Our Wedding Photography Swansong

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We certainly finished on a high for our Wedding Photography Swansong! ‘Twas a beautiful day for a lovely couple who we’ve known for many years through their studio visits.

We decided some time ago that we would not be taking any new wedding bookings for after May 2019.  Not a decision taken lightly, but we know it’s the right one for us.

Thought I’d share a little of what’s involved when entrusted with this very important task.

Even though I’ve never advertised weddings, we’ve been lucky enough to have had our fair share over the years, from family and friends getting hitched, to some of my lovely studio clients, and of course, word of mouth referrals.  Each wedding equally beautiful in its own unique way. Come rain or come shine, it’s been a joy. Yes, even in the downpours! Heavy rain is challenging, I won’t deny, but you just have to make the best of it and use it to your advantage and grab some fun shots which you wouldn’t otherwise get on a sunny day!

It truly is an absolute honor when you’re asked to photograph a wedding. As the official photographers, you get to share and virtually live the day alongside the happy couple. You see everything first hand and capture all the emotions that invariably occur, from the nerves and tensions of the morning and the excitement shared by the bride and groom with their respective “tribes” as they get ready; the sighs of relief once the ceremony has been done, and the relaxed atmosphere and fun and happiness by the end of the day! Especially once the champagne has started flowing! You also get to photograph at the most beautiful locations and stunning venues – a photographer’s dream!

I won’t pretend it isn’t a tad stressful though. Weddings are after all, a one stop saloon – you just get the one chance and if you miss a shot or something fails, it’s too late to go back after the event. All the suppliers involved, and not just the photographers, want to make sure everything is top notch for the happy couple and their guests and do their utmost to ensure the day goes as smoothly as possible. And of course it always does even if there are one or two hiccups during the proceedings. But these are the moments most treasured and which make every wedding unique – it’s often these little “hiccups” that become the best memories in years to come!

Yes, you can plan all you like but on the day anything can happen and often does, quite out of the blue, not least the weather being so unpredictable in this country. With experience, you learn to take whatever is thrown at you in your stride. But it sure keeps you on your toes throughout the day and that’s a good thing! Lee and I always took our backup cameras. Even though our main cameras are expensive and very reliable, in the back of your mind there’s always a little niggle that technology might fail you at a crucial moment, like during the ceremony. Yikes!! I still shudder at the very thought!!

Fortunately, we were lucky that we never needed our backups but it was always reassuring to have them just in case! (Haha I have never wanted to say this before in case of jinxing any future weddings we had to photograph!!)

Love all those little details too that help make each wedding so individual.

Well I guess all good things must come to an end, although I must admit it’s a little bit of a relief too. Photographing a wedding is perhaps more exhausting than you might imagine. Even fellow photographers, mostly much younger than we are, suffer from what’s known in the trade as “Wedding Photographer Hangover”. Yep, when you get home after shooting all day it sure hits you! And the following day too. You physically ache from head to toe! I think this lady, Karen Julia Wedding Photography, describes it so well in her blog post https://karenjuliaphotography.com/how-to-prevent-wedding-photographer-hangover/ It’s reassuring to know you’re not the only ones and it doesn’t get any easier as the years go by!

We would always try and keep the day after free so we could chillax a bit. I found it a perfect opportunity to go through all the photos Lee and I had taken between us and sort out favourites to post for a sneak peek on Social Media and to start the initial edit. Downloading the images from the memory cards in itself could take a couple of hours due to the enormous size of the Raw files out of camera and there being at least a couple of thousand to download. Speaking of the memory cards, I would not let them out of my sight until all the backups had been done, which was as quickly as possible believe me!

Because we limited the number of weddings we booked, I would try to keep the couple of weeks afterwards free in order to devote this time to work on the edit so I could deliver them to the newlyweds as soon as possible. They’d be very excited to see them of course so didn’t want to keep anyone waiting any longer than necessary. It’s no mean feat doing a wedding edit, especially when you have developed your own style, as most photographer’s do, it involves several hours each day at the computer during this time.

Edit finished and 1000 or more images delivered to the happy couple, I’d start work on designing the artwork for the photobook, which was included in most of my packages. Once that had been approved by the couple, I ordered it, and then time to put together a slideshow of around 25 minutes, using the favourite song tracks of the bride and groom.

