What to Wear to a Photoshoot

You've booked your photoshoot, so it's time to get excited and start thinking about what on earth you're going to wear! I encourage all my clients to bring two outfits. Within the hour shoot there is plenty of time to get changed and try something different. It's best to arrive in something casual and comfortable. Jeans and a t-shirt (or a jumper in the colder months) is always a winning combination. Clothes that allow you to move around, lie on the floor, jump on each other and lift or carry the kids! There's nothing formal about a photoshoot at Photography by Gwen! 

You may decide to bring something dressier as a second outfit option. Shirt and pants, a dress and heels, or maybe just a smarter top to go with your jeans and extra jewellery. If you'll be celebrating a special occasion such as a christening, first holy communion or graduation, bring along the clothing that represents that important day. 

Much depends on what sort of photoshoot you're having. If you've booked in for the Fashion Makeover Package, you can bring as many outfits or accessories as you like! Variety is key to making your photoshoot experience the best it can be. If you're coming to the studio for a Boudoir Makeover of course you'll want to bring your best underwear! 2-3 sets of different underwear is a good number to think about. Don't forget heels and any accessories you might want to include. 

Should We Wear Matching Outfits? Sometimes completely matching outfits can look a little odd. (Unless there's a reason such as a hen party, special occasion or theme, where everyone wears the same tshirt). It's better to opt for nearly-matching outfits. If everyone is wearing blue jeans and a white top, let each person express their personality with that! If you're female, maybe you'll choose a white blouse and dark blue skinny jeans. Your teenage son might prefer to wear a looser fitting white t-shirt and your 8 month old might be more comfortable in blue leggings!  

What works the best, in my opinion, is when everyone wears similar shades and hues. Pick a colour theme that will work with everyone's wardrobe. Cream and gold? Grey and white? Or perhaps bright and bold shades of orange and yellow!? Then everyone can wear one item that reflects the colour theme and you'll all look fantastic together whilst showing off your own individual styles. 

Bold Colours or Neutrals? It's up to you! The studio has more neutral backdrops which can suit softer pastels and muted colours. But bright and bold colours stand out fantastically on a white backdrop too. Think about the final photographs, where will they be displayed in your home? That decision can have a big influence on what you choose to wear too! 

Something a little different? To make your photoshoot experience truly personal to you and your family, you must think about what sets you apart from everyone else. I love clients who bring along football or rugby kits, judo gis, ballet leotards or any such outfit, costume or uniform! The same goes for any hobby you might have a passion for. Extend this idea to props because including a musical instrument or roller skates in your photographs can be a lot of fun... 

Or why not turn your photoshoot into a pajama party and make sure everyone brings a onesie! Your photographs don't need to be formal. It's a chance for you to express some creativity and have a good time with friends and family.

I hope this post was helpful to those of you planning your next photoshoot. But most importantly, it doesn't really matter too much what you wear, as long as you feel comfortable and good about yourself. The best photographs will be achieved when everyone is happy and enjoying the experience...



Improve your Cat Photography!

Who doesn't want to know how to take cracking photographs of cats? Everyone loves cats.

Hopefully you'll have a cat or two of your own to practice your photography skills on, but if not, find a friend who has a cat and ask to borrow it.

At Photography by Gwen I open my studio doors to all pets who will fit through them! Dog portraits are a best seller, dogs are better travelers and adapt easily to new environments. But on occasion I've had people bring their cats along or I offer home-visits where I'll come and photograph your pets in their most comfortable setting.

Types of Cat Photography

I bet you didn't know there were different types of cat photography! Well, that's probably because I've just made it up. But there are different ways of approaching your pet photos and by splitting these ideas up in to categories for this blog post, you can decide which methods you'd like to try...

Candid & Lifestyle

Capturing cats in their most natural environment. Whether that's the garden or your (their) living room. Follow your cat around the house, lie on the floor and get down to their level, entice your cat with treats and toys. Use the environment around you to improve your images and snap them doing the things they love the most. I love this black and white shot above, the longer you look at the photo the more detail you see; like the double reflections of the cats' faces in the window.

Sleeping Cats

The easiest way to photograph a cat is to find a sleeping cat. Tip toe around said cat, being careful not to wake it! A short focal length can create some beautiful images here, f.2.8 or lower, blurring out the background and leaving all attention on the cat's features. If you're very quiet you can get super close and capture all the teeny hairs and whiskers for a detailed portrait. I just had to grab a photo of this beautiful tabby kitten relaxing in his bed after a long day of playing. Cats sleep in the most unusual positions!

