And now we are seven…

Seven. Big-girl seven. One third of the way to adulthood. One foot still firmly in childhood. Fairies exist. Teeth fall out. Reading is magical. The movie Frozen is THE BEST. As is One Direction (really, I ask myself…how does she know them??). French plaits are awesome. Coloring is too. Swinging. Yes! Jokes make no sense…at least to me. The bike needs still to be learned. She hugs and kisses me less. But if she does, I appreciate it more. She is charming and smiley and heartfelt and strong and vulnerable and determined and creative. When she grows up, she wants to be an artist. And a teacher. Her favourite dinner is anything chicken. Her favourite time is morning. And she still goes to bed at 6. She calls Harry her little brother. Oh and yes…the night before her birthday, her 8th tooth came out. (check out that smile!)

Reading her own cards:

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DJB_9168Decorating her own cake (she wanted to…)

DJB_9170Make a wish…and BLOW!

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Happy birthday to my very special girl…x

Portraits: Last Day of Five

Today, the very last day of five. Tomorrow moving to a two-handed age. How time goes by in a blink. Here she is: cheeky, loving, exuberant, thoughtful, imaginative, curious…and utterly gorgeous (says a very biased mum…)

Playing mum and baby at home (I got to be the ‘sister’.)

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Delivering invitations to her party:

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Conker gathering on the Long Walk.

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The start of her snuggle-tooth grin. Already 3 big-girl teeth and a 4th baby one loose…

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End of a lovely walk home…

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Family Portraits in the Park

denise-balyoz-marlow-henley-family-photographer We are so lucky in Windsor to have the Great Park on our doorstep. I love nothing more than photographing there…the grass, the fields, the views, the sky. Drama and intimacy combined. Truth be told, we had a few hay-feverish sneezes, but as Mum said…it was all worth it!

I loved working with this family. They have such a gentle connection and kindness about them. The boys were such fun and loved playing in the grass.

By the way, I have only a couple summertime portrait slots left in August. Please give me a call soon if you are interested in booking. What a great way to amuse the kids for a couple hours…and to remember this spectacular summer!

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Summertime Portraits

denise-balyoz-photography-windsor-ascot-summer-portraitCan you tell….I’m LOVING summer this year? Yes, we are having a summer here in the UK! And there is nothing I love more than shooting in the fields. Sky, grass, trees and space to play. How grateful I am to live in Windsor, surrounded by so much of this.

I’ve started carrying my camera again on our daily walks. And I’m taking clients into the fields. So much to share…Hope you are enjoying your summer….

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A Playful Life

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Playfulness. Recently, (and thank you Phoebe for showing me) I realised that I have forgotten how to play. How sad is this?

I enjoy my life. I LOVE what I do. But it isn’t often that I stop and follow the thread of my imagination from this ‘now’ to the next without plan. I WORK my way through my days. And however contented I am with my work, it is not enough. Or…rather, it is not how I want to live.

And so, as I start to learn again to play, Phoebe is my teacher. Sometimes walks in the Windsor Great Park become sit down sessions gathering grass seeds to blow into the wind. Or this afternoon, we packed our ‘bags’ and went on holiday to Africa. We drove the car-bed to the couch-airport. We even remembered to wear our sun hats. The ding of the dinner timer brought us home again. (Thank goodness as dinner was roast chicken!)

If you have any tips on how to remember to play, I would love to hear them! What is your favourite kind of play?

 

Stormy Summer

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Summertime is teasing us. Warm. Cool. Wind. Rain. A dash of sun…My sweater is never far away. But still…this is summer. And summer is always beautiful.

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Fairy Tale Shoot in The Great Park

The days are long, but the years are short. These are the moments to remember…

A foggy morning. Windsor Great Park. Old oaks. A cuddly bunny. Sweaters and a scarf. Ruffles and a delicious petticoat.

Beautiful petticoat from Poppy. Bunny is from Cocoa Bean. Fog is pure magic.

Four Tips for taking Great Summertime Photographs of your Kids

Yes, I’m a photographer mama. You would think that it would be easy for me to create magical portraits of my girl.  But actually the opposite is true.  It takes conscious effort to head out with all of my (heavy) gear.  It takes planning to get little Miss P dressed in something appropriate. And it takes a lot of cheerleading to get her into a cooperative mood.  (You may remember that she started scowling at the sight of a camera earlier this year.)

With all of our dreary weather and the drama in our lives, it had been waaay too long. Sunday with its bright sunshine changed all that and we headed to the Long Walk for a mini session.  If any of you Mama’s are looking to do the same, here are a few tips that may help with the bright light.

1. Give your child something to do.  The bright sun feels wonderful, but it is awful for photographs.  Harsh shadows, squinty eyes…yuck.  If your child is doing something, it won’t matter as much if she doesn’t look into the camera, or if those shadows appear.  In fact, Little Miss P started playing with her shadow as she scooted. :)

2. Find the shade…or wear shades.  Contrary to popular belief, one of the best place for summer portraits is in a solid bit of shade. On bright days, there is usually enough reflected light for most cameras.  Just beware of dappled light. If worse comes to worst, and you can’t find shade, pop on those shades.  Instant summertime cool and no more squinty eyes.

3.  Move around your child.  You may be surprised how much the shade light will change depending on your shooting angle.  Try lots of them to find the best result.

4.  Don’t forget those details.  Lastly, what about the small things that catch your child’s attention? A bug. A flower. The dog. Try to capture the little things that make up the story of your day. They will probably make you smile when you look back…

Good luck! Have fun….

 

 

The Olympic Torch in Windsor

Ever since I was little, I have loved the Olympics. Unfortunately, I’m not lucky enough to have tickets to any events.  But yesterday, Phoebe & I had front row seats as the torch passed through Windsor.  Our seats may have been a bit damp (thank goodness for Wellies and big umbrellas) but they were made dramatic by the weather.  We were with friends in a fantastic atmosphere…it doesn’t get any better.

 

Sadly yesterday was also goodbye to Sarah who has helped me to look after Phoebe for the last several months.  She off to travel the world and we wish her many fantastic adventures…We will miss you Sarah!!

A Three-Year Old World…

To be blatantly honest, this three-year old world has caught me by surprise.  I was ready for two…those TERRIBLE twos.  Guess what…they never happened.  But three, oh my goodness…

Tantrums, talking back, hitting, throwing and yelling ‘No!’. Oh yes, these happen regularly in my house.  And did I mention the whining?

But this tumultuous world also has it’s gifts:  We have story time and she ‘reads’ to me. We make art. She draws, then folds, then tapes paper into little packages.  Each morning, she brings me a muslin and a cuddly toy to hold.  She chooses plates and silverware and puts them on the table. We find fairies in the house. Sometimes they are the cause of all the naughtiness. And sometimes they join us for breakfast. In this three-year old world, we have best friends. We have walks and lunches and she asks to hold my hand.

Perhaps three is like our recent weather. Rainy, stormy and changeable with swaths of amazing color and beauty…