Getaway, Scotland, Meredith Hodge, Northwood photographer

Getaway to St. Andrews

Hello from Scotland, our weekend getaway to Leuchars!

My family and I are currently up in St. Andrews, Scotland visiting friends for a quick getaway this weekend.   We hopped on the Virgin train going up to Scotland from Kings Cross in London. If you don't know it just happens to be THE Harry Potter Kings Cross Station.  If you happen to ever book train tickets going out of London on a Friday afternoon, make sure you reserve seats....you don't want to end up spending the travel time of your getaway sitting on the floor of a train while people walk over you every other minute.  Lesson learned.  As a result of not reserving seats, we sat on the floor until we got to York.  That's a story all in itself.  We arrived in Leuchers around 730 and my very good friend Heidi was there waiting for us at the train station.

If you don't know, Heidi is the owner at Heidi Hayward - Northern Angel Photography and is one of my favorite people to talk shop with.  We've done countless photography events together.  From trainings to retreats and seminars, trade shows, you name it, if we are there, we are most likely together.  Since she recently moved up to Scotland a few weeks ago, I needed to pay her and the family a visit!  Our family loves a good weekend getaway.   I am so happy we've decided to come.

We went out to St Andrews today.   Once we parked we walked through the city centre down to the castle.  It still astonishes me to be in a castle, still standing from hundreds of years ago.  To think architecture from so long ago could withstand as much as it has. Well, I feel incredibly blessed to be surrounded with such rich history.  We made way our out of the castle walking down along the river Tay (the North Sea).  We took the kids down to the beach so they could play for a while.  Josh and I always try to carve out fun time for the kids when we travel.

Now, parents would agree that when you put kids on a beach, they are going to get wet.  It's only 2 degrees out and extremely windy here.  One can only imagine how cold the water is!  We were extra careful with the kids making sure they didn't have too much fun and "accidentally" fall in. Or purposefully jump in!  Chasing 5 children around and keeping them out of water on the beach is not an easy feat by any means.  Thankfully, they were really well behaved and we did not end up with any frozen, wet boys!

On the way home we stopped into Thai Teak's Tea Room for some tea and cake.  Everyone was frozen and hungry so hot drinks and food was next on our list.  To the person that recommended Thai Teak to Heidi, thank you.  It is a gorgeous tea room where you can see into the kitchen where they make the food from scratch.  The food was fresh and so good, you couldn't stop eating it!  I only wish I left more room for scones. They looked absolutely delicious.  We were so full by the end, I think we all needed a nap!  Back to the house  we put a movie on for the kids to hang out and relax.  Heidi and I had a wives Christmas party to go to, so we were ok with letting the husbands and the kids take it easy.

There was only a little time as we had to get ourselves together for the party once we had the kids settled.  However, the sun was coming down and I had asked Heidi if she wouldn't mind taking a few head shots for me.   When you are the one with the camera, it's not very often that you have your picture taken.  In fact, I rarely step on the other side of the lens, unless it's for a selfie! Hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do! It was a bit awkward standing there to be honest.  I always think I would like to have my picture taken. However, it's bit different when you have someone there doing it.  It gets awkward when someone is telling you "bend this, tilt that, or turn this way".  *I will keep that in mind the next time I'm out on location.*

So, without further adieu, here is my new headshot.    Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!  Check back to the blog soon to hear more about the trip!  Tomorrow is a day in Edinburgh and then back to England!

Headshot of Meredith Hodge, Northwood photographer
Thank you Heidi Hayward for making me look good!! ;)

 

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Little Miss Ava

A day in Amersham with this little beauty

I had the pleasure this week of getting to know little Ava out in Amersham. A sleepy little village outside of London,  Ava is a very spunky little four year old with the smarts and personality of someone much older.  Sure, she may be little, but that doesn’t stop her from doing and getting what she wants!  She has an older brother and sister, but she is definitely the one in charge in that house.

This past week we went for a walk out in Amersham near her home and were able to visit a neighboring farm to take her photos during the golden hour.    She had just gotten home from her first day of reception and was really excited to tell me all about her new school and her new best friend – even if she couldn’t remember her name!  She loved giving me all kinds of over exaggerated modeling poses, which I couldn’t help but laugh at.  Are all little girls that dramatic?  I am a mom of boys, and a sister of three brothers. I never had the experience of living with a little girl.  Even with all of the “Top Model”  poses and kissy faces, the camera plain and simply loved her.

The holiday season is upon us!

The month of November is usually a busy one for everyone, especially for photographers. Holidays are coming up, families are coming to town, there’s food to be made and cleaning to be done! Don’t forget this is the best time of year to update the family photos on your walls. The leaves are quickly falling off of the trees, so if you want those beautiful reds and yellows as your backdrop, now is the time.  Did you know by the end of the month here in England, the sun will have set by 3:55 in the afternoon?  It’s so strange to me. I am not ready to wrap my head around it being dark so early.  I am looking forward to winter though!

Light and Love,
Meredith


Tips for taking pictures - with your phone!

After a debacle with some unnamed gentleman taking a group photo recently, I decided to try and pull some tips together for people who want to take better pictures with their phones! I am a selfie queen, I can almost always get everyone into one shot. However, I wanted to give you something better than "angle the phone up high and angle it to get everyone in", so I got in touch with my dear friend Nicky Maxey of Maxey Images and asked her what she would tell someone looking to get better phone pictures. Nicky takes incredible pictures with her phone, and had some great tips to share with you. Follow Nicky on Facebook and Instagram here!

https://facebook.com/maxeyimages/
https://www.instagram.com/maxey_images/

Nicky tells us:

The first thing I would tell someone would be to just snap away, if you like what you see, then take a picture. Just like with any camera, if you don't take it you won't ever know how it could turn out.

Don't over do the zoom - the camera on your phone doesn't zoom too well. Your photos will come out pixelated and won't look right. Get closer if you can, or just take it wide. The quality will be much better.

Find a good editing App and find your own style with it. Play around with your photo. Adjust the brightness or the vibrance. Try the radial filters or go black and white! Most good App's will still leave you with the original photo, so even if you hate your edit you can have another go!

If you want to turn your life of taking pictures into a small business then become active on social media. Instagram is brilliant for photography, follow the big Hubs, hashtags are important, more people will see your work. If you # a big Hub like @explore_britain , @photosofbritain etc if they like your work they can re-feature your work and you will get more followers, put a link to a Facebook page, a Facebook page for your photos. There are quite a few hubs that arrange Instagram meets check out @igersbristol @igersbath @igersoxford, they arrange meet ups for people to get together and take photos, normally with a lunch somewhere lovely. A chance to make new friends and explore new areas. Ive made some really good friends through Instagram.

The most important thing is take the photo..... don't miss the world around you!


Family photographer in Chesapeake

The Benders

There are times when I feel like I’m on top of the world. Looking at the photos from this session puts me right there. The Benders were celebrating Parker’s first birthday and I feel so blessed to be able to help them capture the memories of the day! It wasn’t without challenge though. We had booked this session months ago, and with the lovely weather here in London this time of year, you never quite know what it is going to be like from one hour to the next. It had been drizzling all morning, and it was not looking pretty the morning of. We finally decided to go for it, and I am so glad we did!

When we all met up at Chorleywood Commons, the weather was still looming about, but within minutes it was completely unnoticeable. No rain, no mist, and the sun even peeked its head out for a few minutes giving their photos a beautiful warmth to them. Parker and Caroline were complete angels and just loved running around outside. I absolutely loved working with this family and am so happy they love their photos as much as I do!

Check out some of their photos below!


Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

So many things have been happening lately. I have made the decision to rebrand the business and relaunch it under my own name. I love having hodgepodge as the name, I thought it was cute and quirky, like me! However, I found that people who did not know my name, did not understand the correlation between me and my brand. For those of you that still don’t, my surname is Hodge ;).

My first big announcement is the launch of my new Introduction to Photography course! This course is going to be great for mums and dads with a camera, that want to learn more about how their camera works. I know when I got my first real camera (and second, and third) I kept telling myself I was going to figure out what all of those settings on the dial were for. It took me a lot of research on my own and some help from a good friend, to really begin figure out what I was doing. Thank you Jean. If you read this, I hope you know you’re a star. This course is in the works and should be ready to move into a permanent residence with Meredith Hodge Photography in the next few weeks! What I would ideally like to accomplish with this would be to help others develop their love for their camera and really see how it can work for them!

My next big announcement will be a Christmas announcement, and while most photographers I know are all ready doing their Christmas sessions, I have been busy with the rebranding and the relaunching of the website, my clients, and traveling! Even now as I am posting this, I am in Bosnia, visiting with friends.

I am really excited in the direction that things are moving for the business, and I can’t wait to get all of my ideas out to you!!

Light and love!
Meredith


Why hire a professional photographer

Why Hire a Professional Photographer?

 

With the digital age in its prime, everyone has a camera on their cell phone. Why would you want to hire a photographer if you can just snap away yourself?

There are so many different answers to that question, I'll go through just a few of them.

But first "Let me take a selfie!". I don't know about you, but I am typically not in the picture.  Unless I impose on a random stranger walking by to take it. Do you ever walk around with your phone or your camera and realize that you have tons of pictures of your kids, but not any with you and your kids? Me too. In fact, I rarely have my pictures taken with my kids, (unless we're taking selfies!). I sometimes hope that one day my husband will catch the shutter-bug and start snapping away at us!

Seriously though, I would say one of the more important reasons to hire a photographer is that most photogs spend a lot of time and money of training in the art of capturing a moment. A fresh newborn, A child's laugh, the love of a parent, a secret between friends-your photographer has had actual training (hopefully) in not only creating a moment, but using light, aperture, post processing, & editing to help create a lasting one. Your photographer has invested in a camera that will take high quality images. Then will spend a decent amount time editing those images of your family.  They want tomake sure your image is perfect so that you can have it displayed as beautiful wall art. While you can get beautiful pictures on your cell phone, the resolution of the pictures would very grainy if you wanted them enlarged. Additionally, your photographer uses a professional lab when it comes to printing your products, and while you maybe able to get them printed at Tesco or Asda (Giant or Walmart for my US friends reading this), you are paying for quality you can trust. You just spent good money for quality pictures, why cheapen them by going to Asda? When you do go with a bargain site, you may get a decent print, your photographer has chosen a quality photolab and calibrated their screens to the labs output. I'll write more on this topic later.

And if nothing else, you deserve it! You really do!

If you need help finding one in your area, let me know, and I can help find one for you!

Love and light!