What To Expect – Unique Portraits By Firetree.

Natural Portrait Photography


Spring is very nearly here, I saw the first peek of snowdrops in the park this weekend. The bluebells are just below the surface getting ready for this years bluebell wood portrait shoot. I thought I would give you a little insight into what goes on behind the scenes on my sessions. It is not simply the case of bringing my camera into the wood, exposing the shot and hoping for the best! A lot of work goes into ensuring the colour balance is right, families look sunlit (even on the dullest days) and the bluebells are a predominant feature in the portrait. These elements have taken a few years to perfect, a lot of training and some expensive lenses! As with all my portraiture, its not just about taking the photographs and giving you the digitals, my service continues long after the session has ended and the images edited. I pride myself on producing wonderful bespoke artwork for family homes.


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Natural Lighting

My images my look very natural but in the woods there is very low light and before every shoot I spend half an hour in the wood with camera, reflectors and flash to look at the lighting on the day. It varies quite dramatically depending on the weather conditions. Balancing the ambient lighting with my flash and reflectors makes sure every shot is well lit, with the light, (whether natural or artificial) hitting my subjects face in such a way as to capture their expression, and highlight them in the composition. Sometimes I don’t need any additional light at all, the sun is just in the right place and I can use this to light my subjects, and even if they are back lit I can direct a little flash or reflection onto their faces. This isn’t always the case and the lighting can change in a split second so I am constantly assessing and re-adjusting my light sources and camera settings to create the perfect image.



Colour Balance



Getting the right skin tones and colour balance among all the bluebells is not easy. The bluebells can cast a colour cast over the image and quite often, images straight out of the camera are showing skin tones that are quite unnatural. As well as ensuring my camera is calibrated at the beginning of the session for the correct colour balance, time is spent in post production ensuring skin tones are accurate and the bluebells are the stunning blue (or in fact slightly purple!) that you expect.


The Beautiful Bluebells


My clients have booked to have their children photographed in the bluebell wood. I want the bluebells to be a beautiful and big feature of the final portrait. Anyone can sit a child on a log in a bluebell wood and take a photograph but a snapshot will just capture the bluebells looking tiny, not very prominent in the image, showing perhaps a lot of muddy brown or woodland floor. Capturing those bluebells and making sure they are a major part of my final composition is very important. I don’t want to see the brown woodland floor, I want beautiful soft bluebells, children nestled amongst them or running through them!





My Subjects!



So all the above is going on in my head, every second I am with my clients. A constant internal narrative about composition, lighting, motion, colour, bluebells. All my clients hear though is my interaction with their children or family! My children all arrive a little nervous, some not having been to a wood for a while, never mind a wood as stunning as the bluebell wood! A little overwhelmed and shy. It always takes a bit of warming up and I want my images to be natural it doesn’t always go to plan!



I also want to protect the wood so over the years I have developed some great games that children can play, quite often at a distance from me so I can work at capturing them enjoying the beauty of the wood without me being either in their face or putting too much pressure on them to pose and perform. The best photographs are the natural ones, children relaxing, enjoying and letting go of their inhibitions. I find that by the second half hour of the session it is rare not to have everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves!


Yet again this shoot is booking up fast already with 5 spaces already taken. I have another wonderful front cover on the Time For Tots magazine… (who will it be from last years shoot!) I still have plenty of spaces left on the 28th and 29th April but going by last year they will be booked before the beginning of March.


If you did want to book a space book HERE.


If you would like any further information about this or any of my other shoots, I am always more than happy to help. Kyra. x