Exeter Women in Business Networking Event, The Terrace

I do love getting out and about and meeting people! Yesterday I went to Exeter Women in Business networking event at The Terrace in the centre of Exeter. Met lots of lovely ladies and saw some familiar faces and would highly recommend it. Especially if like me you have children in school as it’s fab to be able to attend in the middle of the day and not have to worry about babysitters!

If you fancy coming along to the next one, they are held monthly upstairs at The Terrace and you can find out about future events on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Exeter-Women-in-Business-256718981512721/

3 Easy Secrets to Guarantee Better Photos

make sure your horizons are straight - DSLR photography tips

Being able to take fabulous photographs is such a valuable skill. There’s nothing like a beautiful photograph for remembering special times. And there’s a reason why everyone says if their house was on fire, it’s the photo album they would grab to take with them!

Here are my top three tips for instantly improving your photos, whatever camera you have!

3 easy secrets to guarantee better photos

1. Make sure the horizon is straight

It’s easy when you are thinking about taking a photo of something right in front of you to forget to look at the bigger picture.

Before you press the shutter, look into the distance behind your main subject. Is the horizon straight? It’s something beginner photographers often overlook, and it makes a massive difference to the quality of your image.

You can crop and tilt when editing your image if you got it wrong when shooting, but it’s best to get it right when you take the shot. This is because as you adjust the tilt in your editing software, it will need to crop part of the photo out. Make sure you don’t lose any of the scene by getting it right when you take the shot.

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2. Focus on the eyes

Whenever you’re photographing something alive, or even a depiction of a living being (like a statue), you should always focus on the eyes.

When we talk to someone, we look into their eyes, and it’s the same when we look at a photograph. It’s what our eyes are drawn straight to - they give us so much expression and understanding of how the person we are looking at is feeling. So if the eyes aren’t in focus then the whole photograph looks wrong and uncomfortable.

If your camera’s focus point is in the centre, you can focus on the eyes by starting your focus on their eyes, then holding the shutter release button halfway down and recomposing the shot.

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3. Shoot more than you think you need to

You might look at professional photos and think “i could never take a photo like that” or “they just manage to be in the right place at the right time - that never happens to me”.

Well one of the reasons professionals manage to get brilliant shots is because they shoot a lot more frames than amateurs do.

I have my camera on rapid fire mode which means it will take 5 or 6 images in a row. Some people might think this “machine gun” approach isn’t for them. But when you’re photographing an expression of someone smiling, or wildlife - both of which can change in the blink of an eye, then having 5 or 6 images to choose from means you have more chance of getting the perfect shot.

It comes down to having a good editing system afterwards of course to make sure that you don’t keep all the “bloopers” - otherwise you’ll soon find your computer runs out of space! But if you can be disciplined and just keep your absolute favourites from each session, then you will soon notice that you’re capturing a lot more beautiful shots!

Rosie Parsons Photography courses

Hope you enjoyed this short little feature with my favourite tips!

I’m Rosie Parsons, an award winning full time photographer based in Devon and have a free Facebook community with over 2000 other photographers where you can submit your work with our monthly photo challenges.

We would love to see your photographs and help you in your photography journey, so do come on over and join in the fun!

Review of Family Photoshoot with Rosie Parsons Photography

Family Photoshoot Review by Sarah Cann

The biggest challenge for me about having this shoot was my self confidence. Since having my boys (4 years, 3 years and 2 years old) I have lacked any confidence to be in front of the camera. As much as it always played on my mind that there weren't many photos of me with my children or even any of us as a family of 5, I still couldn't bear the thought of being in front of the camera, and worse, the thought of a full body photo terrified me.

I'm not the same woman I was on my wedding day and that I struggled with, so I avoided any photographic evidence for others to make judgement on me. I would only really accept a photo if it was a selfie from my chosen angle and lighting!

Those personal challenges made me feel very uncomfortable and anxious.

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My main worry before the shoot was selfishly about my feeling towards being in the picture. A small part of me also worried that my boys are so young and how they would take to having their photo taken. Past experience of a birthday photoshoot in a studio had us nearly leaving in tears.

