family photograph ideas, family photography, springtime pictures

The Dalo Family

A Springtime Photography Session

As a family photographer, I consider it my job to get to know the families that I work with on a personal level.  I try to treat my clients as friends because it is important to have trust in any type of relationship, whether business or pleasure.  I felt so fortunate to meet the Dalo family, because  I absolutely LOVE them.  When I first talked to Meghan, I knew she was someone that I was going to love working with.  We met at one of my favorite locations to shoot family photos in Chorleywood.  While it was a little chilly out, we were so lucky to have the sun shining down on us.  As we initially had to postpone their session because the rain was just too much so we were very happy to see the sun that morning.

One of the things that I enjoy the most about being a family photographer is seeing how a family interacts with each other.  This is especially true with this family.  You can see how much love there is between all of them.  They all have individual and collective bonds with each other that made my heart swell to see.  You can see that Megan and Jimmy have the “fun factor” that Josh and I talk about so often.  They are a couple that really enjoy having a good time together!

I posted a video below of some of my favorite images from the session.  I am new to the whole  video creating thing, so I would really appreciate any feedback you have!

We are moving!

Meredith Hodge Photography is moving!  Sadly I will be packing up my family and my camera and moving to Kailua, Hawaii.  I am so excited about our new adventure.  At the same time,  I am so sad to be leaving such a wonderful place and even greater people behind!

I will be shutting the doors to the shop at the end of May, with the exception of a few preplanned sessions.  Click here to book your session before I leave!


Tower of London Family photography

The London Sessions

The London Sessions

London family photos phonebox photography

Last weekend I held the London Sessions.  It was one of those days where everything worked like clockwork.  We must have had the sunniest day London has seen all year. If you live in London, you never know when its going to rain but you can almost always count on rain in the forecast.  It had been raining all week leading up to Saturday, and I while I had planned for the possibility of rain, I was praying deeply for sun!  Saturday came and and the loud chirping of the birds were calling me to get up and look out the window.  It was a great start to the day seeing how bright and sunny it was. London was good to us that day.

Two heads are better than one.

I had arranged early on to have my assistant Liam to work with me.  Having him there to shoot with me was two fold. It’s good way for him to have some practice with a DSLR and I tend to operate better when shadowed.   He is great for when I am trying out a new idea.   He is always honest and always asks question that I hadn’t already thought of.    Together, we were was able to develop a plan for the day.  Doing this with him, really brought him into the fold.  He went into it with an idea of the shots to get and the time we had to get them in.  As well as being able to keep me focused. We were working with an extremely tight schedule that day.  I may or may not be one that can throw caution to the wind and go off into new ideas I want to try and angles I want to get.  Having him as a second shooter there kept my focus driven.

It always helps to have fun families to work with

I love the families that I get to work with.  I like to have an easy going – free spirited feel to my work.  Family portraits shouldn’t have to be stressful.  Now, I may have been a bit stressed – trying to make sure I got the shots I wanted. Today was different, having multiple families scheduled back to back.  Thankfully, the families we had today all have that “fun” factor about them, which made everything run so smoothly!  Happy families make me happy too!

Liam and I had a great day of shooting together.  I think we both had some really good learning experiences too! We are so thankful for everyone that has taken part and helped make the day such a memorable one for us. Below you will find just a few of our favorite shots from the day.  Hope you enjoy them!

 

We are moving soon!!! Last call for family sessions!

With such an overwhelming response to the London session, I have decided to open one more date before we move to Oahu, Hawaii! Keep an eye out on our facebook page for more info!   If you’re interested in booking a session before we leave, head over to the pricing and booking page to reserve your date now! Available dates are going fast!


teen photos Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Sandbridge, family photographer

Liam

Liam2.jpg

My Little Liam is no Longer My Little Guy

Kids grow faster than we like to admit. Ive always said that parenting is reliving your childhood through your parents eyes. I have watched this boy discover the world around him in awe. He has done and experienced more cultures and countries than most will in a lifetime. He is gentle and kind, heartfelt and warm. He has always had an infectious personality with a loving heart. He looks out for the little guy and stands up for what he believes in. He has more courage than he knows. He has more courage than I think I have ever had. While he is becoming a young man more and more every day, I still look at him like he is my little best friend, flying kites, riding bikes and watching our favorite Disney movies all curled up on the couch.

