the portrait masters award

the portrait masters award

The Portrait Masters award

Lockdown for photographers has meant we’ve had a crazy year with very little work.  Being a non essential business we had to close down early and still aren’t open.

 

the portrait masters award

lockdown life..

In amongst home-schooling, providing snacks, entertaining my children, walking the dog, updating my website and keeping the house from turning into a complete bomb sight, I decided to enter some of my photos to a very prestigious photography competition.

what is the portrait masters award?

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Sue Bryce is one of the worlds biggest names in portrait photography and her work is AMAZING!  As a photographer trainer,  The Portrait Masters Award was created to allow photographers to submit their work to be judged by a panel of international expert judges.  Enabling them the chance to win prizes, accreditation points, and awards. The accreditation program, is for portrait photographers of all genres and is  recognition of ‘high professional standard.’To find out more about this award please click HERE to visit Sue Bryce Education website.

the portrait masters award

why enter?

 

Entering competitions is a great way to help us grow and rather than competing against other photographers.  It is about improving your own ability.

Photographing a family is about capturing a feeling.  To me, it’s more about the love between a family and spending time together.  Recording a precious moment in time.  It’s not about getting the perfect pose, it’s about your family connection. Capturing YOU together and creating a memory for you, to look back on with happiness!

Whereas, for a competition all the details need to be perfect, right down to the smallest part.

Because I was in lockdown, I chose to include 2 photos from newborn sessions and 2 photos of my children.   Not everything is perfect but I do love these photos. (For example my sons socks definitely did not match the rest of his outfit).

the results

Choosing these four images meant it showed a variety of work that I do.  Each photo is judge by 5 different photographers from around the world and the result is an average of these scores.  To be awarded a Bronze you must score over 70 points.

Waiting for the scores to come out was very tense.  But I couldn’t believe it, I was SO excited!  I had been given a Bronze in all four images.  I was expecting to be given a score under 70 but really hoped I’d get at least one bronze.  So I was completely shocked to get four!  And even more surprised that one of them was only one point away from a Bronze distinction!

This means that my photographs have been recognised to be of a professional standard by some of the worlds top photographers. 

I am so proud of myself and my two amazing children, who are always there to support me.  They are often dragged out to help me and rarely complain! 

 Next time, I will definitely set out to capture some “competition specific” photos to see if I can improve my score, so feel free to watch this space…

If you would like to book a photography session, when we come out of lockdown please head over HERE to my main website where you can find more information.

 

10 free activities for children during the holidays.

10 free activities for children during the holidays.

10 free activities for children during the holiday

 

Keeping children busy during the holidays can be so hard. So, I thought I would share a list of 10 free activities for children during the holidays, that I have loved to do with my own.

Children tend to get bored because they don’t know what is available for them to do. As an adult, how many times have you sat doing an activity with your children, they then walk away and you’re still sat there doing it? I know I do.

The following activties can be done with any age group, if they’re bored and you join in with them they will enjoy it.

1. Visit Tilgate Park 

Now, anyone that knows me knows I love to visit Tilgate Park and Nature Reserve because it has so much do. You can walk round the lake, visit the animals, play in the park, go boating on the lake, fishing, cycling, Go Ape and more. The list goes on. Parking is available but it does fill up fast in the summer. There are plenty of toilets plus a cafe in the walled garden and Smith & Western restaurant.

2.  Sleep out on the trampoline 

I’m not sure who loves this more me or my children. Some parents leave their children to it but this is where I used to get my best nights sleep. Fill the trampoline with blankets, putting some underneath you because it can get chilly in the middle of the night.  Add some duvets, pillows and fairy lights then lay back and relax. Eventually, we turn off the fairy lights to enjoy the stars and maybe even a comet or shooting star. In the morning my children then get up and play in the garden, leaving me to sleep! (This never normally happens!)

3.  Watch a sunset or star gazing

 There are some fantastic places to go in West Sussex for star gazing. It can be done anywhere near your house, as long as there are no lights to stop your night vision. The perfect time is during the no moon phase, as the sky will be at its darkest. It takes about 30 minutes for your night vision to work so keep torches to a minimum but if you do need one try to use one with a red filter. A great website is Go Star Gazing as you can view on a map which local places are good for viewing the stars plus it will tell you which phase the moon is in.

