I have lost a dear friend and Mother-in-law

December 14, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Jean Smitham died 21st November 2023. 


What should I wear for my Portrait Photography Session?

June 20, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

The selection of proper clothing for your portrait is a critical factor in the preparation for a successful portrait.


If the clothing is noticeable or overbearing in a portrait, it could easily become a distraction. Clothing that does not attract attention to itself is the ultimate goal. It could be the difference between a very successful portrait and just another picture. You may be asked to change your clothing selection before I take your portraits if you do not follow these basic guidelines.

Dark clothing tends to slenderize.

Darker clothing helps to blend the bodies with the background, so that the faces are the most important part of the photograph. Dark colors definitely tend to slenderise the subject.

Tone down bright colours.

Bright colours attract attention away from the face and may be reflective. Avoid wearing red, bright pink, bright green etc. When choosing lighter colors, stick to pastels, but avoid pink tones. Pale yellow and pale blue work well, especially with jeans or kaki trousers. These colours work great in nature for example, if you have a sunset photography session booked in.

Light clothing can look beautifully fresh.

If you are worried about not appearing slender then it is safer to avoid white. White can look beautifully simple and fresh. White shirts and/or blouses under a dark jacket are perfect.

Prints and patterns are a definite NO.

This includes logos. Avoid prints of any kind and patterns. No matter how small the print or the pattern, it will become a distraction. In the case of digital portraits, in particular, small patterns in clothing (even a small herring-bone or checkered pattern) can cause terrible distortions to appear in the portrait that are not originally there.

Avoid short sleeve clothing and shorts.

Long sleeved clothing is a MUST! For casual portraits it is equally important to wear long trousers instead of shorts. When arms and legs are exposed to the camera there will be more flesh in the photograph in those areas than on the face, itself. This is a major distraction.

Don’t over accessorise! Overbearing or heavily noticeable accessories can be a major distraction. Simple and minimal works best.


Eye glasses may or may not be worn. Non-reflective lenses, of course, are a big help. Better yet, sometimes it’s possible to obtain a matching set of frames without any lenses. This is particularly helpful, if your lenses sometimes distort the outline of your face.

Make Up, Hair & Nails.

Hair styles should be SIMPLE and MUST be off the face. Hair falling down onto the sides of the face create distracting shadows. Bangs that come down too low onto the face will keep light from getting into the subject’s eyes – the very most important part of the face. It is always a great idea to have your make up and hair professionally applied for your photography session. It will make a huge difference in how you look and feel. 

Proper Necklines for a Portrait.

The most flattering neckline for anyone is something that comes up close to the neck. A wide-open neckline tends to thicken the neck in a photograph. On the other hand, a neckline that comes up to the base of the neck – a turtleneck or a v-neck top is the most flattering. It tends to slim down the person and frames the face beautifully.

Group / family portrait sessions.

Keep your clothing simple and coordinating. It must be carefully selected to blend the bodies together. Avoid loud or busy patterns and large logos. Solid colors are best. First, decide whether the basic tone of the clothing will be warm-toned (browns, etc.) or cool-toned (blues/grays/blacks, etc.) Then, make sure to follow all of the above instructions. Keeping a group in similar colours focuses the attention of the portrait to the faces and individuals that make up the portrait. Dissimilar colours in groups tend to be more distracting. White tops with khakis or jeans can look very nice and casual, but if anyone in your family is super pale, white can make pale skin look paler. Jeans are the timeless choice and they’re great for fun, casual pictures because they are flattering and don’t show wrinkles. Lighter shirts on top give the pictures a more casual and bright look. Pastels are also usually appealing because they enhance natural skin tones. Black or other dark shirts on top give the portraits a more serious and thoughtful feel (not to mention that black is slimming). Everyone should have colour-coordinated outfits (Not a uniform necessarily, but there should be a theme). For the children, choose outfits that fit well without a lot of “growing room”. Jeans / khaki’s and white or black tops are always very nice for a family portrait.

Toddlers and Kids.

Solid colors work best. Bright and fun and funky bring out a whimsical side while Khaki’s, blue jeans, and white shirts are for more serious captures. A pretty dress is always beautiful for little girls. Don’t forget hats, sunglasses, boots, blankets, jackets, etc. can be great to show personality and bring out their silly side. 


Teens have their OWN sense of style – I love to let them express it however they wish.

Final thoughts. Your portraits are meant to be enjoyed for generations to come. Fad-type clothing should be avoided, unless you are planning to have new portraits made annually. You will feel very rewarded when you view your photographs. All of your efforts will be worthwhile.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me before your portrait session. See you at your shoot!




Doorstep Portraits

June 18, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

During the 2020 Covid-19 virus lockdown in the UK, we were very lucky to have a 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe celebration.

VE Day copyVE Day copy

We helped to organise a 'Street Party' all done at social distancing, everyone in their front garden, but everyone together. It was amazing we met neighbours we have never met before, and had a fantastic day.

