About the author: Jane Burkinshaw is a professional photographer and passionate about all things photography related. Jane specialises in portrait photography and runs photography courses.

Family photo shoots for precious lasting memories

Gosh I really am late posting about this fantastic photo shoot aren't I?! You can probably tell from the thick carpet of leaves that this was shot in the Autumn (early November 2016 actually). 

I've been meaning to share the images for ages as all the elements came together to produce some gorgeous images; the sun was shining and gave us one of those crisp autumnal days that drives us out into the fresh air, seeking leaves to kick around. And the afternoon light was stunning, flattering and kind to faces and creating golden backgrounds.

This family of five are enjoying some of their last years as a unit dwelling under the same roof. Soon the eldest daughter will be off to university, followed in a few years by her younger siblings. It was the perfect moment to capture them all together and create some lasting memories.

To find out more or to book your family photo shoot contact me (Jane) for a chat.


Kids portraits are helping me get to Kenya!

The children I've photographed so far to fundraise for Kenya.
Towards the end of May 2015 I am going to Kenya with other volunteers to work in three schools in one of the poorest regions of Nakuru, near the Great Rift Valley. The trip has been organised by Derby County Community Trust and African Adventures, both of whom have been sending volunteers to the region for several years.

I am with a group of 45 volunteers, including my sister-in-law Debbie and her sister, Caroline. As a latecomer to the party I had to raise £1400 very quickly to fund the trip. I decided to offer some mini portrait shoots at a specially discounted price and give 80% of the total made to the charity. I'm really pleased to say that there was such a great take up on the mini shoots that I reached my target in just 4 weeks, with some generous donations from my brothers too.

It's been a real joy to photograph so many children in such a short space of time and it made a really nice change to photograph indoors, using my new natural daylight studio.

Special thanks have to go to my niece, Lucy, who was the first to take me up on the offer and then shamelessly promoted it to her friends! These are Lucy's lovely kids - my great niece Bella and nephew Joe (I'm feeling very old now!).

Bella and Joe

I'm going to post about my adventures in Kenya, obviously with lots of photographs, so I hope you'll follow the blog.

I am a natural light photographer, specialising in children's and family portraits and commercial photography. I have a purpose built natural light studio in the heart of rural Cheshire and I also work on location. Take a look at my portfolios and if you'd like to have an informal chat about booking a shoot please get in touch.

Capturing those precious moments by Cheshire Baby Photographer Jane Burkinshaw

I've had the very special experience of photographing two babies in recent weeks and both sets of parents have kindly agreed to let me share the photographs. (Click on any image to see a larger version).
This is 2 week old Emelie, a very precious first baby for her mummy and daddy. I encourage parents to let me take natural, unposed pictures of them bonding with the new baby, as these moments are so unique, personal and special and often go unrecorded.
It's so important to get all those tiny new details too - tiny fingers and toes, barely unfurled ears and swirls of hair on the crown of the head. Expressions unique to each baby, the positions they sleep in. I love Emelie's hands thrown up over her head!
Photographing baby's bath time is becoming a bit of a trademark of my newborn shoots, as it's perfect for relaxing a grizzly baby and for capturing some very special bonding moments. Baby's modesty is preserved by using a few bubbles in the bath water.
It's still important to get those slightly more posed photographs that will be displayed on the walls, but I'm a firm believer in keeping it simple and natural. A few simple props are all that's necessary as the baby is the star of the show.

If you can cope with some more cuteness, here's seven month old Callum with his older sister. Photographing very young siblings can be a challenge and my secret is to keep it fun and natural, encouraging play, making it fun and not directing them into difficult poses.
These photos were all taken around the family home, with no need for backdrops or studio lights. Simplicity and speed are the key. (Check out that gorgeous tuft of hair!)
Things don't always go to plan and babies get tired and fed up quite quickly. I keep shooting as this is the time when I can get some fantastic expressions that mum and dad will say: "That is so Callum!"

Callum has reached the end of his patience in this last image, but he looks so adorable and his sister's facial expression and eyes are beautiful!

If you're looking for simply beautiful photographs of your children get in touch. Full details are on the website. Shoots can also take place outdoors in favourite family locations. If you have any questions about how a shoot works and what to expect give me a call.


50/50 project #18/50 Simple fun (by Cheshire portrait photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

Day 18. Simple fun

50 days with a 50mm lens
This little girl was playing in the shallows with a boat she had built using a piece of polystyrene and a stick, pulling it along on a piece of string. I watched her play for a while and then wandered back to the pub where my two would no doubt be fighting over who could play Doodle Jump next. I passed a family of four playing pooh sticks off the bridge and was tempted to advise them to make the most of it, as such simple fun wouldn't keep them occupied in years to come.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


50/50 project #12/50 New Converse! (by Cheshire photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

Day 12. New Converse!

50 days with a 50mm lens
Technical stuff: Canon 5D, 1/160, f/2.2, ISO 100, manual exposure

Abii has been waiting an age for these to arrive - a very late birthday present. They are custom designed and say "POTTERHEAD" up the back, homage to her love of all things Harry Potter / Daniel Radcliffe related.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

How to to take great summer photos - TIP 3 (Cheshire photography course with Picture It Big)

With all this gorgeous sunny weather this one will be very useful for you:


Lovely weather makes us all feel happy and we go to lots of events where people are enjoying themselves in the sunshine - the perfect time to take photos of friends and family. But actually the bright sunlight makes it difficult to get good shots. People's faces can be hidden in dark shadows or they are squinting into the sun.

Shade creates the perfect light conditions for photographs, so if you can, ask your subject to move fully into the shade and make sure there's no bright sunlit area in the background. The contrast between the shade and the brightness tricks the camera and can still make your subject too dark. So a fully shady area. Make sure your flash is switched off as you want to make the most of the lovely even light.

In this shot Abii is shaded by a covered seating area and the light is coming from the left
Sometimes you can't move people into the shade so if you want a shot without dark shadows on faces then switch your flash on. Use the "Forced flash on" setting which is the lightening symbol without the A for automatic next to it. This will light up the dark areas on your subject's face. The effect is not as nice as shade but much better than without flash.

