Herne Bay Photographer- Guild of Photographers Bronze Bar Winner

I’m here doing a little happy dance so I thought I would share my joy. Really delighted to to say that I won a Bronze Bar in The Guild of Photographer’s monthly competition with this shot below. I was also commended for the two shots below it.

It means a lot to me to be recognised for hard work and I’m always trying to improve so hopefully may have a silver bar award to share with you in the future. Fingers crossed.

Lauren xxGuild bronze bar, Herne Bay, Herne Bay photographer, Herne Bay portrait photographer, Kent portrait photographerHerne Bay baby photographer, Kent baby photographer, Kent newborn photographer, Herne Bay newborn photographer, Canterbury baby photography, Thanet baby photography, Laurenbythesea PhotographyLaurenbythesea Photography, Kent childrens photographer, Herne Bay childrens photographer, Faversham childrens photographer, Kent family photography, Herne Bay family photography

Keep Calm & Go Glamping: 18 photographers and 1 amazing weekend in Oxfordshire

Shooting Sisters, Glamping, Oxford glamping, photography holiday, Kent photographer, Herne Bay photographer

Two weekends ago saw me driving off on a mini adventure to the Oxfordshire countryside. Why you ask? Well, to join my Shooting Sisters for some glamping good times!! I’ve known these ladies for about ten months after we formed an online group of photographers from all over the UK. Formed by Jo of Summer Love Photography and Becky of Becky Male Photography who wanted to create an all female support network, nobody quite knew where it would lead but straight away knew it was something we wanted to be a part of.

We couldn’t all make this trip but 18 of us (eventually) made it together for a weekend to remember. Some of us got lost en route, some of us arrived in the pouring rain, some of us forgot our tooth brushes, and some of us slept in pyjamas, two pairs of socks, a jumper, dressing gown and under two duvets and STILL couldn’t get warm- but- I think I can safely say that regardless of the lack of sleep, or any other obstacle the weekend threw at us, we all took so much away from the weekend (and I’m not just talking about the leftover cider!)

Knowledge was shared, advice was given and friendships were built upon. We brought our online group to life and proved the value of our great support system many times over. Being in a job where we quite often sit alone infront of the computer it is so nice to have the opportunity to share experiences and hopes and dreams with people who are on the same page and understand the hard times from a first hand perspective. I genuinely think our support has contributed to one another’s success and given us the confidence to pursue our dreams. More importantly than succeeding, we have given each other the confidence to fail because now we know that even if something goes wrong, we will all be there to pick each other back up, dust each other down , learn from it and start over.

A quote I think sums up our group perfectly: “Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow”- Albert Einstein

What started as a support network of 26 photographers has transformed into something much, much more than I think any of us had even considered. I’m really excited to see the group continue to grow, not only as a group, but to be a part of everyone’s individual journey and see how we can all help each other to be the best we can be. I feel really honoured to be a part of something so positive and genuinely life-changing.

I have a massive place in my heart for everyone of these ladies and know that each and every one of them will continue to do great things.

Here’s a little slideshow of my photos from the weekend along with a group shot courtesy of Becky Male and our lightpainting collaboration courtesy of Anna Bowkis.

Lauren xxx

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THANK YOU SISTERS!!!! xxxxxxxShooting Sisters, Shooting Sisters UK, Glamping, Oxford glamping, photography holiday, Kent photographer, Herne Bay photographer

Please check out the following links for a different perspective of the weekend and leave some love for my amazingly talented Shooting Sisters on their blog. I’ll be adding more links as they are published so check back for more. It’s always amazing to see the same experience through different eyes and that is the beauty of photography….

Becky Male

Nicola Light

Lel Hurst

Johanna Garlike

Karen Flower

Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn <3

It’s official, summer has ended and though that lovely sun shows her face from time to time, the temperature has dropped and the central heating is back on! I thought in honour of what’s been an amazing, busy, tiring but fun few months i’d do a little reflection on summer through a medium that’s been part of most of my days this summer- Instagram!

I have a little bit of an obsession with Instagram. Well with photography in general of course, but Instagram is just a little fix of joy in my day. I usually browse through it over breakfast and again before bed to see what people have got up to through out the day, the places they’ve been and things they have seen. Its ease and accessibility allows people to turn little moments of normality into something that has the potential to be art. I know that it is quite controversial amongst “professional creatives,” and I find myself defending it to people quite often but anything that allows and develops an appreciation for creativity and an artistic eye is a wonderful thing in my book.

Instagram opens peoples eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. It lets you take an every day normal thing and turn it into a record of beauty.Plus I get to use it to observe and remember the things I’m drawn to: colours, typography, textures, objects and design, and keep them as a constant source of inspiration.

