Category Archives: Blog

Man’s Best Friend Photography Tips

Very excited here at Tina Bolton Photography as we introduce our first guest blog from the lovely and very talented Penelope Malby.  Penelope spent many years working with animals as their trainer for TV and film productions and still runs regular training courses.  It means she knows a thing or two about taking great pictures of your pet pooch.  Enjoy – please email us some of your pics of your dogs!


Tina has very kindly asked me to write a little piece with some tips on taking better photos of your dog!  I’m based in Surrey and I’m an animal photographer (  I photograph domestic pets like dogs and cats, as well as wildlife and birds.

Although I have a studio and do a lot of sessions there, I still take photos of dogs outdoors too, in a more natural environment.

So here’s my top 10 tips for photographing your dog!

  • Preparation is the key!  If you’re well prepared things will be much easier.  If your dog knows what “stay” means and he can stay without a lead attached to his collar, that will look loads better in the photos.  So practice “stay” in the garden,  using treats to reward your dog for staying, so your dog begins to know what you want him to do.

  • Think about the kind of shots you’d like to end up with.  If you want a photo with spring flowers in the background, find a place that is perfect, that is safe to have your dog off lead, and go there without your dog to do a few test shots.  Go at the same time of day as well so you know where the light will be – it’s best if the sun is behind you.  Open spaces like parks or beaches have better natural light than woods, or built up areas. It doesn’t need to be a sunny day (in fact that can sometimes be a problem with squinty eyes), but obviously don’t go on a rainy day!

  •  I like to have the dog a good distance from the background, so the background is nicely blurry.  If you’re using a DSLR, put the camera onto Portrait mode so that the f number or aperture is something like 5.6, 6.3 or 7.1.

  • You want this experience to be fun for your dog, otherwise it will show in the photos.  If you’re constantly commanding “Stay” and “Sit” at your dog, your dog will look sad and worried.  I always use toys and treats to get the dog in the right mood, and ask another family member or friend who knows the dog, to help you, so you can take the photos, and someone else can get the dog in the right position.

So now you’ve already done your test shots,  you’ve sorted out your camera settings,  now it’s time to take your dog to the location, with your helper, the yummy  treats and the toys.

  • Your helper is going to get the dog in the right place and ask them to sit and stay, and you will need to squat or kneel down (depending on how big or small your dog is) so that you’re at the dog’s eye level.

This is really important.  Getting down to the dog’s level is probably the best piece of advice I can give you.

  •  When the dog is ready, and you’re ready – make a little noise to get the dog’s attention.  That’s when you press the shutter button.



  •  Start off with just a simple portrait shot, and make sure your focus point is on the dog’s eyes, not the nose.  This can be tricky at first so make sure you take lots of shots and check on the screen on the back of the camera by zooming in, that your shot is focusing on the right place.


  •  Once you’re happy with this, then try other poses, try with the dog laying down, standing up,  or profile shots.  If you’re feeling up for a challenge how about an action shot?  If your dog loves jumping in muddy puddles then take some shots of them doing this! It will be even more memorable than a portrait shot because it’s what your dog loves doing!  Make sure your shutter speed is high, or set your camera to Sports mode for a running shot, and if there’s water involved don’t get too close with your camera!


  •  Always take more photos than you think you will need.  It’s far better to have loads that you can delete, than not to have enough!
  •  Try converting the photos into black and white.  Black and white is really classic and can look very striking.


Most of all have fun with your dog, and fun with your camera.  Happy moments captured on camera make wonderful memories!

If you’d like to see more of my work please do come and Like my facebook page


 I recently had an opportunity to have a little go at photographing  this gorgeous pup recently – hope you like it.

 Please send us your pics once you have tried out Penelope’s tips and we’ll post some onto facebook

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What about runny noses?

Runny noses, blotchy faces, scratches….all these things happen just before that special photo shoot don’t they?  Will the photographer be able to ‘do something’ in Photoshop with them?


