Lifestyle Family photoshoot in Belfairs woods in Leigh on Sea

And why we should include grandparents in our photos. Personal story.

A gift to nanna

I promised that I’d write more blogs, so here I’m starting intentionally with a story that emerged on Saturday’s, more personal shoot.

The hope is to give you more visual idea what a whole shoot with me can look like (above what I share on social media). And although the outcome will always differ from family to family, I’ll always aim to get the best out of the situation and our time together.

I gifted this particular photoshoot  to my mother in law for her last birthday. Every year/couple of years I make sure that I treat both sets of grandparents. I know they would appreciate that school photo or just about any photo of the kids just the same. But I always feel that there is a great opportunity not to be missed to include them and create something lasting for the kids too.

Her birthday was in May! This is probably a story in many families. A great intentions but it takes bit of organising, energy and also time. And that’s why I loathe vouchers, they hardly get used unless you are committed.

Christmas gifting reminded us of this photoshoot that she was given and we promised that we will go one Saturday in a new year. After some postponing because of the weather or my work commitments, it actually happened last Saturday. 

On the day of the photoshoot

We decided to go to the woods and I love this particular tree there. Although we left it teeny bit late in the day and just about caught the sunset hour, looking at the tones of the pictures, they really capture the winter freshness.

You know the very first thing she said when we got there? “I hope we meet some horses to stroke”. She LOVES horses and tells us about her love for them and stories when she fell off badly often. So I said, the riders don’t usually stop. 5 minutes after arriving, she gets into conversation with a girl on a horse, stroking the horse’s head and telling her all about her riding in her youth. And I couldn’t believe it!

Horse stories aside, I hoped to capture the love they have for each other. They all have unique way with her and also to encapsulate their relationship they have with her now. They all have her wrapped around their little fingers, all in their own way. I can see so much of the subtleties in the way they interacted in the 45 mins we’ve been out. To outsider, they might look like nice photos etc., to us, these will become a great reminder of the little moments they shared that afternoon. It’s them. Now. And despite the fact that it can be hard sometimes to photograph your own family where I remain very professional, I really love how it all came together without any plans.

The idea was always to capture just few photos of them together to look back on. I’d update our frames and keep some in our keepsake box for us and gift some prints to nanna. Let’s be honest, she wouldn’t care much for digital files. However, I took staggering amount of photos and when I was narrowing them down, I got to just under 100!!! I didn’t want to part with any of them, so the revised plan is to design and gift her one of my Keepsake albums. Hint to some exciting new products and collections coming soon with a launch of my new website in February and I can’t wait to show you! And that will make a perfect gift for her next birthday for sure, although it may become an early gift for a change 🙂 

We all have our own stories to tell

There is so much more to this photoshoot than meets the eye. It was important to me, I guess, because it’s my job and yet I struggle to document my own family the way I’d like to sometimes.

For me it’s really living in the moments, not looking at them through the lens, hence we book our own family photoshoots. If we can, we treat ourselves yearly but we didn’t last year  – mostly because busy life took over and then sadly, we lost our Bentley (our dog of nearly 12 years) and I felt deep regret not to have done some  family photos with him – where I am actually included (I think that’s the point here. He was always by my side, yet I have so little to go by). See, told you this was personal!

So before I go all soppy or even grim on you, maybe don’t wait for the perfect, now is the perfect time.

At the end...

Update in May’22: I did it and in advance! Photography, the gift that keeps on giving 🙂

I surprised the kids and my mother in law with this storytelling album and here is the first time they’ve seen it together. It was a picture and so glad I decided to film it. In the end, I couldn’t help but keep their chatter in the film. It was the perfect gift for sure. You can watch it here.