Tag Archives: west london photographer

Fun Family Photography in West London

Fun family photography is not easy to come by if you are only looking for a family portrait session. Adding the documentary approach to my lifestyle photo sessions allows my clients to have a taste of all the amazing benefits that documentary photography can do to enrich their family albums. Unposed moments, real emotions and authentic connection are all captured.

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Fun Family Photography in London

This lovely and joyful family were leaving soon to New Zealand, and they wanted to capture their home before leaving. This was the perfect moment to make photographs to remember forever, not only beautiful portraits by their doorstep but also the sweet in-between moments, their daughters’ interactions and of course their lovely home. I always love to incorporate my client’s home in the family photoshoots. It’s the place where they are often the most comfortable, and it’s reflected in the relaxed, real-life, documentary imagery.

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If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of sessions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

I hope you like this lifestyle family photography session where I incorporated a documentary approach. If you would like to know more about Documentary Family Photography check it here. I am a proud member of the Documentary Family Photographers Association.

West London Fun Family Photography

I’m Ana Ruivo – an award-winning London family photographer. Since 2013 I have photographed hundreds of clients from all over the world, all the UK and the USA Spain, France, Portugal, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UAE and Hong Kong.

My view of documentary family photography is that it is unscripted, unposed, and records what happens naturally. I’ll come to your home, or meet you at the park or at brunch, wherever you choose, and just take photos as you and your family or friends interact just as you would on a day when a photographer was not present. I will not ask you to pose, sit still, “say cheese”, or pretend anything. There is no pretending, this is your life, documented. Let the kids be kids, Dad do his thing, and Mum just enjoy the experience.

I want these photos to capture the true essence of your family, your relationships, the stage of your life you are currently experiencing. I want it to be real, in all its tantrum-ing, messy, teary, silly, beautiful glory. I want to capture this chapter in your story so that you can look and remember exactly how it looked and felt at this very moment.

Your family has a story, many stories actually to tell, and I believe they should be preserved.

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    5 ways to celebrate International Women’s Day with your daughter

    The 8th of March is regarded around the world as International Women’s Day. It’s the day when we celebrate the accomplishments, both big and small, of women worldwide and a perfect day to celebrate with your daughter. 

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    Whether you want to teach her about her self-worth or the value of other women out there in the world, here are five activities you can do with your daughter to celebrate International Women’s Day.

    1. Watch a movie about a strong female lead.

    There are TONS of movies out there showcasing a strong female lead. If you’re having trouble finding some kid-friendly ones, try these: Mulan, Madeline, Alice in Wonderland, Akeelah and the Bee. Not only are they kid-friendly, but it gives you an excellent opportunity to talk with your daughter about the importance the female character played in the movie and introduce her to this internationally celebrated day. 

    2. Attend an event (even online)

    Take your daughter to an exhibition of a female artist; attend an event in your area for International Women’s Day; take her to a festival or a play at the local theatre. Check on the International Women’s Day website to find an event near you. 

    3. Read books

    One of the best ways to educate and spark conversations with your kids is to read books. Fortunately, there are thousands of books out there written by incredible female authors or about strong women, so your choices are far from limited. To help you narrow it down, School Run found the best girl-empowering books for kids

    4. Learn and do

    Pick a strong woman that inspires you and teach your daughter about her. If she was a painter like Georgia O’Keefe or Frida Khalo, learn about her painting style and mimic it. If she is a gymnast like Simone Biles, take your daughter to a gymnastics lesson or have one in your living room better yet. If she is a tennis player like Serena Williams, watch a few videos about her and then head out to the courts to play a few games yourself. There are so many incredible women with incredible talents. Take today to celebrate those women and try something new. 

    5. Say, “Thank you”.

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    Pick a special woman in your or your child’s life to celebrate. It can be a grandmother, a teacher, a coach, a neighbour, or a lunch lady. Every woman deserves to be celebrated today, and there are a few who deserve a little something extra. So, write her a card, take her out to lunch, buy her flowers, or anything else you can think of that would make her feel special and loved. Most importantly, make sure she knows why she’s being celebrated.