I thought it would be interesting to show you a before and after of a recent shoot in the forest.  It was a very cold day and this cute little chap had got everything! Runny, red nose, cold blotches and a scratch on his forehead!

Runny noses are best wiped but sometimes that expression is so fleeting that it needs to be captured quickly and there simply isn’t time to wipe that nose!  Plus, who likes having their nose wiped anyway, guaranteed to annoy any small person and potentially ruin the moment.


Children LOVE being outside, so we took this family on an adventure in the woods and went hunting for rabbits and dinosaurs!!  The mum was worried that his little red nose would spoil the pictures, as I am sure most mums would, but as you can clearly see, some careful post-production means that his skin is clear and there is no need to worry!


It’s not just outdoor shots that need help, newborn babies are notorious at scratching their faces the day before a shoot or suddenly coming out in ‘baby acne’.  All these things are skillfully fixed in Photoshop.  I take the time to check each image and carefully remove marks and blemishes.  The trick is to make it look as if it’s completely natural.  New parents usually look a little tired…some subtle adjustments again means that those dark shadows are all but gone!

So, when deciding whether or not to have a shoot, choose your photographer carefully, sometimes that little bit of extra care in the post production stages can make all the difference.  Not everything can be dealt with ‘in-camera’!!

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Cameras and Cake Photography Workshops


You know that moment when you think you have taken the picture of THE CENTURY, only to look at that back of the camera and discover it’s out of focus/too dark/too light/you missed that smile….

The Cameras and Cake workshops are designed to give you enough information in just three hours to improve your photography so that you never experience that disappointment again, plus you get to eat cake and share a cuppa with other like-minded people.

These workshops are going down a STORM!  The cake is delicious and at our last workshop Aleshia (who runs For The Love of Cakes and makes the cakes) attended the workshop and is now LOVING her camera.

  • The workshops are held in Greatham (near Petersfield) on the last Wednesday of each month.
  • Groups of friends can book their very own morning to suit them (min of 4 people needed).
  • From 9.30am-12.30pm with a maximum of 6 people.  You only need to attend one course.
  • We ALWAYS have a delicious cake* and lots of TEA!!  (and coffee!)
  • Easy to absorb (no geek jargon allowed) and more importantly, lots of opportunity to put into practise information on using your camera.
  • Suitable whether you have the latest DSLR or a dinky little point and shoot.
  • The tips and tricks I share with you will enable your photography to improve straight away!
* Gluten and dairy free options available please ask.
What have other people said about the workshops:
” I am LOVING my camera now, I seem to get so much more out of it, I am even eyeing up my husband’s camera…watch this space”  Aleshia, Liss
” I took some photos of my boys playing rugby at school that afternoon, not only were they in focus, they looked so much brighter and vibrant, thank you again!” Emma, Bradshott


It’s just sooo nice doing something for yourself and focusing on something different, the cake was good too!!”  Dawn, Havant


” I learnt more in three hours than I did on a course I took a few years ago, thank you”  Matt, Farnham


“I am never using the automatic button on my camera again!”  Ian, Guildford


Read and print out a cameras and cake photography workshops leaflet OR pop along to our facebook page!  Remember to hit ‘like’.

Book your place by calling Tina on 07976 302937 or emailing her.






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Makers and New Business Photography Workshops

It’s been a busy few months here at TBPL Towers, so in between photographing wonderful and very cute newborn babies both in and out, as well as fun family shoots; I have been working on some really interesting commercial shoots as well as delivering more training courses – check out this page later.

Great product shots not only show your potential customer what you do/make, they tell a story and provide solutions.  In this hugely visual marketplace we all operate in –  IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.


