From the Blog

Before, during and after…

Before and after photography Market Harborough

“Before & After”, not only does this title suggest that there is something wrong with the women “before”, but it also suggest that we do something secret and magical to transform her, and neither are true!

Because of this dreadful connotation I haven’t really indulged in the whole “before&after”, but then Trine, one of my Danish friend came over to visit and we were just playing around and we did indeed end up with a bit of a “before&after” shoot. The important message from this is that we are all just normal women! There is nothing wrong with us “before”, but it is great to see ourselves at our very best.

Before...

We did the “before” picture – it is done in the same place as the “after” pictures in the same light, there I no “hidden agenda” here, it is just a quick picture before we got going with hair and make-up. I am not a hair or make-up artist, and I always use a professional make-up artist at my shoots, but on this occasion I did the hair and make-up. Beautiful portraits usually aren’t about dramatic make-up, they are about the women in the picture, so more often than not I go for quite a natural cover. Now “natural cover” is not to be confused with no make-up! Great hair and make-up together with clothing will make or break any shoot. Definition and a beautiful foundation will instantly give a fresh clean glow to your images.

During...

Posing, posing and posing is the main ingredients for the actual shoot. People tell me again and again that they were surprised by just how much I pose them. There is no “freestyling” or “strike a pose” on my shift – it isn’t your job to know how to “pose”, it is my job to photograph you in a flattering position! So we tried a variety of poses for Trine, and they certainly aren’t all comfortable, and they definitely don’t feel natural, but the important thing is they look great in camera.

After...

I have known Trine all my life, and we were just playing so she sat with me and did the post-production – the secret magical part where we transform people, right? Trine chose her favourites, and we then did exactly the steps I would do on a normal paid shoot. It was really interesting for me, because I would say “shall we soften the skin a little bit” and Trine would say “no, I think it looks fine”… i.e. it isn’t a matter of the images needing polishing beyond recognition! I would be using my (soft and subtle) Photoshop brushes and Trine would say “I can’t actually see that they are making a difference” – that is how subtle the polishing is. We tweak the colours and add final touches and hey presto, we have our final shots ready for printing. Trine posted one as a profile image on Facebook and instantly got well over 200 Likes and endless comments – it is a tiny thing, but it definitely does boost your confidence :o)

What’s the point?

The point is that we are all fine just as we are, but we do all have the potential to look fantastic. The next point is – it makes you realise that all the celebrities in the magazines have been through quite a treatment before they reach the front cover – a huge team of hair and make-up artists, high flying photographers and professional re-touchers who (unlike me) are very heavy handed in Photoshop. On an average everyday basis those celebrities look just like normal people, they have stretch marks, scars, spots and battle various things in life! So rest assured that you are good enough, just as you are, but it is great to see yourself at your very best...
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Crohn & Coltis 6 amazing women

Self Image - Crohn & Coltis 6 amazing women

Most of the women I work with have a story, and very often how they feel on the inside is different from how they look to the outside world. This is particularly true for this group of amazing women who all suffer from Crohns and/or colitis. A true inspiration!

I work with lots and lots of amazing women with amazing stories, and I love how meeting inspirational people leads to meeting other inspirational people! A couple of years ago I had a lovely girl book me for a boudoir shoot, and during her shoot a mesmerising story unravelled about her life with crohn & colitis, an illness that I really know nothing about. Her story stayed with me, we became good friends, I learnt more about the illness and she told me about a “get your belly out” campaign and about a year later I contacted our local Crohn&Colitis group about somehow working with them. After meetings, tears and careful planning, we had a great group of girls of different ages, shapes and various stages of the illness. We all met up for a big charity shoot, armed with suitcases full of lingerie and a professional hair and make-up artist (who also suffers from crohns), and had a big busy full day shoot. I am completely blown away by the stories of these ladies, by what they have been through, how they felt when initially diagnosed, how this effects their confidence and self-image and the immense impact this illness has on their everyday life. They put on brave faces, they carry on with life and when people ask them how they are they smile and say fine – but very often they are not fine and often they don’t feel fine. This is the video from the crohn&colitis shoot, showing some behind the scenes as well as some of their gorgeous images, I hope you enjoy it. A tiny selection of the stills from the shoot... If you would like to find out more about crohn&colitis please get in touch with them through their website http://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering/local-group/midlands-wales/leicestershire-rutland
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Magazine fashion shoot

Magzine fashion shoot for Harborough Living Magazine

It is so very true that when you move outside of your little comfort zone, that is where you learn the most! I do lots and lots of lifestyle photography, but not so much fashion photography, so taking on fashion editorial shoots for Harborough Living Magazine was something new – but I LOVED it!

