Why I love Autumn

Claire Williamson

Autumn is a dream time of year for photographers and I don’t think I fully appreciated it until I got into photography. It’s September now already and we’re starting to see the colours of the leaves turning and the landscape changing and I’m so excited to get out there again this autumn for some outdoor family sessions…

I’ve always loved spring/summer and the longer days it brings but long summer days mean you have to be out either very early or very late in the day to get the softer light and have to wait what feels like an age for golden hour each day (the hour before sunset that photographers love because the colour of the light changes).

As summer turns to autumn, the days get shorter and the sun lower. The light is softer even in the middle of the day so you can shoot later in the morning and early afternoon and still get beautiful soft light and ‘golden hour’ is much, much earlier!

The best thing about autumn though is the gorgeous colours it brings to the landscape. Greens turn to reds, oranges, yellows and even purples providing a beautiful backdrop and the ground is covered in leaves and conkers, perfect for children to kick about and play with.

As the weather turns colder, we need to wrap up warmer but autumn is perfect for showing off those wooly jumpers and hats and stomping around in wellies or boots.

I would recommend dressing in colours that contrast with the autumn colours in the background such as dark blue/navy, pinks, purples and neutrals and bring plenty of layers which can always be added or removed.

So if you are thinking of booking a family or children’s shoot then now is the perfect time! I shoot outside all year round but October is my all time favourite month for outdoor photography.

I can come to your home for some photos indoors as well as out, or we can choose a nearby location such as a local park or garden. Your photos will be ready in plenty of time for Christmas too so that you’ll have beautiful and unique gifts to give to family and friends this Christmas.

More details on my family and children’s portrait sessions can be found here. If you would like to find out more or to book, please just get in touch,

email claire@littleolives.co.uk or message me here

I look forward to hearing from you!

Family portrait session, Penshurst

Claire Williamson

So pleased to share with you some of my favourite images from this recent family photo session in Penshurst. These were taken on a lovely afternoon in late April. We were very lucky that day as it had rained earlier on but once we got started the sun came out and we had some gorgeous afternoon/evening light.

If you are thinking of having some family photos taken, the time of day makes all the difference. I always try to shoot early morning or late afternoon/evening as the light is so much better. As spring turns to summer, the days get longer and you have to adjust timings accordingly but usually the later in the day, the better!

I have known Jenny and her family since we moved to Penshurst and it was such a priviledge to photograph them all. Jenny wanted the photos taken while all the children were still at primary school as soon their eldest will be moving up to secondary. I have ordered lots of prints for them to display around their home. I do hope they will treasure these photos in years to come as all the children grow up.

If you are interested in booking a photo session with Little Olives Photography then please do get in touch. You can contact me here.

Capturing Memories - taking better photos while on holiday

Claire Williamson

I was so pleased to be asked to write a feature and provide a cover photo for the latest issue of the Parents’ Directory Tunbridge Wells. The Parents Directory is a familiar London publication that is now in it’s 25th year. Lucy Renton, editor of the North London Directory, has recently moved to our fabulous town and has now started the Tunbridge Wells title which she is currently editing alongside the North London version. This is now the second issue of the Tunbridge Wells Directory.

The publication is packed full of useful information and interesting articles for parents living in Tunbridge Wells and surrounding villages so look out for a copy when you are out and about!

I was delighted to provide the cover photo which was taken on a family shoot on a summer’s evening in Groombridge.

I was also asked to write a feature on taking better photos while on holiday. The article ‘Capturing Memories’ is below… do have a read and I hope you find it useful!

The photo below was taken on our summer holiday this time last year in Corfu and I already have fond memories of that holiday. Not long now until the school summer holidays come around again. I hope you have some lovely holiday plans this year and will be taking lots of photos to capture those special memories while you are away…

What to wear for a spring/summer photo session

Claire Williamson

Now spring is finally here (yay!) I thought I would put together some top tips on what to wear for a spring/summer shoot. Most people are unsure about what exactly to wear when they book a photo session so I always try to give some tips beforehand. It’s really worth putting in a bit of thought and effort before you come along to your session as the clothes, and in particular the colours you choose, can make all the difference to the final result.