I decided to go ahead with the shoot anyway because my eldest is starting school in September and it's most definitely harder on me and my husband than it is for my son.

He's still our baby and from speaking to many parents going through the same or having already been through it, these pre school years go by too quickly and the next few years will go by even quicker.

I found myself recently looking back through photos of my boys and how quickly they've grown up to now and I almost felt sad that maybe I haven't captured these moments enough. So I asked myself, would I look back in 5 or 10 years time and regret not having seized a moment because of my insecurities, yes I would regret that.

I love photos and how they capture a memory and have a way of taking you right back to a moment and remembering a place, a smell or a feeling. So I decided I wanted to capture the now, my 3 little boys being so small, so dependant on us, their innocence, playfulness, happiness and the way they look at us.

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I couldn't overcome these worries with any other photographer, they had to understand how I felt and not make me feel silly for my insecurity of being in front of the camera and Rosie understood me entirely.

Somehow after sitting down with a cup of tea with Rosie, all my fears and concerns went away. I knew that she would capture everything I had hoped to capture and instantly put me at ease.

The day was fun, relaxed and happened naturally. And more importantly the boys enjoyed it too.

Rosie you have the patience of a saint and you smiled the whole way through!

The real benefit was being in our home for the shoot, where we are our most relaxed and where most of our every day memories are made and that's exactly what I wanted to capture.

I feel elated that we did the shoot now! The photos are incredible and my little boys look so handsome. I am so proud.

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Family portraits at home near Exeter Devon and Lyme Regis Dorset

If you’re thinking about having a family session with Rosie, what I’d say is bite the bullet!

Don't let the moment pass you by. Any worries or fears you might have will soon seem meaningless and insignificant and who knows, you might end up having fun! The images that Rosie has taken fill me with joy and make me smile from ear to ear. I would do it again tomorrow!

Collaboration with Pepa & Co and Peggy Porschen, Belgravia, London

Last week I was delighted to partner with Belgravia children’s clothing brand - Pepa & Co - as they launched a competition with their Elizabeth Street neighbours, one of London’s most instagramable cafes - Peggy Porschen Cakes! You may well have seen Pepa and Co’s gorgeous Spanish handmade children’s clothes before as the Royal Family often dress Prince George, princess Charlotte and Prince Louis in stunning outfits from the store!

I captured a mixture of flatlays and lifestyle shots both inside Pepa and Co and outside the gorgeous pink flower-strewn Peggy Porschen to be used across instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It’s been lovely to meet lots of new followers who are also interested in family shoots too!

The competition is to win £100 voucher to use at Pepa & Co and a Lucky Llama birthday cake from Peggy Porschen, and to enter, you need to follow them both on instagram and tag a friend on the flatlay picture with the blue dress. So if you fancy your chances, pop on over to the Pepa & Co instagram account and join in! And good luck!

PS if you scroll down to the end, you can see some behind the scenes footage and photos of me in action!

Photographer for Pepa and Co, Prince George’s favourite childrenswear shop Belgravia Store, London

