International Women's Day | 2019

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International Women's Day | 2019

On this special day, I want to share the words of a song that resonate with me..a lot. I follow these up with one of the scariest things for me - sharing my own pictures! Yes - I’m a photographer and it still scares me! :)

But today, I choose to conquer that fear….today, I choose to not care about my weight, dark circles or those imperfections on my face …today, I choose to embrace myself….today, I refuse to hide and choose to be unapologetically me - that’s the skin I’m most comfortable in anyways...

Here’s to being ourselves…embracing ourselves…loving ourselves...everyday.

I am not a stranger to the dark
"Hide away," they say
"'Cause we don't want your broken parts"
I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
"Run away," they say
"No one'll love you as you are"

But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

- This Is Me, Keala Settle, The Greatest Showman

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Women In Midlands - 12 Months | 12 Women | 12 Stories

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Women In Midlands - 12 Months | 12 Women | 12 Stories

For a long time I have wanted to start a series about Women In Midlands. I’ve come across such a rich variety of women here that I wanted to capture and share some of their stories. The idea is to get to know each of these exceptional yet everyday women, one layer at a time. It is a celebration of each of them. The hope is that in their stories, each one of us finds a little sliver of ourselves and takes the opportunity to celebrate ourselves too! I’m super happy that this series is finally taking off, so close to International Women’s Day - just perfect! :)

In this inaugural month, I’d like everybody to meet Pallavi Sridhara. I knew Pallavi as the admin for a very popular FB and Whatsapp Group - ‘Indian Mums In Midlands’. Ever since I became a part of that group, I’ve been awed by how much time, energy and herself she devotes to the group. I had always been intrigued about how she does it all with two kids and a job with NHS! Therefore, I reached out to her and shared my vision for this series. She was a complete sport and came on board immediately. We met at one of my favorite cafes - Boston Tea Party in Harborne. It provided the perfect setting for our discussion. Sharing some snippets from our conversation and some pictures from the day -

Me - Tell me a little about yourself 

She - I grew up in Bangalore, did my primary schooling there. Then I spent my secondary school years in Delhi. When I was completing my final year of medicine, I met Nithin (my husband)'s family. I got married in my internship year which was just after I graduated. My Dad had put out ads for my marriage. I did not even know it was out. So randomly one day they tell me they'd met Nithin who'd flown down from UK. My parents asked me if I would like to meet him. I think I was so surprised, I said there was no harm in meeting someone so I said yes. They came to our place and we just talked. So I don't know what happened. We barely knew each other. But somehow we clicked. He's really brought out the best in me. I think I've really grown as a person with him. But, when I'm angry and have a fight, I don’t hesitate to tell my parents that you spend a week selecting your washing machine and dryer and you conned me into this marriage where we agreed the next day! (laughs)

Me - You believe life in UK has changed you for the better. What are some changes that life here has brought about in you ?

She -  Coming to this country has given me a lot of independence. I've been in a much protected environment. I never had that life where I've made my own choices. So I felt almost that there was a rebel in me that needed to be let out. I felt the decisions that I was making, even though they were mine, they were influenced a lot by people around me. I think India does that to you with the family and the societal expectations. I see that here people are a lot more carefree about making their decisions like say quitting their jobs or ending relationships and not having to think too much about it. Or maybe they do think but they are able to decide and live with that decision. 

Me - Tell me a little about what you do. How and why did you get started in your field ? 

She - I am a Psychiatrist. Initially I was going to be in a very grilling job in Obstetrics. Because that was 'approved' in India. Whereas Psychiatry is looked down upon. In Psychiatry you are primarily using your communication skills. And the attitude is that one doesn’t need to go to medical school for that. And to an extent I agree. We are a bit more deskilled than other specialties but I really like it. And when I made that decision I know my Granddad laughed and smirked. Recently I was trying to tell my Dad to be healthier and he would say, what do you know you are just a Psychiatrist. But they turned to me when he was really unwell when he flew to US to see my brother. Because I had to challenge the doctor there and convince him to do the most essential investigation to rule out some of the commonest things you'd expect somebody to have, when they've had a long haul flight. And it turned out that he did have a clot in his chest and they'd not done a CTPA of the chest. And when they did do it and find the clot, it somehow re instilled some hope in my Dad that this daughter of mine still has some basic medical knowledge even though she may not be able to do surgery.