Preened & Posed

It is possible to 'pose' your pet and style the whole photoshoot to your liking. But it's hard work, and you will need a helping hand. I've found kittens easier to capture if there are noisy or fluffy toys involved. Wait for them to tire themselves out first so they will be slightly more cooperative when the camera comes out. Have everything set up waiting and ready. Think about your background, lighting, props and composition. Take a few test shots without the cat/kitten. Then you have to think fast and shoot faster. Put the cat/kitten in place and immediately catch their attention with loud funny noises and shiny things. Take lots of photos!

Hectic Motion Capture

Cats and kittens can really move. To photograph your pets when they are playing or running around, you'll need lots of light (natural daylight is best). And a fast shutter speed. Anything under 1/100 will be too slow. The faster your shutter speed the better. I could use anywhere up to 1/800 and beyond if shooting outdoors on a bright day. Your camera may have a burst-mode setting which can be useful when capturing a fast moving cat. This will take lots of photos one after another and you can flick through and select the best one, discarding the rest. Most phone cameras have this setting!

My Top Tips

Find the Angle

try shooting from above, find a unique angle, it can make all the difference.

Find the Light 

the more light you have the sharper your images will be.

Find a Friend

having a second person to dangle cat toys or dispense treats is very useful.

Find the Time

you can't rush a cat into doing anything. You'll need patience to get perfect shots.

Best of luck with your cat photography, I hope some of the above tips were useful. And as always, you can come to Photography by Gwen and I'll photograph your cats for you! 

*Please note all images are copyright of Gwen McMullin / Photography by Gwen and must not be used, copied, saved or reproduced without consent.


Studio Updates...

It was time to update the studio, and replace some older photos with brand new ones. The windows, frame displays and even the bathroom have had a mini makeover. Make sure you glance up at the windows next time your driving past, or even better, come on in and have a look...


Father's Day Special

Father's Day is on Sunday 21st June and this year, Photography by Gwen is hosting an amazing special offer for all the No.1 Dads and their children. For just ยฃ15 you can book a mini photoshoot (30 minutes) for all the family and take away your favourite photograph FREE of charge as a 10x8 print! Gift vouchers (including this new Father's Day offer) are available, so why not surprise Dad on the day with a unique gift - that keeps on giving!

ยฃ15 Mini Photoshoot | 10x8 Print | Up to 5 people | 7th June - 28th June

To celebrate the special offer and all you wonderful fathers out there, it's time to compile some of our favourite 'Best Dad' photographs...


ยฃ15 Mini Photoshoot | 10x8 Print | Up to 5 people | 7th June - 28th June

To book your Father's Day mini shoot, please get in touch via Facebook, email or telephone (details on Contact page). You can bring up to 5 people to your mini photoshoot, and your favourite photograph is free to take home as a 10x8 print! 


Adding Framed Photographs to the Price List

It's been a while since my last blog post on Photography by Gwen. The studio has been so busy I've hardly had time to share all the wonderful things that have been happening.

I'm pleased to say I will now be adding framed portraits to the price list! I currently offer digital images on a CD, or prints at various sizes. I'll now be adding a framing service, so you can purchase a package deal that includes a framed photograph, or choose a photo to be framed once in the viewing room. This is especially useful if you're hoping to give someone special a photograph as a gift, or if you'd like a product that can go straight up on the wall - no fuss!

The frames I have to offer are simple and classic. Black or white frames (in glossy or matte finishes) and medium or dark wooden frames, in vintage or basic styles. You can request a mount for your image at no extra cost. As you can see below, the A3 sized print is without a mount, the image sits right up to the edge of the frame. The 10x8 and A4 photographs have white mounts, making them look a little bigger. 

Here's just a quick snap of the frames up on the wall with some fantastic photos inside, just to give you an idea of what works.

Price wise, a 10x8 or A4 framed photograph will be just ยฃ15. For a bigger 16x12 or A3 sized image, it's only ยฃ20. These are introductory prices, so grab them quickly! 

To book a photoshoot package that includes a framed photograph, please get in touch!


Photography by Gwen's 1st Anniversary

It may be hard to believe (for me at least) but Photography by Gwen has been open for one whole year! Back in February 2014 I opened the doors to my Rochdale studio and celebrated with a launch party for friends and family. The past year has flown by in such a blur, I can hardly believe we are here already, one year in!

