5 Ideas for keeping Kids entertained during Lock Down
These are strange times that we find ourselves living in and it's been a big change for all of us. I hope everyone is safe and keeping well. While some of us suddenly have a lot more spare time and more time together than ever, I wanted to give a few suggestions for ways to keep the kid's (and adults) entertained over the coming weeks.
There's an abundance of free workouts and activities online to get the kids blowing off some steam. Joe Wick's daily morning PE lessons are a great addition to a daily routine, getting everyone up and active and ready for the day. The weather can't always be great, so when the rains pouring outside the whole family has no excuse not to get moving and keep those endorphins flowing!
Daily PE Classes Playlist
How many times do you hear the words 'But Why?'. Lots probably and unfortunately we don't always have the answers. But this podcast tries to answer some of those burning questions, which are submitted by listeners and answered in an engaging way to keep kids curious and learning. With a huge back catalogue of episodes you can pop one on and hopefully get a moment to yourself. There's even special episodes to help explain the Coronavirus to children.
But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids
You can explore the world from your sofa and take the kids with you! There's loads of online virtual tours of the top attractions and museums from around the world and beyond. My personal favourite is a 360 tour of the surface of Mars, because when you want to get away from it all, Mars seems like a pretty good place to go. Other's include the Louvre, British Museum, The Great Wall of China and Buckingham Palace.
Tour of Mars
Great Wall of China
A bonus to this is bedtime stories from space! Where astronauts read bedtime stories while floating around in space!
Storytime From Space
This is my favourite, I've personally been killing time by getting crafty. Instagram is a huge resource for ideas and craft alongs to keep little (and bigger ones) occupied. A couple of my favourites include MakeBox, who have been doing a weekly craft along. If you miss it all the instructions go onto their blog so you can get creative any time. And one of my favourite cartoon artists has released a free downloadable colouring book so you can enjoy her wonderful drawings while giving them your own creative twist!
Liz Climo Free Colouring Book
Get Old School
A lot of these suggestions have relied on technology and while it's fantasic that we're all staying connected with modern day tech, sometimes it's best to switch off. Try cracking out your favourite board games and card games from childhood. You can teach your kids all about your favourite games and enjoy quality time together while they learn something new!
Making memories… Family Photography in Surrey
What are your most treasured possessions? What are those sentimental objects that pass down through generations? When people talk about what they’d save in a fire, photographs always make the list.
We are a digital generation and often forget the importance of printed photographs. Digital images sit on a USB in a draw or hidden away in a folder on your computer. Of course it’s amazing to be able to share our memories with friends and family all over the world at the touch of a button, but nothing compares to turning the pages of a photo album or holding a print.
I come from a family of photograph hoarders and I’m so glad I do. We always had photos in frames and scattered around the house. We would scrap book and pour over memories from school photos to family holidays. We had hundreds of photographs that span several generations and over a hundred years at least!
Parents often avoid joining in family portraits because they don’t like their smile or are waiting to loose a couple of pounds, but have you ever looked at old photos of your parents and family and thought about those things? I doubt it! We’re just happy to see their genuine smiles, dated fashion choices and most importantly we’re happy we have something to remember them by. It’s important that we give the next generation the opportunity to is too.
When you book a family session, remember the portraits you buy are not only for you to display in your home now, but they are a keep sake for your children and grandchildren.
International Photography Success!
Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Master Photographers International Photography Awards for the second year in a row.
The event was a great opportunity to network with like minded photographers from the UK and abroad and attend workshops and seminars with industry members i greatly respect.
I was also thrilled to have been awarded four merits and be a Finalist and Runner Up in the International Portrait Category!
Location Photography in Surrey
It’s nearing the end of summer and the light is perfect for outdoor shoots!
As it starts to cool off and the days become shorter the opportunity for beautiful, natural outdoor portraits becomes easier. Kids don’t have to battle the heat and as a photographer I don’t have to get extra sweaty carrying around a heavy camera!
