Aldcroft Photography: Blog https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog en-us (C) Aldcroft Photography tanya@aldcroft-photography.co.uk (Aldcroft Photography) Sun, 16 May 2021 20:27:00 GMT Sun, 16 May 2021 20:27:00 GMT https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/img/s/v-12/u419126100-o12822361-50.jpg Aldcroft Photography: Blog https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog 120 120 Photographing Children at a Bluebell Mini Session https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2021/5/bluebell-photo-shoots-2021 I couldn’t be happier with how my bluebell mini sessions went this year. I was so gutted not to be able to do it last year – I had planned that it would be my first big push starting out full time with my business. So being able to do it this year has felt all the sweeter. There's definitely something magical about the bluebells so it's been amazing to see returning clients, friends and meet new families. Most importantly the feedback has been really positive and everyone enjoyed themselves, me included!

 

Stafford Bluebells 2021-10FamilyFamily photo shoot in the bluebells    Douglas-30Children in bluebellsSiblings in the bluebell woods

 

I get such a range of families and children with varying personalities and of different ages. In a mini 20 minute session, it’s key that I can make them feel comfortable as quickly as possible to get the best images. This is part of the reason I send a questionnaire for completion before the session so I can be prepared too. So I’d thought I’d write a blog on just a few of the different challenges and my tricks to get everyone having fun and enjoying themselves, because that is what gets the best photos!

 

Osborne-25Girl in bluebellsLittle girl in bluebell wood

 

The most obvious character trait for little ones is shyness with someone new, especially when they’re shoving a camera in your face! Parents can really worry that there will be no smiles or individual photos. I find the key is patience – I get photos with Mum and Dad first so there’s lots of cuddles and tickles for them to get the idea that I’m not scary. Then maybe photos with a sibling, especially if they’re older so they can copy their behaviour. In the case of Mollie (who was almost 2), she was still quite nervous after this so I got some photos of her sitting on Mum’s lap whilst Mum leaned mostly out of shot. The below left photo was taken like this and I’ve cropped Mum out. Mollie really warmed up after this and then she started wandering about and picking up sticks like her big sister so I got some lovely reportage photos of her exploring the woods. Mum said, “I can’t stop looking at them, they are so good. I didn’t expect so many gorgeous ones of Mollie as she was so clingy!”

 

Stretton Bluebells-28Girl in bluebellsLittle girl giggling in the bluebells Stretton Bluebells-34Girl in bluebellsGirl exploring the bluebell wood Stretton Bluebells-47SistersSisters in the bluebell woods

 

Sometimes the challenge isn’t with shy children, it’s with the ones who don’t sit still, which is absolutely what toddlers are about. My second is almost 2 and a half so I’m more than aware how exhausting they can be! Parents think they won’t get a photo of them together and although I can never make any promises, I will always try my very best. Albie was very laid back and relaxed with me so he was almost instantly bringing me leaves and sticks. So rather than force him to sit down and squirm, I go with it and the majority of photos are of Albie being Albie and enjoying the woods! His Mum said, "I just wanted to say a huge thanks for the gorgeous photos we received of our bluebell shoot. Despite Albie being on the move wanting to explore the woods you got some great family photos and some individual shots that capture his personality so well! The shoot was really enjoyable and thank you for being so adaptable with Albie."

 

Albie Bluebells-17Boy in woodsBoy exploring the bluebell wood Albie Bluebells-19FamilyFamily in the bluebell woods

 

Babies can be challenging for an outdoor shoot – it’s usually best if they’re around 6 months so they are at least sitting up relatively independently. As well as the family group shots, I always like to get sibling photos and individual shots of children. With babies, I tend to do this lying on a blanket so you get a bit of bluebells in. Mum and Dad always help out here to get some smiles and beautiful baby expressions. On this occasion, I also had big sis jump in for a cuddle which made for some cute shots together.

 

Osborne-33Baby girlBaby girl amongst the bluebells Osborne-38SistersSisters lying in the bluebells

 

The key is to let the children be themselves – I always talk to them about things that interest them like their favourite film at the moment or what they’re doing over the weekend. It’s important too to get down to their level (squatting is all good practice for my yoga!), not only for the photos, but to make myself accessible and less intimidating. The idea is that the whole family enjoys the photo shoot and it’s like any walk exploring the woods, I just happen to be there to capture the experience!

