Category archives: Portrait

The Best Christmas Present (ever)…

location portrait photography

If I had a pound for everyone I bumped into in October telling me they needed to book in and update their family or children’s portrait, I’d have £23 in my pocket. Another year goes by, followed by another and another and if you don’t book it in, I can guarantee you’ll wish you had.

Zara’s mum Lena made the effort and booked her in for a location session. When her mum and dad look at the images of their daughter they will see her personality, her youth, spirit and zest for life. They don’t need to know how many megapixels my Canon camera fits into a photo or how many portable lights I have used to give the image some punch on a dull day and add some sparkle to her eyes.

location portrait photography, taken in Wynyard Halls walled garden.

Hi Gary, Graeme is delighted with the framed photographs, he said it is the best Christmas present ever. He loves them!!! Huge thank you x Have a fab Christmas with your family. Thanks again Lena and Zara x

Christmas present portrait, young girl photographed sat on a bench at Wynyard Hall Gardens, beautiful light.  LOcation Portrait Photography

2019 is almost over and it’s not only the end of another year, it’s the end of an entire decade. Your Professional Portrait Procrastination needs to be addressed NOW!!! You should take the opportunity as you approach the new year and the new decade to finally book me for some location portrait photography. Don’t put it off a moment longer.

Christmas present portrait, young girl photographed smiling in the garden at Wynyard Hall Gardens, beautiful dappled light.  Location Portrait Photography
Christmas present portrait, young girl photographed looking relaxed and happy at Wynyard Hall Gardens, beautiful light.  LOcation Portrait Photography

My studio is filled with lights, hand painted canvas backdrops and a handful of posing props. Ideal for natural family and children’s studio portraits.

My local locations include Victorian parks, nature and wildlife walks, quiet beaches, country house landscaped parkland, The Walled Garden and Woodland Walk at Wynyard Hall. The North East and North Yorkshire have some beautiful backdrops for natural location portrait photography.

If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse – Jim Rohn

Pet Photography

Haute Dogs & Irresistible Bitches

Waggy Christmas To You…

Pet Photography, studio image of a cockerpoo wearing a Santa hat.
Nala looking very Christmas in my studio…

Thank you to everyone who has emailed me their interest in the rebirth of Haute Dogs & Irresistible Bitches pet photography.

I’ve been on Norton High Street now for 20 years and I’ve never really had a plan (is it possible to muddle through for this many years). So 2020 is going to be the year of the plan.  Instead of having good images, I’m going to build a great pet photography portfolio.  My initial plan was to book 5 shoots and update my website with a selection of fresh new pooch images, but because of the massive amount of interest I’ve changed my plan…  I’m now going to put a large coffee table book together, that will sit in the reception area of my studio for all to see.

The shoots will take place between January and April 2020 and will be a combination of outdoor and studio sessions.  I’ve got a load of new image ideas, some quirky and edgy, some classic with a twist.

If you’d like to be involved, email me with the name or names of your dog or dogs and if you think your pooch will feel more pampered in a studio environment or out and about on location please let me know?

If you like what I’ve captured, you’ll also be given an opportunity to buy something to hang on your wall or sit on your desk.

The bad news is I own the most beautiful dog in the world (fact), so she will always be my fave model.

Anyone can take a photo…

professional photographers do it for a living.

Anyone can take a photo, a flower girl at an Acklam Hall wedding taking a picture of a bridesmaid and her partner with an iphone.
flower girl taking a pic at Acklam Hall…

Taking an image is getting easier as phones get more camera sophisticated, but does that make you a photographer? Google tells me a photographer is someone that captures memories, so if you’ve ever taken a pic, then you’re a photographer.

Do we still need professional photographers? The ballpoint pen was patented in 1888, so does that make everyone that’s ever owned one a writer. I suppose the answer is a very loose yes! Can you see where I’m going with this or do I need to spell it out?

I’ve had my studio on Norton High Street for 20 years and in that time I’ve created so many memories that people have hanging on their walls. Only last week during the viewing of a teenagers most recent session, her mum told me she still had her daughter’s first ever studio shoot frame on her living room wall and it makes her smile everytime she looks at it. I could have hugged both of them (20 years ago I would have, different times back then).