When you use flash stand at least 1 metre away and no further than 3 metres away.

Watch out if people are wearing hats that shade their face. Flash can help but ideally push the hat back a bit or take it off. Also if they seem to be squinting because the sun is behind you, move so that they don't have to face the sun so directly.

Eve with hat shading her eyes

This is much better!
Simples! You can apply all of this to animal portraits too of course! These guys were very obliging when I asked them to take their hats off and move into the shade. Such posers!
By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


How to to take great summer photos - TIP 2 (Cheshire photography course with Picture It Big)

OK, today's tip is a great one:


I hate standing and having my picture taken! I don't know how to stand, what to do with my hands and I'm convinced I'm going to look embarrassed and awkward - and I did!

Until, that is, I learned to pose people myself and now I feel much more comfortable. I hardly ever stand if anyone wants to take my picture - I lean or sit because I know I feel so much more relaxed and I look at ease.

Izzi looks very relaxed in front of the camera

And again here she is looking chilled out sitting down

This really works and results in lovely natural shots. Keep talking to the person you are taking a photo of and don't take ages! Sort your camera settings out first and then get them to pose for you.

This is a great pose and has resulted in a lovely shot of Sam

In the shot above of Izzi and Abii, they look very relaxed but also this shot works because there is a lovely vibrant background behind them and also they have put their heads close together. This would work well cropped in tighter around their heads and shoulders too.

And here's a pic that Abii took of Izzi on a compact camera - I did an edit on it for her but what a lovely shot - by a 12 year old!

So there you have another very simple but really effective tip! Look out for tomorrow's on the blog!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

NEW! Mini portrait sessions


These NEW mini portrait sessions are ideal if you want to try out a lifestyle photo shoot without the commitment and cost of a full session. It's the perfect opportunity to get family photographs shot in a beautiful location. Choose from shoots amongst the bluebells, in a garden bursting with Summer colours or against a backdrop of Autumn splendour. Dates and times are listed at the end of this blog.

A mini portrait session lasts for about 30 minutes and you book a specific time slot with me. The price of the session is £125. This includes:

  • A telephone consultation prior to the shoot to discuss your requirements and for advice on clothing etc.
  • 30 minute photo shoot
  • £75 credit towards the cost of a gallery canvas wrap, framed print or album. Prices for finished products start at £110.
  • Once you have selected your finished product you may also buy photographic prints. 
  • A private online gallery of the final images (usually around 20-30). The gallery will be live for 7 days to allow you to enjoy and select your images.
  • Guidance on the best way to display and share your favourite images, including visuals.
Mini portrait sessions are limited and places are booking fast so don't delay. Book now - send me an email to reserve your session

Dates of mini portrait sessions for 2013 are as follows:


10am, 11am & 12pm on Wed 24th April and Thurs 2nd May 2013

These take place in the bluebell woods at Bluebell Cottage Gardens, Dutton, Cheshire. This beautiful area of woodland is a blaze of blue and green in the springtime and is a magical place to photograph children. Bring along fairy wings and floaty skirts for that extra bit of woodland magic!


10am, 11am, 12pm on Wed 12th June and Wed 19th June 2013

These take place at Bluebell Cottage Gardens in the heart of the Cheshire countryside. Sue Beesley, owner and designer of the gardens, won a gold medal at RHS Tatton in 2011 and is a former BBC gardener of the year. Her garden is always bursting with colour at this time of year and provides a glorious backdrop for a family photo shoot. For little ones I can bring along bubbles and mini gardening tools for extra fun!


September dates tbc
Send an email if you would like to be informed when dates are confirmed

The grounds of this beautiful hotel offer many photographic backdrops, from the sunken garden, to the rose arbour and the avenue of trees looking over the lake.


October dates tbc
Send an email if you would like to be informed when dates are confirmed

This shot will take place at Marbury Park and take advantage of the many lovely locations and magnificent Autumn colours.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


Introducing stunning fine art albums (by Cheshire family photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

You wouldn't believe how excited I was when this arrived earlier this week! It's the culmination of several days work putting together some of my favourite shoots from 2012 into a portfolio album that I can use as a sample. I've been looking for a supplier of fine art albums for some time and finally decided to go with Folio Albums as their attention to detail is unsurpassed by anything else I've seen.

The moment you remove the outer packaging you know you have a special product in your hands. Each album comes in a sturdy presentation box made from recycled board.

Inside the box the album is protected by a bag made from natural unbleached cotton. It's also possible to  have a lovely printed bag for a small surcharge.

There is a choice of cover and colour options - leather, silk, plain cotton or photo printed cotton. The cover can also be embossed with names etc. I really like the fact that the albums are printed and hand bound in the UK. I know this will be a quality product and that I can easily speak to real people to check on its progress.

I've ordered many high quality photo books but this fine art printing is in a league of its own.  The images have a vibrancy and clarity that traditional photographic prints cannot achieve. The 200gsm matte white art paper has a lovely soft texture.

Each double page spread opens out flat with an almost invisible crease so that each image is on full view. This also allows a single image to be spread across two pages without losing any of it in the binding.

These beautiful albums are available in 4 different sizes - all square -  6"x6", 8"x8", 10"x10" and 12"x12". The minimum number of pages is 30 (15 double page spreads).

I can't wait to start showing this album to clients. They are the perfect way for people to enjoy and share their images for years to come. Albums were once reserved just for weddings but as we move away from the traditional photographic prints and photo albums, fine art albums are becoming increasingly popular for all sorts of special occasions - to celebrate the birth of a baby, or baby's first year, a family photo shoot, a christening or special birthday or anniversary.

If you would like to find out more, see this beautiful sample album and arrange a shoot please get in touch for a no obligation chat. Call Jane on 07868 750505 or email jane@picture-it-big.co.uk

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

Why photographers say "No" to selling JPEG files

I often get asked by clients and prospects if I will sell them the JPEG files from their shoot - some people take it as given that I will do so and are shocked when I say I won't*. The assumption is that my refusal is purely financially driven - they think I am trying to make more money by encouraging them to buy framed products and canvases. I used to sell JPEG files when I first started out and actually my experience was that a client buying all the JPEGs from a shoot would spend roughly the same amount as one buying a printed canvas. The client buying the JPEGs might feel as if they had got a better deal - 30 or so images rather than just one. They take the CD to a high street photography shop and get some prints for framing, some prints for relatives and may be a canvas. And they are pretty happy with themselves.

