Rain’s in fashion

Sep-CoverThe Windmill on Wimbledon Common was the perfect location for our Elys AW17 fashion shoot. With long meadow grass and late summer sun light we were aiming for 70s retro vibe for this transitional season with it’s earthy tones, layering and cosy knits. Only a month’s worth of rain in 36 hours could have prevented this shoot from being utterly gorgeous, but not even that could hold back our crack team.

The opening shot was our priority, the rain satellite showed a ten minute break in the torrential rain so we geared up to nail this shot.

The iconic windmill looks majestic in it’s 200th year, dominating the landscape. The Windmill Museum have done an impressive job restoring the sales in time for this year’s bicentenary celebrations and we are extremely grateful to Asif Malik who generously hosted us for the day.

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ELSYS-SEPT-2017-44704It was bucketing down for the rest of the day so we had to ‘work’ with the rain, using the  tree canopy as a natural of umbrella. John took a killer shot of this vampy look which ended up as the opening shot for the story.

Luckily we were able to step back in time using the interior of the Windmill Museum. The original artefacts dating back to the working windmill were fascinating.

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The team were so up for every suggestion, traipsing through the mud and rain, or climbing onto the windmill roof. The original vision for the shoot inevitably changed due to the weather conditions but the final images have a super Autumnal feel, perfect for the September edition.

Thank you to my exceptional team:

  • Photographer: John McMurtrie
  • Model: Leticia Herod
  • Stylist: Helen Ford Canning
  • Assistant: Emily Mitchell
  • Hair: Sean Hanna
  • Makeup: Bare Mineral by Dee Vasey
  • Nanny: Veronika from Wimbledon Nannies*

*Renate from Wimbledon Nannies was amazing and found the perfect nanny for me for the day. The process was so easy, I was put in touch with Veronika so we could chat and meet up before the day. Veronika was brilliant on the day and just fitted in – nothing was a problem and my little 5 month old son thought she was ace.

How to direct a fashion shoot in the rain

Don’t panic, devise plan b in the day(s) before

  • Create a strong back-up plan and communicate with your team as early as possible
  • Find the nearest indoor locations either for shelter or alternative scenes
  • Send out your call sheet with weather forecast & instructions for wet weather gear
  • Be flexible with your story, either create a new one or work with your photographer to make the most of the conditions on the day

On the day

  • Wellies and spares for the model just in case
  • Bring plastic bags, see-through ones for camera equipment, black plastic for model to stand on if needed
  • Bring lots of golf umbrellas, you can’t have enough!
  • Keep the model under umbrellas until the second before shooting starts
  • If you have time do some practise shots with the umbrellas so you can get it just right for when the umbrellas disappear
  • Check live satellite weather conditions on your mobile for rain breaks
  • Keep the team focussed on the end goal
  • Hot drinks and bacon sandwiches to stop spirits being dampened





Typographical stroll down Camden Passage

Inspired by the creativity of these local independent stores who are on trend with their brand designs and street marketing. These gorgeous little shop spaces don’t seem to appeal to the chains and so we have a thriving shopping street in Islington bustling with an eclectic mix of vintage and modern boutiques, cafe and market stalls.

Sadiq Khan London Mayor photos

When Tony and I met Sadiq Khan for his interview and photo shoot for Time & Leisure magazine he was quite taken by our father-daughter working relationship. With two daughters Sadiq wanted to know all about how we worked together, musing the idea of his teenage daughters working with him in the future.

Tony Kane aka Dad interviewed Sadiq at William Morris House, Wimbledon Labour headquarters whilst I took photos of Sadiq as he talked animatedly about transport, housing, pollution and equality for women. In the magazine layout we used the images in a film strip style to show how he expressive he was.

We then headed into Wimbledon town centre with Sadiq, as we walked people came up to meet and greet him, shake his hand and offer support for his Mayoral campaign. Sadiq Khan proved to be a popular candidate, people felt comfortable to come and chat and he was genuinely interested in people. I was impressed by his easy nature, like-ability and and loved his positive campaign to become London Mayor.

Congratulations Sadiq Khan. A real London Mayor.


See page 24 & 25, Time & Leisure Magazine, March 2016


Daley Thompson, Daley Fitness, Putney, Time & Leisure Magazine,

Daley Fitness

When our editor mentioned she was interviewing Daley Thompson, my camera was instantly in hand. Photographing Daley turned out to be such an interesting shoot, his reluctance to be in the press over the years turned into our benefit -he’s not a slick media pro, instead we discovered a genuine, warm, funny and engaging person. It was so great to meet a childhood hero who lived up to legacy and in person was touchable. I have a new Daley crush!

