How to capture better digital photos of your children and other adults, using natural light


This gallery contains 35 photos.

In this brief guide I am going to share some tips I have learned from professional photographers, and from a number of courses and private lessons I have been on. Before I even start, the first and foremost thing worth … Continue reading

Wonderful trip to Paris, while pregnant and with a toddler

Visiting Paris is a memorable experience, right?

Having done it with just my husband (when there was just us two) and having previously lived in Paris for seven years in my student years, doing it with a toddler in tow and pregnant was a (totally crazy) different experience.

Only joking, it was still wonderful, and not more stressful because, hold tight, we didn’t cram in too much during our 3 days there.

Packing too many things during the stay can make it stressful, so we wanted to have a relatively free and spontaneous programme, while also having a list of things to do/see. Having one key attraction per day was the perfect amount we found.

So on to what worked well for us?

Stay close to the departure/arrival station

Well, first staying somewhere close to ‘the point of entry’ i.e. for us the Eurostar arrival station, Gare du Nord. We booked an AirBnb apartment about 10 minutes walk from Gare du Nord and that was brilliant. It meant that we could ‘check-in’ first and drop our bags and have a quick refreshment/put my feet up. Also for our toddler it was exciting to discover a new place and enjoy some quiet time before we set off for an outing again.

Beautiful Canal St Martin area

The second good thing about the location of our apartment was that we were quite close to the beautiful canal St Martin, with its many coffee shops, bars and brasseries. So after a quick rest we headed out again and stopped for a late lunch in one of the canal facing, brasseries. Along the canal there is a playground, an additional attraction for our toddler who still had some remaining energies after all.

Being in a different country is interesting when you observe your own child trying to interact with other local children. And before you ask, no I wasn’t providing any kind of translation, to questions, such as “can i have a go at the swing”, that doesn’t need any translating, does it?

Balloon adventure at Parc Andre Citroen

The definite highlight of our trip was the “balloon” adventure. During my years of studying in Paris and working intermittently as an ‘au pair’ I had gained a good ‘children related’ knowledge of playgrounds and adventure parks.

One I was very familiar with was Parc Andre Citroen, in the 15th arrondissement. It is a little bit out of the way and not a main tourist attraction but for kids it is magical. 

The park has a number of gardens and a great fountain court with water jets that can be such great fun, in hot weather. You can sit on the grass and enjoy a picnic while you look at the balloon, which is not a “hot air” but a “tethered” balloon that goes up to 150 metres. The views of the Seine and the Tour Eiffel are splendid and it is not as crowded as the Tour Eiffel or Sacre Coeur Cathedral.

‘Toujours dans mon coeur’ Quartier Latin

Another favourite area I always love to visit when in Paris, is the Quartier Latin or 5th arrondissement, perhaps because I love to go back to the ‘student streets’ of la Sorbonne where I spent many splendid youthful years.

Jardin du Luxembourg cannot be sidelined and hidden in there, is another great adventure playground for kids, “Les Poussins Verts”.  This one was way too busy than the quiet and relaxing Parc Andre Citroen but it is centrally located and you also have to pay a small fee.

One thing we had not noticed on our previous trips, was the lack of escalators or lifts in the “Metro”. If you can manage not to have a buggy or can take with you a collapsible one, underground journeys will be less tiring.

By the end of the third day in Paris, while also quite pregnant, 7th months precisely, I was starting to feel the heat of the streets and the underground and it was soon time to leave.

Eurostar here we come!

Heading towards Gare du Nord and the exciting Eurostar journey, was extremely pleasant and another adventure for our toddler, the train and the tunnel under the sea!

Some photos from the trip, unseen before, enjoy!

I would love to hear if you have been to any of these places in Paris or have any others to share.


Refresh your profile with a free profile photo

Are you looking to refresh your profile picture on Facebook or LinkedIn? Is it time for a new image on your blog?

Using a professional photo for your profile, does help make you stand out from the crowd, win new work and adds a professional factor. It has a ‘feel-good’ factor too.

If that is you and you want to impress your followers with a new, ‘shiny’ (read contains high levels of sunshine) or ‘green’ or ‘white background’ kind of photo, or anything else you fancy, then why don’t you enter this free giveaway.

