Using Photography to aid Wellbeing

Using Photography to aid Wellbeing

In one way or another, lockdown will have affected the way we view the world. It will have raised many questions particularly around how we work. Is commuting back and forth to places of work necessary all the time when we can work effectively remotely from home? Remote working has been fantastic for the environment, which began to recover during lockdown. Is it necessary to jet off to far-flung places on airplanes when we have so much beauty here at home? Lockdown has also had an effect on mental health, those cut off from their loved ones have found lockdown difficult. There has been terrible loss and bereavement due to Covid19, many have lost loved ones, their jobs or found themselves excluded from the Furlough scheme.

Personally, during lockdown my work pretty much dried up, I couldn’t see any clients and I didn’t have anyone to photograph. Still wanting to take photos, I took my camera with me on my daily walks and this is when a whole new side to photography opened up to me. I wasn’t thinking about composition or how my images would be received by my client, I was photographing for me and out of pure enjoyment and it didn’t matter what my images looked like because no one but me was going to see them. The process was liberating; lifted my spirits and made me feel at peace. This is something everyone can do, you don’t need to have a DSLR and in fact, as a DSLR is a pretty heavy camera to carry about with you on a walk, so a mobile phone is perfect for this and actually more suited.

We may never have thought about using photography to help our well-being before, but it is a practice worth trying out. The Creative Arts, have long been employed as therapeutic devices to help relieve stress and calm the mind, now with the access we all have to cameras on our smartphones photography is accessible in a way that it has never been before.

We are very fortunate that we can now take pictures easily and we don’t have to get bogged down with the technicalities of camera settings to take photos.

The actual process of taking photos is very beneficial to our everyday wellbeing, particularly when you combine it with going out for a walk into nature. In this way, photography is not only good for you physically, but mentally as well. It’s not about the outcome, it’s about the actual process of taking the photos. It’s about using photography in a non-judgemental way, the images you take are for you and are to be accepted as they are. You are photographing for yourself, it’s not about comparing your shots to anyone else’s or thinking about how well-received your images will be if you put them up on social media. It is about taking note of what you are looking at, delving into the scene to find beauty in the light, the shadows the colours and taking time to notice all of these things.

Photography can be used as a tool to help us connect to the present moment in time and to tune into the present. Tuning in to the “now” helps to calm the mind and relieve stress. The very act of photography automatically helps you focus on something and be aware of that moment so you can take a photo of it.

In our everyday lives, things happen that can throw us off balance and make us feel down, listening to a negative news item, a curt or critical email from someone or a harsh word can all affect our view of the world for the rest of the day. We are very beholden to everyday triggers that affect our mood some are positive triggers, which make us feel good, but how can we deal with a negative trigger? –  This is where photography can help. We can find calm by using the practice of photography, focussing on our subject and looking at that to pull us away from any negative wanderings of our minds.

As adults we spend a lot of our time striving for the next goal, we put a lot of effort into rushing about trying to achieve one thing after another. This is another cause of huge stress, feeling low because we aren’t achieving our goals quickly enough or not even getting through our long “To Do” list.

Going out with your camera and engaging in photography whilst on a walk can still your mind. This isn’t about aimlessly snapping a few shots, this is about slowing down, tuning in with your surroundings and taking time to really look at what is around you. As you start to look around you and pause to take in your surroundings, paying attention to the present moment and being aware of what you are looking at, also aware of physical sensations like the breeze on your skin. you will start to unravel a wandering mind and be more present and feel calmer.


My advice would be to give it a go, you have nothing to lose, but lots to gain.

Introducing the Best Instagram Photography Workshop in London

Introducing the Best Instagram Photography Workshop in London

Small and medium businesses who want their social media marketing to shine shouldn’t miss this fabulous new Instagram Photography workshop on the 13th March 2020. Set in the beautiful and inspiring Southwark Cathedral, this exciting day will take your smartphone photography and Instagram skills to the next level. If you are serious about growing your business on Instagram, your investment in this workshop will be the best decision you make this year. Who will benefit from this exciting collaboration? As a small business, it’s not always possible to hire a photographer to create all the images you need for your marketing. New Shoots and Social Elements Instagram photography training will give you the confidence, knowledge and insider tips and tricks to create your own stunning images and ensure that they are seen by your target audience. What will I learn during the smartphone photography workshop? The day will be split into two parts:

