Miss Matilda’s Boutique, Preston

I just want to tell you about this brilliant shop in Preston that I discovered last year.  It is a real treasure trove of jewellery, clutch bags, scarves, candles……..the list goes on and on.  And all of it is just my kind of stuff.  Very girly, very pretty but also very funky – clothes with a bit of an edge.  The shop is decked out really nicely too, just like the sort of bedroom you’d like at home.  (If you didn’t have to share it with a sock-dropping member of the opposite sex and the mountainous laundry basket, that is!)

Now as a  ****year old woman some of the stuff I consider just a bit too wacky for me.  Too short mainly.  But do you know something, I tried on a dress, just for the hell of it, and I thought I didn’t look too much of an old hag!  There were also several jumpers and cardigans – you know how I like nice warm knitwear – all of which I would have bought if I had the spare cash.    Don’t let that comment put you off either – the prices aren’t hideous.  Very reasonable actually for something that you won’t see on the rest of the highstreet.

I’m not sure whether Matilda is the  name of the lady who runs the shop, but she is an excellent buyer.  She is also very pleasant – I tried those dresses on knowing that I wouldn’t be buying that day and she was only too happy for me to do so.

For brides to be, have a look at the jewellery and the clutch bags.  There is some lovely stuff and many unusual pieces which would be a welcome alternative to the usual jewellery presents that get given to bridesmaids.  I particularly liked the button jewellery and the peacock feather earrings.  This is the sort of stuff that features regularly on American websites such as www.greenweddingshoes.com or www.etsy.com

Miss Matilda’s Boutique is on Winkley Street, the lane that runs between Winkley Square and Fishergate. The website address is www.missmatildasboutique.co.uk   – Miss Matilda, you could do with some better photography as it doesn’t do your stock justice.  You know who to call!

Miss Matilda’s Boutique – whaddya going to tell ’em?  Tell ’em Jo sentcha!

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Shelly and Matt 31st October 2009

Shelly and Matt’s wedding at Lytham Hall at the end of October was a completely new experience for me.  It was my first Asian/Anglo wedding for starters  (would you call that a Fusion Wedding?).  And secondly it was the first wedding in all these years where, when I pointed my camera in the direction of a guest, they stopped what they were doing, smiled broadly for the camera and then said ‘thankyou!’.  It was as though I had given them a gift! 

Most of the time wedding guests don’t seem to like the camera.  In fact, there are times when as a photographer (and I’m not pushy or ‘in your face’ apart from when I gather the guests for the very few groups I shoot, promise) I feel like I’m some sort of social pariah at a wedding.  However, at Lytham Hall that day I felt like I was an honoured guest and doing a very important job.

 I didn’t meet Shelly until the day.  She is a stunning looking girl, was dressed beautifully and like Matt, had exquisite manners.   Despite the following comments it was actually a very gentle kind of wedding.  Matt looked a little overwhelmed by the proceedings at times and I have to say that, by comparison to English weddings, it was totally mad!  No offence intended.  There were people wandering in and out of rooms, wafts of incense, flower garlands draped around the necks of the groom’s family, guests running round with cameras flashing during the ceremony.  (And not a murmur from the registrar of the day about the perils of ‘flash’.  Mind you, she was a lady I have met before and a real sweetie anyhow!)

It was a really fabulous experience – the gentleness and kindness of the two families combined with the excitement and noise of the guests. 

Matt’s family and friends waited outside in the glorious autumn sunshine until they were summoned by Shelly’s brothers to come into the Hall.  They all filed into the Gold Room, in a wonderful procession, having been greeted by all the Mirza family.  It was great to see Matt dressed appropriately,  and I particularly loved his shoes!

Shelly waited in another room and every so often her Mum, or aunt or friends would pop into make sure she was OK.

I loved the bit where Shelly was brought by her family who held a beautiful embroidered cloth above her head, like a canopy,  through to the Gold Room at Lytham Hall to where Matt was waiting.   

After the Asian part of the ceremony all the guests moved upstairs to where the registrars were waiting to complete the marriage certificate and conduct the ceremony according to English law.  I don’t think I have seen so many photographer guests during a ceremony – the British are so restrained usually and sidle up to take The Marriage Certificate Shot looking all embarrassed.  But on this occasion, even they got stuck in!!

Later on there was music and little gifts of bracelets, gold pouches an embroidered purses were handed out to the ladies.  There was also delicious food provided by a fantastic restaurant in Stockport and served by the inimitable Paul Rowley and his band of trusty helpers.

Shelly had hennaed her hands with beautiful intricate patterns and this pendant was a gift from her grandmother. 

We took pictures of Matt and Shelly on the staircase at Lytham Hall and outside using flash – being a late autumn afternoon there was no light at all.  The groups were taken inside the Gold Room.

