05.05.22 Spotlight: Photographic Portraits for Performers

Every aspiring actor has dreams of being called for auditions for an upcoming television series, theatre show or film, but how do you get in front of a casting director? For many performers, the answer is to join Spotlight. Spotlight is renowned for providing the connections that fulfil roles and ambitions.

The main part of a Spotlight profile is the images. This visual representation of the actor is the basis for shortlisting potential candidates for auditions. Whilst actors can upload up to 15 images, Spotlight advises a focus on quality over quantity. Most casting agents will only view 4 or 5 headshots.

When it comes to career-defining photography, this isn’t the time to cut corners. A mobile selfie is never going to do the subject justice. You need to team up with a professional photographer who understands Spotlight’s photographic requirements.

 
  

 

Spotlight’s Photographic Requirements

In other portrait photography sessions, my clients ramp up the glamour with hairstyling, makeup and outfits. They want to look their absolute best.

Spotlight photography is different. Casting directors want to see a blank canvas that could be adapted to a variety of characters and looks. It demands a plain background and neutral clothing to ensure all focus remains on the actor’s face. 

As a professional photographer, I use light and angles to take headshots that showcase radiant skin, bright eyes and innate personality. This is portraiture in its purest form; natural and genuine. 

Working together, we will take a collection of images, which can be filtered down to the best shots. The selected images are supplied in high resolution, digital format, ready to be uploaded to an actor’s Spotlight profile.

 



 

Photographing Aspiring Actresses

In over 20 years of portrait photography, I have had the pleasure of taking Spotlight portraits for many aspiring actresses. A recent client was Jessie Mae, a young and beautiful girl who was both calm and confident. Having put her at ease, I used a combination of colour and black and white film in the photoshoot.

Jessie’s experiences of being cast as an extra have fuelled her ambition to pursue an acting career. I was delighted to learn that she has secured a place on the books for one of London’s prestigious acting agencies.

 

 

The Spotlight requirements do not mean that a portrait is devoid of personality. By spending time with the actresses, I can capture the essence of their character. It might be a natural intensity, light humour or ethereal charm.

Are you an aspiring actress needing an experienced portrait photographer to take your Spotlight headshots?

If so, get in touch: info@abigailstudio.co.uk or 01494 481137.



10.04.22 Why Invite a Professional Photographer to a Christening?

A Christening is a milestone event, an occasion when close friends and family come together to officially welcome your child into the world. These get-togethers have been incredibly rare in recent years, so we appreciate their importance. As a professional photographer, I ensure that this special event is held in memories for years to come.

 

The Trouble with Taking your Own Photos

As a new parent, there is no doubt that you will take hundreds of photos of your baby, however, if you are always snapping, you may have very few images of you and your baby. At important events, such as Christenings and Baptisms, it is important to have great group shots of parents and children together. You want to be part of those memories!

The other issue with taking your own Christening or Baptism photos is that churches are notoriously dark. The lighting through stained glass windows can also be unusual. As a professional photographer, I have the kit and knowledge to harness the light and use it to great effect. This results in clear and beautiful images that everyone can enjoy.

 
 
 Christening Photographs of Theo and Finn

Back in October 2018, I was invited to photograph the Christening of Theo. We were blessed with a sunny day, so many of the group shots were taken outside, in the grounds of the church. Whilst colour photography showcased the bright day in external shots, I focused on black and white during the ceremony. This helped to create a stronger definition in the internal images.

I was delighted to be asked to re-join the family as the photographer for the Christening of their second son, Finn in March 2022. Again, the family timed it perfectly and were blessed with a bright, warm day. This enabled a combination of indoor and outdoor shots. In addition to capturing Finn’s adorable natural smile, I loved seeing how Theo, now a smart young boy, and many of his cousins had grown. The two sets of photographs record their development.

 
Is Photography Permitted at Christenings?

If you are planning to book a professional photographer for a family Christening or Baptism, it is important to check with the priest if photography is permitted. In most cases, it will be, however, there may be some restrictions on which parts of the ceremony can be photographed, where the photographer can or can’t stand and if flash can be used.