So if the customer is happy, then so should I be. But in this instance, I'm not - actually I'm very unhappy. At the point that I handed over those JPEGs I lost all control over the quality of my photographs - this is a far greater concern to me than that of not being able to control how many times those images are printed. I know that a high street print in an IKEA frame does not do justice to my photography and, worse still, can actively damage my image and reputation.

I'm not just being precious and prima donna-ish here. To get great images for a client I draw on years of experience as a photographer during a shoot and then use creativity and skill to edit the photographs. And it doesn't end there - I've amassed a wealth of knowledge on photographic prints, inks and substrates - which will fade within a few years and which are guaranteed to last literally a lifetime. And the printed photograph is still not the end product - the finished format in which it is presented to the client. Choosing the frame colour and style or acrylic or canvas finish - this is all done with a view to creating a fantastic final product for a the client - an image that will stop them in their tracks every time  they pass it, make them smile, will cause people to admire it and ask who the photographer was.

Printed canvas
I could make lots of analogies here - would Rembrandt have handed over a masterpiece as a rolled up canvas and left the client to frame it - I know I'm not Rembrandt - but I am an artist. Just like a chef is an artist and will go to great lengths to ensure that his food presentation is first class. And would a hair stylist send you home with wet hair to finish off styling it yourself? No, of course not, because the final presentation is everything - image, quality, customer satisfaction.
Framed print in antique brushed wood with double mount

Framed print in black wooden frame with double mount (inner black & outer white)

At first I found it hard to say "No" to JPEGs - I was worried about offending or scaring off clients in those early days. It has actually proved to have had the opposite effect - I get more referrals from clients who have proudly shown off their framed photographs and canvases and the average order size has grown significantly.

Pair of wooden blocks, printed in vibrant non scratch finish, with mahogany look edge

Stunning single wooden block. When wall mounted this appears to float on the wall, with a pleasing drop shadow.
Just as a final point, I completely understand why people believe they want to buy JPEGs rather than finished products and thus keep to a reasonable budget. In recent years some large portrait photography companies have done a lot of damage to the image of the industry by luring clients in with low cost photo shoots and then seducing them into spending vast amounts of money on over sized and over priced products. This is not what many photographers are about. Most of us are absolutely passionate about photography and about giving the customer an amazing experience from start to finish, without the need for a second mortgage!

If you are interested in a lifestyle photo shoot please get in touch and I'll be very happy to give you clear pricing examples of framed and finished products - you'll be very pleasantly surprised that you can get fabulous quality to suit your budget. I charge £75 for the photo shoot (1-2 hours on location) - this includes a free 8X10 print of your choice. Framed products start from £50.

Contact me, Jane, at jane@picture-it-big.co.uk or call 07868 750505 and take a look at my website www.picture-it-big.co.uk

*Please note that this does not apply to commercial photography, where it is usual to supply JPEG files to the client.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


All squared up for 2013

After completing the 366 project in 2012 and deciding not to carry on this year I've been twiddling my thumbs a bit, itching to embark on something else, but it had to be less time consuming and a little more flexible, but still challenging.

I was catching up on some reading over the weekend, thawing out after a romp in the snow with the dog and came across an e-book I had downloaded over Christmas. It's called "Square" by a photographer and author Andrew Gibson and looks at images that are square as opposed to the more usual rectangular format. Aside from featuring some really beautiful photography this book looks into the increasing popularity of square images and gives some great pointers into what makes them work.

We are so used to the rectangular format that unless we have a camera (e.g. a medium format camera) or  an app (Instagram etc) that creates a square image, we forget to consider anything else. It's perhaps the amazing popularity of the Instagram type photo that has contributed to a re-appreciation of the square image.

I took a look back at my 366 images and could only find a handful that were square, excluding those that I had taken with a retro camera app on my phone - you can tell which these are as they feature a border. I didn't create any of the non-retro camera images with the intention of them being square - I decided to do that afterwards on the computer, so I wasn't really setting out to shoot and compose for square images.

Click to enlarge

The square format has got me buzzing with excitement and now my thumbs are twitching rather than twiddling. During 2013 I am going to create a series of images that are square and intended to be square from the outset - I'll be specifically looking for subjects and compositions that work for the square format. I'm not setting any timescales or boundaries, other than I'll work on it throughout the year. As and when I take an image I am happy with I'll share it on this blog and ask for feedback.

You can download "Square" by Andrew Gibson (and other great e-books from him and other authors) at Craft and Vision. Each book costs around £2 to £4 and they often sell bundles together. I love the fact that I can download them to my tablet and read them wherever I am. I've not bought a bad one yet - they are highly readable, not too techie and the imagery is stunning. I've not been paid to say this, they don't even know I'm recommending them!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


A trip to Crosby Beach with Big Boy

After endless days of rain over Christmas we were desperate to get out somewhere - me particularly so as I had only been able to use my new Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens once since Christmas Day!

This is a real Big Boy of a lens - extremely sharp, focuses almost instantly and silently, is image stabilised and has a wide aperture of f/2.8 at every focal length. Basically it's great for making sure moving subjects are really sharp even when the light isn't great.

I first got my hands on one at a pet photography course in December and it went straight to the top of my list for Santa (I did help Santa out a bit with the cost!). I couldn't get this shot of a spaniel in flight with my best zoom lens - it just wouldn't focus fast enough nor let enough light in to achieve the amount of blurred background I wanted.

Click to enlarge

On Christmas morning I barely had time to get one shot of our puppy, Ferb, before the holiday monsoon set in. It was well into the New Year before a free day and good weather came together at the same time. The beach seemed like a great idea, especially as Ferb hadn't been to the seaside before.

Click to enlarge

Nic's wanted to see Antony  Gormley's "Another Place" art installation at Crosby Beach for a while (once he explained it was those naked statues of men staring out to see we were a bit more enthusiastic!).

