Baby Elma Family Kitty Me and Mine Photography

Me and Mine – a family portrait for August


Pinterest may yet be my downfall.  Given my propensity to aim high in a “go big or go home” kind of a way, and a few spare night time hours spent clicking pretty family pictures when reading required more consciousness than I had to spare, the itch to try something beyond simply plonking the children on our laps and clicking the shutter was irresistible.

The overall plan was simple.  Upton House is our favourite local National Trust property.  It has stunningly beautiful gardens that fall away from an expanse of flat lawn into the valley below, a great collection of Canalettos for H, a gorgeous 1920’s kitchen complete with double Aga for me to covet, and a lake full of fish for Kitty.  Elma is mostly happy just being where we are so she likes it too.  We come here fairly often, usually on days when we need a run around and I just can’t face entering the scrummage of the local play parks, but we’ve visited for Civil War re-enactments, as well as Jazz, Pimms and some unofficial dancing by Kitty on the terrace.  It’s the kind of place where you know you’ll find a lovely backdrop around every corner, and there’s every chance it’ll crop up in some Me and Mine photos in future months.

Well that was the big plan.  The detail included remembering to bring the actual tripod, putting together a picnic with a higher than usual biscuit and white chocolate quotient, encouraging Kitty to run around for a bit before even thinking about taking any photos, and then setting up for one of those oh so charming, seemingly spontaneous, natural family moments (preferably rendered in sepia) so beloved of the repinners.

It turns out that to run at the camera, while trying to fire the remote trigger, avoid tripping over your own rather bumbly feet, get everyone in focus, hold in your Mummy tummy, and check for random strangers in the background is a bit more multi-tasking than I can manage.

me and mine, upton house, national trust me and mine, upton house, national trust

But I love the results.  They aren’t perfect images by any stretch of the imagination and I’ve got a gazillion outtakes all in varying degrees of poor focus, extraordinary poses, or both.  They do however capture a moment, a silly afternoon of giggles and experimenting, and for me, it’s infectious; I can’t look at them and not smile.

But if I learned one thing for next time, it is perhaps that sometimes you really do need an actual real life photographer.  Well that and that I bite off more than I can chew and H doesn’t believe in being subtle with the remote – but I think we both knew that anyway.

me and mine, upton house, national trust

And so that we could properly see the changes in our little family from month to month, I plonked the family down on the steps at the top of a steep turf path heading straight down the hill to the lake, where Oxfordshire brick, Cotswold stone and dazzling geraniums competed for attention, for a little more of a traditional pose (and as insurance against having to deny all knowledge of ever trying to achieve anything more interesting!).

As you can see, they were thrilled:


So we mixed it up by swapping the children over.

me and mine, upton house, national trust

Kitty, blonde strands long ago escaped from the pretty hairdo she left the house with, wonders when on earth Mummy is going to stop taking photographs and from where on earth this promised ice-cream is going to materialise.  Don’t these people know that the shop’s in the opposite direction?

Elma, so much bigger than last month, and with so much more hair, tries to make sense of Mummy’s black box with the very chewable strap having become for once separated from Mummy, and ponders whether she could get to that rather exciting clicky thing without anyone noticing her eating it.

me and mine, upton house, national trust

My little family, in August.

And finally, I have living, walking, breathing, stopping-to-admire-the-shrubbery proof that no matter how conspicuous you think you’re making yourself running around with a camera, a tripod, a remote shutter and various members of your family pulling funny faces, you really really aren’t!


(it took two more photos – and my shutter isn’t especially quiet – before they finally noticed!)


dear beautiful

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  • lucy at dear beautiful 31/08/2013 at 7:39 am

    These are AMAZING!!! I think they might be right up there as some of my favourites from this whole project. Pinterest is such a great source of inspiration for these photos. I have an enormous board of family photography, enough to last me a few years of Me & Mine… and that’s if I stopped pinning now.
    What a lovely location, we have some beautiful spots near us like this; with a photo op around every corner. So lovely to have and use for these photos. x

    • Carie 31/08/2013 at 12:01 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I think I’ve got several years’ worth already and I just keep seeing more. I’ve just got to work out how to get my photography skills to keep up with what my mind’s eye can see – lots of practice required but that’s not exactly a chore!