 

Keany-8Girls in bluebellsTwin girls in the bluebell wood Flanagan Bluebells-9Bluebell boyBoy in bluebells

 

Please get in touch if you'd like to be on my waiting list for 2022 - tanya@aldcroft-photography.co.uk

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tanya@aldcroft-photography.co.uk (Aldcroft Photography) aston clinton aylesbury baby berkhamsted bluebell photo shoot bluebell photography bluebells brothers buckinghamshire family photographer childhood children family family photo shoot family photography hertfordshire family photographer photo photographer photography siblings sisters toddler tring wendover https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2021/5/bluebell-photo-shoots-2021 Sun, 16 May 2021 20:27:14 GMT
Bluebell Photo Shoots - What to Expect https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2021/4/bluebell-photo-shoots-what-to-expect I was so gutted to miss out on the bluebell season last year. I was grateful to be able to visit some local woodlands to see them with my family and got some photos of my boys which was better than nothing! I first started photographing children in the bluebells so they do have a special place in my heart. The colours are so striking and when the trees are just springing their bright leaves they look so magical in the light. 

 

I wanted to share with you what to expect on a bluebell mini session (20 minute shoot) and a few hints and tips to help with wardrobe decisions and keeping the kids content. Don't be worried about how to pose – I will direct you gently through the session so we get natural images full of joy. I want you to love the whole experience. My style (lifestyle photography) is very relaxed and natural, aimed at you all having fun together so I can capture your genuine and loving connections. I have a short questionnaire which I ask you to complete beforehand which helps to maximise the time we have and gives me some guidance on your children's personalities before I meet them in person. 

 

Family in the Bluebells Couple with their baby amongst the bluebells at Ashridge

 

Wearing the right colours is particularly important on a bluebell shoot as you have bright purples and greens that you want to compliment. Wearing the right clothes and colours can also make your images more timeless. My advice is for Mum to choose her outfit first – something that makes her feel amazing and special, and then get the rest of the family to fit in around that. I recommend wearing neutral tones like white/cream, grey, light blues and pinks. Layers are always great with little ones and you never know when you'll get caught in a downpour - it has happened to me on more than one occasion! I'll generally always have bin bags and a blanket to sit on if we use a log or the ground to avoid soggy bottoms!

 

Family in BluebellsFamily fun in the bluebell wood, Ashridge   Family GigglesFamily giggling on their bluebell family photo shoot

 

Make sure you arrive in plenty of time for your shoot - give yourself time to park and walk (with the kids) to the location I share with you beforehand. I have a buffer between shoots so if you arrive early we might even be able to crack on straight away. There's nothing worse than arriving to a shoot feeling harassed from making the kids run and feeling uncomfortable and sweaty so try not to put yourself under any extra pressure in that regard if you can help it. Though I appreciate this can be easier said than done with little ones (hence my 10 minute buffer!).

 

Bluebells are a protected species so it's really important that on my shoots I am always conscious of this. Stick to paths and try to stop little ones picking the flowers. We want to respect these woodlands and protect these beautiful flowers for future generations. 
 

Bluebell Family Photo ShootFamily in the bluebell wood

 

Bring some snacks for the children, preferably nothing too messy, ideal for giving to them when they're flagging. Not always necessary on a 20 minute mini shoot, but can be handy for a longer one hour shoot. Make sure you've got wet wipes and tissues (though I will always bring some too for emergencies!)

 

Ultimately, relax and enjoy yourself. I want the whole family to have fun and take away a memorable experience as well as some beautiful photos to treasure. If you'd like to book a shoot, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

 

Boy in the blubellsHappy little boy in the bluebells, Ashridge   Boy in bluebellsBaby boy in the bluebells at Ashridge

 

 

 

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tanya@aldcroft-photography.co.uk (Aldcroft Photography) aldbury ashridge ashridge estate aston clinton bedfordshire beds berkhamsted bluebell bluebell mini session bluebell photo shoot bluebell season bluebells buckinghamshire bucks chiltern hills chilterns dockey wood family family photo shoot family photographer hertfordshire herts ivinghoe memories northchurch photo photography pitstone spring spring photo shoot tring woodland woodland photo shoot https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2021/4/bluebell-photo-shoots-what-to-expect Tue, 06 Apr 2021 21:18:39 GMT
Out and About in Ashridge https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2021/3/out-and-about-in-ashridge I am seriously passionate about the area I live in, and feel very lucky to have been surrounded by the Chiltern Hills my whole life. Now it's March and the days are getting longer, and the paths much less muddy, I wanted to share with you some of my favourite areas in Ashridge to go with my family. Almost as soon as lockdown eased last year and we could pop in the car for a walk we headed to Ashridge. It has so much to offer and I wanted to share what I know of it – some places you'll undoubtedly know of already, but maybe there's some new areas for you to explore and I hope this inspires you to do just that!