Essentially it combines everything I love about photography; shooting gorgeous images and working with other inspiring women and businesses! This shoot really opened up my eyes for the possibilities of combining my normal lifestyle work with the commercial world. I love that for a commercial shoot you get to style and plan the shoot, and it also sparks my marketing background because the images are for marketing purpose. I haven’t really shared any of the images from these shoots before, but I hope you enjoy them... This shoot was at the fabulous Hothorpe Hall and their new woodlands and tree top house, and one of these images even made the front cover This shoot was at Keals in Market Harborough, one of these images also made the front cover. These images are from another shoot featuring some of Butler Steward’s gorgeous jackets.
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Featured newborn photography

It suddenly occurs to me, that apart from the parents, no one ever sees a whole set of newborn images. I might show a sneak peek of one or two images, but actually you get a really broad set of beautiful images to choose from, so here is an example of a featured newborn shoot to indulge in!

Mum and dad with their newborn

It is hard being a brand new parent! I know it is hard, both emotionally and physically, and you do not feel your finest just a few days after giving birth, so I do whole heartily understand when parents are a bit reluctant to be included in the pictures! However, I also know from experience, both as a mum and as a photographer, that you will be mighty grateful for photographs of your selves and your newborn baby in the future. Your unkind critical view of your self will change and you will simply LOVE being able to revisit pictures of you cuddling your newborn – this is why I always include the parents in the pictures!

Props and poses or keeping it simple?

My style is generally quite natural and you won’t find any crazy aeroplane props and turtle costumes in the studio! You will find a broad selection of tasteful pretty hairbands, fluffy blankets, wraps and rustic baskets and you can help choose the ones you like. You are also very welcome to bring some of your own things, maybe a teddy or a blanket to include in your shoot, to make your images even more personal to you and your baby. I will always try to shoot a mix of “prop” images as well as more natural images, so you get a good selection to choose from.

Attention to details

Who doesn’t love newborn feet! And lots of other details like amazing eyelashes, little hands, belly buttons ears and hair. I always shoot some macro images during a newborn session, so you have the opportunity to savour the details forever, maybe in an album.

How, where and when to book a newborn shoot?

These types of newborn images are typically done when the baby is between 7-12 days old. My availability is quite limited, so I always recommend you book before the baby is due so I can pencil you in. If you are blessed with a bump and have any questions about my sessions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. This still isn’t the full set of images from the session, but I hope you have enjoyed them and they have given you a good taster. I do the majority of my newborn photography at my studio in Market Harborough, but I can also come to your home. You can find out more about my newborn photography work here including a short video of behind the scenes from a shoot with gorgeous baby Oliver.
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Free shoot, free pictures… is it all just free?

Free photo shoot, free pictures

I urge you to read this before booking a free or cheap photoshoot with anyone - not because of the pictures you will get, but because of the process you will experience...

If someone offers you a £25 Mulberry handbag you most likely assume it is fake. If someone offers you a £25 brand new TV you probably assume it is stolen, but when someone offers you a £25 photoshoot or even free and a free framed images of your choice you say “yes please, sounds amazing”... why?! What happens next is you skip along to your photo shoot, excited about your choice of clothes and have a lovely time doing a wide selection of pictures. And a few weeks later you go in even more excited to choose your FREE framed image, only to have all your hopes crushed by the realisation that your FREE framed image is tiny and fits inside the palm of your hand! “oh, I’m sorry would you rather have that sizable gorgeous statement frame over there” says the kind sales person, “no problem we will happy upgrade your package!” – and that is the key, they are very happy indeed to upsell you, and that comes with a very high price tag that they most likely won’t have shown you beforehand!

This approaches come in many flavours

You might see this offer outright at events and festivals, but they are also disguise in more crafty ways like “gift vouchers”, “charity shoots” and letters from nurseries saying things like “we work closely with your nursery and as a present we would like to offer you a photo shoot…” I am not judging the photographers using this approach, and I am not saying that customers shouldn’t go along for the palm sized free picture – I just absolutely urge you to make sure you see the full price list before you book that shoot so you can see exactly what you will get for your £!