If a house was on fire and the owner had the chance to grab one item before they left what would they take? The answer was always a family photograph. If I asked you this same question today what would your answer be? If the answer is still the same, then my job is safe…

Anyone can take a photo, bride and groom image taken at Headlam Hall.  The couple are holding onto each other outdoors at night and their bridesmaids are swirling sparklers in front of them.
a recent wedding image taken at Headlam Hall…

I was watching I’m A Celebrity yesterday and the question Kiosk Kev (if you know you know) asked the contestants (to win in my opinion a very small amount of after eight chocolate mints) what percentage of adults would time travel into the future instead of the past 57% or 27%. The answer to me was obvious, 27%… I would love to go back in time and the main reason would obviously be to spend more time with the loved ones who sadly are no longer with us. We’d all love to do that I’m sure.

Anyone can take a photo, 2 sisters photographed under an an autumn tree using portable flash at Wynyard Hall gardens.
two sisters photographed at Wynyard Hall Gardens…

Keep snapping away capturing all those lovely memories, they are an investment that will only ever increase in value, but don’t forget your professional photographers.

Happy Birthday To You…

With a big birthday looming and a catalogue of bad birthday presents the pressure was on Robert (name has been changed to protect his identity) to excel. Guess what, he only knocked it out of the park…

Every morning when Robert’s wife comes down the stairs she looks at a framed portrait of her two most precious humans. This frame has had pride of place for over 12 years and is now more valuable as the children are now 18 and 15 years old. This framed photograph was taken by me on a cobbled street in Norton, I know what you’re thinking, I can’t be old enough! Sadly I am, but thankfully I’m still going strong and our studio on Norton High Street has been established 20 years this year.

Anyway back to the present buying victory. So Steve, I mean Robert, peddled from Ingleby Barwick to Norton (this was a man on a mission). His idea was to book a session, select an image and then have it framed in time for his wife’s birthday. With experience, I took a sharp intake of breath and decided to advise Steve (I’ve given up on the alias, I think his achievement should be celebrated), my advice was to book the shoot and then work out a plan to get his wife to Norton, call in to see me to say hello and then I would ask them through to my viewing room to get their opinion on a new wall product. At this point I would kill the lights and start the slideshow of images that I’d taken the week before.

Thanks to my Oscar winning performance (TBH more of a Golden Raspberry Award), we pulled it off. The family of 4 turned up, we bumbled our way into the viewing room, I could hear sniffles over the top of the slideshow viewing music and when the lights came up a very happy teary red eyed mum said she was delighted. Dad jumped up and asked if he’d done good, followed by a very positive hug.

When I sit in with a portrait viewing I’m always moved at what parents see in the images I’ve taken. It would be very easy to get too wrapped up with the technical side of photography, but these moments remind me of why I still very much love my job.

Thank you to 2 teenagers who made my job very easy. When they were brought as little children they had no choice, now they are big children they could have refused.

stylish black and white image of a brother an sister

Horses Scare Me…some people do too!


Horses and owner in a field, taken with a long lens
every time I photograph horses I get a little bit closer to understanding the bond between horse and owner.

My morning walk to senior school involved a field, a tied up horse or not on some occasions (the not tied up horse is where my horse phobia began). As I approached the field I would see kids preparing themselves for the equine run, even though I ran for the school (and once for the county) I knew the outcome of feral horse pitched against a teenager in Dr Martens and the odds for me were never good. I’m sure some of the other kids would tic tac as I approached.

black and white headshot of a horses in a field
a portrait of a very lovely calm Paddy…

The more I photograph horses the more I calm down in their company. I no longer put on the longest lens I own and stand behind a five bar gate. I’m still very wary, but when I see the way the owners bond with their horses it does put me at ease. More importantly I love the results and I love it when the owner comes to pick up their frame, which will get pride of place on the walls of their home (sometimes replacing portraits of their children).

owners love their horses

If you’d like me to photograph your horse please contact me at the studio and we can make a creative shoot plan… studio@garywalsh.co.uk

Happy Birthday To You…

studio portrait of a little boy on his first birthday, he is sat on the floor wearing a party hat with a birthday cake between his legs and a huge swirly number one on top.
Happy Birthday Ellis… copyright Gary Walsh Photography

Turning one is a huge deal, if you don’t believe me ask Jessica & Adam (Ellis calls them Mama & Dada). They’ve owned this bundle of joy from birth and they remember when his age was counted in days, weeks, then months and from now on it will be in years. In one year their helpless newborn has transformed into an independent little man.

