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A Life with Photos – Nottingham Photographer

A Life with Photos – Nottingham Photographer

A Life In Photos

I’m expecting to be an auntie again any day now. It’s all the usual things – exciting, nerve-wracking, stressful, emotional, and slightly fraught. She’s not one for a maternity session, but I wanted to capture this special time for her in my own way. I had the perfect opportunity last weekend, when I packed the kids into the car and we spent some time with them.

I know what it’s like to feel a million years pregnant, and the exhaustion of having a toddler to care for at the same time. I know what it’s like to think about how life will change, and that change will be felt most profoundly by the child who suddenly finds they’re not the baby anymore. It was lovely to see my nephew “giving the baby a cuddle,” and soon enough my own children were joining in.

How lovely is that? A baby not even born yet, but very much the focus of these children, in this moment. Children are so wonderful to photograph. Sometimes mine suffer from “photographer’s child syndrome” (a real thing, see → ) but when they’re lost in the moment they just let me snap away. And they love looking back at photos of themselves.

Memory Lane

A couple of weeks ago we popped round to my mums. She always gets super nostalgic whenever a new grandchild is on the way, and she decided to get the shoebox full of proper photos out. We saw photos of my grandparents – the ones I never got to meet – and photos of relatives long gone. Photos of my parents visibly pissed, ones of them travelling with their friends, and living their lives. Photos of my sister and I growing up.

The best part? Not a selfie in sight.

1986: My mum holding baby me out to my sister to say bye before my dad took her to school.

1987: Dad, my sister and me in Whitby.

Embrace it.

So many times I hear mums and brides bemoaning their appearance. Guests spot me and warn me not to point my camera at them before scuttling off. I get that having your moments documented can be awkward, because you’re trusting me not to take a photo that might accentuate your chins. This represents a real dilemma: wanting natural photos, but feeling unable to be natural when there’s a camera around.

 

I’ll say this once: these guys are MODELS. It is OK not to look like them.

There are so many factors at play here I could write an essay. Magazines, tv, rock stars, Instagram, selfie culture – even the most self-assured of us can fall foul of those damn Kardashians and the bullshit they peddle. When I look at a photo of myself I am drawn to my chins, my one squinty eye, my black heads. I have the power to delete every photo of myself I can’t stand, to de-tag on Facebook, to not post in the first place. I don’t even know where to start with the photo below, even though it’s an excellent image.

But what if our forebears had that power? To delete those donkey rides at Great Yarmouth that were the staple of my mother’s childhood? To remove the moments when my grandmother was well enough to take her three kids on holiday and looked really bloody glamorous? I’d have no idea that those things happened. I’d have no clue that she was once a beautiful, healthy woman, and not the kind but poorly soul I remember. I’d have no idea what my mum looked like as a kid, and what her favourite uncle looked like to boot. Those photos were taken on a box brownie that my mum still owns, and I know she remembers it with fondness.

 

I wish we could go back to those ye olde days, and not just because I love looking at vintage photos. I’m fairly convinced that getting the camera out back that was a Big Deal. Even when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, back when we got our photos printed, a camera was a novelty. Before everyone figured out that if you hold your phone ten inches above your head it makes your chins disappear, and Instagram made us believe lifestyles that aren’t real. Yes, it might mean that when you get your photos back from Snappy Snaps there’s a finger over a lot of them, but I’m sure we were freer then.

Follow The Kids’ Example

All the assurance that you look amazing won’t help you see your own true beauty. I wish I could imbue all my clients with a sense of how amazing they really are, so that they can leave their hang ups behind. I can’t do that on my own, but I can look to the kids.

Look at the way they get lost in what they’re doing and stop feeling judged by the lens a few feet away. It’s really bloody difficult, but when you allow yourself to feel liberated the photos will be so good.

I want everyone to be able to look back on their life in pictures. To share the joy of their past with their children and relatives, and hold their memories in their hands. The way we hold each other, look at each other, the feelings we have. I don’t want people to shy away from a camera they have no control over, but embrace it. Live in front of the camera, just for a short while.

And if all else fails, I can top up your drink.

A First Birthday Photoshoot

A First Birthday Photoshoot

I flipping love toddlers. They’re hilarious, they have huge eyes, and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. As a family photographer who’s not big into posing and preening, toddlers are my jam. This little girl is no exception.

photograph of a one year old girl in a grey dress sat on the floor in her living room holding a first birthday balloon in the shape of a unicorn

I first met Ella back in April. She was six months old, and her parents decided to have a calm, documentary-style family photoshoot in their home in Derbyshire. Fancy checking those photos out? Clicky.

