The Magazine of a Northern Ireland Photographer

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Peter Thomas Crymble

Peter Thomas Crymble has 343 articles published.

Losing your hair – Keeping your crown

Our Sales & Marketing Guru Tara shares about her cancer journey.

It was on April Fool’s Day of 2015 that I had received my news. Poignant, cruel and devastating to anyone, my stage 2b cervical tumour would mean a course of chemo drugs (interestingly a drug made of trees), radiation (high tech laser beams right out of James Bond) and Brachytherapy (don’t ask). 

Along with my bag of booklets and a ‘we’ll let you know the schedule asap’ promise, I had a dandy little choice to make. Shall I take the red pill – Chemo 1, the tried and tested and works grand but mightn’t work version of treatment? Or the blue pill – Chemo 1 (used in cervical situations) plus Chemo 2 and Chemo 3 (reserved for breast cancer folk) which shall heighten my chances of survival by a spectacular 5%?

Blue pill it was. Give anyone any additional % of survival and I’d say yes.

Side affect? Loss of hair. 

It took a while to come to terms with that, as any person with long curly hair would. My teenage rebel within, however, delighted in the idea of a skinhead. My 30yr old something took a week of convincing. 

Week over and I’m ready. I’m willing. Beast mode switched on. But how would I do it? Let it fall as I wash my hair or take it off before it begins? Pinterest have a cool collection of my skin head heroes. Actresses, models and badass folk. Plus I was a photographer. I photographed everything that was important to me. Dogs, family, friends. And now it was my turn. 

I spoke with a friend who was only too happy to help me ‘brave the shave’ and had his own photography studio. Hair stylist arranged, brothers booked in to help and champagne bought, I had a photoshoot to celebrate my new hair do. 

And it was a celebration. It was exciting. I wore a shoulderless top and had my portrait taken in the four different stages. Saying goodbye to the hair I loved and hello to the woman I needed to be for myself. 

The celebration portraits took away from the focus on why I was there. That day was great as we all had lunch together and I embraced public eyes surrounded with my people. Lipstick, eyeliner, dress, skinhead. I would be fighting like a punk with a mohawk. 

Please share my story with a loved one affected by cancer.

If you would like to do your own Celebration photoshoot, there is no charge for the studio or final portraits. It truly is a blessing to have the opportunity to provide such an experience to fellow cancer folk. Whether you go straight to skinhead and enjoy 2 portraits, or do the same four stages and enjoy 4 portraits. I hope this positive experience will carry you through your treatment, as it did me.

Pandemic Pups

cockapoo

Peter’s dog Teddy was already lively. Cockapoo’s are known to be a bit lively, but after lockdown we started to notice some disturbing behaviour.


After a few rather startled Amazon delivery drivers, Peter’s wife had had enough and called on the expertise of Robin Bates. Robin called out to the house, and it was simply the best investment! Robin pointed out some things its owners were doing wrong, and after a few fairly easy fixes, Teddy is much more relaxed and easier to handle.

Teddy – like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth!

One common issue post – lockdown are separation issues.
We asked Robin what the signs are of a dog who has become attached to their owners during lockdown.

“A lot of dogs are not coping well being left at home suddenly after weeks of having the owner around.” Explained Robin. “There are some common signs to look out for:

  • Are they following you around more?
  • Do they wake up every time you move.
  • Do they start pacing or get anxious when you prepare to leave?
  • When you leave, do they go to the toilet, vocalise or be destructive?”

“If you have separation problems seek a good behaviourist and they will help you work on a separation protocol.”

We’d wholeheartedly recommend Robin , who is keen to help and has many years of expertise. He offers 121 consultation and also runs classes.

Robin with his furry family.

To start with Robin suggested a few ideas that may help eliminate stress:

  • When you are there encourage scent games, reward-based training and play.
  • Make sure they have a safe place to sleep, this is a place where they will sleep at night.
  • Before leaving make sure they have a walk, been toileted and maybe some food can help.

You can book Robin at https://www.dog-training-ni.co.uk/

A real life wonder women!

I met Suzi a number of years back and have enjoyed watching her inspiring story unfold! Last week I had a wee ‘virtual’ chat with Suzi and asked her to divulge a little about herself!

Explain a little about who you are and what you do?
I’m a mindset coach who helps women to heal from a lifetime of not feeling good enough, enabling them to tap into their personal power and transfom their self-belief, health, wealth and success. 

I offer 1:1 coaching to empower and equip my clients with the skills and knowledge to move beyond fear, guilt and self-sabotage and truly thrive in all areas of their life. 