    Regardless of how you choose to celebrate today, make it a point to educate your daughter on women’s vital role in our world’s history. Not only does she need to realize the importance of female contributions, but she needs to see that she is essential and she can make a difference in this world. After all, our kids are the ones who will grow and transform our nation one day. So, let’s do our part and educate them on this International Women’s Day.

    A smart woman learns from her failure, smiles during her lows and grows stronger when faced with challenges. You are one of them. Happy Women’s Day!

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      The difference between lifestyle and documentary photography

      Ever asked yourself what’s so different about these weird words – “Lifestyle photography” and “documentary photography?”

      How do you know what you want or what to ask a photographer when you’re looking to book a session? These terms are often used reciprocally because on a surface level; both are used to describe images that look relaxed and natural. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

      Let’s pull these terms apart and break down the difference between the two.

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      LIFESTYLE IS: Lifestyle sessions produce photos through orchestrated light, location, space, wardrobe, and engagement to capture a beautiful, candid moment. They allow families to look their best and demonstrate a family dynamic when they are their most happy and their most “together.”

      THE BIGGEST DIFFERENTIATING FACTOR TO LIFESTYLE PHOTOS IS THAT THEY DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PHOTOGRAPHER HAS GIVEN SOME DIRECTION ALONG THE WAY.

      They are not traditionally posed or placed, as in the studio experience of “stand here, tilt your chin a bit, dip your shoulder…” but subjects are guided merely into place and given prompts/direction to facilitate movement and interaction.
      One common misconception is that merely because a session takes place outside, it’s “lifestyle.” But it’s not a prerequisite to being outside – in fact, my newborn sessions are typically lifestyle in nature, but all take place in the home. It’s all about the casual approach and direction over posing.

      TO BE CLEAR, IT IS NOT THAT THE MOMENTS ARE FAKE BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT- A GOOD LIFESTYLE SESSION SHOWS PERSONALITY, CONNECTION, AND GENUINE EXPRESSION.

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      DOCUMENTARY IS: Rooted in the methods of photojournalism, documentary sessions produce photos with no photographer interference. Nothing is moved or touched in the scene, the subjects are not directed, the light not altered, and the post-production is minimal (no skin retouching, objects removed in photoshop, etc.).

      THE PHOTOGRAPHER FOCUSES SOLELY ON THE MOMENTS UNFOLDING AND CAPTURING THEM ARTISTICALLY BY USING ANGLES, COMPOSITION, AND FOCUS TO TELL A PARTICULAR STORY WITH DETAIL AND DEPTH.

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      Where objects may have been considered “clutter” and moved, or lightly considered too dark in a lifestyle session, an excellent documentary photographer includes and utilise these aspects in the frame intentionally because they add to the authentic story. These sessions focus on the emotion over appearance. They feature meaningful environments and details that often go overlooked but are iconic for documenting a time/place/or stage in life. The blankie before it is torn to shreds, the pancake recipe you used every Saturday morning, the way you made your coffee, tickled a child, the games you played and stores you visited.

      WHILE A SERIES OF ACTIVITIES IS  PLANNED, THE SUBJECTS AREN’T BEING DIRECTED IN ANY WAY TO ACHIEVE A PARTICULAR RESULT OR EMOTION.

      Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography Notting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo PhotographyNotting Hill London Documentary Family Photographer - Ana Ruivo Photography

      THE VERDICT: Neither type is better than the other. I shoot for both and believe there is a place for both. It all depends on your goals for the images and personal preference. Often people assume they want a lifestyle session – it’s what we see all over Pinterest and what’s most popular right now for showing joy, laughter, happiness, and overall, just your family at their best in a particular stage of life (clean, smiling, happy!) Who doesn’t love that?! But I also believe that in 30 years when our kids are graduating, getting jobs,  moving on to start families of their own – they’ll long for images that show them the intricacies of their childhood. Pictures beyond the selfie or the obligatory first day of school on the front porch photo, but the kind that acts as a reminder of the reality that shaped them.

