Are you being or are you posing?

If you are looking for a photographer who captures people and animals ‘being’ rather than ‘posing’ then you have found her!

As a mummy of two under five it would feel wrong to place a photograph on the wall or in a frame of my children sitting in a field, with golden sunshine drowning them and angelic smiles looking back at me … a photograph of one of them in the bathroom with an empty loo roll or a family shot with one smiling, one gurning and perhaps mud everywhere, yes. That would be real and that would be right.

There aren’t many people out there who truly enjoy looking directly at a camera or guiding their body into the right position to look their best, this is why a photographer must, first and foremost, love being with people! I do. No matter who, why or what, people are my passion.

I am now ‘being’ in life in that after having my children and putting the wheels in motion to go back to work I realised that this was the moment to convert my passion and hobby into a profession. I have completed the most relevant photography course out there, the six month Foundation Programme with Training byLumiere and I am quietly building up a portfolio and client base.

This is the story so far,  with minimal fluffiness.

Find out who you are and do it on purpose. Dolly Parton

 

Magic at The Patch MK

Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace.

French Proverb

In October 2019 they brought us a field full of pumpkins, a bale maize and a fabulous barrel train ride. Now, in August 2020, the team at The Patch MK have created a field full of happiness! There are sunflowers as far as the eye can see, a maize maze, a bale mountain, the infamous barrel train and a field full of wheat. It is a photographers‘ dream! In particular it is my dream …. after three months of homeschooling and pausing with work, it is an utter joy to be getting back out there!

Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography is thrilled to be back on site and offering you mini photography sessions, starting on Tuesday 11th August.

20 minutes of photography for £50 – it can be a family session (up to 6 people), or you and your friends, you and your loved one, you and the children, just the children, content for your blog/social media/work … or simply just you

5+ edited images, delivered in an online secure gallery and one printed (of your choice) up to 6 X 8 ins.

Many of my customers at the pumpkin patch mini sessions received a lot more than the specified number of images, if I have them then I do try and get as many to you as I possibly can.

Thank you so much! I haven’t stopped staring at them for the past 45 minutes. I love every single one of them.I really do. And your style and the photos are perfect too. We had such a great time that day so perfect memories for the photos to always bring me.

Lauren, family photography session at The Patch MK, October 2019

Coronavirus dictates that entry onto The Patch is now ticketed so if you do want to book a session with me please do book your session through their site first and then contact me. I’m not operating an online booking system this year because of this.

From a safety point of view, the same rules apply. I will only work provided I exhibit no symptoms of the virus. I would ask that you do the same. If on the day of your shoot you are worried then please do call me as soon as possible and if we’re able to we will reschedule. Rather conveniently, I do need to be a slight distance from you anyway when taking the photographs!

If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The Pumpkin Patch MK

There’s a new Pumpkin Patch on the block and it opens up its field the weekend of the 12th – 13th October!

As farmers with a hunger for finding new activities to enjoy as a family this new diversification was born. They want to provide a unique experience for all ages, and more importantly, to create memories which will last a lifetime … and this is where I am thrilled to step in!

Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography will be on site to photograph you and your loved ones whilst you create these lifetime memories. You could be choosing pumpkins (there are eight varieties!), wandering the bale maze, having your face painted or enjoying the outstanding selection of homemade cakes, sausage rolls or pumpkin pasties from Cranley Barn Farms . Whatever it may be, don’t let the moment pass without capturing it. Children love photographs, they’re a personal story book!

20 Minute Mini Sessions will be available, pre booked only, for £50. As both a photographer and parent I have found this to be a perfect amount of time to capture some wonderful moments whilst also ensuring that everyone involved is happy. All edited images will be sent to you in a secure online gallery, where you can choose one to be printed up to 10’X7′. Other deliverables are of course available, please get in touch for further information.

The art of storytelling.

What is the art of storytelling? How does it work? How can someone else tell your story?