Click to enlarge
Conditions were perfect for an uplifting frolic across the sand and for getting used to Big Boy - bright, low sunshine, clear, flat light. At any other time of year the sun would have been too high and direct, causing harsh contrasts but it was perfect that day. The sun was at the right angle and bright enough to create silhouettes and I was able to get an amusing picture of Abi assessing one of the figures - we all know what she was looking at! Works well in black and white as it emphasises the contrast.

OK, so the naked statues weren't exactly going anywhere and I wanted some practice shooting moving subjects. The kids and puppy duly obliged by dashing around on the beach, somewhat complicated by the fact that Ferb was on a 30 metre long lead! To keep them in focus I used the AI Servo focusing mode, which I'll admit I've largely steered clear of, but it performed perfectly. You just have to remember to keep tracking your subject with the lens and it looks after the focusing. Takes a bit of practise but well worth it.

Click to enlarge

It's not often we see Nic in full flight - he's renowned for falling over, so this is a rare sight indeed! I love Ferb in this one too!

Click to enlarge

And freeze framing the kids kicking water around worked well too. (Spot the full frontal statue in the background!)

Click to enlarge

Nic had made that fatal mistake of forgetting to put a memory card in his camera so we nipped into Crosby to buy one and to refuel. When we got back to the beach around 3pm the sun was lower in the sky, the light had changed significantly and the tide was in. I would have loved to have got a proper sunset shot of the statues being immersed in the sea but cold, bored kids and wet dog were clamouring to go home. So I made do with this shot instead and felt very jealous of the increasing numbers of people appearing with cameras and tripods.

Click to enlarge
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New year, new look blog

It's been a while since my last confession post... I fell out of the blogging habit last year, largely because I spent most of my free time on a project to take and post a photograph every day during 2012. (Separate post on this is simmering away in my brain and will come to the boil soon).

I've really missed writing and have made it a resolution for 2013 to do more. I'm planning to combine all my blogs into one - it was getting confusing for me never mind anyone else. So top tips on photography and posts about recent shoots will all nestle here alongside tales of our exploits as a family.

I've given my blog a bit of a facelift - it took far longer than I expected to do a few simple changes to the background and header - but I'm pleased with the overall result. Feels a little friendlier than all that serious black and green I had before. And it seems more appropriate to feature my lovely children and dog in the header too!

Ferb, the dog, is a new addition to our family and he will no doubt be the star of the show for the foreseeable future - he's so darn cute and extremely photogenic. He even has his own Facebook page if you can't wait between posts to see his little hairy face.

Also set to feature a fair amount is our new (to us) caravan. With two successful outings under our belt (we won't mention the encounter between our gatepost and a caravan window!) we're planning holidays up and down the length of Britain this year.

I've already got a long list of ideas for blog posts and am itching to get started. With heavy snow supposedly heading our way I can forecast lots of photo opportunities and lots of time sitting in front of a roaring fire, blogging away. Hopefully they won't just languish unread in the ether somewhere - at least I know my other half reads them and points out where I've used apostrophe's (sic) in the wrong place and embellished the truth somewhat, in order to be more entertaining!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


A newborn photo shoot with Ella Rose (by Cheshire baby photographer Picture It Big)

I was delighted to be asked to photograph one week old Ella Rose - she is absolutely perfect and second time mum, Mindy, was totally chilled out, so this was the ideal newborn photo shoot.

Ella was having a feed when I arrived so having set up the first shot I put the kettle on and made us a nice cuppa. After a short while Ella fell asleep and we settled her onto a snuggly blanket and popped a matching hat on her head. I'm a bit of a knitter and take along a selection of things I've made for mum to choose from. This pink and purple blend really suited Ella's colouring.

As it turned out Ella didn't fancy a very long nap and I took the opportunity to set up the next shot whilst she had another feed and a quick nappy change. Mindy's family own the Hollies Farm Shop and we incorporated one of their branded apple boxes into the next shot, along with some beautiful sunflowers borrowed from the shop!

I decided to shoot this against a simple black background with Ella lying on super soft black velvet and I love the simplicity of the final shot. These apple boxes can be decorated with a baby's name or birth date, or simply "Made with love" etc, so watch this space as I intend to offer newborn packages incorporating the apple box, which can be used as a toy box or planter afterwards.

Mindy and Phil had been given a beautiful stripey blanket by some friends and wanted to use it in a shot, so we incorporated it into the next one with Ella's "big" brother, Ewan. Now this is where our relaxed morning shifted to a different pace, as I worked at the speed of light to capture this active toddler with his new sister! Mindy was thrilled to bits with the resulting pictures - it was very important to her to capture them both together and I like to have a happy client!

I then switched to a plain cream background. It's always nice to have a variety of shots with different props and colours. By this time Ella Rose was in a deep sleep and was very amenable to being posed.

The whole shoot took about two and a half hours and I think Mindy would agree that it was a very stress free experience, interspersed with several cups of tea, a delicious lunch brought across from the Hollies restaurant and quite a few curious visitors! I think our only complaint would have been about the heat! With baby Ella stripped naked for most of the time we had to keep the room nice and warm.

A couple of weeks later I returned to show Mindy and Phil the final photographs and to show them some options for displaying them on the walls. Mindy and I had already discussed before and during the shoot what she wanted to do and I also had some other ideas mocked up.

Mindy was a very well behaved client (!) coming back to me with her order within just a few days, so I was able to get everything turned around for her and delivered back nice and quickly. I love presenting clients with their finished, framed images - it's a magical moment, often with a few tears (of the happy variety!) and I realise all over again why I love this job!

They had chosen a number of different framed images - here are some of them.

I'm looking forward to going back to photograph Ella with her family during the next year and seeing how much she has changed.

If you'd like to see how I set up a newborn photoshoot in your home, check out A newborn photo shoot with Isabella Rose.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


Magical Autumn Family Portraits in Cheshire

Autumn is my favourite season by far! Nights start to draw in, with a nip in the air there's an excuse to have a real fire and dig the scarves and hats out. True, this autumn has been a little strange so far with frosts few and far between. But the autumnal colours have been spectacular especially over the last week or so. And in just a few short days the trees and bushes could all be stripped bare of their fiery glory - it will only take one gusty day or a sharp downpour.