Take for example my recent ‘Pork Pie Shoot’, the brief was for it to be a ‘strong’ theme.  The pies are chunky, meat filled deliciousness (I know, I have now had several for lunch).  Everything is prepared by hand, even the egg wash came from the chef’s own chickens.  We shot the product story using just window light and the kitchen table.    This gave the images depth and shadow, further adding to the ‘strong’ theme.  I began my research by looking at other images for pork pies, try it.  Put ‘pork pie images’ into a search engine and see what you get!  Part of my brief was not to do the ‘same old, same old’ but to create a new image that would set Jon’s pork pies apart from the rest.  The bottom image is the result.

It’s always a good idea to research similar product images to your product to see if you like them or to decide how you want to be represented.  Look at other product images as well to discover a style you prefer, we looked at cakes and biscuits to get a feel for the theme as well as cookery book photography.

Jon made a pork pie from scratch to demonstrate the care and effort he puts into each and every pie.  He started making them because he enjoys making his own food and enjoys knowing where his ingredients, particularly the meat, comes from and how it is reared etc.  Unsurprisingly, he has had fantastic feedback and so the process of setting up his own company began.

He wanted the images to tell a strong story in order to ultimately increase sales of his fabulous pork pies.  We set about doing just that, in his kitchen.  We concentrated on creating an ambience and telling the story not only of the pork pie but of Jon himself.  He grows his own herbs and garlic, bakes his own bread, keeps chickens and sources all his ingredients so he knows the provenance of each and every one.

This all builds up, giving an insight into you, the maker, as well as your wonderful products.    Jon, like so many other new entrepreneurs, had a limited budget.  He also knew that to launch the pork pies the way he wanted to, he needed professional photography.

Jon used the ‘New Business Professional Photography’ Package which includes:

  • Upto 2 hours of professional photography and editing.
  • Some photography training so he can take good, basic shots in the future.
  • Styling and props for the shoot.
  • Location advice.
  • Social media tips on PDF.
  • All fully edited images on CD in high resolution and social media/web size.
  • A perpetual licence to use the shots for his business.
  • 10% discount on his next commercial shoot.

This special package is available to all new business start-ups less than 12 months old for £150.  For more details or to book yours contact me.

Normal commercial rates can be found here


So, what do his Pork Pies look like?  


To find out more about Jon and his pies – you can follow him on Twitter @jkaye

To book your workshop, look here or for commercial shoots including the new business package contact me.






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Festive photo tips

Tina’s Top tips for great Festive photos

Christmas pictures lacking a little something?  Follow these great tips to add a bit more sparkle to your festive photos!

  1.      Make sure your camera is fully charged, that there is room on your memory card and your lens is clean!
  2.     For fab party pics of your friends, ask them to put their heads together, lean forward a little bit (never back) everyone looks their best and less chins are visible!!
  3.     Remember:  your camera flash will only work up to a distance of about 10-12 feet maximum, on smaller cameras even less. 
  4.     Make sure you have the ‘red eye’ flash on your camera, remember that the first smaller flash is followed by the bigger flash.
  5.    For those cute, adorable nativity play shots, Choose either a front seat  OR an aisle seat so you can stand up without blocking anyone’s view from behind.  Use flash only if you really have to. Most camera’s have a night-time    function which increases your camera’s ability to take low light shots without a flash.
  6.  Wait until the end of the play – or the ‘gathering around the manger’ bit as this is usually well lit and everyone is still.
  7.  Christmas cards, we love the cute ones of our kids in a Santa* outfit!!  (*Or whatever you choose!!)  Make time to dress them up and pose them, sit them safely (deep in the sofa perhaps), as near to window light as you can and   take  some pictures.  Better still come to one of my free toddler group mini sessions with that special outfit (see below for details).
  8. On Christmas Day – have that camera to hand ALL the time, especially for when Grandad falls asleep and you manage to draw a moustache on him!
  9. Take a photo of each present your children opens, you can then print/email this out as a thank you to the person who sent it, they’ll love seeing the smiles of delight.
  10. Make sure you are in one or two pictures with the kids as well, looking suitably festive!

 Have a lovely Christmas!  

