Sunday, 24 July 2011

{blp} Post Pregnancy - The Beautiful Truth

A few weeks after Amy had Alfie she came to me with an idea for the blog that she writes very truthfully in about being a new mum. From her breastfeeding issues to arguements and dealing with a baby with severe reflux. Its all there for everyone to read (and its wonderful).

Well she had an idea for a Blog and would need some photographs to go along with it. The Blog was to be titled. Pregnancy, Labour & Birth: The Ugly Beautiful Truth. The brief was for photographs that she wanted, to show the ugly beautiful side to post-pregnancy body, and what happens and the changes that your body makes and adjusts.

Now I know that Amy had come to me as we have gone through some of her changes before. From her having her boob-job whilst I have known her to her meeting her Hubby and now having her gorgeous Baby. Dealing with how her body has and was going to change was a massive thing for Amy. I've always known her as being this confident, never to be photographed wearing her glasses, always with a faceful of makeup and a skinny bitch.

She is one of these women that could happily eat a big fat macdonalds, and not gain weight. Yes I was friends with her, and I love her to bits. But sometimes especially those of us who just have to look at them to gain weight. It really isnt fair!

I knew she wanted a baby, and her blog really gives much more information on where she came to be and the struggles she has had to make and change to accept the changes that she has gone through to have her beautiful baby boy. Its well worth the read.

The shoot we did to accompany the blog, was really strange for me to shoot. Normally I get women coming in to the studio to "hide" the mummy bits. And this shoot was all about showing off the mummy bits. Changing the lighting to highlight stretchmarks and cellulite was a bit strange to begin with, and also showed the change between photographing it all to hiding it with clever poses and lighting.

These were the most honest and probably hardest photographs I've had to take, and a beautiful change!

Stretch Marks, Love Handles, Scars from Boob Job, and a Mummy Belly.

No Make up

With Make Up

Amy said it was weird to see herself with make up and without glasses - as from the person who was once never photographed with her glasses on its very rare for us to see her without them now.

Amy being her happy Mummy Self

Amy's Favourite Pair of Jeans....definate struggle to get into

Every Mummy can look gorgeous!

We also did a few photographs of how we would hide the "flaws" especially just underwear shots, as this is what most people want.

Because everyone deserves to feel beautiful...
None of these photographs have been airbrushed in any way.

If you are a new mum, be it your first or 5th read Amy's Blog.
If you're not a new mum - read it anyway.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

{blp} Holiday Inn Barnsley, The Secret Garden and Weddings Under £1k!

On 8th July 2011 Holiday Inn Barnsley (formally Brooklands Hotel) had the Grand Opening of the £85,000 Project - The Secret Garden.

They are currently awaiting confirmation and assessment to see what style of roof would need to be fitted so that people could get married out in this wonderful garden.

I bet the colours also look amazing in Autumn, and when the back row of newly planted tree's have grown in a few years time.

Could you imagine having a small intimate Wedding out in the garden? Just perfect!

The new Head Chef had made some gorgeous Canapes for the Guests that were invited to the Grand Opening, which as done by the Lord Mayoress of Barnsley, along with two school children from the local school which had been the day before to bury their time capsules in the garden itself.

Holiday Inn Barnsley had arranged for Elegance Bridal Studio and Sensational Formal Hire to bring a model Bride & Groom for some photographs to show what it would look like to have your Wedding Photographs taken in the Grounds.

The dress that Steph is wearing is only Locally available from Elegance Bridal Studio, whilst Stacy is wearing the new Italian Silk Grey suit and the fabulous 'Loakes Shoes'. Infact one of the Groom's from a Wedding I just did wore them both and looked amazing.

The Path and Gazebo have inbuilt lights for the Evening, to give a total magical feel to being in the Secret Garden. With that wonderful stone entrance and Beauitful Gates, it really is an amazing place to view.

Some of the internal rooms were on display to show how it would look to have your Wedding at Holiday Inn Barnsley. I loved the Teal and White by Francesca at Venue.

Currently Holiday Inn Barnsley have a £999 Wedding Offer on but due to demand it is now only available up to 31 March 2012
The £999 package does not include the ceremony but this could also be catered for and includes:
Dedicated Wedding Co-Ordinator
Personal Red-Carpet Arrival
Services of the Hotel Toastmaster
Wedding Breakfast for 25 Guests
Table Linen
Cake Stand and Personalised Knife
Evening Buffet for 50 Guests
Disco until Midnight
Complimentary Accommodation for the Wedding Couple
Special Wedding Rates for Guests.

The Deal is not available on a Saturday.
Extra Adults are £25.95 for the Wedding Breakfast and £11.95 for the Evening Buffet.

For more information or to arrange a viewing Contact.
Tel: 01226 299 571
Events: 01226 329 178

Tell them you heard about it through Blue Lights Photography!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

{blp} A Rainy Wedding at Whitley Hall {Real Wedding}

When I do Weddings I see photographers who blog some 40 images after a Wedding, and normally I have a sneaky one on facebook and that is it. Well can I just say I couldnt decide on just one from this Wedding. I wanted to share lots. I wanted to share them ALL!

I arrived at Whitley Hall, it had been bouncing with Rain all day, and I had my trusty lucky umberella in the car. I've not had a Wedding rain on me so much that it has disrupted the Wedding and photographs. Until Yesterday.

