ballet dancer in a river

Ballet Photo Shoots South Wales

A few years ago, I didn't know an arabesque from a jeté and then my son started ballet lessons. Now, I've fallen in love with ballet - the sheer beauty, grace and strength of it astounds me! I'm so happy to now be offering Ballet Photo Shoots in South Wales. I would LOVE to capture your love for dance and create images that you can keep forever. I've been a Cardiff family photographer for nearly 15 years and I'm very excited to be adding these sessions to my portfolio.

The images below feature the super talented Marla. She had a career as a ballet dancer and now runs her own business - The Polish Up Studio, alongside being a mum of two. We had so much fun during this session and kept shooting until it was dark when we reluctantly had to stop.

You can see images of my son taken during lockdown in my Lockdown Ballet Series over on the blog.

If you're a dancer and would like a personalised photo shoot, please get in touch! There's lots of outdoor locations to choose from - beaches, castles, town centres, gardens - the possibilities are endless!

 

Ballet Photo Shoots

Package:

£199

1 hour photo session

5 digital image and matching prints

Change of outfits

BOOK NOW

 

ballet dancer in a riverballet dancer in a riverballet photo shootsilhouette of a ballet dancerballet dancers feet in waterballet dancer in a riverballet dancer jumpingballet dancer in a castleballet dancer in a castleballet dancerballerinaballet dancer at sunset in a riverballet dancer jumping in a riverballet dancer in a castle

 

Ballet Photo Shoots

Package:

£199

1 hour photo session

5 digital image and matching prints

Change of outfits

BOOK NOW


Visit to Cornwall 2020

Cornwall is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

Find out more about my recent visit to Cornwall 2020 here...

We visit Cornwall every year with friends and stay in a campsite right next to the beach. This year however, things were a little different! Our usual campsite was closed due to the pandemic. Plus, our friends didn't fancy venturing away from home. So we decided to go it alone.

The plan was to book some self contained accommodation, take our own food and spend the days surfing on quiet beaches, avoiding people as much as possible. We decided not to visit our favourite town of St Ives as we knew it would be ridiculously busy but we weren't sure what the rest of Cornwall would be like.

If you're desperate to get away, like I was, then Cornwall is a great option. In spite of all the panic in the news about how busy it is, we found it fairly easy to avoid the crowds and have an amazing time.

There's lots of places to visit in the area, but as we were trying to be mindful of avoiding the crowds, we chose carefully. This is a very personal account based on our recent trip. Of course there will be lots of other places to visit that are quiet too! I've written them in the order in which we visited them - we had a week in the south with a caravan at Praa Sands and a week in a cottage near Wadebridge.

Here's a few places to visit if you want to get away from it all in Cornwall.

Praa Sands

Our first stop was, Praa Sands. We love the very south of Cornwall, the rugged beaches and blue turquoise waters are all absolutely fabulous. We booked a static caravan on a Hoeseasons site in Praa Sands. The site was perfect. It was quiet, close to the beach and with great facilities. We even managed to use the on site pool - which you could book in hourly slots, with a maximum of 6 people at a time, so we pretty much had it to ourselves. The bar was open and very quiet and we were able to sit outside and enjoy a pint of cider, whilst looking out at the ocean.

The beach at Praa Sands is a long stretch of golden sand, with crystal clear water. It was so quiet there but it also has lifeguards so we felt safe in the water. I'm not going lie - we found surfing there a bit tricky at times and not as easy as our usual beach at Gwithian. My daughters board nearly knocked me out at one point!

From Praa Sands, you can walk the South West coastal path - there's loads of fantastic walks to do and we enjoyed a 5 mile circular route along the coast. It was really quiet. We only saw a handful of people and enjoyed a picnic looking at the epic views (pretending to be waiting for Poldark - maybe that was just me).

Trelissick

We spent one afternoon mooching around the gorgeous National Trust property at Trelissick - you need to pre-book a slot online. The house isn't open at the moment but the gardens, cafe and shop are all open. It was very quiet when we visited (it was raining!).

Porthleven

Porthleven was our first foray into a busier location. There were quite a few people mooching around the pretty harbour, so we didn't stay long.