I was honoured to accept an invitation to stay on for the meal afterwards and it was the best Indian food I have ever tasted.  The curries all tasted different and must admit that I’m not a fan of Indian food  because, lately in the places I’ve eaten, it all seems to taste the same and some of it is really greasy and heavy.  Not this stuff – it was sublime!  What was that amazing carrot pudding thing?    It was delicious and I had about 16 helpings of it.  Can someone please tell me the name of the restaurant because I want some more of that pudding! 

Thank you Shelly and Matt for inviting me to stay, and thank you to your families for making me so very welcome!  The pictures are on-line now – you just need your password.  Speak to you soon.

Jo

Karen and Christopher 29th October 2009

Karen and Christopher exchanged their wedding vows on a wonderful autumnal day in October.  The venue was Farrington Lodge Leyland, where Fotoamour has photographed a number of weddings.   It is a nice venue with plenty of outdoor space – gardens that are good for photography.  I have only ever been in one bedroom with a four poster bed, which was certainly very pleasant.  It can’t have been that long since they updated the bar and built a patio and it has made a massive difference because previously guests were split between reception rooms – breaking up wedding parties into smaller groups and its not so good to get people mingling.  Now everyone gets to be together which is a good thing to get people from both sides of the family mixing.  It just makes for a much nicer atmosphere.

The cake was by Victoria Cakes of Chorley – contact 01257 234225 or have a look at their website www.victoriacakes.co.uk

I was really pleased with some of the shots I took of the couple together as the light in the wonderful gardens at Farrington Lodge was lovely.  Karen and Chris were also really easy to work with so I could take my time a little to make the most of the golden afternoon light.

Their daughter, Holly was just adorable – not one of those cheesy kids who grin every time the camera is waved in their direction.  Its really difficult to photograph camera kids  because you just don’t get anything of their personality.  Holly made me work but I loved loads of the pictures I got of her.  I know she’s crying here but she was stressed just before the wedding – too much going on, too much being asked of her.  I just wanted to give her a cuddle.

Then she decided to have some fun with me…..!

The pictures will be ready very shortly guys and I’m looking forward to seeing you soon.

Why do you want copyright of your wedding images?

When I’m doing wedding fairs or when people come to see me to book their weddings, often the biggest motivation for booking us is the DVD and copyright.  And I think you’re all missing the point.

Copyright is NOT what the majority of my customers want – its just what you think you want.  Actually, the important thing for you is the ability to print the pictures.  Mostly its to send them over the internet to friends and family or put on your mobiles.    Fotoamour gives you this ability but it isn’t called ‘copyright’ – its called ‘permission to use’ and it comes with restrictions.  You wouldn’t, for instance, be able to sell those images to a bridalwear company to advertise their wedding dresses.

In most instances, customers only ever want to use the images themselves.   So you don’t need copyright.

Often the reason couples want copyright is because they think they need it to print off their own pictures.  Or because they’re worried that the photographer will ‘lose’ them. 

Now then – think back to all those family snaps you’ve got languishing on your computer and tell me how many you have had printed and put in albums.  All of them?  A very few good ones?  Or maybe none of them?   Here’s a confession.  I am a photographer.  I take loads of pictures of my children.  The pictures are all on my external hard drive.  Have I printed any of them?  NO!!!

Ten years ago, when digital photography was just a twinkle in Mr Fuji’s eye, I was getting all these family snaps developed and printed.  I have albums and albums full of family pictures from those early days.  Some of them aren’t particularly great photos on a technical level.  Some are a bit blurry.  Some are a bit skew wiff.  (Obviously this was before my award-winning days!)   But there they are in the albums and, boy, do I love looking through them. (So do my kids incidentally). Everyone is precious to me, however blurry and however skew-wiff.

So is it about safe-guarding your wedding pictures?  I back up weddings on an external hard drive and a hard copy, and just for kicks, I have a back-up on a different computer at a different location.  Its pretty secure.  If your house or my house burns down I still have access to those files.

Now consider this because ITS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN OWNING COPYRIGHT!!!

In an album you will have 80 images.  (31 images in the montage.) Each image will have been examined and tweaked to gain the maximum from it.   You will be presented with a fabulous finished piece which you will feel happy and confident to show to friends.  On a DVD you will get a minimum of 250 digital negatives.  Digital negatives, mind you, not album quality files.  To enhance them to that degree would take so much time that the cost would become prohibitive for my customers.  They will be a lovely reminder of the day but none of them will have been ‘finished’ to the same level as those that appear in an album or in a frame or just as a Fotoamour print.  If you print any images yourself from the DVD you will be showing them ‘in the raw’.  Unfinished. (Think about the cost of loose prints versus the cost of a DVD.  How many pictures do most of you actually end up printing from your own DVD?  Sometimes it doesn’t even add up financially either).

But for most of you the DVD will languish in the drawer.  In a few years time it’s format will be obsolete and it will be a pain in the posterior for you to have it converted to the format that is required to view it, or print from it.  You probably won’t bother.  Remember all those VHS wedding videos that are now unwatchable because technology has moved on apace! 

