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.

Pampering, Posing and Prosecco by Cheshire Photographer Jane Burkinshaw

Once the new studio was completed I wanted to organise a shoot that would be fun for friends and allow me to try out the space before I started using it for real. So two weeks ago I invited four friends over as guinea pigs and another friend, Sue, who sells a range of skincare and make up products (Arbonne - promised her a plug!). Our numbers grew when we decided to add a make up artist, Claire  and then Mhari with her gorgeous Stella and Dot jewellery (plugs all done for now!).

The girls - Debbie, Nicky, Kaarin and Lucy arrived with changes of clothes and nervous smiles. We gave them a bit of a pamper with some face cleansing and face pack products (always good for a funny photo!) and then they all had their make up done and jewellery chosen to complement their outfits.
Pampering and gossiping time!
Time to add the stunning bling.
We gave some advice on how to stand for a full length shot as no one ever knows how to do it and what to do with their hands! This pose, demonstrated by Sue, shows how it's much more flattering to stand at an angle, weight on the back leg, front leg forward. I call this the Cheshire Ladies pose as everyone always does it at weddings and events!
Cheshire Ladies pose. But make sure you're facing the light for best results. We turned Sue to face the other way for the actual shot.
I love Nicky's more casual take on this pose. Looks really natural and relaxed.
Everyone had a go at a full length pose, including Mr T - what a posasaurus!
As you can imagine when eight women get together it's very noisy and at times very silly. Nicky might not ever get a job as a reflector holder!

None of them normally enjoy having their photographs taken but all did extremely well, with lots of different poses - standing, seated, lying down. I still haven't had time to edit them all but here's my favourites of the four models.

Sue Cobb of Arbonne, modelling Stella & Dot jewellery.
Huge thanks to Sue Cobb and Claire Fulton of Arbonne and Mhari Oakes of Stella & Dot for giving their time and skills on the day. Thanks to the four models for their sense of humour and willingness to do something out of their comfort zone. Boudoir shoot next time, ladies?!

Thanks to Nic Burkinshaw and Abii Burkinshaw for the catering (a lovely spread of quiche, home made bread, salad and home made cookies, accompanied by Prosecco for a little extra sparkle!)

Almost forgot to mention the star of the show - Bella, Lucy's daughter and my great niece.

Make up (none), clothes and accessories all model's own!


NEW! Mini portrait sessions


These NEW mini portrait sessions are ideal if you want to try out a lifestyle photo shoot without the commitment and cost of a full session. It's the perfect opportunity to get family photographs shot in a beautiful location. Choose from shoots amongst the bluebells, in a garden bursting with Summer colours or against a backdrop of Autumn splendour. Dates and times are listed at the end of this blog.

A mini portrait session lasts for about 30 minutes and you book a specific time slot with me. The price of the session is £125. This includes:

  • A telephone consultation prior to the shoot to discuss your requirements and for advice on clothing etc.
  • 30 minute photo shoot
  • £75 credit towards the cost of a gallery canvas wrap, framed print or album. Prices for finished products start at £110.
  • Once you have selected your finished product you may also buy photographic prints. 
  • A private online gallery of the final images (usually around 20-30). The gallery will be live for 7 days to allow you to enjoy and select your images.
  • Guidance on the best way to display and share your favourite images, including visuals.
Mini portrait sessions are limited and places are booking fast so don't delay. Book now - send me an email to reserve your session

Dates of mini portrait sessions for 2013 are as follows:


10am, 11am & 12pm on Wed 24th April and Thurs 2nd May 2013

These take place in the bluebell woods at Bluebell Cottage Gardens, Dutton, Cheshire. This beautiful area of woodland is a blaze of blue and green in the springtime and is a magical place to photograph children. Bring along fairy wings and floaty skirts for that extra bit of woodland magic!


10am, 11am, 12pm on Wed 12th June and Wed 19th June 2013

These take place at Bluebell Cottage Gardens in the heart of the Cheshire countryside. Sue Beesley, owner and designer of the gardens, won a gold medal at RHS Tatton in 2011 and is a former BBC gardener of the year. Her garden is always bursting with colour at this time of year and provides a glorious backdrop for a family photo shoot. For little ones I can bring along bubbles and mini gardening tools for extra fun!