Kynance Cove

kynance cove

One of our favourite places in the area is Kynance Cove. It's simply stunning. Run by the National Trust, the sparkling turquoise waters make you feel like you're in Thailand (until you feel the temperature of the water!). The trick with Kynance Cover is to get there EARLY. Arrive by 9am and you should be able to park easily. It's also important to be aware of the tide times here as there's not much beach at high tide. We arrived as the tide was on it's way out, which was perfect timing as we knew we'd have a good few hours to play and relax there.

kynance cove

It was quiet when we first arrived on the beach and we had the sea to ourselves for a while but it quickly gets very busy there, with people streaming down the hillside all day long. We left in the early afternoon as we knew the tide was coming back in and it was getting busier and busier. There's a cafe, with outside seating and toilets too. There's a bit of a walk from the car park - with a few different routes. Some take longer than others but the views are amazing.

kynance cove

Gwithian beach

Gwithian is one of our favourite beaches as it's a brilliant place to surf and body board. The beach is massive so there's plenty of space to sit and not be near anyone. There's a National Trust car park at the far end of the beach but you need to get there early to get a space. There's also parking at The Rockpool Bar, which is next door to the National Trust car park. If you're looking for a tasty lunch or coffee and cake break, I can highly recommend the Hungry Horsebox on the beach.

Pedn Vounder

pedn vounder

I'm a bit torn about whether to post information about this place or not because I know it's a 'hidden treasure' and those that know about it don't like the word spread. However, I'm an adventurer at heart and when I first discovered Pedn Vounder beach online I knew I HAD to go there. I read all about it for years before actually going. I was very worried about the dangers and made sure that we were very well prepared. This little beach is truly magical. It's tucked away at the bottom of a rocky hillside on the rugged Cornish coastline. The water is a million different shades of blue and green and so transparent. From above, it looks like you're in the Caribbean.

pedn vounder

Before going to this beach, you must know these things. Firstly - check the tide times. There is NO BEACH there at high tide and you will get trapped if unprepared. Secondly, there are no life guards at this beach and dangerous rip currents. There's also no phone signal, so you'll need to be super duper careful in the water. Thirdly, although the walk from the car park at Treen is fairly easy, the final descent to the beach is tricky. The advice is to wear trainers and carry a rucksack, so that you have both hands free for the climb. Finally, it's a naturist beach, so be prepared for an eyeful. It was certainly an anatomy lesson for the kids!

pedn vounder

One more thing - please respect the beauty of the area and take all your rubbish home. I'd hate to think that this post might encourage people to go and cause damage to this glorious spot.

If visiting this beach sounds like a pain in the backside then you can still visit the beautiful beach next door - Porthcurno which has easy access!

pedn vounderPort Isaac

We knew Port Isaac was going to be busy as it's the filming location for Doc Martin, so we planned to nip there for a quick look around before having dinner in nearby Port Gaverne. It wasn't too bad but we didn't hang around for long. We'd booked a table at the Port Gaverne Restaurant and it was only our second time eating indoors since March. They had great social distancing policies and, as we were the first people there for the dinner service, it was really quiet.  The food was amazing too.

Porthcothan Bay

I'd spotted a picture of Porthcothan Bay on Instagram a few weeks before going to Cornwall, so I had it on my list as a place to visit. I'm so glad we did. It's a super pretty bay with gorgeous clear waters and loads of space to sit. The beach was quiet by Cornish standards and so we felt really safe. We ended up going there a few times to swim, surf and bodyboard. There are lifeguards there. There's also a lovely little café serving very tasty cakes and coffee (perfect after a couple of hours in the sea).

kynance cove

Wadebridge to Padstow on the Camel Trail

Every year when we visit Cornwall, we drive to Wadebridge and hire bikes so that we can cycle the Camel Trail to Padstow. There's a wonderful, flat, 5 mile cycle path with views over the estuary to Rock and Padstow. The bike hire places have changed their methods and make sure there's lots of social distancing and safety measures. We use Bridge Bike Hire. We took our own bike helmets (as advised) and the bikes were ready for us to collect when we arrived. The trail was much quieter this year and felt very safe. We stopped half way as usual for a cake / ice cream at the Atlantic Coast Express.

We were a bit worried that Padstow would be packed, so we'd planned to walk through and find a quiet place for a picnic. The town wasn't as busy as usual but there were still lots of people around. We walked through Padstow and headed out of town. There are great views over to Rock if you walk along the coast. We had our picnic looking out over the water. Having never been there, we decided to get the ferry across to Rock (masks and hand sanitizers at the ready) to have a look around. The beach was lovely. We had a drink at the sailing club before heading back to Padstow to get our bikes for the cycle home.