We had a recent location shoot with Talulla for her model portfolio. We were lucky with the weather and managed to do our soot in between a couple of thunderstorms. Despite arriving to the beautiful gardens of Nonsuch Mansion while it was pouring down, the sun soon showed it’s self and the conditions were perfect for capturing Talulla’s natural beauty!
The event was attended by photographers from all over the South of England and the awards covered a range of photography from commercial to fine art and wildlife to newborn. The studio portrait category is an important one for photographers who shoot for their clients in a studio environment. I was surprised and delighted to win the category with my portrait of Marina as well as being awarded a merit with another portrait. I also had some success in the Maternity and Newborn category and was awarded two merits.
Receiving awards is wonderful for our customers to see the hard work we put in to create the very best images for them. It’s also a way to get inspired and be encouraged to create new and interesting styles of portrait.
I have entered the National Portrait Awards and will keep you updated if I’m lucky enough to get through to the next rounds!
Maternity Photogrpahy London and Surrey
Maternity photography is one of absolute favorite sessions to shoot. It’s such a brief moment in time that’s full of excitement, anticipation and change.
Rebecca came for her session recently as she’s expecting her second little girl. She decided to do a maternity session as it’s an opportunity she missed out one first time round. She felt unwell for a lot of her first pregnancy and was never fully comfortable with the changes to her body. This time things are going a lot more smoothly and she’s embracing the bump!
We decided to some fine art portraits that are classic and timeless. Soft, beautiful lighting and silhouettes are soft and feminine and bring all the attention to the bump. I personally love black and white images for their simple contrast and think Rebecca looks stunning!
Part of what I love about about maternity shoots is seeing Mum’s celebrating their bodies and fully embrace their strength and beauty. It’s an opportunity for some me-time, a girly chat and confidence boost.
I can’t resist sharing one more from Rebecca’s shoot. I know I said I love black and whites, but this is simply stunning in colour! At 30 weeks it’s not long until her little one is with us, but there’s still to do some family shots as well featuring big-sister to be and Dad. Family is always welcome at these shoots, it’s great to get siblings feeling involved and everyone excited for new baby’s arrival. The maternity session is also a great time to get a newborn shoot pre-booked in the diary before baby arrives and baby brain kicks in!
To view our gallery of maternity images visit here.
Live Music Photography- The Beths!
When we’re not photographing babies or conferences you can sometimes find us making our way through a crowd at a concert with a camera in hand…obviously.
It’s great when two passions collide and photographing gigs is always great fun. Last week we had the pleasure of working with our friend and colleague Tony from Fifty 3. Tony is a passionate music fan and avid writer of reviews. He’s recently launched his new music site featuring album reviews, live reviews and many other musings on music.
Last week’s gig was The Beths, a great little band from New Zealand. I’ll leave the review-writing to Tony and just say that they were great and a pleasure to photograph!
We’ve done our fair share of concert photography, but it’s always exciting. Highlights from The Beths include getting a leg up from a stranger in the crowd on to the sound booth, just to get the right shot. You can’t say we aren’t committed to the craft!
More photos and Tony Hardy’s review of The Beths can be found here
Baby Photography in Surrey
We love capturing little ones. It’s so special to have the chance to photograph them at every stage of life. From newborns to first birthdays and everything in between.
Above we have some favourite photos from Silas’ session. He’s recently turned one and was a bundle of energy at his session! He gave us all a good work out as he crawled around the space and even had a good go at standing on his own! The big grins are my favourite as they show off all his little toothypegs, but even the shots without smiles showcase his big, beautiful brown eyes.
First birthday shoots can be on the day of your child’s birthday as the perfect way to remeber their special day or a couple of weeks before so you can have the photos to proudly display and share with family on their birthday.
Below are some gorgeous newborn images. Beautiful and delicate at just 2 weeks old. The best part of newborn photography is capturing the precious, quiet moments in the brief time when they’re still tiny and brand new. The first 14 days is perfect for newborn photography as your baby is still naturally curled and quite sleepy. Even if they’re unsettled a quick feed and they’re milky drunk and straight off to sleep! Newborn session’s can be booked at the same time as your maternity session at around 34 weeks.
To view more of our baby images view the gallery here.
