24th March 2010 – My first family photoshoot

Written on March 24, 2010 – 9:45 pm | by BryonyParkes |

Firstly, Happy Birthday to me, Happy birthday to meeee! I have had this blog for over a year now, go me :-)

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of shooting a lovely family of Mum, Dad and two gorgeous teenage girls. Such a photogenic family, will always make it easier to get some pretty good shots but I was pleased with how I did. I think I’ve still got a way to go yet before the lighting is 100% but it was a challenge I needed. It gave me the opportunity to use my lights and a bit of logistic thinking with the space I had.

I wanted to make sure that as well as some lovely posed shots, I got some natural ones too of the family being themselves and showing the camera the fantastic nature they hold as a family.

Here are some of my favourites :-)

and one more of the girls together, aren’t they just so pretty?

I am LOVING this photography lark at the moment. Long may it continue!

Photos taken at 1/125 and f/5/6 with flash gun and one studio light (with exception to curtain background)

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12th December 2009 – Studio practice!

Written on December 12, 2009 – 11:18 pm | by BryonyParkes |

Yesterday afternoon I met up with a local photographer, the lovely Christina Lauder at her fantastic studio. Christina kindly gave up some time to let me try some photography within a studio set up, using her lights and tuition.

I love Christina’s work and have been following her blog for some time now. Thank you, for your time and patience Christina!

I had the small one with me, so she became the focus of the session. We tried three different set ups using studio lights and a wireless flash trigger set mounted on the top of my camera with the other of the pair connected to the main fill light. I have to say, I much preferred this method of triggering the lights instead of using the flash gun. I’ll be adding these to my wish list!

The first set up was with two fill lights only. I love the natural essence of these shots and has made me consider using more natural backgrounds rather than blowing the white out all the time.

(excuse the dummy in this one)

Christina pointed out that I need to think a bit more on the spot about composition. Although a sweet shot that I am actually quite pleased with in terms of the subject, the line of the floor meeting the wall is a bit distractingly (unfortunately?) positioned!

So I tried this one, taken from above:

The second set up, was blowing the white backdrop out using two lights against the white wall which would then, additional to the fill lights, create that bright background that is so popular in this day and age.

Lastly we had a go at some black background, although my daughter was getting a little on the cranky side by now! We used the fill lights again, and a single light shining away from the black wall, as I understand the black background comes best from the light dropping between the subject and the background rather than lighting up the background as in the blown out white. I found this a lot more tricky so the photos aren’t perfect, and perhaps editing is where I need to improve more here, but nonetheless a very good learning experience.

All these shots have been edited by me, just using the small selection of tools that come with Windows Photo gallery that I have on my computer, once I got home. While I was still at the studio, Christina edited three of my shots, how she would have done if she had taken them for a client, using Photoshop and explained what she was doing as she went along. I was really impressed with the results. The images are so much softer and the skin tone is just lovely. They look far more professional than my edits that’s for sure. I can’t quite believe I took them!

I think I need to gain my confidence using Photoshop, particularly if I start taking on some casual work at any point in the future. I have had a lesson from a friend, and then Christina helped me further but gaining the courage to start using it when I’ve always just “got by” with a simple edit program was hard. However seeing the differences between the edits of a shot that I made, and the edits of a shot that Christina made, from the same Jpeg file has helped. They didn’t need editing a huge deal, but sometimes the little touches make it all worthwhile. Hopefully you’ll be seeing some more Photoshop work from me in the coming weeks!

I also have learnt that I really need to buy a reflector. They aren’t expensive, and they are a lot easier to carry around than a piece of lighting kit! Sometimes, rather than using a light, a reflector is all you need and they can be used with natural light too. I always forget about reflecting light and have been looking back on quite a few of my shots recently recognising that a reflector would have made a lot of difference. I think I might need some help though – a reflector needs holding up and today we had Christina holding Evie with myself behind the camera so the reflector didn’t get used as much as we’d have liked!

