Behind the Photograph: Claire Conybeare

We’re going behind another photograph this month, this time exploring the outdoors with family portrait photographer Claire Conybeare of Chinchilla Photography. We’re discussing this gorgeous woodland shot of her son, George, and their dog, Bob.

Tell us about this image

Claire captured this heart-warming image while out on a walk with her son and their dog near Dunstable Downs. As a family portrait photographer who exclusively works in the outdoors, planning shots can be tricky, especially when dogs are involved, but Claire loves it:

“I quite often photograph children and families with their dogs, they are such an important and adored part of the family, so I’m always thrilled when clients decide to bring them along to their session. Dogs come with their own set of challenges; they can be unpredictable and high energy, so we usually set aside special time to work with them, before they are taken off for a walk for the remainder of the session.”

For this shot in particular, Claire used an old trick to keep Bob’s attention:

“George has a treat hidden in his hand, and Bob is gazing at him patiently waiting for it, but I like to think of it as a look of love.”

Becoming a family photographer

Claire initially took up photography after the birth of her son in 2011. She got her first DSLR and started documenting his life. She quickly found her feet in this artform and, before she knew it, she found herself photographing for other people:

“My passion grew and before long I was being approached by people asking me to take family photos for them.”

Despite starting in newborn photography, Claire explored different genres before settling into her niche of family portraiture:

“When I first started the business, I tried all sorts – weddings, events, studio. But it was the outdoor family work that really held my attention and I became totally focussed on it. I’m now exclusively an outdoor, natural light family photographer, and I feel I’ve found my calling.”

Claire’s decision to opt for outdoors portraiture has produced stunning results. Her gorgeous work perfectly represents each season to create some truly unique photography. She believes her comfort with photographing in natural light is to do with her own personal love of the outdoors:

“I am quite a wild spirit, always outdoors and around nature, so it made sense for my work to go in this direction too. I feel that outdoor photography is not only beautiful, but so varied with the seasons constantly changing. It has a uniqueness to it. There is something really special about photographing a newborn baby, all wrapped up surrounded by wildflowers, or a pregnant woman, creating life against a backdrop of bluebells.”

Now as a successful photographer, Claire works with clients all year round to produce gorgeous photography. She offers her clients a series of high quality products from Loxley Colour, but she also uses them to display her own memories:

“I have a personal Bellissimo album full of photographs I have taken of my son, it is weighty, touchable and absolutely beautiful – a real high quality heir loom that brings a tear to our family’s eyes every time we look at it. The Alumini, one of which graces the wall above my desk, have such gorgeous finishes and are a refreshing and modern change from the usual frames and mounts.”

When asked why she chose Loxley Colour, her answer was simple:

“I have such a love of colour, and Loxley products whether they be albums, wall features or basic prints, always recreate the vibrancy that I lovingly create in camera, and then on my monitor during the editing process.”

Finding the right place to shoot

Claire is trying to find new and beautiful places for her photography all year round. She has a lot to think about when it comes to finding the perfect location for each client:

“Sometimes it’s as simple as finding a pretty area while walking the dog, other times I am driving around for hours looking for something in particular to be growing. Autumn and winter sessions are generally in the woods and forests while the tree canopy is thin enough to let sufficient light through. Spring and summer sessions are out in the open among grassland, wildflowers and meadows.”

Photographing in natural light can be challenging, but with Claire’s planning and preparation, she always produces gorgeous images:

“The locations are chosen depending on the quality of direction of light, and whatever might be growing at the time. The exact location for a session is often not determined until the day before a session. Some days I’m driving to five different location to see which looks like the best spot for a session the next day, so it’s never boring!”