Carin Thakrar Photography - west London newborn, family and maternity photographer

Mother’s Day Special Offer

Of all the days that are being celebrated throughout the year, Mother’s Day is definitely one of the days that deserves the most attention. It should really be celebrated monthly (at least!), don’t you think? 

When it comes to taking photos, a lot of us don’t really have many with ourselves in them, together with our children. This is such a shame, as I think everyone in the family would benefit from seeing more photos with mum in them. What an amazing thing to have these photos in years to come, where you can look back on this special time when the kids were little, and your kids can get a glimpse of their childhood in photos that includes their mum. 

To celebrate the upcoming Mother’s Day, I’m having a special offer for my Motherhood Mini-sessions: 

  • Included in the regular price of £150, you will receive 10 beautiful fine art prints (8x6”) of your choice along with the standard 10 digital individually edited photos. 

  • Or if you can’t pick just 10 from the whole set of photos, you can purchase all digital photos, individually edited, and receive a 20x30cm photobook, for a total of £250. 

The session is 30-45 min and will take place in your home or nearby park, and to take advantage of the offer, you need to make a booking before Mother’s Day (which is Sunday 11th March already!) and book your session in before 21st of March 2018. 

If you’d like to make a booking, or if you’d perhaps like to find out more, you can have a read in this blog post or send me an email on info@carinthakrar.com and I’d be happy to help you!

Carin x


Your camera is your new search box

Today I’m very excited to share a guest blog post written by my good friend and SEO whiz Silvia Del Corso from Pink SEO. Silvia has been kind enough to write a very informative and interesting post about online searches made with images instead of keywords. This is not just the future; it’s already happening and Silvia writes about some examples of this, as well giving us some handy tips on how we can take action for this on our own websites and blogs to keep the search engines happy. 

I hope you’ll enjoy the read!

Today I’m going to write about something different than my usual SEO tips, because I’m being hosted at an amazing photographer – and a dear friend, so here’s some considerations about searches made without keywords.

Us humans are such visual creatures: we fall in love with the eyes, we travel with the eyes, so much that it makes sense that consumers are 80% more willing to engage with content that includes relevant images.

So… where does the search fit in? How do you search in this visual world?

Are we still typing keywords? Yes, in many places they’re not going to completely die. But we’re witnessing the birth of some types of searches that don’t need any keywords or typing.

Take a picture, get an answer. Convenient, right? Yes, and more.  Image searches are not just convenient, they allow us for searches where we don’t have the words to describe something.

Visual Search is not new, it’s been around for a really, really long time. But now really every main player is jumping on the bandwagon. Let’s see some of the most curious examples:

The rise of AI

About six years ago, Microsoft managed to create a product that understood what was an image and described it in a way that humans could understand as well. They started it off with dog breeds.

And now… have you ever tried this? https://how-old.net It’s really fun - and it’s maybe the first AI that you want to be wrong, and guess you’re younger!

Accessibility and Inclusion

Google Translator app can translate words on images, too: if you take a photo of a signal on a street in Germany, you will get the photo with the words translated in your language if you want.

We have eye tracking for websites. Imagine what would happen for marketers if we had emotion tracking! And it is not the future, it’s now: https://vimeo.com/105584362

How do you take action for this, now?

We want to give Search Engines the best possible images so they can understand our visual content and rank us better.

Here are some tips:

1.    Take Stock. Start thinking of taking stock of what images you have now: could you do like your minimum viable stock and then add maybe just some more images on your landing page?

2.    Good Strategy. Could you put out images and categorise them in a better way, so that the search engines can better understand?

3.    Better quality. 

4.    Optimise the images (those SEO tactics for optimising images are still valid!)

5.    Visual ads (they’ve have been reported driving a +230% conversion rate!)

We’re so close to this future of search that we can just touch it. So try to go out and look at where the potential lies for you. Start small, at least, just start.

Silvia is a Search Engine Optimisation and Digital Marketing Freelancer and you can find her online home here.


Beautifully ordinary love

Special Valentine’s Day Offer

The love within a family can be so many things - messy, cuddly, fun, intense - share the love this Valentine’s Day and treat your dear ones with a photo session celebrating your beautifully, ordinary love! 

Book by 14 February and receive a 20 x 25cm photo book along with your digital photos. 

Cost: 

Newborn / Family session: £320 

Includes 40+ digital photos plus a 20 x 25cm photobook

Photo session must be claimed by 30 April 2018. To receive a printed voucher, make sure to book by 6 February.