I thought it would be a nice time to have a look back over the past year and see where it all began...

The studio needed a coat of paint and a new floor popping in. So we turned the whole place bright white, and replaced half of the carpet with vinyl. My background rolls arrived and they were installed and then it was a matter of adding props, wallpapers and getting the studio lights in!  If you've been in and spotted the Marilyn Monroe wall, well she was there from day one! We liked her so much she stayed put and luckily she was well suited to the whole 'grey, white, black and a-splash-of-pink' theme we had going on. 

After numerous shopping trips, things were starting to look more like a photography studio...


It wasn't too long before I had the sign up outside too!

It's also nearly been a year since I completed my degree in Photography (BA Hons). This time in February 2014 I was writing a dissertaion and starting to shoot my final year project for exhibition.  Looking back I'm not quite sure how I managed to find time to start a business and finish my University degree - I remember quite a few moments of panic! But I did it! Graduating with a First Class Honours (and now the degree hangs proudly in the shop)

In the year just gone I've had the chance to photograph some wonderful people and animals. I feel very lucky to be doing what I love and I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for the studio! I'm planning some exciting things for this year so make sure you keep an eye on my Facebook page so you don't miss out!


The Shop is Open!

I'm very pleased to announce that you can now purchase gift vouchers online! Right here on www.photographybygwen.co.uk. It's quick and easy, the checkout process is safe and you can order as many as you like!

Pop over to the Gift Vouchers product page and have a look. There are lots of packages to choose from. And if you need a quick reminder, you can view all the photoshoot package details and prices here. 

Photoshoot vouchers make the perfect gifts. Especially for those tricky-to-buy-for family members or friends. Anyone can benefit from a photoshoot! Your recipient can choose the type of photoshoot that will suit them. Whether it's a big family shoot, a makeover portrait session or a chance to get some professional photos of the dog - the options are endless! 

The Gift of Photographs...

Photoshoot gift vouchers can be your go-to gift for lots of special occasions. Birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, parties, graduations, Christmas and many more... they're guaranteed to be well received. 

Gift vouchers are custom printed on to lovely shiny photo paper and shipped to you (for free!) All you need to do is pop them inside a card with a special message. 

To buy a gift voucher you can find the button on the 'Prices and Packages' page (scroll down to the bottom) or here's a direct link


A New Website...

It was time for a fresh new look for the Photography by Gwen website. I've decided to strip down the site to a simple and clean design that's easy to use and beautiful to look at. Photographs are extra large, taking up the majority of the screen! And all the info and galleries are listed to the left. Just click on a link to see more!


How to Use the New Website

The home screen will greet you with big photographs and a list of clickable pages down the left-hand side. The home page is where all my favourite most recent images will appear. You can flick through these images by using the Previous/Next buttons found in the bottom left-hand corner or you can simply click on the photo itself to move on to the next one.

Selecting 'Show Thumbnails' will reveal all of the images on a page in a square thumbnail preview. If you'd like to see the image at full size again - just click it! 

Using the navigation list on the left you can explore the site and see photos in a few different categories. Family & Children, Maternity & Newborn, Pet Portraits, Makeover & Boudoir. Explore! Then we have the Blog section (which is where you are right now) followed by the Packages and Prices page; which includes lots of information about what Photography by Gwen can offer. There are 3 main packages to choose from, but scroll down to see ready-made special packages such as 'Bump-to-Baby' or 'Photoshoot Parties'! 

There is also some useful info on choosing CD images or Prints. Which is the better option for you? And if you select 'Current Offers' at the top of the Packages and Prices page you can see all the live offers for that time of year. (Right now there is a great Valentine's Day one running!)

And finally, the Contact page. Here you can see Photography by Gwen on a map. And there's all the important information such as the studio phone number and email address. There's even a handy form to use if you'd like to send me a quick message. 

Never miss out!

Don't forget you can keep up to date with Photography by Gwen news and special offers via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram


It's 2015!

It's a new year and it's time for a fresh look for Photography by Gwen. At the beginning of January I ordered some new business cards, featuring some of my favourite photos from 2014. 

businesscard idea back.jpg

My new cards are much more photo-heavy than the previous ones. And this time I'm adding social media logos so you know to search for me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter