Buckinghamshire photographer

iPhone Photography - My Top Ten Tips

1. Look at the light

Phone cameras perform best in bright, natural light. Open shade is ideal. Stand your subject in the shade (eg. cast by a building or trees) so direct sunlight is not hitting him/her causing squinting and/or harsh shadows. Ideally your subject is looking out of the shade toward the open sky.

To achieve lens flare without ruining your photo, you need obstruct some light from hitting the lens by positioning trees or an object in front of the sun.

My favourite time to take photographs is during the last hour before sunset. This is known as ‘golden hour’ and produces the most beautiful flattering light.

2.Shoot from different angles

We often take iphone photographs from chest height – using different perspectives such as shooting from a low angle or perhaps a birds eye view can add a new dimension to your images. I can often be found lying on my tummy to capture my favourite shots!

  • Shooting very low is also especially good for photographing wildlife.
  • Useful for removing distractions from images

3. Blur the background/foreground

Draw attention to your subject by blurring out the background and making your subject sharp. Newer iphones have a ‘portrait mode’ to do this.  A shallower ‘depth of field’ or blurry background can also be achieved by getting closer to your subject and, where possible, having a long gap or ‘separation’ between your subject and the background.

4. Action shots

When chasing your children or any fast moving subject, the ‘Burst mode’ on your phone can be the best way to ensure you get a clear shot with plenty of options to choose from. Depending on your version of iphone you either tap and hold the shutter button or put your finger on the shutter button and drag it to the left. To stop shooting, just lift up your finger and the burst will be saved to your Camera Roll.

5. Keep it simple

Moving your position to remove distracting items such a bins or signs can really improve your images. Embracing ‘negative space’ is also an effective technique in photography to draw attention to your subject

6. Rule of Thirds

Give structure and interest to your photographs and make them more appealing by following the rule of thirds. This means placing the focus of your image either along the line or at one of the 4 cross sections of a 3×3 grid on your phones Your iPhone has a grid option available, which can aid you in lining up photographs so that they follow the rule of thirds. You can turn this option on by visiting Settings > Photos & Camera and enabling the Grid switch.

7. Leading lines and framing

As well as good composition using the rule of thirds, using natural elements outdoors to draw focus and depth to your image can make a huge difference.

8. Lock focus

To ensure your phone focuses in your subject, you can tap and hold on the subject in question until you see the yellow AE/AF Lock alert. This means that the automatic exposure metering and automatic focus metering have been locked on your subject; to remove the lock, just tap anywhere else on the frame.

9. Adjust the bright and darkness while shooting

If an image is too bright or dark for your liking in the viewing screen, you can fix it before snapping the picture by adjusting the yellow sun exposure slider next to the focus square. Just tap once on the focus square and exposure slider, then use the sun icon to increase your exposure (brightness) by sliding upward, or decrease exposure (darkness) by sliding downward.

10. Snap photos with the volume button

Because the iPhone is so thin, tapping the digital shutter button can cause camera shake and blur the photo you’re trying to take. Instead, you can use the volume up button when in the Camera app to snap a photo — and avoid camera shake entirely!

Cheat Sheet!

I have attached an ‘iPhone Photography’ Cheat sheet for you to save to your camera roll on your phone. This should help remind you of the top tips when you are out and about! Have fun and I would love to see any images that you take: sarah@sarahgreerphotography.co.uk

What are you favourite iPhone photography tips? I’d love to hear them!


Wendover Photographer

How to set up a supportive neighbourhood network

Encouraging a friendly neighbourhood support network

Right now we are surrounded by people that feel both vulnerable and isolated but also, overwhelmingly, by people that want to help and are not sure where to start.

How can you help?

A positive and proactive thing to do is to set up a Neighbourhood WhatsApp Support Group.

What will a Neighbourhood WhatsApp Group do?

  • Help each other with basic things like shopping
  • Building some social contact (by Phone or WhatsApp)
  • Share other supportive ideas
  • Singing from our windows – who knows!

How do we do set it up?

This morning my lovely neighbour and hand delivered the attached letter, which we printed on both sides, to 72 houses in our fairly small immediate neighbourhood.

The response has been so overwhelmingly positive that I want to share a template for our letter, should you find it helpful. Please feel free to download, use and share.