4.  The beach

There are so many gorgeous beaches in Sussex. I think my favourite is Goring. It has free parking, two amazing cafes right on the beach (Sea Lane Cafe and the Bluebird Cafe, the latter allows dogs) which are perfect for walking between and has beautiful sunsets.

5.  Lancing Sea Front 

We love to head over to Lancing in the evenings, as it’s normally quiet and is a great place to take scooters. There is plenty of parking, plus a large green for playing rounders or having a picnic. The The Perch Restaurant is lovely for food or there is a small kiosk next door. The beach itself is stony and there are also toilets nearby.

6.  Pond Dipping 

This is such a simple activity but one that can entertain children for ages. It doesn’t need to be a large just big enough for a child to use their to see what they can find.  Don’t forget to take a tray or bucket to see what you can catch.  Please be safe around the water and take care of your children.

7.  Cycling along the South Downs Link Path

This is a, mostly, flat route than goes from Guildford to Shoreham. Click the link HERE to view the West Sussex guide to cycling the Path and the various cafes, car parks and local amenities.

8.  Den Building

There are so many places to go Den Building. Firstly it can be done indoors or outside. My children love to build a den in the living room and then have a movie and sleepover in it. Great places for den building outside include: Box Hill, St Leonards Forest or Leechpool Woods

9.  Shaving foam painting

This is such a fun activity. On a piece of paper, spread some shaving foam across it then add dollops of paint. With a tooth pick you can then draw patterns in the shaving foam and leave it to dry.

10.  Fire Pit & S’Mores 

What better way to end the day than with a fire pit and S’mores. If you don’t know what S’mores are let me explain. These are originally from America and are made by roasting a marshmallow over the fire then sandwiching it between two Graham Crackers and adding a piece of Hersheys chocolate. A quick way to make them in England is to use marshmallows but then put them between chocolate digestives biscuits. They are so tasty but please take lots of care around the fire.

 

If you like any of the ideas I have added please let me know, or even tell me if you have any of you own.

 

For others ideas please visit my other blogs:

Things to do in West Sussex 2

Where to visit in West Sussex in the Autumn

Things to do in West Sussex

Walking along the Wey and Arun Canal

 

I hope you liked my 10 free ideas for children during the holiday.

Have a great summer.

Join the mailing list

Please can you add me to your mailing list about upcoming photography sessions.

Thank you

 

Things to do in West Sussex – Tilgate Lake, Crawley

Things to do in West Sussex – Tilgate Lake, Crawley

Things to do in West Sussex with children – Tilgate Lake

During lockdown, it is so hard to come up with things to do in West Sussex with your children, that

a; aren’t full of other people and

b; don’t cost a fortune.

Tilgate Park and Lake, in Crawley, is fantastic.  It is the perfect place to go to, especially for the evening, after a hot day in the sun.  It was away from the crowds and a wonderful place for the children to relax and enjoy.

Tilgate Park also has so much to offer .  It has a a couple of lakes, large green to play games or picnic, wooded areas, play parks, trim trails, golf course, cycle trails and  nature centre.  It also has a cafe, restaurant and a Go Ape high ropes course. In the summer it has some fantastic inflatable games plus boating on the lake and in the winter Father Christmas comes to visit.  There is so much to see and do, it really is a must if you haven’t been before.

About Tilgate Park.

 

The address for Tilgate Park is: Tilgate Drive, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 5PQ

There is one free car park near K2 and the rest are paying but procedes from the car parks do go back into the park!

Dogs are allowed in the park but not in the walled garden or nature reserve.

 

Our evening

This jetty was perfect for chilling out on but as we arrived a couple of teenage girls, also thought the same.

Unfortunately, for one, she managed to drop her phone through the slats of the jetty, into the water below.  As we had fishing nets, we offered to help, also because she was panicking her mum would be really mad at her.  We managed to locate the phone and helped to guide her underneath the jetty to pick it out.