Of course what you wear does come down to your individual style and it’s important not to stray too far away from what you or your children would usually wear, otherwise you won’t feel like yourselves. If in doubt, I always suggest bringing a couple of options and I can have a quick look at what you have brought before we start.

Summery outfits here in pretty patterns which work well together and contrast with the background


When it comes to deciding what the children are going to wear, there are no rules as such, but try to lean towards clothes which are more classic and timeless, which will help to ensure that the photos won’t look dated in a few years time

Try to avoid clothing with bold logos or children’s characters on (e.g. Disney’s Frozen!) or anything that is very in fashion at the moment.

It’s a good idea to bring layers for the children, you can always add them or take them off depending on the weather.

This girl looks adorable in stripes and her blue outfit contrasts nicely with the green grass and red balloons

Some suggestions for girls

  • Jeans
  • Tutu skirts
  • Classic dresses in neutral or pastel colours
  • Dresses with prints
  • Pretty cardigans
  • Leggings or knee high socks
  • Ballerina type shoes
  • Boots or wellies
  • Hats and hair accessories

Some suggestions for boys

  • Jeans or neutral coloured trousers
  • Solid t-shirt with an open shirt over it – the shirt can be plain or have a check/classic pattern in traditional colours
  • Converse style shoes or sailor shoes
  • Hats or a cap


Again, there is no right or wrong in terms of what you should wear and everyone will have their own individual style. Think spring/summer style and bring layers in case it is a bit chilly. For the mums – Jeans/trousers and a top or a dress/skirt are equally fine depending on what you prefer. If you usually wear make up then I would suggest putting some on 🙂

For the dads – jeans or trousers and a shirt, perhaps with a jumper to go over the top if needed, depending on the weather.

Choose spring/summer, white or neutral colours and the most important thing is to feel relaxed and comfortable.  If in doubt, bring a couple of options and we can take a look before we start.

Wellies and a little hair accessory – perfect! Layers for mum in case a it’s a bit chilly…

Colours and patterns

Colours are really key so try to give this some thought beforehand. Think spring/summer colours including both white and cream, which work well.

For girls you could have blues, pinks, purples as well as white and cream.

For boys, blue, white, beige, grey or other fairly neutral colours work well.

Please avoid wearing green as there will often be a lot of green in the background and also avoid black if possible.

Subtle patterns and checks are fine but avoid very strong patterns and bold prints.

Children don’t have to match each other, but here the white and subtle patterns complement each other really well.

Hair accessories just add a finishing touch. Here the colours in her hairband and blue cardigan contrast really well with the green in the background.

Mamas Meet Up with Clemmie Hooper, Mother of Daughters

Claire Williamson

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Clemmie Hooper, otherwise known as ‘Mother of Daughters’ at the recent Mamas Meet Up event in Tunbridge Wells organised by Laura and Natalie of Mum’s the Word.

Laura and Natalie started Mum’s the Word events just last year and it has been a phenomenal success, bringing together like-minded mamas with inspiring guest speakers to discuss everything from career to style, health and wellbeing. Whether you are expecting a baby, new to motherhood or even have grown up children, Mum’s the Word events are fun and inspiring and a great way to meet other local mums who may be working from home, starting a new venture or just looking for ideas and perhaps a new direction since having children.

Laura and Natalie invited Clemmie Hooper to speak at their recent Mamas Meet Up event on Friday 10th March at The Royal Wells Hotel, Tunbridge Wells to talk about her life, career and newly published book ‘How to Grow a Baby and Push it Out’. Clemmie works as a community midwife for the NHS as well as being mum to four daughters (two girls and a new set of baby twin girls!) She also writes her own blog Gas and Air and has a huge following on Instagram (@mother_of_daughters).