Prior to starting my coaching practice, I’ve had a successful independent Speech Therapy practice and worked as the lead allied health professional on a service for young people with acquired brain injuries supporting them with memory, mood, wellbeing and goal attainment. 


Sounds like you are a busy woman! You talked about mindset coaching – what exactly does that mean?

A mindset coach uncovers the blocks, behaviours, beliefs and habits that are blocking the client from getting to where they want to be. Rapid transformation and sustainable results are created by employing a range of reprogramming techniques that positively serve the client.

The key to achieving any goal is working with mind, whether that goal is to be more confident, to lose fat, to improve health or fitness, to achieve academic or business success or to kick an unhealthy habit.

…We’ve all got bad habits!

For sure! My approach combines elements from my clinical, personal and academic knowledge and expertise in neuroscience, psychology, CBT, adverse childhood experiences, counselling, health, behaviour change and hypnosis.

I get to the root of the presenting issue and support my clients to take back control of their lives and become the person they desire to be. 


Great – so how did you manage to find yourself as a mindset coach?

I suffered from low self-esteem and post-traumatic stress related to childhood and adolescent abuse and trauma. This peaked in my early 20s when in quick succession while I was at University, I was injured in a car accident causing arthritis in my spine, my marriage ended, my dad died, my home was vandalised and I spiralled into debt and depression and turned to food and alcohol as my comfort. I was at my absolute rock bottom and felt like I had no control over my life. 

I would read inspiring stories of how people had turned their lives around, and I would think ‘that’s okay for them but that wouldn’t work for me.’ 

But then my own turning point came when I realised, I could continue to dwell on the past and keep my grief alive by mourning my imaginary future or I could turn my pain into my power and one day inspire others.

That’s exactly what I did. I lost 60lbs and was featured in Women’s Health magazine, I came top of year at university, achieving a First Class bachelor of medical science degree in speech science and 3 prizes at my graduation, I renovated my entire home with the help of 1 builder, I set up my first business, I found love again and I learned to finally accept myself. 

I now have the privilege of empowering others to tap into the innate power of their mind and transform their lives. 


You mentioned weight loss there – In the photography business, it seems that people always want you to photoshop the pounds away! You once posted a picture of yourself at your lowest weight – yet you commented that you weren’t happy?

Yes, such an important point! I lost 60lbs in 8 months during my final year of University through trial and error of improving my health and fitness. I was really happy during my Women’s Health magazine photoshoot; I was healthy, curvy and happy. However, a few months later and another few pounds lighter I did some modelling for an activewear brand who heavily photoshopped my images to the point where I felt inadequate in real life in comparison to images of me that they were portraying. 

I shifted my focus from trying to be thin to be the healthiest and happiest version of myself. I threw out the scales and I’ve never looked back. 

Cool – I’ve a friend who’s slogan for his business is ‘strong not skinny!’. I think its a really great slogan! You describe yourself as a natural introvert – me too! What advice do you have for us introverted people?

To embrace your unique introvert qualities and recognise that nobody fits neatly into a box, your energy will ebb and flow. Sometimes you may feel like rescheduling plans to spend time alone and recharge, other times you will find your energy is topped up when spending time with family or friends. Be honest with yourself about what you need and give yourself permission to have it.  


Your story is very inspiring to both men and women alike. It must make you feel great when you see people move forward..

It is the most wonderful feeling to see people break through their barriers and step into their potential. I wake up excited every day to work with my clients and continue to share my message. I truly believe that struggle and stress is the greatest catalyst for strength and success.   

If someone wants to book some time with you, what should they do?

Pop over to my website and book a free, no obligation discovery call using my online scheduling app www.suziturner.com

This gives us an opportunity to consult and ensure that we are a perfect fit before deciding to work together. 

10 Reasons to have an engagement shoot

There is something magical about an engagement shoot. The excitement for married life, the big day and all that life has to offer.  

I love celebrating this! Its so lovely to have memories to look back on from this time – to bring a smile when times are tough or to remind you to be thankful when things are great.

Here’s 10 reasons to consider an engagement shoot.

1. We’ll have fun!

Engagement shoots are totally chilled out and fun. There’s no pressure and we can have some craic.


2. Practice

If you being in front of the camera is something you aren’t used to, an engagement shoot will show you how much fun it can be


3. Beat the nerves

If you are nervous about your wedding photographs, gain some confidence and banish those nerves!


4. Go somewhere special

Have the photographs taken somewhere you can’t go on your wedding day. Somewhere special to you or somewhere hard to reach in a wedding dress.