Thus, all in all, a fair amount involved from start to finish, but because I really love being creative, it never felt like a chore, just fun to do.

To be told how much the images, book and slideshows have meant to our wedding couples over the years, has been the icing on the (wedding) cake! Great feedback means the world to us and truly makes our day 🙂

It just remains for me to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to all the wonderful couples who have entrusted us with photographing their beautiful days over the years.

It has been a privilege and a joy.

There is one thing a photograph must contain. The humanity of the moment.

Quote by Robert Frank

Loving Two “Babies” Equally?

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Here we are almost at another summer holidays already and another year zooming by! There’s been lots going on here even though you may have noticed fewer posts from me on Facebook of late. Read on and I will explain all!

As many of you know already, I now split my time wearing the two hats, so to speak. Romsey Fotografix being one, and my Zazzle Store – Fotografixgal Designs, t’other.

Now please don’t get me wrong. Just because I have found a new love in my Zazzle store, doesn’t mean I’m no longer “in love” with my photography and Romsey Fotografix. Nah, not at all, that’s still my baby. As we all know, when the second “baby” comes along, you love it just as much don’t you, if you’ll forgive the analogy!  I guess what I’m saying is, it’s possible to love two babies equally.

Of course, finding time to devote to each and give them both my all has meant a little compromising – but not at the expense of letting go of good customer service I hasten to add. So yes, I have cut back on my photoshoots, which means that I can still devote the time necessary for each photo session and the subsequent edit and correspondence, and thus maintain the standard of customer service you are used to from me and, of course, deserve.

My time is split about 50/50, with a little leeway naturally where needs be. Hence, I only do studio photoshoots now on Sunday mornings and outdoor location shoots on Saturday mornings. I edit the images from these as soon as possible afterwards so I can get your galleries out quickly without keeping anyone waiting.

Once I know everyone has their pictures to look at, I devote the rest of the week to designing for my Zazzle store. This really has become such a passion for me, I can’t tell you just how much I enjoy it! Haha my friends and family know exactly how much as I do go on about it a lot!!!

(Goes without saying that I deal with enquiries and orders for Romsey Fotografix regardless of when I get them!)

A little about Zazzle if you’ve not heard of them before. They’re a huge print on demand website and they do all manner of goodies – as you can see from their website. And here’s their story. As a designer, artist or photographer, or indeed anyone who wishes to, you easily set up a Zazzle store, or several stores if you want to. I just have the one store for now Fotografixgal Designs, as that keeps me plenty busy enough!  I also set up a separate website especially for it to help showcase the items in my store.  

There’s quite a complex strategy involved in running a Zazzle store, it’s not just a question of designing and plonking it onto any old products if you want to progress and do well on there. When I first started on there about a year ago, I had no idea at all about best practices for it and it was frustrating not to be making many sales at the time. I took the step of investing in some fantastic training from Elke Clarke one of Zazzle’s top sellers. She was running an offer at the time and I can honestly say it was the best money I ever spent and am so pleased I decided to go for it. I would never have discovered it all on my own. It’s been onwards and upwards since putting into practice everything I learnt (and am still learning). And the training from Elke doesn’t just stop when you finish the course, so you’re not left high and dry. She has a private Facebook group and does regular live sessions so we can ask her anything we need to know. She also assesses our stores if we ask her to and tells us how we can improve and what we’re doing right and wrong which has been invaluable.

A year in, and I’m delighted to say my sales are really starting to take off which has been very encouraging. Ironically, my most popular items are wedding stationery, photo gifts and photo blocks – so the “sisters” Romsey Fotografix and Fotografixgal Designs do cross paths in some ways!  Oh and not forgetting inspirational/motivational quote products, I have loads in store, which I decided to do not only because I love this sort of thing myself, but I reckoned they would be popular as you see them in shops all over the place nowadays don’t you. And indeed they have become bestsellers for me – I’m always racking my brains so I can add new ones.