 

Please note that this blog is not Covid specific, so please check opening times and regulations for individual cafes etc. The below is by no means exhaustive – Ashridge and the surrounding area has a great deal to offer.

 

Bridgewater MonumentView of Bridgewater Monument across the meadow at Ashridge

 

The Ashridge Estate, owned by the National Trust, covers 5000 acres of stunning landscape in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and it forms part of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). I'm going to start (pretty obviously) at the Bridgewater Monument, where you will find the Ashridge National Trust information centre and shop. The monument was built in 1832 in honour of the third Duke of Bridgewater who lived in Ashridge House, and you can climb it's 172 steps on weekends from April to October. I've seen all the way to London on a clear day.

 

There's plenty of parking on Monument Drive here and the Brownlow Cafe serves breakfasts and lunches as well as delicious sweet treats, with loads of outdoor benches. You'll usually find an ice cream van around here too and often at the weekends the Juice Dub van for smoothies and coffee. There's a small little playground of sorts – lots of logs and trees stumps to climb on for the kids and the walk around the meadow has a buggy friendly path (unless really really muddy) with plenty of chance for the children to build and explore dens. The meadow is perfect for a picnic in the summer.

 

FamilyFamily on the meadow at Ashridge Tree climbingBoy climbing trees at Ashridge

 

There are absolutely loads of paths to explore all around here so you can have a proper adventure if you just get off the beaten track a little. If you walk down Tom's Hill from the monument you'll be treated to the delightful village of Aldbury (which has featured in many a TV show and film). It has a lovely couple of pubs, The Greyhound and The Valliant Trooper as well as Musette Cafe (just beyond the church), which is a cyclists dream, with great coffee and tasty snacks to fuel your walk back up the hill to the car! At the weekend Little Viet Kitchen runs out of Musette where you can get amazing and authentic Vietnamese food.

 

Boy in the woodsHaving fun at Ashridge Family in BluebellsFamily in BluebellsFamily in the bluebells at Ashridge  

 

From the Bridgewater Monument, if you head down Monument Drive and Prince's Riding, you'll find yourself at Ashridge House which was originally built as a 13th century monastery. It has a rich history including being one of the private residences of Henry VIII. It was home to Princess Elizabeth (later Queen) until 1554 before becoming a private house to the Dukes and Earls of Bridgewater form 1604 (for over 200 years). In 1808, the house was almost completely rebuilt by James Wyatt and has been home to the Ashridge Business School since 1959. I'm so excited to be photographing a wedding here in June. You can now visit the gardens and they also have a cafe off the courtyard for refreshments. In between Ashridge House and the gorgeous village of Little Gaddesden (which has a little shop and the Bridgewater Arms pub) is the Golden Valley which sweeps through woodland with stunning vistas. It was a very majestic spot for some of my Autumn photo shoots last October and my kids love running down the slopes of the valley.

 

Ashridge House in AutumnView of Ashridge House from the drive The Golden ValleyAutumn at the Golden Valley, Ashridge

 

The changing seasons at Ashridge are obviously a delight to watch and in late April and early May one of Ashridge's most wonderful treasures blooms with a sea of bluebells at Dockey Wood. There is a parking over the road from the wood (though limited) and when it was last open (Spring 2019), the National Trust were charging a small fee (unless a NT member) on the weekends to go in, which is absolutely worth spending. I promise you will not be disappointed.

 

Dockey WoodsBluebells at Dockey Wood, Ashridge   Family in BluebellsFamily in BluebellsFamily in the bluebells at Dockey Woods

 

If you continue from Dockey Woods along Beacon Road, you'll come to Ivinghoe Beacon which offers spectacular views across Herts, Beds and Bucks. It is the start of the ancient tracks of the Ridgeway (described as Britain's oldest road) and the Icknield Way. Views stretch from Pitstone Hill (you can also see Britain's oldest windmill in Pitstone from the beacon), across to Mentmore, Dunstable Downs and Whipsnade. Although hilly, the circular walk from the car park is about 2 miles so manageable for children if you bring some snack bribes for making it to the top. There is also sometimes an ice cream van in the car park, which also makes a good reward for the whole family!