When you open that new camera on Christmas Day, remember to book your place on one of my photography workshops in January, so you can REALLY get the best out of your camera – better still, make sure that a workshop gift voucher is part of the package!!  Download Tina Bolton Photography festive photography tips as a pdf.

Mini Santa Shoot Sessions are being held as follows:

Thursday 8th November – NCT Small Talk & Baby Talk, United Reform Church, Petersfield, 10-12

Wednesday 14th November –  Baby Sensory Classes, Greatham Village Hall, 10-12

Monday 19th November – NCT Haslemere – Royal School, Hindhead, 10-12

Tuesday 20th November – Baby Sensory, St Alban’s Church, Hindhead 10-12

Thursday 22nd November – Baby Sensory, Haslemere Prep School, Hill Road, 9.30-2pm

I will also be at Stepping Stones in Sheet, date to be confirmed.


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Very special Autumn mini shoots are available from today.

Book yours here

Shoots can be bought now and taken anytime from 5th September to 31st October 2012 (limited weekend availability) from just £95 inc 5 images as digital files (usual price £275).  Ther are just 15 slots available on a first come – first served basis.

Gift vouchers are also available, pls contact Tina to arrange

Beautiful albums, canvases and digital file packages are also available.

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REAL photography training

9 years ago, my children were 1 and 4 and they kept me pretty busy!!  I decided to launch Tina Bolton Photography, photographing pregnant women and their beautiful bumps.  I had one camera, one lens, a few training courses under my belt, a bit of research and a massive dose of self confidence…(well the type that comes just as you are about to do a parachute jump for the first time anyway!!)  Thus proving that you can set up a successful business and run a house and young family.

Today, I regularly photograph pregnant women, who bring along their cute babies and growing families for me to capture.  I have learnt soooo many valuable lessons along the way, made mistakes, both large and small.  I have invested (wasted) hard-earned cash and yet I have achieved success.  I sometimes wish that the 2012 me had been around in 2003 to guide me in my photography business.  The thing is, I am around to guide YOU, if you are thinking of setting up your own photography business or simply need some help, ideas and advice in your current photography business.

I have attended lots of training courses myself over the years, some good and some not so good!  The one common theme throughout all of them is that they alluded to ‘teaching’ that ‘missing ingredient’ or being in depth, when in fact they only touched on really important issues.  I aim to change all that with these courses, and make sure you get to the heart of what you need to be successful.  The fact that I provide a follow up mentoring service for 2 months as well, means you have plenty of opportunity to ask questions and gain individually tailored advice.

The next course will run on the 11th and 12th of October 2012 at the beautiful Langrish House Hotel, Petersfield in the gorgeous Hampshire countryside.

It is run over two days and can be booked as one or two days.

A quick peek into what we will be covering..

Day One:   Getting to grips with your camera with simple to use & easy to understand techniques with ideas for posing and capturing candid portrait shots.  How to use the free, natural light in all seasons and what equipment you REALLY need to run a successful photography business (this will surprise you!)  A practical in the afternoon to put your newly acquired skills to the test.


Day Two:  ‘Speed Photoshop’, tips and shortcuts for enhancing beautiful portraits clients love.  Creating and using actions and image effects, plus getting started in Lightroom. Finally, we will cover suppliers that are essential, pricing, marketing and profitable product ideas.

That’s not all, the course includes a telephone mentoring service for two months after the course as well as an E-book of the course itself.  Each day will also include refreshments, buffet lunch and afternoon tea.

Langrish House Hotel has 13 rooms, is 5 minutes drive from the Winchester A272 exit on the A3 and there are also a number of hotels available within a short drive.

Each day has a limited number of attendees.  This course is specially designed for those thinking of or about to become a professional photographer and those who need some solid, profitable and timesaving advice.  The aim of the course is to boost your chances of success and to share all the accumulated experience and knowledge I have gained over the years, so you don’t have to waste anymore of your valuable time.