What if people don’t have WhatsApp?

This may not be for everyone – and that is fine. There is no pressure to join.

For people that are unsure as how to install WhatsApp I have offered to knock on doors, observing social distancing, with anti bac wipes, and do it for them.

Share your ideas!

If you have any other ideas, please share them!

With best wishes for good health.

Sarah x

Click to download


Wendover photographer

An EastEnders Christening in Halton, Wendover

A special family Christening in Halton, Wendover, Buckinghamshire

Thank you to Victoria and James Bye for inviting me to photograph their special day.

by Sarah Greer Photography


Half Term in Wendover

February Half Term in Wendover - My Top Ten Things to Do

Avoiding February melt down in Wendover…

As Spring glimmers around the corner we start to feel excited about getting out and about from our winter hibernation. Here are my Top Ten ideas that might just give you some smiles, without breaking the bank, this February Half Term in Wendover.

1. Woodland Walks and Bike Rides

We are so fortunate to be surrounded by the beautiful Wendover Woods, Chiltern Hills and landmarks such as Coombe Hill and the Ashridge Estate. Wendover Woods has some fantastic activities for children during the holidays .

My children are aged from 4-11 and we have all loved completing the Go Ape trail together followed by a treat in the cafe. Being outside encourages children of all ages to interact with each other in a totally different way. I absolutely love to watch my children running around and laughing outside. I find it is when they are at their most ‘together’.

2. Wendover Swimming Pool

It is easy to forget that we have this fantastic pool on the schools campus in Wendover. It also offers special opening times, usually 2-4pm during the School Holidays. Parents of older children can easily observe from the side of the pool and, for those of us who still have to get in, compared to many pools, it really isn’t cold 🙂

Wendover Swimming Pool

3. Rumsey’s Chocolate Fondue

Rumsey’s Chocolaterie do the most incredible chocolate fondue. It’s a massive treat that we reserve for February half term – in this instance, pictures most definitely speak louder than words!

4. Bake-off at home

Ready, steady….. BAKE!!  My older children, aged 11 and 7, love to ‘be in charge’ while Martha, aged 4, assists, cracks eggs, and licks the spoon! They especially love to video themselves using my phone as if they are hosting a cookery programme! The results are generally yummy enough to make the mess worthwhile! I love the BBC’s child friendly baking recipes CLICK HERE.

5. Wendover Outdoor Play Parks

When the sun starts to bring a little bit of warmth, often in February,  my children are desperate to get back to the many parks that we have in and around Wendover.  Below is a map of some of our favourites in Wendover. We also love Aston Clinton Park, just a 10 minute drive away.

6. Lambing at Mead Open Farm

Mead Open Farm is a little further afield, about a 30 minute drive away, towards Leighton Buzzard.  It is a fantastic farm for all ages and we especially love meeting the adorable new-born Lambs. You can even bottle feed them which is a huge hit with the children.

7. Day tour of London without breaking the bank

As well as being surrounded by beautiful countryside we also have brilliant to access to London. And, with a little planning, it can be done on the cheap. Yes, it does involve the avoidance of Regent Street and anything resembling a Toy Shop (specifically beginning with the letter H!)

Travel

I would recommend the train and underground network for the most fun and least stress. Under 5s travel free on the train and tubes and under 16s cost just £1 when accompanied by a full paying adult.  You can also gain 241 entry to many London attractions with a Chiltern Rail Travel Card

2 for 1 Attractions

Travel Tips:

  • Take snacks! Always at the top of any kids day trip list 🙂
  • Make a plan.  I usually choose one attraction to aim for and then the rest of the day unfolds around the travel to and from that place
  • Take a pushchair for toddlers – I am usually delighted by how willing strangers are to help. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Download a tube map onto your phone: London Tube Map App.
  • Indulge in some trivia with the kids here: 150 London Underground facts

Where to go:

  • Last year we did a travel tour using the mainline overground to Marylebone, the Underground to Westminster, then the River Bus to Tower Hill (also included with your Travel Card) where we had a sneaky lunch with Daddy.  We then used a bus to work our way west via Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and back up to Green Park where we got on the tube back to Marylebone, followed by the Mainline back to Wendover. It was a fantastic fun-filled day, and bar the lunch with Daddy, we spent less than £30.
  • People often head to the Natural History Museum, which is fabulous, but my top tip is the Science Museum. It is so interactive, the queues are much shorter to get in, and you could fill a whole day in there!
  • For year 1 children learning about the Great Fire of London, the Museum of London in Barbican is also fantastic
  • We love going into the Lego shop and playing with what is on offer – for free!
  • We also love hanging out in the Apple Store and trying out the gadgets – for free!
  • Below is a list of the many many other attractions that London holds, this February Half Term:

February Half Term in London

8. Waddesdon House and Gardens

We love the National Trust’s Waddesdon Manor. They always have brilliant activities in the holidays and this half term is no exception. With organised Orienteering and fabulous family cookery schools, as well and beautiful grounds and a brilliant woodland play park, there really is something for all ages.

February Half Term at Waddesdon

9. Bucks County Museum and Roald Dahl Gallery – Aylesbury

We have spent many rainy half term mornings and afternoons at the Bucks County Museum. There are always brilliant creative activities to do and the staff are always so kind and encouraging. Even when it comes to making lots of messy craft chaos!

Bucks County Museum and Roald Dahl Gallery this February Half Term

10. Lynx Gym – Aylesbury

Soft play is one of the few things that fills me with dread when I have all of the children on my own. I can’t always see them, they bump their heads and I find it a little/lot stressful. When I discovered Lynx Gym many years ago, it was a huge relief!

A bright, clean space where the children can run, dive, jump and swing all on one level. I can go from one to the other with them all, just about in view. The opening times must be checked and you have to arrive on time before it fills up, but if you can make it work, then I highly recommend!

Lynx Gym

I found it so hard to narrow down to ten as there are so many brilliant things to do this February Half Term in Wendover! We also love the Waterside theatre, Whipsnade Zoo and Tring’s own Zoological Museum. I would love to hear your favourite things to do at February Half Term in Wendover. Please do comment below 🙂

Sarah x


My journey to Marathon fitness at Forty

My journey to marathon fitness at 40

I first ran the London Marathon the year before my first child was born, in 2007, aged 27.  I can say with absolute conviction that running a marathon 13 years and 3 children later is a whole different ball game.

Training for a marathon at any age is hard work. There is no escaping that. If you are in for the challenge, and especially if you are over 40 and have had children, then I hope this blog will inspire you. The journey requires commitment but the reward, in my view, is immeasurable.

Does running a marathon compare to childbirth?

I have been asked this and I want to reassure all mothers – and indeed fathers. Most definitely, NO! As I clearly remember telling my midwife towards the end of my first labour – childbirth, particularly first time round, was most definitely harder.  With a marathon I knew I had to get to 26.2 miles and stop. The process of my first labour felt infinite.

The main parallel for me is the wonderful rose tinted glasses that each event delivered.

Almost immediately after my third and final child being delivered, at some ungodly hour, I spoke to a friend and told her that the birth was horrendous and that I was so glad to not be doing it again. I spoke to the same friend later that day and told her, of the exact same experience, that it was a near PERFECT birth and I was so very sad to most likely never be doing it again.

Similarly, when I reported to another friend late last year that I intended to run the London marathon again, and that previously it had been one of the best days of my life, she replied “REALLY? But you said that you would NEVER do it again. In the same way that I have no recollection of not LOVING my birth, the memory I have towards running London is also of unsurmounted joy.

The happy versions are the ones that remain in my mind and I love that.

My motivation

First time round, I ran because I’d watched friends and been inspired so, I thought, why not? This time I have additional motivation, which far exceeds anything I had 13 years ago…

  • First and foremost, I am running the marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support. Last year we lost my dear Mum in Law who was one of the biggest supporters I have ever had. She fought the bravest of battles for over 25 years and inspired me in so many ways. I am determined to extend her legacy and give back to this amazing charity and other cancer patients. Those include my own Dad, who is doing amazingly well after Kidney cancer, living his life to the full, and making us all very proud. And Katie, my best friend of 36 years, who is nearly half way through her eight rounds of chemotherapy. She is an absolute inspiration, she’s on a mission herself to raise awareness surrounding all aspects of cancer and, if you’re on Instagram, I highly recommend you check her out: @1 day_2019.
  • My three children. I want to influence and educate them about the power of sport and fitness. I want to inspire them and I want them to be proud of me.
  • I no longer run purely for fitness purposes. Mentally, running is my coping mechanism. It keeps my mind calm, happy and grounded.
  • I like the idea of being faster at 41 than 27. Watch this space🤞🏻