Back then, Ella was into stroking cats, dribbling, and being semi-mobile. Now? She’s into everything. Balloons, knocking stuff over, biscuits, general mayhem and impressive dimples. We spent her first birthday photoshoot pottering about at home before heading down to the village green for some cuddles in the autumn mist.

Natasha mentioned that Ella was born during Storm Ophelia, but she didn’t see the crazy yellow sky because she was somewhat preoccupied. It was important to her that Ella’s first birthday photoshoot incorporated a bit of the outdoors.

black and white documentary style photograph of a family with a toddler in their kitchen at home
photograph of a clapping toddler on her first birthday sitting on her mothers knee as her dad sits beside and laughs
intimate black and white family photograph of a toddler with a clip in her hair having a comforting cuddle with her mum outdoors during her first birthday photoshoot

As before, Ella and her folks were an absolute joy to photograph. It’s wonderful to be able to build up a relationship with families, so that when I pop round with my camera everyone just cracks on with what they want to do. I love how relaxed and intimate these family photos are, and I’d love to catch up with Ella again sometime.

 

If you’re considering a super chilled and fun family photoshoot at home or outdoors, get in touch.

 

Bathtime with Albie – Baby Photoshoot Derbyshire

Bathtime with Albie – Baby Photoshoot Derbyshire

A Splashy Baby Photoshoot in Derbyshire

I love it when I warm to a mum on the phone straightaway. I get so excited about the session right then and there on the phone, and I never feel like I’m just going through all the usual spiel even though I have a certain amount of info to get through.

Because by the time I’ve listened to you, heard about your family and gotten a sense of who you are, I remember why I love this job. I get the immense privilege of capturing your every day, the things you do together as a family. The every day gets a bad rap, but there’s joy in it if you take the time to look.

And so it was with Albie’s baby photoshoot. He’s not a newborn, so I knew I wasn’t in for a long, sleepy, relaxed session. He’s a proper bundle of joy – able to sit, starting to crawl, starting to babble, and wanting to cruise. His every day involves lots of cuddles, space to play, and constant exploration.

Like I told you, there’s joy in the every day.

photograph of a baby standing with help from his father and walking towards his mother who is sitting on the sofa in their living room and holding her arms out to him

We started out in the living room. Albie’s had just woken up so he was a bit wary of me. They sat together and read a book while I took a few snaps in between fussing their super cuddly cockapoo (and wishing I had one of my own!).

The first part of a family photoshoot is usually the most awkward. People take a while to get used to me and my camera, which I totally get. It’s what makes at-home sessions so great though, because I’m able to encourage people to just interact the way they would if there wasn’t a photographer in the room. I stop shooting for a short while, and then, like some kind of Canon-sponsored ninja, I start taking a few stealthy shots.

image of two parents sitting on a sofa smiling and reading a book with their baby during a photoshoot in derbyshire
photograph of a baby sitting on a blue playmat in a living room smiling at his mother who is singing songs with him

Lizzie’s idea for their family shoot was perfect. Albie outside in the bath! She knew it’d make him happy, and they could all join in on the fun. And that after his bath Albie could have all the cuddles and love, and then I’d just peel away and leave them to eat their lunch. So we just bloody went for it.

Albie is about 10 months old. He’s not a little baby, and he’s starting to get more mobile. This kind of chilled-out, free-flowing photoshoot at home is just perfect for this age. I never once had to pose him or his parents – I found the best light, then simply hung out around the edges of the action and documented it as I saw fit. 

Albie’s Gallery

If you’d like to discuss having a baby photoshoot in or around Derbyshire (or perhaps even further afield) then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I love working with all kinds of families and kids of all ages to get gorgeous photos that you’ll love for years to come. The days are long but the years are short! 

 

You can email me at hello@carolinegoosey.com or fill out my contact form to get in touch. I’d love to hear from you!

4 Ways to Choose an Epic Location for Your Family Photoshoot

4 Ways to Choose an Epic Location for Your Family Photoshoot

Not so long ago, if you wanted family photographs you’d call a photographer, ask to see their printed portfolio and then schlep out to their studio for a session almost entirely designed by them. Thank god the world is a different place now. Family photography has been totally up-ended, so now your photoshoot can focus on you.

But when the world is such an awesome playground, how do you choose just one location? You don’t need to be overwhelmed by the options open to you.