It was so wonderful to hear Clemmie speak in person about how she juggles her work as a midwife with bringing up four daughters and writing a book and hear her talk frankly on giving birth, motherhood/parenting and life in the spotlight as a very well known Insta-mum! After her talk she signed copies of her new book and stayed to chat to all the mamas and their children who had come to the event.

I think if you came you would agree that it was a brilliant, informative and very inspiring morning. Children’s toys and dressing up were provided by What About the Kids and balloons are by Pop Pop Papier. Here are some of my favourite photos from the morning. If you have an event that you would like photographed or are interested in booking a photo session with Little Olives Photography then do get in touch (claire@littleolives.co.uk) or use the contact form on my website. I look forward to hearing from you.

2016 in Seasons

Claire Williamson

Well Happy New Year everyone! It’s a chilly January day and it’s 2017 at last…the children are back at school and it’s time to reflect on the year that has been. 2016 will be remembered by most as the year we voted for Brexit and Trump(!) as well as the year we very sadly lost many talented musicians, artists and broadcasters. I still can’t believe the wonderful Sir Terry Wogan is no longer with us.

It was a tragic year in many ways but there were good things that happened too and I’m pleased to report that Little Olives Photography had a fantastic year. I’ve been busier than ever and had the pleasure of meeting and photographing so many new people over the course of 2016. I was trying to think how best to sum up the year and in the end I decided to present a selection of my favourite images as a collage for each season. Take a look at them below…

What struck me once I’d put together the collages, was the striking differences between the seasons – even more obvious than you would expect. I’ve only done a little basic editing on each of these images and done nothing to tweak the colours, so this is really how they were captured ‘in camera’ so to speak. As we progress through the seasons, not only do the colours of the leaves and foliage around us change, but the light changes as well. As a photographer I’m acutely aware of the changes in the light throughout the year and this of course affects the time of the day that it’s best to get out there with the camera. With longer days in spring and summer, it is best to be out either early in the morning or late afternoon/evening, whereas in autumn and winter the days are shorter and you can photograph later in the morning or early afternoon and still get lovely light. So if you’re thinking of getting some photographs done this year, you might find it interesting to look at the collages below and choose which season you prefer!

I specialise in photographing children and families, which I absolutely love doing and this year I met lots of new families through my photography which is definitely a highlight of the job for me as I love meeting people. In addition to this, I also work with other small businesses and in 2016 I worked with a number of local ‘mumpreneurs’, including Laura and Natalie of Mum’s the Word in Tunbridge Wells, Beatrix from Mytime pilates studio in Penshurst and Claudia of Purple Flour (handcrafted cakes and biscuits) providing photos for their websites and social media. I really enjoy working with other local businesses and it can make a nice change from running around after small children!

I also photographed a Christening, several birthday parties and did some lovely commissions as birthday and Christmas gifts (40th and 70th birthday gifts were very popular in 2016!). Once again I’ve also been involved in the Penshurst Christmas Market where I had a stall this year. The Christmas Market was a huge success again, raising much needed funds for Penshurst Church and the Pickering Cancer drop-in Centre. I met and chatted to so many lovely local people over the course of the two day market. If you booked a session with me then I look forward to photographing your family/children this year.

If you’re interested in booking a photo session with me for 2017 then do get in touch (email claire@littleolives.co.uk). I look forward to meeting you. Here’s hoping for another fabulous year with plenty of sunshine and beautiful light. Happy 2017 everyone!





Newborn photo session, Tunbridge Wells

Claire Williamson

I was delighted to be asked to photograph this gorgeous new baby and his family in Tunbridge Wells a few weeks ago by new mum, Alice. As you probably know, I love to photograph families and children outdoors, but with newborns and babies it’s always nice to take some photos inside as well in the surroundings of their new home. We started this session in Alice’s house, before getting Henry all wrapped up for some photos outside in the park. I love to use the space outdoors and nature’s backdrops and this gives more variety to the photos as well.

