Sunflowers, Stretch-marks and Silliness

As all wikipedia articles SHOULD start this blog post will start with the words "I reckon". 

I reckon I'm getting pretty confident in my middle age. I quite like my fat encased body. I am beginning to own my sexuality (that's one of those words that makes you cringe a bit eh, sorry) and usually this increased acceptance of myself is attributed to age and life experience. 

And then this young whipper snapper totally owns her body in a stupid, honest, hilarious, strikingly beautiful way for her maternity photographs. 

*consider this your nipple warning*

Oh, you didn't think that was as silly as we got did you? When I promise silliness, I deliver silliness. 

Where do you think body confidence comes from? If you've been pregnant were you more, or less, confident while pregnant? Where are you on the scale of body acceptance? 

The day I almost wasn't a destination wedding photographer

When I use the phrase "I'm peeing my pants" and I don't mean "I'm really excited". 

It started with back pain and it very nearly ended with surgery on my spine. If you want a laugh (at my expense) google 'Cauda Equina' but I'd like to state right here, right now: My bowel function remained in tact. 

Or as my Greece destination wedding bride put it "Did you sh*t yourself? That's the question everyone is wondering!"

The GP sent me to A&E. Just in case. It's probably not this rare thing but just in case it is we should get an MRI. So Somehow I find myself in A&E and I've been handed a hospital gown and told to take EVERYTHING off.  

And suddenly being a hairy feminist seems like not such a great idea and I have to give myself a shake and remind myself I don't need to alter my body for the sake of society's expectations. Big breath in. Sloooooowly out. Strong again. 

I've driven myself in, naturally, so I send hubby a silly selfie or two so that he feels good and sorry for me because this is all silly and there's no way I have this rare horse thing. (Cauda Equina means Horses Tail because the bundle of nerves at the bottom of your spine resembles a horse tail.) 

Reckon he felt sorry for me? 

Reckon he felt sorry for me? 

Then suddenly it's not funny anymore. I'm not allowed to eat or drink anything and I have the stupid rare thing and Western General in Edinburgh are being sent my MRI because it's them who will operate. 


I'm ambulanced over to Edinburgh in the middle of the night and woken up in the morning with another hospital gown and a cannula. All set for surgery on my spine to remove the part of the prolapsed disc that's pressing on my nerves.

All set for surgery

All set for surgery

My family are all concerned about me, lovely people. And I tell my little sister - "the next selfie I send you will be me with four double cheeseburgers" (the hospital had been fasting me for 24 hours by this time)

Then the surgeon comes round and says NO SURGERY. 

And that's it. A couple more checks, a neuro exam, physiotherapy come to see me and then my discharge papers are being written. 

And I *almost* kept my word to my little sister. 

I could ONLY manage three double cheeseburgers

I could ONLY manage three double cheeseburgers

I have to be very careful about how I'm moving to allow my back to heal and strengthen and I had to postpone some photo shoots which was tough. The surgery would have come with a 10 week recovery time which is INSANE and would have meant I couldn't fly to San Diego on Tuesday for my first destination wedding or to Greece in June for my second. Every doctor who spoke to me was told that I HAD to be on those flights!! 

Hopefully you've had a giggle. I'm very happy to be sharing it this way round so now you can look forward to my next series of selfies being on an airplane!!! 



Photography Farming

I'm a farmer now! Who would've thought! 

There's this thing called Photography Farm for amazing training for wedding photographers and through them I got to work with Mark Pacura for a couple of hours on Friday. 

So fascinating to see how other people work and so inspiring to ask questions of someone who is doing what you dream to do. (making a full time living from destination wedding photography) 

A cute couple modelled for us. 

wedding photographer Glasgow Glue Factory
Farmshop Wedding photography
Engagement photography Glasgow Glue Factory

What a quirky place to take photographs! We were at the Glue Factory in Glasgow. 


One of the best things about spending money on photography training is not the knowledge that you come away with (although that is excellent) but the boost of motivation and belief. 

Newborn photography, behind the scenes and safety first

First newborn of 2017 came to ShootSweet yesterday! And what a noisy wee squeaky grunter he was! 

As I explained one of the shots, mum was surprised that it was done like I was describing. And she's not alone. Without exception ALL parents say "oh, I didn't know THAT'S how you do that!"

A newborn baby can't hold up their own head yet so how come so many photographs of new baby's have them with their fists under their chins, are they balancing? can they actually manage? 

That's a resounding NO! 

