Photography Sailing Photography

Is the Sony 100-400GM good for Sailing Photography?

August 12, 2022
Is the Sony 100-400 GM good for sailing photography

I have had my Sony 100-400GM for a couple of months now and have not had the opportunity to use it for sailing photography. So when I got the opportunity to join my husband Phil Harditsty in Cork at the 505 worlds.

My husband is a keen 505 sailor along with his, friend and boat owner Michael Wilson. I have never been to a 505 event and was keen to learn what all of the hype was about. The first thing that I noticed was just how international the fleet was. There were teams from the USA, Ireland, GBR, AUS, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and so many more. The next thing was how friendly and helpful people are in the sailing world. Even in a class that is full to the brim with very talented sailors.

Is the Sony 100-400GM good at close sailing photography?

I haven’t done much in the way of sports photography so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to book some flights to Cork to gain some experience. Fortunately, Michael Wilson Phil’s helm had donated a rib to the class to enable them to run the races. This rib was used as the gate boat. On the second day of racing, I was able to get into the gate boat to take photos of sailors. This was the best experience EVER. Although I have to admit that I was almost too close to the action with the 100-400 focal length. It did take me a few attempts to get the right shot as we swept up the start line. It would be nice to have two camera bodies for a wide and zoomed-in focal length but I don’t have that luxury.

The Sony 100-400 GM lens is great for capturing peoples emotions.

Once I got to grips with how to frame the sailors up I found that the Sony 100-400 GM gave the feeling that you were right there in the boat with the sailors. The lens perfectly captured the sailor’s emotions at the start line. The lens, autofocus was super quick. I use a large focal point and then lock it onto my target point. This works extremely well with this lens and semi-fast moving subjects. I came away with lots of useable shots.

Shooting at the distance of boats moving downwind

This lens again worked perfectly for this. At 400mm you’d probably want to be about 200-300 meters from the action to start getting decent shots. So if you will still need a rib of some sort to maneuver yourself to the best spots to get a good shot.

The image below was taken about 200m from the subject.

This image was taken approx. 200m from the subject

Is the lens too heavy?

The lens is about 1.4 kilos, which doesn’t sound a lot, but if you’re holding it for a long time, then I’d recommend that you beef up your arm/back muscles to ensure you don’t end up with some serious fatigue.

Overall thoughts

With my longest focal length previously being 85mm the 100-400 changed my life. The quality of the Sony 100-400 GM images was just amazing. They are super sharp and easy to edit in Lightroom. The only couple of downsides that I had was the weight of the lens. But this is to be expected with this quality of glass. The other potential issue for sailing photography is that 400mm may not be quite long enough if you are not lucky enough to be on a rib watching the action.

Here are some of my favourite Sony 100-400 GM photos from my days at the 505 worlds.

Cork was such a beautiful destination for the 505 worlds
There is such power in close up photos when using the Sony 100-400GM

Photography Slow Living

Buy Vintage… Be Rewarded for Being Different

August 3, 2022
Vintage clothing jpeg

Buying Vintage never used to be cool when I was growing up.

Buying Vintage was once something the crazy cat lady in the village used to do, but that perception has changed. More people are buying vintage clothing to stand out from the crowd. I thank the lord that we no longer need to just get our clothing from the same high street stores as everyone else. Now instagrammers are being rewarded for their originality and use of beautiful vintage pieces in their feeds.

30 years to find my style

It has taken a full 30 years to find my style and calling in life. I think that is because how I look does not suit modern-day clothing. I have always looked better in a more feminine silhouette. My body looks better in long floaty dresses from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s look so much better on my figure than a lot of the current high street brands. Finding love for vintage clothing has helped me develop a different personal style that is just a bit different from everyone else. That has inspired me to create a new instagram handle that will showcase my love for this style. It is a girly, whimsical, pretty style that suits my body and that also helps me tell about each item.

pink little bow peep dress totally suits me
Find this pink dress in my online store

Serotonin boost from vintage finds

This pink dress was such a wonderful find. That feeling when you find something cool in a vintage shop is also like nothing else. I definitely get a bigger hit of serotonin than buying highstreet brands. It makes me happy that the item is getting some extra love from me rather than heading to the landfill. I’d the item to keep getting more love so I will set up a store where I will sell some of my vintage finds. This pink little bow peep dress is the first. I love creating art with my vintage finds. It was so much fun shooting in this dress. It was a little challenging at the time, but I thought that the pinks in the dress totally complemented the pink flowers popping up around the Island.