With the ephemeral nature of Autumn in mind I have packed several photo shoots into the last couple of weeks. Of course the backdrop of scarlet, gold and burnished yellow leaves is perfect for outdoor portrait sessions but so is the light at this time of year. The sun is lower in the sky, shadows are softer, the light is kinder and if you can work quickly in the magical hour between 2.30pm and 3.30pm you can maximise all of this, resulting in stunning images.

Beautiful light on the edge of the wood

My chosen location for these recent shoots has been Marbury Park but I imagine any park with decent stands of trees would be as good, as long as you've scouted out a few good spots first. Woodland can be tricky - if the canopy of leaves is too dense then it can be a tad too dark and flat but if you can find somewhere towards the edge of the wood the light can be wonderful.

The birdhides made an unexpectedly great place to take portraits, as the viewing slots allowed my subjects to be lit naturally from both sides and the green wood of the hide was a very complementary backdrop.

Kids love messing about in woods and no more so than when there's an ankle deep carpet of leaves on the ground. I adore the fun of the piggyback shot but just look at that light in the background!

The other thing I love about Autumn is that the colours all go together so perfectly - Mother Nature never makes mistakes with her seasonal palette! I particularly like the fact that in my last shot here the family dog also matches in so well!

So don't hang about - you've got about a week at the most (don't hold me to that!) to get out and about with your cameras. We will have the magic of that cold Winter light next but it's not quite so pleasant doing a shoot then and kids' noses have a nasty habit of turning red and a bit runny!

Thanks to the families who have allowed me to share some of their images - these kids were wonderful - very photogenic and really fun to work with!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


Slipping through my fingers...

Schoolbag in hand
She leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye
With an absent-minded smile
I watch her go
With a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while
The feeling that I'm losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

(Lyrics from by Siobhan McCarthy & featured in Mamma Mia).
I don't always know exactly where my daughter is sometimes and I don't like it one bit! She has been glued to my side (or her daddy's) or in the care of someone we've handed her over to ever since birth. How am I supposed to let her go her own way without worrying myself into a nervous breakdown?

To put this into perspective (I'm just clinging onto some) she is 10 years old and has started to call on friends and meet them in the local park. I know I can't stop her going and although I can warn her about stranger danger I can't terrify her with stories of kidnappings and worse. She came home half an hour late today - it wasn't really her fault, she ended up going to pick up her friend's brother with their mum. And I can't go ballistic at the mother who is much more laid back than me as she's been through it once already. I limited myself to two text messages and five bitten nails - I'm saving the other hand for tomorrow when she'll no doubt want to exercise her new right to freedom again.

But this isn't a blog about how to let your children go out on their own without worrying yourself sick (I have an inkling that will only happen when senility kicks in). It's more of a realisation that this time is so precious and so much of it has already slipped by so quickly.

I didn't find motherhood easy and I think I have only recently become completely comfortable in my role as mummy. I had postnatal depression and spent the first five months on a rollercoaster of emotion - "yay I'm a mother and my daughter is absolutely gorgeous"! Then five minutes later "oh my god what the hell have done, what was I thinking of?! I'm rubbish at this, everyone else is coping so well, they have lots of other mummy friends, I'm the only one on my own all the time". It all happened again when I had my son 2 years later and redundancy and stress related problems didn't help me settle into motherhood either.

I think the fact that I never knew my own mum (she died when I was a few weeks old) also had an impact. Lacking a role model must have had an impact on how I would adapt. I think I've done an OK job in the end, I'm never sure if I'm being fair, over-indulgent, too strict, too much in love with every hair, mole, smell, expression - but I don't think that makes me any different to any other mum. I have a feeling I seek approval more than I should and can't believe that she loves me and looks up to me as much as she does. It amazes me that she wants to copy how I apply my make up, do my hair - I'm not a girlie girl and did not do this with anyone when I was young. Through her I think I have come very late into girliness and am so enjoying going through this stage with her. I'm making the most of it as it will be shortlived - she already tells me when I look naff and, when I let her, she applies make up much more adeptly than I ever did.

And did I mention that she is hilarious and a great mimic? When she's in her comfort zone she has attitude in spades and will hold us all rapt with her performances. I can't understand why her teacher describes her as "quiet" - are you sure you have the right child?

I feel as if we are in a magical time at the moment - her  inbetween girlhood and adulthood and me finally completely content with being (1) mum and (2) photographer. I want to freeze this time and not let it slip through my fingers.

When I went to watch Mamma Mia for the first time I had never heard the song "Slipping through my fingers" before and I absolutely sobbed during the whole scene. I still think it was more than just a chick flick weep - more of a cathartic moment when a lot of stuff hit home. I love the lyrics and feel as if they were written for me and Abbie. She, however, thinks they're really dumb and has taken out an injunction against me playing the song at her wedding along with a slide show!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!
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Mad hatter

I’ve come up with a cunning plan to combine my two favourite hobbies and have even managed to dress it up as a strategic business development opportunity. Number one hobby / obsession has already been turned into a profession (although it will always be a work in progress). My second passion is knitting, especially knitting small things that can be completed over a few days. I used to start far more ambitious projects (note the use of the word “start”), but they usually proved to be costly mistakes. £25 of merino wool either transformed into some hideous garment that I would never wear, or simply didn’t get beyond the half a sleeve stage. Abigail was rummaging through one of my knitting baskets the other day and held up several half-finished and very un-loved projects, querying “What’s this mummy?”. One item was part of an apple green jumper for a seven year old. I could no longer remember which part and Abigail is now ten!