 

Running on Ivinghoe BeaconIvinghoe Beacon in the spring Ivinghoe BeaconView from Ivinghoe Beacon towards Dunstable Downs

 

One of the closest Ashridge spots to Berkhamsted (and another favourite) is Northchurch Common – part of which is the expanse of field you see on the left as you drive towards the monument from Berko with the copse of evergreen trees in the middle. There's a few different parking spots along the roadside and the lovely Barn Hill Farm for refreshments, which also has a play area for the kids, including a static old fashioned tractor, sand pit and some goats, pigs, rabbits and guinea pigs. Around the edge of the open common are a warren of paths for exploring – my 5 year old son as discovered a dinosaur nest, meteor crater site AND a T-Rex footprint so you really never know what you're going to find! From June, parts of the woodland are thick with ferns and foxgloves. This area offers such variety, I love doing photo shoots here in all seasons.

 

FoxglovesSummer Foxgloves at Northchurch Common, Ashridge Niedzwiecki-27SistersSisters at Northchurch Common in Autumn ToadstoolBoys looking for fairies at Northchurch Common, Ashridge  

 

Most of the photos I've shared here are taken with my camera, but there's also a couple on my phone as that's often what's easiest when I'm out with my young boys. There are plenty of opportunities for you camera phone snappers out there to get some great images of your kids in the stunning surroundings of Ashridge. Often, exploring somewhere new can give a great sense of excitement and adventure that will spark their imagination and get you some genuine happy family photos. In the summer I'll be sharing another blog with some tips on how best to take photos of your children (even just with a phone) so watch this space and thanks for reading! 

 

Stranders-52Family at Northchurch CommonFamily walking in Ashridge
 


 

 

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tanya@aldcroft-photography.co.uk (Aldcroft Photography) aldbury aonb area of outstanding natural beauty ashridge ashridge estate beds berkhamsted bluebells buckinghamshire bucks chiltern hills chilterns countryside countryside walks dockey woods family family photo shoot foxgloves hertfordshire herts ivinghoe ivinghoe beacon landscape landscape photography memories national trust northchurch northchurch common photo photography pitstone woodland https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2021/3/out-and-about-in-ashridge Sun, 14 Mar 2021 19:33:57 GMT
Newborn Do It Yourself Photography 5 Top Tips https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2021/1/newborn-do-it-yourself-photography-top-tips In January, a good friend of mine had her second baby, a little girl to complete their family with little boy, William. Lockdown has been so hard for people and it's strange not to be able to visit and get some baby cuddles - she's part of my mum tribe and I'd love to be able to go round and make her a cuppa and do some washing up for her or hold the baby so she can go for a shower. Taking some gifts and cake round at a social distance had to suffice! 

 

In the autumn I took some photos of her family with bump and we were hoping I'd be able to take some newborn photos for them at home, but that will obviously have to wait. It got me thinking though, with so many families unable to have photographers to their home or go to studios for newborn shoots, it's down to parents to get some newborn images. Of course, we take hundreds of photos of our beloved children, but I wanted to give some tips of things to think about to help make your newborn pictures a bit special and not a blurry mess with muslin cloths and wipes in the background.

Mother and SonPregnant mother with her son touching baby bump            Mother and SonAutumn shoot with mother and son

So here are my top 5 tips, just things to think about really. The key is to have a bit of fun with it - you have the luxury of time (rather than an hour long shoot) to get 'the' dream photo. Keep baby warm (whack the heating up!) and happy too - if they need a cuddle or milk, let them have it and then just try again. Experiment with a digital SLR if you have one, but your phone can be great too, and usually the closest thing to hand! 

 

Tip No.1

Find the natural light. Sunlight has us looking our most natural and is the most flattering kind of light. Ideally you'd want a light but cloudy day - direct sunlight can be too harsh and create strong shadows. Put your baby on your bed and face them towards a window or lay them on the floor (with appropriate comfort of blankets etc) next to a patio door or similar. Experiment with different angles to see how the light changes - a profile silhouette can also make for a gorgeous and dramatic image.

Mills-87Smiling baby girlHeadshot of baby looking straight up making eye contact with the camera

Tip No. 2

Get detailed shots - they will grow so quickly and having beautiful images of tiny toes, hands, lips, and nose will be something you love looking back on. These are such unique features to your baby that change in a flash so it's great to have them as a lasting memory. Having a frame of reference, like Mum or Dad's hands, can also make baby look even smaller and really emphasises those cute newborn qualities. If you want to print your images to frame, they can also make a great addition to a montage alongside images of the baby's face.

Baby fingers detailDetail of baby's fingers around Dad's little finger   Jake-68Baby feet and toesDetail of newborn baby feet and toes in mother's arms

Tip No. 3 

Keep it simple. Nothing too hectic or colourful on the bed sheets or baby's clothing - this can distract from the main event - your baby! Let your beautiful newborn do the talking. If this isn't possible, using black and white is a great way to get rid of any distractions or clashing colours. It can also be lovely to have a keepsake photo of a special toy or blanket knitted by Grandma so keep that in mind when looking at colours on your baby or in the background. The blue eyes of the little girl below are beautifully complemented by the blue in the sheets behind (as luck would have it!) so look at using complimentary colours and tones if anything.  

Baby GirlKeeping it simple with some blue on the sheets to compliment the eyes   Sleeping newbornNewborn baby boy sleeping

Tip No. 4

Use the rule of thirds for some of your images. Imagine dividing your frame or view with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. This creates four intersecting points and by placing your subject or the most important element of your subject onto one of these points you create a more pleasing composition. It helps guide the eye into the image and puts more emphasis on the subject in question. I often do this with babies and children, placing one of their eyes as the focal point. 

Newborn baby boyFace baby towards a window to get natural light on their face, and bring out their eyes

Tip No. 5

Play with different angles and perspectives. Once your baby is comfortable and settled in a certain position, move around them to get a variety of images. This can include your detail shots and close ups of their face, versus images of their whole body. Get down to their level or shoot them directly from above. You can get plenty of varied images from just one pose and given time you might get some cute faces out of them too, like a big yawn or a windy smile! 

Newborn baby boyNewborn baby boy at 7 days old   Newborn baby3 month old baby boy

I hope this is in some way useful, or at least gives you some pointers to think about. Take it at a nice gentle pace though (especially if you've just given birth), and always keep your baby happy and safe. Get the whole family involved if you can - Mum, Dad and siblings, as these early snuggly days don't last long. Any questions, just drop me an email and I'll be here ready and waiting to take your newborn photos as soon as I'm allowed! Happy snapping! 
 

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tanya@aldcroft-photography.co.uk (Aldcroft Photography) baby baby boy baby girl baby photographs newborn newborn baby newborn photographs newborn photos phone photography photograph your baby photograph your newborn photography photography advice photography tips photography top tips tips to photograph your baby top tips https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2021/1/newborn-do-it-yourself-photography-top-tips Sun, 31 Jan 2021 22:10:32 GMT
Bespoke Photo Albums https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2021/1/bespoke-photo-albums So I was pretty busy in December, not with photo shoots, but with photo albums to be given as Christmas gifts. These are perfect for me to do in the quieter winter months, and as it turns out in lockdown! My photo books are a great way to collect your digital images (mine are usually phone and camera) in one place that you can dip into and look at with the kids and they make amazing and thoughtful gifts. I always go hardback so the book is really durable, but I use an affordable printer so I can have lots of gorgeous books without breaking the bank. I've tried a few phone app options that you often see sponsored on Instagram, but I've never liked the auto-fill option and prefer to have more control over the look of my books. I've been using Bob Books for years now, and am always so happy with the quality.

Travel Photo Albums

I really got into making photo albums after a round the world trip of a lifetime - in 2011, my husband and I visited 15 countries in 7 months and took over 30,000 photographs! It was 2011 so really before we were all using camera phones and we each had a digital SLR. I couldn't not document our journey and have easily accessible books to look back on the 'best of' our trip. So, I decided to make a book for each country with all our favourite photos and include some of the best extracts from our travel journals so that I could tell the story of our amazing trip! It was a daunting and mammoth task, but so lovely looking back at all the photos and now I look at them with my five year old and tell him all about our adventures before he appeared on the scene. I made a bumper travel album for Natalie in December of 3 months of travels with her other half. It was lovely going through the photos and selecting the best, especially as I'd been to a lot of the same places, but now I NEED to go to Myanmar!!! 