My handy guide to choosing a family photoshoot location that works for you is here to save the day!

Take a look at these images. Which draws you in more?

Do you love those dreamy photos of perfect children posing-but-looking-natural in a field, with the background blurred “just so”? These photos are really beautiful, it’s undeniable. They tend to happen during golden hour, around dusk. Fields and woodland are popular.

image from a family photoshoot of a mother and her toddler hugging and touching noses in autumnal woodland
black and white photo of a man cradling his baby girl at home during a documentary style family photoshoot

Or you might prefer an alternative style. The current minimalist, artsy trend for documentary style photographs works amazingly well for kids. Unlike the other photo, family photography in this style doesn’t involve posing, and the background is more of a focus.

Whichever of these photos you prefer, you still have the agony of choice over where to have your shoot. It’s not as straightforward as outdoor photoshoot = dreamy, posed moments and at home = more candid.

photograph of a small boy holding his mother's hand during a family photoshoot at crich tramway museum

These are the other things you need to bear in mind when picking a location for your family photoshoot.

How old your kids are

If your kid(s) are really small, then taking them to a cliff edge in the Peak District isn’t going to be the most relaxing time you’ve ever spent together.

Equally, if your kids are old enough to understand the risks of such a location, and they’d get all “ugh Muuuum” at being made to stand around a tree for 10 minutes, you might want to consider somewhere more exciting.

Older children like to interact with their environment in a more adventurous way. They climb trees and rocks, have races and go mad.

Little kids are generally happy anywhere, but you’ll require a stiff drink if you take them somewhere riskier.

photograph of a boy on his bed as his mother tickles him during a family photoshoot

Do you want to be directed, or would you rather play?

I hate having my photograph taken. I hate standing around and feeling like I have to smile. Every adult I’ve ever photographed has said it, and I feel it too!

Having someone direct you can really help if you’re not sure where to put yourselves, how to stand etc. But playing is amazing too. You can have both, but whichever one you choose requires a level of trust between you and the photographer.

If you opt to pose then be patient with your children. If you opt for a documentary flow then make sure you and the photographer properly plan the session, otherwise there’ll be nothing to take photos of.

What you all like to do

Do you like to discover new places and explore your surroundings?

Do you like to take the dog out for a big adventure every weekend?

Would you rather stay at home?

There’s just no point choosing a location that you can’t stand. So pick one you love! It can be your home, and it can be somewhere beautiful. If you ask nicely, it can even be both.

wide candid shot of a family in front of a snowy hilly landscape during a family photoshoot in the peak district
black and white photography of a child hugging her mother as her father holds a baby and smiles in the background - family photoshoot derbyshire

Does the location need to be significant?

Sometimes a family just wants to hang out at home. Sometimes they want an experience, something more adventurous where the kids can run around and explore. Some families want to do something, and have it be documented.

All these things are a good way to get natural, documentary style family photographs, which incorporates the setting.

Alternatively, if you’re after a more posed look then the location is not so significant. A local woodland or field with wildflowers is as good a choice as any.

photograph of a young boy with curly hair popping bubbles outdoors during a family photoshoot in nottingham
photograph of a mother throwing and catching her toddler in the air during a family photoshoot in derbyshire
image from a family photoshoot in which a father and son stand in front of a lake

If your kids are high energy explorers, you might want to consider having your family photography session outdoors. There are so many inspiring locations on your doorstep! A good photographer will take their ages and interests into account, and discuss all of this with you.

Alternatively, if your kids are young and prone to falling off cliffs, you can totally hang out at home and still capture some pretty awesome memories.

image from a family photoshoot as a boy plays with a foam water pistol at a local splashpad

The third option is always worth exploring – do both! Each family is different, I approach all of them with a totally open mind.

I love going on adventures, but I also love hanging out at home with a cup of tea and a few books, and savouring all those delicious cuddles with my kids before they grow up and stop thinking I’m cool.

If that’s you, then just say so. Choose home and adventure!

If you’re thinking about having a family photoshoot but would like to learn a bit more about it, take a look at my family FAQs page. I’m happy to go pretty much anywhere for family sessions, and design them around each family’s needs.

 

Interested in booking a family photoshoot? You can email me at hello@carolinegoosey.com to chat about everything you want.

