Elma Family Kitty Me and Mine Photography

Me and Mine – a family portrait for July


It seems that the biggest challenge to taking a portrait of the whole family each month isn’t so much a lack of intent or the motivation to do it, at least where the adults are concerned, and, as I so ably demonstrated last month, Kitty is remarkably responsive to that old standby – the chocolate biscuit bribe.  And it isn’t that I’m particularly self-conscious about taking pictures with the tripod and timer.  No, it’s a bit more basic than that.  It’s my house.  H and I are not minimalists by any stretch of the imagination, and neither are our daughters.  We love colour and pattern and beautiful art and our lounge walls are filled with H’s paintings, beautiful prints, and a really great watercolour which we liberated from my parents-in-law’s garage several years ago.

The pile of quilts in the corner, the cushions a little faded and dog-eared from being dragged in and out of the garden, the vibrant red and blue play kitchen, boxes of Duplo and baby stuffies, and a bookcase exploding with the family’s current reads make our lounge the heart of our home.  That is after all its primary function, although there are times when the photographer-Mama wishes for a little more light and a little less cross-trainer in the background.

I could I suppose develop gargantuan powers of de-cluttering tidiness but frankly I’d rather read another story, play another round of ice cream shop (today’s flavour is “purple”) or embark on another round of Playdoh-is-not-for-eating-please-take-it-out-of-your-mouth instead.

Besides, who’d want to see twelve months of photos of my sofa anyway.

I think a good part of this challenge is going to be exploring places for pretty photos and if those of you that have been doing this longer have any top tips I’d be more than grateful, although if December’s photo turns out to be four very cold people visibly shivering in my back garden I may re-think the tidiness thing.

But for July, I always knew I was going to have it a little bit easy, with our trip to Devon offering up both photographer and any number of pretty locations.  So just to spice it up a bit it seemed only sensible that the location should move.  A lot.  After all, why when you have all the scenery of an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, would you not take your photo on a steam train.

We set it up, girls scooped onto our laps, camera handed over, and Dad, feet firmly braced between two solid seatbacks and the carriage doors steadied himself, waited for the perfect jolt, and let fly the shutter.


It captures so perfectly their intense excitement at the world passing by, even though I think we’re in a cutting judging by the greenery, that nothing, not even their much adored Grandpa could draw their eyes away from the window at that moment.

Even when we took a few more pictures from a less wibbly perspective Kitty’s eyes are sliding across, just to make sure that she doesn’t miss a thing.

Me and Mine, Kingswear Steam Railway, family photo, family portrait

This has been the month in which Elma and Kitty’s relationship as sisters has really started to blossom; especially now that Elma is sitting confidently on her own, although I’m not sure that Kitty’s that keen on how many of her toys are now within Elma’s tiny grasp.  They giggle and splash each other in the bath, prod and poke each other in the shopping trolley and babble and chatter while we play.  If Elma cries Kitty runs to her side; “don’t worry sweetie pies! Mama is coming! Come on Mama!”, and she often asks to give ‘squeezy hugs’.  In the same moment I’ll be quieting toddler wails while unlacing chubby baby fingers from her sister’s blond curls, or having yet another variation on the conversation that begins “not all of the things belong to you”

But I think this photo shows it best; Elma’s delight and Kitty’s watchful love, holding her sister so carefully, despite all the grown up arms around them both.


My little family, in July.


dear beautiful


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  • lucy at dear beautiful 31/07/2013 at 11:43 am

    Awww, your photos are all gorgeous this month. I love the relationships between you all which are so clear to see in that last one.
    And with regards to tips on locations. I think it’s a mindset thing, since starting this project I have spotted a load of spots I’d like to get a portrait; some a stunning vista, others a pretty hedge, some simply a nice looking wall. I’ve actually got more ideas than months left in the year, so it looks like I’ll be carrying on for a while. I think once you know that you want some good spots for a photo, you start spotting them all over the place. And some months your plans just dictate the photo for you, like when you’re on holiday. And I’m sure Christmas will end up playing a big part in my December shot. x

    • Carie 01/08/2013 at 12:29 am

      Thank you – I’m starting to get some ideas for next month, and I’ll just have to hoppe that my subconscious snowballs, although if I ever do run out of ideas, revisiting an earlier photo could be quite fun just to spot the changes!