  Travel photo album in Myanmar

Lockdown 2.0 in November and the lack of photo shoots was the perfect opportunity to get stuck into client albums as well as a significant family album for my father in law's 70th birthday. I did something similar for my Mum a couple of years ago - using photos since birth and including messages from family and friends - it's like the ultimate birthday card! I think it's particularly special to have a collection of old pre-digital childhood photos in one place in a book. Then I bought it right up to the present day with photos of the grandchildren. It was a labour of love, but I'm proud of the finished article and my father in law loves it. It felt particularly important this year given his birthday party was cancelled and we weren't able to visit him.

Birthday Photo BookPhoto album celebrating 70th birthday   70th birthday photo albumOld photos from birthday album

Another birthday book I've produced has been for Babs' 70th birthday. Her daughter booked me for an autumnal photo shoot in the Golden Valley in Ashridge. The shoot itself was a surprise present so she was thrilled to see the family all together after such a turbulent 2020. I spent an hour with them, taking photographs of Babs, with husband John and their three grandchildren aged 5 to 1. Babs said she couldn't have thought of a better way to spend time with her family. I've now produced a book for her with all her favourite photographs that she can look back on for years to come and show her friends and family. I used the Bob Books lay flat option for this - it's a bit more expensive, but I love that you can spread a photo over the centre fold seamlessly which makes for a really dynamic double page I think. I particularly like doing this for wedding albums too where your have high quality camera images. This book really captures a special moment in time for Babs and I hope she enjoys it for many years to come.

Family Photo Shoot AlbumFamily Photo Shoot AlbumAutumn shoot photo album   Birthday Gift AlbumBirthday Gift AlbumAutumn photo album cover

Then there's the holiday albums. These have included a special holiday this summer for a family to Dorset celebrating a year when both Grandparents turned 70 and one of their daughters turned 40. They ordered one large book for the grandparents as a Christmas gift and two smaller albums for each of the families to have as a keepsake. Another book was a Christmas gift for a family that had their best holiday ever to Lapland in December 2019. 

Family Holiday AlbumsFamily Holiday AlbumsAlbums for a family after a special holiday to Dorset. Big book for grandparents and smaller books for the kids and grandkids to keep   Holiday Photo BookHoliday Photo BookPhotos of special memories looking for fossils on the Dorset coast

Christmas BookChristmas BookLapland Photo Album Lapland Trip Photo BookLapland Trip Photo BookPages from Lapland photo book with huskies

My final book was baby's first year and I had lovely feedback from the client:

'I got in touch with Tanya to help create a photobook of my son’s first year as I was really struggling to get something together myself, I am not at all creative and didn’t know where to begin. With thousands of photos to look through Tanya managed to identify key moments and people in our first year as parents and create a book that documents all those moments so beautifully.

The service from start to finish was so simple from discussing my requirements to a zoom call to run through the draft layout and finalising it before it went to print. Despite the mountain of photos to sift through Tanya was amazingly patient throughout the process and although she was in the background doing all the hard work I still felt like I had a part in making the book.

I can’t thank Tanya enough for bringing the book to life and look forward to working with her on other projects soon.'


Baby Photo AlbumPhoto book at baby's first year   Baby AlbumBaby's First Year Photo Album

Hopefully that's given you a few book content ideas - really anything goes! They make fantastic and unique gifts so why not give your creative side a challenge and try one yourself, or get in touch if you'd like to know more about my bespoke service. Prices start at £80. 

 

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tanya@aldcroft-photography.co.uk (Aldcroft Photography) album album design baby book bespoke bespoke photo album birthday book book designer buckinghamshire coffee table book design family gift gift idea holiday holiday album memories memory book photo photo album photo book photography present storyteller travel travel album https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2021/1/bespoke-photo-albums Thu, 14 Jan 2021 21:49:44 GMT
My Autumn Photo Shoots 2020 https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2020/11/my-autumn-photo-shoots-2020 October has been a lot of fun for me! It’s been my first year doing Autumn mini shoots and I’ve had a couple of longer shoots thrown into the mix too. I love the fiery colours that Autumn brings, wrapping up, but without being too cold and crunchy leaves under foot. I’ve been pretty lucky with the weather too considering it’s been a record breakingly wet October, but my wellies have been put to good use!

