Why did we decide to run 5km for the NHS during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Running 5km for NHS was our way of saying THANK YOU because during Lockdown I feel very guilty but privileged to able to stay at home, safe, with my children.
Unable to work, as a non essential business, this to is a small price to pay. At home I am able to spend time with my children: having fun, homeschooling and teaching them life skills. All the while, others are out there risking themselves everyday and then coming home to their family….Still trying to keep everyone safe!
Getting fitter during Lockdown.
A few times a week I have been able to get out for a run. Away from others and slowly building up my fitness. Something that lots of NHS workers have probably been unable to do, during this troubling time.
My children have been spent days with me, as a family: playing on the trampoline, cooking, taking the dog for walk; enjoying carefree days.
Saying thanks to the NHS.
My daughters football team, Southwater Royals Girls Under 13, challenged the girls to run 5km for NHS. So I decided my two children should attempt that challenge.
Having just built up to 5km myself, I told them we would just take it slowly, as neither of them had run that far before and nor had they done any training for it! Although as children they are constantly on the move. My daughter also loves athletics so she did have a head start in fitness. All because other people out there are working VERY hard to keep us safe.
The 5km run for the NHS
We set off early morning and both children were quite excited. The start was tough because it took a little while to warm up and set our pace.
Before long we all settled into a good pace and we were all smiling and chatting. The route we did was great because it had 4 sections, which meant you felt like to were checking off the miles pretty quickly. It was also through the beautiful countryside around Southwater so really nice and peaceful!
The final leg is where things got a bit harder but both children were still brilliant. Preferring to sprint, my daughter would run off and then went for us to catch up. Whereas my son, who doesn’t normally run took the slow and steady option. I was amazed by his determination because he didn’t walk even when he was really tired!
What amazes me most is how normal they both looked when we finished. I’m really proud of them both because they took the challenge on without any complaints and it was a brilliant thing to do as a family. If anyone would like to give a donation to the NHS please click 5k for NHS
If you would like to find out more information about Claire Wilders Photography and the services that we offer please click here
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Photographing your own baby at home can be really tricky. During Lockdown photographers aren’t allowed to work, so there is no one available to record these precious moments for you.
TOP TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR BABY AT HOME
When my children were born, I loved photography but I didn’t know much about photographing a new baby. So, the photos I took, although I love them, definitely don’t look as good as I thought they would. As a newborn baby photographer in Southwater near Horsham, I would like to give you share some top tips on how to photograph your own baby during this time. Hopefully you will then have some lovely memories of your baby to look back on. It doesn’t matter what camera or phone you have, the following can be taken on anything.
My first tip for photographing your baby at home is to think about the light. If the light is rubbish the photo will be rubbish.
Firstly, when it comes to light, you do not want it too harsh! Rather than place your baby in full sunlight, find an area where the light is softer. This way the beautiful light falls on your baby because you don’t get the strong shadows. The way to do this is move your baby away for any bright spots, where direct sunlight is hitting it. Imagine you are out in the sun on a cloudless day. On the floor you can see lots of shadows and lots of bright spots. This is the type of light you want to avoid. A cloudy day is much better because the sun is covered by the cloud, so doesn’t cause harsh shadows but a nice soft light. That’s how you want it in your home.
Secondly, you want the light to coming from the head end rather than their feet to the light. An easy way to see this is to get a torch and stand in the dark, in front of mirror. Now turn the torch on and put it under your chin, see how it gives you a really scary look? This is what happens to your baby when the shadows go the wrong way. With faces you do not want the light coming from below! You can see by the catchlight (white bit) in the eyes of the baby below that the light is coming from top left.