Anyway I digress. I am now knitting hats for newborn babies – devastatingly cute and ultra fast to complete. I can whip one out per night or per double episode of Waking the Dead. I am not diversifying into selling hats for babies (although if needs must...), but I do hope I’ve hit upon a way of breaking into a new photography market. Once upon a time newborn babies were only photographed in hospital, something I didn’t quite get. I wanted to be photographed with my precious new baby but I looked like I’d been attacked by the Michelin Man (a bit like being Tangoed but instead of being turned orange I had been inflated), not to mention the suitcases under my eyes. Many mums (me included) then waited for several months until baby could hold its head up and focus both eyes in the same direction before shelling out for a photo shoot. There’s a growing trend now for babies to be photographed within the first 10-14 days when they still have that newborn, curled up, scrunched up look. The photo shoots take place in the comfort of the home, at a relaxed pace and around the baby’s non-existent schedule. New babies sleep for England and capturing them curled up and oh so new to the world is absolutely magical. They lose that special “newness” within a few weeks, unfurling, filling out and growing at an unbelievable rate. Blink and you’ll miss it. I wish I had taken many more pictures of my children during this brief phase.

During an idle moment perusing knitting books I came across one full of the most outrageous hats for newborns and babies. The photography was gorgeous and I experienced one of those “Eureka” moments. Tiny new babies in super soft chunky hats hand knitted by yours truly. The chunkiness, texture and softness of the woollen hats give a sense of scale and a feeling of protection, as well as just being so darn cute!

Since that moment I've been a one woman knitting factory and have put together a nice little collection of natty hats. I've made very good friends with the lady at the knitting shop in Knutsford - she's probably just being nice because I'm such a good customer now! I've probably scared off a few heavily pregnant women with my eagerness to get a few models for my hats! Thanks to those mums who have let me into their homes to photograph their precious bundles.

My new venture looks as if it's going to reap rewards. I can't wait to photograph baby Ocean next week - suspect the azure blue hat will go down well. And I've had a lot of interest in the hats too. Perhaps I should offer them as a package...!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!
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The 3 "P"s of photographing toddlers

In 2010 I took Katie and Alice's portrait in their home and within a very short time had some picture perfect images of them sitting side by side in party dresses. Dad received a framed picture for his birthday and was, by all accounts, thrilled to bits. One year on and Mum, Tina, wants to mark his birthday again with a more up to date picture of their twin girls. Now, there's one major difference between last year and this - those girls are now toddling! When I arrived they were prettily dressed in matching tops, posh trousers and bows in their hair. Now I had more than a sneaking suspicion that things weren't going to progress as smoothly as last year - after all I've photographed a few hundred toddlers and have begun to understand the species quite well. I was under no illusion about the challenges I faced in trying to capture that perfect moment when two toddlers beamed at me, at the same time, whilst standing or sitting closely together. Once in a blue moon it does happen, usually when I'm changing lenses or catching my breath!

But let's come back to some sort of reality (and normality - I don't want mum to think that her girls are out of the norm!) when dealing with toddlers. They truly define the expression "a law unto themselves" in every sense. Whatever you think they're going to do, you can bet it will be the opposite. They cannot be directed, positioned or posed. Reasoning, begging and pleading fall on deaf ears. Distraction can work but you have to be prepared to work like greased lightening.  I usually enlist the help of mum, dad, nanna and older siblings to act like complete lunatics in order to get a toddler's attention and to earn their smiles and laughter. But remember that we're talking double trouble here and you can guarantee that whilst one child is beaming beautifully at the camera, the other has got closed eyes, hand in mouth or finger up nose! I sometimes use bubbles to get them to look upwards but that usually ends in complete chaos as you can't expect any self respecting toddler to sit quietly and admire the bubbles - where's the fun in that?!

Many of my clients want that dream shot of their beautiful children, smiling together with scrubbed, shiny faces and best party outfits. And if you're lucky and the wind is blowing in the right direction and the gods are smiling down on you then you just might get it. And as kids get older and respond better to bribery and cajoling it becomes much easier. However,I try to persuade parents of babies and very young children that it's better to forget trying to stage manage the shoot, forget Pears Soap portraits and concentrate on photographing toddlers being toddlers. They are absolutely wonderful creatures, fascinated by and engrossed in the world around them. Walking and running is a novelty - they don't care where they're going just as long as they can do go there without being stopped. Toys are great but they'd pick puddles, mud and sand any time.

I hope mum and dad like the photos - we did manage to get a few of the girls smiling side by side (albeit fastened down in their high chairs!), but I will always prefer the portraits of Katie and Alice as they raced around the farm yard, splashing (and sitting) in puddles and bouncing around in glee on the trampoline!

Oh and the 3 "P"s of photographing toddlers - Patience, Perseverance but above all Play.Posted by Picasa

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

Perks of the Job

Actually there are two recent shoots which could warrant this title! The reason the first qualified as a perk is a bit sexist I suppose but I don’t think the clients will mind! The owners of the gorgeous and very friendly Bez (see earlier blog) gave my name to a couple, Stacey and Lee, with four month old India. I was really looking forward to this shoot, partly because I love photographing very young babies, but also because I knew they wanted a very stylised black and white look to the photographs. Oh – and how could I forget to mention that they also have a very handsome boxer dog called Kilo! Regular followers of my blog will know that we have a boxer too and that immediately pre-supposes that we will get on well with all other boxer owners – a bit like the Porsche owners club! (Although I don’t think Porsche would thank me for that analogy!).

Stacey had a very clear idea of what she wanted – very simple images of Lee with India primarily and then anything else was a bonus. With Lee stripped to the waist holding a naked India I set about capturing some special moments between father and daughter. We worked fast as babies have a tendency to mood swings and frequent calls of nature (India only peed all over Lee once!) and I could immediately tell that we were going to have some lovely photographs. It would have been a real shame for Stacey not to be in the shots as well and so I got a few great shots of all three of them. Stacey was wearing a strapless maxi dress and the final shots are just gorgeous, with no clothes to distract from the simplicity. The final challenge was to get some shots of Kilo and then of the family altogether. I have to say that Kilo was brilliantly behaved – are we the only people with a completely bonkers boxer dog?! What could have been utter chaos – parents with baby and dog – was really easy and painless; in fact the whole shoot had been very enjoyable, not like work at all!

Back to perks of the job – it wasn’t until I got back home and looked through the pictures that I realised I had been photographing a really hunky, half naked man. I was quite impressed with my own professionalism – not being distracted on the job as it were! Anyway, I loved the pictures and by all accounts Stacey and Lee are very pleased too. India is absolutely gorgeous and it was exactly the right way to photograph her, so that her beautiful baby skin, tiny toes and fingers and big eyes are the focus of every shot. To find out about the second perk read my blog “A night with a difference”.