How to get the best Expressions
These days everyone’s a photographer, or at least everyone has a camera and the majority of us are constantly snapping away and documenting things.
This can sometimes be a problem when children (and adults!) come into the studio for their portraits. Constantly feeling the pressure to smile or pose for the camera and wanting to look our best on social media can lead to some forced expressions.
As a photographer we see a lot of fake smiles. People are always asking how to get natural expressions from their children or how it’s best to smile. The simple answer is keep it natural! One of the big secrets of being a portrait photographer is that you are also a child’s entertainer/ clown/ comedian. It’s our job to snap everyone out of their forced ‘photo faces’ and relax.
Sure, our jokes can be a bit rubbish and you might not expect to see us transform into the dreaded tickle monster, but if that’s what it takes to get a giggle, then we’ll do it. I don’t care if you smile because you’re thinking ‘Wow, she look’s like a complete idiot right now!’ or because my conversation with a toy bunny is genuinely entertaining, it’s all about keeping it fun.
That said here are a few tips for capturing natural smiles of your own children:
Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019!
Well, we’re officially into the New Year so we thought we’d take a bit of time to look back at the past 12 months.
It’s been a busy year filled with so many wonderful shoots. We’ve met lots of lovely new customers and seen some familiar faces again. We’ve had the pleasure of capturing new life, celebrated Octogenarians photographed Weddings and 50th Wedding Anniversaries. We’ve photographed from living rooms and the Houses of Parliament and everything in between.
One thing hasn’t changed and that’s our passion for the job. We love what we do and can’t wait for what 2019 holds!
Christmas Portraits Surrey
Tis the season for feeling festive! Are you one of the organised ones with the decorations up, cards send out and presents wrapped or are you a last minute panic shopper? Either way it can be easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out with all that there is going on.
The perfect present and an opportunity to take some time out together is a family portrait session. Whether you’re looking for prints to give the grandparents, a personalised Christmas card or just an updated portrait for yourself, it’s a wonderful way to see out the year. And there’s still time to yours ready for under the tree!
All studio sessions are now just £20 and include your favourite digital image! We have limited sessions left for our last studio session of the year on Sunday 16th December so don’t delay and book your slot! To secure your session visit our Website
Can’t make it to the studio? No problem! We are available for homes shoots at your convenience, so if you’ve got a family get together why not capture the moment. get in touch to arrange your shoot here.
Christmas Family Photography
The leaves are starting to fall, it’s constantly raining and it’s the semi-final of Bake Off, all this can only mean one thing- Christmas is coming!
This year for Christmas I’m treating my Mum to an updated portrait of my sister and I. She’s been asking for one for the last few years and for the last few years I haven’t had a single good hair day and have always put it off. This year I’m making it happen, my hair is finally behaving and all I have to do is pin down my sister for a date. However it’s the busiest time of year and we’re already looking at mid-November for the shoot and even that seems optimistic!
I know we all scoff when we see mince pies in the super market on the 1st September, but honestly the last few months of the year always run away from us and it helps to be organised!
Getting the kids and the rest of the family together can be tough to do in between browsing Amazon for gifts and attending 101 festive parties, but it’s well worth doing. The best gifts are the ones that are personal and having meaning. It’s not just because I’m a photographer, but I really believe a portrait is a perfect gift. If Grandma only gets to see the kids a few times a year, why not get a portrait that she can admire all year in anticipation of seeing them again? If you’re always snapping on your phone, why not get in front of the lens and share a special moment with the family while someone else captures it for a change?
We have three more pop-up studio days in Sutton before Christmas on Sunday 21st October, Sunday 18th November and Sunday 16th December, which covers the organised ones and the last minute gift-givers! In between those dates we are available to come to your home at a time that suits you. You can include personal touches from your home or have a studio feel portrait! And if you’re celebrating Christmas with all the cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents and the pets it’s the perfect photo opportunity!
Get in touch to arrange your festive session!
Last weekend was the glittering awards dinner of the 34th Annual MPA Master Photography Awards and I had the pleasure of being invited along as a finalist!
