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This is where you can see examples of our recent and not so recent projects.
Family portraits in Holmes Chapel

Holmes Chapel in Cheshire has become an important destination for me over the last ten years. I’ve photographed lifestyle family portrait photography sessions, pet portrait photography sessions and equine portrait sessions in and around in some of Cheshire’s most beautiful villagesincluding Holmes Chapel regularly since 2010. The village and the surrounding countryside make beautiful backgrounds for family portrait photography.

Family portrait of two sons, their wives and their children photographed in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

When I went to photograph this session late last autumn we had a beautiful day and a bit too much sun really. I think photographers are a but like farmers; always complaining about the weather. Our clients booked this session because they wanted an up to date family portrait to give to Granny for her birthday. They also wanted the chance to have new portrait photographs of their own family groups, of their children and individual portraits of each person.

Black and white family portrait photograph of two brothers in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

For me, family portraits are really important as they are a legacy for future generations, as well as a record of a family at a particular moment in time, captured forever. Family groups are special because they show a group of people and the relationships between them. It’s rare to find an exceptionally interesting location to use as a backdrop but in the first picture we were able to use the garden swing to bring everyone together and then arrange them in their family groups with as much symmetry as possible. I love symmetrical images that are well balanced. Everyone is looking athlete camera in this photograph because it’s what Granny wants. That’s how she wants to see her family who no longer live with her.

Family portrait photograph of three sisters in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

The individual portraits were each taken capture the faces of each person. Again, like the main picture, the parents wanted photos with the children looking into the camera so they had eye contact when viewing the photographs. As the natural light was quite harsh I used fill in flash from my Profoto B2 with a 24″ collapsible beauty dish with the bounce card removed. I photographed the whole session using a Canon 5d Mk iv camera and used 50mm and 85mm lenses.

Often it’s more interesting to take portrait photographs where the person is not looking at the camera, almost as though they are unaware ofd being photographed and I love this style, particularly in an environmental portrait. However when a client is commissioning you to photograph them and their family it’s important to understand what they want to achieve from the session.

A family portrait photograph of a mother and father and two sons in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

A black and white portrait of a teenaged boy standing next to football nets in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

A black and white portrait of a teenaged girl wearing a white sweater and dark blue coat in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

A black and white portrait of a teenaged girl wearing a black sweater and red gilet in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

A black and white portrait of a teenaged girl wearing a scarf in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

A family and pet portrait of a young girl with a Cavapoo puppy in Holmes  Chapel, Cheshire

A family and pet portrait of a young girl with a Cavapoo puppy in Holmes  Chapel, Cheshire

A family portrait of a mum and dad with their daughters and their Cavapoo puppy in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

A family portrait in Leigh, Greater Manchester

Leigh is a town in what used to be South Lancashire (now Greater Manchester), and many people still see it as a Lancashire town. In its heyday Leigh was famous for coal, cotton, cables and tractors. My family are from Leigh and its always nice to go back to Leigh from time to time. Every once in a while I do a family portrait session there as I did for this family.

a family portrait of three generations taken in autumn sunlight in Leigh, Greater Manchester

Why generational family portraits matter

Three generations of the same family arranged around a couple of garden chairs. Some people will look at this photograph and think, so what. Others will look at it and get the idea completely. This kind of photograph is what every grandparent asks me for. It’s a record of their family, three or more generations, all together in one photograph. As people get older material stuff becomes much less important as gifts.

So, older people become much harder to buy gifts for. But a family portrait, of their children and grandchildren all together becomes a much more important, sought after thing and in many ways is the perfect gift.

There are two parts to this and this and this is why a three generation family portraits make such great gifts. The obvious part is the picture itself. And this is something that grandparents always love to have and show off to their friends. The other bit is that it means getting all the family together in one place for a hours. Many families are spread across the country, or across continents. So this can take a bit of planning but it’s always a great occasion because some of the siblings might not have seen each other for a while.

Something for all parts of the family

As well as the full family group, we also have the opportunity to take portraits of all the grandchildren, the smaller sub-divisions of the family such was a son, his partner and kids or their daughter with her partner and children and so one. These smaller groups often mack great presents for grandparents to give to their children and are often ordered secretly.

Cousins living far apart and might not know each other very well and get the chance to reconnect and renew friendships. I remember one family portrait session taken to mark a golden wedding. Their son lived in Japan and spoke fluent Japanese. His wife was Japanese and the main language at their home was Japanese so their young children didn’t speak much English. If you’ve ever watched a bunch of two, three and four year olds playing together you’ll have noticed that the can communicate really well without speaking much. Watching all these young children playing together as I photographed them was pure magic.

You can see more examples of my family portraits here. If you’d like to have a chat about a session please call 01925 471091 or you can make a reservation here.