Mad dogs and english men...

... out in the midday sun! Phew! We've had an arctic Spring so far and then suddenly we're sweltering in mediterranean temperatures with no chance to gradually acclimatise. I've been on the verge of complaining that it's too hot but have caught myself in time and just made the most of it. I'm never more certain that I made the right decision to work for myself than when the sun is shining, I no longer have to commute to work and I can choose to be outside whenever I want. This week I've done several outdoor shoots - watch this space for more on twin boys with a lively puppy and a Weimaraner called Bez who took rather a liking to me! I've also been to three different gardens - 2 in Cheshire for my Picture It in the Garden Challenge - and one in Derbyshire.
If you are a keen gardener or visitor of gardens then you'll know that the flowers of the moment are azaleas, camelias and rhododendrons. Yesterday we went to Lea Rhododendron Gardens with Nana Maggie (the nanas in our family have to adopt the name of their dog to help the children know which one we are refering to and Maggie is a black lab owned by my stepmum Ann). We last visited Lea (nr Matlock) about 10 years ago and Nic has never let me forget that I shoved him (gently!) in the back and caused him to go head over heels down a path. Steep paths wind their way down the hillside through rhodendron bushes as high as single storey buildings and laden with stunning blooms of every hue. The kids really enjoyed exploring, hiding from each other and occasionally calling out "I'm down here, you numpty!"

Back to almost complaining about the weather - it was stinking hot in the gardens with hardly a breath of fresh air but luckily lots of shade under the rhodendron bushes and plenty of little shady benches to sit awhile and drink in the view. Shade was a scarce commodity in the tea gardens though and pensioners are particularly spritely when they spot a table with an umbrella suddenly becoming vacant! I'm usually a champion at elbowing my way over to a free table before anyone else but I was no match for this bunch.

We've enjoyed the sudden arrival of Summer in lots of other ways. The kids have almost lived outside and the hose pipe seemed to be a good substitute for a paddling pool (which fell foul of Daisy's claws last year). We've all had a lot of fun - me especially - with a bubble set which created enormous irridescent bubbles. We've spent ages swinging in the hammocks - until Nic and Daisy somehow put their feet / claws through the big one - it now has a yawning hole and I'm replacing it at Tatton in July (Nic's paying!). And we spent an interesting hour or so at the lake which has become a mecca for people far and wide on sunny afternoons.  The heat did get the better of us by the end of the afternoon and we came back to find shade in the garden. Anyhow, I'm really not complaining and it's not often I can blog outside at 9pm - it's been idyllic this weekend and long may it last (as long as it cools down just a bit!)

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

Life, loved ones & lenses

There just aren’t enough hours in the day at the moment! How on earth did I used to hold down a fulltime job and run a family?! The truth is that I didn’t really – I stumbled from one day into the next, prioritising whoever shouted loudest, at home and at work. I used to dream of having the sort of freedom and pressure-free existence that I supposedly now lead. Surely running your own business from home should give a better quality of life and ease the juggling of home and work demands? In many ways it has - writing presentations to pointless deadlines, attending endless meetings and commuting (read "crawling") along the network of Manchester motorways is a thing of the past – thank goodness. I now spend my “workdays” either at the computer editing photographs, printing out jobs, updating the website, emailing (presumably a valid verb these days although it’s arguable whether it’s a valid use of time...), or nipping to see customers, running errands and fitting in walking the dog somewhere in between. This should all be squeezed in to the school hours between 9.15 and 3.00 but somehow time always runs away from me. Lunchtime seems to sneak up on me when I’m convinced it’s still only about 11.00, and then it’s a mere blink of an eye until 3.00 is here and I rush out of the door to collect the little peeps. Then the other part of my day starts, with after-school activities, tea and homework filling the slot from 3.30-7.00 every day. If I’m not falling asleep by 9pm then I’ll do a bit of work or blogging in front of the TV before collapsing into bed. Somewhere between 9.00 & 11.00pm Nic & I are supposed to find some quality "us-time".
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not bemoaning this new way of life – I just need to get a better handle of it. I’ve been used to a very structured working week for more than twenty years and I need to be a better mistress of this still relatively new freedom. (Here I am now in Costa at 11.15 writing my blog off-line as I can’t get a signal on my supposedly mobile broadband to go online and write some emails!)
As a change of subject, I’ve added to my collection of lenses this week. I’ve read lots of write-ups on the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, all of which conclude that it’s a must-have in any portrait / wedding photographer’s kit bag. And at around £90 RSP it’s without doubt my cheapest lens – and I got it for £75 on ebay including p&p. I’ve not had much time to play with it yet – just a few shots of the dog and the kids, but I’m already excited about the difference it’s going to make to my portrait shots, especially in low light / indoors. I’ve also fallen back in love with my telephoto lens, although I’m looking forward to the day when I can upgrade it to a lens with a lower f-stop and better quality all round, especially now that I’ve seen the potential of my recent purchase. But I still got some lovely shots of Sam, who was at his absolute posing best on Mother’s Day, when we visited Dunge Valley Hidden Gardens nr Macclesfield. Despite the fierce arctic winds he explored the gardens with me, claiming he didn’t want me to have to do it on my own on Mother’s Day and that he would be my model. So, whilst Nic and Abby huddled in the campervan, cooking chilli and rice for lunch (the tea room was closed due to flooding), Sam and I had a blast of fresh air and a blast in general, with me laughing at him for most of the walk as he tried to hold his trousers up to prevent me taking shots of his builder’s bum (Sam suffers from this no matter what he wears, having no waist and a tiny behind!). Dunge Valley will be well worth a visit after Easter, when the Bluebell walk and the Rhododendron Trail will both hopefully be in flower (and the tea room open and flood-free). The hellibores were magnificent, by the way, hence the opening shot (another great use for my telephoto lens).