Enjoy your children. Be grateful that you are the one that gets to watch them grow from little tiny babies to little people. Take pictures of them and get those pictures printed out. Hang them on your walls and stop to look at them once in a while. Your photographs are the window to your past.

I want you to have photos of your children hanging in your home. I want them to evoke the memories of their younger days. I want you to remember them as they were. So have a look at the website. If you like what you see, get in touch! Let’s make some beautiful images together! X

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Charlotte's Second Birthday

Sweet Charlotte's Second Birthday

This sweet little cookie, Charlotte, celebrated her second birthday.  Two is probably one of my favorite ages as a parent because you really start to see a personality come through.  This is the age where kids really begin to exercise their “free will”. They begin to do what they want to do, and not necessarily what we as parents want them to.  This is what I love about what I do.  I want them to run around I want them to show me who they really are! Charlotte is just that type of child.  She is really coming into her own personality, and loved having us chase her around. We would follow her into the field and she would laugh and run away from us.  She wanted us to play chase with her, as one does, and we were very happy to oblige.

A Free Child is a Happy Child!

When I am working with a child, they need to be able to move about freely.  I prefer sessions in parks where we can give a little extra space where children can run around and we are not corralling them into a small confined area.  Charlotte has an enormous park near her house and it was the perfect setting for her birthday photos!  As she was able to roam around freely,  she was happy.  At the end of the day,  that’s what we want as parents (and photographers too!), happy kids!  I tell my parents before a session not to stress about having their kids sit still and smile.  Kids feed off of Mom and Dads energy, so if any of us are stressed out, it is very likely that they will be stressed out!  Giving the kids a bit of freedom is a key in sincere smiles.

 

 Let them discover their surroundings

Children are inquisitive by nature.  They want to look at the one little bug crawling on the ground.  I love it when they pick the tiniest little flower or pick up a stick and try to draw on the ground with it.  Kids are so creative and when we allow them to do their own thing, we get a glimpse into their learning process.  If we are lucky they share what they learn with us! You wouldn’t know it, but Charlotte loved playing in the dirt and we even found a feather to play with for a bit.

 

Book Your Child's Birthday Session!

If your child has a birthday coming up, a birthday session is a great way to mark their milestone.  You can book your session by clicking here! 


Another Successful Beginners Course

Another Successful Beginners Course!

Last week we had another successful Introduction to Photography Beginners course!  This month’s we were at The Waters Edge in Ruislip. We held the course, had lunch and planned on practicing with a few little models around the Ruislip Lido.  We had an intimate group this month, which I tend to think is a better experience overall.  In the smaller groups, there is more attention to detail and the attendees can have a more personalized event.  I enjoy seeing how one question will spark another and another, until it becomes more of a conversation. When people are engaged in the conversation, asking questions as they come up, the information is understood.

The main reason I love these smaller groups is that I understand how easy it is to feel lost in bigger groups.   It’s easy to not ask the questions out of fear that you may look silly for not knowing. I understand what it is like to be that person.  I know that feeling of not wanting to ask a question out of fear that people will judge you.  In these smaller groups, I try to explain fully so that you have answers to all of your questions.  It is extremely important to me that anyone taking this course understands the fundamentals of photography by the end of the day.

However hard I try though, things don't always go as planned.

I am a planner by nature.  I like to know how things operate and I like to have a plan laid out from beginning to end.  However, there are things that are completely out of my control!  Mother Nature likes to remind me of that from time to time.  I was keeping an eye on the hourly weather report and the radar in the days leading up to course. (I wasn’t kidding, I really like to plan for everything) She teased me throughout the morning.  The forecast called for rain late in the afternoon.   I thought that we would be able to get through the day and dodge the rain but as we were finishing up the course the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down.  I’m not just talking about a little British sprinkle.  I’m talking a massive downpour that you wait for it to slow down before running though a parking lot to get to your car.

So what did we do?

Well, we couldn’t very well go outside with the way the weather was acting up.  So we all made a plan to get together on another day to have some one on one time where we could make real time adjustments and really dig in to everything we went over during the course.  We had a great time walking around the park and learning how to adjust your settings in real time.