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      WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK FROM A LIFESTYLE OR DOCUMENTARY SESSION?
      WHAT KINDS OF IMAGES DRAW YOU IN?

      If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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        Kid’s birthday party at Hogwarts London – Harry Potter theme

         

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        We are approaching World Book Day with much enthusiasm in our house, and this Harry Potter theme party just sparkled the child in me! I remember diving into J. K. Rowling books for hours in a row until late at night when I was a teenager, and it’s a joy to see even today these storybooks are still much loved. Notorious kids did a fantastic job transforming the Home House club in the most magical place. Nothing more than Hogwarts wizard school for a 9-year-old fan of Harry Potter books. Every detail was outstanding!

         


        If you are having a party soon and you would like to have it documented, or if you have any questions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.
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          London Maternity Documentary Photoshoot – what it’s all about

          Nine months are flying by at an incredible rate.
          Even though you can only sleep with a minimum of 5 pillows and bread is your main food group, something about the work inside your body right now makes you feel like a rockstar. And you want to remember it.
          Maternity photos used to be so unusual, now they are trendy, and because of that, there’s this huge misconception surrounding maternity sessions – what they’re supposed to look like, how you’re supposed to dress, blah blah.

          We’ve been conditioned, slowly but surely, to believe that a maternity session is a right of passage when you get pregnant. We follow this cookie cutter model and curl our hair and buy a new dress and imagine the romantic, backlit glow.
          These photos are lovely, and yes, it feels darn good to get dressed up and honour the beauty in pregnancy. You and your baby will never be one like this again, and it’s honestly an awesome thing to celebrate that by getting in front of the camera in general, no matter how you choose.

          But I want to challenge you to take it a step further and think about what is it you truly want to “capture?”

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          If you think about, I mean what’s unique and why you want to do a maternity session, I think you’ll realise that –
          This photo session is not about the baby growing inside your belly…

          …It’s about capturing the world and the people he or she is about to meet on the outside.

          It’s not about staring at your belly button.
          It’s not about a perfect flowing gown.
          It’s not about the stunning, scenic location.
          It’s not about the wooden blocks spelling his name.

          BECAUSE YOU, BEAUTIFUL MUM, ARE MORE THAN HOW YOU LOOK.

          Those things are beautiful, they’re fun, but they don’t capture anything you can’t flip through Pinterest and see a million other examples. And isn’t capturing truth and memories kind of the point?

          If you want to “capture this season,” we’ll need more than cheeky props and perfect light.
          You need the patience, the preparation, the hugs, the simplicity, the habits. Your STORY is what will make your maternity session special.

          Take a look at this one. There are no words to describe the connection between this family has already forged, and I know for sure that it will grow so beautifully.

           

           

          If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

           

           

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          Pink Dream 1st Birthday Party

          It’s fascinating and an honour to see so many beautiful parties put together with so much care and love from talented people.

          Notorious Kids beautifully prepared this party; a fantastic team specialised in bespoke luxury events. The party was set in the fabulous The Lanesborough perfect for a princess! See for yourself!

           

           

           

          If you are having a party soon and you would like to have it documented, or if you have any questions, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

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            Snapshots of our month – Winter Sun

            Wow, I can’t believe we are almost at the end of January, and I just finished to edit my Christmas pics =) As soon as I got back, it’s been non-stop with newborn photo shoots and birthday parties.

            We had a lovely break in Portugal to spend time with our family, a little bit of sunshine and a much-needed pause from social media.

            These are just some snap-shots of our holiday between the crispy sunny days by the sea and lovely warm winter days in Alentejo. If you pass in Evora city in Portugal, make a visit to Convento do Espinheiro hotel, visit the beautiful University of Evora and the Herdade do Esporao wine caves.

