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.
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?
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.
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).
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 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 Reservebecause 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 HEREto 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 ForestorLeechpool 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.
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.
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.
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 clickingHERE
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.
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.
Fathers Day Mini Session
Up to 6 people
Includes a 30 minute photo session
10-20 images to view on a private online gallery
Three free digital images
One 7×5 inch print
Fathers Day Mini Session Plus
Up to 6 people
Includes a 30-45 minute photo session
20-30 digital images to view on a private online gallery
Ten free digital Images
Three prints up the A4 size
Fathers Day Mini Session All Inclusive
Up to 6 people
Includes a 30-45 minute photo session
20-30 digital images to view on a private online gallery
All digital images included
Three prints up to A4 size
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 email@example.com
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
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
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.