It was a fantastic weekend full inspiring seminars, talks and demonstrations by industry professionals, all followed by the main event- the awards dinner! It was an exciting night shared by over 200 photographers and industry partners to come together for a celebration of photography.
I was very proud to be awarded 3 Merits in the Portrait category and a Gold Award for the Monthly Competition! It was an absolute honour to receive my awards as over 2000 images were entered for photographers in the UK and abroad. There were so many stunning images on display and it was such an inspiring night.
For me, it was wonderful to meet and connect with so many photographers from all over the globe. even propping up the bar and chatting until the early hours of Monday morning! I left feeling exhausted but inspired to go out and create. I learnt so much and I can’t wait to put all my new knowledge into creating stunning work for our clients.
I’ll leave you with a closing word from Ray Lowe, CEO of the MPA: “The standard of photography we have seen this year is without a doubt world class. It is always exciting to see new faces coming through and rewarding to see such great talent entering our awards. With entrants both UK and worldwide, our winners really are the pinnacle of creative excellence. The Association has sat as the premier photographic association since 1952 and this year marked the 34th Awards ceremony. It is an absolute honor to showcase imagery of such high standard and we are extremely proud to represent some of the greatest professional image makers globally.”
I can’t wait to go back next year!
Kids grow up so fast don’t they? I was chatting to a friend yesterday about his new Grandson. It turns out his Grandson is now not so new and is nearly a year old! Where has the time gone?!
We regularly get to photograph children and families as they grow up. We had the pleasure of photographing Victor recently, who so much fun during his shoot! He’s a real cheeky chappy and his personality comes through so well in the photos.
It’s currently only 11 weeks until Christmas and the year has totally flown by. Have you captured all the changes in your kid’s lives this year? Have they started walking, loosing their baby teeth, going to big school or even graduated university?
There’s still plenty of time to round off the year with portraits of the kid’s, if you’d like to find out more about our children’s and family portraiture visit our Website.
Yesterday I received some exciting news… I got an email to say that three of my images have been awarded Merits in the National Master Photographers Awards!
This means I am a finalist for the Portrait Category. The Awards of Excellence and the Overall Winning images are chosen from the Merits, so it’s an exciting step towards the Award Finals next month.
There were nearly 2000 entries for this year’s awards from top photographers all over the country. I was hoping to achieve at least one Merit, so I’m ecstatic to be awarded three! The images are under wraps at the moment, but i will definitely share them once the awards are over.
I’m excited to attend the awards night for a celebration of great photography with photographers from all over the world. We will of course give any updates that follow on from the Nationals next month, but in the mean time keep your finger’s crossed!
I’m now off to try and find a suitable outfit for the evening…
London Event Photography
It’s been a busy week for us as we’ve been up in Westminster for the British Inter-Parliamentary Union photographing their Seminar on the Western Balkans.
The event was part of the Western Balkans Summit, which saw parliamentarians from all over the region as well as the UK together to discuss a number of topics concerning the region, and covered everything from corruption to equality. We were there to photograph the speakers as they presented to the delegates and met with members of UK parliament.
It was a hectic but interesting week and we were fortunate enough to go inside Lancaster House (originally commissioned but the grand Ole Duke of York in 1825) and the Speakers House, two incredible venues both steeped in history. Sorry, I’m a bit of a history and architecture fan, can you tell?
We were also witness to some very some very powerful and inspiring speeches from a number of delegates, which were a definite highlight of the job!
Below are a few images from the Seminar
Beautiful Maternity Photography Surrey
It’s a wonderful thing to capture the magical time of pregnancy with elegant, beautiful portraits.
Ruth Geraghty is an award-winning photographer who loves capturing the beauty and strength of pregnancy in her maternity portraits.
Call Ruth on 07985 788 076 to discuss your maternity photography.
We can set up our portable studio in your home or you can visit us in Sutton if you prefer.
See our gallery of maternity photography
See more about maternity portraits on our website
This month Ruth was awarded the prestigeous Gold Award and the winner of the MPA monthly competition with this image from a recent creative head shot session for aspiring model, Blessing. Creative shoots like this are always my favourite, getting to try out new ideas is always fun. Having them judged by industry experts is how I learn and grow as a professional photographer. Recieving Awards is always encouraging and keeps me trying new things and striving to provide clients with excellent photography.
