Fabulous holiday homes in North Wales

After the first test session I was asked to go back at the end of April to photograph ten more holiday homes and a few exterior and detail shots at a few houses where the owners had upgraded some of the rooms and had work done on the gardens and so on.

For three days I toured Anglesey and the Lleyn Peninsula and visited some really beautiful places. Some I knew well but most were in places I didn’t know or hadn’t even heard of before. On last Monday of April I set off to work in shorts and a t shirt, and after quick trip to the shops for fresh flowers and a few goodies to prop the interior shots, I went the first house on my list. It was close to the middle of Anglesey, down winding roads and farm tracks and I encountered the first delay of the day; sheep being herded down the lane to the cottage. So I stopped and admired the view and took a few scenic shots, landscapes and sheep doing what they do. It was a perfect day for it. When I finally found the cottage it was perfect for a romantic getaway for two (and maybe the dog). Certainly if you wanted to hide away from everyone for a few days it would be perfect. Nobody would find you.

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Once I’d photographed the newly landscaped garden I set off for Bodwarren near Holyhead Mountain. It’s a working farm with a beautiful house and several cottages which have been converted from the old stone farm buildings. With the sun shining and no wind it was perfect. As a newby to property photography I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Working in such beautiful surroundings in the sunshine and in my shorts; such a massive difference to working in a city centre office in a suit and tie. That all seems so long ago now and I miss it like a fish misses a bicycle.

At Bodwarren I had to photograph the new hot tub at the house and a few exteriors. Setting up the dining table on the patio for a family lunch gave me the opportunity to show off the quality of the Bodwarren properties. It struck me that the owners had made a significant investment to make sure that their properties were beautifully presented and finished to a really high standard.

From Bodwarren I went over to Rhoscolyn to photograph three properties. All very different in style and character. They filled the afternoon and the pressure was on to get everything done before the sun started to set. The last job of the day was to photograph Cae Llyn from Rhoscolyn beach. The evening sun gave Rhoscolyn Beach a golden glow and the whitewashed Cae Llyn looked magnificent above the beach. Then it was time for tea and a quick look at the day’s shots.

The following morning I went to Criccieth and Pwllheli for the first time in nearly 30 years. My first call was at Hendre in the hills south of Caernarfon where the owners had converted some farm buildings into two cottages. The views would have been stunning but for the low cloud. After shooting the new lounge and dining room I set off for Criccieth to do a quick business portrait at Menai Holidays’ Criccieth office and to photograph a bathroom at a flat overlooking the castle and the sea front. The exterior views at Hendre would have to wait for better weather.

By lunchtime the sun was out again and I was in Pwllheli to photograph Ty’r Twinni, (what I’d call an upside down house). The kitchen, dining room, lounge and terrace were on the top floor with picture windows to get the full splendor of the amazing views over Cardigan Bay. By now I was getting used to the solitude of working on my own and starting to really enjoy it. The new workflow was coming together too, so I was making much better use of the time. The views were a bit of a distraction but I had to press on. I was due in Criccieth by 4 ish to photograph the exterior of two apartments. I arrived in the nick of time as the weather had changed and sun had gone for the day. Everything was finished before the drizzle came. It was time for an ice cream and a wander on the beach before returning to my sister’s in Anglesey for tea.

The last day of this trip was a real ‘dodge the showers’ kind of day with two full houses, a couple of exteriors and a bathroom to photograph. I only got soaked once and the owner of the first house, Vine Tree Barn was home and brought me tea and cakes. This trip, my first full property shoot for Menai Holidays, just got better and better. The second house, Yr Hen Felin (The Old Mill) was on the shore of the Menai Straits and had its own harbour. A gorgeous and large home with six bedrooms in honey coloured limestone, Yr Hen Felin had recently been completely refurbished by its owners and looked fantastic. The perfect place to finish a three day trip. There was going to be plenty of editing to do over the next few days but everything shot it was time for tea; fish and chips on the prom in Beaumaris.

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Business Portraits for Williams & Goodwin – The Property People

I believe in the chaos theory and the randomness of how we meet people that we don’t know but are connected to. When you arrive at an event you never know who you’ll meet and how you may be connected.

I met Melfyn Williams from Williams & Goodwin at a charity event for the Foundation for Peace in Warrington. He was doing the charity auction and I was photographing the event. We got chatting about Anglesey and about work as men tend to do. Shortly after the event Melfyn asked me about doing business portraits for his 35 staff in their four branches in Anglesey & Gwynedd as well as night shots of the offices and a few shots for their 2014 advertising campaign. As luck would have it, the weather at the beginning of January was perfect. I shoot business portraits in natural light, but with short winter days we were on a tight schedule to get everything done and edited in two and a half days. But the weather was kind and everything went according to plan.

I spent much of my childhood on Anglesey and my sister and her family live there so being able to work there for a few days was a real treat. As well as having really friendly people to work with, having uncrowded roads, gorgeous scenery and the chance for a stroll along Trearddur Bay beach after work was just fantastic.

What I didn’t realise was that this would be the first of many shoots in Anglesey and the Lleyn in 2014 and that my repertoire would broaden significantly as a result. My work for Williams & Goodwin was the first major project of 2014 and set the pattern for a wonderful year as a professional photographer.

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Estuary Cottage – Menai Holidays

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Having a reputation for photographing people, I was surprised when I was asked if I’d like to look at doing property photography for Menai Holidays. I had done their business portraits a few weeks earlier but I really wasn’t sure about photographing houses, so we agreed to do a trial shoot and if it didn’t work out then no worries; it would have been an interesting day out and a chance to spend time in my beloved Anglesey, where I spent most of my childhood.

The scene of the trial was to be Estuary Cottage, near Moefre on the east coast of Anglesey. I’m very comfortable photographing people and pets in any situation, whether its a portrait session at home or abseiling off a water tower to photograph an engineer carrying out work. But this was different. Houses don’t give you feedback, you can’t tell if they are nervous, you can’t tease a smile from them and you can’t ask a sofa to move slightly if it’s not quite where you want it to be. So this was a whole new ball game.

The owners had made a huge effort to make sure that Estuary Cottage was finished to the highest standard and I really liked it as soon as I walked in and saw the views across the fields to the bay beyond. After the shoot I couldn’t wait to edit the photographs and share the finished results with the team at Menai Holidays. They were very pleased with the results and it was the start of a busy summer visiting and photographing many beautiful holiday homes in stunning locations on Anglesey and on the Lleyn Peninsula.

I quickly discovered that I liked photographing houses and I got to spend some time in some of the finest parts of North Wales. Estuary Cottage was the first of over 50 holiday homes that I photographed last year. I’ll be posting about other houses and lifestyle shoots for Menai Holidays over the coming months. If you fancy staying in one of them call Menai Holidays on 01248 430258 or use the links above to visit their website.

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