 

I have one more one on one coming up this weekend and I cant wait to post those pictures as well!  I hope you enjoy these!


apple orchard chesapeake family photography

New Family Portrait

A lovely surprise!

I am so excited about my new family portrait.  Sometimes as photographers, we forget to capture our own family memories.  Or to at the very least have one, maybe two complete family photos in our homes.  It’s easy to get individual portraits done.  Or to have one of the children, but it’s difficult to do a self family portrait!  Believe me, I’ve tried!  Which is one of the reasons I love my tribe.  I have been so lucky to have made such incredible friendships during my time here in the UK.  I have met so many talented photographers, and worked with some incredible people during my time here.

A few months back, some of my favorite photographers got together for a group session.  It was a farewell session for our good friend Heidi, who was moving to Scotland.  We were all in the same photo club out in Oxford, which is where we all met each other. Since then, our families have all moved away from Oxford so it isn’t easy for us to all meet up.   We decided to all get together at an apple orchard in Iver.  We all had our families with us and brought along a few little models.  It was a perfect day and for us; a perfect way to spend it.

I had a lovely surprise today in my inbox from the oh-so-lovely Rachel Tennant of Hazelnut Photography.  She happened upon a photo from that day and sent it to me!

Family portraits ARE important.  It’s not just a picture on the wall.  Its the moment you were in.  Its the memories you create with the people you love.  It’s documenting your family history for the generations to come.  When was the last time you updated your family portrait?

If your answer is too long, I can help.  Send me an email by clicking here and I will get in touch with you and we together we can create some memories for your family.


Photo of the super moon

Super Blue Blood Moon!

Tips for photographing the Super Blue Blood Moon!

On Wednesday, January 31st, there will be a rare Super Blood Moon!  Now sadly, it is unlikely that we will see it here in the UK.  However, for my friends in the US and Canada, you will get the opportunity to wake up early to see this incredible celestial event!

What is a Super Moon?

A super moon is when the moon is at the closest point in its orbit to the earth.  They call it the perigree.  As it is the closest to the earth, it also makes the dark side of the moon closest to the sun.  With its positioning and reflecting the suns light it appears 14% brighter than it would any other night.

A Blue Blood Moon too?

Did you know that the second full moon of the month is referred to as a Blue Moon?  This is where it gets really cool.  The super blue moon, will pass through the earths shadow giving us a total lunar eclipse! (Depending on where you are in the world).    The Blood Moon happens during a lunar eclipse – its the red tint that the Earth’s shadow casts on the moon.

Check out this video from NASA!

How can I get great pictures of the moon?

Since there are still a few days until it happens, you still have time to scout out a good location to shoot from.  Plan out your shot.  Do you want a picture of the moon by itself, or do you want something in the foreground to give a frame of reference.  If you take a shot with the moon on the horizon or with some buildings in the shot, your image will look a lot larger than it would by itself.

Photographing the moon is different that photographing the stars.   With the night sky you want to use a long exposure so the light from the stars can reach your cameras sensor.  However with the moon reflecting the light from the sun, if you were to use a slower shutter speed you will overexpose the shot and will lose the detail in the craters and shadows.

Stars
Long Exposure using my 50mm f1.4, 25sec, ISO 200

Some basics to get you started

Whether you have a DSLR camera, a point and shoot, or even if you are using your camera phone, you will want to use the widest focal length your camera or phone will allow.  In other words, you want to be as zoomed out as possible.  That will allow you to have a interesting foreground in the image.

You definitely want to use a tripod or something sturdy to mount the camera on.  The slightest shake of your hands will give you a blurry image, using a tripod and either a timed release or a remote shutter will give you the stability you need. If your camera has a Mirror Lock Up feature on it, enable it.  Even the internal mirror of your camera can blur a shot like this.

Start out by setting  your ISO to around 100 to start.  In Manual mode, set your f-stop somewhere around f-11 and your shutter speed to at least 1/250.   From here, it is trial and error.  Look at your photo on the display. Is your shot too bright or is it blurry? Try using a faster shutter speed.   Too dark?  Slow your shutter down or try bumping your ISO up a few notches and see how that affects your shot.