  • Smartphone photography training
  • Instagram marketing using your own photos

More specifics can be found in the workshop outline below. What do I need to bring to the Instagram workshop? Not much actually. Yourself, your imagination and creativity, your smartphone and portable power bank / charger (fully charged), access to an Instagram account where you can publish some content on the day. What sort of photos can I expect to take? You will learn how to shoot a flat-lay (photography from above) as well as learning all about styling your shoot, lighting, composition and editing. We will be creating three types of photos – using food, using stationery (for a service business) and some with an Easter theme.

What about the Instagram learning?

You’ll understand how to look effortlessly stylish and how to leverage the power of hashtags and Stories to develop your brand. By the end of the session, you’ll have a clear way forward for your Instagram business marketing.

Where exactly in London is the workshop taking place?

Date:          13th March 2020                  Time: 10.30am – 4.30pm Place:        Desmond Tutu Room Southwark Cathedral, Bankside, Montague Close, London, SE1 9DA Lunch is not provided, but we are next door to the Cathedral’s Refectory which does a good choice of lunch or we are surrounded by some fabulous places to grab a bite to eat in Borough Market. Who are the creative trainers on this workshop? Nathalie Crouch – Reflections Photography, Liz Devonshire – Liz Devonshire Photography Lisa Kyriacou Faulks – Social Elements Media

How much does the workshop cost?

The full day training costs only £225 and represents a brilliant cost-effective investment. For years to come you can use the skills you acquire at this photography training, saving you loads of time and money when you need to produce professional looking images for your business in the future.

How do I book this workshop?

To secure your place on this highly sought-after workshop, email, providing your name, address, mobile number, business name and discipline and make/model of your smartphone. Full payment is required in advance to secure your spot. Be quick, this workshop is limited to a maximum of 9 trainees.

Workshop Contents

Part 1 – Photography (Nathalie and Liz): The Importance of Good Imagery Pre-shoot Planning How to use your Smartphone Camera Shooting a flat-lay Styling for your Shoot Lighting Composition Editing Part 2- Instagram (Lisa): The fundamentals of Instagram What makes a good Instagram post Tips on brand identity and best practice techniques How to use hashtags The importance of Instagram stories Useful tools and tips How to boost an Instagram post How to measure success    

New Shoots Beginner’s Photography

New Shoots Beginner’s Photography

I’m very happy to announce the creation of New Shoots Photography Training. Earlier this year, my partner in crime Liz Devonshire also a professional photographer, (based in North London) developed a beginner’s photography training programme, for DSLR camera owners who want to up their game and get creative. We both want to help other people enjoy the creative side of photography, especially those right at the beginning who might feel a bit overwhelmed by all the settings and menus on their camera.

This summer Liz and I set off to sunny Borough Market to conduct our first training session for New Shoots. We had a fabulous time, the course has been designed for a small group of just six participants, so we can give everyone our full attention. The feedback we received confirmed what we felt regarding the workshop, that there was a real need out there for people who owned DSLR cameras, but were struggling to get the most out of them. They had bought these cameras initially so they could take better pictures and become more creative. But the camera instructions just weren’t enough. They just needed some straight forward, hands-on guidance, where you could ask questions and get immediate feedback, something you just can’t get from a webinar or a book.

“Thank you to everyone who recommended “NEWSHOOTS PHOTOGRAPHY TRAINING”, I attended the photography workshop yesterday which took place in Borough Market in London. It was excellent, pitched just right for beginners and I would thoroughly recommend it….” Sarah.

“This photography course was amazing. I did everything on auto before the course. The basic understanding I gained of using the settings on the camera has given me the confidence to experiment. I just got back from a safari holiday with some amazing photos. Very few were taken on auto!” Lisa

“Great location for the workshop in the buzz of Borough Market. Really enjoyed taking a bit more time to understand the settings on my camera and practice with them. The team put together a comprehensive booklet, and were on hand for any queries and to give the participants encouragement too!” Kate

Location Shoots

Location Shoots

Family Location Shoots

Are you considering an outdoor location shoot for your next family portraits? I photograph families and children mainly in my studio, but recently decided to shoot more on location. It was a wonderful experience. I had the pleasure of photographing a lovely family of three and their adorable furry family member Carter.