DONATE TO MY MACMILLAN MARATHON FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN

My London Marathon journey aged 27

In 2007 I lived and worked in London.  I could either commute home on public transport or run home.  It was only once my mileage went up that I actually had to consider ‘fitting in’ my training.  I did a gym class once a week but that was the limit of my strength or cross training. And as for stretching, pah! Why would I waste time on that?!

In the March before the Marathon, we spent over 3 weeks in New Zealand on holiday. Back when holidays really were holidays! We ran the most stunning coastlines and hilly tracks, all in our own time. No sleepless nights, no runaway children, and we actually sat down in restaurants to eat! The warm climate also prepared us well for what was, then, the hottest ever London marathon at 22 degrees.

This tactic worked as I planned to run a 4hr 20min marathon and that is exactly what I did. Bar a couple of dodgey tummy stops due to some silly decisions I made on carb gels. More on that later.

But it really was that simple. Run when I wasn’t working or too hungover, have a lovely holiday, run the marathon, job done.

New Zealand 2007

My London Marathon journey aged 40

For anyone considering running a marathon a little later in life, I have listed a number of fundamentals that I believe are key to a successful marathon journey at 40:

Enjoyment

  • To enjoy running to some extent – even if it is just for a bit of ‘me’ time. If you would prefer to stick pins in your eyes, then truly, I would look for a different challenge.
  • Getting out of the door is usually the hardest part. Even when I really don’t want to run, once I go, it nearly always takes me to my happy place.
  • It’s not about being fast and pushing yourself, sometimes it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other, breathing in some fresh crisp air, and being grateful for all that’s around you.
  • Make your training and your goals realistic and achievable. That way you will see your progress and stay motivated.

Time to train

  • Ringfencing certain days and times of the week to train is important and more likely to make you consistent. Make sure your family know these times too. Ideally, you will need to train for a minimum of 4/5 hours a week.
  • This can include strength and cross training but closer to race day you will most probably need to add to this
  • Whether you train with an expert or develop your own programme it is SO important to take time to include different types of strength, stretching and core training into your programme to remain injury free
  • I run my own photography business and am committed to volunteering at our local hospital, so, for me, I knew that I could not consider taking on the challenge until my youngest started full time education.

Expert trainer and guidance

  • To have the support of an expert trainer who is in tune with what you would like to achieve and the best way to get you there is also of huge benefit. I have been training with Jodie Digby Fitness for nearly 8 years. She is an elite runner, fitness trainer and rehabilitation pro. It was training with Jodie and attending her running club that first brought my ambition to run a little faster and believe in myself. Jodie has brought me back to fitness after each of my children and kept my enjoyment of training alive through her incredible varied training programme and classes.

Jodie Digby Fitness

  • It is worth investing the time to research the best type of training and trainer for you. Whether you would benefit from personal training sessions, group classes or joining a gym.
  • As much as it great to have someone to tell you when to train, it can sometimes be of equal benefit to be told when to rest!

A support team

  • My biggest supporter is my husband, he gets me up and kicks me out of the door to run. He knows fundamentally when I need to run, mentally as well as physically. He is so incredibly supportive and I feel extremely lucky for that. That positive support also rubs off on the children.
  • I enjoy long runs on my own but it is equally so nice to run with a buddy too. I have a good friend who I run many miles with and by stroke of luck she is also running the Marathon this year. Knowing I’m getting up in the dark to meet Kathy gives me the motivation to get dressed and get out. Sometimes we stop and take in the view and I love sharing those moments with her.
  • My non running friends and family who think I’m a little mad but still support and encourage me. Some are already planning their support on Marathon day. What a difference that will make.
  • Having a T Shirt with your name on makes a huge difference, especially in those final miles. A simple “Keep Going Sarah” can make those sore steps a little lighter.