What’s my problem then

My problem with this approach is that, to me, it feels unfair! I genuinely work super hard to create gorgeous images for families to keep for generations. I am not about cheap and easy but I am most certainly about excellent value for money, and I want my families to be able to come back every year, or every two or three years to update their images so they build up a lifetime of pictures. However, when a family has been trapped into a hard selling experience and paid out twice as much £ as they had budgeted for they are scared for life to even book a professional photographer again – and that is a shame! I only offer packages that ensure a family walks away with a selection of images, and I know for a fact that even my most expensive packages are on par with the price of just one large statement framed images from these other studios. Yes, I sometimes do £25 special offers as well, but my pricelist is ALWAYS available at the time of booking and I NEVER trick anyone by including a tiny deceiving print!

Can't afford me

I totally understand that some people don’t feel they can afford me (we all have different budgets, I drive a Yaris not a Range Rover!), but I also know if you can’t afford me you most definitely can’t afford any of the “cheap ones”! So, if you have already booked yourself a bargain photo shoot, please do double-check the pricelist before you go along 😉
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Audrey’s Tipsy Tea launch

Audrey's Tipsy Tea Launch Event

I was instantly intrigued when I first heard about Audrey’s Tipsy Tea concept, and I wasn’t disappointed! What a treat to taste and a treat to photograph!

This is another inspiring story of a super talented local mum – my favourite kind of business to work with. The interesting thing about working with small businesses like this one, is how you get to experience the behind the scenes as well, and you realise how solid the whole concept is. In the morning of Audrey’s launch event Sian and her two Rosette Head Chef husband are working hard in the kitchen, and we are shooting both still images and some video of the preparation work. They are meticulous about everything, the details, quantities, finishings and even setting the table and I am super impressed even before tasting any of the food! Once the guests arrive and are seated with the welcome drinks, Sian does a little opening talk about the business and tells us how she wrote the initial ideas for Audry’s while waiting at her son’s weekly rugby sessions. I think this something a lot of women can relate to. We take time out to bring our children up, but at the back of our mind is a growing and developing business idea and it is fascinating to then see those ideas become reality! I am not really into alcohol, and very rarely do I venture beyond prosecco and Bailey’s (in my hot chocolate), so I really didn’t have great intentions of tasting the tip tea delights, but wow I am glad I did! Every single beautiful delicate little cake had alcohol in them, but they were all delicious. I was so surprised that I enjoyed them, and not only did I enjoy them I absolutely wanted more – I could eat that cheesecake every day. This really is a great option for those special occasions when you want something different, something special!

Video from this launch event

Launcung your own business?

Launching a business is never simple, and requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but a really good, and I feel essential start, is to get some great strong images to show case you products and services! Friends and family might like you for who you are, but in order to win over brand new customers you marketing materials needs to looks the part and instantly send the right message. So if you are dreaming of starting up a new business or have recently started your adventures, please do get in touch if you would like some amazing images to proudly show of your fantastic work! You can follow Audrey’s on facebook https://www.facebook.com/audreyscatering/ and find out about all the other delicious treats they offer! The amazing flower displays were from Lavender Blue in Market Harborough, ALWAYS worth a visit when you are in town https://www.facebook.com/lavenderbluemh/
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Baby & toddler lifestyle photography

Baby and toddler lifestyle photography

Juggling a baby and a toddler is a tricky task at the best of times, and the prospect of managing the situation for a photoshoot can break the most grounded of mums, but it can be amazing!

Are you juggling a baby and a toddler? Would you like some gorgeous images of them but worry about the prospect of organising a photoshoot? An outdoor session could be just the thing! These gorgeous images are from Kew Gardens in London, which needless to say is a bit of a photographers dream location, but we have equivalently beautiful potential right here in Leicestershire! The thing with toddlers is they have no time to sit still and take orders, but they are fantastic at running around and doing their own thing. They also love cuddles with mum and dad, and actually this is a winning combination and perfect for pictures. Likewise, babies love being outside and weather permitting, are often much calmer than they would be inside a studio. It is a tough little stretch managing life with a baby and a toddler, and you could easily miss it all in a blur of nappy changing and trips to the playground. However, this makes it an even more magical time to capture great lifestyle images to look back at and relieve this short time in life. If you are after a broad set of images of your baby and toddler and you as a family then spring and summer is your opportunity! You can find out more about my work as a lifestyle family photographer or please contact me for availability.
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The Last Baby

Last baby photography

If you are on your 2nd, 3rd, 4th or what ever is your number “last” baby, I challenge you to look at these pictures and not melt...

