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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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
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Mum & baby photography

Mum & baby photography

I always come back to the same thing – mums in pictures! I photograph babies all the time, and regardless of how a session pans out, I always come away with picture of both baby and baby with mum, and I simply don’t think I will ever tire of these pictures, would you?

Remember, you will only have a baby for a year, so don’t miss out on getting some fantastic pictures to treasure for a lifetime and to pass on to new generations. Maybe you missed out on newborn pictures, or maybe you suddenly sense just how quickly your baby is growing up and changing. To me it’s the combination of baby pictures and having mum in the picture that tells the full story! This is divine 8 month old baby Willow and her beautiful mum, who came to the studio and kindly agreed to share their shoot. I completely understand that mum’s don’t always feel like being photographed, but at the same time experience shows me that further down the line these images will be priceless to her. You can never 100% plan a session with a baby, and unexpectedly Willow went to sleep in her mums arms…. What’s not to love about these? How old is your baby? Don't let that first year slip by... you can follow my work on I work as a baby photographer in Market Harbrough and on location in Leicestershire. I occasionally have special deal for mini baby sessions, please double check in the special offer section.
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Winter lifestyle photography

Lifestyle photography on a wet dull day

Lifestyle family photography is greatly associated with warm glowing summer days, and draws a natural close after autumn. This year I have made it a bit of a personal challenge to keep shooting during the winter months, and I am loving it!

We are having an amazing UK winter really, the light is fantastic, it’s very mild and there are textures and colours everywhere that suit my style down to the ground! Here are some of my favourites so far of my own two all-time favourite models ;o)

On a dull wet day

I say it over and over again, clothing will make or break your shoot, and the yellow coat and wellies do absolutely make these images (both are from JoJo Maman Bébé )You cannot plan your outfits carefully enough for shoots. Being Scandinavian I am naturally quite obsessed with dressing kids warmly and never want them to be cold, especially not during a shoot as they will be instantly miserable. So during this time of the year make them wear ski layers underneath their normal clothes allows them to stay nice and warm without unattractive big coats. Kids love it when you let them bring a few props, anything on wheels will be great and teddies always look cute!

By the lake

These are done in Denmark a few days after Christmas, it was quite a dull dark day but with the sun just about to break through!

In the snow

I utterly failed on the clothing for these, but who can plan for a snowy day! These images are not really portfolio material, but it was gorgeous lighting and they will serve as valuable memories to me all the same - and that is what I want to do, create these little time capsules! So, don't sit back and wait for the perfect summer day, you can have gorgeous family lifestyle images all year around! Please get in touch if you have any questions about doing your own lifestyle shoot with your family.
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Glamourous maternity photography

I firmly believe that having children is the biggest life changing event for women, and hence photographing bumps is a delightful part of my work, and it just got a lot more glamourous!

glamourousstudio maternity photography

I continuously invest in professional photography training, and earlier this year I did a maternity course. I have since been experimenting and playing with new styles and I am really loving the new look and feel!

glamourousstudio maternity photography

Pregnancy is often associated with feeling heavy, achy and swollen so being able to present women with glowing images like these, are amazing! Here is a glimpse of what I have been working on. If you like them, and are blessed with a bump I am offering bump photography sessions in my Market Harborough studio at significantly reduced rates while I am further practising this new style.

glamourousstudio maternity photography

glamourousstudio maternity photography

Sun set maternity photography

I love these sunset bump pictures, but admittedly they didn’t just effortlessly happen. We had talked about this shoot for weeks and weeks, but when the day came the weather was somewhat against us with a stretch of cloudy evenings and no sign of the glowing rays we had in mind. I was also, once again, reminded that you cannot plan things 100% with newborns, and thing were further complicated by the baby suddenly being scheduled for c section a few weeks early. But right when I thought it was all lost we had a tiny window of opportunity and got some really special pictures! The light changes rapidly this time a day and created dramatically different looks within our shot little session and we got a great little mix of bump and sibling shots.

glamourousstudio maternity photography

glamourousstudio maternity photography

I offer maternity photography in my Market Harborough studio and on locations in Leicestershire. You can find out more about my work as maternity photographer here I occasionally do special offers for maternity photography.

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100% Pure Baby photography

How do you want to remember you baby in years to come? What is it about this phase you want to hold onto and be able to revisit forever? I feel there is a bit of a shift happening in the world of baby photography and more focus is being moved back to pictures that are 100% pure baby, pictures about mum’s with babies, and less focus on hats and hairbands.

I have never been into the really awkward and unnatural newborn posing, and my style has always been quite natural, but recently I have had the opportunity to do some even less “styled” baby shoots, and it occurred to me that they feel very genuine and very real to me. They feel 100% pure baby, and incorporate much more emotion and memories than just the baby in a basket.