Isle of Man Photography

Bali inspired photoshoot for beautiful Curvy Girl

June 30, 2022
Bali inspired photoshoot on the Isle of Man

Who would have thought that it was possible to capture a Bali-style photograph of the Isle of Man?!!! Well, yes, it is possible! I have always dreamed of shooting in Bali and this was a great opportunity to try and recreate that vibe!

Dog walkers got a bit of a shock

Kirsten Flemming, who has a fab Instagram page @incawilder spotted a very cool reed grass patch located at her work in St Johns on the Isle of Man. I have to admit some of the general public walking their dogs got a bit of a shock when Kirsten stripped down to her swimsuit but it was all well worth it.

The result

The resulting photos looked stunning. I always love how nature matched the tones in Kirsten’s skin and made everything look oh so tropical. Kirsten has an absolutely beautiful body shape and is able to confidently move and pose with almost no instruction.

Equipment used

For this photoshoot I used my trusty Sony A7iii and Sony GM 35mm lens. The images were edited in Camera RAW through Adobe Bridge. I’m really loving my colour grading at the moment. I have been focusing on using Lightroom’s calibration panel to colour grade my images and it has been working a treat. I did do some minor retouching in Photoshop using the frequency separation. It has taken me a full-on year to get this technique right but I finally feel like I’m there.

Kisten FLemming (@incawilder) on instagram has a beautiful body shape.
Isle of Man Photography

Engagement Photos for cool couple Rachel & Ryan

June 15, 2022
Engagements photos for a cool couple

June is a beautiful time of year on the Isle of Man and on a sunny day, there is no better place than the sandy beaches of Ballaugh. I have done quite a few late evening beach engagement photos so I fancied trying out the morning light.

We met in a busy and (for those that don’t know this is a crazy motorbike race that happens every year on the Isle of Man) morning at around 9:30am. Ballaugh beach is on the west coast of the Isle of Man so we got some lovely soft light shining over the grassy banks towards the sea. I love working with couples who are after something a bit different. Photos that are both romantic but fun and a bit editorial at the same time.

The Engagement Photos ended up with a cool Cali vibe

Who would have thought that they were taken on an Island located in the North of the British Isles? It is amazing what you can create with the right lighting and choice of location.

This engagement photo for cool couple Rachel & Ryan has an vintage 35mm film feel and I love it
Beautiful morning light coming from the grassy banks
There is a definite Cali feel in these photos
Couple drawing a sand heart
I love showing the couple having fun together
I also love creating cool and different shots. This one of Ryan looking out to sea has such a cool vibe
I do also love a different arty shot. I just had to edit this one in black and white.
Ballaugh beach is a stunning strech of sandy beach with soft grass covering the banks
Edited this very editorial shot in black and white. It has to be one of my favourites.
We found some beautiful flowers lining the beach we had to use them in a beach shot
I love Rachels white Dr Martins in this photo

If you love these photos and would like to work with me on your engagement photos then contact me to find out my prices. Book me for your wedding and I’ll include the engagement photos as part of your wedding package.

For the Camera Geeks…What lens did I use for this shoot?

The majority of images were shot on my Sony GM 35mm prime lens. It is such a fast and reliable lens. It makes shooting fast movements really easy. The 35mm focal is also great at making things look very vintage-like which I love. I also took a few shots from my Sigma 85mm Art lens. I love using the 85mm for any detail shots.

Isle of Man Photography

Photoshoot with Sony GM35mm & Sigma Art 85mm

June 13, 2022
Testing 35mm & 85mm Sony GM

The Isle of Man has a great selection of stunning locations to test out my 35mm Sony GM & Sigma Art 35mm. This ruin is located in a beautiful location at a place called Druidale. It is very close to a single-track road so is very easy to get to.

The goal of this photoshoot was to experiment with my 35mm Sony GM & 85 Sigma Art lens on my Sony A7iii. My model Kasey is a professional dancer so it was the perfect opportunity to experiment with movement and emotion.