             


            And if it’s not too late…Happy New Year!

            =)

             

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              7 tips for taking pictures at the fun fair

              Deep-fried anything, scream-inducing rides, cotton candy and prizes larger than your head… the fun fair is here!

              London has multiple beautiful Christmas markets and fairs that you can choose for your children’s delight.

              I thought it would be fun to give some tips for those of you who will be braving the trip with your camera or even your mobile.

              1. Capture the anticipation.

              Funfairs may be a drain on most parents’ wallets, but it’s sure a lot of fun for kids! They are all very excited but when it comes the time sometimes they are doubtful… Make sure to capture that.

               

               

              2. Shoot in the daytime and at night, embrace all kind of light.

              Whenever I plan a trip to the fair, I get giddy for those nighttime shots with the Ferris wheel glowing and the dark sky contrasting against it. But don’t forget to bring your camera out during the day, too! The fun combination of the funky ride colours will look awesome next to the bright, blue sky.

               

              3. Play with your settings.

              Get brave and slow down your shutter speed for a fun effect with the fast-moving rides. Capturing movement at the fun fair, with rides moving in a number of different directions at the same time isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Use slow shutter speed and move your camera alongside with the movement to focus on one element in the frame but blur the rest out. It will most likely take you several attempts to get it right, so don’t despair!

               

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              4. Show the setting and shoot wide.

              It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of wide angle lenses (35 mm and less), and I adore getting the entire scene in the frame. Get a shot of your kids up high on a ride. The wide angle perspective will enhance how small your kids are next to the big, open sky.

               

              5. Capture the details.

              This is my norm with any session and any subject. But the fair has such a good story to tell, and not including the details is like leaving out half the book. Use the features to enhance your portraits. Get a shot of the sign with a picture of cotton candy, and then a frame with your kids stuffing this faces with pink fluff. It is so fun to see these shots side by side.

               

               

              6. Using interesting angles and perspectives.

              When I first got the fair this year, I became nervous because the rides were packed into such a small space, and I knew I wouldn’t be getting the shot of just the Ferris wheel on its own. I got creative, and wound up with shots that I love!

               

              7. Capture the emotions.

              Skip the posed “cheesy” shot and instead capture real emotions – and be sure to include the quieter moments too!

              Don’t forget to have fun!

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              If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

               

               

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                Eco-friendly gifts for this Christmas in London

                Let’s face it: your wife or husband doesn’t want another pair of socks or a bottle of perfume, or a new pair of slippers.
                What you really want is a “magical way to chill out and appreciate the little things” gift certificate. Maybe a “get out of a stressful situation for free” gift certificate. Or perhaps a “slow down and savour your children better” gift card.
                But last I saw, these were not available at the checkout of Waitrose (or anywhere else).

                No problem!

                London Christmas Family Photoshoot Ana Ruivo Photography

                In this day of ultra-consumerism and pressure to buy something – anything for the special people in our lives, the holidays leave us all daunted and exhausted by the expectations.
                And if you’re anything like me, you’re also feeling guilty about buying new stuff that your loved ones may not want, and may end up in the local charity shop by January.
                So while I can’t grant wishes, I can offer this gentle nudge to think beyond physical goods mass-produced in China and buy your loved one an experience that she/he likely wouldn’t make time for it. In the high-pressure world of parenting+work, it’s hard to give ourselves permission to take an afternoon off to do something whimsical, decadent, or just plain fun. Unless that priceless gift is bestowed upon us.

                Many of us chose to #optoutside on Black Friday, acknowledging that there are more important things in life than getting the best deal on a new iphone or Barbie dreamhouse. Why not keep riding that wave, ditch some of the Amazon-driven pressures this holiday season, and seize the opportunity to gift a memory instead?

                Here are some ideas to get you started:

                A MEMBERSHIP TO ANY OF THE AMAZING LONDON MUSEUMS.

