About the author: Jane Burkinshaw is a professional photographer and passionate about all things photography related. Jane specialises in portrait photography and runs photography courses.

Organised chaos on a family photo shoot! By Cheshire Children's Photographer Jane Burkinshaw

This was the most demanding shoot that I've ever done and I have to admit to feeling absolutely shattered as I headed home. Family shoots with several young children are always a challenge and call into play a range of skills from both photographer and parents, along with a huge dollop of patience.

I'm not usually thrown when faced with three boys, in this case 4 months through to 6 years, but I also had to factor in five adults whose first (and in three cases only) language was Chinese. I can't claim to have been in control of this shoot at any one time, with older siblings getting in on the act when I was photographing the baby and then grandparents deciding it was their turn. This isn't unusual and I normally manage it with a few distracting techniques or explaining to everyone what was happening. This wasn't so easy with exaggerated gestures and smiles!

However, despite a huge amount of chaos and chasing around, there are a beautiful set of images of which I'm extra proud, because I know how hard I worked to get them. Baby Eric is stunning and so quick to smile and I'm so pleased I managed to photograph him with his older brothers. The look of pride on Eric's grandfather's face is priceless and I just wish I could have seen his face when he got to see the images.


Wow! Your baby is one! Celebrate with a photo shoot with a difference! By Cheshire baby photographer Jane Burkinshaw

Wow! Suddenly your baby is one year old! How did that happen? And what a year it's been, especially if this was your first baby! A speeding roller coaster of emotions,  a time of learning new skills without any instructions, sleepless nights, joy-filled days, exhausted evenings and magical moments of near disbelief that you created this amazing little person!

Can you tell that I've been there twice? My children are now 11 and 13 - now how did that happen?! Everyone says that the time will fly and you must treasure every moment and "make the most of it"! In reality that's very very difficult to do as you are swept along on an uncontrollable journey. There are no brakes and sometimes it feels as if there's not even a steering wheel and somehow you've reached a destination: in this case that enormous milestone of the First Birthday.

One of the best ways that you can mark this momentous occasion is with a photo shoot - I know, I would say that, wouldn't I?! But really, this is such a wonderful age. Your baby has a sense of humour and giggles and laughs uncontrollably, he expresses his affection in wide mouthed wet kisses and fierce hugs. He has favourite toys and he soon lets you know if he doesn't like what's on the menu at meal times!

I know how fast this time flies by and how these precious moments become memories. Photographs freeze those moments forever and let you look back at them and share them with others. I love to capture all the natural, unposed moments and the real expressions as your baby plays and concentrates fiercely, or looks up to give you a cheeky grin, or bangs his spoon demanding more.

If you'd like to celebrate your baby's first birthday with a photo shoot please get in touch for an informal chat to find out more. Take a look at the Picture It Big website to see my work and check me out a bit! To see a natural, lifestyle baby shoot take a look at Oscar's first five months on the blog.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too! Like Picture It Big on Facebook to see more of my photography.


Baby Photography with a Difference. By Cheshire children's photographer Jane Burkinshaw

This gorgeous boy is Oscar. In the top circular image he is around five months and has discovered the delights of "tummy time". In the shot at the bottom he's around 3 weeks old and is having a cuddle after his bath. These are beautiful shots by which his parents can remember those precious early days.

I first met Oscar's mum and dad when I went to show them how to use their camera to get some great shots themselves. Take a look at my photography courses if this is something that interests you. We hit it off immediately and they booked me to come back and photograph Oscar a week or so later.

I always go to a shoot prepared to do some staged, very cute images with props and hats etc but I often end up also taking lots of pictures that are less formal. This is usually when baby is being settled and cuddled or fed. Many parents prefer these natural, bonding images and this was very much the case at Oscar's session.

I took these pictures when I first got there, when Oscar was wide awake.

Although you can't really tell from these pictures he was being a bit grizzly and unsettled, but really needed a sleep (which is when I usually take the staged photographs). His mum suggested he had a bath (despite it not being bath-time!) and it proved to be a genius suggestion. We got some truly gorgeous photographs of Oscar relaxing in his bath with mum and dad taking it in turns to wash and play with him.

Oscar's parents and family absolutely adore these images as they capture such a special time. Once he was warm and dry, mum asked if we could do some "naked" shots of the three of them. No one was actually naked, except Oscar of course! We did some clever rolling down of dressing gowns and shy dad was coaxed into taking off his shirt! The resulting photos were well worth it and they've ordered the black and white picture of the three of them as a large print on wood (details can be found here). 

With Oscar fast asleep after his relaxing bath I also got the more formal naked baby shots.

But this isn't the end of the story! His parents were so thrilled with how the first shoot went, that they decided to book a Baby's First Year package with me. I went back last month to photograph Oscar again. I did some classic "portrait" type shots - the ones you'd want to frame - but I also did lots of natural pictures of him, including him eating his lunch of swede and carrot (he wasn't very impressed with that course!).

Mum and dad are building up an amazing collection of images for their Baby's First Year album. Time is flying by and it won't be long until I'm next photographing their beautiful baby boy again.

If you are interested in booking a baby photography shoot or one of my other packages, just get in touch. Packages can be tailored to your individual requirements.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too! Like Picture It Big on Facebook to see more of my photography.