2. Positioning your baby
The easiest place to photograph your baby at home is on the bed. Imagine the window is on your side of the bed. To get the best light for you baby, turn them towards the window, so that they are laying 45 degrees to it. Their head should be towards your pillow and their feet towards your partners feet end of the bed. This was they are getting lovely light going across their face. When taking the photo tilt your camera slightly, so that the babies head is higher that its legs or at least level. If you have the head lower that the bottom in your photo, it feels like your baby is falling down. Using blankets and little scarves to wrap your little one will make them feel secure and stops them wriggling quite so much. Also stand slightly towards their head end, as you don’t want to be looking up their nostrils or at their private bits.
Ensure that your baby is well fed and that the session fits in with their schedule. Ideally, you need them to be asleep, or at least very relaxed. You are lucky that you are photographing your baby at home so you can easily time it so they are asleep. It is also important that the room you are using is nice and warm. Ensure you also have books or things to do for siblings because they may want to become involved. Changing mats are also a great place to photograph your little one as these can be easily moved around the room to make use of the best light. Just make sure someone else is near to help keep your baby safe.
4. What to photograph
Getting close ups of your new baby are great for capturing their tiny features. Using items to show perspective are perfect, such as the wedding rings, shown below.
You can straight away see how small the features are because bands fit easily on the the babies tiny toes. Ensure the features are in focus when you take photo and if you’re zooming in be sure to keep your camera very still.
Close ups make wonder collages too and with phone editing software such a Snapseed and collage software such as Moldiv everything is so much easier.
siblings love to get involved, whereas others hate it. By laying your baby on the bed with a lovely fluffy blanket and some pillows underneath, it is an easy way to get brothers and sisters involved. They can either just sit near the baby or lay down with them and give some gentle kisses. When kissing the baby I tell siblings to give really slow kisses. That way you have time to capture it. Otherwise they normally give the fastest kiss ever and you miss it! Another tip is to wrap your baby in a blanket, so that arms and legs aren’t flailing all over the place and they feel secure. Always ensure that another adult is on hand to assist with the baby while you take the photo. Children do suddenly get bored and offload baby.
Using hats, blankets, wraps and toys are a great way to record gifts that you have been given and provide you with additional ways to capture photos of your baby. By using clothing that fits properly means you get the true perspective of how tiny your baby is. Wraps or scarves are a great way to secure baby or an easy way to hide their bits, while making them look even more adorable.
Good luck in capturing your own memories. During a time when photographers aren’t available I hope these tips help you. If you do manage to capture any photos, feel free to share them on my Facebook page If you would rather not photograph your baby at home and would prefer to book a session. Feel free to pop over to my Newborn Section for more information. Due to current Lockdown we do not know when Claire Wilders Photography will able open for newborn sessions but feel free to get in touch. We can then get you in as soon as possible.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN DIY CANVAS PHOTOGRAPHY BACKDROP
Being on lockdown and having watched many photography training videos I decided to attempt to paint my own DIY canvas photography backdrop.
Photography requires lots of equipment to keep photos current but none of this equipment is cheap. However, there are lots of ways that props can be made on a budget so I thought I would have a go at one. A new backdrop.
Paint of your choice – being on lockdown I couldn’t get to the shops and because I wanted it beige or brown I used some old fence paint. I used Ronseal One Coat in dark oak matt because that is all I had. I also used some old white matt emulsion.
A 12ft x9ft canvas backdrop. Click HERE to visit Amazon where I bought the backdrop
A fluffy roller. Click HERE to see which roller I bought.
Old trampoline cover to lay on the floor to stop it staining the grass. Tarpaulin or plastic sheets could also be used.
Being impatient when it comes to DIY I decided to just wing it! I laid the canvas on an old trampoline cover, so that the paint didn’t wreck the grass. I had heard of people priming the canvas or buying a primed one but I didn’t do either. Others had also pinned their canvas to the ground but I didn’t do this either. I wanted to use the texture and bumpiness of the grass to help me when adding texture to the canvas.
With the paint, I didn’t have a plan because again I wanted it to be random. Using a roller was easier because you could add a decent amount of paint to the canvas and then spread it around at random.