A conversation between the priest and photographer can ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day. I sought permission to include the priest in some of the shots. As we wanted external photographs, I also checked whether another Christening party was due. This is useful to know, so crossovers can be avoided.



 

 






 

Relish the Occasion

Hiring a professional photographer for a Christening or Baptism allows the parents, godparents and guests to focus on the meaning and celebration of the event. It takes away the responsibility for recording the key moments and ensures everyone is in the photo, rather than behind the lens. It offers you quality images that spark memories and can be shared with your children as they grow up.

 
 
 
 

 


15.03.22 Join me for a Mini Family Photo Session

Children grow up so fast, so it is wonderful to capture their character and development in a family photoshoot. The challenge is engaging them in the experience; could a mini photo session be the answer?

 

Getting the Perfect Image

As parents, we know that young children have limited patience with and enthusiasm for activities. They may initially love taking part, but soon reach the point where they become distracted and uncooperative.

As a photographer, my aim is to portray people in a relaxed and happy state. I’m looking for genuine smiles and a natural twinkle in the eye. Fully aware that the best images are taken when children are enjoying the novelty of being in the photographic studio, I now offer a Mini Family Photo Session.

These 25-minute sessions are offered every Tuesday or Thursday morning at my photographic studio in Bledlow Ridge, Buckinghamshire.

 

How does a Mini Photoshoot Work?

With a friendly welcome, I’ll get straight down to your child or children’s level, making the most of their curiosity and energy whilst they are engaged in the experience. We’ll experiment with a range of individual, pair and group shots to create a full portfolio in a short space of time.

As a mother of young children, I understand that they are not going to sit still and smile on demand! I am experienced in keeping the sessions fun and encouraging willing cooperation.

With the images taken, we’ll move to picture selection there and then. I promise that you will see plenty of photos that you love and I am happy to advise, to help you filter it down to a final collection. The Mini Family Photo Sessions includes 10 x digital or 10 x 6 x 8” printed images. 

 
 

Preparing Young Children for a Mini Photo Session

  • Book your photo session at a time that doesn’t clash with naps!
  • On the morning of the photoshoot, tell the children that you’ll be doing something fun today. You might like to show them other family photos and see who they recognise.
  • Dress your child in something comfortable – they will be moving about! 
  • Bright colours and patterns draw the eye, so I recommend clothing in subtle colours that keep the focus on the children’s beautiful faces. Also, consider everyone’s outfits and how they work together.
  • Feel free to bring a favourite teddy or blanket that will help them to feel reassured and relaxed.
  • It can be useful to bring a drink and snack for them to enjoy during the picture selection stage.

Mini Sessions: Blending the quality of professional photography with the convenience of a short, fun photoshoot.

For further information on Mini Family Photo Sessions or other photoshoot packages, please get in touch to discuss availability: info@abigailstudio.co.uk or 01494 481137

 


 





 






 





17.02.22 Time to Update those Headshots!

Judgements are made on first impressions; we decide who we feel comfortable approaching and who to steer clear of in seconds. With the majority of business taking place online, those instant decisions are being made based on your team headshots. Do they represent your company in the right light?

 
 

Current Headshots

Remote working and social distancing have prevented most teams from coming together for a professional photoshoot in the last two years. In that time, the business will have evolved and roles will have changed. Even with the same line-up, your About Us page and Social Media profile pictures may look out of date. Now is the opportunity to get some current headshot.

The best business headshots balance professionalism with a human touch. Natural, smiling faces suggest confidence, positivity and enjoyment of your work. Get the balance right and your business headshots can build trust in your brand and make you seem familiar and approachable.

What you must avoid is a blurred snapshot taken years ago on your family holiday or a wild night out with friends. It might conjure up the very best of memories for you, but it doesn’t reflect well on the business. 

 
 

Preparing for Team Headshots

If you are planning to update your team headshots, a little preparation can help everything to run smoothly. Firstly, consider a good location for the portraits. This could be in the workplace, against a neutral backdrop, outdoors or in a photographic studio. What is in keeping with the business?