Didsbury – Winter family portraits

I love winter portrait sessions. Well I love every season as each season gives different types of light. Mother Nature is constantly changing which keeps things fresh and interesting. This lifestyle family portrait photography session was taken in Didsbury, South Manchester last winter. We had a very narrow window between rain showers and failing light, so we did the whole shoot in the family’s garden. That limited the selection of backgrounds I could use, but still gave me something interesting to work with.

Why I like photographing in Didsbury

Didsbury is an interesting area for lifestyle portrait photography. Many of the homes there date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and have good sized gardens and high ceilings in many of the rooms.

Fixed or zoom lenses?

I shot these photographs with a Canon 5D4 with a 50mm lens for the groups and an 85mm lens for the individual portraits. This combination suits me well.

It’s less convenient than using a couple of zoom lenses but fixed focal length lenses make you think differently about the compositions. If you want to zoom in or out then you step forward or backwards. I’m often asked about this by assuring photographers and it’s something I strongly recommend. I use zoom lenses for events and wedding work when you have to work really quickly but when I’ve a little more time, I prefer prime lenses.

When I did this session the natural light was failing fast and we had very heavy cloud. I used my Profoto B2 Off Camera Flash and a soft box to supplement the natural light. I also used my trusty Lastolite reflectors which I use all the time. Fortunately there was no wind but it was fairly chilly so we had to work quickly and only brought people outside as we needed them.

Editing, choosing and framing

The week after the session I edited the photographs. I cropped them and adjusted the colour and contrast to give me a pleasing result that would suit this family’s taste and style. I also made a few black and white copies to show them. They ordered a selection of photographs, for which I designed the bespoke frames for them and then had them made. They are unique reminders of a time in the life of one family that they will treasure forever.

How about a session for you and your family?

If you like the photos you’ve seen on this post why not contact us about a session for your family. Please call 01925 471091 or check out our availability here.

Scroll down to view the photographs.

a colour portrait photograph of a mother, father, son and daughter and two labradoodle dogs from a winter family portrait session in Didsbury, South Manchester

a colour portrait photograph of a mother daughter and a white labradoodle dog from a winter family portrait session in Didsbury, South Manchester

a colour portrait photograph of a father and son with two labradoodle dogs from a winter family portrait session in Didsbury, South Manchester

a colour portrait photograph of a teenage brother and sister from a winter family portrait session in Didsbury, South Manchester

a black and white portrait photograph of a teenage boy from a winter family portrait session in South Manchester

a black and white portrait photograph of a young woman from a winter family portrait session in South Manchester

a black and white portrait photograph of a man in his 40's wearing a black leather jacket from a winter family portrait session in Didsbury, South Manchester

a black and white portrait photograph of a woman in her 40's from a winter family portrait session in South Manchester

a colour portrait photograph of a couple in their twenties from a winter family portrait session in South Manchester

Autumn family portraits in Warrington, Cheshire

Autumn is, for me, the most significant season of change in the year. The trees and land change in colour producing rich reds, golds, yellows and browns. Autumn is perfect as it makes the most pleasing colour palette as a backdrop for family portrait photography. It also gives us the opportunity for people to wear lots of different type of clothes. Hats and scarves suddenly make sense as props which gives us plenty of variety when styling the photographs. I did this session in late October last year at Lymm Dam.

Lymm Dam is a very popular local beauty spot

The dam is a bit of tourist attraction in Lymm. Lymm is a traditional Cheshire village in the south east of the Borough of Warrington. But it isn’t an ideal location for family portraits all year round. From late May to Mid September the leaf cover is very dense making it dark on cloudy days. On sunny days it’s even worse as the strong sunlight filters through the big, green leaves and castes a green tint to people’s faces. In my opinion it makes people look a bit ill and is difficult to correct. The autumn colours work perfectly from Mid September to the end of November meaning that we have near perfect backdrops. As the leaves fall and form a carpet of golds, yellows and browns they soften the harsh greens of summer grass.

On sunny days the bright autumn light can be used to backlight subjects adding an amazing glow to the portraits. Just to balance things out I like to bring a lightweight and very portable off camera flash like a Profoto A1 or B2 to balance the daylight and soften the shadows.

Personal branding and telling your story

Photos and Presentations – all part of the same picture?

Catherine Sandland, the presenting queen by Andrew Collier Photography

In our first guest blog for a long while Catherine Sandland (known many of us as The Presenting Queen) shares her thoughts about photos and presentations and being photographed by me. This is what she had to say…

I recently had some photos taken for the website and also to update my profile pictures. And the conversation I had with my photographer, Andrew Collier was an interesting one and one that threw up several parallels with what he does and what I do professionally.Read More

Urban portraits and fabulous artworks

Sisters in bus stop- Urban portrait photography in Merseyside

I took this urban portrait of two sisters in Wallasey one November afternoon. I wanted something different to the usual close up portraits we had been shooting during the session and the bright yellow bus stop caught my eye. In colour it looked really garish but I knew that it would look stunning in black and white especially as the winter daylight was starting to fade.Read More