PLEASE NOTE: Geographical limitations will apply, for example there will be approx 25 miles distance between each attendee’s base so that you can be confident that the other attendees are NOT your potential competition.  For this reason we cannot accept applicants who are local to Petersfield and the immediate surrounding areas.  This means that places are offered on a first come first served basis.  If two photographers from a similar region apply, the first one to pay in full will receive a place on the course, however, as these courses run regularly, places will then be offered on the next one.

***S T O P    P R E S S ***        For our launch we are offering the course at a reduced rate as well as offering a discount for booking both days.  ***S T O P   P R E S S ***


It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to share so many ideas and techniques with you that will really boost your photography and your business.

For more details please contact me or to book your place on-line click here ,  download the booking form for the training course, and The Real Photography Training Course Prices


**Usual price will be £350 per day or £600 for both days  Our launch price has been reduced – book now to take advantage of our special launch price!


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MOD-ern Jubilee shoot fun!



Phew, these last few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of Jubilee photo shoots.  Thank you to everyone who has been involved so far…there are still more to come! (Details at the bottom)  At one school we had great fun with an amazing Union Jack Scooter…


Even I got in on the act!

I wasn’t the only one, many of the teachers and even some of the Mums hopped on too!

The Jubilee shoots were for children of all ages and we visited many toddler groups and nurseries.  We did a special Jubilee shoot in Cute of Petersfield (a wonderful children’s shop!) which helped to raise money for the fund and

Your feedback has been wonderful, thank you, one mum said: “I just wanted to say that the Jubilee shot of my daughter is fantastic!!  In every other supposedly professional shot we have, she is always pulling a self conscious ‘photo-face’.  She tells me that having the photos taken were great fun and that she enjoyed it – definitely a first!  Order already placed, thank you so much.”  Clare, Liss

There is still time to place your orders – you should have received your gallery password by now.  Here’s a few more to make you smile!







Finally, we will be at the Baby Sensory classes in Hindhead, Haslemere and Greatham w/c 11th June, no need to book just come along!  See you there!


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Jubilee Celebrations with our fabulous Jubilee Photo Shoots

What are YOU doing to celebrate this year’s Jubilee?  I thought I would bring the added element of fun to local schools and toddler groups by offering them a chance to host FREE Jubilee Shoots.  School and group portraits are all very well but this time I think we need a bit of added extra….so we have lined up a Jubilee ‘throne’, rugs, bandanas, Union Jack nappies (oh yes!!) and with very special thanks to a wonderful client and friend; a Union Jack Moped (even if you are not that into bikes – this one is an absolute beauty!!)

If you are a local school, baby/toddler group or even a charity looking to raise some funds and would like to organise a special Jubilee Photo Shoot read on:

In your shoot I will:

Photograph all the children in the group

Organse all post shoot sales and orders

Photograph your event FREE OF CHARGE and provide you with a set of atmospheric images which you can use for local press etc.

Post you a commission cheque from the sales

It doesn’t have to be just for the children!  Why should they have all the fun? (Although the Union jack nappies won’t fit!)  The Union Jack throne makes a great fun backdrop for anyone.  Let your imagination run wild…but contact me very soon as this idea has been soooo popular that we already have a diary which is filling up fast!









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Easter Colouring Poster

Easter is almost upon us and we are having lots of fun planning activities for the children.  You can download an Easter A4 colouring-in poster here.  Have fun colouring in, and enjoy a £10 voucher towards your next Tina Bolton Photography shoot with your fininshed poster as well!!*  In fact you could book a slot at our next mini shoot session on the 14th and 15th April which is £25** and only pay £15!!  Then enjoy a 30 minute fun, family photo shoot at a beautiful farm location in Liss, Hampshire.  Places are limited so use our contact form to book your place today…

Plus there are usually a few easter eggs dotted around as well…





* One voucher per family shoot only

** A percentage of profits go towards local children’s charities.

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