September dates tbc
Send an email if you would like to be informed when dates are confirmed

The grounds of this beautiful hotel offer many photographic backdrops, from the sunken garden, to the rose arbour and the avenue of trees looking over the lake.


October dates tbc
Send an email if you would like to be informed when dates are confirmed

This shot will take place at Marbury Park and take advantage of the many lovely locations and magnificent Autumn colours.

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!


Why photographers say "No" to selling JPEG files

I often get asked by clients and prospects if I will sell them the JPEG files from their shoot - some people take it as given that I will do so and are shocked when I say I won't*. The assumption is that my refusal is purely financially driven - they think I am trying to make more money by encouraging them to buy framed products and canvases. I used to sell JPEG files when I first started out and actually my experience was that a client buying all the JPEGs from a shoot would spend roughly the same amount as one buying a printed canvas. The client buying the JPEGs might feel as if they had got a better deal - 30 or so images rather than just one. They take the CD to a high street photography shop and get some prints for framing, some prints for relatives and may be a canvas. And they are pretty happy with themselves.

So if the customer is happy, then so should I be. But in this instance, I'm not - actually I'm very unhappy. At the point that I handed over those JPEGs I lost all control over the quality of my photographs - this is a far greater concern to me than that of not being able to control how many times those images are printed. I know that a high street print in an IKEA frame does not do justice to my photography and, worse still, can actively damage my image and reputation.

I'm not just being precious and prima donna-ish here. To get great images for a client I draw on years of experience as a photographer during a shoot and then use creativity and skill to edit the photographs. And it doesn't end there - I've amassed a wealth of knowledge on photographic prints, inks and substrates - which will fade within a few years and which are guaranteed to last literally a lifetime. And the printed photograph is still not the end product - the finished format in which it is presented to the client. Choosing the frame colour and style or acrylic or canvas finish - this is all done with a view to creating a fantastic final product for a the client - an image that will stop them in their tracks every time  they pass it, make them smile, will cause people to admire it and ask who the photographer was.

Printed canvas
I could make lots of analogies here - would Rembrandt have handed over a masterpiece as a rolled up canvas and left the client to frame it - I know I'm not Rembrandt - but I am an artist. Just like a chef is an artist and will go to great lengths to ensure that his food presentation is first class. And would a hair stylist send you home with wet hair to finish off styling it yourself? No, of course not, because the final presentation is everything - image, quality, customer satisfaction.
Framed print in antique brushed wood with double mount

Framed print in black wooden frame with double mount (inner black & outer white)

At first I found it hard to say "No" to JPEGs - I was worried about offending or scaring off clients in those early days. It has actually proved to have had the opposite effect - I get more referrals from clients who have proudly shown off their framed photographs and canvases and the average order size has grown significantly.

Pair of wooden blocks, printed in vibrant non scratch finish, with mahogany look edge

Stunning single wooden block. When wall mounted this appears to float on the wall, with a pleasing drop shadow.
Just as a final point, I completely understand why people believe they want to buy JPEGs rather than finished products and thus keep to a reasonable budget. In recent years some large portrait photography companies have done a lot of damage to the image of the industry by luring clients in with low cost photo shoots and then seducing them into spending vast amounts of money on over sized and over priced products. This is not what many photographers are about. Most of us are absolutely passionate about photography and about giving the customer an amazing experience from start to finish, without the need for a second mortgage!

If you are interested in a lifestyle photo shoot please get in touch and I'll be very happy to give you clear pricing examples of framed and finished products - you'll be very pleasantly surprised that you can get fabulous quality to suit your budget. I charge £75 for the photo shoot (1-2 hours on location) - this includes a free 8X10 print of your choice. Framed products start from £50.

Contact me, Jane, at jane@picture-it-big.co.uk or call 07868 750505 and take a look at my website www.picture-it-big.co.uk

*Please note that this does not apply to commercial photography, where it is usual to supply JPEG files to the client.

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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