I think in that generation the idea was that if your kid is studying their aim should be to become either an Engineer or a Doctor. Dad wanted to be a doctor but he couldn’t be. So, it was his unfulfilled dream and desire that I was fulfilling. You can feel it. The pressure on you. I think you somehow start living that dream yourself. It becomes your dream.

When I finished Obstetrics I knew for sure I'm not doing Obstetrics. I got through into GP training and Psychiatry. So, I could have gone either way. I saw my husband who's a GP. I said, well, I don’t want competition within the family like Abhimaan (laughs heartily) (Abhimaan is an Indian movie about jealousy between a couple who belong to the same profession) . That was really my thought process. Now I'm really glad I made that choice because I get to talk a lot with people and it is draining at times because you have to show empathy and sympathy even when you are not feeling it. But I like that you are almost let into their world. At least their own version of their world. And they share a lot of personal things that you won’t expect somebody to do. So its perfect for me. I really enjoy being a Psychiatrist.

Me - You describe parenting as one of your biggest challenges that you’ve overcome. Why is that ?

She - I think its difficult. Because you don’t know whether you are doing the right thing. You only know of the outcome of your parenting 2 - 3 decades from now. Its too late to rectify then (laughs).

For me from day 1 I’ve been clear - having had working parents - at least one parent in the family will be there for my children. My mother is a fantastic role model. She worked full time. She did her MA while being alone looking after both her kids. The memory I have is that we were all slogging with her. For me, I know I can get extra degrees when I'm 40, 50, 60. But I can’t see my child go back to their 2nd birthday or 3rd year of their life or 1st school day. Those are things I won’t get back. I wanted to ensure I am there through these milestones. For most performances, random things, even if I'm thinking that for this trivial event I have used half a day from my annual leave! But its worth it. They may not remember it. But I’ve been there.

Nithin helps when I lose it. He is a very mature person. I used to study the day before exams. Pull an all nighter and then pray to God. Whereas he has been a meticulous, responsible parent. His theory is that let the kids study for half an hour everyday. Doesn't have to be intense work but let them get into the routine of doing some work everyday. I think for that side of parenting he is really good. I am the giver. Whereas he is always like why...if there’s no reason for it then they shouldn't get it. There’s a balance. Its not rigid. Its fluid and we are making it work...I hope! The biggest challenge is that you know you've created individuals who are happy at the end of the day and can look after themselves. 

Me - Post natal period was difficult for you like it is with so many of us. What did you find challenging during that time ? 

She - It can be very isolating and it’s very confusing with all the hormones. We don’t know what’s going on. When I think back, I think why was I so fussed about sleeping routines or feeding routines or doing certain things a certain way. Why didn't I just let it be and relax? But those days we are just consumed with guilt.

I think it’s the impression of that stage...there’s a certain expectation and a certain template of a pregnant lady and post - partum mother that people just assume that you will fit into and you are not even made aware of that things can go differently. I am thankful , fortunate that at the end of all this I've got two healthy babies (touches wood) and many people don’t.

But the whole pregnancy I'm not the typical pregnant glowing woman. I am constantly uncomfortable from day 1. In fact I know I'm pregnant even before the test shows it. Its because I can feel the nausea. I can feel the pimples and everything else. Up until almost a year after the post natal period, I'm not myself. I can't explain it. I'm not that naturally happy and glowing pregnant woman. And even in the post natal period you find women ready to conquer the world and I think that is where the misconception is and I'm glad there are more people coming out and saying its OK. Its OK if you don't take a shower on a particularly bad day. Its OK if you just use some dry shampoo on your hair and carry on with life. You don't have to be running marathons daily.

During my time, I don't know whether it was depression, maybe it was. I remember going to the GP and crying all the time about Viren’s (my son’s) reflux and they would say Oh I can see how difficult it is... seems like you've got a lot on your plate. I got nothing more than sympathy which would leave me just angry. It is real and I just feel we need more support which we don't have here. I do want to do a bit of training in that area to see if there is something I can help with. 

Me - What helped you during that time?