  • Shooting outside on location lends itself to spontaneous and natural photography. After discussing locations on the phone with my family, we decided on their local woods. A place familiar and with meaning to them. Location shoots give children space to move around, play and be themselves. Libby played fairies and cast spells. I’d brought a wand and some glitter for the purpose.
  • Photographs taken outside will usually feel natural and casual. I was able to give my family a selection of images that told a story. Location shoots lend themselves to this and we had images of Libby and Carter playing, exploring, resting, jumping, throwing leaves etc. I found that strolling along outside through the woods helped make mum and dad less self-conscious. If you’re a bit camera shy this can help lead to better facial expressions. I was able to capture more reportage style images unobserved from a distance whilst mum and dad were talking. There’s not anywhere for the photographer to hide in a studio.

Carter the dog was fabulous for making everyone feel at ease. He was exceptionally well behaved which made my job easy. If you want to include your four legged family member in the shoot, this will have an impact on your location choice.

  • The weather can be challenging. We were lucky with the weather, but if it is bad you may have to reschedule. The lighting could also be very variable for example glaring sun can create harsh shadows or make you squint. For a photographer overcast skies are preferred, the sky then acts like a huge soft box, diffusing the light and eliminating shadows. The light will be at its most flattering either early morning or late afternoon, so make sure you book your location shoot then avoid the time around midday.
  • If it does rain, but isn’t particularly cold put your raincoats on and welly boots and let the kids puddle jump. The shots will be fun and animated.

All in all location shoots are fun, they offer a different look to your selection of images from those that you will get from a studio shoot. It does take longer and require more planning. You should consider what you want as the end result. There will be a lot more going on in the background of your pictures, glimpses of which might add meaning to your photographs. Consider what you are going to do with your images afterwards. If you want images with a clean background to hang on your walls then a studio shoot might be a better choice. If you want images that tell more of a story and are in a setting then choose location.

Getting Your Teenagers Interested in Photography

Getting Your Teenagers Interested in Photography

Photography is a great avenue for teenagers to explore inspiring their creativity and getting them out and about. Photography is considered to be a cool thing to do and is equally attractive to boys and girls. Young people are much more visually literate today than they were in the past because of their use of social media, they naturally know what works in an image and what doesn’t. With this in mind and armed with camera equipment I took Rob and Issy on a photographic adventure.

You don’t need expensive equipment; a compact camera or mobile phone with a camera will do. If you do have a DSLR all the better. Either way initially it should be about fun and composition so if your teenager does own a DSLR I would start by putting the camera on Programme mode.

  1. Find somewhere where they can draw inspiration from the environment.
    • The woods –we were spoilt for choice in the woods, it was teaming with wild life. We’d brought some nuts so were able to get up close to squirrels and birds.
    • A lake or a stream – we followed a stream collected pebbles, used grasses and vegetation in the foreground to make our shots more interesting.
    • An urban environment- we found beautiful old doorways and walls where the colour of the paint was muted and peeling off to provide interesting backdrops.
  2. It’s better if they are with a friend or sibling so they can compare shots and a little bit of rivalry helps with the motivation. Get them to take some portraits of each other, they can use them for their social media accounts.
  3. Different times of the day provide different lighting. My son Rob took an amazing picture at sunset. Morning or afternoon are the best times for the light. Midday should be avoided as this is when the light is harsh and shadows strong.
  4. Get them to experiment with taking shots close up and further away. Mixing up the framing can make bring different perspectives to the shots. The appeal of macro is hard to deny, Issy was fascinated by a dragon fly which she photographed using a macro lens.
  5. The rule of thirds. A little bit of instruction is okay, but you don’t want to turn it into a school project. Explain the simple principle of the rule of thirds that will help you take balanced and interesting photographs.(Imagine breaking an image down into thirds horizontally and vertically. This gives you four lines where the intersecting points are good positions for elements in your photo.)
  6. Give them lots of encouragement. Photography like all art is very subjective, anything goes.
  7. When you get home download the fruits of their labour play them as a slideshow on the TV for the rest of the family to see. Ask them to talk about their photos and share with the rest of the family.