I've experimented with a few different locations, and the variety always makes things more interesting for me. You'll know I love getting out for walks with my family and enjoy trail running too so there's nothing better for me than photographing my families in the great outdoors! I started with an after school shoot for two girls from Aldbury up at Ashridge Monument. It was early October so the leaves hadn't changed colour so much, but it was a good excuse for me to have an explore beforehand to find some good colours just off Monument Drive. The girls loved climbing trees and splashing in puddles so it made for a really relaxed shoot.

Ledward-22Sisters in the WoodsSisters holding hands and walking in the woods at Ashridge Ledward-39Climing trees at AshridgePhotograph of two sisters climbing trees at Ashridge Forest

Next I headed to Northchurch Common with a family of 5 that included three beautiful sisters. I'd been to the common just the day before with my own family for a walk – always a good way to do a recce. I took them on a proper adventure walk, showing them a dinosaur footprint (my son's discovery of course!) and the red toadstools we'd found. They were really good fun – running around together and loved getting swung around by Mum and Dad – I like to make my parents work for great photos!!!

Niedzwiecki-30SistersSisters at Northchurch Common   Niedzwiecki-38FamilyFamily running at Northchurch Common

Niedzwiecki-74Family PortraitFamily Portrait at Northchurch Common   Niedzwiecki-73Girl in the woodsGirl - Northchurch Common  

The following weekend was spent at the Golden Valley near Ashridge House – again I'd done a recce – this time with a friend who wanted to come there with her family for her Mum's 70th birthday surprise – Bab's absolutely loved the shoot with her three grandchildren in this special location where she's been dog walking for years – I'm even making a photo album for her of all her favourite pictures from the day. It was a really memorable experience for the whole family.

Byrom-30Babs' Birthday Surprise with the GrandchildrenGrandparents and Grandchildren in the Golden Valley, Ashridge Byrom-25Grandmother and GrandsonGrandmother and Grandson at Golden Valley, Ashridge

At Golden Valley I also photographed another family – I'd photographed both the children's Christenings and a birthday party in the past, but hadn't seen them for two years so it was really amazing to catch up with them and they loved the Golden Valley. The kids basically just played and I captured them running around and giggling, it was lovely to see them on such great form.

Stevenson-43Brother and Sister HugsAutumn photo at Golden Valley Ashridge with brother and sister cuddling and laughing Stevenson-36Family PortraitAutumnal Family Photograph at the Golden Valley, Ashridge

My final location was Wendover Woods, which is just up the hill from me in Aston Clinton (I even run up there sometimes, when I have the energy for the hill!) The colours by the end of October were spectacular and there's such a warren of paths, it's easy to get away from other people visiting. I had three shoots here in total. A gorgeous family with two boys who got a little muddier than planned (though thankfully you can't tell in the photos), a family with a little boy who just turned 2 and their dog Zac – this was particularly lovely as their brood will grow in January.

Ghedia-7Boys running in the woodsBrothers running in the autumn leaves at Wendover Woods   Ghedia-14Autumn Family PortraitFamily Photograph at Wendover Woods in Autumn   Ghedia-18Brothers HuggingBrothers hug at Wendover Woods in Autumn leaves

Family Portrait at Wendover WoodsMother, Father and Son at Wendover Woods in Autumn   Cheeky BoyLittle Boy at Wendover Woods with an autumn leaf

And finally, a family of four plus grandparents – I met this family doing doorstep photos and they invited me to photograph their extended family in Ashridge in the summer for their parents 50th wedding anniversary. It was lovely to meet the other set of grandparents and make some memories for them after lockdown, and we just squeezed it in before lockdown 2.0. They even bought Christmas jumpers and hats to change into so they can make a Christmas card - my first chance to start feeling festive and shout Merry Christmas!! We must have looked completely mad! 

So, all in all a very successful Autumn and I got a real buzz from every single family. The kids definitely all enjoyed themselves and for me, that's the main thing!

