Blog Family and Children Photography | Maureen Stuart Photography

seeing the speed...

I am in awe of J.K. Rowling.  

The world she has created in her Harry Potter books has captivated my children, to the extent that it is hardly worth going to the library for our middle son, as I have huge difficulty getting him to read anything which doesn't have Harry Potter in the title!

I read all the books myself this January and February to better understand the attraction.  The dark parts invaded my dreams, but the stories captivated me with their detail and character depth.  Even the vehicles have stories behind them, my favourite of which is the Knight bus.  In the film of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban this triple decker bus speeds through the streets of London and squeezes itself between cars to avoid traffic.  I really need a car that can do that!

The bus used in the film was created by combining three separate double decker buses and as a result wasn't able to go very fast.  So the film makers faced a problem, how do you make it look like it is travelling at lightning speed?  The answer is to slow down the reference time, that is, the speed of the other traffic.  So by getting the cars in the surrounding traffic to go as slow as they could and the bus to go as fast as it could, the film makers captured a speed difference which they were then able to increase even further in post production. 


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Your DSLR also has the power to do this.  You can slow down or speed up your reference time as you desire.  Your shutter speed dictates how long your shutter stays open and therefore how long your camera has to see the motion in front of it.  If you have a very fast shutter speed you will see a crystal clear image even if your subject is moving very fast.  Conversely if you use a slow shutter speed you will see the motion in the image even if your subject is moving relatively slowly.  This can magic images of your children like they have never seen before.


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Keep in mind:
- finding the best shutter speed to capture the motion will require a bit of experimentation and will depend on the activity
- slowing down your shutter speed will let more light into your camera so make sure to take that into account when exposing your image
 - if you shutter speed is too fast you won't be able to see the motion in the image, if it is too slow the blur will be so great that your subject will be unrecognisable
- you want the only blur in the photo to be motion blur so make sure you camera is held very steady ideally on a tripod.


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For once it was me that managed the magic and I didn't even need a wand! 


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daily routines...

When your partner isn't a morning person I think you inevitably end up doing more of the morning routine.  Truth be told in our house you end up doing almost all the jobs but you know what, I am ok with that, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.

Our morning routine still includes doing our daughter's hair, although at four she is starting to get frustrated with the lack of creativity in her hair dresser.  I feel that she is quite critical though, as I think my husband manages this quite well on top of everything else he does in the morning!

It is not that I am not a morning person, as one of my friends said to me it is just that I am not a person in the morning...

I love that Beth and Justin will now have this image to remind them of this routine in future years.

skipping is like a body's smile...

Mostly when I collect my daughter from her Montessori she skips home.  I feel like she is so full of happiness that she can’t contain it and the happiness causes her body to skip.  Since I said this to her and told her how happy it makes me to see her so happy, she has skipped even more.

Today she made me skip to school too. 

Luckily it isn’t far!

And we both started the day happy.

Obviously it is because of the days she cries the whole way home that I appreciate the skipping days!


Happy Mother’s Day

I wish you lots of happy little moments throughout the year with your children.

the best time to plant a tree...

‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second-best is now’
— Chinese Proverb

In photography terms the best time to start taking family portraits annually may have been when you started your family but the second best time is most definitely now.  Don't wait for the perfect weather, for your kids to be the perfect age, for you to be looking 'perfect' just take one.  The portraits don't need to be taken by a professional.  We choose our favourite family portrait each year and get it framed.  These portraits have been taken by friends, one of my midwives, a builder, my niece, a Santa elf, my remote control and some professionals.  

You will never regret taking a family portrait and you and your kids will have it for ever.  I treasure mine more than anything else I own.  

The first of these was taken by a friend and the last by one of the very friendly guys from City Building Supplies.  

Of course if you want help with a family portrait just give me a call!







When putting my children to bed at night, along with hugs and kisses, I sometimes whisper praise for something they have done during the day or I highlight some strength of character they have displayed in my last words to them.

I love the idea that their feeling of self-worth will be high while falling asleep and that the brain might assimilate and grow that feeling overnight.

More recently I have been thinking how lovely it would be to have a photo on the wall which shows them exhibiting a praiseworthy character trait…

like determination….


It would be like a whisper from me praising them every time they look at it. 

Now I just need a suitable image for each of them!

planning for grandkids...

My four year old daughter Beth asked me the other day what age she would be when she had kids. 'Very very grown up' was my answer! 

However this doesn't mean we can't start planning for their arrival.

This family did exactly that. The parents who are now very proud grand parents kept some of the children's favourite toys so that their grand children could also enjoy them.

I am off up to the attic now to squirrel away some of my kid's most played with toys for future generations :-)

No matter how old you are if a toddler hands you their ringing toy phone you answer it.