Local Christmas Gift Buying Guide

The nights are drawing in and there's wood smoke in the air, so it's time to start thinking about what gorgeous presents you can surprise loved ones with this Christmas. I've written a little local Christmas gift buying guide to give you a bit of inspiration. I've chosen some fabulous handmade crafts from local artists as well as some relaxing and fun experiences for those who are tricky to buy for. Here's my top ten ideas for you this Christmas.

1. Skratch Ceramics

I adore all of the products from this super talented local artist. Skratch Cermaics have a range of goodies on offer this Christmas, from gorgeous little key rings, bells and Christmas decorations to beautifully handmade vases and plaques. Follow Skratch Ceramics on Instagram to find out when the shop is open and when she'll be visiting local Christmas fairs too.

ceramics artist

2. Glass at the Spinney

As soon as I saw the creations from Glass at the Spinney pop up on my Instagram feed, I thought, wow! I love the stunning blue coloured glass she uses for her coasters and wave pieces. She has a fabulous range to choose from, including children's lamps, wall pieces, coasters and Christmas decorations. Visit her online shop and Instagram account to buy something special for your loved ones. Or maybe even a treat for yourself. I've got my eye on those coasters, so hands off! :)

fused glass

3. Orchard Facial Procedures

Is there anyone out there that would say no to a facial? Exactly. You can buy gift vouchers from the lovely Sarah, who runs Orchard Facial Procedures based in Ewenny. Visit her tranquil treatment room in the beautiful countryside and relax while she pampers you with the latest in facial technologies. She offers a wide range of  treatments and products, including Wrinkle Smoothing Injections with Botulinum Toxin-A, PRP Vampire Facials, Microneedling, Medical Facials and Chemical Peels. These treatments are aimed at achieving a natural looking result for her clients, to make them look and feel their absolute best. Contact Sarah to buy gift vouchers.

facial procedures

4. Ceri Gwen 

If you have a crafty friend then visit Ceri Gwen's online shop and buy some beautiful and vibrant fabrics, cut and sew kits, calendars, tea towels and even wallpaper. Her designs are simply gorgeous and bursting full of life and colour.

welsh crafts

5. Happy Days Vintage Homestore

I've had many a happy hour browsing around Happy Days Vintage Homestore in Cowbridge. There's a wealth of goodies in there - I recently bought a gorgeous sideboard from there which looks fabulous in my lounge. From curated furniture pieces to pretty jewelry there's bound to be something in there for you to buy for a loved one. There's also a lovely tea room for a shopping pit stop too.

vintage homestore cowbridge

6. Photography Training

Do you know a photography enthusiast that wants to get to know their camera better? If so, I have a range of training opportunities for everyone! Choose from the Beginners Photography Workshop for adults, the Young Photographers Workshop for teens or a tailored one to one session. Check out my website for all the details and dates for the workshops in 2020!

beginners photography training vouchers

7. Noble Grape

It's Christmas! So a celebratory drink is in order. Visit Noble Grape on Cowbridge High Street to browse their fantastic range of wines and spirits. I'm partial to a nice bit of Rioja and a G&T if anyone is interested. :)

8. Cobbles Kitchen

A regular haunt of mine, either on the way to or from the beach or just to meet friends for a coffee. I love the decor in there and there's loads of choice on the menu, including plenty of vegan & veggie options. You can buy gift vouchers from there - so treat a friend or family member to an afternoon tea or a lovely lunch.

afternoon tea vouchers

9. Hamper from Elephant and Bun

A hamper is the perfect gift for foodies. All hampers can be personalised so you can pick and choose from all the delicious goodies on offer and create something sumptuous and wonderful! Don't think that there's only food on offer at the Elephant and Bun deli though - they also have a range of gifts too. You can buy salad bowls, oil dispensers, salt pigs, garlic pots, olive bowls, jugs and herb pots and a small selection of kitchen pottery from Thythston near Porthcawl. They also stock wooden chopping boards, rolling pins, cheese-making kits and kits to cure bacon. So much to choose from!

10. Family photo shoot with Gemma Griffiths Photography

Yes, you guessed it! I'm finishing with a family photo shoot from yours truly. I offer relaxed and informal outdoor location photo sessions in South Wales. A gift voucher for a family shoot, includes the session fee, as well as a print and matching digital image. Help friends and family to capture their special moments with this gift. Have a browse through my family portfolio to see more of my work and look at my blog to see whole shoots too.

cardiff family photographer

Finally, to get you in the festive mood, don't forget about the wonderful Reindeer Parade in Cowbridge this year. It's on Sunday 24th November and there's a whole special shopping weekend planned in Cowbridge too, with the shops staying open late on Friday 22nd November and a Christmas Market on Saturday 23rd November. Find out more on the Visit Cowbridge Facebook page. If you've got any festive activities or extra special vendors you can recommend, comment below to share the love!

Gem x

 


Gift ideas from Gemma Griffiths Photography

Looking for some great gift ideas this Christmas? Don't want to waste your hard earned cash on trinkets, socks and scarves? Well, I've got some great ideas for Christmas gifts this year that will warm hearts and bring a smile to everyone's face!