Consistency is great for team headshots, so give some thought to what to wear. It’s straightforward if you wear a uniform, but if not, agree on a colour scheme for the photoshoot. This encourages the eye to focus on faces, rather than being distracted by an array of colour and patterned clothing.

In addition to individual headshots, what other images would be beneficial for marketing your business? This could include group shots of the team, photos of people at work or a shot of your premises. In short, make the most of the time you have booked the photographer. Capturing a series of images provides a bank of photographs that can be used on your web pages, social media profiles, PR and print media.

 
 

Headshots for Action Coach, Buckingham

I was recently booked to take a series of images for Action Coach, Buckingham. A small team of three, they wanted updated headshots to promote their business. With any photoshoot, I aim to make individuals feel relaxed about being in front of the lens. I know it is something that some people find uncomfortable (me included if I am honest!).

As people relax, I capture a natural image; them looking themselves. They are then instantly recognisable when customers, clients and colleagues meet them online or in person.

“Abigail took pictures of my team to use on our company website and marketing material. The results were fantastic. Abigail is very personable, but also a consummate professional. Not only are the photos very good technically, but she has a knack of capturing your natural expression, largely because she is so good at putting you at ease. We were all very pleased with the results and I cannot recommend her highly enough.” – Action Coach, Buckingham

For further information on business headshots and photoshoots, please get in touch to discuss requirements and availability: info@abigailstudio.co.uk or 01494 481137

 
 
  
 

03.12.21 Finding a Meaningful Christmas Gift 

The countdown is on and you want to find a gift with meaning for someone special; where do you start? I have an idea! I suggest that a family photoshoot could provide a personal gift that represents the true spirit of Christmas and this is why.

 



 

Photoshoot and Christmas; Both Bring People Together

Beneath the glitter and lights, mince pies and crackers, Christmas is really about bringing people together. It’s a time for family and friends to share good times and create memories. In the dark, cold month of December, it is a chance to gather and warm our hearts.

These same sentiments are extended in a family photoshoot. As a portrait photographer, I bring people together, help them to relax and enjoy the experience. Whether in the studio or the great outdoors, I capture the moment, so the memories can be sparked long into the future.

A photoshoot gift can be redeemed at any time throughout the year. It might mark a prominent occasion such as the birth of a baby, graduation or a milestone birthday. It could be taken during a favourite season; a bright spring morning, a warm summer’s day or during the delights of Autumn. 

Family portraiture is popular, yet family can be interpreted as you like. Sometimes I am asked to photograph small groups of long-standing friends. Having stuck together through thick and thin, the bonds can be as tight as with any relation. Who would you love to be photographed with?

 

Photoshoot and Printed Canvas Gift

This Christmas, Abigail Studio and PR Photos of Princes Risborough have teamed up to solve your gift dilemma. A photoshoot voucher entitles the recipient to a studio or location photographic session with me. I’ll put you at ease in your chosen setting and take a full selection of group and individual shots. 

I will select a portfolio of the best images, which will be made available to the recipient in a digital format. In addition, PR photos will print a selected favourite image onto a 16 x 12 quality canvas. A canvas finish is an ideal way to create a piece of personalised art; ready to hang on the wall. As family or friends grow older, that image will be a happy reminder of that moment in time.

If this sounds like the perfect gift for someone special, our gift vouchers are available if you pop into PR photos. Alternatively, get in touch at info@abigailstudio.co.uk and I will pop one in the post.

 
 



16.11.21 Why I Love Autumn Photoshoots 

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus

 

Autumn was later to arrive this year; the landscape remained green and lush until November. A cold spell at the start of the month was all it took to transform our local woodlands into a beautiful display of gold, claret and bronze.

 

A Beautiful Backdrop for Family Portraits

As a photographer, I take pleasure from each season, but Autumn provides a delightful backdrop to family portraits. With the sun positioned lower in the sky, the scenery is bathed in a rich yet muted glow. Get the angle right and the subtle light and Autumn tones are ideal for portraiture.

Rather than flooding the woodland with light, the Autumn sun illuminates specific trees or leaves and creates halos around young faces. Natural contrasts are achieved between these highlights and areas in shadow. This can be used to great effect, creating a magical feeling. The effect works on full-colour images and is also captured in black and white photos.