When I arrived to a rather, calm but hiding her nerves bride, it was just her and I in the room. Normally there are several people about, but not yesterday. Her mum kept popping in and out of the room, but Sally was telling me all about how excited she was and that she never thought this day would come. Ever. Not to be Marrying Stephen, but to be marrying anyone.

Her hair looked amazing, and she couldnt wait to show off the gorgeous earrings that Stephen had bought for her to wear.
I had seen Stephen momentarily in the Bar, wearing a gorgeous Navy suit - so when I saw Sally's shoes I was in awe! (they were blooming gorgeous!)

Her flowers completed the look, Navy blue spotty ribbon, could we see a theme going on?

The Ceremony was beautiful, I dont want to share too many Ceremony shots, as it is an intimate time, and I want the Bride and Groom to see more of their shots before I send them to be blogged.

This one show's the Ceremony that went through several emotions, crying and laughter was had by all.
They just look so in love its beautiful to see.

The Ceremony Room was turned into Reception room whilst everyone was in the Bar area, and ducking in and out from the rain.

The flowers in Jars on the tables, the spotty theme continuing throughout from the Guest Book to the Menu's and place settings...and even the Cake which was made by Sally's Mum!

Despite the downpour, and we are talking bouncing off the ground.
We did manage to get some couple-y shots with the Bride and Groom, and even my not-so-lucky anymore umberella.

I had such a lovely day at this Wedding and I cannot wait for Sally and Stephen to see their Wedding Images when they come back from Honeymoon.

Congratulations Mr & Mrs Dale

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

{blp} A Guide to Black and White Conversion - Weddings

I have seen on some of the online forums that people are struggling with Black and White conversions. Whilst I do not profess to have the "best" I don't use Black and White Presets in general. I have made my own.

This post is not for those who already have black and white presets that they use, nor am I trying to tell people how to suck eggs - this is for those that generally struggle with Black and White conversion.

First of all. Not every image looks good in Black and White. Second of all, you can use the present in the camera, it can sometimes be a bit wishy-washy (yes that is a technical term!) and third. I dont use Lightroom.

First of all I open the image in Camera Raw. I always make slight adjustments in Camera Raw.

I shoot at a constant WB and then change in Camera Raw. This helps my Workflow, and is more consitant I have found.

It is not by any means right, nor do I think that everyone should do this. Its a tip that I picked up and it works for me. Everyone works differently

Second I make my adjustments. I make adjustments for the WB and I also add contrast and clarity to all my images. I set it at 50 of each. I like it, and thats how I edit.

I am self taught in all aspects of Photoshop, so I just do what works for me, and if the clients are happy then that is what matters.

To change the WB take your White Picker tool and click on something white. This is generally the groom's shirt. You will see what "looks right" and what doesn't.

Closer of what I do in Camera Raw.

Then I run a batch process on all my images. For the Weddings I use a preset for this that I found on a free download. I liked it and use it. You can find it here. Its Action 21 and called Ghost Glow.

So now we are onto the part on when I start converting to Black and White - and will look at several options for you to help you. The best thing to do, is open an image and play about with it. Then do it again but as an action. Then open up about 10 images and make sure it works on several different photographs. If it doesnt you have a choice to make - start again, or only convert the ones that you think will be best converted.

Black and White with Gradient Map: I have been and used many presets and black and white actions. I have used Channel Mixer and I have used the Black and White in Photoshop. Gradient Map works just as well as any of them. If not better. You can layer up several different gradient map layers, each one making it more contrasty - or you can change the blending of the layer to give it different looks.

Black and White with Gradient Map and Contrast: This just has an extra boost of Contrast for the image on top of the Gradient Map. I've heard photographers who are scared to use Contrast, but dont be. Use it to the best advantages that you can do. Try it.

To show Contrast boosted again by 50

Black and White as above now introducing Diffuse Glow: I would generally only use diffuse glow as and when needed, but I do use it in a lot of actions event at a  low usage. You can apply it directly to the image, or make an additional layer and apply it to that, and then reduce the opacity of that layer. Here I have just applied it directly to the image.

It will take you to the Diffuse Glow Screen, where you can add grain, and glow amount etc. I always have glow amount on 1 as I do not want to overpower the image etc. I then have clear amount on about 15. Open the screen and play about, you will find something for the image that looks "right" and only you will know what that is.

TIP: Remember to have your swatches set correctly. The bottom Swatch Colour will be the one applied to the image. Make sure this is white.

Black and White Image, with Diffuse Glow. Finished.

Next I will look at a couple of presets which are free to download.

The First Action is the Creamy Chocolate BW Action available from The Coffee Shop Blog which can be downloaded here

It is a lovely Sepia style tone of Image.

This second Pre-set is called the Spelndor B&W and is also available to download here

This has removeable layers, so you can decide what tint you want your image to have. This is good if you are doing this for individual images, not so good if like me, you Batch Process.

Above Action with the tints turned off.

Well Done if you have got this far!

If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to ask.

Blogger Comments havent fully been working so if you cannot leave a question in comment, then email me on

I will also be doing a Studio Portrait Black and White conversion. I hope this helps!

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