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.

" It's Good" to work with beautiful products! A second product shoot with a favourite commercial client.

I started working with Wendy Taylor, the founder of It's Good Shopping Shopping last Autumn and immediately fell in love with her ethically sourced range of products. Read about this shoot and see her Autumn Winter 2016 products. So I was very pleased to be asked to shoot the new Spring Summer 2017 range, with the beautiful Botanist in Alderley Edge as the location once more.

To emphasise the change in seasons we utilised outdoor spaces more and the rustic furniture provided the perfect backdrop.

Scarves, wraps   in different weights, fabrics and glorious colours are a main feature of the new range, with lightweight and versatile Haman towels a new addition.

We really felt that to do some of the garments justice we really needed a model and it really paid off with these beautiful shots.

Once again I was very tempted to ask for payment in scarves and bags instead of money!

Good quality photography is absolutely essential to succeed with an online shop and Wendy was wise to get it done professionally. The It's Good Shopping website looks fabulous and she also has a large number of images in reserve for her social media throughout the season.

If you'd like to have a chat with me about your photography requirements please get in touch and we can arrange to meet up.


Tell your brand story in pictures and stand out

I did a photoshoot for a client recently that gave me pause for thought and helped me to resolve a problem I'd been struggling with for a while. I knew I wanted to take my photography business in a slightly different direction but was finding it difficult to shape into a clear story.

In my head and, importantly, in my heart it's crystal clear. I want to work with people who are their brand - passionate individuals who have built up their businesses based on their love for what it is they do and out of values that guide them in their lives. I've made some progress already steering my business in this direction, working with artisan bakers, artists and florists, photographing not only their products but also their work place and them as the heart and soul behind the business. 

This is Emma, the driving force behind the Cheshire Flower School.

And this is Jenny of Parsley Pie Art Club Hale
(read more in my blog about this shoot)

These photographs can all be classed as commercial or business portraits but they are actually much more than that, incorporating clear signs of what the person does and also an insight into their personality.

When Naomi of Branching Out Online asked me to do a series of photographs of her that she could use throughout her marketing materials I was delighted. I know Naomi really well and am a big admirer of her ability to maximise businesses' online presence.

Naomi doesn't sell products that I could photograph beautifully for her, she sells her skill, knowledge, experience and passion for online marketing. She's certainly not alone in offering these services but she does stand out in how she "puts herself out there": she is her brand. She is bright, bubbly, friendly, open and insanely enthusiastic about what she does. That's her point of difference.

One of Naomi's trademarks is her use of vibrant colours and she put a lot of thought into how to make this come through in the photo shoot. All the way through we used props and colours that reinforced her branding and her vibrant personality.

Having a great online presence using apps like Snapchat, Facebook Live and Periscope.

Using appropriate props to allow you to get maximum use out of the images. This is how Naomi is using the images on social media.

Naomi also employs positive messages as a way to motivate and make images talk and I loved the props we used to convey this.

We were also very conscious of leaving space in the images to put marketing messages.

If I go back to the "light bulb" moment I had when I worked my way through these images, it was that I knew that I wanted to be more than a commercial photographer taking head shots for LinkedIn profiles... I want to tell people's story in pictures, capture what makes them and their business unique. Naomi knows the power of telling her story and uses it to build trust and loyalty, to make a powerful emotional connection with her target customer base.

She isn't afraid of sharing the low points as well as the highs and 2016 was a very tough year personally. We did some shots that reflected that and will allow her to share how she turned things around and has moved forward in a very positive way.

Have you thought about your brand story? It gives your brand a very powerful voice, makes it stand out, makes people want to connect with YOU. Why do you do what you do? If you can communicate this in words and then in pictures there'll be no stopping you!

If you are interested in booking your own photo shoot to tell your story get in touch


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!

Summer Wedding at Nunsmere Hall Hotel, Cheshire (by Cheshire wedding photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

Click here to go to Picture It Big on Facebook

If you're taking the trouble to read my blog would you be kind enough to LIKE my Picture It Big Facebook page? Click here to go the page - there's a chance to win a free photography class until 8th March 2013!

Now, we've got that out of the way, back to Louise and Neil's wonderful indian summer wedding! Click on any image to see a larger version.

The venue was Nunsmere Hall Hotel and it couldn't have looked more beautiful on this sunny afternoon in early September.
Nunsmere Hall Hotel
The fair weather meant that the wedding party could mingle on the terrace and in the gardens and also that the ceremony could take place outside in the stunning grounds of the hotel. It was great to be able to take photographs in lovely natural light - any wedding photographer's dream!

The groom and best man were welcoming guests on the terrace and I took them away to the quiet of an avenue of trees to get some shots of all the men in their suits. This area overlooks the lake and is very shady and peaceful apart from the occasional motor boat! It's a favourite spot of mine for wedding images as the light is beautiful and the line of trees makes for an impressive back drop.

Meanwhile the bride had finished getting ready in the bridal suite upstairs and her extremely proud father accompanied her down the stairs, through the hotel and into the garden, where the guests and groom were eagerly awaiting her arrival! She looked stunning and I particularly like these shots in black and white as they look so classic and timeless.

If I were to ever get married again (don't tell my husband I said that!) I would want the ceremony to be outside - it was a beautiful setting with the late afternoon sunshine starting to cast long shadows across the lawn.

Drinks and canapes were served on the lawn afterwards and it was a great time to get relaxed, candid shots of everyone congratulating Louise and Neil and enjoying themselves.

I always feel guilty prising the bride and groom away from this post ceremony period but it's a good time to get some shots of them together before all the group shots and the wedding breakfast. And the newly wed couple are always very relaxed and super happy so it's easy to get candid, fun pictures of them - as shown by these of Louise and Neil.

The newly weds and their guests danced the night away but didn't require me to stay so I sneaked off to spend a lovely first weekend in our caravan. But I was itching to get to my computer to start editing the photos and start the all important album. They opted for a coffee table style photo book that could be left out and looked at, rather than being hidden away in a box. It's a really special moment when you first present the couple with their finished album and Louise and Neil both said it took them right back to that very special day. This is what it's all about, as far as I'm concerned, knowing that I've given them memories that they can re-visit and share time and again.

And so we come to the end of this blog about a picture perfect wedding in an idyllic setting, but at the considerable risk of sounding cheesy, this not the end but just the beginning of married life together for Louise and Neil!!

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!


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!
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