If you’ve only got one child you’ll know that by one year old your little human should be, using a spoon, communicating using some words, sit without being held up and counting to five in French (just checking you’re still with me). If you’ve got more than one child under the age of three then I’m guessing you’re muddling through without checking google for development advice and possibly drinking wine before bed. Afternoon naps will soon be a thing of the past (for your baby).

Did you know until recently TV shows were not allowed to sing happy birthday, without paying a hefty fee to the copyright owners. Warner/Chappell music were reported to receive two million a year in licensing fees. Every day is a school day.

If you like my pic, musings or both, then please share this post and increase visits to my website. This will get my work seen by more people, who will then tell their friends and family and somewhere along the line one of them might book me for a portrait, wedding or corporate job and my business world will keep turning. Thank You x

Poses & Posies…

a timeless portrait, thoughtful, memorable and emotive…

£60 gift voucher with 3 months expiry, includes a studio session using a beautiful posie of hand tied flowers or we could get our creative heads together and come up with something special for you, a private screening of the images taken, a beautiful square desktop frame and you take the flowers home, hand tied with string and sat in a jam jar of water.  

I don’t enter awardsvery often...

MPA award winning images Bride looking up to camera surrounded by her bridesmaidsMPA award winner young boy with his ponyMPA award winner Little girl in bluebellsMPA award winner studio portrait of a young boy in bracesMPA award winner studio shot of a baby laughing in black and whiteIt’s been four long years since I have entered a photography competition.  TBH (to be honest, if you’re over 40), I’m rubbish!  I struggle with the selection of images, then I struggle with the IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH curse and finally I hate not coming away with a win…  This year I decided I’d be more proactive on the competition front and for starters I’d enter the MPA North East Region awards (The Master Photographers Association (MPA) is THE qualifying body for professional photographers).  For the North East regions awards I decided that I’d use social media to help me with my selection (that means you, if you like or view my stuff).  So I went through my recent posts on all platforms (including views on Instagram stories) and gathered a mix of portrait and wedding images that had the most likes and views.  With my collection complete I sent them via the internet to North East MPA headquarters and waited for judgement night.

I’m aware as a professional photographer that judges of these competitions are looking for more than emotive images that parents love, the judges are looking at great lighting, hand positions, composition and overall image quality.  The outcome of this little social experiment is that a great image is a great image.  The judge awarded me a number of awards of excellence and the overall winner of DOCUMENTARY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR for the North East Region 2018.  So I’d like to buy you all a drink (obv a joke that I threw in to make sure you’re still reading) and I thank you for your continued support of OUR (mine & Lynn’s) little photography business on Norton High Street.  If you’ve not been in for a while, maybe it’s time you had some new family or children’s portraits taken.

Roseberry Topping Session…the hills are alive

Listening is the new way to be heard. Before I book a portrait location session I will speak to my clients and plant a few creative seeds, do you have a location that’s relevant to you, do you have a favourite place you like to go walking or do you have somewhere in mind for your shoot? Then I stay quiet and listen, this is normally when the magic happens and I’ll take some notes as they are sharing ideas with me. I’ll then use my knowledge of the area to fine tune creative options. When we arrive at our chosen location I will be guided 100% by my clients to the best vantage points and when we reach the location, I’ll look at lighting and composition and what works best for me as a photographer.
A recent session with Amanda and Andrew up by Roseberry Topping was a good example of listening. When we got up there apart from me being shattered (these two set the pace of Olympic fell runners, if fell running was an Olympic sport), I have been up by Roseberry Topping a number of times with my camera, but Amanda and Andrew walk up here quite a lot and they knew of some beautiful vantage points. Once we reached these areas, I was able to tweak things to suit my agenda. The outcome is images that they love at a location that they love and that makes me happy. I’ve also now got some more lovely options to share with my next session up there…

young couple holding each other by Roseberry Topping
I keep an open mind with every portrait session I book as I’m continuously trying to grow creatively.

Pure Portraits Teessidechildhood is the shortest season

Pure Portraits are about capturing the heart and soul of your child, using no props or distractions. It’s about styling and lighting, but most importantly to me it’s about taking a timeless image of your little one that will give you years and years of pleasure…

The session takes place in my fully equipped studio on Norton High Street, just outside Stockton on Tees.

Introducing Henry, he loves pasta and angel delight (not in the same bowl).

studio portrait of 5 year old Henry

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