5. Include your pets

Include your dogs in the photographs. They’ll enjoy a nice walk too!


6. Get to know Peter. He’s not so bad apparently

Seriously though, its a great way to spend some time with your photographer, break the ice and get to know each other.


7. Use the photographs to decorate your walls in your home

This is a great excuse to get some stunning imagery for your walls. Whether its for the living room, kitchen or bedroom there’s sure to be a photograph to suit.


8. Give the photographs away as gifts to your parents

Christmas and Mothers Day are sure to be sorted this year!


9. Use them for save the date cards or wedding invites

Many of our customers have used the images as guest books, wedding invites or save the date cards. There’s no more personal touch.


10. Enjoy N.Ireland’s amazing scenery

We really do live in an beautiful country. It’s lovely to be able to capture this in your photographs.

Check out our engagement shoot page here

I am Dance

We kicked off 2020 by inviting young dancers into the studio. We had such fun – I simply wasn’t prepared for the breadth of dance practiced in N.Ireland. Everything from Irish Dancing to Hip Hop to Ballet – the range and talent was incredible!

We just loved using creative lighting to produce some really cool effects such as this silhouette…

… and these colour gels.

We had dancers of all ages – from 2 up to 18! How cute is this wee man?

One common theme across all the genres of dance was the commitment of the kids and their parents. Everything from meticulous outfits, to stories of far flung competitions – and lots of awards!

The talent was simply amazing. We are so blessed in this country to have such talented and dedicated young people.

And I particularly loved all the urban themes that came through!

Thanks to everyone who came – keep practicing and we look forward to photographing many of you soon!

5 Blogs to follow

Tara ( our sales and marketing guru) shares her favourite 5 blogs and instagrams. As photographers, we look for inspiration that can be brought into the studio and blogs are a great place to start!

1. Steve McCurry

stevemccurry.com/blog

The photographer of the famous ‘Afghan Girl’ with the mesmerising green eyes puts out collections of images with poetic verse.

His use of exaggerated colour and wide open spaces have inspired many a portrait shoot. But also McCurry provides tranquil content such as his series on ‘Trees are Sentinels’ and ‘Breathing Life’.

Photo: Steve McCurry


2. Felix Kunze

http://felixkunze.com/blog/

German born, English bred, resident of New York, this photographer is a master of lighting and we love how his group photographs.

Photo: Felix Kunze

3. Anne Leibovitz

https://www.instagram.com/annieleibovitz

No blog here, but an instagram worth a look at!
The portrait photographer of our generation. Beautiful portraits of individuals from their hand positioning, where their gaze is and making use of props. All of these inspire us as photographers as well as being in awe of meeting all these celebrities!

Photo: Annie Leibovitz

4. Seth Casteel

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0EDQHfhwaE/

Another instagram – The best medicine is laughter and this photographers blog is fantastic. I purchased his book on Underwater Dogs while travelling through America of which sits in the studio reception and provides others will a good giggle.

Photo: Seth Casteel

5. Kelly Brown

https://newbornposing.com/news/

To say Kelly Brown is a Newborn photographer is slightly underrating how amazing this lady is. All the way from Australia, Kelly is the lead newborn baby photographer in the world!

If you want to learn Newborn; posing, wrapping, lighting and session flow, Kelly Brown is the woman!

Photos: Kelly Brown

6. And one from Peter…

https://chromasia.com/photoblog-thumbnails/

Peter: When I was starting photography this was the blog that most influenced me. Not updated as much as it used to me – but still worth a visit.

Photo: David Nightingale


CAPOW!

Every now and then we love to add something totally different into our studio portfolio. In the last few years we’ve added in The Little White Box and Babyface sessions – both have been amazingly popular.

So what should we do next? Something that no one else in N.Ireland is doing, something fun and unique. After more than a little head scratching we came across CAPOW!

Everyone loves to dress up, and everyone loves superheroes!

So out we went, bought a movie grade set including backdrops, boulders, metal beams, chains and more! Just when the credit card couldn’t take any more, we bought 30 superhero outfits – from superman and super girl to deadpool and flash!

Somewhat worried about how this might go, we decided to a soft-launch first. Three days of CAPOW shoots later…and the results were amazing!

Here’s our first ever CAPOW family!

One child came into the studio, superhero music blasting. He slipped on his Iron Man outfit.

“Mum, I’m really Iron Man. I’m really him!”

Adults get to join in too. Mums and dads have really enjoyed the experience – we’ve noticed a real Marvel vs DC rivalry. Almost as bad as the Man Utd vs Liverpool rivalry in my house!