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

Blurring the edges

After all the effort to unearth my Lensbaby I had a play around with it today at a local park, as I was wondering whether I could use it during some photoshoots to get some shots which are a bit edgier. A Lensbaby is a cute, but odd looking lens that mimics the effect of a tilt & shift lens. It looks like a short piece of black vaccuum cleaner hose with the same bendiness and it gets some peculiar looks. By stretching or contracting the hose bit and bending it at the same time you can determine where the point of focus is (the so called sweet spot) and also distort the areas around it. I've got version 2.0 which you manually hold in place as you press the shutter. More recent versions have systems to fix it in place. Getting to grips with it again was a steep learning curve but I quickly remembered how to handle it and with a very willing model I got some quite nice images for its first trip out in perhaps two years. You can't set the aperture in camera - you choose a disc with a hole which
defines the aperture. I think the one it had in it was f/5.6. Using the camera on AUTO was a complete disaster - totally over exposed, so I constantly checked and changed the shutter speed. It was a bright sunny day with the occasional passing cloud, and we moved from open grass areas into shady woodland. So we ranged from around 1/600th to 1/2000th of a second.
Anyway I've fallen in love with it again and will include it in my camera bag so that it's available for all my shoots. I'll carefully pick and choose which client I first use it with - it'll have to be a shoot where everything has gone swimmingly, it's all in the bag and I've got a willing model to practise with it on. Before the end of the week I'll have a go at some daffodils as they've all suddenly bloomed this weekend and Spring really feels like it has sprung. It's amazing what a lift a bit of warm sun on your face gives you. The grass was cut this afternoon, we had our first barbecue of the year (and I'm sure we weren't the only ones!) and the children dragged out every blanket, cushion, teddy, hammock etc insight.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

Now, where did I put that lens / filter / bag....??

For the last few days I have been hunting high and low for my Lensbaby and its accessories. In the process of scouring drawers, cupboards and various camera bags (bags are a subject to which I could dedicate an entire blog...) I have uncovered all sorts of odds and ends that I had forgotten about. When you consider that all these “odds and ends” are bits of photographic related equipment, it is nothing short of scandalous that I don’t have them all organised and accessible in one safe location.

I can’t believe I have amassed all this kit – just eight years ago I was happy with my Olympus Trip and rather ungrateful when husband returned from a trip to the States with a Pentax compact digital camera as a present for me. “Didn’t they have the Clinique stuff I wanted? I’ve already got a camera!” was likely my response. However, I think I can now trace back my conversion to the religion of photography to this moment – or to a few weeks later when it dawned on me what a brave new world my first digital camera had opened up. Gone were the days of ending up with 35 awful pictures and 1 good one. The learning curve was still quite steep but so much shorter and cheaper. I don’t know what I would have done either, without Picasa, the free image editing software from Google. My digital image library was building, along with my family – two years on and I had a toddler and a new baby to experiment on (photographically that is!)

Husband then convinced me that I was ready to move onto a camera that allowed me to take more control and we bought the Panasonic Lumix FZ20. It was a great “inbetweeny” camera for me – I wasn’t ready at that time to upgrade to a full SLR, but this looked a bit more serious, had a larger LCD screen and produced really punchy sharp images. The 10X zoom was great, especially combined with the image stabiliser function. I’ve had this camera for 4 or 5 years now and I still use it a few times a week, as I take it on my dog walks and on general outings with the kids. I tend to think of it as expendable but I would be devastated if anything happened to it (well, at least for the few minutes that it would take for me to realise that I would have the perfect excuse to buy a newer model, with face, smile & blink recognition...).

I have to admit that I continued for quite some time to use it on the AUTO setting and didn’t make use of the manual focus option either. Husband kept egging me on to try a different shutter speed or change the depth of field and was rewarded with expletives. Just as you shouldn’t learn to drive with your dad, neither should you allow your spouse to teach you photography! It was only at the end of the first class of an A’Level course that I finally understood f-stops and shutter speeds and was finally able to move the dial off AUTO and on to “A” and “S” (or TV as it would become on my SLRs).

I upgraded to my first SLR – a Canon 350d – partway through the first term of the first year of the A’Level and so began my metamorphosis into photo gadget geek. Every Christmas / birthday / Mother’s Day there was something I was dropping hints about. And really there’s no item that I regret buying or haven’t made good use of. I would be bereft without my external flash gun & plastic diffuser. Although other factors also come into play to make a good portrait, soft bounced light can really make a shot look more professional. No more red eye or unflattering direct light. The first lens I bought was a 60mm prime lens, as I had started to do a lot of close up, abstract stuff, partly for the A’Level, but also to explore my passion for abstracts of flowers and plants. I sometimes wish I’d bought the 100mm lens instead for slightly less accessible subjects when I need to be at a greater distance, but I’ve still made great use of it. These days it is my main portrait lens – head & shoulders close ups or even tighter crops – the quality is fantastic and I can get such a shallow depth of field so that the focus really is on the subject. For more candid shots I’ve got a telephoto lens – 70-300mm f.4.5 – with image stabiliser – and it’s been a real work horse for me, particularly at nurseries when I’ve been able to capture lovely natural shots of children at play. My next big outlay could be for an upgrade to one with a lower f-stop but this will be serious money. The Lensbaby was a birthday present and I used it a lot for my A’Level projects. It’s been neglected of late, hence why it was lost, but I’ve got a hankering to have a play around with it again and get some more creative portraits.

Once I got to the point where I had got a reasonable amount of work on the books I started to panic about something happening to my 350d mid-shoot, so I had created an excuse to go shopping again. At the time, the most affordable upgrade option for me was the 40d, which is now my main work horse. At weddings or particularly fast paced jobs where I don’t have a lot of time to switch lenses, I have both cameras slung around my body, but don’t seem to control them as effortlessly as some photographers do. Also for weddings and large groups I bought my wide angle lens 17-40mm. This is a good quality lens and does the job, but I have yet to fall in love with it like I have done with the telephoto or macro lenses – I find it hard to be creative with it – more practise needed as I’m sure it’s possible to get some really good results with it.

I’ve also amassed lots of other “bits & bobs” – filters, polarisers, tripods, bags (don’t mention bags – I always think I need a new one!) but as this blog is already a novella, I’ll save commenting on those for another day!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!
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