For the outdoor photos, we headed to Dunorlan Park, a beautiful park on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells. It was a bit of a blustery morning but it provided a lovely backdrop for the family photos. Alice’s mum Rosie came along as well and it was great to include her in some of the photos too, after all grandparents are a very important part of the family! What a lovely way to spend a morning, and little Henry behaved perfectly throughout!

Thanks so much to Alice and her family for letting me share these photos. If you are interested in a newborn, child or family photo session then please do get in touch with me (email: claire@littleolives.co.uk).

Mamas Meet Up - From Bump to Business Special

Claire Williamson

I was delighted to be invited along to photograph the first ever Mamas Meet Up From Bump to Business Special held at the Royal Wells Hotel in Tunbridge Wells last month. This was to be the first of a series of networking events organised by Laura and Natalie of Mum’s the Word Events.

There was coffee on arrival (someone knows we need the caffeine!) and a chance to chat before the event began. What made this event unique though, was that you could bring the little ones along too. A separate play area was filled with fabulous toys and dressing up clothes, provided by What About the Kids, so that the children could play while the mums listened to the talks and had a chance to mingle and chat afterwards.

Two speakers were invited along to talk informally about the challenges of starting a business with young children in tow. Rebecca and Dominique of Jem + Bea have designed a range of gorgeous luxury changing bags (now available in John Lewis!) while Steph from Don’t Buy Her Flowers has a website selling thoughtful gifts for new mums and anyone in need of some TLC. Her website also hosts the blog Sisterhood (and all that) where Steph writes about motherhood, men and relationships with the aim of making us laugh at the ridiculous things that life throws at us.

It was a really well organised event and it was great to meet so many other mums in the same boat, as they juggle life with a young family and the challenges of trying to start your own business. It was fantastic to hear the experiences of Rebecca, Dominique and Steph as they have developed their growing businesses. The take home message I think was that we all struggle with similar day to day challenges, and perhaps we have to accept that you can’t always do it all perfectly, all of the time!

​Looking forward to the next event already. For details of future events see: mumstheword.online

Below (from left to right) – Steph from Don’t Buy Her Flowers, Laura and Natalie from Mum’s the Word Events, Dominique and Rebecca from Jem + Bea

Looking Back...

Claire Williamson

I’ve now built up a rather huge catalogue of photos of our family (well mainly the girls) and from time to time if I get a chance, I do try to look back through them. At the end of the year, for example, I usually put together a calendar with favourite photos that I’ve taken over the previous 12 months. I’m now looking back even further as I plan to create an album for each of the girls with photos of their first 5 years (something I’ve been meaning to do for quite sometime…hopefully now that I’ve written it down I will actually get around to it!).

What always strikes me when I look back at older photos, is how my perception of them changes with the passage of time. Photos that I perhaps dismissed when I initially took them (probably because I thought I could have done a better job taking them), I appreciate so much more now. I think this is because photos are intrinsically linked to memories of a day or event, and if a photo brings back happy memories, then I will probably love that photo all the more, even though it might not be technically perfect.

I love it when I stumble across photos that I had forgotten I had taken, or a little gem that I hadn’t previously noticed. I try to take the camera whenever we are out and about with the children (most weekends) and just take a few pictures. I’m always looking for the light or a different angle, while being conscious of my background and so on. But lately I’ve tried to remind myself that my photos don’t always have to be technically perfect, because at the end of the day I’m also creating memories, and when I look back it will be the emotions, the expressions and hopefully the smiles that will really tell the story of the day.

I recently heard another photographer say that there is no one magic formula that will always guarantee getting a great photograph. I think that is very true. However, I do think that there are two very important elements to creating great photographs and if you have both of these then you are almost half way there. These are good light and a happy atmosphere…think lazy, summers afternoons in the garden…ideally late afternoon as the light will be so much better!

Okay I know that I’m a little obsessed, but I’m genuinely so glad that I now have this back catalogue of photos which, each year somehow becomes more meaningful. How the children have changed now since I took those first photos with my DSLR!