I have to say, if this was my daughter, even if the phone had broken, I would’ve been so proud of her!  She didn’t hesitate to get down to her swimmer, to enter the water to retrieve the phone.  She even went under the jetty where there were all sorts of things lurking.

Having left, to give mum the bad news, we then had the jetty to ourselves. To enjoy the evening.  From across the lake we could even hear music, from someones stereo, and the air was so warm, as the sun started to set.  It was so peaceful!

Whether you want to walk, cycle or take your scooters Tilgate Park is great for burning of energy with your children.  It is also perfect for picnics and playing games on the large green.

THE OUTTAKES

All photo sessions are meant to be fun!

A little bit of photobombing while taking some photos.

Family Photo Sessions

If you are interesting in booking a fun, relaxed outdoor photo session, capturing the true personality of your family please visit my Home page by clicking HERE

Fathers Day Mini Session

Fathers Day Mini Session

Fathers Day Mini Sessions, Horsham, West Sussex.

Fathers Day is coming and we can all agree that 2020 has been a crazy year.  When we celebrated the New Year, none of us could’ve imagined that a couple months down the line we’d all be shut indoors, trying to keep our families safe.

Fathers Day Mini Sessions are for that special man in your life.  I want to help you remember Lockdown of 2020 and the special times that you had as a family.

This session can be purchased for Fathers Day and used at a later date.   I can provide you with a gift voucher to be given on the day and redeemed when lockdown is relaxed even more.

OUTDOORS

These sessions will be run outside, to ensure you are safe and to maintain a social distance.

If you have a large garden I can run the session from there, or alternatively it will be in a local beauty spot, such as Southwater Country Park.  Backdrops can either be natural or I can provide a plain one.

Who can be in the photos?

A  maximum of 6 people can be in the session.  This can be parents, children, grandparents, cousins, the choice is yours.  If you wish to have more people included, please get in touch so that we can discuss the options.

How does the session work?

Prior to your session we will discuss the best place to meet, normally in the Horsham area.  The great thing about outdoor sessions are that children tend to be more relaxed. Allowing us to get fun, smiley images.

Clothing plays a large part of the photos, therefore, I will give you some guidance on what to wear.  Although, ultimately, as long as you are all comfortable, it really doesn’t matter.

Being relaxed and having fun is definitely a main part of the session, as we really want to capture the love and happiness within your family.

 

PLEASE NOTE: These sessions are only valid until August 31 20120, unless lockdown is extended further.

What happens afterwards?

 

After the session I will edit your photos and provide you will an online gallery.  You will be able to choose your photos from the comfort of your own home, at your own leisure.

I do sell wall art and additional prints if you wish to purchase and photos for gifts.

For more information about Claire Wilders Photography please click HERE or you can email me at clairewildersphotography@gmail.com

DIY Photography Backdrop

DIY Photography Backdrop

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.

WHY?

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.

EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:

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.

The Method

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.

DIY Canvas Photography Backdrop
The start of 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.

DIY Canvas Painted Backdrop

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.

THE VERDICT

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.

DIY Canvas Photography Backdrop
Where to visit around West Sussex in the Autumn

Where to visit around West Sussex in the Autumn

Autumn Photography Sessions in Horsham

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.

Autumn Photography sessions Horsham

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.
Autumn Photography sessions Horsham

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.
Autumn Photography sessions Horsham

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.

Autumn Photography sessions Horsham
Sheffield Park this National Park is absolutely stunning in the autumn.

Family Photography Sheffield ParkThe 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!

Southwater Country Park is another great park in the area.

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.Autumn Photography sessions Southwater Country Park

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.

Wey and Arun Canal is not a park but it is a beautiful place to go for a walk

It’s lovely to see the canal boats and at Christmas you can even go one to meet Father Christmas. Canal boat River Arun

All of the above places are dog friendly, although most of them do require your dog to be on the lead.

I hope you like my list and feel free to message me with your favourite place

I will be running autumn mini sessions in various locations over the next few weeks so feel free to get in touch or like my Facebook page Claire Wilders Photography

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