35mm Tip to try at your next photoshoot

I love that the 35mm exaggerates the movements and angles of your subject. Try instructing your subject to point their limbs towards the lens. This can create a really cool high fashion look.

Kasey pointing limbs towards the camera creating a cool effect
Here are some more of my favourite 35mm photos, I love that you can create a bit more of a story with this lens. You can see more of the backgrounds which I love.
You can include more of your background with a 35mm

85mm Tip to try at your next photoshoot

Then the 85mm is in direct contrast. The 85mm focal length creates beautiful dreamy photos. I find the 85mm a real feminine lens as you can create beautiful creamy backgrounds. My tip for creating creamy backgrounds at the 85mm focal length is to turn down the f-stop as low as possible. This will blur your background and create a beautiful dreamy effect. If it is a bright day then use your shutter number to compensate for letting in lots of light :).

Thanks for reading, if you like my photos and fancy working with me then do not hesitate to get in touch.

Isle of Man Photography

An elegant farm wedding on the Isle of Man

May 30, 2022

In case you didn’t know, the Isle of Man is a little Island in the middle of the Irish Sea. The couple Anna & Jack chose the Isle of Man as the location of their wedding because Anna and her family own the most beautiful farm in the middle of the Island. The farm has long been owned by her family so it felt really special that they decided to have the reception at this location.

Beautiful flower girls and bridesmaids

The Ceremony

The wedding ceremony was held at a church built on the ancient Rushan Abbey grounds. It was built in 1853 and the grounds are beautifully kept. The vicars created a friendly and happy atmosphere. A few little mishaps like the vicar dropping a ring made the occasion unforgettable.

I love capturing small moments that no one expected to happen. The ceremony lasted about an hour and then it was time for the confetti throwing. 

All the guests were loaded onto buses and everyone headed back to the farm. The farm was literally 10mins from the church (however the buses took 30mins down the narrow country lanes (hehe)).

The Reception

The bride’s family set up a massive marquee that was beautifully decorated. The pink and pastel colours looked gorgeous against the bridesmaid’s stunning dresses. 

The sister of the bride and her husband are very talented artists and created a large Loaghtan (Manx sheep) carving For those who don’t know, here is a bit of history about the Manx Loughton sheep.

“The Manx Loaghtan is a small, primitive sheep, one of the rare breeds of sheep on the watch list of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. The breed originates from the prehistoric short-tailed breeds of sheep found in isolated parts of northwest Europe, where they survived because they were not replaced by more developed breeds. Other breeds in this same group are Soay, Hebridean, Shetland, Boreray, and North Ronaldsay.

Loaghtans and their relatives covered the hills of the Isle of Man until the 18th century, but by the 1950s numbers had declined to a handful. As a result of the work of enthusiasts on the Isle of Man and in England, numbers have steadily increased over the last 50 years. Continued success will ensure the Loaghtan has a future providing excellent quality meat and wool as a pure breed.” 

This was placed at the bottom of the field with a suspicious carpet on the top of it. Little did we know that the just married couple would be lifted onto the top of it (via digger). I had a very short amount of time to capture all of the best men shooting confetti canon. This was a perfect excuse to create a VERY cool GIF!!

In between being lifted onto the sheep, we managed to capture all of the group shots that the Bride and Groom wanted. My favourite photos from the group shots are ALWAYS those funny moments prior to the actual shot. The laughs the jokes and the funny attempts to organise people are hilarious.

Speeches, Dinner, Dancing…. And the surprise unveiling of the ice bar!!

After all of the group photos and sheep, it was time for the meal and speeches. The speeches were hilarious!! Jack’s brother did a brilliant job of announcing of the wedding parties. All the food served was locally sourced and there was a big emphasis on supporting local producers. After the speeches, it was time to unveil the amazing Ice sculpture by the same people who created the sheep The Ice bar was SERIOUSLY good!! The last time I’d seen anything similar was at the famous London Ice bar.

Finally, after a long day at around 8pm, it was time to cut the cake and get on the dance floor for the first dance. Once everyone else was welcomed onto the dance floor you could really feel the joy!! 