OK, heading back to the subject of Facebook posting. As I do fewer shoots now, I have less photos from current sessions to post on Facebook and am therefore not posting every day or two, as I did at one time. And I don’t want to bombard you with too many Fotografixgal Design related posts as I guess you didn’t follow me on Facebook to see those 😉!!  Maybe just the odd one or two if you don’t mind lol. In the main though I use my Instagram and Pinterest accounts to promote my Zazzle store. To be honest, Social Media takes such a lot of time to get it right. There’s quite a strategy involved if you want to keep your loyal following entertained. And unless you pay for your posts to be promoted, they invariably only get shown to a small handful of your followers so it can be very soul destroying taking into consideration the amount of time and effort put into creating them. I’m not knocking it, because it’s obviously very useful and brilliant for connecting with your audience. As long as you stay in control of it and not let it take over at the expense of other things.

So please forgive me if I don’t post as often. However, I’m always very grateful when you give me permission to post pictures from your session as this allows me to showcase my work for others to see and also give you a little sneak peek and to share with your FB friends.

Another decision I have not taken lightly is to introduce a small booking fee for my studio photoshoots from August 2019. This won’t apply to outdoor shoots. I’ll only be taking one or two studio shoots a week on a Sunday and will request and pay for the studio as and when someone contacts me to book. This session fee is to safeguard me against late cancellations and no shows and cover my costs. I know I have never charged a session fee before as I didn’t feel it necessary when I had my own studio and was doing loads of shoots in a week, therefore I wasn’t out of pocket in the event of no shows. However, now if someone doesn’t show up on the day, which does happen sometimes, I won’t be able to fill that slot at that short notice and may even have turned other clients away for it, it’s just to ensure I’m not out of pocket. The good news is I’ll refund you the booking fee when your order comes to £150 or more.

You may also have seen that we have now photographed our last wedding as the official photographers.  I was going to tell you all about that in this post however as it’s already quite lengthy (haha sorry that’s not like me at all 😉 ), I’ll do a separate post shortly about the reasons behind our Wedding Swansong.

I truly hope you understand my decision to veer in a slightly new direction wearing my two different, yet complementary, hats. I am a firm believer in doing what you love most in life, after all you only get one shot at it (excuse the photography related pun!!) Grab those opportunities as they arise!

You gotta be content and fulfilled in your work. I have found my very Happy Place.

As ever, thank you so much for your support. It means the world to both Lee and I and we look forward to taking your next set of pictures!

The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of every day 

anonymous quote (but oh so true!)

Al Fresco Anyone?

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There’s just something very special about spending time in the great outdoors on a glorious sunny day, whether it be a BBQ in the garden, a picnic in the park … or a photoshoot in a beautiful location.

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Having photos taken outside in the open is a sure fire way for everyone to feel chilled and relaxed – which of course makes for some great spontaneous images!

Speaking of which … I thought you might like to see some highlights from our visit on Sunday to  The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.

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Such a beautiful setting, and with a lovely family 😊 who I’ve known for several years now, having done numerous photoshoots in the studio with them since their children were babies. The girls were brilliant as usual, star models in fact, and even coming up with several ideas of their own for some of the shots – and good ones at that!

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Alfresco shoots may be at the mercy of the good ol’ British weather, but really are rather magical, especially when the sun shines! Lil’uns can more or less do their own thing and the natural shots come thick and fast!

At play

Great fun!

After all that walking around the arboretum – haha I understand we did around 7,000 steps (!!) – and ’twas a scorcher of a day, we all had a very welcome ice-cream in the café.

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What a great time we had ambling around in the sunshine.

It doesn’t feel a bit like work you know! 😉

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Here comes Summer!

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Isn’t it great occasionally to do something a little different from the norm?

This bank holiday weekend I set up a stylized shoot in the new studio. My main reasons for this being, a) to take some photos for my digital art projects using techniques I’ve been learning on the fabulous Photoshop Artistry and Awake courses ; and b) to create some studio images for my Shutterstock photo gallery (It’s still very much a work in progress with a very limited number of images at the moment. I’m working on it, but it’s a more involved process than I imagined.)

Anyway … back to Sunday’s shoot. My lovely model for the morning brought along loads of her own shoes, hats and bags, not to mention a fantastic mask, which is quite unique as she had very cleverly glued the feathers on herself. Perfect! As soon as I saw it inspiration sprang to mind in leaps and bounds!