Mixing The Paint
To start off I added white emulsion to the paint tray and then added a small amount of fence paint so that its wasn’t too dark, as I wanted the centre to be lighter than the outsides. I also added a small amount of water to thin the paint down a bit. A few people have added fabric softer to the paint, so that the canvas is more supple at the end. I forgot to do this but the crustier feel doesn’t bother me. To paint the canvas I started in the middle but just slapped the paint on and continued all over the place until I emptied the tray.
Each time I filled the tray, the mixture got darker plus the paint wasn’t always mix it properly. Meaning there was bits of dark and light paint all over the canvas, to add to the texture. As it dried I did make certain areas a bit darker, as the white came through as it dried. Although this is better than the canvas coming out too dark. This day was also really warm so the canvas did dry quickly.
The Finished Product
As a first attempt I was really pleased with this canvas, especially as it only cost me the price of a backdrop. Which was £21. I did cut the backdrop down a bit as it was rather large for my space but the length is brilliant. There is a seem in the middle but with a wide aperture you can’t see it. Plus if you cut it down to make smaller backdrops, this won’t be an issue. TOP TIP… make sure you have the seam underneath.. you’ll notice mine is on the backdrop side! Something I didn’t think about in my haste to start painting.
I’m really pleased with the finished product. It cost me a day out of my time and was pretty easy to do. Both emulsion and fence paint seemed to work okay and I really like the texture it gives in both colour and black and white. Neither of these photos were taken with studio lights, the canvas was hung up and I took a quick photo of my son looking out of the window. Am I going to paint more? YES! Watch this space!!
If you’d like to see this backdrop in use during your photo session please visit my Families session to view details.
A hobby is so important for children and this is why I love doing sports and hobby photography in Horsham.
I am a true believer that all children should participate in sport and that it is an important part of their well being. We were very lucky that my daughter went to Southwater Junior Academy, Southwater, Horsham, Sussex where they have absolutely fantastic PE facilities. Their teacher is dedicated to providing the children with a wide range of sports to try plus they attend a huge amount of sporting events each year. Taking far more teams than any other school to ensure sport truly is for all.
There is nothing like participating in something you love surrounded by your mates.
If children are dealing with issues or stresses at school or home they’ll always have the support of their team mates and that is so IMPORTANT! Or if they participate in a solo sport it is a great way to relieve the stress of the day.
Sports also teach children resilience, to work hard and respect others, as well as helping them to focus.
It also helps them to keep fit, healthy and can even improve brain power.
BUT it’s also fun! And that’s the main one for children. They need to enjoy it.. the rest is just an added extra!
Care is needed when photographing children with special needs
Here is a lovely review a friend wrote recently:
The background story.
A friends son has Autism and Tourette’s, so found it too overwhelming to have photos taken at school. The environment was too noisy and he didn’t like having his photo taken in front of other people.
This was too much for, lets call him Peter, so his siblings have their memorable school photos but he doesn’t because the environment wasn’t suitable for him.
Photographing a school photography session for a child with special needs.
This is why last year, for the for first time they came to Claire Wilders Photography in Southwater, near Horsham. For a bespoke school photo session. Peter came in and took his time to settle in slowly. The session was then taken as his speed. He was a little star and had his photos taken with his siblings and together they got some lovely photos of them ALL together. It took a bit longer than the “allotted time” but that’s okay because it’s about creating a memory for the family and they deserve to have that photo, just like everyone else.
So now they have that “normal” school photo.. like everyone else.
BUT…what is normal?
Is Peter not normal because he doesn’t like his photo being taken or is he completely normal because he doesn’t like his photo being take? He just has extra needs. Every person on this page has had completely different needs because no child is the same.. even twins!
MOST children HATE having their photo taken..
Children, like Peter that have special needs may find having their photo taken a struggle because it’s too noisy and too intrusive. Others hate sitting down too long BUT don’t most children? Things children don’t like about photo sessions include having to look at the camera, hating their outfit or not liking a stranger making them do this and do that. Some just hate having to be near their brothers and sisters!