Mills-32Grandparents and GrandchildrenPhoto of grandparents and grandchildren in Autumn at Wendover Woods Mills-59Family at Wendover WoodsPhotograph of autumn walk with family and grandparents in the woods

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tanya@aldcroft-photography.co.uk (Aldcroft Photography) aldbury AONB area of natural beauty ashridge ashridge estate ashridge house ashridge monument aston autumn autumn mini session autumn photo shoot berkhamsted birthday brothers buckinghamshire children chiltern hills chilterns clinton family family photo shoot father golden valley grandchildren grandparents hertfordshire memories monument drive mother northchurch nothchurch common siblings sisters tring wendover wendover woods https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2020/11/my-autumn-photo-shoots-2020 Thu, 12 Nov 2020 21:15:39 GMT
My Lockdown Photography Journey https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2020/11/my-lockdown-photography-journey In January 2020 I officially gave up the day job and took Aldcroft Photography full time. I had wedding bookings and was looking forward to meeting lots of families for outdoor shoots, especially the bluebells in spring, and getting cuddles with newborn babies. A new year, a new decade – this was my time to pursue a career I really really loved (and in many ways isn’t really ‘work’ at all) and still be around for my two boys as they grew up (without commuting to London whilst trying to do the school run). Cue coronavirus and lockdown. Like everyone, life stood still, indefinitely. My eldest stopped going to school and I tried to fit in a bit of home schooling when my 15 month old went for his nap. Our daily walk saved my sanity! Thankfully, my husband was able to work from home and helped when he could, but was never furloughed.

Looking back now, 8 months on, I can of course reflect with slightly rose tinted glasses (though I still recall a couple of very tricky days which ended in tears for me and my 4 year old when exhausted Mummy became shouty Mummy). Anyway, the POSITIVES… I had a bit of a back catalogue of photos to keep posting on my social media and I started taking way more photos of my boys on our walks – my youngest now a confident walker, it was perfect timing, though not always easy lugging him around in a backpack and carrying a bulky camera! I also started to follow more local businesses on social media as word spread of where we could get hold of various items like pasta and flour and who had started doing local food deliveries. The take away repertoire also grew!

Brothers on the CanalTwo brothers walk hand in hand down the canal alongside the cow parsley in summer Boys in poppy fieldBrothers in amongst the poppies   

A month into lockdown I started to see photographers taking doorstep portraits and thought it was a great idea. I’ve always been interested in history and using my photography to document life (even as a kid I would write on the back of all my photos, dates and names, inspired by my Archaeologist Grandfather who would write insane amounts of detail on the back of his photos including the time of day!). Now, I was a part of history and I could do something positive, for me as well as for the community. I started just photographing friends in Aston Clinton where I live, and then, encouraged by a friend I set up a Just Giving page for Refuge and starting spreading the word more widely in the village and ended up photographing over 50 families and raising over £800.

Garden doorstep portraitFamily garden portrait   Sibling Doorstep Portrait   Family Doorstep Portrait

It wasn’t without its challenges of course. My photo shoots are usually an hour long, but I had just a short 10 minute window to make a connection with families and get the best out of them.  There were also other challenges I wasn't expecting that were thrown my way, such as how the lighting was out of my control depending on the direction of the doorstep in question and the time of day. However, I always made sure that I found time to properly edit the photos I had taken and pass on gallery information once completed. I found the whole experience was so rewarding, especially as I got some time to do something for me that wasn’t child or house related, and I got to meet amazing friendly local families rocking it through lockdown! I LOVED it! Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed so generously.

Family Doorstep Portrait Lockdown Family Doorstep Portrait

So my photography journey this year has not been what I expected, but it hasn't been as disappointing as I expected back in March. It has led to doorstep families booking proper family photo shoots with me. I have discovered new photography locations through our walks, and I’ve taken some photographs of the local landscape which are now up for sale in our newly refurbished village café, Coffee at 108. I’ve taken photos of families for a local pre-school and have more pre-school settings planned for 2021. The icing on the cake and the biggest compliment has probably been one of my doorstep families asking me to be their wedding photographer in 2022. I am SO excited about this one! The future is looking positive so watch this space...

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tanya@aldcroft-photography.co.uk (Aldcroft Photography) 2020 aston clinton buckinghamshire bucks charity charity fundraising community doorstep photography doorstep portraits doortraits family family photo shoot family photographer family photography family portrait fundraising home portrait lockdown lockdown life lockdown photo shoot lockdown photography memories photo photo shoot photographer photography photos portrait https://www.aldcroft-photography.co.uk/blog/2020/11/my-lockdown-photography-journey Sun, 01 Nov 2020 14:21:17 GMT