Wintry walks with a compact camera (by Cheshire Photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

I've been desperate for some proper wintry weather, a hard hoar frost to transform everywhere into a glittery winter wonderland, or a decent covering of snow just for a few days, preferably over a weekend. Instead it's been mild, wild and wet for the most part, depriving us photographers of any typical winter landscapes to get excited about. If it weren't for Ferb, our Italian water dog (a lagotto  if you want his posh name) I would have stayed indoors waiting for more exciting and photogenic weather to arrive. Our energetic dog lives up to his name and needs his daily splash in filthy water, so we've been out anyway and along with lead, treats and poo bags, I always pick up a camera on the way out of the door.

Occasionally I have a photographic mission in mind and will take a SLR and specific lens along with me, my "nifty fifty" for arty, soft focus shots of forest and fauna, or "big boy" (my super fast Canon 70-200mm f/2.8) for action shots of Ferb haring along woodland paths chasing squirrels. Lately, due to an increasingly painful tennis elbow (or in my case photographer's elbow) I've had to opt for a much lighter load, so it's the Fujifilm X10 that's accompanied me. Not that I'm complaining as it's a wonderful little camera, with a maximum aperture of f/2.0-2.8, beautiful colours and great performance in low light. A whole load of other typically Fuji features make it a joy to use, much more than a point and shoot compact. The zoom is a bit limited at 28-112mm but for general shots of landscapes, close ups and portraits (usually my husband or the dog!) it's perfectly adequate. If you'd like to see more images taken with this lovely camera see my Pinterest Board.

All taken with the Fujifilm X10. I had some fun editing them too with actions in Photoshop Elements.
You might wonder what I've found to photograph on our muddy walks, but if you've got the clicking bug like me, then almost anything can be transformed into a picture if it catches the light in an interesting way, or if you can see a striking composition. I have a thing for trees at the moment, but haven't quite mastered how to shoot them when there's a lot of other trees around them creating clutter. Watch this space for a tree project one day. On our last few walks we've had a few sunny spells and the low winter sun has created slanting shadows through the trees.

Top tip for this time of year
  • Wintry light can be quite dull and if you are photographing anything that moves you need to watch that your shutter speed doesn't get too slow. It needs to be at least 1/250th of a second or your moving subject will be blurred.

  • Check your shutter speed as you take the picture. As you half press the shutter button it will be displayed on the LCD display or in the viewfinder.

  • Or after you take the image and are looking at it, if you press "Display" or "Info" (depending on your camera) then you can usually see what shutter speed you used.

  • If it's less than 1/250th then you need to increase it. If you're using the green fully automatic mode then you need to change to P (Program Mode) by turning the dial on the top of your camera. The camera still does the important stuff automatically for you but you can take charge a little.
  • Now look up how to change the ISO setting. This might be a button on the back of the camera or in the menus. Increase it to a higher number until your shutter speed is fast enough. You can check your shutter speed by half pressing the shutter down as you focus on your subject and checking what number it displays.

  • You can do all of this on any type of camera apart from the majority of camera phones.

Knowing my way around the camera, being aware of what the camera can and can't do on the Auto settings and knowing what to do if the light is tricky is second nature to me now and I can concentrate for the most part on "seeing the image". If something happens unexpectedly I am ready to catch those spontaneous moments (or some of them at least!). Photography is a constant learning process for me, and probably for everyone and that's one of the things that makes it so addictive and enjoyable.

If you'd like to get to grips with your camera then why not book a course or one to one lesson with me. This all becomes second nature very quickly when someone shows you how to do it and it will make a dramatic difference to your photography.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


Baby Harriett's first photo shoot (by Cheshire baby photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

I photographed Harriett back in October but couldn't share many of her pictures until now, as her parents were giving framed images as Christmas presents. The lucky grandparents had no idea that Harriett had even had a photo shoot and were bowled over by the pictures. I'm really happy to be able to share them now as she is a beautiful baby girl.

The name Harriett means "lord of the manor" and this was certainly true of this little lady in the first few weeks. She wasn't easy to settle, preferring to be held in her mum's arms all the time. And when she wanted something she knew how to shout for it! My daughter was exactly the same in the early months and I knew that we were going to have to be patient to get those angelic, sleeping images.

Whilst mum fed and settled Harriett I made cups of tea and photographed the sort of details that also make amazing memories. This is my favourite - the family's slippers lined up in a row!

Mum was also happy for me to take discreet pics of Harriett breastfeeding - I love the way she is soothing her daughter by stroking her temples.

When babies do take a while to settle, which is more often than not, I like to take pictures of mum and dad interacting with their baby, often catching very intimate and natural moments that reflect what it's like to be a new parent.

And when Harriett finally fell asleep the magic really started to happen. With the aid of a screen and fake flooring I'd created a simple backdrop with a lovely comfy bed for her in a vanity case and we'd got the heating set on tropical. Harriett's parents couldn't believe how it was possible to get such lovely images without them having to tidy up their lounge!

If you're expecting a baby and would like to enquire about a newborn shoot in the comfort of your own home, then please get in touch. I'd love to hear from you.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!
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