I was thrilled to be invited back to photograph a family I worked with a couple of years ago. We’d all had such a lovely time before and ended up with a great collection of images. It was no different this weekend, and I hope everyone loves these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them. And what an amazing bunch of stylists everyone in this family seems to be – I might need to borrow their terrific style for all my shoots.
Get in touch for information on family shoots and event photography at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07581694934.
It’s that time of year again when well-known brands start releasing their big-budget adverts and the shops go crazy trying to sell us plastic and gift sets. For me, it’s when I start to think about creating a family photo album. To be honest, I am normally pretty busy with work so I don’t get round to doing my own one until February at least. I thought I’d share the last album I created so you can see how special these objects are. Despite people thinking photographs mostly look best on screen, you can’t beat a beautiful book to hold in your hands and keep on your shelves. It’s quite wrong too, you know, about images looking better on screens. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It depends on the image and its meaning in the world. I could attempt a long academic rant about it but I’ll refrain from inflicting that on you. What I am certain about, is that I am often really thrilled when seeing how an image looks on paper.
Click on the link below to scroll through a PDF of my last family album and if you are interested in hiring me to do something similar for you, do get in touch!
A few weeks ago I went with a family to a local park for a shoot. I tend to recommend families take their time when choosing which images they would like to enlarge and frame. Sometimes we need a little bit of a gap to see what’s going on in photographs, perhaps even more so when young children who are growing and changing all the time are concerned.
I aim to capture photographs which are full of life and was very pleased when a photographer friend described one of my images precisely in that way. Perhaps working nowadays on digital means we have greater opportunity to take risks, which we might not have been inclined to do back in the day when photographers worked with film. Some photographers see this as a problem – I see it as a brilliant plus. I don’t mean you should simply press the shutter down for ages and rapidly shoot as many frames as possible under all circumstances – apart from being an unhelpful strategy, there would be way too many frames to look back over when editing (in a world where we bombarded by images as it is!) Rather, you can try things out and experiment because the cost of a digital frame is not prohibitive. And so it’s not a problem to allow the kids to get involved in the creativity. Of course, you also need to pay attention to their energy levels and patience – but ultimately I want to take pictures that are teeming with life rather than stilted and posed, and that is my aim when working with families.
Here are a handful of images from a morning with a lovely family and two beautiful, very sweet children. This shoot was given as a Christmas present last year. Check out the link for more details, and find a discount available too for anyone who books before the 1st December.
This has been by far the busiest year I’ve had since setting up as a photographer. One of the lessons I’ve had to learn and am still learning is how best to manage my time as I navigate parenting, studies, and social as well as commercial photography. It’s a good problem to have though!
I’ve been extremely pleased to carry on working alongside local charitable organisation Just Shelter throughout 2017 and will continue documenting their trips and the situation in Northern France in 2018. Long- and short-term volunteers I meet are involved in a number of projects devoting their time and energy to a range of causes both here and abroad. At a time when we see so much extraordinary violence both online and in the physical world it is great to be reminded there is also a lot of genuine goodness and kindness out there too.
Workwise, I was pleased to photograph teams in highly recognisable companies, such as Barclays, as well as several other groups in the same sector; a few up and coming businesses that are doing exceptionally well such as Aurelia Skincare; and lots of self-employed people after professional headshots. I was also very pleased to be made a Preferred Supplier for British Land and am looking forward to working with them again.
I was lucky enough to exhibit my work twice this year. The first time was at The Grosvenor Arms, now sadly closed down. I am grateful to Brendan Conway for his support and encouragement and wish him the best. The second show was Oxford House, Nexus, when I was invited by Keith Greenough to work alongside him and John Umney on a project celebrating Oxford House’s history. Thanks to Honor who I captured for the project and to everyone who supported me.
I continue studying, which keeps me from resting on my laurels. I was very glad to receive over 70% for the academic module I finished earlier this year as it was incredibly challenging. I absolutely loved that course, despite its difficulty – and have moved onto a new module where I continue to be challenged.
And of course, I photographed my children constantly. I’m about to put an album together recording our lives – I’ll certainly have lots and lots to choose from, as always.