Keep your training runs varied and interesting

  • I live in Wendover in Buckinghamshire, surrounded by the Chiltern Hills and other beautiful landmarks. This means that my runs are usually very picturesque and serene.
  • I mix my longer muddy, hilly trail runs with a few different road routes which I use for faster runs and Fart-Lek training – sometimes just trying to speed up between lamp posts
  • Use Strava.com and look at local routes and follow other runners for inspiration
  • Use mapmyrun.com to look for local routes that have been recommended by others
  • Sign up to organised races to discover new routes and run safely marshalled routes. I use ww.findarace.com to find local 10K and half marathon races
  • Gade Valley Harriers (based in Hemel Hempstead) have a series of pre-marathon runs which you can sign up to on the day for just £5

Wendover and the Chilterns

Know your niggles

  • After having the children I was plagued with niggles, namely, shin splints and sore knees due to tight ITB (short for iliotibial band, which runs from the crest of your lateral hip to just below the knee joint)
  • It is worth having a full body MOT by a physio, osteopath or similar to make sure that you are aligned with nothing obvious that may lead to injury
  • Using a foam roller on my outer thighs did help some of my issues but I realised that the main way to fix my problems was to strengthen my glute (bottom) muscles. I have spoken to many others around my age that have similar injuries. The best long term remedy I found was to incorporate the following glute strength exercises into my day when possible. When the niggles return I try to fit these ITB Strength Exercises by setting my alarm 15 minutes earlier in the morning.
  • I also find that swimming alleviates tightness in my hips. You do not need to swim fast at all but I know that the benefits of a weekly swim when I am able to fit it in are great, and my hips feel so much better for it.
  • If you spend many hours sat at a desk working it is worth checking your workstation. I recently changed my chair which had a really positive impact on my hips as well.

You need a plan!

  • Even if you do not care at all about your time you should still have a training plan if you want to get to the finish line
  • Think about your goal and google ‘Marathon training plan’. There is so much out there.
  • Here is a copy of my training plan – it is very much an ideal scenario and although I try hard to stick to it I know that it is not realistic to do it all.

MY MARATHON TRAINING PLAN - Weeks 1-10MY MARATHON TRAINING PLAN - Weeks 11-20

My Kit List tips

  • Back to the carb gels – and any fuelling. Train with them first, let your body get used to them.  I am about trial OTE Gels. I have chosen these because they have natural ingredients, contain electrolytes which are lost during long runs and are supposed to be gentle on the stomach.
  • Do a dress rehearsal for different weather scenarios. I ran in shorts that really rubbed on my legs in the final miles last time.
  • If you are new to running or are not comfortable with your current trainers it may be worth having Gait Analysis to ensure that you are running in the right type of trainer for you.
  • If you live London, Edinburgh or Cardiff I can highly recommend Run and Become for advice and analysis.
  • I have found Asic Gel Kayanos suit me best. They are wide to accommodate my bunions (!) and stable for my over-pronation.
  • You are going to be running a LOT so comfort is key! My favourite runnings leggings are Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity leggings. They are not the cheapest but they last forever, wash really well, do not budge while running and are the only leggings I can run in and forget about. My go to top is the Karrimor XLite long sleeved t shirt. It is super soft and breathable with a much more manageable price tag!
  • Socks are also really important. It is important to find the right pair you. My current favourites are by Salomon and can be found here

GOOD LUCK!

Whatever happens on the day, knowing that you worked hard, did your best and undoubtedly inspired others is incredible.  A marathon is a huge achievement and you should be very very proud.

You are a marathoner and you always will be!

If you have any questions or comments at all I’d love hear them below 😀


Capturing the love behind literacy - Wendover Headshots

This is Katie

 

She is the creator and founder of www.loveofliteracy.co.uk. She is also the most passionate, talented, creative, kind and loyal person anyone could ever meet.

I was so excited when she asked if we could work together to create some headshots for her business.

Headshots

Authentic personal branding is so important for headshots.  I wanted the images to showcase the essence of Katie’s work and to be a true reflection of her personality.

Texture, Nature, Shapes, Hiding … and Magic!

We decided on a very relaxed and natural outdoor shoot in Wendover, incorporating the texture, natural objects and shapes that Katie uses in her workshop.  I also wanted to bring in an aspect of ‘hiding’.  Literacy is shrouded by hidden sounds and letters that can be extremely challenging for some children. Moreover, children have hidden abilities that Katie is able to bring out during her workshops.  Then there is the magic. Because her work does feel like magic. 