This is why my lowest priced package contains the montage and not a DVD.

Think about the purpose of booking a wedding photographer.   Its not only about taking pictures and a piece of plastic – how unromantic!  Its so much more than that.   Its about the finished piece and longevity and craftsmanship.

We are there to do the complete job. To translate the most important day of your life into a beautiful, precious, crafted piece – that you can go back time and time again to enjoy.  And it will be there for your children and children’s children to marvel at too.  

By all means have the DVD – but don’t see it as the B-All and End-All of your wedding photography.

Beautiful baby

I’m not doing a lot of Bebefoto portraiture at the moment – I’ve been concentrating on Fotoamour and so been chasing less children’s portraiture.   Bebefoto has been a big part of my business over the last few years though and every so often I get asked to photograph the younger siblings of children that I have already photographed a few years previously.

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 So it was really lovely to meet Rosie, sister of Katie.

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She was a real sweetie – very placid and even tempered.  On some of these photos she looks a little serious but, in truth I prefer the really gentle expression of a child’s face when deep in thought.  There is nothing worse than a false smile which has been prized out of a little dot who has been trained to grimace whenever a camera is pointed in their direction.  That way children learn to hate the camera and avoid it – or worse, perform for it.  DSCF4465B&W

See how trusting and warm the expression is in her eyes whilst she is contemplating the camera, and making up her own mind about it.

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So when you do get a smile, its genuine and relaxed and true.  How lovely is that?

The postcards below are a great idea for Christmas presents. Rosie had lots of lovely natural expressions and she was, generally, a contented little girl.Rosie 6x4 10 copies in colour

I like to spend a bit of time getting the right shots not only for the big framed pieces, but enough of a variety for the mini-montages too.  The mini-montages are really popular and make great gifts, framed or unframed, for grandparents.

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We do two montages, one vertical and one horizontal and quite often one set of grandparents will be given one, and the other side of the family gets the other.  When Baby Number Two comes along they get given the next one for their ‘collection!Rosie  15x10 multi vertical 2

Bebefoto is working on a promotion at the moment for grandparents and children to celebrate Grandparent’s Day which was back in October in readiness for Christmas.  We’re offering a fabulous framed montage of your children and their grandparents photographed together – that’s  one set of Grandparents to one family group of children -four mounted 9×6 prints, and a set of 10 postcards, and four mini-montages for an amazing £395.  There are enough goodies there for everyone to have a lovely memory to keep and look back on in future years –  you, your parents and your children.

Shoots take place in your home and will take about an hour – weekend bookings are now possible in the run-up to Christmas.  The usual Bebefoto/Fotoamour practice applies – you get loads of pictures for your money but we choose the images and the layout.  

If you’re interested please just give us a call quoting Grandparents Day Promotion and we’ll book you in.

And if you’d like to book a Bebefoto shoot in the comfort of your own home for your little one, please don’t hesitate to call.

You know the number  – 07960 531477   

Back to Rosie – you’re a lovely bouncing, cuddly little girl and I think you’re going to grow up to be truly beautiful.  Isn’t she edible?!

Martyn Pearson Exhibition

Just a little note to tell you that Martyn Pearson, my husband, is exhibiting some of his work at an Exhibition of Mixed Media Art at Sides Art & Frames at Sides Art and Frames Gallery in Lytham.

The Private View is this evening from 6pm (11th November) and the exhibition will run for two weeks.  There is also another Open Evening tomorrow night too. 

Martyn’s work will feature some of his travel photography with funky abstract views of San Francisco and Venice.  Have a look at his new website www.martynpearson.com and you will see some of his superb work there.

The framing is really beautiful – by David, who runs the gallery there.  One of these fabulous pieces would make a wonderful, special Christmas present – particularly if you honeymooned there or those places have a special significance to you.

Why not pop along on your way home from work and come and share a glass of wine with us?  Look forward to seeing you!

Blackpool Football Club – Superfan

Its a little while since I took pictures of Ken Young, Blackpool Evening Gazette’s Superfan at Bloomfield Road.

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Ken is a lovely bloke who has been an avid fan of the Club for years and deserves his moment on the hallowed turf.

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Ken has a load of Blackpool memorabilia and he allowed me to photograph some for his montage.

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Here are just a few pictures from the day.  They are currently being framed and will arrive on Ken’s door, courtesy of Fotoamour, any day now.

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Here also is the finished montage – or near enough.  I hope he likes it.

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If you  have a football mad person in your family – or someone with an equally consuming hobby, maybe you’d like to give them a Fabulous Fotoamour Fotomontage for a Christmas or birthday gift.  They make brilliant Father’s Day or Mother’s Day presents too.   Maybe we could even think something up for Valentine’s Day too!  Just give me a call and tell me about the person and their passion and we’ll build a fabulous montage for them.  The number is 07960 531477 or email info@fotoamour.co.uk

Take care, Ken, and your fabulous Fotoamour footballing montage will be with you very shortly.