During this event we had a competition for the best VE75 window display, there were some amazing ones, it was hard to choose, so we brought in some 'independent' judges who didn't live in out street.














FXP20382FXP20382Doorstep Portrait


I photographed some of our neighbours during this event, which sparked an idea of Doorstep Portraits. I had heard that some of my friends were also doing this in their own towns.








If you would also like to arrange a Doorstep Portrait in Sileby, Leicestershire either email us, or message us on FaceBook


Orussey Market in Phnom Penh is an Amazing Experience.

May 25, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

When you visit Psar Orussey, or Orussai Market, allow at least 3 hours it is an amazing experience.


Orussey Market is Centrally located in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Orussey Market is much more geared towards locals than tourists; hence you will not find as much in the way of souvenirs you need to go to  the other markets. You will find a huge array of foodstuffs on offer including the wet market with fresh meat, poultry and seafood. Other items in abundance include house ware, hardware and electronic goods.

This 3-storey market, located only a few hundred meters South west of Central Market is a true maze, it has been described in another Blog as "a Khmer version of Alibaba’s Cave." Our friend Ian chose this market for us to see because it is mostly used by locals and not tourists.

Orussey Market has multiple entrance doors and parking spaces, i
ncluding one...on the rooftop! Go there in the morning, before th
e burning heat starts hitting. This is also the time when most of the action is taking place. You will see on multiple vans coming from all the provinces and getting filled with household items, rice bags -- and even live cattle -- by drivers with a true talent for piling and rope tying all these items so they don’t fall off during their journey on Cambodia’s bumpy roads.

There are a wide variety of items available for purchase in Orussey Market, Phnom Penh. This is one of the not so famous Tourist Attractions in Phnom Penh. The market is more frequented by the locals than the tourists in the city. The shops in the market generally sell essential items rather than souvenirs. That is why, tourists do not take much interest in visiting this market. Still, a visit to Orussey Market, Phnom Penh give you an opportunity to interact with the local people and get an idea of their food habits and daily life. 

The shops at Orussey Market in Phnom Penh generally sell foodstuffs, household items, electronic goods and hardware. Orussey Market, Phnom Penh is one of the most traditional markets located at the heart of the city. This old market in located just one block away from one block away from Monivong Boulevard, one of the main avenues and shopping centers in the city. The market is housed at a closed, big square. The structure, painted with white and blue feature many colorful knickknacks. 


A huge array of foodstuffs is sold including the wet market with vegetables, fresh meat, poultry and a wide variety of seafood. The range of household items include utensil, cutlery, crockery, dinner set, bed sheets and soft furnishing. In Phnom Penh Orussey Market you can shop for electronics goods at a surprisingly cheaper rate. The range include video games, calculators, electronic watches, torch, radio and toys. Bargaining is allowed at the market. 


Psar Orussey, Phnom PenhPsar Orussey, Phnom Penh
Apart from Orussey Market, Phnom Penh there are several other markets in Phnom Penh. Those who have a taste of handicrafts and artifacts and want to buy something special must visit the markets located around Orussey Market including Russian Market and Central Market.





Camera Club Successes

May 04, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Last October I returned to the camera club world. I haven't been involved with camera clubs for many years because of work commitments, but I decided now the time was right. I joined Leicester Forest Photographic Society.

Camera Clubs are great places to share ideas and just talk photography. Leicester Forest PS have run an amazing program of speakers and competitions and I must say it has been a good choice to be involved with. 

The competitions have taken a bit of time to get used to, the images I take for clients and not the images that camera club judges seem to like, so it has been a bit of trial and error. The club runs a three layer system, Group A the Experienced, Group B the Intermediate and Group C the Beginners. I sent in some work at the beginning of the season and it was suggested I entered in Group B.

I submitted several images to start with with not much success, so back to the drawing board! But I found that the Judges of the competitions wanted to help everyone, their comments were brilliant and helpful ... and most of the time correct! There were things I didn't see in the images that I should have.

So I just kept on submitting and after a while I started getting some success.

It’s the real thingIt’s the real thingIt’s the real thing 1st Place

This image was entered into the colour print competition and was Awarded 1st Place. I was highly delighted. 

Then in March The Covid-19 Virus hit the world and everything stopped! But not quite, the competitions must go on, Leicester Forest PS are very lucky to have some Highly Skilled members who are also Judges, so everything became Digital Image submissions.

The next competition was Monochrome or Black and White. I submitted 2 entries.

Floating Village LifeFloating Village Life Floating Village Life was Awarded 2nd Place

Chiang Mai TempleChiang Mai Temple

Chiang Mai Temple was Awarded Highly Commended.

And then the final success of the year.

GabiGabi1st place Group B

Gabi in the Portrait Competition was Awarded 1st Place.

I am happy with the results for this year and now look to build on this success for next season, although we don't yet know at the time of writing this wether next season will be 'Virtual' meetings or the Real Thing.



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