Email to book


Motherhood mini-sessions: What to expect

Do you ever wish you had more photos of you in them? We tend to take hundreds (or more likely thousands!) of photos of our children doing cute/weird/funny stuff, but there’s rarely any proof that we, the mothers, were there. This is why I started offering Motherhood mini-sessions - a short/ish in-home session just for mums & their kids (or baby). Because we’re a BIG part of our children’s lives, and quite often, the ones that spend the most time with them. And therefore I think we deserve to have some good, real, photos of us along with our kids. 

When you book a Motherhood session, you really don’t have to do or prepare much. I will ask you a few questions over email (or phone if you prefer) about you and your child(ren), to try to get to know you a little. When I arrive at your home, I usually have a little look around the house to work out where to take the photos - this is usually the main bedroom, perhaps the nursery or downstairs living room. Generally, where there is the most amount of natural light is where we’ll do the majority of the session. 

There’s no need to prepare any activity - I will work around you & your child’s schedule and photograph what you generally do together! This could be absolutely anything: reading books, having a snack, dressing out or changing nappies! If you have a garden or nearby park, I’d be happy to go outside too.

After the session (which will last roughly 45 min) you probably won’t hear from me for a couple of weeks apart from a little sneak peek which I usually send over later the same day or the next (as I generally can’t wait to start editing!). After 2-3 weeks, you’ll get an email with a link to an online gallery, where you can see all the edited photos from the session. From here, you can choose your 10 favourites (unless of course you love them all so much you want to keep all of them!), and once decided, I will send you another link where you can download your photos in high resolution. 

My availability is Monday - Wednesdays, and I’m generally flexible on time. (although mid-mornings generally seem to work best!) To book your session, email me on info@carinthakrar.com!


The importance of a good headshot

I wanted to talk a little bit about headshots - and the importance of having a good one as a small business owner. Whilst we all probably know that it’s better to have a professional photo rather than some smartphone photo from a night out or last year’s holiday, I still wanted to write a bit about my top three reasons:

First impression

In this fast-paced time we live in, first impression is everything - according to (some slightly old, but still) statistics, you only have 15 seconds to grab someone’s attention online, so you really need to give a good first impression. Hence why a good headshot is important!

It shows off the real you

A headshot has the potential to show off the real you - how you want to be portrayed (approachable, friendly, fun, powerful etc) as well as taken place in a relevant place, and perhaps showing off something that’s relevant to your profession. A good storytelling photo can often say much more than text.

It makes your website look professional

Quite obvious, but still! It’s worth mentioning - if you’ve spent lots of time on making your website looking great, there shouldn’t be a reason why your headshot shouldn’t look great too! You might use it on your home page, and if not there, it would most likely be on the about or contact page. And if you don’t have a photo at all, I would definitely consider adding one - it makes your website so much more personal and approachable!

As a photographer based in west London, I regularly photograph small business owners in their homes or other locations. If you are interested, please get in touch on info@carinthakrar.com and I’d be happy to help!


Memories of London

A rainy morning in November I visited this family of four to capture some family time in their London home before their move back to France. After a few years in the english capital - and two children later - it was time for them to move home. 

We all had a great time, and it was so much fun getting to know this family a bit before their big move. 

A session like this is the perfect way to create a little time capsule of your life, as it is right now. Get in touch on info@carinthakrar.com to book your in-home session!


Christmas Wish List 2017

Christmas is just around the corner, and I’m busy finishing off the shopping for the kids, nieces & nephews, husband and parents. I should have learned by now to do it slowly throughout the year, and not leave it to the last minute, as always. Oh well, I guess some things I’ll never learn!

I don’t expect much for myself, and truth be, I don’t really care - I just really look forward to spending Christmas with my family, and it looks like it might finally be a white one this year for us. Since having kids, Christmas is all about the kids (rightly so) but a girl can dream, right..? I wouldn’t mind if I found one of these things wrapped up under the tree on Christmas Day…

1. I’d love to lounge around in one of these on the lazy days between Christmas & New Years: COS Wrapover Jersey Jumpsuit / Next Charcoal Velour Pants

2. I love the quirkiness and simplicity of the jewellery from COS

3. I’m hoping to learn a bit of flash photography in 2018 - I’ve heard this Rotolight this is a brilliant piece

4. I’ve got sore feet (not sure why, I’m not walking or exercising that much) and I’d love this foot balm from Neal’s Yard for the evening massage

5. I’ve needed a watch for a while, mainly for work as I often forget about the time (as phone is left in jacket pocket) - love this classy & beautiful watch from Daniel Wellington

6. I don’t own much art and rarely buy posters, but there are so many pretty prints from Fy 

Do you have a wish list for Christmas? Or do you leave that for the kids? x


A newborn lifestyle in-home session

I always feel honoured when I get invited to photograph a family with a newborn - it’s such a special and precious time, those first few weeks with a tiny one. To be able to capture this, and know that the photos will be treasured for a long time, is one of my favourite things with what I do. 