Lanhydrock

We booked a parking slot at the National Trust property of Lanhydrock and had the most glorious sunny day to explore the gorgeous gardens and woodlands there. The gardens, cycle paths and café are all open. The house and play area is closed. Once again it was pretty quiet, with plenty of space to sit and enjoy a picnic away from others. The café had very safe policies in place. They only allowed a few people in at a time to order food to take away or eat outside.

beach photographer

Polzeath

The town of Polzeath is just around the corner from Rock. We wanted to find a thick wetsuit for my son as he was freezing in his old thin wetsuit. We'd been advised to go to a wetsuit shop in Polzeath. Boy, it was BUSY! The car park was packed and the beach was rammed. We didn't spend very long there but managed to get a wetsuit! We then had lunch at The Pityme Inn which is part of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. It was fabulous (the Vegan burger was amazing!). If you're planning on eating out, you'll most probably have to pre-book a day or two in advance. We weren't very good at thinking ahead and so lots of the places that we tried were fully booked.

cornish beachBusier places...

Of course, there will be plenty of places in Cornwall that will be very very busy. It's probably best to avoid the big tourist towns like Bude, Newquay, Perranporth, Padstow and St Ives if you're looking for a quiet break.

But, if you venture a little off the beaten track, it's perfectly possible to find lovely quiet areas for a visit to Cornwall 2020.

 

I am a Cardiff family photographer, covering South Wales. I offer outdoor location family photo shoots and love the beach!

I'm fully booked for August and getting pretty booked up for September too, if you fancy an outdoor family photoshoot - get in touch.

Have a look at my portfolio and pricing pages.

Follow me on Instagram.

 


South Wales - Local Days Out

Easing out of lockdown - Local Days Out in South Wales

I don't know about you, but I'm finding the transition from lockdown to less of a lockdown a bit tricky. One minute I'm safely tucked up at home and the next minute, I can go shopping, play group sports and go out for dinner! The rules seem to be changing so quickly that I can't keep up.

Now that school is over (finally!), I've been thinking about local day trips that we can make as family, whilst still keeping to the current rules. As a Cardiff family photographer, I'm lucky to spend time with clients outside in lots of great locations, so I've got plenty of ideas!

I can't wait to get out and about and back to some of our favourite places.

So, here's my top 7 places that make great family local days out - without the crowds.

7 Local Days Out in South Wales (in no particular order)

southerndown beach local days out

1. Dyffryn Gardens

This place is a firm family favourite. We've been National Trust members for a few years now and so we regularly visit Dyffryn Gardens for a family picnic and stroll around the gardens. At the moment, you'll need to pre-book an arrival slot online. It's very straightforward. There's a one way system to get in and out of the gardens and it's so spacious, that there's loads of room for families to sit and enjoy the space without going near anyone else.

The shop and toilets are now open, so you can buy an ice cream and enjoy the peaceful views. Some of the smaller gardens and the play areas are closed right now but there's still plenty of space and things to see.

Here's a picture of my two, in the rain, when we visited last week.

dyffryn gardens

2. Porthcawl to Rest Bay

We do this a lot. We park at the quieter end of Porthcawl, usually in a residential street and then walk, scoot, skateboard or bike to Rest Bay. Once there, we'll enjoy a picnic or a swim in the sea. The lifeguards are now back on duty and more people are visiting the beach but as it's such a big space, there's plenty of room to find a quiet spot.

After the beach we normally head back to Porthcawl for an ice cream before going home. The shops and cafes are all now open and operating under social distancing rules. You can pop to Beales for some fish and chips or stop at one of the cafes on the esplanade for a coffee.

3. Three Cliffs Bay

The beaches in the Gower are some of my favourites in South Wales and this one is a stunner. We visited last weekend and it was glorious. There's a few different ways to get down to the beach. We found a random field, advertising parking and parked there but there's also official car parks, including one run by the National Trust. The beach is big and because it's not so straightforward to access, like it's neighbours, Langland Bay and Caswell Bay, it's quieter. Make sure you check the tides before you go though and be careful that you don't get cut off by one of the beach rivers that zig zag the bay. The walk from the car park is around a mile, so be prepared for a bit of a trek but it's worth it.

three cliffs bay local days outthree cliffs bay

4. Margam Park

You can lose a day in Margam Park. There's so many different parts that it can keep you occupied for hours. It's another family favourite of ours but we haven't been so far this year yet. It's now open from 10am-4.30pm. The toilets and cafe are open but the children's play area, castle, train and gift shop remain closed. They are restricting visitor numbers so it shouldn't be crowded.

family day out

5. Southerndown beach

A bit closer to home for us but I couldn't complete this list without mentioning my favourite local beach - Southerndown (Dunraven Bay). At the moment, the main car park on the beach remains closed but the car park at the top of the hill is open (£6 for any time longer than an hour, you can pay via your phone).