Here are some more favourites from the day…

I want to thank Anna & Jack for letting me capture their day. I really did feel like part of the family. I keep looking back at all the photos and thinking what a FUN day it was.

If you would like to book me for your wedding please do just contact me via my contact form.

Isle of Man Photography

Secret UK Editorial Photography Location

May 6, 2022
UK Editorial Photography Location

With a name taken from the God Manannan who cast the Island in a mystical cloud of the Isle of Man is probably a UK Editorial photography location you never knew existed. And no this isn’t that Island, south of Southhampton ;). So where exactly is the Isle of Man?

The Isle of Man is easily accessible from the UK & Ireland
The Isle of Man is easily accessible and relatively inexpensive (I have bought more expensive train tickets) from the UK and Ireland

“Extraordinary is…the Isle of Man

Discover the Extraordinary Story of the Isle of Man – the only entire nation in the world to be recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Located in the heart of the Irish Sea, hop on a short flight or a hassle-free sail to arrive at an Island that is rich in extraordinary nature, with an ancient and compelling history and a uniquely vibrant culture.”

Visit Isle of Man

In this blog article, I’d like to convince every creative outdoor brand to choose the Isle of Man for their next UK editorial photography campaign. Here is why I think that you should choose the Isle of Man;

Emma Blackburn provides a stunning wild look in latest photoshoot for Element Isle jewellery business

Stunning Nature and Landscapes

From the dramatic coastline to lush green fields the Isle of Man has a great variety of locations within a short distance. If you are athletic minded then you could probably walk to most spots, but if you’re not the public transport isn’t bad. But you are probably best hiring a car to get to the best locations. Some of my favourite spots like Niarbyl don’t receive regular transport.

The Isle of Man provides stunning landscapes so is the perfect backdrop for your next UK Editorial Photography Location

The Isle of Man has an interesting past and some fantastic historical sites

Some of my favourite spots include the whitewashed thatched cottages at Cregneesh, and a number of Neolithic standing stones in spectacular spots like the top of South Barrule, Meayll Hill, or Maughold (fantastic for those who love the Celtic Outlander vibe). If you love Vikings then Peel is the place for you. The beautiful sandstone Viking Castle is a brilliant spot for an ethereal-style photoshoot. This location also has a marriage license if you fancy getting hitched in a really unique and wild location.

Peel Castle is a magical location
Peel Castle is a magical location

Does your audience have a wild, magical heart?

There is a certain magical feeling when I’m in and around the wild fells and rugged coastline of the Isle of Man. You are almost guaranteed a wild wind that just whips the hair and creates a breathtaking look.

Sunshine is never guaranteed 

But in what romantic novel does the sun shine all the time? For me, a moody sky and muted colours create a feeling of mystery. If you are lucky and the sun does make an appearance the rays can give you a beautiful look.

Je Suis Prest on Twitter | Outlander starz, Outlander, Outlander season 1

Jewellery business Element Isle for me really gets exactly what the Isle of Man is all about…

“A connection to a simpler time, each piece of Element Isle jewellery tells the story of the Island we call home, celebrating the unique beauty and tapestry of this incredible corner of the world. Born from the island of fairies and rich folklore, a place where every imaginable vista exists all at once. Jewellery by Element Isle is a love letter from the Isle of Man.”

Element Isle

My parents brought me up on Manx, Viking, and Celtic fairy tales. Element Isle brings this feeling alive in her jewellery items. The flowers that fairies in Glens play around with. Her sea-themed items feel like something a mermaid from one of the tales would wear. All of these images have helped me when curating Element Isles’s most recent images of her beautiful one of the kind Ben Varrey necklace, donated to the Hospice to generate funds for a fantastic cause. Model and owner of Emma Blackburn wellness and fitness totally embraced this theme. Together we created some stunning images that really showcase the jewelry and also the Isle of Man as a fantastic location for brands and businesses. 

If you love any of the Element Isle jewellery pieces, then please do visit Claire’s website. There are 100s of designs perfectly suited to anyone who loves nature.

Element Isle shop

If you are a brand or business who would love to have their product shot on the Isle of Man then please do get in touch.