Everyone has a story to tell and every story has chapters. Whatever is going on in your life right now is part of you and part of your story. I think that people worry that if they aren’t the weight they want to be, their house isn’t quite as they pictured and maybe they haven’t quite found the job that will define them then it isn’t time to document it.

Father and daughter playing Uno, the art of storytelling

IT IS. Why? Because it’s you right now and this ‘you’ will lead to the ‘you’ that will make you stop one day and think that it is time and it’s ok to document it by booking a photographer… who gets a buzz out of the art of storytelling!

My job is to take the photographs however it isn’t just that. More often than not I will go into someones’ home or their office and when there I have to open my eyes, ears and also a part of me in order to work with people to make sure that what I capture is them. There are so many different ways that people smile for starters! What I want, what I need are the smiling eyes (if it’s a face to camera moment) and if I can’t see the eyes then the next thing would be a happy body.

Grandmother, daughter and granddaughter, the art of storytelling

One client recently told me that he felt like his Grandma was directing him! I didn’t take offence because yes, I was being bossy. It wasn’t the bossiness that protected me from the Grandma comment, it was the fact that I knew I was pushing him to be him, the best version of him and the one that he would look at the photographs of and be proud of. I had known him for twenty minutes.

Watching someone, gauging them, learning from them; all of these actions are as important as setting the camera up properly.

In a digital age, where love letters aren’t stored in a shoe box like they once were (are they even written any more?!), or old diaries aren’t hidden away how do people tell their stories? For many it is through images. So, why not book a photographer (preferably me!), capture some memories and then compliment them with some words. It can be as simple as writing down why you like your favourite colour, just like Belinda Brock did in her Huffington Post article.

Couple holding hands, the art of storytelling

First time.

If I told you that, as I drove to it, I had my gym playlist blasting out in the car, would that give you an idea of my adrenalin/nerve levels?! I was on my way to my first photography session as a photographer, money was going to exchange hands. This was real!

People talking whilst standing at the bar. First photography session as a photographer.

On Saturday 7th April 2018, Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography photographed a 40th birthday party, at a venue in Bedfordshire.

It was the weekend before the last two days of a six month course with Training byLumiere and in all honesty I was still uncertain of the type photographer I wanted to be. On top of that, Kate and Brent Kirkman, who run Training byLumiere, were guests at the party so there wasn’t just a desire to do a good job, there was a need to make them proud too!

Women embracing at a party. First photography session as a photographer.

A little side note here, when I first started my course I had zero technical ability. If you asked me how I got the shots I did, I honestly couldn’t answer you with anything other than, ‘it just felt right’!

Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed, I truly didn’t have the foggiest what that was about. People, I could work with people. I love people! Relationships, body language, all of it. That has always been a passion. Exposure triangles, it wasn’t a triangle to me, it was a black hole!

Back to the event, a 1920’s theme evening party at a venue, with a flower wall set up in one room. As my course tutors were guests, they had set up a Nikon D4S, with 50mm lens, with 2 X Elinchrom Quadra Rangers with umbrellas for the flower wall.

They went to get changed and we left it that we’d do a run through before the party started.

The party started pretty much as soon as they left to get changed in that people came into the room, saw me, saw the camera gear, the fancy dress props and they wanted to start. So we did! Yes, there was a moment where I also looked around the room for the photographer … and then remembered that it was me!

In all honesty it was the best thing that could have happened. Yes, there was hand holding initially however I then had to do the job and do it by myself. The flower wall was easy as it was essentially a studio set up – the only work there was directing the guests.

Walking amongst the guests and snapping away. I was officially working.

As soon as there was a lull, I picked up my now third child, my Nikon D500, 50mm lens, with a Nikon SB5000 (that I hadn’t even used yet!) and the MagMod MagBounce modifier and I was off.

Ladies talking at a 1920s themed party. First photography session as a photographer.

