It’s Christmas!

Leave a comment Standard

Christmas is just around the corner and 2019 is on its way!

Haha, just stating the obvious!

I hope 2018 has been a good year for you.  In some ways, it seems to have rushed by. To me, it feels like five minutes since last Christmas – but on the other hand, it seems like forever ago since I had the old studio at Basepoint – even though I only finished there at the end of March.  The mystery of time, eh?

The move was a massive decision for us at the time, but happily it’s worked out really well. Hive Studios feels like my second Sunday home now! To find such a great studio, so close by, was incredible luck.

It has also given me the flexibility of concentrating on my artistic pursuits, as well as my photography.  I enjoy both immensely; now I can split my time equally on each. Best of both worlds.

It has been really lovely to see so many familiar faces this year and welcome you to Hive Studios, as well as meeting lots of new faces of course!  Not forgetting the numerous shoots in the great outdoors during the summer months too! Great fun, and we were mostly lucky with the weather! I am so appreciative of your continued support. It means such a lot to me, thank you.

Lee and I have also photographed some beautiful weddings this year, come rain and come shine!

christmas keeping place

With my artist hat on, earlier in the year I started some courses spanning the whole year, which I mentioned in a previous post. I have managed to work my way through most of the lessons, and golly have learned so much! Not only to improve my drawing and design skills, but also learning lots of new tricks and techniques in Photoshop, which have helped speed up my editing processes for my photos too. It has been very inspiring.

The most amazing outcome of the art courses though was to set up stores on a couple of Print on Demand websites.  Firstly Red Bubble, and then, WOW, I discovered Zazzle.

I promise I won’t gush too much about Zazzle but I can honestly say it has transformed my life!  Best. Fun. Ever. I invested in a course from one of Zazzle’s topsellers, Elke Clarke, and through her I have learned the very best strategies for making it work. And I am over the moon that it is paying off 🙂 My store is still growing but after only a few months sales are already going well and I know with the techniques I have learned, and am still learning, it will get better and better as I add more goodies to it.

I truly believe everything happens for a reason. This time last year I had no inkling I would be leaving Basepoint (I would have shuddered at the thought!!) but fate stepped in with other ideas for me and I am actually very grateful it did.

I’m closing for the holiday this weekend. We have a wedding to photograph on Sunday; Christmas weddings are always especially magical! Then we have our eldest son’s birthday to celebrate on Christmas Eve, and a big family get together on Christmas Day, followed by a trip to Brighton on Boxing Day. Then a little R&R before reopening in January.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Celebrating a New Beginning

Comment 1 Standard

“And suddenly you just know…it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” -Meister Eckhart

Yep, you could say it was quite a spontaneous decision to move out of my studio at Basepoint! At Christmas I had absolutely no inkling that by Easter my lovely studio space – my second home for the last 12 years – would be back to its bare shell, workshop roots.

The way we were

Sometimes things happen quite out of the blue to take you on a different path you hadn’t even considered until that point, don’t they? In my case, I knew it would happen one day of course. In quiet moments whilst sitting in the studio waiting for shoots I would often glance around at my set up and imagine when that day would come and what it would feel like.

Now I know. It just happened to be sooner than I expected!

I guess the clincher was an increase in costs this year which made us look at everything closely and decide whether to stay and increase my prices, which I really didn’t want to do, or find an alternative.

The solution, we discovered quite quickly, thanks to a brief Google search. Hive Studios. It immediately looked like the perfect answer.

After further research and a visit, we found Hive Studios to be very well-equipped. There’s also a changing area/makeup room and also a welcoming reception area. What had been a distinct possibility, soon became a no-brainer.

Hive Studios – looks great eh?

I can hire studio space there as and when I need it, as well as block book certain days. This arrangement suits me very well. As many of you I’m sure know, the vast majority of a photographer’s work is done at a desk, editing photos and processing orders – taking photos is but a small part of the overall process. In my case my desk is at home, which means my studio was empty a lot of the time. So paying for a studio premises on a full time basis, whilst a nice luxury, doesn’t actually make great financial sense.

I decided to take a block booking out at Hive Studios for Sunday mornings, which is my most popular day, and other days I can request as and when necessary. Hive Studios have kindly allowed me to take lots of my trusty props with me and keep at their studio, which was a real bonus! Some things you just can’t do without!!

I will be doing lots more outdoor lifestyle shoots too which I really enjoy!

With anything new comes changes of course and this link will tell you more the types of shoots I will be doing in the studio and outdoors, and also changes I have made to the booking system.