Photography Social Media

5 reasons why you need to start a blog in 2022 

April 12, 2022
Laura from pink jinn's blog shows how blogging can be great for business and also the world

Blogging is often overlooked by small businesses as a form of driving traffic to their work and monetising their businesses. I’ve known Middle Eastern blogger Laura Cretney since we went on a business retreat in 2021. We both have a passion for blogging and here are 5 reasons you need to start blogging now.

1. Blogging is a great way to communicate your passion

Laura has a passion for learning and engaging with other cultures. Her work and consultancy business takes her to the Middle East. She then decided that she needed to communicate and educate the world about a culture that is often tainted by a violent past. Laura’s blog Pink Jinn wants to help highlight the beauty and diversity of the Middle East and North Africa. Her blog shares beautiful, thought-provoking articles that have readers searching for more things to read on her website. 

Laura Cretney who is the founder of the Middle Eastern themed Pink Jinn blog
Laura Cretney is the founder of Pink Jinn a Middle Eastern-inspired blog

2. Blogging can help you sell physical products

Even if you have a basic knowledge of keywords and SEO you can start to increase traffic to your website. You will be able to reach new audiences that enjoy the content on your site. Anyone who enjoys the content on your site will be primed for buying products linked to your blog’s content. 

Laura’s Pink Jinn blog sells Middle Eastern-inspired products. Not only that she has chosen small entrepreneurial suppliers so buyers know that their purchases are going directly to small independents. Pink Jinn also donates 1/3 of its profits to charities that help victims of conflict in that region. Laura’s Middle Eastern-themed blog is creating content that attracts readers who want to help the region and will enjoy her products.

3. Blogging can help you sell digital products

Have you dreamt of living that elusive “passive income”? Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a passive income. You need to constantly create content to drive traffic to your blog/website/digital product. This takes time, but the rewards if you’re successful can be huge. Examples of digital passive income streams include;

  • Online Courses – are you an expert in something that you believe you can sell? This could be anything from cooking a chicken to the way you edit a photo.
  • Photo presets or filters – people can purchase all kinds of digital things. These things can include photo presets for Lightroom or LUTS for video programs like Premier Pro or Final Cut Pro.

4. Did you know you can create an income through affiliate links?

Do you love a certain product? Do you love a product so much that you could blog about it? Well, you can include links to that product to help your reader make a purchase of that specific product. Every time a reader clicks a link, you can get a commission for a link click and product sale.

I’ve had a great experience with Amazon’s affiliate program. It includes sooo many products and a lot of the time there are good reviews to ensure you’re providing links to reputable sellers. The other program I’ve had a good experience with is Awin and Rakuten. They have a number of well-known big brands for you to link to. 

5. Blogging can help sell your physical services

As a photographer, it is really hard to get your work seen outside an existing audience. Creating searchable content can help get more of your work seen outside your existing network. This can increase the chances of someone seeing your work and booking you. This 100% works for other service-based businesses including fitness services, hair salons, physio’s, dentists, the list is endless really.

I hope this little blog piece has convinced you to start writing your blog! Whether your dream is to let your voice be heard, to sell digital or physical products, to generate extra income, or to enable your services to be seen by more people. The options are endless.

P.S. If you like the photos of Laura and her products (taken by me) then please do get in touch via my contact page.

Isle of Man Photography Social Media

10 Steps to boost confidence at that photoshoot you’ve been dreading

March 14, 2022

You have a photoshoot booked in a couple of weeks and have been dreading it. I think that everyone has feelings of under-confidence prior to a photoshoot. It can be uncomfortable and can expose those areas of ourselves that we hate.

Is it possible to overcome these feelings?

Yes, 100%! Life coach Jules Hobbs and I (the photographer), agreed on some helpful steps that you can implement to help boost your confidence prior to a shoot.

Jules looking confident and happy, and this completely shines through!!

Everyone is beautiful and should not delay their next photoshoot because of body hang-ups

I believe that everyone is beautiful and that your weight at a certain point in time should not prevent you from having your photoshoot. I know that feeling more confident no matter your size is easier said than done. I’d like to remind you that a good photo is all about the best angles and lighting. You can be the heaviest you have ever been and still achieve a good photo through knowing your body as it is and enhancing your greatest assets. 

A confident and positive mindset is key to great photos!