Due to the difficult parking situation the beach remains quieter than it's neighbour Ogmore and so it's a better option if you're looking for a socially distanced day out. Please be careful around the cliffs though. I've seen lots of people sitting underneath the rocks at the base of the cliffs and it's super dangerous. Rocks fall off the cliffs and you don't want to be there when they do.

There's also some lovely walks in the area. You can walk along the cliffs in both directions - heading towards Ogmore one way or Llantwit Major in the other direction. There's plenty of room up on the cliffs for a quiet family picnic. Just keep away from the edge. Probably not the best choice if you have small children or dogs.

southerndown beach local days out

6. Hensol Forest

A little hidden gem in the Vale. The forest is big but we usually follow the same path when we visit. We park in the car park near Welsh St Donats and do a figure of 8 around the forest. There's usually a few dog walkers and families around but it's peaceful and quiet most of the time.

hensol forest

7. Bryngarw Country Park

With over a 100 acres of parkland, there's loads of room to explore the area without bumping into anyone else. There's a pay and display car park and toilets available. The children's play area and cafe remain closed in July, but may re-open in August.

It's a fabulous location for a family photo shoot too - especially in the Autumn time. I love this image taken there on an Autumn shoot.

bryngarw country park

Do you have any more suggestions of local days out to add to the list? I'd love to hear from you with family day out ideas that avoid the crowds!

If you fancy a family photo shoot, there's lots of great locations that we can use, off the beaten track.

Get in touch to book your outdoor family shoot. You can see more of my work in my portfolios or follow me on Instagram for more recent shoots!

 


My lockdown highlights

Lockdown may have stopped me from shooting but I've still got some lockdown highlights to share with you!

Since the start of lockdown I've had to postpone so many client shoots. Family shoots, beach shoots, toddler group sessions, school class photos and commercial sessions. It was an abrupt end to what was gearing up to be a very busy Spring season. But, I've still been squirreling away behind the scenes. It took me a few weeks to get my camera back out again, after trying to establish some sort of homeschooling routine for my kids and worrying endlessly about running out of bread and tea bags.

I started doing some shoots with my children, at home and in the garden. You can see my sessions with my daughter in my blog post - Lockdown photos at home, and some with my son, in How to shoot your own lockdown images.

But that's not all I've been up to. I tend to share news and information on my Facebook and Instagram accounts but not so much on my blog. So, I thought I'd write a post to share my lockdown business highlights with you.

I've been a Cardiff family photographer and Cardiff business photographer for 14 years but I've only recently started to share my work with industry peers. I'm quite shy (although no one ever believes that I am!) and so it's a strange feeling submitting and sharing work to the wider world.

It's such an honour to have my work recognised and featured, both online and in print. See below for my business lockdown highlights!

Italian Vogue

The first bit of exciting news was that I had a couple of images published on Italian Vogue! It's something I've been trying to do for quite a while and lockdown gave me more time to get around to submitting them. I'm so happy that they accepted these client images, which are some of my favourites.

 

Italian Vogue beach imageItalian Vogue

JUNO Magazine

I also had an article and images featured in the latest edition of the fabulous JUNO Magazine. It's the second time I've been featured in the magazine and this article is all about how proud I am of my son, who is a ballet dancer, so it's even more special.

 

JUNO MagazineJUNO Magazine Feature

United Art Gallery

My images have been published on the United Art Gallery, which was set up to showcase COVID 19 related art from around the world. I was so happy when they contacted me and asked if they could feature some of my 'Lockdown Ballet' series of images. You can see the whole set in my Lockdown Ballet post. Visit the United Art Gallery website to see some amazing and inspiring work from artists from all over the world.

 

 

United Art Gallery

Shootproof blog

I was also contacted by Shootproof - an amazing company providing an online gallery platform to photographers around the world. They have the most amazing blog, which I read on a regular basis. They got in touch to say that they loved my personal branding work and that they'd like me to write an article to help other photographers start shooting personal branding images too. It was published online and emailed to all their contacts in May. You can read it on their website.

 

Personal branding photography

DIY Photography

DIY Photography also kindly published my Lockdown Ballet article, with tips to help shoot your own lockdown images at home.

DIY Photography blog

This Detailed Life

This Detailed Life is a new professional photography magazine to showcase artwork by photographers around the world, to educate and inform, and above all to inspire.  I'm very pleased to have had an image selected for publication in the first edition. The magazine is due out Summer 2020!

