Very few of us, myself included, can remember much about the the first years of our lives. So much happened, but we have little recall of it. Photos are vital keys to unlock those memories. This family have created a treasure trove of future keys. I have photographed their family from when their child was a newborn baby to her current age, creating an archive of photography of the first 6 years of one child’s life.The family have moved from Birmingham to Scotland, and the annual photo sessions have been at various locations, including Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Paris Disney. Some at birthday parties, some including horse riding, and always reflecting the location and with an eye to show the family history.
Here are six images of the same child growing up from a baby, a toddler, and now aged 6. She is a fun-loving girl who likes princesses and dressing up ! Having photos like these, of her and of all the family, will be a great way of looking back and remembering the places they lived, the friends they had and how they all were through the years. The photos are in albums and on display, so they will last a lifetime and still be there for this girl when she has grown up. One day she’ll be able to talk about them with her own children.
I invited families to a special half term family photography session to help support the “Studley on the map” community project in Warwickshire. The gardens at Coughton were opened specially for the occasion. There was even sunshine and it was successfull as can be seen from the variety of images here. It even reached the local newspaper! A lot of fun was had by all. There were piggy-backs and games of “chase the photographer” ! I particularly like the images of children in a fur-rimmed hood. It creates a natural frame around the face.
One of the mothers said “I can’t even cope with the cuteness level of the many photos that Laurence Jones took of my rascals. I can’t possibly choose a favourite but these 2 caught my eye. He is amazing and has captured their personalities just perfectly. I can’t recommend him enough. Thank you Laurence. This is my best ever Mother’s Day present”.
“Watching Laurence Jones at work this morning was pretty remarkable. A world class photographer and universal hit with children of all ages…. and utterly generous too. From everyone at Studley on the Map, I’d like to thank you for doing such a fabulous thing for our village.
Also thank you to Claire and Coughton for allowing us exclusive access”.
Here’s more of my photography
I first met this lovely family at a Warwick school. They wanted a local Warwickshire photographer who could reflect their rural lifestyle in natural images. We scheduled their photo session on a weekend just before Christmas, at their Warwickshire home. The two boys were great fun. There were some of the usual ups and downs normal for a two year old, but by the end of the session they didn’t want me to leave.
We started indoors. The two boys were dressed in similar outfits, which helps bring a sense of togetherness to the images. Then we did some jumping, turning the conservatory into a soft play area. Outside was even better. I was introduced to all the animals – chickens, goats, donkeys and giant pigs. The boys chased the chickens, stroked the donkeys, hugged the pigs and avoided the goats because there was a seriously bossy and grumpy one ! I loved the location. Lots of fantastic opportunities for family photography in the Warwickshire countryside.
Despite cold December weather and even a little rain, this family now have an unforgettable set of images.
When I deleivered their a few weeks later photos I received lots of hugs from the boys, and the Mums were delighted. As they said “The photos are fabulous, thankyou so much! They look amazing on the wall!”
Children’s photography – in a relaxed style
You know you are going to get some gorgeous family pictures that you will treasure forever. You are also worried that your children (or husband) are going to be a nightmare. I have a saying – “Embrace the chaos”. The photoshoot with children may seem chaotic, but along the way there are always some special moments. The odd tear and grumpiness for a short time is part of childhood. There is always so much more tenderness, togetherness, laughter and smiling that happens naturally – and that’s what I capture. Just try keep calm yourself and all the rest of the family will be fine too.
So here are some fast tricks you can apply at any time you feel a little stressed, not simply at your photoshoot.
Laugh and giggle
If your child is being a little monkey, then pick them up, give them a tickle and tell them in a happy way they are being a little monkey.
Be prepared to be silly.
Maybe both you and your youngsters need the tension breaking. A fast game of piggy back, or walking like a chicken, dancing, singing or spinning might be all it takes to go to the next level.
Don’t get cross.
Really, that is when it is all going to go wrong. I understand that children won’t always co-operate and I’m happy to work round it. If they are not doing what we’ve asked, then we will change tack and shoot something around them.
Don’t tell them to smile, or give too many orders.
I want natural smiles, not the forced ones that can look like grimaces. I’ll get smiles by being silly myself. It’s got to stay fun for the children.
Photography of children
I have photographed a lot of children over the years and I’m told I do it rather well.
One of the things I’ve learned is how to make youngsters feel relaxed (or that’s chilled for teenagers).
Every age is different and every youngster is distinct. Some will come bursting forward looking forward to seeing you, set for anything. Others might be slightly more shy and need some coaxing.
I meet them at their level, chatting with them about what they like, what they have been doing and generally getting them comfortable.
They will often want to show me their toys, their room, talk about their acheivements- whatever they are proud of. I feel it’s important to let children have a say, give them time, and show that they are important too. I want to see different sides of their character. If it means playing about and acting the fool to get them laughing and enjoying themselves, then I’ll do that. If it means taking everything somewhat slower and quieter then I’ll take that approach. I’m always interested in a child’s world. Once they let me enter that world, then creating beautiful images is easy! (not quite, there’s the lighting, the composition, the background, the technical stuff, but I know all that very well).
At the start of the session I may photograph you and the children together. This helps them feel comfortable and understand the procedure. They still have their Mum or Dad for moral support.
Pretty soon they will be happy and chilled and up for the full experience.
I know it’s working because so many children remember me when I come back for their next shoot. Infact, they have often had such a great time that they ask straightaway if I can come back soon. I also quite often find myself walking hand-in-hand with a three year old on the way home from a photo session. I’m their new best friend!
Here are some of my favourite images from 2016 – made with love !
Being a children’s photographer is hugely rewarding. I travel throughout Warwickshire and nearby regions, as well as abroad, and meet some amazing families. I have all sorts of conversations with children and compare parenting notes with adults ! It’s a prvilige to be allowed into the heart of these families for a while and to record all the characters. I create images that will be treasured for years to come, becoming family heirlooms. I would like to thank all of my clients, whether they feature in this short show or not, for all their support. Happy New Year everyone!
Oh, and here’s one of the reasons why being a children’s photographer is so rewarding.