{The Portrait Diaries} Day 12: If you go down to the woods today…

Day 12

When I was four, I completely believed I could fly, was convinced there was a monster living in my wardrobe and that I could talk to trees!

At four, the world is full of opportunity & adventure and that’s just in the garden. Go to the woods and the possibilities are endless. Now the world is full of opportunity & adventure even when you’re not four but we start to let that feeling go astray as we get older and lose the magic of childhood.

Photographing children is amazing fun not only because a little part of you gets to be a child again but you can witness them getting totally lost in their own imaginations. My 4 year old nephew openly declares, “MY IMAGINATION IS MASSIVE” while making solar systems out of blu-tac and sending psychic messages to Santa.

Eventually children become conditioned to pulling a big cheesy grin or silly faces when a camera is pointed at them.

My biggest effort/challenge then when photographing children is to create as many moments as possible where you can get them to forget they are being photographed and if this works, BINGO! One all access pass into their magical mystical wonderland.

Lauren xx

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 9: Rules were made to be broken

Day 9

I took this photo today. I was just testing the light before I set up the “proper” shot so I wasn’t thinking about composition,  angle or giving my subject any direction. He was mid sentence . My first reaction. I looked at my screen and laughed. I knew he wasn’t ready but that wasn’t important to the image, or was it?

When I uploaded the photos to my computer I decided I actually really like this photo. And so I have an experiment that I’d like you to try out. Are you ready?

Everything you know about photography. Forget it. Even just for a day, even just for a minute.

Next time you pick up your camera don’t consider what a “proper” portrait is supposed to be. Abandon the rules. Forget what you’ve heard someone else suggest as the perfect or even ideal settings for any given situation.  Even just for a day stop considering the rule of thirds and how to expose perfectly or compose your image to look pleasing to everyone else. See what happens. Even better show me what happens. E-mail it to me at lauren@laurenbythesea.com or post it on my Facebook page.

If you can do that, if you can forget what you are supposed to be doing, you might just create something a bit different, something a bit raw, something a bit special.

Because rules were made to be broken.

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 8: Who’s your muse?

Day 8

Wow. I’m actually quite surprised at where this portrait experiment has taken me so far.

I’m quite a thinker anyway, an over-thinker some might say, yet only 8 days into this challenge it feels like I wasn’t thinking at all before.

I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures of people over landscapes and scenery but posting these portraits has really started me thinking on a deeper level about what kind of portraits I delight over. I keep coming back to my portraits of musicians. Why did this not stand out to me before? I’m not sure, maybe as I’m not a musician myself it wasn’t that obvious. But the beauty of a portrait of a musician is seeing their passion coming alive right in front of your eyes. Musicians take it to another place , they go somewhere else, they connect to whoever or whatever their muse might be and it makes them shine.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”- Howard Thurman

I’ve always had close friends who are musicians and I never really believed that to be intentional but now I’m starting to wonder whether it is a subconscious thing. I like the idea that we naturally surround ourselves with people that inspire us. It should be that way anyway. I feel really lucky and I am overwhelmed with gratitude at the people who I have had the chance to know and the opportunities I have had to capture people in the process of expressing themselves. In doing so they help me to express myself too.

To those people I thank you, from the bottom of my heart,  for doing what you do. Please keep doing it!

Lauren xxx

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 6: Whiskers & dreams

Day 6

Well today we’ve moved from musicians to an entirely different species!!

This feline goes by the name of “George Best,” a close friend’s cat who I photographed for her recently. I actually really enjoyed myself too, animals have huge personalities and you never know what they are going to do next! I think George enjoyed it too and was quite the poser. I think I can even see a smile in this photo.

Does a portrait have to be human? I don’t think so.  So often we give pets human characteristics anyway that maybe that plays a part in the psychology surrounding what defines a portrait.

What do you think? and what do you think George is dreaming about, that’s what I’d love to know ….

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 5: Read Between the Lines

Day 5.

From one musician to another. I’m not obsessed I promise (well only with photographing people doing what they love) I really wanted to pick this portrait for today’s post because I was browsing through the whole shoot a few days ago and this is the one that always jumps out at me. It’s from a shoot about 6 months ago with amazingly talented harpist Alexander Thomas. (@alexthomasmusic) This is probably my absolute favourite image from the shoot and you can see more here.

Although his face is sort of obstructed you can still see the emotion on his face through the harpstrings and it is seeing that and feeling that connection at the time I was taking the photo which is what makes me love photographing musicians. Alex hadn’t expected to necessarily play his harp on the shoot but just be photographed with it. A while into the shoot I asked him to play a little and wow, the sounds literally travelled on the wind and echoed all around us. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. It was heavenly and incredibly inspiring . So I suppose I’m realising that’s one of the biggest factors for me in my favourite portraits. What the person is doing or what you ask them to do can make or break an image. 5 days in and I’m already learning, I like it!