A few weeks ago, I visited a lovely family of four - here are a few of my favourites from this newborn session:


A morning with Lotty & Liv

On a lovely October morning I met up with Lotty and her daughter Liv, in their favourite cafe Paper Mache Tiger in Angel, London. Lotty runs the blog Lotty in London, where she shares the adventures of London parenthood (do go & check it out!). 

For this motherhood mini-session Lotty wanted something a bit different, so we decided to have the session both in the cafe, as well as a gorgeous alley way nearby. Liv was a real natural, and so was her mum - and I think I definitely managed to capture some lovely, natural moments of the two of them!

Here are some of my favourites:


Indoor photo tip for gloomy days

Despite all the beautiful Christmas lights around us, this is the darkest time of the year, with quite limited natural light available for indoor photography. I wanted to share a tip for taking photos of your kids in your home (or anyone / anything really!), and it’s really easy! All you have to do is to find a big window or glass door, and take the photos there. Even if it’s raining, snowing or just being a generally gloomy day, there is usually always enough light in the day for you to take a beautiful photo. I’ve added a few examples to show you what kind of photos a window can give you - and if you move around the object you can get lots of different kids of looks as the light will fall differently!


A lifestyle headshot session

Last week I visited the lovely Caroline in her Chiswick home for a lifestyle headshot session. Caroline is a health coach and runs the business Great In Great Out, and wanted some photos she could use on her website as well as social media. As she cooks a lot of healthy food and snacks for her blog, we took some of the photos in her kitchen; we also took some shots in her in-home office as well as some close-up headshots to get a good variation of photos that can be used for various purposes. 

Below are a few of my favourites from the session:

To book your lifestyle headshot session, email me at info@carinthakrar.com!




Moments of Motherhood


Nothing can quite prepare you for the rollercoaster of motherhood. The exhaustion, tiredness, love, worrying, confusion, amazement - and the overwhelming fact that you’ve actually created these little beings. 

We spend so much time making sure our children are fed, clean, safe, well-rested and happy, that we often forget ourselves in the middle of it all. We snap away on our smartphones, making sure we capture their smile, their wobbly steps, their messy attempts to feed themselves. But where are we in these photos? Looking though the photos of the last few years, I can’t really find that many photos of me - and the ones I have, are mostly smile & look at the camera type of photos (which of course also are great to have). 

What about the everyday moments we spend with our children? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have them captured in photos? 

My Motherhood Mini-sessions does just this - I spend 30 minutes with you and your little one(s) in your home, and capture the everyday moments between you. You and your children will absolutely love looking at these as they grow up, and seeing that their mama was there, too.

The price for this session is £120 and includes 10 edited high resolution photos, which you choose from an online gallery (with the option to purchase more).

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, or perhaps would like to give away as a gift, just send an email to info@carinthakrar.com or call me on 07726136885.


Motherhood mini sessions


I’m very excited to announce that due to popular demand, I will now be offering Motherhood Mini-sessions permanently - a session specially made for mothers with their children.

I often come across mums who feel they don’t have enough (or any!) photos with themselves and their babies or children in them, quite often as they’re the ones taking most of the family photos.

This 30 minute long (or short!) session is the perfect way to make sure you get some great photos capturing the beauty, chaos and intimacy of motherhood. In likeness with my other sessions, the photos will be natural and genuine with a storytelling approach.

The session costs £120 and includes 10 edited high resolution photos.

To book your session or to find out more, get in touch on info@carinthakrar.com!


Here comes the sun…

It’s amazing what a bit of sunshine and relaxation by the sea can do for the soul. We recently went to the little town Oliva, south of Valencia, Spain for nine days where we’d hired a villa near the beach. The area was perfect - quiet, hardly any tourists (majority Spanish), gorgeous, shallow beaches and endless stretches of orange trees. 

We had already decided beforehand that we didn’t want to spend our days sightseeing, driving to one town or village to the other, so we spent most days going to the beach, having a siesta, playing in the pool, eating ice creams and then back to the beach. This is what we did most days apart from a visit to the weekly market and to a nearby water park and it was perfect.

We were a bit sad leaving, but we’re pretty sure we’ll be back, hopefully in a not too distant future!

Here are a few photos from our holiday:


A Mama & Me mini-session in Chiswick

As mums, we’re quite often absent from a lot of the family photos - which is a big shame (sorry - I know I’m generalising here, of course this is the case for a lot of dads too! From my experience though, it’s mainly mums). 