Last but not least, set your focus.   If you try to focus in auto focus, your camera will not be able to lock on. Set your camera to manual focus, and turn the barrel to infinity and adjust from there.  Another way would be to use the live view mode and zoom in and adjust your lens manually that way.

 

Photo of the super moon

My biggest disappointment about this post would be the fact that I won’t be able get shots of my own.  It will be daytime here in the UK, but I would love it if you would share your photographs with me!

Find out when the best time will be for you to get out by visiting NASAs website here.  https://www.nasa.gov/feature/super-blue-blood-moon-coming-jan-31

Would you like to learn more about how to use your camera?  Sign up for one of my beginner camera courses here!  Camera Basics Course

or

To sign up for exclusive offers and access to VIP mini sessions click here!


London Transport Museum

Looking for a fun day out with your kids in London?

Try the London Transport Museum.

It's a fun place for kids and adults alike to learn about the history of transportation in the UK.

It's a great place to entertain your kids on a rainy day, or even just a fun place for a meet up!

https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/family-learning

 

The London Transport Museum is a great place to take your kids for a day out in London.  If your children are anything like mine then they love planes, trains and automobiles!   Located in Covent Garden, the Transport Museum gives a hands on “all aboard” view of the history of transportation in the UK.  The exhibits of the transport museum include everything from the old rail cars to the iconic double decker bus!

My boys absolutely love trains; and while my experience with girls is somewhat limited, I’m pretty sure most little girls love trains too! This place is full of trains and busses to climb in and out of! We had a great time bouncing on the seats of the antique train cars. There is quite a big difference in the amount of cushion from todays rail and tube cars to the trains of yesteryear!  You feel nostalgic sitting in those trains with the feel and intricacy that the wood trim and the musky smells.  Train cars were built for comfort and luxury as opposed to profit back then.

The kids received a ticket to stamp as they go through the museum to keep their interest piqued throughout. I personally loved the fact that there are interactive play areas throughout the museum to appeal to the little kids, while at the same time providing rich history that people like me enjoy learning about. Kids can pretend to be the train conductor, or a ticket operator in addition to drive the double decker buses!  There is a little cafe on the ground floor where the littles can push trains along on the wooden train table while parents can have a cup of tea all the while keeping a mindful eye.   There are also train simulators that let you learn to drive the train, which really appealed to the older kids.

All in all, you and your kids will most certainly enjoy your visit! Tickets to the Museum are £16 for adults (if you book in advance, I believe they are £17.50 at the door).   Good news is that children get FREE admission to the museum! Additionally, one more bonus is that your ticket is good for a year. If you decide you haven’t had enough you can save your ticket and come back another day!  Getting there is really easy too.  Just take the tube to the Covent Garden stop, from there walk down to the entrance of Covent Garden and go around to the left.  Follow it around the corner and you run right into it. However, you can also walk straight through and out of Covent Garden, the entrance will be to your left.  Here’s the address for you Google lovers, Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB.

You can find more information on the London Transport Museum at their website  https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk

 

There are so many fantastic places for you to explore in London with your children.  I love finding new places that my kids will enjoy.  I would to hear what your favorite places are!  Drop a line with some of yours below!


Camera, photographer, chesapeake family photographer, cheap photographer

Get a New Camera for Christmas?

Did your partner do a really great job and get you a fancy new camera for Christmas? You certainly have a good one ;). Christmas is the most popular time of the year for one to get a new camera.  I love to hear when someone gets a new camera for Christmas and how excited they are about it.  You are probably really excited to get some new pictures of your children and I don't blame you. Your kids are only little for a short time. You should want to have some nice pictures of them growing!

I have a few tips to get you started with your new camera. I really hope that it inspires you to learn more about your new toy. To start, your camera probably already came with a kit lens, and hopefully a memory card, but most people have them lying around the house if yours didn't. That's all you need to get started! If you're thinking about getting a new lens to go with your kit, I recommend you learn the basics with what you've got first. Realistically speaking, you can drop hundreds of dollars upgrading your gear. However, you won't get those professional quality photos until you know how to use your gear.

1. Fully charge your battery before using it for the first time. Then go through all of your menu settings and properly set up your date and time/along with what file size you want your camera snapping pictures.