Corporate Headshot Photography in Surrey and London
Making the right impression is so important, and so many of our initial interactions with people are no longer face to face. Having a portrait that you love and that presents you at your best it vital, after all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression!
I scroll through LinkedIn and can’t believe how many blurry, dark or strangely cropped photos from a night out there are. Or I’m emailing a potential client and there’s a tiny holiday snap staring back at me or even worse no photo to put to their name!
I recently had a conversation with a business owner about why they haven’t updated their head shot in nearly 6 years. They said they hadn’t liked a photo that’s been taken of them since. I was shocked. I know it tends to be our default reaction to dislike pictures of ourselves, especially since photos are flipped when compared to the familiar reflection we see in the mirror, hence why we look weird and ‘not like our selves’. But honestly, the photo on their business card wasn’t doing them justice and it almost wasn’t recognisable as them!
Yes, time ages us all (apart from Keanu Reeves) and we don’t like seeing our wrinkles and grey hair, but these perceived flaws shouldn’t hold you back in your personal branding. When you’re selling yourself, sell the best you.
A professional portrait photographer wants to get the best photo of you and knows how to get it. The right lighting, outfit and subtle retouching all come together to showcase you at your best. And having a photo that you love and are proud to put out there is so important.
Whether it’s for LinkedIn, your website, or your whole company is having a re brand and wants entire new team head shots we can help. All we need is a corner of an office to set up in and we can create business portraits that show you as approachable and professional. Alternatively you can come and visit us at our pop-up studio in Sutton, South London. For more information vistt our Website
As photographers we are always striving to learn and improve, not only for our own personal growth but also to make sure we are continually providing the best photography for our clients.
At Lightning Photography we’ve had a couple of exciting wins over the last couple of months. Ruth was recently awarded MPA South East Photographer of the Year as well as winner of the Creative Portrait Category! The annual print competition gives qualified photographers in the South East a chance to enter their best work and receive critique, feedback and hopefully a certificate or two. This year’s competition was judged by Chairman of the Master Photographers Association, Ray Lowe.
Ruth also received a couple of awards at the London Portrait Group August Print Competition, with a merit in the singles category and third place in the couples. This is along with a number of Highly Commended awards in the MPA Monthly Competition throughout the year for her maternity and creative portraits.
We’re proud to continually offer our clients a guarantee of quality with award winning photography.
To book your shoot visit our Website
Despite being social photographers, we quite often neglect to take the time to photograph the ones closest to us. We’re either busy photographing other people’s families or our own families got fed up of being used as model years ago!
My Dad recently decided to jump in front of the camera to document going clean shaven for the first time in 30+ years. We’re used to capturing first smiles, first steps and first school uniforms, but a 60 something man’s first clean shave was a definite first for me to shoot!
I decided that if he was going to do this then he needed to explore different style options along the way. He’d prepared by growing out his face forest for a couple of months to achieve a Father Christmas look. He then rolled out of bed and straight on to set for the first photos. He popped down to the barbers for an initial trim to get things under way, before chopping, trimming and shaving a few new styles.
Each style was accompanied by a new persona and given a new name (complete with a full back story). I think the dapper, mustachioed 1940’s pilot -named Grant- was my personal favourite look.
Eventually the deed was done and we all agreed that we couldn’t wait for the beard to be back! But it was a fun day and a reminder to take a few photos of my own family once in a while, although it was a mission to get him to stop pulling silly faces.
If you’re planning a a dramatic style change definitely get in touch as we’d love to document it! There’s a free shoot for anyone willing to have a multi coloured mo hawk…
Visit our Website to book your session Here
Actors Headshot & portrfolio Photography
We recently had the pleasure of photographing some new acting head shots for Olivia. She’s a talented actress who has landed the role of Simon in the new female-led production of Lord of the Flies, produced by Sherman Theatre and Theatr Clwyd. More info on the production here.