Photographer for Pepa and Co, Prince George’s favourite childrenswear shop Belgravia Store, London - photo of Peggy Porschen Llama birthday cake in pink with Pepa and Co childrens clothing
Photographer for Pepa and Co, Prince George’s favourite childrenswear shop Belgravia Store, London - photo of Peggy Porschen Llama birthday cake in pink with Pepa and Co childrens clothing
Photographer for Pepa and Co, Prince George’s favourite childrenswear shop Belgravia Store, London - photo of Peggy Porschen Llama birthday cake in pink with Pepa and Co childrens clothing
Photographer for Pepa and Co, Prince George’s favourite childrenswear shop Belgravia Store, London - photo of Peggy Porschen Llama birthday cake in pink with Pepa and Co childrens clothing
Photographer for Pepa and Co, Prince George’s favourite childrenswear shop Belgravia Store, London - photo of Peggy Porschen Llama birthday cake in pink with Pepa and Co childrens clothing
Photographer for Pepa and Co, Prince George’s favourite childrenswear shop Belgravia Store, London - photo of Peggy Porschen Llama birthday cake in pink with Pepa and Co childrens clothing
Photographer for Pepa and Co, Prince George’s favourite childrenswear shop Belgravia Store, London - photo of Peggy Porschen Llama birthday cake in pink with Pepa and Co childrens clothing
Photographer for Pepa and Co, Prince George’s favourite childrenswear shop Belgravia Store, London - photo of Peggy Porschen Llama birthday cake in pink with Pepa and Co childrens clothing
Photographer Rosie Parsons shooting for Pepa and Co Prince George’s favourite childrens clothing brand with Peggy Porschen Cakes in Elizabeth street, Belgravia, London
Photographer Rosie Parsons shooting for Pepa and Co Prince George’s favourite childrens clothing brand with Peggy Porschen Cakes in Elizabeth street, Belgravia, London
Photographer Rosie Parsons shooting for Pepa and Co Prince George’s favourite childrens clothing brand with Peggy Porschen Cakes in Elizabeth street, Belgravia, London
Photographer Rosie Parsons shooting for Pepa and Co Prince George’s favourite childrens clothing brand with Peggy Porschen Cakes in Elizabeth street, Belgravia, London
Photographer Rosie Parsons shooting for Pepa and Co Prince George’s favourite childrens clothing brand with Peggy Porschen Cakes in Elizabeth street, Belgravia, London

Amazon Number One Best Selling Photography Author!

Wow, I am so chuffed today! I just found out my wedding photography book has claimed the number one best selling spot on Amazon! I am now a best selling author, hooray! That feels very nice to say out loud!

I wrote the book while the triplets were one year old and still having naps. It was nice to be able to have something to do still photography related while also being overwhelmed with baby-ness and what felt like changing nappies every waking moment! And it has been super lovely having people message me and stop me in the street to say the book has really helped them!

I would definitely say to any other mums out there who miss working during the early years, try and find something you’re passionate about and see if there’s a way of fitting it into your childfree time. Whether it’s creating some beautiful crafty bits for Etsy, writing a self published book for Amazon like I did or doing some admin work for other friends with small businesses, there are lots of things you can do to keep your own sense of self if you are so inclined! Of course if you want to concentrate 100% on mummy duties that is also great, but for me it was a nice little break to get on the computer and feel like I got to be “just Rosie” again for an hour each day! And it was only an hour every day, but little and often can produce fab results :)

TRIP Charity Fundraising Event - Music on a Summer's Evening, Offwell, Devon

It was lovely to be out in the sunshine on Saturday for an evening of live music at The Old Rectory in Offwell, just outside Honiton to raise funds for TRIP. TRIP are a fabulous local charity who run community transport and holidays for people who find it difficult to leave the house, and would otherwise be very isolated. A very worthy cause, and evidently lots of people felt the same, as it was a packed event with lots of lovely picnicing going on overlooking a fabulous view!

I was taking photos for PR extraordinaire Sue Cade who is writing a piece for Devon Life Magazine about the fabulous Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra and they were also joined on the evening by ISCA Voices, StreetHeat and The Exmouth Shanty Men.

It was lovely to see so many local friendly faces, and of course the music was superb!

Family Photos at Charmouth beach, Dorset

On Sunday we went to Charmouth, near Lyme Regis in Dorset. I’ve only been to Charmouth beach once before, and that was on a day when the weather was unpredictable because it is famous for fossil hunting, so I thought that sounded a good activity for an overcast day. It was a bit of a spontaneous visit and wow I am so glad we went! What a lovely beach in the sunshine when the tide is out! Lots of shallow warm streams for the children to play safely in and a lovely cafe with yummy ice cream. We all loved it!

