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Family Portraits in the Lavender Fields

For a while now I had heard about the lavender fields at Lordington Lavender, but had never had the chance to visit, let alone shoot there. So this season, I decided it was time to go during their open week, where you can pay an entry fee and visit their open field. I was hoping to get some shots of my partner and our son, as well as my sister-in-law and niece.

A David Brown 990 tractor sits to one side of the mature lavender

On arrival, you are greeted by staff who show you to the car park and then up through a ticket gate, at which point those fit enough can walk up over the hill and those less inclined can wait for a tractor and trailer to drive them around to the field. Its a short walk over the hill and you're presented with the most astonishing view of two lavender fields. We are conditioned to expect crops in a field of yellow, brown, or green, but to see a field of purple is quite something.

The lavender is such an intense shade of purple

There are various tents erected selling a variety of baked goods, drinks and ice creams (they are a business after all) but owing to the heat during our visit, they were a welcome refreshment. Pro tip - take a picnic as its a beautiful spot to have lunch. Once I had taken it all in, it was onto the matter of taking photos. It was a crystal-clear day with the sun overhead which was not ideal. The gates do not open until 10 and in the summer, the sun is already high in the sky and they close at 4, so no option of sunset or twilight. In these conditions, you just have to make the best of what you have. The temperature on the ground was extreme so I needed to bag the shots of the kids as soon as possible so they could get back into cover.

Natasha, Olive and James at Lordington Lavender

My son is very fond of the camera and was no trouble at all and fortunately, neither was my niece. Both sat very still and remained calm throughout. Its hard to issue any kind of direction to such young children, so I rely heavily on the adults to guide them as best as possible. I was shooting with an external flash to help highlight the fronts of the subjects when the sun was behind them. The photos turned out amazingly well considering the lighting issues.

My son, Walter and fiancé Chantelle

An internal struggle I had was when it came to editing. There seems to be two schools when it came to editing these lavender photographs. Do you saturate and attempt to recreate the colours that were there on the day, or do you use artistic licence and desaturate to create impact. I am not sure there is correct answer, and so I tried both methods and if I am honest, I like them both.

My sister-in-law, Natasha, with her daughter Olive

I am a firm believer that every day is a school day. I learnt a lot on this shoot about composition and particularly, natural light and the introduction of artificial light to improve the scene when natural light is less than optimal. Whilst everyone was happy with the resulting images, I would like to have my time again to perfect the niggles that I see in the images, but that will have to wait for next year!

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