Family Photo Session Gift Vouchers

First up, we've got the ultimate in thoughtfulness  - what could be better than gifting someone the opportunity to capture the love in their family? I have family photo shoot gift vouchers available that include a 1-2 hour location photo shoot in South Wales as well as a 10"x8" print and matching digital image. All for only £149!!!

Christmas gift voucherYou can order gift vouchers directly through my website and I'll pop the voucher in the post to you (or deliver if you're local) in a gorgeous little sparkly gift bag for you to wrap and pop under the tree. There's also the chance to add print credit vouchers to the session as well if you'd like to offer them the chance to buy extra prints or products.

Beginners Photography Training

Next up is a very special offering - the gift of learning. We all know someone who loves photography, they might have a DSLR camera but don't feel very confident with using it. Well, I've got the perfect solution. I've got two Beginners Photography Workshops coming up in 2019 - 19th January and 2nd February. The workshops are for adults who want to learn more about photography and how to use their DSLR. The groups are small and so there's plenty of opportunity for learning both theory and undertaking practical work during the session.

There's also the chance to book one to one sessions too! If you think a private session would be more beneficial, then you can book hourly sessions for bespoke training, tailored to the individuals needs. Book a one hour slot for some quick intensive learning or book two hours to include plenty of practical work.

So, that's Christmas sorted then! If you have any questions about the gift vouchers, please drop me a line and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Happy shopping!

Gem x


Photography lighting tips for parents!

Now that the weather is finally starting to improve, it's time to get out and about with your cameras! I've been offering beginners photography training in workshops and on a one to one basis for a few years now and I thought it would be helpful to write a blog post about light, with some helpful examples, using a very gorgeous model (yes, he's mine). Please excuse his facial expressions, I'm not sure what he was doing. The main aim of this blog post is to explain about the different types of outdoor light and most importantly, noticing the direction it is coming from and the effect this can have on your image.

Yesterday evening, it was lovely and sunny in the garden, so I knew I could get some great examples, of what to do and what NOT to do, when you're out and about.

The pictures below are what's known in photography circles as SOOC (straight out of camera). This means that I haven't edited them or changed anything at all. I've left them this way so that we can look at the light in the images and not worry about anything else.

First of all, I've taken a picture of my garden (please excuse the not very glamourous fuel tank in the background). I've taken this picture to show you that, outside, on a sunny day, you can see two types of light. Direct sunlight and open shade. If it's a sunny day, then you'll be able to see patches of open shade and patches of sunlight on the ground. In the photo, you can see that part of the garden is in direct sun and part is in shade (as the sun was setting behind the house). It's useful to notice these different types of light, you'll see why in a moment.

Photo of a boy with a ponytail standing in a garden

So, first of all, I'm going to put my subject in the bright sunshine. You might think this is a good idea, because it's a sunny day and it's nice and light. However, as soon as you do this, you'll notice a problem. First of all, your subject will start squinting and possibly crying and start to cover their eyes. See exhibit A (I didn't tell him to do that, it's just what happens!):

Photo of a boy with hands on his face

Next, after you've shouted at your subject, you can try and get them to look at you, if only for a few seconds. The problem with this, is that they'll be squinting and there will be some very harsh shadows on their face, eye sockets and under their chin.

Photo of a boy with a ponytailI then decided to save my son's eyesight and place him in the patch of open shade, just a few inches to his right. In this light, he can look at the camera and there's no harsh lines or contrast on his face. Better already!

Photo of a boy with a ponytail

So, open shade looks like a better bet in these conditions for getting a properly exposed image without causing pain and squinting to our subjects. It's a win win. When you're out with the kids and want to take a picture of them together or on their own. Have a look around to see if you can see some patches of open shade. They could be right next to where you're standing, so it could be just a case of asking them to move over a little bit, so that you can take a picture without harsh shadows.

Now, anyone that's been on one of my courses will have been introduced to the exposure compensation button - the little plus/minus square you can see on the back of your camera. I love seeing the reaction of students when they use this for the first time, because it can make such a difference to your images. If you've no idea what I'm talking about, maybe it's time you signed up for some beginners training? Below you can see an example of the same image, but I've used the exposure compensation control to over expose the image (make it brighter). I may have overdone it a little bit, but you get the idea. He's still standing in the same place, in the same light, but I've upped the exposure a little to make the image brighter.

Photo of a boy with a ponytail

Next, I asked him to stand with the sun hitting him from the side. As you can see, this is total no no. One side of his face is too bright and the other side of his face is dark. There's lots of shadows and the whole image looks terrible. Please bear in mind, that although it's very easy to see the problem looking at this image, when you're out with the kids and there's lots of distractions, it's very easy to overlook this sort of thing and snap away, only to realise what you've done later on. Side light can be very harsh and something you should look out for.