Do see my website for details if you’re after photography for work or family, or follow me on Instagram to keep up with my visual sketchbook. And if you live in or visit South London, perhaps I will photograph you during 2018 at one of the community events I usually get along to – you never know! Here is a very small handful of images I took in 2017.
Son No 1 is learning about how the world works and doing a bit of shopping. He also likes looking at photographs and finding out about his relatives – more below. Image (c)Sarah-Jane Field 2014
I am a bit slow when it comes to understanding things properly. Blame it on the three pregnancies and years of baby-rearing, or the smart phone addiction, now scientifically proven to be making us all a lot less smart than we once were, or perhaps I was just born that way.
Despite the fact that taking family portraits has been part of my job for the last 15 months or so, I don’t think I fully grasped just why such photographs might be so very important to people until recently. Maybe I’m beginning to comprehend the value of photography because I’ve been studying and thinking about it rather a lot. Perhaps the afternoon that Son No 3 and my mother spent some time looking at old family photographs did it for me. Or the fact I am able to show my sons pictures of my late father, who at the end of his life was a rather lonely old man whose only exercise was to limp awkwardly from his flat in the centre of Bournemouth to the bookies round the corner and back again; mumbling to himself and clutching his betting slips on the way there and usually nothing on his return, or if anything at all, always far too little to make any difference to his life.
This is how I remember my father as that is how he was for the majority of my grown-up life but he wasn’t always quite like that and in fact had a fantastically interesting, albeit difficult, life. It’s great to be able to show the children more positive images of my dad and see them myself too, as well as more recent images.
Son No 3 who never met my father asks questions about my dad all the time, and about other members of our family, as he grows and tries to make sense of where he fits in the world with no living older relatives other than my mother, who is thankfully a very young granny. How she hates that word! And you might be able to see why when you look the photograph of her below in her 20s holding the baby me. Nevertheless she is a good granny and when she and Son No 3 looked through the old albums he recognised family resemblances and was quite convinced that my long dead grandmother was me – although she seems to have been much more elegant than I could ever be.
These old photographs have become really important for my children and perhaps when they are older they will be more so. Nearly all families possess such collections and perhaps they don’t get looked at very often but they become incredibly precious over time, poured over during moments of change or upheaval. Or just now and again when people can find half an hour to tear themselves away from their smart phones and chat through who everyone is or was with an inquisitive two-year-old.
If you’re thinking about having some family portraits done, do get in touch. We can discuss what sort of thing you’re after and make sure you’ve got some great images for relatives to have today or for your kids to look at when they’re older, and for their kids and further generations to do the same in years to come. Share this blog post via WordPress, Facebook or Twitter and receive a 5% discount on family portraits – offer available until 31st April 2015. (Conditions apply. Please see my Terms and Conditions at www.sarahjanefield.co.uk.)
There is so much to learn about photography it can sometimes feel overwhelming. I don’t think life is any different to photography in that regard and I’m beginning to see that being human is about one long learning, relearning and learning it all over again exercise.
These last few weeks I have been looking at secondary schools with my oldest son as he’s currently in Yr 6 and so preparing for a new phase of childhood. What I have learned about secondary schools is that it is so important not to listen to the gossip and crucial to visit each school and make up your own mind. This morning we made our application and it was pretty nerve-wracking putting schools that many people dismiss at the top of our list having visited and discovered that the stigma attached to certain institutions is utterly outdated and misplaced. Goodness, I hope we’re right – it feels such a responsibility. My son is so pragmatic and is taking it all in his stride.
My youngest two are way off that just yet. My middle son merely needs to learn that apple cores go in the bin and not under his bed, or behind the sofa or anywhere else where they can rot and becomes invitations to small rodents and fruit flies. Odd to think that that sort thing isn’t pre-programmed genetically in some way. Nope – small people aren’t quite human, definitely need socialising and that’s something I keep having to relearn again and again and again.
The mummy in the following photographs has three sons like me of similar ages so was full of empathy about the chaos that ensues. We understandably had quite a lot to chat about – I wonder if she can teach me to be more in control of my boys because that above all is what I need to learn, I’m certain!