family photographer

Summer nights at Billycan Camping, West Sussex

We are so lucky to get to spend so much time at this little slice of heaven! Billycan Camping is a glamping site in Arundel, West Sussex, where children can run free and you can cook over open fires. Our history with this special spot goes way back, we got married there in 2013 and it actually inspired our move from London to Arundel! Now working there all these years later with my boys in tow is pretty special!

In the hottest week of the year we snuck away for a little stay, catching grasshoppers, water fights, cooking fresh lobster and sleeping under canvas.

Billycan Camping still have some availability over the summer holidays - if you decide to stay give me a shout and I’ll see you there!

Favourite Winter Beaches in West Sussex


If you’re a follower of my Instagram feed you’ll know how much I love getting my boys outside and especially to the beach. I believe in Vitamin Sea, blowing away the cobwebs and the grounding nature of walking in the sand. Plus my pesky dog, if I’m honest - my boys too, can live their best feral lives at the beach with limited judgement!

But beaches for me, are for life not just for Summer! And I believe that in West Sussex we have some of the best beaches around. So if you’re looking to visit West Sussex and want some tips on which beach to head to, or if you’re local and need some new inspiration for some of the best spots, this blog is for you.

So here are my top 5….

The widely acclaimed one: West Wittering

So this is hugely popular beach in Summer. I had a photo session there on the May Bank Holiday and it took me over 3 hours to do the 15 mile drive home… but for me it will always be worth it. And it is firmly my favourite in Winter when there’s only a handful of walkers on the weekend and even less in the week.

We always drive to the ‘dog beach’ end, which is basically the far end of the car park. In winter when the tide is low the beaches are huge and if the wind is too strong, you can escape and explore into the dunes which my boys love to do. In Winter the cafe is open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday - 9am to 4pm.

A locals favourite: Pagham

Pagham gets on my list personally because it’s round the corner from my children’s school. I love nothing more than picking them up early and heading there for fish and chips in the summer - in the winter I pop for a bracing dog walk after I’ve dropped them off in the morning.

It’s a long shingle beach with sand in spots at low tide, it’s very quiet through the Winter and I’ve often found myself having the whole beach to myself on a cold and sunny morning. Bliss! Parking is free and there’s a great greasy spoon just off the beach. Also try spotting for seals in Chichester harbour from the beach. I’ve spotted one very close to shore shadowing a fishing boat. Made my week!

A quick dip: Climping

One that is incredibly close to my home is Climping. A lovely quiet spot. It’s a shingle beach with not much there in terms of facilities, but if it’s a bracing walk on a shingle beach you’re after, this is a great spot. You can easily walk to Littlehampton and beyond to other cafes but it is quite far for little legs. My boys love it for the giant rocks that they climb and the little rock pools at low tide.


The one with my favourite cafe for breakfast: Ferring

My favourite thing to do on a Saturday morning by far is head out to breakfast at the beach. It probably harks back to when we lived in Sydney. And my most favourite cafe to do this at is The Blue Bird Cade at Ferring. It’s breakfast and lunches are great. It’s bright and airy, friendly staff and they are very dog friendly. It’s a must see on my list.

Once you’ve had breakfast then you can take the walk in front of the beach huts and on to Goring. It’s paved so perfect for little ones who love to scoot and a proper walk for the dogs.

The one with my favourite cafe for dinner: Bracklesham Bay
Billy’s at Bracklesham Bay is worth a visit in itself, the fact that it’s beautifully located on the beach is a bonus. It does do breakfast but it also does dinner on the weekends which we’ve been to with the boys - the restaurant is light and airy and accepts dogs. The beach itself is shingle and you can walk along the beach towards East Wittering.

How to take better photos of children

Over the last few years, I've really tried to hone my skills taking photos of the true essence of childhood. My obsession with capturing moments and memories of the ordinary everyday of my own children and now other people's families has driven me to discover and study from some of the best professionals and experiment.  Whether you're using your phone, a point and shoot or 'proper' camera here are some of the best prompts, angles and tips I've gathered to achieve beautiful imagery of children. 



1. Establish real emotion 

I don's say 'cheese' ever ever ever. I never say 'smile' or 'look at me'. Achieving the real look of emotion be it happiness, laughter, joy and sometimes even moments of sadness can't be faked with kids. That's what I love about photographing them the most. They wear every single emotion like a badge of honour. Not just smiling through their eyes but through their hands, head, whole body really. I love love love it, but it does mean if you want your images to scream joy you have to get real and work for it. And saying 'cheese' isn't going to cut it.

The way I do it is to talk to the children I'm photographing. Really talk to them about the things they love. If it's your own children this should be easy, getting them to say 'cake' or 'tractor' or 'unicorn' for example will make them glow if they're their favourite things. Singing songs from their favourite TV shows or nursery rhymes all elicit happiness. Real happiness. 

2. Get on their level

Literally get on their level! I'm not talking about thinking like a kid, although this can definitely help. It's about getting down low at eye level to take their snap. All too often we snap quick pics of our kids from above (our level). The kids are looking up, often into the sun which makes them squint with necks straining. Get down on your knees and look them straight in the eye. 


2. Let the kids take the lead 

Whenever I shoot a family session I like to have a rough plan of what we're going to do, but that goes completely out the window if the kids aren't into it. The best photos to take will always be of your kids doing something they're really into be it climbing a tree, playing with toys or just wondering around on a walk. Let them direct the action and the smiles will flow. Following them around you get to see the world through their eyes and children really do see magic. 

4. Take a lot of photos 

I am a self confessed over shooter. In a 2 hour family session I take about 1500 photos! Of course they're not all keepers, in fact I get it down to about 70 images that I love. Now obviously your iPhone doesn't have room for 1500 photos, but in a few minutes you should keep snapping away especially if there's fast moving little ones racing around. Phones are surprisingly good at capturing movement, just make sure you take enough and you'll get a keeper. 


5. Time is of the essence

Some of my clients are surprised about the length of time I like to have for portrait sessions. Often it's no more than 5 minutes to get one great portrait shot! The first shot is usually the best and when I've got it I call it a day. As anyone with kids knows, they have very limited attention span even more so when you're trying to take some photos and get them to look at you. Photograph in short sharp bursts. Sit them on a stool, chat and get it done with. If you don't quite get what you want, try again a few hours or even days later.

6. Bribery will get you everywhere 

The last tip and possibly the most important! My own kids are so over being photographed, but even at three they know how much mummy loves it and they understand the bargaining potential! Snacks, TV time, a trip to the playground, when the chips are down and you want a photo, don't be afraid to resort to bribery to get what you want!