So here’s my summer in Instagrams. If you’re on Instagram, I’m ‘laurenbythesea’ feel free to follow and let me know your username so I can follow you too. I’m looking forward to instagramming way through Autumn and Winter too!

What did you get up to this summer?

Lauren xxx

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{The Portrait Diaries} Day 24: Curiosity Vs. Fear

Today I’m writing you a personal post on the subject of curiosity and fear.

Fear is something we all experience on a regular basis, isn’t it? Sometimes it holds us back. Other times it drives us forward.

One of my fears relates to one of my loves, photography. I adore photographing people and do it near enough everyday but still one thing that petrifies me is photographing strangers. I’m always seeing such interesting people and there’s a part of me screaming out to get a photograph of them. But there’s another voice inside that seems to think it knows that people will say no, be rude, or laugh in my face at the very least.

Personally I try my hardest not to make assumptions but I feel that society almost trains us to do the opposite. Yet occasionally we have our assumptions well and truly blown out of the water. We should learn from these occasions and take it a message to be more open minded. It is that message, along with an insatiable curiosity for people,  that has helped me to start conquering my fear.

Thinking a lot about this recently I realised that it’s really not a big deal if somebody says ‘No’. What’s the worst that can happen? If people say no, they say no and that’s fine. I will go on my merry way but I will not give up. Stopping people to take their picture is taking people watching to the next level and is an amazing way to connect with the people around you.

Asking a stranger if you can take their picture and them agreeing allows you to make a connection you just wouldn’t get otherwise. Another human opens themself up to you and that is a gift in itself.

Virgil Thomson said: “Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.”

Well this is only really my first time and I hope it is only the beginning.

I met Joe on my way home from a shoot. While driving through an area I had never been in before I saw an amazing hand painted sign that read: “ONE LIFE. LIVE IT.” I immediately pulled over to take a photograph. I made that sound a little dangerous but it was only a small country road so don’t worry.

Whilst I was taking the picture I realised there was a man in the garden and that he must be the owner. That voice inside me thought, “Oh no! He’s going to be annoyed that I’m taking a photo of his sign. Run for your life.” What I should’ve realised is that anyone with a sign like that outside their house would probably appreciate me wanting to stop to take a photo of it, as it shows I agree with his sentiments. So I started talking to Joe. He invited me into his garden where there were plenty more amazing things he’d made over the years. I could have looked at them all day but in my excitement had left my car out the front with the keys in the ignition! But Joe turned out to be one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.

Before I left that initial voice in my head was getting drowned out by another voice saying “YOU MUST PHOTOGRAPH THIS MAN.” Somewhere from within, my curiosity and bravery became stronger than my fear. I’m not claiming it to be the most amazing photograph in the world, but I took it, and I pushed myself to do that so it means a lot to me. It will be a reminder to me of how open people can be and how possible it is to to go above and beyond fear. Thank you Joe!

If you see somebody interesting, whose face really tells a story or evokes something for you. Just ask. You have to accept that some people will, and are entitled to say no. Eventually though, someone will say ‘Yes’, and what happens next will make every no worthwhile.

Lauren xxx

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Don’t Mess With Texas: A Tribute

Having spent a lot of time in America over the last five years, it holds a very special place in my heart.

Many of my friends celebrate the 4th of July and I know, I know, I’m not American… but as I have celebrated at least three Independence Days over there I thought it only right to have my own little celebration on Wednesday by filling a whole post with some firework bokeh from last summer’s firework display so check it out if you missed it. I love love LOVE bokeh!

So today I thought I’d continue the love for the land of the free and share some photos with you to pay homage to Texas. Last August/September Eoghan & I visited my friend Rebecca in Austin, Texas as our last port of call before coming back home.

We didn’t want to leave Texas, or America at the end of our travels. We really were overwhelmed by the hospitality of my dear friend Rebecca who apart from being amazing in general, cooked us a Mexican feast, hand drew us a map, made sure we had water bottles and sun cream as well as a whole list of potential activities to keep us busy during our stay. We were well and truly looked after -thank you so much!!

welcome pack Austin

I talked about one of our experiences in The Portrait Diaries Day 16: “When in Rome” so if you missed that definitely have a read to find out more about the amazing dance hall in Austin called Broken Spoke. We were completely out of our comfort zone trying to two step and honky tonk but it was also the greatest feeling to be a part of the atmosphere there. Thanks to both Rebecca and Sarah for taking us and showing us a great time!!
two stepping brokenspoke austin

When I wasn’t standing on Eoghan’s feet I was capturing everyone in all their gracefulness from the sidelines! Real characters, friends and strangers, people of all ages dancing the night away together. Why doesn’t a place like this exist in England?

Twostepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwostepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea Photography
Two-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea Photography

Two-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea PhotographyTwo-stepping at Broken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea Photography Broken Spoke, Austin, TexasBroken Spoke, Austin, Texas, Laurenbythesea Photography

Hope you enjoyed the photos and if you ever go to Texas, make sure you go try two-stepping!

Lauren xxx

Camp Blues & a Blogful of Bokeh!

So it’s July 4th today and I know many of you won’t celebrate that, but this time last year I was dressed in red, white & blue watching an amazing firework display out in the mountains in a little place called Starrucca, Pennsylvania.

It is such an amazing place and experience that every now and again I get “the camp blues”, wishing I was back there with some of the best kids and adults I’ve ever met having the summer of a lifetime. It’s like a parallel universe, hidden away from real life.

So, considering it’s July 4th and I’ve been thinking about camp all day I thought I would post something special today…  FIREWORKS!! But not the kind you’re expecting! Mine are bokelicious, which in my opinion are a lot more interesting to photograph than your average firework! Bokeh always puts a smile on my face! You can try this too next time you’re watching fireworks! Just pop your camera onto manual focus and fire away to get some beautiful bokeh patterns.

Happy July 4th to my American friends and hope you enjoy all the beautiful bokeh below!

bokeh fireworks

Fireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bay

Fireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bayFireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bayFireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bayFireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bayFireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bayFireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bayFireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bayFireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bayFireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bayFireworks bokeh laurenbythesea photography herne bay

I can’t be the only one who thinks bokeh is amazing?

Lauren xxx

The Longest Day of the Year 2012

So nearly two weeks ago, on June 20th, we had the longest day of the year and it was a warm and sunny day! Doesn’t that make a change? It’s been a really strange summer this year with long nights but not that warm. In fact it’s been out and out freezing on some days so it feels weird for it to still be so light.

Some lovely photographer friends & I, my Shooting Sisters, agreed it’d be fun to document the longest day of the year as ‘A Day in the Life.’ To share a little about our everyday lives with each other and with our blog readers. No criteria really other than to portray our day as it happened and maybe incorporate a self portrait (mine’s a bit cheesy you’ve been warned) 🙂

Well my longest day incorporated many things, some more fun than others. I usually start the day reading emails. Blah! I make this more enjoyable by having a coffee and breakfast at my desk with my favourite photos and inspiration dotted around.

On this day breakfast was honey on tiger bread. That may seem like a strange breakfast, but tiger bread never lasts long in my house as everyone loves it so it’s a good idea to get in there early! While making breakfast Eoghan spotted a bird right outside the window and I couldn’t believe it hadn’t flown away so this was the first photo of the day! In the afternoon I went over to Canterbury to meet my lovely friend and fab food blogger Jenny to go to a gallery talk by lecturer and photographer Karen Shepherson on the art and creative practice of instant photography.

Karen shared her personal connection with the medium and the journey it has taken her on which was fascinating! Jenny & I also  checked out the impressive end of year exhibition by photography undergrads from Canterbury Christchurch and I wandered back to my car through the quirky streets, taking in all the details. I couldn’t resist a feet shot and a door shot to use later on Instagram! I have a slight obsession!

When I got home Eoghan & I went on a bike ride along Herne Bay seafront to watch the sun going down. Nothing beats the feeling of the wind against your face and the speed at your feet. I have really grown to love bike riding!

I love it nearly as much as I love bokeh- that blurring of light which looks so dreamy in photos. I must’ve been assigned magical summer solstice powers as earlier in the day I passed a level crossing and thought it’d be a cool photo if I was right at the front when the barriers came down for a passing train. I always loved it when that happened as a little girl. So I was chuffed on the way home when the lights started flashing. I bet the first car on the other side thought I was totally crazy. Well, crazy for bokeh anyway.

Here is a day in the life of me:

So there you are that was my longest day. I hope yours was great too. Please check out my shooting sisters blogs for their own day in a life posts which I’ll link as they publish.

Lauren xxx

Kat Hill

Cristina Rossi

Charlotte Powles

Anna Bowkis

Karen Strange

{At The Seaside…..} Margate: Part 1

With all this lovely weather this week it is the perfect time to explore the beautiful Kent coast.

Amongst some of our great seaside towns lay Margate, an artist’s haven undergoing huge regeneration. There are a growing number of must visit places such as Rough Trade, Scott’s furniture mart, Madam Popoffs and many more! Full of vintage clothes shops, second hand bargains, cute cafes, antique and giftware stores galore!

My good friend and fellow photographer Kim Conway has just launched her seaside portrait studio there! Pop along and visit her at 9A on the harbour arm and get your traditional seaside portrait souvenir for only £3.50! A bargain!