It’s been quite a full on couple of weeks sorting it all out! Last weekend, we hired a large van to empty the studio of all the furniture and props we were taking with us. The snow was a little inconvenient!! However, we got lots done.  We took a load of stuff to Hive Studios, and all the remaining furniture we offered to other business owners at Basepoint and to friends on Facebook, and luckily it was all snapped up very quickly.

This weekend we hired some Abbey Grab Bags so I could throw in the backdrop and floor panels as Lee dismantled them. It all came to bits more easily and quicker than we anticipated. Thank goodness.

Didn’t he do well?

It looks like Lee was doing all the work as these pictures might suggest!! I did do my fair share, honest guv, I wasn’t just snapping away on my phone at him working hard!! Although of course I had to take plenty of pics! Obviously I want some good memories of the place that has been so close to my heart all these years, eh!!!

Now, it’s all done and dusted! Feels mighty strange to see it in its guise of being a warehouse again.

IMG_3119 copy

Those 4 walls have sure seen a lot of emotions within them throughout those years – happy, smiling faces; contagious giggles; tears of joy; squeals of laughter; screams of excitement; baby cries and chuckles; toddler tantrums; family get togethers; surprises; hilarious party shoots, etc., etc..  Capturing so many of your special moments here has been such a joy … seeing your offspring grow from babies to teens, and from children to adults, has always been a particular highlight.

Each time I’ve gone in over in the last few weeks, since knowing I’d be moving, different memories have sprung to mind. Golly, so many brilliant times!

Of course, I won’t be leaving behind all these memories, they’ll stick with me forever! And I look forward to creating many more for you! It may be a sad goodbye to Basepoint, but it’s also a very enthusiastic hallo to Hive Studios and to lots of photo sessions in the great outdoors too!

It all dismantled quicker than expected – not this quick though!

As I come to the end of this chapter in my Romsey Fotografix story, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Basepoint over the years who have made it such a lovely place to be. A very special thank you to Kate, Sam and Neil from the Romsey Basepoint Office, who are always on hand to help whenever we pop by, with their cheery smiles, and organising various social and business events during the year to make it special for the licencees. I shall miss you all.

And, of course, a huge thank you to every one of you who has ever stepped foot into 45 Basepoint, and for being so supportive over the years. It means such a lot to me. I look forward to welcoming you to Hive Studios or meeting you for a photoshoot in the New Forest, in your garden, or even on the beach!

My biggest thank you of all is to Lee, who has worked so hard, making my dreams come true, and without whom none of this would have been possible. Thanks, lovely hubby.

And here’s an outtake of me attempting to lock the door for the last time at 45. Clumsy me, if only I’d remembered to take the key out of my pocket first!! Haha 🙂

 

 

Celebrate Endings – For they Precede New Beginnings

– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

 

Almost there!

Leave a comment Standard

So here we are again, another Christmas almost upon us and another year nearly gone by! It’s such a hectic time of year isn’t it, filled with mixed emotions from huge excitement in anticipation, to utter panic making sure everything gets done!

It’s a rollercoaster ride that’s for sure – but we usually get there in the end, eh!

blog-1 copy

Its been pretty crazy here; not complaining of course, I am truly thankful that you love your pictures and the kind things you say about them, and of course, for your valued custom. It’s just having that same deadline for everything (ie Christmas!) that creeps up before you know it – it can get a little overwhelming! Happy to report that everything is now done and delivered. Phew!

I’m sure it’s the same for you, and before we know it, the big day has come and gone!

Hope 2017 has been a good one for you. For Lee and I, outside of work, we had the house move of course, which wasn’t even on our radar this time last year, but happy to say has worked out fabulously, we’ve settled in well and absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our new place.

The trials and tribulations of moving did mean that certain things, such as my personal Photo of the Day Project, which some of you may remember I have been doing over the last few years, and have really enjoyed, had to take a bit of a back seat. Eventually, I got so far behind with updating the Diary I kept with each daily photo, it became more of a task than a pleasure to try and get it all back up to date, so I sadly had to let it go. For now at least.

However, I am very excited to have been getting back into art, and intend to do as much as possible in the new year. The hectic lead up to Christmas has meant putting it to one side for a few weeks, but I hope to get really stuck in over the holiday. I have lots of creative ideas milling through my head and can’t wait to start again! It’s so therapeutic!! On one hand it complements my photography, helping to keep ideas flowing, but on t’other, it’s different enough to take me away from it all and lose myself in the dreamy world of artiness! Bliss!!

Exciting news too, we are planning on opening a commercial side to Romsey Fotografix in 2018, with Lee at the helm! I love my “people photography” so have never really promoted product photography before, but it’s something Lee excels at. It’s early days and we are still working it all out, but I’ll be giving you more info as soon as I can.