Keeping your baby safe is number one priority AT ALL TIMES. Even if your baby looked like they might mange to balance I still wouldn't try it. And if you visit a newborn photographer who practices these poses without using composite techniques like the one below please consider referring them to BANPAS who are experts at teaching newborn handling safety. 


Isn't he adorable! 

When booking your newborn photographer please ask if they have been trained in safe handling practices. A concern for all photographers is that someone new to the job and self-teaching (nothing wrong with teaching yourself!) will see one of these images complete and not know that actually in real life it didn't start out like that and try to replicate it with possibly hazardous results. 

Did you know this is how it was done? 

What to Wear - part 1

Part 1 is for the pro. The all-out, maximum effort, total investment, commitment to the very best type of client. 

To you, pro client, I say. I love you! I love how invested in this you are. This blog post will aid your awesomeness. 

To every thinking 'that's waaaaayy too much effort' I saw. I love you! I love that you want to have family photos and What to Wear Part 2 is for you! 

              Avoid busy patterns. They distract attention and make me go cross eyed ;) 
              Don't blend into the background. If you've asked for a white backdrop, don't wear white. If you've asked for a black backdrop, don't wear black. You will look like a floating head if you do. 

              Choose ONE neutral colour. The colours I consider neutral are; black, white, jeans, beige (like chinos), navy, grey. Choosing one looks better than someone in black, someone wearing jeans, another person in chinos and a fourth person in khakis.

Now for the pro! 

Step 1 - Begin with starting rule number 3 - choose one neutral colour. 

Step 2 - Add between 1 and 3 complimentary colours. When choosing your colours consider the room your photograph will be displayed in. The colours can contrast (yellow and blue!) or compliment (pink, pale yellow, light blue) 

Step 3 - Make sure everyone as at least one item of clothing or accessory with the accent colour. 

Step 4 - Try to spread the colour evenly between people and between the bottom and top. Rather than have 3 people with blue t-shirts and one person with blue trousers. 

Step 5 - Remember the shoes and accessories. Its easy to forget shoes and then realise the kids only have ugly black trainers! A complimentary pair of earrings, a hair bow or necklace can really just wow the whole outfit and bring it all together. 


In this example step 1 - to choose a neutral colour - I've gone for chino beige! 

Step 2 - I contrasted coral with some kind of blue (light teal? Aqua?) 

Step 3 - everyone has at least one accent colour, two of them have both (which I love!)

Step 4 - Spread the colours evenly. Notice how both coral and blue are represented on the bottom and top halves, on the bottom: two beige, two coral and one blue. And on the top, one beige, two coral and two blue. 

Step 5 - cute shoes and matching accessories! 

Here is Kristen Duke and her family who I shot in London last summer - this lady is a pro at outfit choosing! Find her What to Wear blog post here!

Bonus tips! 

Layers give a softer feel. If you have to shop, choose a colour that's in season and therefore easy to buy! If they are in season a simple plain coloured t-shirt can be picked up for less than £5 for example. But start with what you already own, look through everyones clothes and you may find there already is a theme and a colour in common. When we had our family photos taken by the wonderful Rachel Spence last year I didn't buy anything. It wasn't perfect but it was a good start! 

We did look a bit better than that to start with haha. Harry had a denim blue blazer on and Elspeth was wearing a lovely cardigan that had the greenish teal colour (how bad am I at naming colours!!!) and the purple/pink (lol just give up Rachel) and kind of tied us all together nicely but that was abandoned. The point is we did a not bad job without buying a single thing :) 


I hope that helped - look out for part 2! 

Rachel xx


The First Look

There wasn't a dry eye in the house. 


As we planned together the details of their wedding day, Becca and Nicole told me they were having two aisles! (A first for me!) And they would be walking down at the same time. 

As I imagined how that would be I pictured them walking into the room and just wanting to look at each other - I know I wouldn't be able to keep my eyes forward if the love of my life was walking beside me just a few feet away. So I had an idea that was a little bit unconventional but I figured I could risk asking them about it since their cake was to be half white draped fondant and half batman :P

Let's have a "First Look".

Once all the guests were seated and ready, we went somewhere quiet with Nicole first while the wedding co-ordinator went for Becca. (Let the guests wait!) The excitement and nerves were palpable as Nicole stood, waiting for her bride. She waited, without peeking, as Becca came and stood just around the corner, then as they took hands the whole room just became electric. 

As they saw each other for the first time as brides, cried and hugged and cried and kissed and cried some more their bridesmaids and close family all cried along too. And maybe, just maybe, a certain photographer shed a tear or two behind her camera.