 

This Detailed Life

British Photography Awards

The British Photography Awards shared my COVID 19 Assignment on their social media pages.

First News

Even my son got in on the act and wrote a little article for First News, the award winning newspaper for children, which was published a few weeks ago.

 

First News

 

Coming up...

There's a few other things in the pipeline too that I won't mention just yet but I'll come back and add them to the blog when they are released!

What's next?

Well, I started shooting again a couple of weeks ago and I'm already fully booked for the month of June. But, I've just released my Summer Outdoor Mini Sessions from July-September. Book an outdoor location session for £199. Your package will include a one hour photo session, online password protected gallery and 5 digital images and matching prints.

In the meantime, here's a few images from my Garden Mini Shoots last week.

Cardiff family photographer


children garden photo shoot

Socially distanced family photo shoot

Your socially distanced family photo shoot

As a family photographer, based near Cardiff, I'm officially allowed to return to work. I'm allowed to meet up with one other family and so, is it time to pick up my camera bag and start shooting families again? Well, sort of. I've been thinking long and hard about how I can offer clients a socially distanced family photo shoot during these strange times.

I'm a stickler for the rules and so I want to make sure that it's as safe as possible to go back to working with family clients. I would not feel comfortable meeting families in a public place for a shoot. There are too many variables that I can't control (other people!).

So, I'm going to make some tentative steps towards going back to work in a safe and measured way.

I know that with my long lens, I can take photos at a distance of 2 metres, or further. I took the pictures below of my children, in my garden, at 2m away to illustrate the point.

With that in mind, as of this week, I'm offering very limited edition Front Garden Mini Sessions for the residents of Colwinston. There are 5 slots available initially. If there's interest in socially distanced family photo shoots, I may add more. I'll be giving 20% of the fee to the charity, 2 Wish Upon a Star, who provide bereavement support for families who have suddenly and traumatically lost a child or young adult aged 25 years and under.

I don't want to rush into a shooting frenzy and shoot multiple families in one day. It may take me longer but I only want to offer ONE mini shoot per day, to ensure maximum safety.

See below for all the details.

children garden photo shoot

How much is a Front Garden Mini Session?

I'm offering these mini sessions at a special introductory price of £60. This price may change in the future. The £60, includes a £12 donation to charity, your session and 3 digital images.

Can I buy more images?

Yes. You'll be sent a password protected online gallery of all your images. You can choose the three digital images included in your package and then add additional images, prints or products if you wish.

How do I book a Front Garden Mini Session?

If you're a resident of Colwinston and you'd like to book a socially distanced family photo shoot, please contact me via my website or email directly at gemma@gemmagriffithsphotography.co.uk. I will get in touch to let you know if there are spaces available and we can choose a date together.

Can I book a session if I don't live in Colwinston?

Initially, I'd like to start offering shoots in my village only. If the shoots are a success, I may roll them out to other villages too. Interested in a session? Please drop me a line and I'll add your name onto a waiting list. If I decide to extend the sessions, I'll be in touch and let you know.

What time will the session take place?

The best place for your shoot will be in an area of open shade. Once you've made a booking, we can chat over the phone to discuss the best time for the shoot to take place, depending on the chosen spot in your garden. It's likely to be early in the morning or later in the evening.

What safety measures will be in place?

I am only offering one shoot per day, so I'll come straight from my house (most likely on foot), with clean hands. I do own a mask but I won't be using one during the session as I'll need to direct you. I'll also bring a tape measure with me, to ensure that we're all aware of the 2 metre distance during the session. I will bring anti bacterial gel with me too. If you have young children, it's important to have a think about whether they are able to understand the 2 metre rule. If you don't think that they will be able to stay in a directed area, we'll need to discuss other options (holding them in your arms etc).

What shall we wear?

Don't worry about outfits, I will send advice once your session is booked.

Are you donating any of the money to charity?

Yes, I'll be donating 20% of the fee to the charity 2 Wish Upon a Star, who provide bereavement support for families who have suddenly and traumatically lost a child or young adult aged 25 years and under.

 

socially distanced family photo shoot

Follow me on Instagram to see what I've been up to during lockdown, or read my lockdown blogs - How to shoot your own lockdown images and Lockdown photos at home.

I'm looking forward to seeing you, from a safe distance soon!

Gemma Griffiths is a family photographer based near Cardiff. She works with families outdoors to create fresh natural images.