Photo becomes art

We also incorporated several of the props already in the studio, the bright orange deck chairs featured rather a lot – love, love, love ‘em!!! That bright orange really pops against the white backdrop!

Deck chairs

Summer and sunshine was of course the theme for the session what with the deckchairs, sun hats and shades! I was able to create a super variety of images.

I got Lee in on the act to pose for a couple of shots! And, dare I say it, even yours truly – even though I’m much more at home t’other side of camera!!! Suitably disguised of course – and yes, I really did wear these stilettos! Not to walk in mind, I know my limitations!! 😉

We joined in too

And sticking with the beach theme …

Seaside to studio

Shoes anyone?  (Still working on the edit on most of the shoe pics!!)

Stepping out

I’m really pleased there’s a guitar in amongst the studio props! I’m sure this will prove popular with any “budding musicians” you may have in the family when you come in. Instruments always lend themselves nicely to some arty shots.  I’ve given these ones an impressionist feel!

Guitar

This session has really inspired me, as well as given me lots of images to play with. I am already planning the next creative shoots  based on other themes. The more you do, the more ideas seem to come flooding in!

Some you may think, “hey that’s pretty cool”, and others a resounding “blah!!”

Isn’t that just the thing with art and creativity: some things you put together work, and some things just don’t. In your own eyes at least. Whilst of course it’s an amazing feeling when the outcome of your creation makes you happy, it really doesn’t matter when it doesn’t. Experimenting and throwing caution to the wind is all part and parcel of the creative process. You don’t know until you try, and if it turns out to be a disaster chances are you will still have learned a lot, even if it’s what not to do next time. In your own opinion of course. You may find another person would absolutely love it!

That’s the funny thing about art.

I found one of the recent art projects for the Lifebook 2018 Art course I’m doing especially challenging and wasn’t at all happy with the end result. I uploaded to the private Facebook Group in any case as it’s always good to get constructive critique, but was astounded by the positive feedback – it gained more likes and loves and wows than any of the other artwork I had previously uploaded. Well I never – to think I nearly relegated it to the camera roll never to see the light of day!!

Just goes to show, eh? Which is why just doing your thing without worrying about what anyone will think is the way to go. Such freedom is quite exhilarating, and once that penny drops, and the pressure is off, ideas flow much better.

Here’s all the shots from Sunday’s photoshoot in a teeny collage! There are some duplications of course but still lots – you can see why they are taking me a while to edit!! You may need a magnifying glass to see them though!!

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“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Maya Angelou

Oh so true!

 

Celebrating a New Beginning

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“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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

Equine Photo Session … behind the scenes

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“To ride a horse is to fly without wings”

Equine photoshoot

Much as I love horses, I must admit to having very little first-hand knowledge of them, let alone ever learned to ride. Even though a part of me has always imagined that it must be a fantastic feeling, taking to the saddle, wind in hair and galloping across the land – just like in the movies! 😉

In personal projects, I really enjoy taking photographs of the ponies in the New Forest, albeit mainly from a distance – and often from the other side of a fence!

So, I was really thrilled to be invited to do this equine photo session at a stables in Lymington.

When Lee and I arrived at the location, we were first introduced to the beautiful mare, Orla, who was being prepped for her “photoshoot” by her lovely owners. I joined them in her stable to start taking pictures as she was being groomed and saddled up – it was brilliant to be so close and get these natural shots, and very interesting to see what was involved.

Once Orla was all spruced up, we headed over to the paddock.

First up some shots of the star attraction. Isn’t she beautiful!

Then pictures of her with the family.

Then the action shots!

Lee was on hand with my phone to take a few snippets of video for a little behind the scenes glimpse!

Luckily the weather was perfect … sunshine and clouds, with blue sky peeking through – much more interesting in photos than cloudless days. I decided to make the most of it to add a little drama to some of the images, so took several of the pictures from a low vantage point so as to feature as much of the sky as possible.

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Equestrian clothing completed the scene – the amazing period style attire was truely something else!! It made for some gorgeous shots (and the opportunity for me to get a little arty!)

So a first Equine Photo Session for me – and hopefully not the last (hint, hint anyone?) 😉

Loved it! Thank you so much for the lovely family who made it possible for me – and of course to Orla who was very obliging!