Olivia wanted some classic, timeless shots that she could use to update her portfolio. It’s been a few years since we last photographed head shots for Olivia and it’s always great to have catch up when clients return.
During all our head shots session we allow plenty of time for outfit changes as well as changes to the background and lighting so you have a variety of shots that set the right tone for the image and display your range at it’s best. For this shoot we set up an in-home studio in Epsom and worked with our portable studio lights as well as doing some natural light
If you are looking for a Surrey or London photographer to update your head shots or portfolio, give us a call now on 07985 788 076.
We provide head shots for actors, models, musicians, authors and more. If you’d like to see more of our head shots, visit our main website Here
Family Portraits at Home!
Studio portraits are great but family portraits at home have something really special to offer as well.
The long summer days are fading and Autumn is fast approaching. I recently had the pleasure of joining a family as they made the most of the last warm summer evenings, while celebrating a 60th Wedding Anniversary.
While visiting from Denmark, Henriette’s parents were celebrating 60 years together. The family decided to mark the occasion with with a family photo shoot. This was a perfect opportunity to do photos as the family were already getting dressed up for an meal out.
I went over to their home to get some photos before they headed out for the evening. We made the most of their beautiful garden for the shoot, which gave a more relaxed feel to the photos. I always love doing three generation sessions, but to capture the Diamond couple on their anniversary was even more special.
Even though the evenings are drawing in, there’s still plenty of opportunity for location and outdoor shoots during Autumn/ Winter (weather permitting)! Autumn brings a beautiful golden light which works well with crisp orange leaves, and is my absolute favourite for capturing ‘golden hour’. We work throughout Surrey and South London, so there are ample locations to choose from for location shoots. A few ideas include: Nonsuch Park, Richmond Park, Banstead Woods, Reigate Hill, Canizaro Park and Bushey Park.
To view our gallery of family photography visit our website Here
Three reasons to have portraits at home:
In consultation with you, we will advise on locations within your home and then set up the lighting as required for the shoot.
Convenient and really effective at creating fantastic family portraits for you to display on your shelves or walls!
Your business portraits for LinkedIn, websites and other media are an opportunity to make the right impression!
This short video shows examples of business portraits that are spot on … and some that are not so great…
1) flatter the staff (which they’ll love!)
2) have a positive visual impact when displayed either together or individually
3) communicate quality, trust and professionalism
We can create your business portraits in your home or office or at the Holiday Inn, Sutton, whichever suits you best.
Star on the Rise!
One of my Bizzykidz shoots this week was with Jack (aged 10) who has already got a booking through Bizzykidz, the award-winning model agency. Jack appeared on stage with David Walliams as a mini Dec (as in Ant ‘n Dec).
He did a great job in the shoot with me as well; enthusiastic, confident and relaxed. Well done Jack – best of luck to you!
Watch Jack as Dec on stage with David Walliams at the Royal Variety Performance
Baby Shower and Maternity Shoot!
This lovely couple held a Baby Shower at the fabulous Warren House and I did some maternity portraits and event coverage for them.
It was a real pleasure to a part of this special occasion for this couple and their family – best wishes to them and their baby daughter, expected to arrive in March!
Photography for Charities
We have cover many types of events, but awareness and fundraising events seem the most importrant to cover.
At a reception in the House of Commons, organised by the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, the clear message was to reduce the screening age from 60 to 50 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (it’s already 50 in Scotland). This could save 4000 lives a year. Bowel cancer causes the second most deaths of all cancers but if diagnosed early the survival rate is very high.
Email your MP here to back bowel cancer screening at age 50
Many MPs and campaigners came to show their support.
1. Life’s precious moments – kids change fast – catch this time while you can
2. They are fun! – whether in the studio, in your home, garden or wherever you like
3. Look your best – let’s face it, selfies are not flattering – in professional portraits everyone looks their best
4. It’s a fantastic gift – share with other family members who will want to preserve memories
5. Great for Home or Office décor – use it as an art piece for that dull wall or corner
Talk to us about what you’d like and see if we can help!
You can book online here book your family portrait session