Love of Literacy

Katie devotes her time to helping dyslexic children read. Well not ‘just to read’. To LOVE to read. To FEEL that magic. Katie passionately believes that every child can learn beyond what is expected of them.  Her vast teaching experience and research (having recently completed an MA with the highest honours in Special and Inclusive Education) evidences how fundamental reading – and its absolute link to spelling – is for children to achieve an innate sense of self and worth. 

See the sparkle

I recently photographed Katie running a workshop. It was nothing short of mind blowing.  Katie worked with the children on a range of different strategies to feel, and most of all enjoy, all of the words of the stories that they had previously thought were reserved for the sole enjoyment of ‘good readers’.  It was incredible.   

Those two short hours injected a sparkle. Not a Christmas or a birthday or a special treat sparkle. A sparkle that comes from within. A sparkle that radiates ones sense of self and worth. 

For more information on Katie’s workshops please contact katie@loveofliteracy.co.uk  www.loveofliteracy.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH FOR HEADSHOTS

Wendover photographer

Why mums must be in the photographs this Mother's Day (and how I can help you)

CLICK HERE FOR MOTHER'S DAY SPECIAL OFFER - STYLE AND SHOOT JUST £199

“One day, all your children will have are pictures of you. Make sure you’re in them. No matter what your hair looks like, your makeup, or your body, they won’t care about any of that, they’ll just want to see you.” unknown

To our children, we are, and always will be, beautiful … no matter what.  Equally, we will forever love looking back at images of our children, at every precious and fleeting stage of their lives.

The emotions of motherhood

So often we mums make excuses to not feature in photographs, but it really is important that we do.  Photographs make us remember sounds, smells and emotions that otherwise might be lost forever.  I can feel the tears pricking now as I think of losing any thoughts of how my children are right now, and our bond together.

Keep your memories safe

For this reason, and amidst some of my less virtuous habits involving chocolate and gin, something that I do every year without fail, is to create photo albums of our year’s adventures. The children love flicking through and only this weekend, they each had their ‘baby albums’ out, comparing who had the darkest hair and chubbiest cheeks.

Candid, magical moments

My favourite images are always the most candid ones, the ones where I can still feel the ripples of their belly laughs or that breathless moment of pride as they did something wonderful.  But mostly and simply, just how magical it feels, to have been together.

Be real

Of course I tend to include the photos in my albums where I like the angle or the light or where I’ve put on some make-up and a nice outfit, it would be a crying shame not to, but I also put in the ‘real’ photos – with the silly face and soft tummy, the ones that show just how their mummy actually looks. It’s so important to have both.

Take Selfies!

So, my message is this – Get in the selfies,  ask your husband to take the photographs too, and, if they’re not perfect, it doesn’t matter. Keep them in an album that your children will look at and love forevermore.

Mother’s Day treat to cherish forever

To encourage a few more mums (and keen grandmothers) to get into the photos that you WANT to share on your walls, myself and my own very talented (Wendover based) hairdresser Amanda Gordon are offering a special Mother’s Day treat:

An hour (ish) of hair and make-up pampering with Amanda and then straight on to a 45 minute family photoshoot at a lovely local location in Wendover.

I will then create beautiful natural photographs of you at your very best, having fun and making memories with your most favourite people.


Wendover photographer

Autumn Joy! Getting the best out of your Autumn Photoshoot...

Seasons are a part of life here in the UK.  Since leaving London and moving to Wendover in Buckinghamshire, with our glorious countryside, I have come to LOVE the seasons.  And especially the Autumn.  For me, Autumn is colourful, cosy and full of fun! With late afternoons basking in soft golden light, it is also the best time of year for a family photoshoot.  Children love to throw leaves in Wendover Woods, play hide and seek behind trees at Coombe Hill and cuddle up with mum and dad anywhere 🙂  I love to capture these moments and revel in the stunning colours and glowing soft light that is a photographer’s dream.

What to wear

Choosing clothing that compliments our natural surroundings can really add another dimension to your images. In the Autumn, choosing deep, warm and muted reds, purples, navies and mustard yellows can really bring your photographs alive.

Autumnal family images also make the best Christmas presents 🙂