Christmas mini sessions at the Festive Family Market

The weather may have been against me but I had the most amazing time at Derby’s Festive Family Market!

After nervously checking the forecast for weeks beforehand, the morning arrived without a drop of rain in sight. Perfect! Or so I thought, until I found myself literally tying my props down to stop them from blowing away!

I’ve loved the concept of the Mama Meet & Market since I attended the very first one over eighteen months ago. So when blogger and event organiser Ainsley of Life with Oaks & Olive agreed to my idea of having a styled, outdoor photography area, I knew I had to pull something amazing out of the bag.

And…I think I did - but that’s all down to the amazing clients who were brave enough to book their sessions with me. My aim was to bring something a little different to the standard children’s portrait shoot; using natural light, an outdoor background and genuine props (no fake Christmas trees or studio backdrops here) I hoped to create images that were as timeless and beautiful as my little models themselves. I was very kindly supported with the most amazing fairy lights from Lights4Fun which gave the images the perfect twinkly background.

My biggest worry was that parents who were perhaps used to those indoor portrait sessions wouldn’t “get” it - but they all did!

Beautiful baby Woody with his mama Lucy; I captured this shot after the ‘official’ session was over but it turned out to be my favourite image!

Beautiful baby Woody with his mama Lucy; I captured this shot after the ‘official’ session was over but it turned out to be my favourite image!

I met babies in exquisitley handmade outfits, matchy-matchy siblings, a couple of pairs of hilarious little girlfriends and parents who were happy to get in the frame too, to name but a few. I loved meeting everyone (& squeezing some of those gorgeous babies!). It was bitterly cold, especially for some of my tinier customers, and I certainly had to work harder than usual to get the right images. The wind caused quite a few watery and teary eyes, and a couple of sessions had to be postponed until later in the day when my models were a little less grumpy. The realities of an outdoor shoot in the UK, in December, certainly hit home but I can’t thank the parents and grandparents who came to see me enough - from running and jumping around, adjusting hats and gloves and bribing with cookies - you helped me to get some smiley (or at least happier!) faces.

All of my clients received their digital images last week, and Christmas card orders have despatched today, so I’m very happy that I’ve created some unique and beautiful images not just for the families who came to the mini sessions but for the friends and families who will be receiving their cards and gifts at Christmas too. I’ve had lovely feedback, which really does mean the world to me.

I could cry, they are so beautiful. You have a real talent!

So, would I do it all again? Absolutely! I learned a lot, and I would love to be able to put my ideas into practice next Christmas with a new-and-improved set, more props and a few more bad weather contingency plans!


Did you come to the market and have a mini shoot? Or would you like to come next year? I’d love to hear from you! Drop me an email or leave me a comment below.

For now though, here are just a few of my favourite images from the day. If you’d like to read more about the Festive Family Market, or find out when the next event is, you can find all the information here.