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

Five Star Live, Sophie Quinton Jones, Herne Bay, Hasland Dance School, Herne Bay photographer, Kent photographer, dance photography kent, dance photography herne bay

{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

childhood, capturing childhood innocence, laurenbythesea photography, kids portraits, childrens portraiture, portrait photographer kent, herne bay family photographer

{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

tattoed man, tattoos, head to toe tattoos, tattoos all over, people with tattoos everywhere, street photography, laurenbythesea photography, kent photographer, kent portrait photographer, kent people photographer, tattoo photography, tattoos

leg tattoo, all over tattoos,

{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

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 22: To fly, to fly

Day 22

I’m excited to be working with an amazing group of dancers at the weekend. I love watching/photographing people in their element so I can’t wait! I started thinking about the last time I shot dancers and it would’ve been about a year ago when I was working for Island Lake Camp.

The kids there are so super talented and as camp is happening right now not a day goes by that I don’t think about them all doing their thing. I took this shot whilst taking my photography class through the gymastics department on one of our walks around camp. This was one of my favourite places to photograph not only because they are all amazing gymnasts and dancers but because there’s no better shooting conditions than a roof with no walls!!

I’d love to be able to dance like this! Wouldn’t you?

Lauren xxx

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 21: Spot the difference?

Day 21

These photos of my lovely better half were taken for a black and white portrait challenge happening in a photography group I am part of.  I took a few and it was fairly easy to pick out these two as the best options to make black and white but I found it so hard to decide which picture I prefer. I’m getting much better at this but I get so emotionally attached to images of people I know that I find it harder to be subjective.

They are so similar and yet so different. I did manage to make a decision but I won’t tell you as I’m intrigued to know which you like best. While I work on my indecisiveness, let me know what you think?

Lauren xx

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 20: Birthday Boy

Day 20-

In a flurry of weddings,editing and planning, the blog has been feeling a little neglected. The withdrawal symptoms are getting too much to take so I’m having a quick break from editing to share the latest of The Portrait Diaries!  Today’s portrait is dedicated to my nephew who turned five today. Can’t quite believe it and struggling to understand where the last five years have gone.

His enthusiasm for life, curiosity and cheeky smile are an endless supply of inspiration to me.

Hope you are all having a great Sunday and check back soon for some exciting things I have to share with you.

Lauren xxx

children's portrait

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 18: Changes

Lately I’ve been thinking about how quickly life seems to pass us by. Sometimes, don’t you just want to grab it with both hands and say ‘SLOW DOWN!’ so you can take more of it in?

I think one of the reasons I’m more aware of it this year than any other year is that my nephew was born at the end of 2011 and so my concept of time has become associated with how much he grows and changes. I feel strangely more conscious of time passing, seasons changing, and even the flowers growing.

I am also more thankful than ever for my love of photography.It allows us to be aware of our own growth and change as well as those around us. We can record a moment in time, make memories and create stories of the past that our minds alone can’t contain. Where would we be without photos? They’re like little fragments of our past that we hold onto and that help us make sense of who we are.

It’s strange to think that the world never stops turning. When we stop and sleep at night, le is racing on. Though I’m not much of a numbers geek, I’m a sucker for a good musical and in one of my favourites, Rent, they sing about how to measure the 525’600 minutes in a year. I still struggle to get my head around it… we tend to think of a year as a long time, but in reality when put into small fractions of time, it’s nothing!

We sleep on average for seven hours a day,  so we are only actually awake for 6,205 minutes a year! Shocking isn’t it? It makes me want to get out and make the most of every minute. What does it make you want to do?

I’ve always wished there were more hours in the day and that we didn’t need to sleep. When I was little I remember whenever I didn’t want to go to sleep, my parents used to tell me how important sleep was because it’s what makes you grow. Though I think I don’t think I’m going to get any taller I sometimes remind myself of that even now when I don’t want to sleep because we’re still growing after all, just in a different way.

It is remembering how fleeting time is that makes me want to keep taking photos, to cherish every moment. So I am sharing this photo (not just to make you broody haha) but because when I look at babies I can’t help thinking about how fast they grow up. Today I just want to remember what he is like right now.

Today you are 1440 minutes older than yesterday. Make every minute count.

Lauren xxx

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 17: Thank you for the music

Everyone has something that they love to do, right? A hobby, passion or past time that they find themselves completely lost in doing. For me, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s photography. I could never get tired of it.

For the subject of today’s portrait it’s music. Making music to be specific. I can’t play an instrument but I know for sure that I couldn’t live without music. Listening to music is something we can easily take for granted. There’s a song for every mood, for every taste and for every emotion. Music can be shared with people or enjoyed just as much alone. It lifts us up, comforts us and reflects our daily lives. Can you even begin to imagine your life without music? I suspect that when someone can create music, they must have an even deeper connection to music.

I know that much is true for harpist Alex Thomas, who was featured earlier in The Portrait Diaries (here). This portrait of Alex is from a different shoot, where I photographed behind-the-scenes of a music video he was featuring in as a guest musician with the fantastic band A Lily. Check them out as the music is so so beautiful! It was an amazing day that maybe I’ll share more of later but this is one of my favourites. I love the calm but concentrated expression on Alex’s face. He is lost in his element.

What’s your passion? Share in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading,

Lauren xx

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 16: When in Rome…

Day 16:

So I lied a little.This post has nothing to do with Rome and everything to do with Texas!

As they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” so in Texas what should we do? Well, ‘The Texas Two-step’ to be specific. This particular style of dancing is like a mix of classic, ballroom & country dancing and it’s sooo much fun!!

Okay, so I’m going to be completely honest with you… two stepping didn’t come all that naturally to me.  However, I can successfully step on two other people’s feet if that counts? No, I didn’t think so!

The experience won me over none the less and here’s why:

I love doing things I’ve never done before, especially the things that make me feel a little bit scared and excited at the same time. Those times that you’re a little bit terrified but don’t want to stop because you’re having too much fun!

There’s no better time to try such things than when you’re already surrounded by the unfamiliar. So when my fiance & I found ourselves in Austin, Texas, I was so excited that my dear friend & amazing host Rebecca wanted to take us two-stepping! I used to indulge in a little country line dancing when I was younger, but walking into the venue ‘Broken Spoke‘ I knew it was the real deal when I saw men in cowboy hats and heard their Southern drawl.  We had some giggles attempting to join in but it was just as much fun to watch and take in the atmosphere of the dance hall.

Traditionally it is a man-woman dance but these days it can be man-woman, man-man or woman-woman dancing. People swap partners, mingling & dancing with who ever is free to dance.

The basic etiquette is that if you don’t really know what you are doing you stick to the outside. That’s where you would’ve found me then!  If you’re a pro or really going for it you will generally be in the middle.   Traditionally, the men set the pace and stride of the dance, gracefully leading their partner through the steps.

While as we didn’t know the steps we were a little less graceful, but today’s photograph is of the ever so gracious Rebecca who knew her way round the dance floor like it was the back of her hand. Her lovely dance partner I did not catch the name of but suffice to say he was a total gent! It is Rebecca we have to thank for an amazing experience in Texas that left us wanting to come back for more.

If you ever get the chance to do some country dancing, definitely give it a go!  Even better if it’s in Texas! Maybe watch everyone else until you get some of the moves down but don’t be scared, live a little and hit that dance floor.

Texas we heart you! Yee Haw!

Lauren xxx

“It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance. It is the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. It is the one who won’t be taken who cannot seem to give. And the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live.”  Bette Midler