I am closing for the Christmas break from Friday 22 December until Wednesday 3rd January. Quite a busy holiday, as this year we are having two Christmas Days – yay!!! It’s the first year ever we won’t be spending the 25th with both our boys, as our youngest son isn’t able to be with us on the big day itself.  We knew it would happen sometime and understand of course, but all the same it will be strange without him there at our annual large family gathering, so we’re doing it all again on 28th December – in our new abode!

I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been in; to meeting so many new faces, and seeing again lots of familiar ones! Thanks for your continued custom, and to all of you for keeping the studio atmosphere alive with your laughter and giggles!  It means such a lot to me and I feel truly blessed. You’re wonderful!!!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas – have a wonderful time, and a very Healthy, Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Most Beautiful Evening

Leave a comment Standard

We received a very intriguing invitation out of the blue a week or so ago!

It kept us guessing for sure … all we were given was the time and date – Friday 16 June – and “come and share and celebrate some unexpected news”.

And to be at a secret location – which was only confirmed on the day!

OMG the SUSPENSE!!!

Of course, we would be there! And we couldn’t wait to find out what it was all about!!

The invite came in the form of an email from our lovely friend, Lynn, Founder of the charity, Their Future Today https://www.facebook.com/theirfuturetoday/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf. You may remember I’ve mentioned Lynn and her fantastic charity several times before, (yes, I’m very proud of her), mainly highlighting her fundraising balls and events. In October 2016 she deservedly won a Best Business Woman award.

I first met Lynn when we worked together at a travel agency in Twickenham. We were both about 17 at the time, so a little (ahem!!) while ago and lots of memories along the way!

And so to Friday …

The beautiful venue, we discovered on the day, was at the home of one of Lynn’s close friend’s, situated on an island on the Thames no less, with simply stunning views across the river from the garden. Such a perfect setting on a gorgeous balmy summer’s evening.

There were around 60 specially invited people, including of course Lynn’s lovely family, who have actively supported her all the way. The atmosphere was so warm, friendly and very relaxed indeed.   We were treated to a delicious barbecue, along with the odd Pimms (or two!), as we soaked up the ambiance and wonderful scenery.

Ducks

Ducks in convoy gliding by!

DSC_2065

The “announcement” we were all eagerly awaiting, was to be at 10.30pm. Although, it flew round really quickly though as we were having such a great time and it was half past ten before we knew!

So, the moment had finally arrived!

There were touching speeches by two of Lynn’s 3 sons, culminating in the fantastic news:

Lynn had been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list!! 

(Did you spot the clue in this blog post title lol!)

Wow!!! Everyone was absolutely over the moon for her, and so delighted that her tireless hard work, dedication and fantastic achievements over the years have been recognised and rewarded by such a huge honour, and so richly deserved.

Lynn then gave some lovely words and thank you’s to all the devoted people and volunteers who have also put in such a tremendous amount of effort on behalf of the charity over the years.

Her big dilemma was how to decide who will be accompanying her to the palace – she is allowed 3 guests along with herself, and with her devoted husband, immensely proud dad and 3 caring sons to choose from, there was only one fair way – their 5 names scribbled onto serviettes (in her hands in the pic above left), with 3 being picked at random.

The celebrations and party carried on in style – don’t you just love the cake!!

Their Future Today

Lynn (right) our friend Carole (centre) and myself

Lee and I arrived back home at 2am still buzzing from having been a part of such an amazing evening.

So how did Their Future Today come about? Well, who better to explain than Lynn in her own words (quote taken from an email to her charity’s supporters announcing the exciting news of her MBE award):

‘Who would have thought it when I sat on a Sri Lankan Airlines flight 12 years ago coming home from volunteering after the Asian tsunami?

My heart told me that I had to try to do something to help orphaned and abandoned babies barely surviving in an orphanage in Sri Lanka. This was never as a gesture of charity but as an act of human justice.

I realised I couldn’t do much alone… but, I knew that I knew some amazing people who knew some amazing people, and it’s only with the help, support and love from you, which has made this Medal of the Order of the British Empire award possible and I am extremely grateful.

The United Nations Conventions of the Rights of the Child says that every child deserves the right to grow up in a family. We can make it happen, and we are.

Last year we helped reshape the pathway for 3000 abandoned and disadvantaged children in Sri Lanka by reuniting families, preventing abandonment and enabling education.”

Amazing, eh?

Please take a look at Their Future Today’s story when you get a moment https://www.theirfuturetoday.com/our-story You’ll be very moved indeed.

Congratulations Lynn Stanier MBE!!! You are a very special lady and we are so, so proud of you.