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 31/07/2013 at 12:19 pm

    Lovely photos, and I love looking at your family as I think your girls may have a similar age gap to mine. Finding locations is hard. I have been trying to pick places that mean something to me so it will be nice to look back on. X

    • Carie 01/08/2013 at 12:34 am

      My two are two years and two and a bit months apart so I think the gap is almost identical, just a few months down the line, and is probably a big factor in why I enjoy reading about your family too!

  • My Two Mums 31/07/2013 at 12:28 pm

    Love these. It’s so nice to see their relationship captured in the final image. I can’t wait until we have another addition so we can experience this.

    • Carie 01/08/2013 at 12:37 am

      Somehow the impact of having two children seems so much bigger than just the addition of another small cute person, although that could be down to Miss Elma who has us all utterly wrapped around her little finger! Your little M is such a cutie, I’m sure he’ll make and awesome big brother in due course!

  • SaveEveryStep family stories past and present 31/07/2013 at 3:07 pm

    Lovely fascination on their faces…and wow, doesn’t your big girl have daddy’s eyes?!!!

    • Carie 01/08/2013 at 12:39 am

      She is so very like a mini version of H it’s true – I’m not sure my genetics got much of a look in!

  • mandycharlie 31/07/2013 at 3:11 pm

    Such charming photo’s, beautiful. A picture paints a thousand words…

    • Carie 01/08/2013 at 12:41 am

      Thank you 🙂

  • Charlotte 31/07/2013 at 6:03 pm

    Lovely photos! Love how your girls are looking at each other in the last one! X x

    • Carie 01/08/2013 at 12:43 am

      I think it might possibly be the very early stages of a conspiracy plot to overthrow the benign dictatorship that rations chocolate biscuits, only time will tell!

  • SAHMlovingit 31/07/2013 at 8:44 pm

    What truly gorgeous photos – you can see the love shine through…and not a chocolate biscuit bribe in sight 😉 x

    • Carie 01/08/2013 at 12:50 am

      Ah I’ve upped my game this month – a small mouthful of Twix was administered before we started!

  • Lauren 31/07/2013 at 9:53 pm

    These are beautiful. I love natural photos, and the fact that your daughter couldn’t resist but to look out of the window. x

    • Carie 01/08/2013 at 12:51 am

      Thank you – the not wanting to miss out on anything is so very Kitty at present!

  • Emily Beale 01/08/2013 at 8:26 am

    There’s nothing better then a chocolate biscuit bribe – haha, what I wouldn’t do for a Mcvities! Lovely family portrait! #Me&Mine

  • Karen 02/08/2013 at 9:48 pm

    These are all absolutely gorgeous. So many happy pictures this month 🙂

  • Chloe 04/08/2013 at 11:14 am

    Love these photos, and I REALLY loved the post you wrote about your train journey.

    When I started this project, it was very much a ‘quick, take a picture anywhere’ method. It still is, but I’ve now got a little list of potential shot ideas or locations to give me an extra bit of motivation. I like the idea of revisiting certain shots too.

    • Carie 06/08/2013 at 12:09 am

      Aww, thank you!

      I’m trying to pull together a little Pinterest board of different compositions, and keep an eye open for pretty locations – now I just need it to stop raining!

  • Becky 05/08/2013 at 1:18 pm

    Beautiful photos! It’s lovely to see how much your girls care for each other!

    • Carie 06/08/2013 at 12:04 am

      Thank you – it’s so fun watching that relationship develop!