Baby number one is quite overwhelming and it can easily feel like you miss a lot of it. So by the next baby you are prepared to really indulge in every single detail, and savour the moments forever, so huge is the surprise when you realise that the “last” baby is just one big fast forward experience! Try as you might, there is no slowing down, they shoot through the phases and the baby slips away before you very eyes, and it is so emotional to let that last baby go! I am obviously in this hormonal “refusing to let my last baby grow up” stage of life, and hence I have really struggled to edit this shoot. I am expected to only select the very best pictures, but what a hopeless task! I look at the images and I just see perfect pure baby, and I can’t take any of them out, because as a mum, I would want them all. I think this is exactly the baby stage we all want to bottle and hold onto forever? The images of her holding her muslin aren’t even “real” images, they are just in-between pictures but they are my absolute favourites, they sum up everything about this baby stage. Imagine being able to take such comfort from a piece of fabric and just being cuddled all day long! And needless to say I love the images with her mum as well! It has been my mission for years to get mums in the picture, and I do believe that these kind of images will be treasured by everyone in the family for generations. Don’t you enjoy finding baby pictures of yourself with your mum? Don’t you enjoy seeing baby pictures of your mum with your grandparents? What an amazing little time capsule to look back at, the closest you will ever get to freezing your very last baby moments in time xxx You can find out more about my baby photography work here, and I sometimes do special offers for babies, so have a look in the special offers section too. Or please contact me to book a session or find out more 🙂
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Cherry blossom family photography

Cherry Tree lifestyle photography

Leicestershire isn’t exactly renowned for spectacular cherry tree displays, but I’m super pleased with this little shoot – I think all mums and little girls should have pictures like these.

I had this shoot in mind for a while, but most of the large Cherry tree displays are in London, and of course they only blossom for such a short time! To make it even more challenging I spend about 50% of the blossoming season in Denmark (where it is still too cold for any of them to even blossom yet), so the odds were somewhat against me... However, I spotted this one glorious tree, and combine with a beautiful sunny morning and a picture perfect family I absolutely love this set of images! Next year I will be on dedicated cherry blossom watch! Have you got a blossoming cherry tree in your garden that would be good for your shoot?

Talk about threenager!

I don’t mean behavior, Leo was good as gold, but look at these images, can’t you just see the future teenager?! Sometimes it frightens me a little bit that you can capture such “mature” looks in really young children – a bit like getting a sneak peek of the future but they do look amazing! This type of shoot is perfect for young children, most of the time is spent cuddling mum and dad, and next to no time doing “sit still and smile”.

Reveal the location

Location spotting is great, I love it and subconsciously I am always doing it. However, quite often what I see as a great photography location might not look like much potential to others. I do think occasionally customers might wonder about my judgement when they turn up to my chosen spots. This is what I spotted one evening behind our local school, and I am very grateful that the head teacher allowed me to use it! Cherry Tree photography location
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Lifestyle photography for boys

Lifestyle photography for boys

Often my lifestyle photography is very pretty and perfect, and it can be a bit girl heavy – I know terrible from a mum of two boys! Well, here is a little celebration of mums with boys, friendships and playing in the woods!

It is just about safe to say that spring is here, which means my lifestyle photography season is around the corner. My lifestyle lens has been hibernating at the back of the cupboard, but it is now all cleaned and ready to go, so armed with a few favorite toys we took it on tour through the woods. The advantage of lifestyle and/or location photography is that there is so much freedom and time to play, and very little “sit down and smile” – perfect for this group of boys. And actually it was perfect for me as well, the boys are great friends, they have so many great ideas and just got on with playing leaving me to be inspired by all their initiatives. I love bringing toys/props to shoots, mainly because I know from personal heart-breaking experience how fast my boys are growing up and growing out of playing with certain things. Toys are like little milestones they are part of your children’s life at certain stages and absolutely worth including in pictures. What would be the perfect shoot for your children? What toys do you want to remember, which ones would you bring? And not forgetting my signature "mum in the picture" images...

It might look like chaos...

I like to think of it as controlled chaos, but I do appreciate that for people just walking past it probably does look a mess, here is a short behind the scenes video...

Lifestyle photography for boys from Dorte Kjaerulff on Vimeo.

  You know when it is time to go home! 3D4A8931-Edit - CopyAS

Reveal the location

This series of images were taken in the woods at West Lodge Farm in Northamptonshire. It is one of my favourite locations for family shoots. There are great walks and the vast grounds and woods offers such a variety as a photography location. If you like my photography please follow my work on Facebook.com/dortekjaerulff
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