I’d love to hear what makes a great portrait for you. Get in touch or comment below.

Lauren xx

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 4: Making beautiful music

Today’s portrait is of guitarist Max Giegerich. He is in an awesome band called Welcome to Marathon. I may feature some of his lovely bandmates at some point.

I slightly over exposed this shot but I took several more photos with different exposures and ended up liking this look. It made me think about atmosphere in an image . I think it adds sort of a spiritual aspect to the photo.  Maybe because the background is blown out, you can’t tell where he is so it makes it purely about the subject. Just one man and his guitar making beautiful music.

Check back tomorrow for the next portrait in my portrait challenge.

Lauren xx

Newborn photography- 8 day old Daisy

Recently I had the pleasure of photographing little baby Daisy. At only 8 days old she was an absolutely adorable little bundle of love.

Older sister Lily was also a star and I couldn’t resist getting some shots of the priceless expressions that lit up her face. She loved giving Daisy kisses and cuddles which made for some lovely photographs.

One great idea for using your newborn photos is to use them for your new baby announcement cards. I designing and offer these as an addition to my newborn shoots so I will be showing some examples of that on the blog soon, but for now here’s the highlights from Daisy’s newborn shoot, with some appearances from Lily too.

If you’re interested in getting newborn photos please give me a call on 07817084123. It’s always best to get them in those first 2 weeks when they love to just sleep.

Have a great bank holiday everyone!

Lauren xx

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 3: A Wonderful World

Day three of The Portrait Challenge.

I’m enjoying thinking about what I try to capture in a portrait. Sometimes that magic ingredient needed for a portrait happens entirely by accident. Those accidental portraits can make the best images. I definitely don’t think that a portrait has to be a straight on shot of a person’s face and I really want to try to get a variety in this challege.

So here’s my third portrait and the story behind the image. It’s no secret I love photographing babies but this was by no means a planned shot. I was outside in the garden taking photos & this little fella wanted to know what all the commotion was about outside so came up to the window with his Granddad to watch. I had to get a shot of it & I didn’t really expect it to be good or to like it but baby’s are so curious I loved how this image portrays some of that wonder.

Their world is brand new in each and every moment.

Lauren xx

{The Portrait Diaries} Day 2: Captain America

I watched Captain America last weekend and now have a newfound appreciation for my nephew’s fascination with the Captain.

Finally, I get what he is talking about when he chats away about shields getting stuck in doors.

My nephew is a little photographer in the making and much prefers to be taking pictures than being photographed. To be able to get a photo without him putting a hand up in refusal, or insisting on taking a photo of me instead made a nice change. We had set up a little clue hunt for him and had him running all over the house to find clues. The final prize was his very own Captain America costume.

For me this image sums him so much but i’d love to know what you think.

If you were a superhero, who would you be?

Lauren x 

{The Portrait Diaries}

So, the story behind this post is that I have decided to set myself a challenge. I don’t really know where it will go but that’s the beauty of it. For quite a while I’ve wanted to do a challenge. I tried doing some Instagram photo a day challenges but after a while I found it wasn’t pushing my creative buttons.

I decided I would come up with something that could never fail to interest me and that would allow me to grow as a photographer.  I am passionate about portraiture so I have decided to share a portrait I have taken. I aim to do this every day. We’ll see how it goes.

Some will be fresh from the camera but it won’t always be a same day portrait as I thought it could be just as interesting to pick a few from the past and analyse what we do or don’t like about them.

The aim: to understand what draws people to a photograph, to push myself and my portraiture techniques and to try lots of different approaches. I think any artistic term is always subjective so I can’t wait to explore the boundaries and definitions of portraiture and find out what other people think.

Does a portrait have to be a picture of a person’s face? Does there need to be a human subject? What should portraits aim to be? Should the subject know the photograph is being taken to qualify as a portrait? Is there any such thing as a perfect portrait?

I looked at some different definitions of portraiture whilst thinking about the challenge.

  • “A pictorial representation”
  • “A portrayal of a persons appearance or character.”

I’ve also been thinking about what appeals to me personally. I love all kinds of portraiture. I love interesting images with eye contact either with the photographer or another person. Equally I think it is fantastic when elements of character or personality show through a photograph without even needing to showing faces.

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts and ideas on portraiture.

And now here’s my very first image for the portrait challenge. It may seem slightly odd. No face, no feet. But I just love the feel of it. At first I wasn’t sure why. I’ve thought a lot about it and I think it is that vagueness. Viewing it, we don’t know who they are (well I do but sssh!) and we don’t know where they are going. Being a English graduate I’m a bit of a sucker for metaphors so I love mystery and possibility in photos (and in life). Some photos tell stories and others let the viewer imagine one.

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods; There is rapture on the lonely shore; There is society, where none intrudes, by the deep sea and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more.” -Lord Byron