The camera loves confidence. Learning to love your body as it is will is make you more confident and help you shine during your photoshoot. Being more confident will help you let go of inhibitions, experiment with different poses, and just be more natural in front of the camera.

Here are some simple steps that you can implement to help build a positive mindset;

  1. Prioritise your sleep in the run-up to your photoshoot – getting good quality sleep has been proven to help both your mind and body. A blog post on SCL Health suggests that the benefits of getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep include but aren’t limited to;
  2. Boosting your immune system – making sure you’re on top form for your photo shoot will certainly help on the day. No one looks their best when they are full of a cold. Although Photoshop is very good at hiding a red nose ;).
  3. Apparently getting a good night’s sleep can help prevent you from gaining weight. A lack of sleep can produce a hormone that increases your appetite.
  4. Better Sleep = Better Mood – Good sleep can help boost your energy levels.
  5. Sleep can help boost exercise performance. Turning up to your gym sessions a couple of weeks prior to your photoshoot may not drastically change the shape of your body but it may help your confidence. I ALWAYS feel more confident and happy with my body after a consistent string of gym sessions.
  6. Start gratitude journaling
  7. Choosing gut-healthy foods – there is a growing amount of evidence that points towards eating gut-healthy foods can help boost both mind and body. But try not to drastically change your diet, especially if you are prone to an upset stomach.
    • According to Forbes, some of the best gut healthy foods include;
      • High fiber foods like beans, oats, and fruits. These foods will help aid digestion and prevent constipation. Some of these foods include things like beans, lentils, oats, dried foods, wholewheat pasta, fresh fruit, nuts & seeds.
      • Probiotic foods like kimchi, kombucha, and kefir the beneficial microbes that exist in these foods will join your body’s existing microbes.
      • Include prebiotic foods like garlic, asparagus, and bananas to help fuel the good bacteria in your gut.
      • Try adding anti-inflammatory foods like oily fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts. “Anti-inflammatory foods contain nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, that can help cool down inflammation. “These play a role in the natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pathways of the body, which may also promote the health of the gut,” Romano says.” Please do take these suggestions into account, but never start restricting your diet. Implementing these elements will make you feel better on the day. You do not want to turn up to your photography session with zero energy. Both myself and anyone I’m shooting usually feels exhausted after their photography session. It is usually a bit of a workout in itself and you definitely need to be fueled properly to perform at your best and get the photos you want!!
  8. Identify and address the negative thoughts that you have about your body.
  9. Cleanse your social media accounts, try following more body-positive accounts (such as JulesHobbsLife, Lucy Mountain, Alex Light, Jonna Jinton (not strictly body confidence but her stuff is pure escapism for me)). Stop depressing yourself by following accounts showing impossible results. For me triggering accounts include people like the Kardashians, this may be completely different for you.
  10. Practice, practice, practice – invest in ring light and stand and practice posing by taking photos on your iPhone. We also ALLLL have a perceived “good side” so practice and have a think about whether you prefer a particular side or angle. These types of things, will certainly help the photographer. It can take me (as the photographer) a full session to work this out, so communicating this at the start of your session can 100% help give you the best shoot results.
Instafluencer! Workshop

If you fancy booking me for a photography session, then please do feel free to email me at

Isle of Man Photography

Celebrating National History and Identity Through Photography

March 1, 2022
Celebrating my national identity

It has been an emotional week for me. The feeling that nothing I create could do justice for what else was going on in the rest of the world. But maybe we should all celebrate our freedom to celebrate our national history and identity.

What exactly is national identity?

A nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, and language.”

My national identity helps provide me with a sense of belonging. It is something that I wish to pass on to my children. I was brought up on Manx fairytales and stories on local legends and places. These places and images truly inspire my creativity. Hearing Celtic music and exploring the Isle of Man coastline and countryside revives those images of fairy tales in my imagination.

I am privileged to be able to post what I want, when I want!

I can’t imagine how it must feel to be prevented from sharing what you want. The thought of having to double-check everything you post out of fear of a 15-year prison sentence is heart-wrenching (like citizens in Russia). I feel incredibly privileged to create photography and post what I want. To have had an upbringing where my parents have been free to share the history and stories of the country where I’m from.

Sending my heart and thoughts to the people of Ukraine