 
 

Relaxed Portraiture 

Walking and playing in the woods is fun. For a start, the deep carpet of leaves provides a fun prop; kick them high in the air and watch them fall from the sky. 

When children can run about, hide behind trees, clamber over logs and generally enjoy the space, the photography is less formal than a studio photoshoot. This interaction with the landscape, and between individuals, offers natural delight. The result is that smiles on faces are genuine, relaxed and joyous.

 

What to Wear to a Family Photoshoot

I’m often asked what people should wear for a photoshoot. Families often feel that they need to dress up in their finest outfits. Whilst it is wonderful to add glamour to family portraits, not everyone feels comfortable in formal attire.

- If your family is more at home in the woods, be true to yourselves. Wellies, bobble hats and cosy scarfs add colour to the image and exude a sense of warmth. 

- If you are concerned that the colour palette may be too overwhelming, coordinate. My three tips would be to

- Avoid patterned coats and trousers, as this will help draw the eye up to faces.

Think about carrying a colour through your outfits. As an example; red wellies on one, red gloves on another and the top of a red sweater revealed under the coat of a third person.

Consider contrasting with the backdrop of yellows, oranges and reds by wearing blue or green.

 

Christmas Gifts Solved!

There’s another reason why autumn family portraits are popular. Many people are stuck with what to give a relative for Christmas. Looking for something more meaningful than a gift set, they know what will warm granny’s heart - an Autumn family portrait!

Doting grandparents would love to receive a framed photo of their beloved grandchildren. It is personal, thoughtful and marks a moment in time, that they can treasure for many years to come.

 



   


29.09.21 Emotive Family Portraits: Photos with Meaning

Time spent with family is precious. In our busy lives, those moments when we fully switch off from other demands, relax and have fun are to be valued. Photographs enable us to hold on to these precious times. In the future, photographic images help families to connect with their stories. 

 

The Missing Piece

As a professional portrait photographer and a parent, I have plenty of photos of my children. I’ve been tracking their growth and capturing their personalities and interests. They grow up so fast, so I want to have a record of their unique development. 

The challenge is that I rarely feature in these images. Being behind the lens means that when my children look back through my collection of photos, there is no evidence that I was part of the story. That is why I love this image, taken on a recent family holiday.

We had escaped to sunny shores. The scenery was spectacular and we were all feeling calm and happy. I love reading to my children, so whilst waiting I’d opened a book and began telling a story. The shared activity and stunning backdrop made the perfect shot.

When looking through the images taken on your smartphone or camera, do you realise that you are always absent? Are family members having great adventures or engaged in familiar pastimes with no record of your presence? Professional family portrait photography provides the ideal solution. With a photographer behind the lens, there are no missing pieces.

 

Family Portrait Photography

When you think of family portraits, do you have an image of stiff, formal arrangements? We’ve all seen those photos of the family lined up in their best outfits, told to look at the camera and smile. These photos tell us nothing about the individual characters or the family connection.

Knowing that nothing looks as artificial as people forced to stand in a fixed pose and smile, I have a different approach. I aim to create a setting where everyone feels at ease, where interactions are natural and expressions are genuine. 

When families look at my images, I want to spark an emotional response. Beyond the faces, I want to transport them back to that moment in time. 

Some families like the professional setup of my photography studio. The controlled lighting and homely environment are ideal for intimate family groups. For other family portraits, it’s great to step out of the studio. With portable equipment, we can head off to a place where everyone feels comfortable, a place with personal meaning. Where is your happy place?

 

Treasured Memories

When I look at this photo of me and my boys, I see our bond and their eager anticipation as the story unfolds. I can feel the warmth of the sun and am reminded of the fresh, subtly salty air. I recall the refreshingly cool drink we had enjoyed before the book was opened and a giggle that followed a funny twist in the tale. More than a visual record, a great photograph offers a full sensory experience.

Long after my boys have grown out of their dungarees, I will value the memories held in this single image.