  • Katie 31/08/2013 at 7:41 am

    Gorgeous photo’s – you all look like you are having such fun 🙂 x

    • Carie 31/08/2013 at 12:01 pm

      Thank you – it was a very silly and fun day out!

  • Anna-Marie 31/08/2013 at 8:26 am

    Lovely! 🙂 looks like you had fun!!

    • Carie 31/08/2013 at 12:10 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Mary Keynko 31/08/2013 at 8:28 am

    I love them! they are far better than the professional staged ones – you can really see you as a family having fun and all the smiles are very real and genuine!

    • Carie 31/08/2013 at 12:11 pm

      I think the staged sort might have better focus but they do certainly have a lot of laughter in them!

  • mandycharlie 31/08/2013 at 1:51 pm

    I think my favourite is Kitty flying through the air with Elma laughing at her, just perfect.

    • Carie 31/08/2013 at 9:58 pm

      I certainly hope they are some that we will look back on fondly in years to come!

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 31/08/2013 at 6:04 pm

    These Re bust brilliant, I think the last one might definitely be my favourite for the comedy value, but they are all pretty funny in their own right. Thanks for showing us the honest side of photographing our small people!

    • Carie 31/08/2013 at 10:01 pm

      Admittedly we weren’t standing right next to it at the time but it’s a big camera and a sturdy tripod- it’s testament to the glories of the flower beds that they stayed oblivious for so long!

  • Caroline 31/08/2013 at 9:13 pm

    This whole post, and ALL the photos are great. Really made me smile! You can totally see your family personality shine through.

    And I will remember that bottom one the next time I’m hit with an attack if self-consciousness over public photography!

    • Carie 31/08/2013 at 10:03 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Capture by Lucy 31/08/2013 at 10:43 pm

    Wow wee what a great set of photos!!! So thrilled you are joining in xx

    • Carie 02/09/2013 at 11:08 am

      Thank you – I’m so glad I started taking them – it’s totally addictive!

  • SaveEveryStep family stories 01/09/2013 at 8:43 am

    They are super! Even though I can feel the kids’ “will it ever end?”!!!! The running is such a nice touch

    • Carie 02/09/2013 at 11:09 am

      Ah she was placated with a strawberry ice cream – bribery wins the day!

  • Lauren 01/09/2013 at 2:50 pm

    I read this with such a big smile on my face. These are brilliant and it really looks like you enjoyed taking them.
    The last photo is hilarious! x

    • Carie 02/09/2013 at 11:17 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed them – they were a lot of fun to take!

  • My Two Mums 01/09/2013 at 9:19 pm

    I love these! I have a pinterest board for inspiration too. I love the remote pressing too hehehe.

    • Carie 02/09/2013 at 11:18 am

      Pinterest is amazing – but also such a giant time suck!!

  • nic@nipitinthebud 01/09/2013 at 10:54 pm

    I love this post – looks like a fab day out and lots of fun taking covert snaps! Hoorah for Mum tums featuring in me and mine posts I say (I had no other snap to choose from this month so had to go with this one sitting crossed legged like a pixie in the woods!)

  • Chloe 02/09/2013 at 3:23 pm

    These are actually hilarious, even more so because they resemble the ‘behind the scenes’ shots of every single family photo I try to take. The last photo is just brilliant, how did they not notice?! Good point about feeling more conspicuous that you actually appear to other people, I’m always worrying about that.

    • Carie 05/09/2013 at 8:06 am

      I really have no idea how they didn’t notice – I just kept clicking away because I thought it was so funny!

  • Charlotte 03/09/2013 at 10:51 am

    I love these photos! The ones of you all running towards the camera are brilliant! Looks like you are all having so much fun despite the hazards. 🙂 x x

    • Carie 05/09/2013 at 8:07 am

      Thank you 🙂

  • SAHMlovingit 09/09/2013 at 2:17 pm

    You may say they aren’t perfect images but I think they are. I love them. I also love that bottom lip picture 😀