When we arrived at his new gym in Putney it was in the last stages of a major refurbishment, something I sympathised with being in the last throes of refurbishing our home, so we bonded over builder dramas, we talked families – his two boys are his life, and he wanted to know detail about my fitness and training schedule.

Not knowing where or how the shoot was going to take place, I walked in blind and the only place was downstairs in the basement, with beautiful freshly painted white walls, stark gym equipment we had a neutral backdrop, low light but Daleys bright orange t-shirt saved the day.

His new Putney gym Daley Fitness is going to be so great, his genuine love to see people training, but training to excellence is going to give members something totally new. If I lived in Putney I’d sign up today, after all what could be more motivational than being in the gym and seeing the gorgeous Daley Thompson strolling through!

His new Putney gym Daley Fitness is going to be so great, his genuine love to see people training, but training to excellence is going to give members something totally new. If I lived in Putney I’d sign up today, after all what could be more motivational than being in the gym and seeing the gorgeous Daley Thompson strolling through!

Style fashion photo shoot

Laura Coleman was the starlet of our Elys photo shoot, with top stylist Kate Battrick creating the Dawn to Dusk look and photographer Gregg Stone firing the shots, I had the pleasure to direct and deliver this awesome photo shoot for Elys Style magazine. I love the look Kate created for Laura – anything goes, mix and matching textures, brands, day and night wear fashioning six top to toe trends.

Poppy love

One of the stand out events this year was the poppy installation at the Tower of London. The impact of seeing hundreds of thousands red poppies, turning the moat into a sea of blood and the enormity of the lives lost brought visitors together to give their respect through an amazing piece of conceptual art. My daughter and I took selfies, she saw the tower of London and learned about the meaning of the poppies. We then had fun by Tower Bridge and as ever she brightened the dullest of days. The next day we painted pictures of our day out, Luella’s painting of the poppies sums up the whole day for me, brilliant. Watch out Matisse!

London to Brighton veteran car rally

Arriving before dawn, I was struck by the enormous friendships and warmth of the greetings from car owners and enthusiasts as they embraced and caught up from the last event. I discovered a fascinating window on a world of people brought together by their passion, and so often ready to share their extraordinary stories with passersby.

Immersed in the dawn shadows, I tried to capture the passion, charm, excitement and apprehension as they set off on their exhilarating but long, cold and wet journey. Many will have been sitting in puddles of water for several hours by the time they arrive in Brighton but nothing was going to dampen these veterans’ spirit.

John Bird

Bursary wining photography

It’s not always an easy decision to follow your passions and start a new career, but the bursary I was recently awarded by top law firm Slaughter and May has been a massive boost for my new business. It’s such a great community initiative, they invited businesses facing start up challenges to apply, they offered fantastic support throughout the process and even if I hadn’t won, I would have still benefited hugely from the process. However with my assigned mentor Tom cheerleading and graciously guiding me through the process we had a great time preparing for the dragons den style pitch. The S&M dragons didn’t hold back – lawyers aren’t known for their easy questioning on the stand, but getting through some sweaty moments my photos impressed the judges and I was one of five businesses they chose to award a generous bursary to.

Thanks to everyone at Slaughter & May for this confidence and technology purchasing boost to my photography business. 2014 looks bright.

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Summerhill Farm

This shoot with my toddler had its challenges, in that toddler kind of way. Determined in what they want to do, but by offering some props and letting her decide what is going to happen, we had a ball on Summerhill Farm this summer. It was fun to photograph on Luella’s level, this not only meant getting down on all fours, sitting in goose poo and peeling a screaming toddler off a farm gate, but also enjoying her fascination with new objects, her exploration of the world and having the pleasure of watching her learn about at least three brand new things:

A new word: feather

A new game: rounding up geese into the barn

A new object: how to blow a whistle

With each new adventure come a range of toddler emotions, rather than avoid or try to control this and pretend my toddler is always smiling, I decided to capture some of the genuine emotions, these are just a few of those moments….

The hardest thing about this photo shoot was editing the images down to an acceptable amount, although Nanny and Grandpa might have to endure an unedited version, I’ll make sure their glasses are full.

Thanks to Alice and Ben at Summerhill Farm in Devon for providing this lovely sunny setting and a holiday we’ll never forget. I hope their geese have recovered from being herded by a 2 year old sheepdog on two legs. And if you’re interested the geese will be available for Christmas  from Abel & Cole, after seeing what a wonderful life they have, we’ll be ordering one for our dinner table this year.

Summerhill Farm

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