She - The fact that I got out of it alive! (laughs) It felt like such a dark cloud. I didn't know when or how I managed to get out of it. 

Me -  You’ve lost 3 stones. How did you motivate yourself to do it and more importantly, how did you do it?

She - Every stage of my life I've been overweight. From even before I can remember. So I've always felt I needed to lose the weight. It started off as another fad thing two Novembers ago. I thought I'll just do a few kgs. Maybe just lose a bit of holiday weight. I somehow stuck to it though. I was seeing results so I was able to motivate myself and push myself to do a little bit more.

I followed the Cambridge Weight Plan. For me the main problem was that I can't pre-plan and pre-cook. What really helped me is that they come in sachets, bar or shake form that you can mix it up and its ready. As soon as you knew you are about to have your meal, you didn’t have to think or cook. It was there for you. I followed this plan for 6 months. Even now, if I gain a pound or two, I go back to it. I carry a few bars. They are supposed to be low calorie high protein. With this I also intermittent fast. That’s when you don't eat for 16 hours. All you eat is within a 8 hour window. In the 16 hours you can have water, black coffee etc. but nothing sugary. 

I am very proud that I've lost the weight. But the challenge now is to maintain it. So I'm very mindful of what I eat now. 

Me - Apart from work and family, your friends are also really important to you. What role do your friends play in your life. How do you make time for your friends.

She - After the kids have become a little older, I've told myself that I need time for myself. Almost on a weekly basis, I need to reconnect with people. I need to be myself for a bit. Where I am just not somebody's wife or mother or doctor or anything. I just want to be me. I think I've got a few friends who ground me. Who tell me off. They are able to point out that 'Bhaiya tum paagal ho rahi ho, thora relax ho jao' (Girl, you are going crazy. Please relax). They say it as it is. I will make sure that there is some time for them always.

Me - A message for the readers

She - I 'd say to people to believe in themselves - because I've had a lot of self doubt and confidence issues. If you put your 100% into something and believe you can do it, I do feel you can achieve anything.

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the Q&A section of the text belong solely to the interviewee, and not necessarily to the author or Candid You Photography.

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Afternoon with a friend | West Midlands Family Photographer

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Afternoon with a friend | West Midlands Family Photographer

She’s a young lady. He’s a boy.

She’s sensible. He’s playful.

She’s 18. He’s 7.

Seriously. But when these two meet - that difference just disappears. From the first moment these two met, he took to her like a fish to water. As anyone who knows a 7 year old, knows that they need to like someone for them to spend any time with them. Same for a teenager too! Therefore it makes me so happy to see them enjoying each other’s companies, even though they are worlds apart.

When we visited her in Warwick University, it was like any other Sunday afternoon. An ordinary time that became extraordinary, thanks to these two having so much fun and of course….me, capturing all the fun and being click happy :)

These pictures truly speak a thousand words…therefore I will stop talking now! :)

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January Favourites | Birmingham-UK-Newborn-Family-Maternity-Photographer

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January Favourites | Birmingham-UK-Newborn-Family-Maternity-Photographer

I wanted to commit to a 365 for a LONG time. You ask what is a 365. Its committing to taking a photograph a day. The subject can be anything that captures your eye, anything that motivates you…makes your heart sing :) You would think thats an easy job for a photographer, right? :) Not really. When it comes to taking pictures of families that hire me - its far easier for me as I am committed to my families having a stellar experience. Which means I keep myself to a schedule - I shoot, upload, edit and deliver - all at pre agreed timelines and it gets done accordingly.

But when it comes to personal stuff, I’ve been known to drag my feet - specially where editing is concerned! I love the process of editing as it brings my vision to life - but actually ‘getting to it’ is a major task given my two littles :) Well, I’ve finally committed to a 365 with the hope that this knowledge about myself will help me not falter. I’m happy to report that I made it through January - yayy! :) Let me see how long the streak lasts!

Sharing my favourites from January - enjoy!

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Delplace Family | Birmingham Newborn-Maternity-Family Photographer

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Delplace Family | Birmingham Newborn-Maternity-Family Photographer

Oh how I love meeting new families and capturing some moments for them that years from now….. will take them back in time!