So if you haven’t picked up your camera in a while then please do. You might not feel that the photos you take are very significant at the time, but they will be in the future. Take photos, keep them, organise them, share them, definitely print some and treasure them. You will appreciate them so much more in years to come and your children, if you have them, will have them to look back on too…


Claire Williamson

As Little Olives Photography is approaching it’s first birthday, it seems like a good time to reflect on my photography journey so far. I guess I took up photography relatively late in life. Until a few years ago, I didn’t even know what a DSLR was, let alone how to take a decent photo. I don’t come from a family of photographers so it’s not something I grew up with. However, I’ve always had a love of photos and a fascination with photography. I’m the person that can’t wait to pore over a friend’s wedding album and the first thing I look at when I visit someone’s house is the photos on their wall.

Photography, to me, is all about storytelling and the most compelling images are those that tell stories and evoke emotion. I’ve always been intrigued by photography and used to wonder just how photographers were able to create their images. Having no understanding of aperture or shutter speed, I used to think that they must just have a natural talent for using their camera. I wasn’t sure whether photography was something that I could learn or ever be any good at.

I had been thinking about taking a photography course for sometime, but it was quite a while before I actually got around to it. I guess with two young children, life kept getting in the way. However, I really wanted to be able to take better pictures of our children, I was never happy with the photos we got on our old compact and this was a big incentive in finally booking myself on a course. I finally took my first course in London in the summer of 2013, a one-day photography workshop run by the intriguingly named Hairy Goat. Needless to say, from that day onwards I was totally hooked and very soon afterwards I went out and bought my first DSLR, a Canon 700D accompanied by a rather nice 50mm, f1.4 lens (otherwise known as a ‘nifty fifty’).

I knew that I wanted to do portrait photography, I have always been drawn to photographing people. My main subjects in the early days were of course my children. Back then, I was just trying to get my head around how to use my new camera. I shot everything with a very wide aperture to try and achieve that lovely blurring effect (the 50mm lens is great for this) and I didn’t really take much notice of the light that I was photographing in. Whilst the quality of the images no doubt improved with my new DSLR, there is of course so much more to creating a great image than just having a fancy camera.

Looking back on those early images makes me realise just how far I have come. Photography, naturally, is all about light. No light, no photo! Now I am totally obsessed with light and it’s something I notice all the time, wherever I go. Everything looks better in good light and it opens up so many creative possibilities. These days, if the light isn’t right, I sometimes don’t even bother to get out my camera. However, I can see when the light is good and then I can’t wait to get started.

I’ve since done many more courses in portrait photography. While there is no substitute for just getting out and taking photographs, I think training is really important to be able to move on to the next level and experiment with new techniques.  I am also now a member of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers through which I have met other like-minded photographers and I find it a great source of learning and support.

I feel like I have come a long way since my first course in London, yet there is so much still to learn. However, many pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place and some things are now just second nature. Barely a weekend goes by now when I don’t get out my camera. If I’m not booked for a shoot, then I’m out and about somewhere photographing the children and it seems like all the hard work is now starting to pay off and my confidence is really growing.

I am and always will be, drawn to photographing people. I particularly love photographing children, just capturing innocent moments, or an image that simply says childhood. I also photograph families and for me this is about documenting relationships. Children usually love a family shoot – they get to be the centre of attention and are delighted to be spending the morning with their favourite people – their parents and siblings. I like to do all this in the great outdoors, drawing inspiration from the location, the light and the changing seasons.

Leaving behind my previous career and setting up as a professional photographer was a huge decision, but I can’t think of anything else that I would rather do. So far I have found it very hard work, but rewarding at the same time. I’m still trying to get my head around things like marketing and search-engine optimisation (apparently blogging helps!) but taking all that one step at a time…

I am so glad that I started on this journey. If I hadn’t booked that course in London I almost certainly would not be sitting here writing this now. Photography will always fascinate me and there is always more to learn, but at least now I have an understanding and the skills to help me create some beautiful images.