But this doesn’t mean they can’t have their photos taken. It’s about adapting to the children.
This could include; playing with their toys, running around the woods or reading a book. Helping them to settle in, in whatever way they need. The session can be at your house, the park, their sports lesson, wherever they feel comfortable. (It also doesn’t cost you more if it’s in the local area)
Any photographer will tell you kids photo sessions are very rarely a dream because children are not little robots.. BUT you will have some gorgeous photos at the end of it, showing their personality!
Mini Family Photo Sessions in Horsham.
Mini sessions are great because these only take around 20 minutes so families aren’t expected to “perform” for ages. Outdoor Mini Family Photography Sessions allow your children to burn up some energy on the walk to the location. It’s also possible have a quick play and relax before the camera comes out.
Please do get in touch or feel free to head here to have a look at the Families Photography Page.
None of the children on this page are models.
It’s about capturing emotions and personal moments. Whatever they are; cuddles, splashing in a puddle, wearing a princess outfit.
Together we will decide the best environment to capture the perfect photos of your family.
Peter asked his mum if I can take his photos again this year because it’s much calmer for him and he prefers this to the crazy school environment.
If you wish to keep up to date with future offers and information you can also like my Facebook page by clicking Claire Wilders Photography
Can you believe the summer is over and its only 11 weeks today until Christmas!
BUT… between now and then is my favourite time.. Autumn. Autumn photography sessions are one of my favourite family sessions because this season is just gorgeous. The light at this time of year is just stunning and it is the perfect backdrop for your family.
Around Horsham and Crawley there are some lovely places to spend a glorious autumn day with your family or dog. I thought I would share a few of my favourites, plus a few of my dedicated followers have given me their ideas too.
For more information on Family Sessions please click here
My favourite places to visit:
Tilgate Park, Crawley, is my absolute favourite park! No matter where I have lived no park has ever been as good as Tilgate.
Not only is it absolutely stunning but there is so much to do. Whether it is building dens and climbing the trees in the woods, walking round the lake and having a picnic or visiting the nature reserve. Other things to do here include Go Ape, play park, rowing boats, Smith and Western. It is so easy to spend the day here and is a wonderful place to tire out the children without spending a fortune. Parking is £1 per hour but all proceeds do go back into the park and for the nature centre it is only £4 for an adult and £3 for age 3-16yr olds.
Buchan Park is a place where I spend many days during my childhood climbing trees and having picnics.
This is definitely a back to nature kind of place. There is ample free parking and its only a short walk to a beautiful lake and the perfect paths for kicking leaves or walking the dog.
Sheffield Park this National Park is absolutely stunning in the autumn.
The colours around the lake are like no other. There is no tree climbing in the actual gardens but they do put on events for children to do throughout the year. However, there is a natural play area a short walk away and this includes a den area and soon to be replaced huge swing!
The lake provides a great place for swimming and water sports during the summer and then year round is the Dinosaur Park. A great place to spend the afternoon with lots to entertain the children. In the summer it gets extremely busy with families picnicking either around the lake or in the dinosaur park but as the nights close in and days get cooler it definitely gets much quieter.
Petworth Park is another National Trust place which is home to hundreds of deer.
There is a paying car park (free for NT) which provides easy access to the park. It’s a beautiful place to sit and watch the deer or wander along the many paths around the park.
Photographing my first wedding at Leonardslee Garden, West Sussex
They say never mix business with friendships but I have to say this is the best thing I have done and I don’t regret it for a minute.
For more details on me photographing your wedding please head over to my wedding page
The background story
Holly asked me if I would photograph her wedding to Shiraz. Even though, she knew I wasn’t a wedding photographer. I had taken lots of photos of her daughter at school sports events and I also did her new daughters newborn photo session. So, she knew what my photos were like and believed in me!.