The kids had a whale of a time and I was so glad to have my camera nearby to capture it all. I took some photos of them at my favourite childhood beach Mill Bay in Salcombe a few years ago and when I look at those now they seem so tiny. I am so glad I capture these moments even though I have to lug around my big DSLR camera because the difference between what I capture on my proper camera compared to my phone (which is so much easier to carry!) is huge. And these kind of images become more precious to me with every year that passes. What lovely memories!

Family Portrait Photography Surrey: Philippa and Family

So it was up to Surrey to launch my new at home family portrait sessions with the McFarlane family.

We started off by making sure we got the must have shots of the children together and the whole family portrait. It’s lovely and relaxed, sitting in the shade (it was a beautiful sunny day) on the steps at the front of their Surrey home. I love using spots around the house to do informal pictures. Now if these guys ever move house, or even when the boys grow up and leave home, they will always have these sweet pictures outside their childhood home! Beautiful!

The boys were keen to show me their amazing bikes in the back garden. Just as well my children weren’t with me or they would definitely have been asking for them too, they are motorised and so much fun!!

After some playing in the garden, the boys had strawberries in the kitchen with mum which made for some lovely candid moments. And then we headed upstairs to capture them playing in their rooms - and the best bit - jumping on mum and dad’s bed!

At the end of our session, we headed back into the garden and took a couple of portraits of Philippa and Al together and the boys had fun with bubbles and their skateboards.

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Interested in your own at home session? Drop me a message!

Featured student: Photography for Beginners: Composition, Posing and Light Course - Carisa Wenstrom

Composition, Posing and Light Student Carisa Wenstrom

Composition, Posing and Light Student Carisa Wenstrom

Firstly I just want to say how excited I am to introduce you to one of my photography students, in the first of what I hope will be a series of blog posts that will help us to get to know some of the members of my online photography community a little better!

To set the scene, I really love to share my knowledge and give up-and-coming photographers some little tips and tricks of the trade, so a couple of years ago I developed a series of online photography courses showing students how to make the best out of their DSLR cameras and really optimise their photography.

Two years down the line and I’m so delighted to have taught more than 5200 amazing students, in an unbelievable 121 countries – all via the brilliant media of video-based online courses, where I guide students through their learning bit by bit with lots of practical assignments along the way.

One of my favourite things has been getting to know my students a little better as they post their photographs in my online community group for photography enthusiasts – especially seeing a colourful array of images from all over the world!

Without further ado, I think it’s about time I shine a light on some of the talent that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching, starting with Carisa Wenstrom from Memphis, Tennessee (USA) who enrolled on my Photography for Beginners: Composition, Posing and Light course.

All images in this post are by Carisa - check out her beautiful work! 

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What is your experience in photography? How long have you been doing it, what do you like to shoot? Are you amateur, semi-pro or professional?

I’ve been a photographer for about a decade now (where does the time go??). My first subject was my daughter Lucy who was barely a year old at the time. I was hooked from the first *click*. Over the years I’ve explored different subjects like landscapes, weddings, etc. I kept coming back to portraits and still life which are mostly what I focus on today. I work full time as a graphic designer during the day, so I’d say my photography is definitely still in the hobby stages (with a few paid gigs here and there), but someday I’d love to really find my spot in the photography world and make a living from it.

What equipment do you shoot with?

Right now I use a Canon 60D, and I favorite my nifty fifty more than I care to admit (1.8 50mm). I’m saving up for a full-frame camera though, with my sights set on either a 6D or a 6D Mark II. And hopefully I can add a Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art lends to my arsenal one day if I get the Mark II (fingers crossed).

What were your biggest photography-based frustrations or difficulties before the course?

Posing and finding the right light. I love doing portraits - there’s something about being one-on-one with someone and making that connection that I feel really brings something magical to the photo. But posing has always been one of my biggest setbacks, and it’s something you don’t really think about until you’re in the moment and suddenly find yourself blanking on where to put your subject and what to tell them.

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What made you decide to do this photography course in particular?

The fantastic reviews of course! And the fact that this course covered natural lighting and posing, which are two of my biggest focus areas when it comes to improving my portrait photography.

What were your favourite parts of the course?