Getting in the frame is so important, and something you and your children will appreciate in years to come when flicking through the photo albums. Photos of you playing with your children, feeding them, getting cuddles - all in the place which means the most to them, your home

The other day I visited a curious little boy and his mum in their Chiswick home, to capture some lovely moments between the two in a ‘Mama & Me’ mini-session. 

I’m excited to let you know that these previously limited edition sessions will soon be available as a permanent option along my other newborn, family and portrait sessions. More to follow on this, but if you want to find out more before then, just get in touch!


Au Revoir, London!

Relocating from one place to another, whether it be to a different town or country, can be quite emotional - we create so many memories in our homes, which will always hold a special place in our hearts.

This family of four has just moved back to their home country France, after four years in London. I met them in their Fulham home, and spent a morning with them in their home, having breakfast and reading stories, followed by a walk to the nearby Bishop’s Park, where they’ve shared many great moments these last four years.

These photos will hopefully help them remember their time in the city where they spent their first few years as a family of three, and eventually four. I’m sure their new life in France will be exciting and filled with lots of new adventures for the whole family!

Below are a few of the photos from the photo session - if you’re interested in something similar, I would love to hear from you!


A day out on a PYO farm

Yesterday me & the kids, two of their cousins, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law drove down to Garsons Farm in Esher, Surrey for a day out on the picking fields. The kids were really excited, and my girls had even written down in their notepads the night before what and how much exactly they were planning to pick :) (they didn’t quite stick to it in the end…). 

We started off with a bit of light lunch in the restaurant and then went on to the fields were we picked carrots and beans. This was so much fun for the kids, and really a great way to show them were our vegetables come from. We then went on to the sweetcorn fields - which felt a bit like a jungle where we almost got lost (how do they grow so tall??). Finally we came to the strawberry fields, which unfortunately were a bit low on strawberries - we might have come at a bad time as it looked like they needed another week or two to ripen. 

Overall, we had a fantastic time and the kids fell asleep pretty quickly in the car on our way home. These sort of days out are my favourite - where the kids can run free, fresh country air, the kids learn something new and useful, no entry fees (big bonus!) and fresh veg and fruit to take home at the end of it. I can highly recommend taking a visit if you’re in the area!



A first birthday in the park

A sunny Friday early July I met up with a lovely family at York House Gardens in Twickenham to capture their twins’ first birthday. This was the second time I photographed them, and it was such a pleasure to meet them again and to see how the twins had grown since last time. We had a lovely time and the twins had fun with bubbles, playing in the sand and watching the boats and ducks by the river. 

To book a family session, whether in a park like this or in your home, just get in touch!


What to expect when having your headshot taken

Have you ever thought of getting headshots taken professionally? It’s something a lot of us need, but something that many of us avoid - perhaps you’re thinking ‘I never look good in photos’; ‘I don’t want to waste the money’; ‘I’d feel too self-conscious’ or ‘I wouldn’t know what to do with myself’.

Well, if you need some encouragement to why it would be a good idea, keep reading! I recently photographed lifestyle blogger and writer Sara from Mind your Mamma, and today I’m excited to share a guest blog post where she’s talking about her experience having her headshot taken:

***

I’ve known Carin for nearly 9 years now, and when she heard I recently started working as a freelance writer, also managing my own blog, she knew I needed professional headshots taken. Of course, she was right, but I was feeling so self-conscious and worried about what to do with myself, where to look etc. that I put it off for nearly 10 months! Crazy, I know. Until the day I finally took the plunge and told her we needed to get a date in the diary. And I’m so glad I did! When you create a service or a brand that’s

When you create a service or a brand that’s centered around you, there’s no way around it. You need to have photos of you - not of your laptop or desk! People buy from people, so they want to see who’s behind what they buy or commit to. And as good as you may be with the camera, selfie’s aren’t the most professional-looking photos either, are they?

So if you’re planning to get your headshots professionally taken by Carin, here’s what to expect, with some tips on how you can make the most of your sessions.

Before your session…

Carin and I didn’t talk much (not formally anyway) about what type of photos I needed, because, as I say, having my photos taken is something that had been on the cards for months! I needed a few nice photos of myself to put on my website and a few headshots to send to other blogs or publications when I write for them.

But if you’re booking a session with Carin, she’ll give you a chance to discuss all this in advance. I’d advise you to spend some time thinking about what your requirements are. And here are some of the questions you may need to ask yourself (or Carin might ask you!)