Holly made it clear that she wanted to document the day and NOT spend all day posing for photos. Everything would be very relaxed. My first thought was “well that’s great but what does Shiraz want?”Maybe, he will hate my photos and will want everything.
The second panic came when they told me who some of their guests were and where the wedding was to be held. Jason Roberts, the professional footballer, was best man and had flown in just for the wedding and Shiraz’s family had flown in from all over the world. The venue was the absolutely stunning Leonardslee Gardens The low key garden party wedding was no longer low key!
However, they are the most relaxed couple I think I’ve ever met!!! Photographing their wedding was so relaxing! First of all, they’re both gorgeous so taking photos of them was easy and they were just so relaxed with each other that natural photos were just free flowing! Although their wedding was absolutely stunning and in such a lavish place, it really was just like a garden party!
The whole day was just relaxed from start to finish and everyone had a brilliant best time!!
Prior to the wedding Holly hung out with her bridesmaids, while Shiraz chatted to arriving guests and enjoyed the sunshine (in what had been a week of rain).
Children were able to run around on the lawn and guests relaxed on the patio.
The actual ceremony was gorgeous because Leonardslee Gardens has a beautiful little entrance hall where the ceremony can take place. With some seated guests and the rest looking down from the balcony.
As a guest, I was told to relax during the ceremony and watch the special moment. Although I still couldn’t help capturing a few photos.
The rest of the afternoon was about enjoying the day and helping the happy couple celebrate.
True to her word Holly only wanted a few official photos. A short time was spent capturing the family together plus the obligatory confetti shot before heading off for some fun… In the way of a golf buggy!
Leonardslee Gardens is just stunning for the couples photos and it was great fun driving through the grounds on the golf buggy..(they even grabbed one of me en route)
Hollys priority for the day was spending time with the guests, so we only spent 15 minutes by the lake capturing some relaxed photos of the newley weds before heading back to the house for dinner.
After a bumpy, slightly worrying drive back up the hill, wondering if the golf buggies/drivers AKA Holly ( would make it) we were greeted by some very excited children.
Holy and Shiraz wanted speeches before food, which was a great idea because it meant everyone could relax.
It was then time for the group photo before heading off for an extremely delicious dinner!!
After catching up with friends over dinner the final photo of the day was to capture was the first dance.
My job was then finished and it was time to enjoy the rest of the evening.
I want to say a HUGE thank you to Holly and Shiraz for believing in me and allowing me to attend their wedding as both guest and photographer. It was an absolute pleasure!
What did Holly and Shiraz think…
“Claire is an incredible patient talented photographer.
We are honoured to have had her Photograph her first ever Wedding.
Claire you are a star and we can’t thank you enough for your photos which will last a lifetime of memories for us.
So my verdict… would I recommend doing a friends wedding and how did it feeling photographing my first wedding?
Should you follow the advice of everyone else that says don’t do it?
NO! If you feel you’re ready go for it.
Do you need a second camera?
It would be handy to save swapping lenses but I made it work. I also had a back up card in my camera but if the camera went wrong I was stuffed. If I do weddings in the future I will definitely have another camera.
What would my tips be for photographing your first wedding?
Be clear on the expectations of both yourself and bridal party.
Follow your gut feeling.
Doing the wedding was terrifying but I am so glad I did it.
Research the venue.
Have a list of photos you’d like. I was lucky with my bride and groom as they were so chilled and were happy with whatever I took.
Think about where you need to stand for the photos you want.
“No, that’s WAY too much pressure! Imagine photographing the wedding and messing it up? That’s the brides day ruined…no memories…I couldn’t take that kind of pressure.
Then there is the other side from “Wedding Photographers” who will tell you…
“Don’t do it unless you are totally ready!!”
“Everyone thinks they can be a photographer but it’s way harder to be a wedding photographer!”
“Never photograph a friends wedding, that’s just asking for trouble!!”