Lifestyle baby photography shoot at home

This gorgeous little prince had a studio session at two weeks old, but wouldn’t sleep. We did another session at his home, to incorporate the grandparents visiting from abroad, and I simply fell in love with his home shoot. So many personal memories are captured in the images, his nursery, his first clothes, teddies, grandparents and just him with his beautiful mum at this magical stage in life! I look at these images and I wish I had images like this of me and my boys (but of course like most women I refused to get in the picture)!!!

pure baby lifestyle photography at home

Lifestyle photography at home with mum and baby

Baby lifestyle photography with grandparents

Older babies are perfect for lifestyle images

There is a lot of pressure on bringing in newborn babies for pictures in the first 10 days of being born, but the first couple of weeks fly by in a blur and many new parents simply miss this tiny window of opportunity. The great news is that lifestyle baby images along these lines are great for older babies as well. This gorgeous boy is 4 months old and full of smiles!

Older babies photography

Styling a lifestyle baby shoot

Gorgeous pictures never just happen by luck! Even natural lifestyle image like these are not left to chance, I will help you choose what to wear, choose what the baby wears, what colour bedding works, what room has good lighting – I can do lifestyle images in the studio or at my house as well, if you house isn’t suitable. And actually it can be quite a big deal to have a photographer come to your house right after having a baby, I don’t want you to feel pressured to tidy up and be the “perfect hostess”, so most people prefer to come to the studio, and that is absolutely fine.

Styling a baby photography shoot

I still love my newborn studio pictures, which are also quite natural, and I do always include the parents as well, but I do feel there is something special about these 100% pure baby shoots, and if I could turn back time this is what I would do with my boys!

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Great family holiday pictures in 15min

With the big holiday around the corner, I thought I would share 5 easy tips on how to come back with better than normal holiday images. The aim isn’t to get perfect pictures, but imagine coming back from holiday with images of your family that will be lovely memories and you can proudly display around your home (and Facebook!). Even if you are doing them on your phone, following a few tips will make a big difference!

Even a simple trip out on the bikes can make for sweet pictures

1. Set a date and a time – ish...

During the holiday we typically go to picture perfect locations, so decide that you will do your shoot the day you go to the beach/the forest/going through a picturesque village or just going out on the bikes, but choose a day! Do the pictures when you arrive at your chosen destination – before the kids are covered in sand and ice cream! Prep the family (including dad!) that you will spend the first 10-20min doing pictures, and be disciplined about it, is it really easy to just not do it...and you will regret it later

2. Never wear a cartoon t-shirt!

A holiday shoot isn’t about being perfectly colour coordinated, but a guaranteed way to ruin any picture is putting kids in t-shirts or dresses with cartoon/superhero faces on the front. This alone will improve any image you ever take of your family!

3. Close up, far away, down low, details...

Vary your shots, take some close up portrait style images, but also do some further away that includes more environment. Don’t forget the details, this will look great if you want to put an album together from your holiday or collages on your wall. Include sandcastles, flowers, ice creams, signs, sandals and sunglasses, whatever tells the story of your day out.

Get variety in your family pictures

4. Handling the light

We all LOVE a sunny holiday, but anyone who has ever done a shoot with me will know that I don’t love harsh sunshine for portraits. So in order to get half decent close up pictures of your children, look for a shaded area, maybe under a tree, by a log cabin, by a beach hut or in a door way. Playful action type images are fine in the sun, particularly on the beach. If you have a somewhat simple camera, you might be best of not shooting into really bright sun light as you will lose most details, so keep the sun behind you.

find a shady area for close up pictures of your children

5. Controlling the kids... and dad...

Remember it is officially much harder to photograph your own children, so don’t be upset with yourself if it feels a bit stressful – it will be worth it! Prep everyone beforehand, and get the children involved; say you are all doing some great pictures to put in their rooms or to make a book with. After that, there is really only one thing to do, bribe them! Promise them ice creame/pony rides/fish&chips/sweets WHAT EVER will keep them focussed and cooperative for 15min, and doesn’t involve chocolate! Don’t let them eat during the pictures, they will have odd facial expressions! Focus on the relationships between the children, it is lovely if they sit next to each other giving cuddles, they don’t necessarily have to sit and give you picture perfect smiles. Get your children sitting with dad, and make dad do some pictures with you and the children. Ask a random stranger to do a picture with all of you in it! Don’t over pose it – let the kids be kids and just shoot whatever they do :o)

Let the kids be kids and just capture them

That’s it, simple! 15mins later you will have a great set of varied images that will look great in a photobook, perfect as postcards to the family and great for putting on the wall at home.

Happy holiday! I hope you enjoy taking great pictures of your family!

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