I really like the Case Study section, especially the Engagement Portraits and the Gypsy Caravans. Both were great in giving me a hands-on look at lighting and how to pose your subjects. Plus both locations were absolutely gorgeous! It was great to see Rosie really use those beautiful surroundings to add that extra something to her work.

How has it affected your photography?

Before taking the course, I was notorious for shooting anywhere and everywhere. I was so focused on just getting my subject captured that things like lighting and posing where always an after-thought. It wouldn’t be until post-production that I would really notice the missed opportunities. Now, lighting and posing are at the forefront of my thought process and I’ve been learning how to use these attributes to really boost my photos to the next level that I’m looking for. It’s also saved some time in post which is always a good thing, haha.

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I think you’ll agree, Carisa’s work is absolutely stunning, and it makes me really happy to think I helped play a small part in that!

Thank you so much Carisa for telling us a bit about yourself, and of course I am delighted to hear that you got some really specific benefits from taking the course.

If you’d like to see what the course is all about for yourself, I’ve got the course on sale for my blog readers at just £19.99 until the end of the week. Learn more here: https://www.udemy.com/creative-photography/?couponCode=BLOGMAY19

Or you might like to join Carisa and hundreds of other likeminded photographers over in my Facebook community group where you can join in some really fun monthly photo challenges – we’d love to see you there! xx

Devon family portraits on location at the beach : Clarke Family

I hope everyone had a really great Easter break and lovely May bank holiday, we had a great time! In the first week the kids went along to a children’s holiday club called The Secret Garden in Ottery St Mary, which you might’ve seen in my last blog post as naturally I couldn’t resist taking some photos! But while they were there I did some lovely family photoshoots at Beer beach (in East Devon) making the most of the children being off school and the amazing weather.

The sun was scorching down - it was pretty tricky to shoot with no cloud cover!

The sun was scorching down - it was pretty tricky to shoot with no cloud cover!

I don’t know what you did throughout the hot spell but wow, it was just stunning in Devon and I think it was across most of the country, so we really made the most of it down at Beer which is a gorgeous little fishing village if you don’t know it, with lots of colourful boats pulled up on the shore.

From a photographer’s perspective it was a little bit of a challenge as it was so bright, there’s not a lot of shade down there but I got some lovely shots of the Clarke family - Scott and Sharon along with their two daughters. We shot some pictures down by the cliffs which made a really nice textured backdrop and got a real mix of shots with the sea in the background and then the boats.

Sharon got some gorgeous matching dresses for the girls to wear especially for the shoot, which really does make a big difference to the final photographs – what you wear to a shoot is really important and I’m always happy to talk it though with my customers beforehand.

I think one of my favourite shots from this shoot was one with the older daughter surrounded by her family with her sister and mum and dad looking at her and cuddling her – I love this sort of shot because although it’s posed, it feels really natural and it really helps convey the love the family has for each other.

Talking of poses, when I photograph a family, I always try to get a balance of posed and natural, candid looking photos. On the beach I ask people to walk along holding hands, but with children it’s always important to keep things fun and fast paced, so I set up shots that bring out natural expressions but are still structured in a way to bring out the best in the people I’m photographing. I do always love getting people to focus on one another rather than the camera as it helps everyone relax!

After the Clarkes I had another family to shoot who’d travelled 5 hours from Reading with their young baby on a Bank Holiday – I look forward to sharing their photos soon! But luckily for me, I was able to have a little break in between shoots and when it’s sunny, Beer is just the best place to work – I sat at the beach café with a latte and my laptop and it was just marvellous, I felt so lucky to do my job.

If you have a nice sunny day with nothing to do then I do recommend heading down to Beer, it’s a lovely place to relax, with two cafes on the beach and for me, just a great place to take pictures.

Interested in photography?

Join my free Facebook community group to take part in monthly photography challenges, ask any photography related questions and share your own photographs with a likeminded community of enthusiasts.

You can also learn how to make the best of your own camera and learn the basics of photography on one of my online photography courses here.