The Portrait Diaries: Day 26

Sometime a photo takes you by surprise. This is one of those. We’d just changed set ups during a dance photoshoot so this was an inbetween shot while I tested the light and these ladies got themselves ready and into position. They were all very talented and inspirational dancers with incredible flexibility that I could only dream of!

Shortly after this, I got the shot we’d set out for, to capture them leaning back with their legs straight up in the air. I will share some more soon but for now just wanted to focus on the fact that though this isn’t the shot I was briefed to get, that’s the whole point. In the inbetween moments, magic happens and you can’t set a brief for that. That’s what I’m there to capture as a photographer. Not only those staged moments, but more importantly the magic inbetween.

I really love the expression on her face and the way the light is radiating around her. I also really like the contrast of the girl to the left looking down whilst the girl in the center is looking up. It’s as if they’re praying. Can a photo be spiritual? I think it can.

What do you think?

Lauren xxx

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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.

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{The Portrait Diaries} Day 25: More than just a leather jacket

For me this is an oldie but a goodie. I came across this photo again recently while cleaning up my hard drive. A few years back my cousin had asked if I would photograph her son Max in the leather jacket his late and much loved Uncle Andy had given him, as he was starting to outgrow it.

So armed with his favourite bear for company we set out to get some great shots of Max looking super cool in his leather jacket. This is my favourite, I think because of the way he’s holding on to that bear so tightly, as if they were his memories and love for his Uncle Andy. That jacket is so much more than just a jacket. It represents the love and kindess Andy showed to Max growing up. It’s so special and important to be able to capture and keep these moments in time. I know his Uncle Andy would both love this photo and be incrediby proud of Max, he’d probably buy him a new leather jacket too.

Lauren xxx

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Herne Bay Bump to Baby photography: One very loved bump & one very lovely sunset

I am so so excited to post these photos as this bump shoot only happened last weekend but Hayley, one of my oldest friends in the world, gave birth to little baby Woods yesterday!!!!! Can you feel the excitement or shall i do a few more exclamation marks!!!

So it looks like there will only be a week between the bump and baby photographs, that must be a record?

Congratulations Hayley and literally C.A.N.N.O.T. W.A.I.T. to meet the little man. *Recites to self ‘Must not get broody, must not get broody’….*

Look out for some adorable newborn photos coming soon…. and if you’re expecting, please get in touch!!

I would really love to record this very special time for you.

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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{Brighton Music Promo Shoot} The Victory Dolls Part Four: Working Girls

Well here it is the fourth and final instalment of my shoot with The Victory Dolls.

I have a bit of a door fetish and so I was very excited when we managed to work an amazing yellow door into the shoot! The working girls outfits were my favourite and an opportunity for a bit of fun. Despite the heat the girls were still smiling and looking amazing. We strolled down Brighton streets and the girls sung as they biked along in the sunshine. It was like being in a movie. 

 They really are very talented and now have me listening to 40s and 50s tunes as I edit. It was a fantastic era both for music and fashion which has really inspired me. Thanks Vicky, Emma & Catherine for being such a pleasure to work with. Let’s do it again soon! Wishing you every success and looking forward to seeing The Victory Dolls go far!

Lauren xxx

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{Brighton Music Promo Shoot} Part Three: Tea & Cake at Blackbird with The Victory Dolls

Welcome back to part three of The Victory Dolls shoot!

As if photographing three beautiful girls in gorgeous vintage clothes in Brighton wasn’t enough to my whet my creative appetite, we then had a break from from the blazing sun and took a tea break at Blackbird. (The best tea rooms in Brighton, if not the whole of England!)

The Victory Dolls looked right at home in the old-fashioned interior of the traditional tearooms and I felt as if I had truly gone back in time!

I love looking at old photographs and the walls were covered with them so I was in heaven. You could just picture the people from those photos sat in such a place many years ago enjoying tea and cake. We were looked after well and made to feel very welcome so a big thank you to the lovely staff at Blackbird for your great service and letting us take photos in your lovely shop.

Next time you’re in Brighton, make sure to find Blackbird in the South Lanes and have a cup of tea and very generous slice of yummy cake! Even their ladies’ room is amazing! Blackbird are also on Facebook! Go like ’em up! And laurenbythesea too if you’re not already following, it’s the best place to see what’s going on in Lauren land. Make sure you’ve got a nice cup of tea and at least a biscuit to hand because you’ll definitely want one after this…

Lauren xxx

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{Brighton Music Promo Shoot} The Victory Dolls Part Two: A Kemp Town Audience at Brighton’s Smallest Pub

From the vintage heaven that is To Be Worn Again we made our way to Kemp Town and The Hand in Hand, Brighton’s smallest pub. The girls performed and quite an audience gathered to enjoy their renditions of Under The Apple Tree and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy amongst others. They even started taking requests and one lovely man was so impressed he took the band’s details for future events he organises.  

So the pub was buzzing and the word is spreading about The Victory Dolls and their talents. Have you heard them yet? You can hear some clips here where more tracks will be regularly added.

Here they are with amazing pianist Rich Morson doing their thing. How awesome do they all look? 

Lauren xxx

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{Brighton Music Promo Shoot} Victory Dolls Week Part One: Vintage Prep in the North Laines

Just over a week ago I had the joy of photographing three beautiful Brighton-based ladies collectively known as The Victory Dolls. A 40s harmony group brimming with enthusiasm, you could photograph them all day. So that’s exactly what I did!

Brighton holds a very special place in my heart as I used to live there and it’s full of creative and talented people. This was a shoot of epic proportions and so I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit it all into one blogpost. Just too much vintage yumminess to be shared!  I have broken it down into bitesize portions and I therefore officially proclaim it to be VICTORY DOLLS WEEK at Laurenbythesea HQ.  *Cuts virtual ribbon*

The first instalment includes the pre shoot preparation and choosing clothes from the amazing To Be Worn Again in Brighton’s North Laines. Why not pop along to www.thevictorydolls.com to listen to their lovely harmonies as you browse.

Thanks lovely readers. Check back tomorrow for more!

Lauren xxx

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I’d love your feedback, any favourites or comments, please share below xxx

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 23: Working Girls

Okay today I have a special treat. Not just one portrait but three!

These are hot off the press, taken at the weekend during a vintage photoshoot with Brighton based 1940s girl band The Victory Dolls.

They looked so fab that I can’t stop smiling whilst editing them. I have made some of them black and white to give them a 1940s feel. I’d love to know what you think so leave a comment below and make sure you give The Victory Dolls a listen.

Lauren xxx

The Victory Dolls, Laurenbythesea Photography, vintage Brighton shoot,
The Victory Dolls © Laurenbythesea Photography