This was the first time I was photographing this sweet family. They were planning to live in Birmingham only for a short while. Therefore, Mum wanted a location that was quintessential Birmingham. Well, what better place than the canals to fit that description!

This family loved the location. The kids had a lovely time. Parents had a good time seeing them run and laugh and just enjoy each other’s companies! I really wanted to capture the love and connection between each member of the family - which was so apparent! Hope you can see it in the pictures as well! :)

Enjoy this beautiful family and this ‘quintessential Birmingham’ location.

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Birmingham Newborn-Maternity-Family Photographer
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Birmingham Newborn-Maternity-Family Photographer
Birmingham Newborn-Maternity-Family Photographer
Birmingham Newborn-Maternity-Family Photographer
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Birmingham Newborn-Maternity-Family Photographer
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Introducing Baby Krish | Birmingham UK Newborn Photographer

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Introducing Baby Krish | Birmingham UK Newborn Photographer

It’s been a LONG time since I blogged. There was good reason to stay away though. After a long wait, we were finally blessed with our little one and our family is now complete. ️ First days with this little guy were just so amazing - challenging… as we all adjusted to the new normal - but so amazing :) It was delightful to see elder brother doting on his little bro and showering him with love :) there was jealousy as well - as I think is only normal. But thankfully big brotherly love overpowered the negative emotion :) I had been meaning to share our first days with you all for a long time - but when this little bubba turned 6 months - I realized that its about time I shared!! And I decided to share it in a slightly different format this time! Sharing a film for the first time ever! Enjoy! :)

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Neetha | Birmingham UK Maternity Photography

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Neetha | Birmingham UK Maternity Photography

I am so excited to share one of my maternity sessions with my favorite family in Birmingham. Neetha and I had been discussing for weeks by this time and it was such a delight to see that our ideas about this pregnancy shoot aligned.

One thing Neetha was very clear about from the start was that she wanted a bright sunny day to capture these images. We waited for the perfect day - and you can see in the images just how perfect this day was!

S and A were also in great moods - which set the tone for the whole session! It was such an amazing evening, I am so honored that they chose me to be part of this special time in their journey!

We warmed up with these sweet images - I was checking for light at this time - but this family was just so together from the word go - that I ended up loving these images and just had to share with them.

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I had rushed them to catch the amazing evening light. I was worried that we would lose the light as we got slightly delayed in reaching our spot. I was feeling guilty for rushing the family but they were all pumped up! Bless them :) They sat for a little while and these are some snapshots from there.

Our little boy - but soon to be proud big brother - A, was just brimming with energy! His mum had told me that he LOVES to run and I had to capture some of his running energy in the lush green fields of this location! His mum wasn't kidding - he just didn't tire from all the running! It felt so free to see him running boundlessly and exploring this open space!

Our little boy - but soon to be proud big brother - A, was just brimming with energy! His mum had told me that he LOVES to run and I had to capture some of his running energy in the lush green fields of this location! His mum wasn't kidding - he just didn't tire from all the running! It felt so free to see him running boundlessly and exploring this open space!

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Even though A was in his energetic mode, I managed to capture some quiet moments between Mum and son 

I had rushed them to catch the amazing evening light. I was worried that we would lose the light as we got slightly delayed in meeting each other. I was feeling guilty for rushing the family but they were all pumped up! Bless them :) They sat for a little while and these are some snapshots from there.

Why should we leave Dad behind? :) Captured some sweet moments between Father and son as well.

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In the hurry of everyday lives, we forget the journey the couple is going through together. In this pregnancy session, I really wanted to capture the fun times this couple were sharing.

Neetha and Srinidhi were in the perfect mood and I was so glad to capture these priceless moments for them! Here's soaking up some fun and anticipation that they so clearly felt on this day!

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And I love A in the background in these pictures! Thats just so true of a family and specially of a couple with kids. The couples have to almost steal their quiet moments from their time with kids - but the child is always in the background - either in reality or in their minds :)

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If you are with me this far - thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you enjoyed going through the pictures as much as we enjoyed that day! 

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Gould Family | Priory School, Edgbaston, Birmingham

Hi Everybody! Hope you are enjoying the summer sunshine!