Their Future Today – TransFormaTion of Little Lives. What a difference you have made.

#LOVE FOR EVERYCHILD

 

 

Beautiful Couple + Breathtaking Views = Amazing Wedding!

Leave a comment Standard

The historic Town Walls have taken pride of place in Southampton for hundreds of years. So, with the venue being so near, to make use of them for pictures at the beautiful wedding of Jen and Lee on 1st April, was a no-brainer!

The wedding took place at the Southampton Holiday Inn. It’s in a prime location: with the old walls to one side, and the stunning water front views of the Mayflower Park, to the other.

Some awesome photo opportunities then!

JL (476)

Quick mention for the fantastic staff at The Holiday Inn, who were exemplary in their desire to make sure everything ran smoothly – as indeed it did!

The beautiful bride, in her stunning gown, walked into the ceremony to the music of the famous Elvis Presley song “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” played by Alison, a very talented violinist.

JL (287) 2
JL (278)

At our pre-wedding get together with the lovely couple, we had ambled across to the old walls, which we all agreed would make the perfect setting for some of their pictures. 

On the day itself, we had everything crossed for good weather. As indeed we do for every wedding we photograph of course, but especially so this time! The plan was for the majority of the wedding party to make their way from the hotel to the walls, via a very busy main road (thank goodness for the pedestrian lights!). Torrential rain would have made things very tricky!

Luckily, the sun shone and it all worked even better than anticipated, despite the somewhat gusty wind.  To experience the fascinating Old Town Walk with the bride and groom and their family and friends, was brilliant. The group shots turned into a bit of an adventure!

We took the “all guests” photo at the hotel first – there’s a perfect spot to the side of the hotel with lots of steps, so I could get to a good high vantage point. Everyone in view!

At the walls we could concentrate on the rest of the family and friends’ shots. We stopped at different locations along the walk, to make the most of the variety of fabulous scenic views.

The guests made their way back to the hotel as and when their photographs were done. When everyone had eventually filtered away, it was only the lovely couple with the children, their pageboys and flower girl, remaining. We took a couple of fun shots of them all by the arches, otherwise known as The Arcades.

The walk is also home to the 15th Century Tudor House, one of Southampton’s most haunted buildings, apparently! The outside of the building is perfect for romantic couple shots – no paranormal beings spotted!

PhotoBooks & Collages 1 copy

Once everyone else had gone back to the hotel, dark clouds had started to appear.  The impending rain meant a quick change of plan and the proposed evening shots in the Mayflower Park with the newlyweds were brought forward.

It turned out to be the most amazing time of the day to take the shots. The sun was low creating some beautiful light and rays. The water absolutely sparkled! A perfect atmosphere for some very romantic pictures.

PhotoBooks & Collages 21 copy

As the happy couple strolled hand in hand back across the park, the hotel could be seen in the distance. Perfect to feature in the pictures to add to the story and set the scene.

PhotoBooks & Collages 31 copy

Everything fell into place so very well. We were back at the Holiday Inn in good time for the wedding breakfast!

JL (599) copy

Loved the bride’s gorgeous red shoes!!

Sticking with the historic theme … check out this swash-buckler of a sword for cutting the cake!!

JL (780) copy
Once the evening guests arrived, the cake was cut by the happy couple wielding the said sword!
JL (782)

Awesome cake eh! Made by the clever folk at http://www.specialitycakes.biz/  – and chosen by the groom himself!

The happy newlyweds then took to the floor for their first dance.

JL (833)

A truely special and wonderful day!

Made all the more special by the amazing talents of :

Violinist, Alison Rowley http://www.morrismonday.com/

Flowers by Sarah Grist at Penny Lane Flowers  https://www.pennylaneflowers.com/

Dress by Ann, Sue and Dee of Mayflower Bridal http://www.mayflowerbridal.co.uk

Cake by Speciality Cakes http://www.specialitycakes.biz/

Congrats to the new Mr and Mrs!!

Looking forward …

Leave a comment Image

So here we are then, 2017 is underway!

I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas. As usual it has flown by  – no sooner have the tree and decorations gone up, it’s time to take them down again!

file-03-01-2017-13-04-17-copy

Decs Away!!!

It’s good though to get back to “normality”. I never did much like the few days between Christmas and New Year (and I don’t think I’m alone in this). After the franticness of December, the excitement and build up to the big day, the magic of Christmas Eve (always been my favourite day of the year and also happens to be our eldest son’s birthday) and of course Christmas Day itself, afterwards things seem a bit, er, flat.