Thanks again Christina, I had a lovely afternoon and your studio is absolutely fantastic. I really appreciate you taking the time to explain to me, how it works in a studio set up. I hope we can meet up again another time! I wish you all the best for your photography business and hope it continues to thrive and prosper as I’m sure it will do.

All shots were taken (at Christina’s suggestion) at 1/125 and f/8.0

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21st November 2009 – Christmas Greetings?

Written on November 21, 2009 – 10:49 pm | by BryonyParkes |

It’s only November I cry!

But it’s only 5 weeks until Christmas.



We’ve had to seriously tighten our belts this year so I’ve decided to make our cards this year using a photo or two, some card and some glue. My lovely readers of this blog who are on our Christmas Card list possibly should look away now!

Seriously, I wasn’t expecting to get any decent shots tonight, as my daughter paraded around in a lovely little fairy outfit pretending to magic us all into pretty princesses (Daddy included). I was planning on waiting until tomorrow when there was better lighting, batteries in my flash gun, a background set up and of course, the small one included in shot. But then I took this while messing about:

Eeeep. I’m not going to get that exact moment again am I? I should have the small one within the frame too shouldn’t I? Even the lighting isn’t too bad, if a tad noisy due to a fairly high ISO (it was taken at about 5.30pm in the evening with just the living room bulb to assist me). Her hair could have done with a little brush, but don’t you just love the curls? The crop was accidental, but I think it adds to the magic.

It may not be technical goodness, but I love it. It may be a contender for the Christmas Cards. Hmmm. Decisions decisions. I think I’ll save it and wait to see what I come up with tomorrow as well…

Photo taken at (ooh, haven’t done this for a while on the blog!) 1/30 and f/2.0

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2nd November 2009 – Having fun

Written on November 2, 2009 – 10:51 pm | by BryonyParkes |

I’ve got to share a photo I took with you at the weekend. I went to a hotel and spa, Fairlawns Spa in Aldridge, Walsall (highly recommended by the way) with three of my best friends for a spot of pampering and girly time.

Before we went down for dinner, we decided to get a nice group shot of the four of us. I have to admit, we were in a very silly mood; can you tell?

Don’t you just think it’s just a fantastic picture?

This is what we look like normally (although I may have slightly overexposed in edit by mistake, apologies):

and this is a shot I took the next day to represent the lovely, simple, fresh time we had:

Always make time for a pamper, everyone deserves it from time to time x

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29th July 2009 – It’s all about me

Written on July 29, 2009 – 6:52 pm | by BryonyParkes |

I’m the world’s worst critic of myself when it comes to everything. I decided to try and do a self portrait today. It’s really hard to take a photo of yourself at the best of times as most of it is either at arms length, on timer or using a remote and tripod and you just have to snap happy and hope that one of them is in focus!

Anyway, it’s no secret to those close to me that I have body issues but after my funky hair do on Friday last, and having got into a bit of a routine with the Small One so feeling a tiny bit more human, I decided that I would wear make up a whole lot more and try to start feeling a bit happier with the way I look.

I do like the shot I took, it’s different after all and I think you can tell that I’ve lost a leeeeetle bit of weight recently. I think the light flatters me (thank you kind natural light!) so I’m definitely going to take more self portraits after the first semi-success in this one. I also recently, following reading this blog post by the fab Spud made the commitment to myself to get more shots taken of me with my family. It’s very important!

Anyway, here’s the shot I’m rambling about. I look ok, don’t I?





If you’re wondering where the other half of me is, well, the only photo I liked of myself enough to post to the World Wide Web happened to have something in the background which made me look like I had a square ear and a bit of a devil’s horn, so I decided to try a different crop as you know me, I like a different perspective on things from time to time.

I promise to post future SP’s when I do them. And you must too, get the camera out, take a shot. Your future family will be glad for them x








Photo taken at 1/25 and f/4.0

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