Priory School had their Summer Fayre a few weeks ago. I offered 10 minute mini sessions at the fayre to raise funds for Friends of Priory. Today, I am sharing a beautiful shoot from one of those sessions.

I had the opportunity to photograph Heather's beautiful family in the gorgeous Priory School grounds. Even though the session was only for 10 minutes, I just couldn't stop clicking! The pictures themselves will give you an idea of the fun we had. Our lil man was a little tired but he was such a trooper during the shoot! He smiled everytime he said bye to me! haha :) We did end up saying bye a few extra times - just to get his priceless expressions :) Below is just a glimpse..

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Priyanka Family | Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham Family Photography

I had the opportunity to capture this amazing mum and her beautiful kids. They chose Cannon Hill Park for their shoot. It was a beautiful day and the sun was out in its full glory - which meant the park was full of people.

Even then, we managed to find this private cove and these guys totally made it their own! We spent an amazing hour or more there - they were just being themselves and I was happy capturing them and their natural selves! Below is a snapshot of that beautiful hour. 

Letter to my son | Our days around Birmingham Parks and Playgrounds

In the gorgeous spring weather, our walks to the playgrounds have become quite regular. Doesn't matter near or far, you and I want to sample them all! :) I really like these moments between us. They are special. I break out of the disciplining mum, the serious mum, the homework mum, the no ice cream mum, the non holiday mum - that I feel I've become in our daily lives. These times of ours in the playground, they just let me break out of all these shackles and let me see you from afar - enjoying yourself, enjoying your childhood. Me at a distance, just observing you being a child, letting you be. I just love watching you. These times of ours - they remind me that things are so fleeting and you are growing up so fast that it scares me sometimes. But what gives me peace is that I have these pictures of you to hold on to and remember you like this - always. That I have you to hold on to even tighter - no matter how 'grown up' you become each day! Love you, Mum. xoxo.

Ebe Family | Birmingham Family Photographer

Ann and I became friends in a flash. It was one of those effortless friendships that are just meant to be. 

I was super excited to shoot her family in a location that meant so much to them. Ann and I had discussed what the kids will wear and they looked amazing. They were super energetic when they joined me in her garden and I couldn't wait to capture some of that boundless energy!

With every share I try and choose one of my favourite images from the gallery. Its impossible to choose one favourite image as it will be like choosing a favorite child! But with each share I try to choose that one image that speaks to me most. 

The image below spoke to me. Ale climbing up his father like this is just priceless to me. He won't be able to do that for long. The kids will grow up, the parents will forget some of these things probably. But when they come back to this one picture - it will bring back the craziness and the headiness of these days.

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Sharing a sliver from the day.

Picnic at Clent Hills | Birmingham Family Photography

I had been researching Blue Bells for some time and really wanted to see them. Clent Hills popped up in my research and we hadn't been there. So we packed a good picnic basket and set off with our badminton, frisbee and the likes, to spend a good afternoon there. (We never could use them because of the winds, but we were very well prepared if the winds let up! :))

Well, the pictures on the internet did not prepare us for the beauty and the serenity of this place. The weather was gorgeous which just added to the beauty. We spent a nice sunday afternoon there - so quiet and laid back - two adjectives we hadn't used for our days in a long time!

With every share I try and choose one of my favourite images from the gallery. Its impossible to choose one favourite image as it will be like choosing a favorite child! But with each share I try to choose that one image that speaks to me most. 

It was the image below for today as this expression that he has on his face, thats reserved only for his Dad. The love, pure admiration, trust, fun...everything is just oozing out of this one that it makes mum's heart sing. 

 

Here are some more from the day.

CONCHA FAMILY | BIRMINGHAM LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER

I had the absolute pleasure of capturing one of my favorite families from our time in Mexico. Jana set up her family shoot with me and I couldn't have been more excited! 

This shoot was done first thing in the morning and the kids were rearing to go :) 

With every session I try and choose one of my favourite images from the gallery. Its impossible to choose one favorite image as it will be like choosing a favourite child! But with each share I try to choose that one image that speaks to me most. 

For this session it was the image below. As a mum, thats what I would want to remember when I look back on our days - the joy reflected in this picture. The unbound energy of laughter and love. And the three of them holding hands - just makes me swoon!

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Here are some shares from our session.