot everything with a very wide aperture to try and achieve that lovely blurring effect (the 50mm lens is great for this) and I didn’t really take much notice of the light that I was photographing in. Whilst the quality of the images no doubt improved with my new DSLR, there is of course so much more to creating a great image than just having a fancy camera.

Looking back on those early images makes me realise just how far I have come. Photography, naturally, is all about light. No light, no photo! Now I am totally obsessed with light and it’s something I notice all the time, wherever I go. Everything looks better in good light and it opens up so many creative possibilities. These days, if the light isn’t right, I sometimes don’t even bother to get out my camera. However, I can see when the light is good and then I can’t wait to get started.

I’ve since done many more courses in portrait photography. While there is no substitute for just getting out and taking photographs, I think training is really important to be able to move on to the next level and experiment with new techniques.  I am also now a member of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers through which I have met other like-minded photographers and I find it a great source of learning and support.

I feel like I have come a long way since my first course in London, yet there is so much still to learn. However, many pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place and some things are now just second nature. Barely a weekend goes by now when I don’t get out my camera. If I’m not booked for a shoot, then I’m out and about somewhere photographing the children and it seems like all the hard work is now starting to pay off and my confidence is really growing.

I am and always will be, drawn to photographing people. I particularly love photographing children, just capturing innocent moments, or an image that simply says childhood. I also photograph families and for me this is about documenting relationships. Children usually love a family shoot – they get to be the centre of attention and are delighted to be spending the morning with their favourite people – their parents and siblings. I like to do all this in the great outdoors, drawing inspiration from the location, the light and the changing seasons.

Leaving behind my previous career and setting up as a professional photographer was a huge decision, but I can’t think of anything else that I would rather do. So far I have found it very hard work, but rewarding at the same time. I’m still trying to get my head around things like marketing and search-engine optimisation (apparently blogging helps!) but taking all that one step at a time…

I am so glad that I started on this journey. If I hadn’t booked that course in London I almost certainly would not be sitting here writing this now. Photography will always fascinate me and there is always more to learn, but at least now I have an understanding and the skills to help me create some beautiful images.