A Morning With the Redferns – Natural Baby Photography Derby

A Morning With the Redferns – Natural Baby Photography Derby

As soon as I spoke with Natasha on the phone I knew that this would be a gorgeous session. She described her home to me, her family and what they liked to do, and we just clicked straightaway. I could tell she was a chilled out person, and a lovely mother to her six month old little girl. In fact the very first thing she told me was that she and her husband were “all for natural, unforced photographs”. I couldn’t ask for more than that!

Session day rolled around, and we were blessed with beautiful weather. We started off indoors, letting the baby play with some of her toys. As she was only just six months, and in a good mood, we were able to take everything at a comfortable pace.

a mother smile as she holds her baby girl up in the air in front of a gallery wall in their home - baby photography derby
a black and white image of a father holding his baby girl on his hip in a light and airy open plan kitchen during a baby photography session in Derby

Being a mum myself, I know how tricky it can be to balance the needs of a baby with a scheduled appointment, which is a major factor in why I visit families in their homes for sessions. Natasha and I had already discussed this, and she knew that I wouldn’t mind if she needed to stop and feed, change or cuddle the baby. As it happened, feeding and changing weren’t needed during their photoshoot, but there were plenty of cuddles with both parents.

The sun was high in the sky, and the light poured in through the patio doors. After a while we ventured outside into their garden. After such a long winter it was good to be back outside, feeling the warmth on my skin.

As with so many families I photograph, Natasha and Paul were a little uneasy about being in front of the camera. Over time I decided to stop posing people, or telling them to simply “act natural” because I totally get this feeling. I hate having my photo taken too! Instead, I like to find the best light for taking photos, and then set up a way for families to sit or stand together, and give them time to relax into it. As a result, my family photography sessions are really chilled out, and natural.

image of a family with a six month old baby in their home - baby photography derby
black and white image of two parents and their baby girl smiling as they play together - baby photography debry
close up photograph of a baby's feet as her parents hold her in dappled shade - baby photography derby
black and white photograph of a mother smiling at her baby girl - baby photography derby
colourful photograph of two parents at home with their baby in front of a purple wall - baby photography derby
unposed photograph of a father holding his baby daughter outside in front of trees - baby photography derby
black and white photograph of a father holding his baby girl with his head against hers - baby photography derby

I had a lovely morning with Natasha, Paul and Ella. If you’re looking for natural family or baby photography in Derby and the surrounding areas, then drop me an email or check out my family photography page for more info.

The Van Krimpens – Fly on the wall family photography Chilwell

The Van Krimpens – Fly on the wall family photography Chilwell

The Van Krimpens

Fly on the wall family photography in Chilwell

Rachel and Phil were among the first families I worked with when I started out as a photographer. We went to White Post Farm for her daughter’s first birthday, and had a lovely chilled out time meeting lots of animals and feeding the ducks.

black and white photo of family with young toddler meeting a llama

Since then, Rachel and Phil have had another baby. He’s about to turn one, and Rachel wanted to capture some of their time at home together before she heads back to work.  Their daughter is now two and a half, and with a little brother to include I knew this would be a delightful session for all of us.

We spent an hour in their home, letting the kids do the everyday things they enjoy, playing and dancing, pulling funny faces and building towers. The session was completely chilled out, with zero posing. They are such naturals, I didn’t have to pull a single trick out of my sleeve to draw out their personalities (but trust me, I have tricks up the wazoo).

Their son was napping in the sling when I arrived, so I got to capture some shots of Ariadne and her dad, playing in a spot of light by the window.

black and white photo of a father and daughter talking together by the window light - family photography chilwell

When Orion awoke he was raring to go! First Rachel dressed him – while I resisted the urge to gobble up those delicious legs – and then let him go wherever he wanted to be.

colourful image of a mother dressing her toddler son - family photography chilwell

Something I often see as a family photographer working with young kids is that they start the session full of energy and excitement, and burn themselves out within about 45 minutes. All that running around and expression takes such a lot of energy, and it’s the perfect lead in to create those tender moments – the ones where they seek comfort and reassurance from their parents.

These two kids encapsulate perfectly why having family sessions in your home is a brilliant way to capture childhood. Their faces and body language are so chilled and relaxed, their curiosity and playfulness could be completely encouraged and there was just no stress. You don’t need to live in a show home or shoo the pets into the shed for a fly on the wall family shoot – you just need to be you, and I’ll do the rest.

If you’ve enjoyed reading about Ariadne & Orion’s family session and you’re thinking about how this would work for your family, why not drop me a line? Email me at hello@carolinegoosey.com to discuss a shoot in your home.