While you’re there pop in and check out “Horizon,” the fascinating audio visual exhibition by John Smith, and also Tracey Emin’s latest “She Lay Down Deep Beneath The Sea” at the Turner Contemporary. I am seriously in love with their gift shop, and it’s free entry! No excuses to miss it!

Here are some photos I took on the opening day of Kim’s studio. I was glad that I got to finally give Kim the perfect present that I’d found months ago and been meaning to give it to her for all that time. It actually couldn’t have been a better day to give to her so I’m glad I waited for this special day. Check it out in all it’s vintage beauty, fourth photo down!

Now I just hope the sun stays shining so we can all get out and explore! Where do you plan on visiting this summer? I’ve got more of this quirky town to share with you so come back for Margate part two soon! 😉

Lauren xxx

{Travel} Not Your Average Holiday Part 2: Places & their faces

For Part Two I thought I’d give you a mix from the rest of my boy & I’s American travels.

After New York, we swung by DC for 2 days to see my lovely friend Steph. I didn’t take many photos, partly due to devouring my own body weight in amazing Thai food the night we arrived and not being able to move far. We had an amazing week in San Francisco with a very pregnant Becky & dadda-to-be Rob and a few hot but wonderful days in Texas with super hostess Rebecca. We also visited North Carolina where I once studied. Partly due to too much fun with our amazing hosts Kristen & Thomas and partly because I was heavily dosed up on Benadryl as a result of the resident insects taking a liking to my blood, not many photos were taken.

I took “normal” photos of my friends and the sights but it’s specifically the street photography I wanted to share with you as it’s this approach to photography that’s very close to my heart and continues to teach me so much. It allows me to document the beauty in the mundane everydayness of life, which isn’t so ordinary after all. It’s even more fascinating when it’s a life very different to our own.

My absolute favourite thing about travelling is people watching. At home we sometimes people watch but soon it’s time to pick up the kids or run some errands and you’ve forgotten all about the really interesting man you talked to at the bus stop or the curious little girl making a daisy chain in the park.

It’s only when we are far away from home that we stop to take in our surroundings and really notice the people. I start by wondering what their story is…. where they’ve been and where they might be going. I wonder if they’re married yet … picture them on their wedding day, where they go on vacation and what they might do for a living. It’s a little bit crazy, some might say, but it’s fun and good for the imagination… y’know, that little thing that we use less and less that can create stories and other amazing ideas?

At university, I read a lot of Marcel Proust‘s writing. It was not only his moustache that was impressive and one thing he said that has always stayed with me is this:

 The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes

So I try to observe much more carefully. I discover new things every day that have been there for years but I’ve never seen before. The more years that pass the more I begin to form my own understanding of Proust’s words and how it applies to me and my life. It definitely makes me appreciate my own town so much more and realise that there is always beauty there, if you just choose to see it!

Now you have the challenge of figuring out where I was in each photo. Any one want to guess?

Lauren xxx

{Food} Chicken-soup for the soul…

When I was a teenager I had this amazing book called “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” It sounds a little dramatic but it changed my life. Or at the least, my attitude. Amidst the teen angst, life dramas, school workload and general tensions of growing up, it was my little retreat. A place I could go and despite anything I had going on I could feel good about the world because of the stories of compassion, kindness and friendship I read about. It gave me a special feeling, glad to be part of the world and wanting to contribute my own little bit of good.

I still have my copy and I dip in and out of it occassionally but as I’ve got older I have discovered a different means for reaping and sewing seeds of joy and happiness. People. The people you surround yourself with should be a reflection of you and the person you ultimately want to be. Well I am a creative soul so I love to be around creative and passionate people.  I need to exercise my creativity or I go slightly crazy so spending time with people who feel this way too makes me feel a little more sane. I think everyone feels like this from time to time. We all have a passion or skill, something you love to do that feeds your soul!

Wanna guess what mine is? I suppose it’s probably obvious. Photography! What really inspires me is when i’m with people in their element whether they’re musicians, performers or a little boy or girl engrossed in their own imagination.When I get to capture the beauty I see in people I feel refreshed, inspired and alive.

I have a friend who allows me to do just that. Jenny makes amazing food and writes a really wonderful blog about her baking adventures. You can read about her food and recipes here. She’s just restyled and it looks great so go leave some nice comments! Anyway back to the point.  I don’t photograph food that often, unless it’s with Instagram or as a record of amazing deliciousness,  so getting to experiment with Jenny’s ingredients and props was so much fun. I will have to get round to taking some portraits of her one day but her food is equally as beautiful!

Thanks Jenny for being a wonderful friend and an inspiration to me.

What is the chicken soup for your soul everyone?

Lauren xxx

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