“You need to get training before you even attempt it!”
“Being a guest and a photographer at the wedding never works”
So, I never did…
Why did I photograph my first wedding?
A wonderful friend of mine was getting married and asked ME to be her photographer! Of course I said no. Was she crazy… I couldn’t do that! But she insisted…
“It’s a relaxed affair, think of it as a garden party! I just want to capture something from the day and have some memories of my friends and family coming together to help me celebrate.”
Ok, I could photograph a party, that’s ok! So we agreed, I would attend the wedding as a friend but also take my camera (let’s be honest, we ALL take our camera to the wedding anyway!)
And that was it.
I was going to photograph their wedding at Leonardslee Gardens in Horsham, West Sussex!! I had already done their baby photos and that went like a dream, so I knew Holly was just as relaxed as they came!
Holly never changed! She was absolutely wonderful and put ME at ease! I was so nervous before the day but that was all me, nothing but calm came from my wonderful bride to be!
So what happened next….. You’ll have to wait until the next blog to find out what it’s like photographing your first wedding! Wish me luck!
If you would like to visit my wedding page please click HERE
I know it’s the summer holiday BUT… how about booking in a Back to School Photo Session while your child’s uniform is still clean and tidy?
Does your life get really busy when the children go back to school and the last thing on your mind is school photos?
Then the day arrives and your children come home and tell you they’ve had their photos taken? That’s when you realise they’re wearing that really dirty school jumper, their face is grubby and they haven’t had their hair cut…
But home comes the photo proof and you still buy it… even though you hate it but you’ve promised to send Nan and Granddad their yearly photos of the children!
Then child number 2 comes home with their photo proof and you have to spend even more money on their photos as well!!
Isn’t it so annoying when the children are at different schools.. everything becomes so much more expensive!
How about this year doing something DIFFERENT, EASIER & CHEAPER!?!?!
You come to me!!
You pay ONE price
You dress them before you arrive in CLEAN clothes
It doesn’t matter WHICH school your children go to they ALL get their photos TOGETHER, as well as individual ones
It will take about 10 minutes and then you can forget about it until I email you over your gallery.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
1x 10×8 inch or 2x 7×5 inch print – £15
3x 10×8 inch or 5x 7×5 inch print – £35
All images printed 7×5 inch – £45
1x digital print – £20
3x digital prints – £39
All digital prints – £49
(Digital Prints can be shared and personally printed as many times as you wish)
How do you book?
Either PM me, complete the booking form or email me at clairewildersphotography.co.uk
Happy holidays 😃
If you would rather book a family photo session instead please click HERE
Why have a newborn baby photography session for a new baby, isn’t life crazy enough without having to schedule in a photo shoot as soon as they arrive?
You are quite right, the first weeks are crazy and therefore go past in a blur.
However, by planning ahead, while you are pregnant, you will appreciate being having had a newborn baby photo session booked in. t They will last a couple of hours but the memories will be there forever. Babies grow so fast in the first couple of weeks and you very quickly forget how tiny they looked when they first arrived home.
This session allows you to capture those gorgeous features forever while having a few hours to sit back and relax! Some parents have even been known to fall asleep because the studio is warm, they know their baby is in safe hands and finally they are able to relax for a few minutes.
How to book?
We are know due dates change so we book your newborn baby photography session for your due date. When your new baby arrives we can then confirm a suitable date, ideally within the first 14 days. We aim for that because this is when your baby still loves to be curled up, which makes posing easier. You can still book a session after this date, some poses may just take a little longer.
Your baby is MY priority so the session is completely baby led! If they need feeding or cuddles, we stop for a break until they are ready. The session normally takes around 3 hours because your little one normally needs a few rests in between. I also love to capture a few photos of you as a family so feel free to bring siblings along too.
If you would like more information on booking a newborn baby photography session do not hesitate to get in touch or visit my Newborn baby page HERE