Although I find the break a great opportunity to come up with new ideas for the year ahead and start putting the wheels in motion for them. This cheers me up no end; I really love this kind of research, especially when I discover stuff that is going to prove very handy. As indeed I have. I also have fun finding and trying out new apps and experimenting with creative effects to my heart’s content – a perfect chance to do just that – and of course I’ve fallen head over heels with a couple of new (to me) Apps which I’ll tell you about soon!

As well as the brainstorming, we had a fleeting visit to Marwell Zoo, to start making use of the annual membership I bought Lee for Christmas (and treated myself too!). We’ll really make the most of it I’m sure – so many amazing photo opportunities! It was a very cold and misty day, and lots of the animals not surprisingly were hiding away. So we only wandered round for an hour or two this time but it was great to blow away some cobwebs and have a nice brisk walk and there was still lots to admire and photograph. Wildlife is so fascinating isn’t it! Being so close to Marwell, it’s great that we can nip over there with our cameras whenever we have a spare hour or two. Here’s a few I took on Friday, I expect you’ll see one or two more in the next few months!

file-03-01-2017-13-32-58

This little bute very obligingly strolled slowly passed me several times so I could get a few good close-ups! Or maybe he was just thinking I’d make a good dinner … yikes!!!

dsc_6607-painting-copy

We also had our annual panto trip to the Mayflower on New Years Eve – oh yes we did!! (Sorry couldn’t resist that …) With it being a special night, we always treat ourselves to dinner in the theatre’s Ovation restaurant pre-show, which never disappoints. Did any of you see this year’s panto, Robin Hood, there? We had a good old giggle and joined in the banter, the effects were very clever too. Lee and I first met when we were in the back row of a panto chorus together, an amateur production in Sunbury-on-Thames, many moons ago. We did our fair share of pantos back in the day, so have some great memories – the shows were usually late January so the rehearsals and set building etc was a brilliant way to overcome any January blues!! So we still love to get our panto fix once a year – but from the audience rather than on stage these days!

I’ve had some great feedback already re the joy the pictures you bought as gifts have given when opened by your surprised loved ones on Christmas Day. That’s so nice to know 🙂 Thank you.

It’s really lovely to have lots of photoshoots and weddings in the diary already – so looking forward to seeing you all!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year, may it bring you everything you wish for!

‘Tis The Season to be Jolly

Leave a comment Standard

Yes, ‘Tis the season to be jolly once again! (Maybe that should be the mantra for all year round really).

It’s not always easy to be “jolly” this time of year is it, with so much extra stuff to be done, but we usually get there in the end!

So, once there’s time to breathe …. chill … and start winding down a bit, you might begin to feel a little nostalgic about Christmases past, as I always do this time of year. Aha, cue for last year’s blog post https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2015/12/ Must be that old cine clip that does it 😉

Also, maybe a time to reflect a little on the year gone by. I hope it’s been a good one for you.

It seems like only 5 minutes ago that we were just coming into 2016 and the approaching ten year anniversary of Romsey Fotografix, back in January. I really enjoyed putting together the Then and Now montages from some of your shoots, delving into the archives and looking back at all your photo sessions over the years.

Speaking of which, here’s a young lady who’s been in every year on her actual birthday in December since she was 2 years old (bar one year when lots of snow stopped play!). Lovely to see her again, looking all grown up, for her 11th birthday shoot last weekend, this time along with some friends – and her gorgeous dog Alfie!

blog-1-square

Giggles galore!!!

For us, both socially and workwise, there’s been lots going on, which I guess has made it feel like the year’s gone by even quicker. Particular highlights of course, my weekend of surprises https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/surprise-after-surprise-after-surprise/ and the beautiful day we renewed our wedding vows https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/renewing-our-wedding-vows-30-years-on/

If any of you have kept up or started a 365 day photo project, it’d be great to hear how it’s going. I’m still doing mine, and am glad as it’s pretty cool having a daily picture diary to look back on, although it’s time consuming and ‘twould be fair to say I’m not quite so enthusiastic about it as I was when I first started!! More about this year’s in another post, here’s last year’s https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2016/01/06/on-the-blog-today-update-on-my-365-photo-project-for-2015-365photo-365project/

I would love to take this opportunity to say a massive THANK YOU to each and everyone of you who’ve entrusted me with taking your photos, whether in the studio or for your “big days” – and in some cases both! It’s always such a privilege to share and photograph the special times in your lives; it really means such a lot to me to be asked. And it’s been brilliant to see so many familiar faces again this year, as well as lots of new ones too!

So many amazing, memorable moments 🙂  As I’ve said many a time, you make this job of mine so joyful, it just doesn’t feel like work!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And have yourselves a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year.