One unexpected consequence of the CAPOW shoots were the (sometimes heartbreaking) stories people shared. One child who is ill with Leukaemia had a blast. “We would love to do this shoot with him as he is our hero!”. Another child with autism really got into character.

“I’m so amazed he has done so well. We never get photographs normally!”

We are planning to run the CAPOW shoots once a month – you can book here.

The Power of the Printed Image

Every now and then someone asks me why I like to sell printed images. “Why not just sell digital files”, they say, pointing out that there’s probably more profit to be made in digital files.

Yet my desire for printed images is unwavering. I absolutely love seeing wall-art leaving our studio. To think that pieces of our work are hanging in hundreds (maybe thousands) of homes across Northern Ireland brings a smile to my face.

To think of the number of conversations that have started with a cuppa tea in one hand, standing around a framed picture on the wall.

Phone picture one customer sent of their wall-art.

Recently I had one such occasion. At a close family funeral, folks at the wake gathered around images I had taken of the family. Comments like “aren’t those fantastic”, “so lovely to have”, “wow look at those” where common. Memories captured forever.

Yet not all occasions are so sad. Many of our images produce smiles and laughter. A child with a priceless expression or a dog misbehaving – all funny moments captured forever.

Phone picture one customer sent me of their newborn! Sitting on the piano. We don’t recommend this incase it smacks you on the nose hitting those high chords 🙂

One of the things I love most is when a customer sends me a picture of their new piece of wall-art on the wall. Thanks to everyone who sent in images for this post – keep them coming!

Another phone picture – the stairs are actually a really popular place to hang photographs!

We recently invested in a new fine-art printer for the studio. Fine art paper is probably twice as expensive as normal photographic paper – but it’s worth it! The paper is textured, has a beautiful feel in your hand. It’s also archival grade and has a wonderful quality and feel.

Phone picture a customer sent us of their block print.

From wedding albums to the very latest contemporary wall-art, I can’t wait to see what amazing creations our customers come up with!

Phone Picture of a big family group!

A Reluctant Superhero

Every now and then the team here at Peter Thomas Photography come up with an idea I’m not all that keen on. I think they find it fun to wind me up.

‘Let’s do a Superhero project’ they said.

‘No’.

‘Please….’

‘No’.

‘I’ve already booked you one in’.

Doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Let’s get kids to come along in their superhero outfits, hype them up to the nines and create a living nightmare for me, the photographer! More crowd control than art.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. On the contrary, (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), The Superhero project has turned out to be one of the most fun things we’ve done in a while! Inspired by all these amazing super hero outfits and energised by the kids enthusiasm for the project, I thought I’d try and bring something a bit different to the party!

First up, we got some cool superhero signs printed up…

Pow. We had all sorts of outfits – not sure who the next one is but he sure is cool.

This was a great opportunity to play with some lighting setups:

Next up, I thought I’d play around a bit with gelled colours. After plenty of research, I think I’ve (almost) perfected this flare shot – all done in camera! Really love this!

Finally, I used a projector to beam some really cool patterns onto the wall. Here’s a few of my favourites!

Some of the superheros could even fly!

If you’d like a superhero session, just get in touch!

All the best,

Peter

The day I photographed a proposal!

It’s not every day you get to photograph a marriage proposal live! 

I arrived up at Dunluce Castle ahead of the couple. I must admit I was a little apprehensive – what if she said no! Raj assured me that was unlikely (very reassuring!) and so I went to work setting up the sign Raj had sent me and some flowers collected on route.

I must admit Raj had gone to some considerable effort! He’d organised a custom made sign and had it delivered to the studio. He’d also requested a bunch of flowers to be on site. Every little detail was organised on a spreadsheet to military precision! We must have had about 10 Skype calls before the big day organising every precise timing and detail.

I was receiving live updates from Raj as he approached – and so the tension was building! I could see them approaching so I lay in wait, hiding the sign and the flowers from the view of other tourists!

Raj wasted no time – straight down on one knee. Harina seemed somewhat surprised to say the least – but after a few moments of shock she said yes!!

So after the big deed was done, we set about marking the occasion with some photographs. The couple live in the US, so I was pleased the weather held up for some scenery photographs!

We visited Carick-a-rede rope bridge and Ballintoy Harbour too. Beautiful locations. By this stage we had got to know each other – and I realised that this couple where full of ‘craic’. They were really great fun to be around.

There you go – a live marriage proposal on the North Coast of Northern Ireland. Raj & Harina – thanks for trusting me with this special moment!

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