  • Why do you need the photos - do you need a few for different purposes?
  • How many (different shots) will you need?
  • Will they need to be portrait or landscape?
  • Will they mainly need to be of just you and your lovely face, or of you doing something? So, for example, will you need props?
  • Where will the photos need to be taken - at your home, in your office or elsewhere?
  • Will you need a few different looks? If so, think about ways where you can quickly change your outfit, top, or hairdo to achieve a different look if you’re having all the photos taken on the same day.
  • Do you want (or need) photos of you with your serious and professional expression on? Or do they need to be less formal and of you smiling or laughing, even?

Know what you want to say

I recently went through a career change to create more freedom and flexibility for myself - I wanted to be able to build a career that worked around my children. So I now mainly work from home (or from wherever I choose to), at the hours that suit me and my family, and I wear whatever makes me feel most comfortable and creative. I certainly don’t wear suits or formal clothing when I work anymore! And for me, it was important that my photos reflected that - they needed to show who I am and what I stand for now.

Remember that with your photos you convey a message, and this will help you decide what to wear on the day, where you want your photos taken, how you want to look in them etc.  I think the clearer you are before the session, the happier you’ll be with the outcome.

On the day… expect Carin to get creative

I know you’re thinking: “Duh! Photographers are creative by definition - that’s kind of stating the obvious!” Totally! But if you’re not a photographer yourself, she’ll make you think twice about the way you take photos. If you’re anything like me, you see something nice, grab your phone, and try your best at taking a nice shot from wherever you are. Well, Carin will go a step further than that. She’ll climb on chairs. She’ll move small furniture. Or objects that would look messy if they came into the shot. This is something I’ve heard her say a few times with regards to taking photos of children, for example - you want to take photos from different angles and different heights. And having seen her in action, I know she definitely experiments a lot with that. And I think the results are great!

What she also made me notice is where she took the photos from, in relation to where the light is. I often take photos at home but won’t necessarily know how to get the best light for my shots - just pay attention to where Carin takes the photos from, and I’m sure you’ll start to notice where you can find natural light in your home, if that’s where you’re having your photos taken. 

Relax and let Carin do what she does best

And last but not least, expect her to help you with your poses and positions. If you’re anything like me, the last time you’ve had professional photos taken was probably at your wedding! For me, that means not just a few years later but also a few children later! You may feel a little more self- or body-conscious than you were back then, and if you’re nervous, that can show. Carin will help you relax your body and expressions as well as suggest positions that may suit you or simply look good in the final shots! Try and relax and go with the flow - you may not believe it now, but you’ll enjoy it, I promise!

So if you’re thinking of having your headshots taken, go for it! Carin is also super-quick in turning her great work around, so you won’t have to wait months in trepidation. I really don’t know why I put this off for so long!

***

I hope you enjoyed the read, and hopefully got a better idea of how a headshot session works! If you’re interested in booking a session, or just to have a chat about it and find out more, just get in touch on info@carinthakrar.com or 07726 136 885.


A Children’s Portrait session in Chiswick

Two year olds are just amazing - they’re still so little, but are starting to leave the toddler stage meaning they can make little conversations, and are showing more and more of their personalities. 

I met this young lady a few weeks ago - she’s 2 1/2 (just like my youngest son) and she was a blast being around. She showed me her favourite teddies and books, her brilliant dance moves and her bed jumping skills, and being generally adorable!

Here are some of my favourite shots from the session - if you’re interested in an in-home children’s portrait session please get in touch!


School holiday organiser

School holidays are nearly here and I’m starting to panic a bit as I haven’t got much organised yet! Apart from a week away and a week’s summer camp there are about four weeks which I need to get at least a bit organised (or both me and the kids will probably go crazy!).

So I decided to design a simple planner - there are quite a few out there already but I wanted to put my own spin on it to make it work as well as possible for this purpose. It’s a very basic planner, which really could just be drawn on a piece of paper, but I wanted something I could fill out, with titles, boxes and lines. 

The planner has two pages - the first one is a weekly planner (needs to be reprinted every week) and is divided in am and pm - one version also divides it into tasks vs activities. The second page is a list maker of things to do: tasks, outdoor activities, indoor activities, playdates etc. After filling this out you can use it to fill out the weekly planner. 

If you want to give this a go, you can download the planner here - and if you find it useful, please let me know! (I’m hoping it will help me a bit at least!) x


An in-home headshot session

The other day I visited my very inspirational & talented friend Sara​ from the self-care & mindfulness blog Mind your Mamma​ for a headshot session. She needed some photos for her blog, website and general marketing purposes, which, of course, I was delighted to help with! 

For a relaxed in-home session, please get in touch! (and don’t forget to visit Sara’s blog for some great tips on self-care, mindfulness and more!)

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