                BECOME A FRIEND OF KEW GARDENS.

                as a family or gift to someone who loves nature.

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                A FUN, ONE-ON-ONE DATE WITH THAT TODDLER who’s a dream when not competing with older siblings.

                Let’s say Legoland or Natural History Museum, yes all those dinosaurs…

                LEARN A NEW CRAFT.

                Research shows that people who work creatively with their hands are happier and healthily endure stress than people who don’t. London has an immense and impressive artist community, with all manner of classes open to the public, from pottery to painting, ironwork to woodwork. You can give an art workshop for your loved one and for both of you to do together. Next year I am going to find a pottery class near me, and I am going back to my love for painting.

                SAVOUR YOUR CHILDREN.

                The kids are amazing, delightful, adorable, and changing so quickly. But 90% of the day is spent trying to get them to go play somewhere else; rushing them out the door, or explaining to them why drumming on the antique table with hammers is not acceptable.
                But on those rare occasions that you’re able to detach from the daily slog and really be with them, the balance shifts to that other 10% – when they’re sweet, connected, curious, and a joy.

                Granted I’m biased, but personally, I can’t think of a better way to show a mother or father that they are appreciated than through a gorgeous photo – or better yet a photo session – depicting their special, intimate relationship with the children.

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                A GORGEOUS FINE-ART PHOTO PRINT FOR THE WALL.

                It’s been my 2018 mission to replace the non-sentimental art pieces in our home with photographs of real scenes from our life. And you know what? Every time I walk by the photo of my daughters running and jumping through the waves in our favourite beach holiday I’m flooded with warmth and nostalgia. They say life is art, and who’s to say that shouldn’t include our personal, everyday stories? Every third website these days seems to be devoted to making wall art from photos, but beware: not all are created equal. Contact me for info on my own favourite masterful fine art prints.

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                A SHORT PHOTO SESSION.

                Capturing how beautifully you love your children and keep the family together. One of my favourite session types to photograph is a three-hour storytelling session, which captures the connection between parents and their little one(s). These sessions commonly span two hours, spent on daily tasks at home – laundry, homework, cooking, art, reading books – and are a beautiful way to bottle up the feeling and intensity of parenting through this specific chapter of childhood – whichever one you’re at.

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                A DAY IN THE LIFE PHOTO SESSION – I only do 12 days in the life sessions in 2019, and until the end of the year, I am offering 50% off on these sessions if you book by the end of the year. Slots limited to this offer. Contact me for details.

                 

                London Family Photographer -Ana Ruivo -Offer

                 

                 

                In the case, you really need to buy something physical take a look at these colourful and eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes from My Green Vibes. A fantastic project that I photographed this year. Laeticia, a mum and entrepreneur is set on the purpose to live with less plastic and she taught me that every little helps to reduce our plastic consumption and save our planet!

                Top of mind, this is my list. What would you add to yours?

                 

                 

                 

                 

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                  A Morning in the Life

                  Do you remember the morning kisses and snuggles?

                  For kids, there is nothing like the parents’ bed, a sanctuary of comfort, safety and love. I would sneak out of my room and enter my parents’ bed without them notice…well I thought that at the time, of course, my parents noticed! =)

                  My daughters are still in that phase. I usually wake up very early with little kisses on my hair, soft voices and a small body wrapping my head. Sometimes I am honoured to have a little foot on my face and angel hair in my mouth, but apart from that, it is usually a lovely moment to stop the clock and be there with my girls. It is just the best feeling of the world.

                  If you have little children and if they passed the phase they scream for you during the night, I can guarantee you this will be next, and it is so much worth it.

                  So happy for this family as they wanted to capture these first moments of their day. From the soft, sweet moment until the children are full speed. Say games, crafts, lunch and everything in between. This is the real life.

                   

                   

                   

                  If you want to give a family documentary session a try, or if you have any questions about these types of photo shoots, please drop me a note – I’d love to continue the conversation.

                   

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