 

18.08.21 Tracking Time in Photographic Images

I adore this photo of my son. He looks so proud as he holds an image that I took of him as a newborn baby. This picture perfectly captures his development. As a portrait photographer, my son is my most loyal model and the wonderful images of him will always be treasured.

 
    
 


Featured Newborn Photographs
The baby photo makes me proud too. It was one of two Abigail Studio images that were selected to illustrate a newborn photography masterclass for a fellow photographer, Jo Plumridge. The front page of ‘Essential Guide to Newborn Photography’ features this coloured image of my son. He looks straight into the eyes of the viewer as if inviting interaction. As humans, we are naturally drawn to eyes and this direct contact adds to the appeal of the image.
The second photograph is a black and white shot of a baby sleeping in his father’s outstretched arm. This image has a peaceful quality and shows the contrast between the big, strong dad and his tiny, fragile baby. Children grow so fast, that it can be difficult to remember how small they were. For this reason, my newborn photographic shoots are popular.


Lighting for Newborn Photography
Newborn babies are very sensitive to light, sound and temperature, so special care and consideration are required when preparing for a photoshoot. Natural light is desirable for any image, but as a professional photographer, I need to control the lighting. The aim is to focus on the baby, without putting them in a glaring spotlight.
Flash should be avoided in newborn photography, so I draw on other options in my kit., I used my trusted Nikon D4S camera with TL60  light tubes from Godox, that creates wonderful light quality. The soft, diffused light effectively brings out the pure, subtle tones of a baby’s skin.
Whether awake or asleep, keeping the baby comfortable and content is a priority for photographers. A startled baby is likely to cry and that isn’t the memory we want to capture! I create a calm, restful environment and aim to minimise disruptions. The silent mode on my camera is an asset in these photography sessions.


Photographic Images for Press Articles
I began my career as a photography assistant, taking images specifically for press articles and magazine features. I understand that the ideal images have to illustrate the message with consideration for the layout. With 20 years as a professional portrait photographer under my belt, I can confidently provide the images you need. If you are looking for specific images for press articles, please get in touch on 01494 481137.

 



 28.07.21  Natural Family Photography


I am delighted to be back behind the camera. As restrictions lift, Abigail Studios is open for business and it is fantastic to be back doing what I love.
I have recently been working on family portraits, creating relaxed images that capture the character of my subjects. Just take a look at these happy girls!

 




 

Outdoor Family Portraits
For children, coming into a photography studio can be a little daunting. It is an unfamiliar space and it takes time to help them relax and interact naturally. They are usually more comfortable outside where they are not enclosed. They can explore and there is plenty to capture their interest. For this reason, some families prefer an outdoor photoshoot. The right location can work wonders. A secret garden made the perfect backdrop for this family photoshoot. We discovered lots of places where these glorious children were happy to sit, play and enjoy being photographed. Their smiles are full of natural joy from simply having fun outside. The British summer is unpredictable, but on a warm, dry day, the natural light makes every subject radiant. Sitting amid blue skies and lush green foliage, the images look fresh and full of life, just like the family in this photoshoot. I feel that the large leaves and flowing water add a magical quality to the images, do you agree?

British Summertime Photography
In summer, the days are long, so there is more time to interact, build trust and take a wonderful collection of shots. Located in the Chiltern Hills, Abigail Studio is surrounded by stunning scenery. Your photographic session could take place in woodlands, open fields, meadows or rolling hills. Maybe you have a favourite spot that would make a meaningful backdrop to your family portrait. As a less controlled environment, outdoor photography can be less predictable than in the studio. I work with the natural light and features to find great locations to bring the family together. In family photography, I’m always on the lookout for those unplanned interactions; the shared smiles, the subtle interactions. This is where an individual’s character is revealed.

Capturing Treasured Moments
If the past year or so has taught us anything, it is the importance of family. In the blink of the eye, your gorgeous children are taking their next steps and growing up. The past year has challenged us all, yet, as a tight-knit family, you have thrived. My family portrait sessions capture happy memories of times together. My website offers further information about my Family Collection Packages.

To discuss availability for your family location photoshoot please get in touch on 01494 481137.

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