Yes, I know it sounds a bit simple minded, but it's important to fully charge the battery before using it for the first time. Camera batteries are not necessarily expensive, but they aren't too cheap either. I wouldn't want you to diminish the life of your camera just because of a battery.

2. Learn the basics! I cannot stress this enough. Your DSLR has so much power and control behind it. There is a lot to take in and learn, so go at your own pace, but the best thing I ever did was learn to take my camera out of Automatic and learn how to use the different functions.

Most DSLR cameras have these basic settings. Automatic, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, and Program Modes. Automatic is great for those point an shoot moments, but if you want to get better pictures, the first step would be to get out of Auto and into Aperture Priority to start.

3. Understand the "Exposure Triangle" The three factors that affect your camera's exposure are ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed. Adjusting one of these settings will require the other settings to be counter adjusted to maintain a proper exposure for your photos.

  • ISO is the cameras sensitivity to light. You want a low ISO if you are outside on a bright sunny day, and you want a higher ISO as the days grow long and you may need to keep a higher shutter speed to keep your subject from being blurry.
  • Aperture is amount of light the cameras lens lets through to the sensor. This is the first step to learning how to take great pictures. (In my most humble opinion, of course.). A lower aperture number with a close subject will give you more of a blurred background, while a higher number will put more of your frame in focus.
  • Shutter Speed is just that. It is how fast or slow your shutter opens and closes letting light into the sensor. A faster shutter speed will freeze motion and a slower shutter speed will open the cameras shutter for longer. So for example if you are taking pictures of kids, you will want a faster shutter speed. (As kids typically move around a lot) and if you are takin pictures of the stars, you will want an extremely slow shutter.
Understanding Exposure
Understanding your new camera settings

4.  Practice, Practice, Practice! I tell my children all the time.  It takes time and work to develop a talent.  Start out with something easy.  Take an object and start shooting with different apertures.  Adjust one stop and take a picture.  Adjust again, and again until you get the desired result.  Practicing with the different settings in real time  will give you a better understanding of how it all works together.

If you are looking to buy a lens to go along with your new camera, I suggest you invest in the ever so popular "nifty fifty".  It is a relatively inexpensive lens that gives you a much lower aperture than you will get with a kit lens.  That in turn helps when looking to get a nice blurred background in your photos.

I also offer 1-2-1 as well as group training on how to use your new camera.   Click here to find out more!

Hope you had a Merry Christmas! Happy Shooting!

 


The Haag Family - Outdoor Family Portraits

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Outdoor Family Session and Christmas Pictures

I’ve been chatting with Kerra about updating her family photo for a while now, and we were finally able to link up schedules.   We recently met up at Oxhey Woods in Northwood for a quick run around the park. Being that they are from the Seattle area, they are big fans of the Seattle Seahawks.  Kerra and Alex had such a fun idea, having photographs of their family in their  favorite team’s gear.  I was really excited to see them all decked out.  When I saw them I thought “that is a great way to coordinate family outfits” – provided you all support the same team!  It’s not something my family can get away with. My husband a Dallas Cowboys fan while my boys and I are NY Giants fans (The kids know what’s good for them). I would never let Josh wear that awful jersey in our family photo, LOL!

Since it is the end of November, the temperatures are dropping fairly quickly and today was no exception. It was extremely cold out, and the girls were really feeling it.  Especially Iris.  Her nose was red and her little fingers were like icicles! Our walk was not as long as we wanted it to be, however, we did manage to get some really lovely group portraits.    When we made it back to the beginning of the park, they came back to mine for some Christmas photos of the girls in the studio.  I do like working in the studio, but I love working outdoors. I love the special interaction of a family when they can run around and play in a more natural setting.

Adele and Iris loved being in the studio.  They felt like they were little models and I really saw their personalities open up once we were indoors.  Their dresses made them look like little princesses.  While Freya wasn’t as interested, Adele and Iris were posing and looking at the camera like they knew what they were doing.  Every little girl I have ever met loves to dress up like a princess.    I love how happy it makes them, and I love capturing that moment for them.   I wholeheartedly enjoy making those dreams come true.  Even if they are only a princess for the day, that photograph will make the memory last them a lifetime.

If you’re interested in seeing some more of my outdoor work, please click here.  You can also check me out on Facebook by clicking here!