Photo of a boy with a ponytail

What do you do if there is no open shade? Sometimes, you might be in the middle of a field or on the beach and there's no open shade available. You don't want the sun shining directly into your subjects eyes. You don't want the sun hitting them from the side, so what else can you do? You can put the sun BEHIND your subject. I'm not saying this is going to be a breeze, as there's problems associated with doing this, but sometimes you'll have no choice. The problems for you will be that the sun is now shining directly in YOUR face and consequently down your lens - this can cause something called lens flare (little blobs of light that go across your image) and can also cause your images to look a little 'hazy'. It all depends on where the sun is in the sky - the lower the better - as it will be less harsh. Here's an example of my son with the sun behind him (not sure why he's pulling that face). All in all, not too bad, there's some very light patches around his hair but I can see his face properly.

Photo of a boy with a ponytail

When using backlight, sometimes your subject can look a little dark and the background too light (especially if it's the sky) so I've over exposed this image a little bit, to show you the difference it can make. The light parts of the image have gone lighter (his hair is now very bright) but his face is also lighter.

Photo of a boy with a ponytail

To conclude, it is really important to start to notice the light, particularly what direction it's coming from. Even on a cloudy day, the direction of the sunlight will make a difference to your images. Photographers love a nice soft light, which happens first thing in the morning (I'm talking sunrise here) or as the sun is setting. At these times, known as Golden Hour, the light is softer and shadows less harsh. For parents with little ones, golden hour is probably not the best time of day at all for taking photos, so it's handy to know some quick tips about using open shade and backlight instead. There's lots more to learn about light of course but I thought this little taster lesson might come in handy!

I'd love to see some examples of your images - why not share on my Facebook page. Have you taken a great backlit image, or can you show an example of terrible side light, that you didn't notice at the time?

Want to learn more about photography? I offer a selection of workshops for adults and teenagers as well as one to one training. See my training pages for more information.

 


Beginner Photography Workshops in the Vale of Glamorgan

"Thoroughly enjoyable and informative camera workshop. Feel like I've learnt a lot." Kirsten

"I now know so much about my camera and things to think about when taking photos. Thank you so much, very enjoyable" Jill

"Pitched just right and had fun. Learnt a lot and feel much more confident." Rachel

"Thank you Gemma, feel much more positive about using my precious camera. Excellent." Menna

Wow! What a busy weekend! On Saturday I held my Young Photographers Workshop with a bunch of very enthusiastic teenagers. They were up trees, down slides, hanging over walls and crawling around on the floor to get the perfect shot. I've had such a lot of interest from teenagers than I'm now offering an intermediate workshop for those that want to learn more technical skills. Keep your eyes peeled on my Training pages and Facebook page for more information on dates.

Then it was the turn of the adults and I held a fab Beginners Photography Workshop at my house in Colwinston. The weather was against us, but we didn't let it stop us and managed to practise all our technical skills in my conservatory instead of getting soaked. No chance of a group photo with this group though due to the downpour the minute we stepped outside! There was a fabulous group dynamic and I absolutely loved watching everyone helping each other and discussing all things photography. There were plenty of light bulb moments too - I love seeing the reaction from participants when they see the results they can get from taking control of their cameras.

There was some interest in learning some basic Photoshop skills, so I'll be offering some small (max 2 people) sessions to help people get going with Photoshop. Keep your eyes peeled on my website and social media platforms for more info. Also, don't forget that you can sign up to my newsletter to keep in touch and find out about my latest offers, competitions, workshops and pop up mini sessions. You can sign up by going to my homepage - scroll down to the bottom and pop your email address in the sign up box.

In the meantime, here's some budding photographers in action in and around Colwinston....

Gem x

Girl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkBoy taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkboy taking a photo in a park ColwinstonPhotography workshop CowbridgeGirl taking a photo in a parkBoy taking a photo in a park ColwinstonGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkYoung Photographers Workshop with Gemma Griffiths Photography Group PhotoMan taking photo on photography training courseWoman taking photo on photography training courseWoman taking photo on photography training courseWoman taking photo on photography training course


Photography training course for teenagers!

Photography Training Course Cardiff

 

“Thanks! The experience was really enjoyable. I learnt everything I wanted to and more.” Paige

“Absolutely would recommend this workshop to friend. Enjoyed the experience, learned a lot.” Evan

“Was fun to talk to people who like photography.”

“It’s amazing, I enjoyed it." Lily

“I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.” Millie

The Young Photographers Workshop is photography training course for teenagers. I've been running the workshops for a year now and I love all the energy and creativity from the kids. It's really refreshing and a real eye opener to see what they are interested in and how they like to capture images.

We start off at my house in Colwinston near Cardiff and we discuss light and composition and then have a little quiz (any excuse to open the chocolates!).

Then we go out exploring. We go out as a group and take a walk down towards the village hall and park area. There's plenty of chances for them to photograph all the things we've discussed on the way there and then they all get tasks to complete to help them understand how to see the extraordinary in every day life.

The rapport in the group was wonderful, with everyone sharing the images that they've taken and encouraging each other.

If you'd like to book a place, you can do so directly through my website.

Here's a few images from workshops.

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