The party was spread out across three rooms, a bar area, a room that had both the flower wall and the food in it and then the main function room. In here the band was set up (with all of their lights, that was fun!), the dance floor and also the dining area. Three different rooms, constantly changing lights, lots of people moving. It was a cracking deep end to have jumped into

Was it a success? Yes, the client was happy. Did I learn from it? Yes, and I am still learning from it now when I look back at some of the photos and study the exposure and composition. Am I glad that I did it? Oh yes, it marked the beginning of Kate Stoddart-Scott Photography and it was perfect balance of adrenalin, nerves, excitement, technical floundering and enjoyment!

Couple laughing.
First photography session as a photographer.

I can’t thank Kate enough for the incredible photos from my 40th party. I knew I wanted special photos to cherish, but never imagined they would be so wonderful. Kate was that dream photographer you want at your event – in the background, capturing moments without you realising. Discreet, professional and patient – also obliging all the excited and slightly tipsy guests asking for pictures with different groups of friends. Everyone LOVES the images and many have used them as their profile pictures on social media. Highly recommended! Thank you Kate, you were fabulous. XX

The school photograph. Yes, that thing.

On this day, the 16th January (only nearly half way through the month, what have I been doing?!) I have decided to get straight to the point. In 2019 I am taking on ‘the school photograph’.

Child outdoors

Yes people, I am making it my mission to drag this little rite of passage, the dreaded school photograph, into the correct century because it is time. It is so time. As both a parent and photographer I feel that I am qualified to do this task!

Let’s start from the professional point of view, the photographer one. I was appalled at both the quality and the price of this so called ‘professional’ photograph. First and foremost, snot, a close second is food residue, third is hair, fourth is pose and five, oh me oh my, five is background. 

When working with children it’s a given that snot, eye sleep, food residue etc will all be there at some point. I try where possible to ensure that all clients children have a fresh face prior to snapping away.
Sometimes this isn’t possible however that doesn’t matter because part of my job is ALSO to check in post production. Removing such things from an image is tidying up, it’s ensuring that your focus is on the most important thing, your child. Not the crusty nose.

The pose and the background. Education has changed since the 1970s, so has the teaching environment. Why hasn’t the school photograph?! Children now spend more time learning outdoors than times gone by, many environments are ‘child led’. We no longer see row after row of desks nor are children expected to be seen and not heard.

Could the lack of change be anything to do with the fact that the photography industry is unregulated and unfortunately people have assumed that the professional photographers out there, offering such services, have also changed with the times? Or is it, (can it be?!) that the demand for this dated photograph is actually still there? I do wonder. We don’t live in houses where primary coloured school jumpers and cardigans complement the walls and frames of today. We need our child’s school photograph to show off our child in all their school day glory as well as needing it to be something that we truly want to put on a wall or in a frame. This is good for children too. We can talk about that psychology in another post.

Child in the classroomMoney, then we get to the money (that’s a whole blog in itself, I’ll keep this short and sweet though). The prices are too high for what is received and most important of all they are not fair. All parents feel duty bound to buy the school photograph, our parents did and our grandparents did. As I said earlier, it’s a rite of passage. For some this is their first experience of using a professional photographers’ services and oh my goodness me things do need to change. Why can’t a parent have all the digital images? This rule is not applicable to all shoots by the way. For example, it would be an unfair ask of a wedding photographer, there would simply be too many photographs. Now that I have defended that little bombshell – there isn’t a need to take more than five per child, so why not hand those over?

Before I really get going I will ask you a few questions and sign off. 2019 is the year of the school photograph for me so there will be more from me on this, this is simply for starters! I have way more to say and do …. I don’t want to throw it all out there just yet though!

  1. Would you buy a school photograph of your child if the photograph was of the child at play or studying rather than seated and looking directly at the camera?
  2. Do you buy printed copies, digital copies, both or neither? If neither, why not?
  3. Would you like to have an option of being able to buy black and white/colour toned down (less bright jumper allowing for your focus to be the child) school photographs?

Any feedback would be hugely appreciated. I really would like to work on something that truly represents what people would like.

Children walking along a tree top walk

Enjoy 2019 people, do what works for you and remember to be kind. Kind is always good.