Category archives: Portrait

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!

Horse 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 horse 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).

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

Pure Portraits Teessideat Gary Walsh Photography

PURE – more than beautiful and nobody compares to them.

Pure Portraits are exquisitely lit, striking, dramatic and timeless. The eyes become windows to the soul and the end results are evocative and highly personal.

Combining the light quality of  Michiel Sweerts paintings and sometimes including meticulously lovingly placed personal family storytelling artifacts like Hans Holbein the Younger’s The Ambassadors.

To create a Pure Portrait we (photographer & parent) need to develop an idea together, from clothing, hair and any storytelling family artifacts (I will cover this more in depth when we one to one) you want to include.

The creative styling, quality of light, professional hand painted canvas backdrops, composition and artistic editing will all result in a timeless portrait.

I have sourced a small selection of bespoke wall art that will perfectly compliment your timeless portrait and a week after your session we will look at which options best suit your images. Anyone who knows me and my business will tell you there is no hard selling, only advising you on what looks best.

For more information about products and prices, please contact us…studio portrait of a young girl holding a silk rose with a timeless expressionportrait in my studio of a ten year old girl in colourstudio portrait of a young girl using a wind machine timeless


Vincent and his humans…mam & dad

The first time I worked with Gary it was on a surprise location shoot at Crathorne Hall for my dad.  It took a while for me to settle because my mam brought my ball along and I love my ball.  Gary kept trying to get me to lay down, but when mam has my ball, I’ve got only one thing on my mind, until she gets the treats out and then I’m all over the treats.  The grounds at Crathorne hall were smashing and the steps upto the lawn were fantastic for running up and then back down and then up and then back down. I sensed we were here for more than a run out so with the help of treats and my ball going missing, I decided to lay down for a minute.  The next thing I remember was lights flashing and Gary the photographer becoming very excitable and animated.  I like to think I gifted him a couple of great poses (see below).

I decided to work with Gary again, this time with my mam and dad.  They are getting married, which means I’ll finally have one surname. The proposal happened in Stokesley just off the High Street, which is were we met for our shoot.  If I’ve learnt one thing about working with a professional photographer it’s that it’s all about good light.  So while he faffed on with his lights, I made a start on the treats.  When Gary was ready I gave him three of my best poses and then I’d had enough.  Luckily he got a great shot of me, it’s not too bad of mam & dad.  I’d definitely work with Gary again and I’ll pass his name onto all my pals, Vincent…

dog portrait outdoors at Crathorne Hall portrait of engaged couple with their dog Vincent taken on location at Stokesley

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