I am offering one lucky winner, the chance to have a new professional photo taken by me, as a way to get to know me as a photographer.

I am starting out as a photographer although I have been doing it for many years with family and friends.

You have nothing to loose, right?

All you have to do is click on the link below, which will take you to the giveaway page where you can enter your email address and click ‘submit’.

The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Saturday 22nd April.

This giveaway is open to everyone, based in London or nearby as we would need to meet in person to have the photo session done.

Feel free to share with friends and connections.

Good luck, it could be you.

I am also linking this with the Brilliant blogs linky



Need your opinion please – I am thinking of changing this blog to a photography portfolio

My dear blog followers,

I would like to ask for your advice about the future of this blog and its “raison d’etre”. I am thinking to change it into a blog portfolio of my photography. This blog initially started as a place to write about a number of things: being an Albanian in London, becoming a parent and a mother, learning and practicing photography, writing etc. Perhaps too many things?

SO i am thinking of repurposing the blog to turn it into one single thing: a blog where i showcase my photography, a photography portfolio. The intention being to do more photography in 2017 and build a body of work by photographing friends and family and connections. Once i have practiced more and have a number of sessions under my belt, i could then start thinking about doing it more professionally with clients (and people i don’t know). I am also planning to take courses and learn more on the technical and other aspects of photography.

I would change the name of the blog to Laura Shimili Mears Photography (same as my Facebook photography page). I would also not have the current posts anymore (for which i feel a bit sorry but hey… they’ve been there for a long time now). I would change the domain name too, so the only thing that would be the same (hopefully) would be you.

So i have put together a simple poll to ask you to vote on whether you think changing this blog into a photography blog is a good idea and whether you would continue to follow me?

Please vote below, i would really appreciate your feedback to give me an indication of your acceptance of the change. Thank you all and sending you lots of love.

Photographing people in the street, is it easy?

Do you find street photography easy or like me you feel a bit awkward when meeting the look of a stranger questioning your intentions as you are about to press the camera ‘click’? But good news, we can all get better at it by practising and asking for permission or with a look, ‘can I’? Usually people say yes and can also engage in conversations. Here is an earlier experience of mine.

Laura's Little Things

I set myself a task to get better at photographing people in the street. 

That is an area I like and I want to get better at as I like observing what people do, how they dress, how they behave and interact. But of course as fascinating it can be it is also quite difficult. What I worry the most about is people’s first reaction, whether they want their picture taken and whether they will interact with me to say ‘please delete’ or whether they will turn away. What happens most times is people turn away to avoid being photographed. So the type of images I kept shooting were ‘stolen’ images which were not very well framed, or were taken in a hurry or didn’t have any expressions in them. 

So I decided to change that and started asking people if I could take their picture. Here are some of…

View original post 184 more words

Assisting a photography session – Carlotta Cardana’s Mod couples project

For lack of time to write new posts but also as an opportunity to share some of my older posts, I am re-bloging this post about my experience as photography assistant, which i did once with an italian photographer working on a series of photos with Mod couples. I found that I learnt a lot during that session not only about photography but a particular sub-culture, the Mods.

Laura's Little Things

I have been looking to assist photographers so that I can get some experience of the real thing, of what photographers do when they are shooting for a project or for a client.

So I have been reading the brixtonblog ( and I follow them on twitter and in one of their features they were talking about an exhibition at the Photofusion gallery, a centre for photography in Brixton. The exhibition featured four photographers all with their particular types of photography.

Photofusion SELECT/13

The one that caught my eye was the series on Mod couples from italian portrait and documentary photographer Carlotta Cardana. I have to admit that I didn’t know anything about Mod couples or the Mod sub-culture before this exhibition and actually before meeting Carlotta. There is a website about Mod culture for those interested to learn more (

View original post 387 more words

I love Franco Fontana’s abstract colour landscapes

I have now added one of Franco Fontana’s photographs to illustrate his beautiful conceptual landscape photography

Laura's Little Things

Photographist – Photography Blog is a blog I follow and like a lot, it has the most stunning photos you can find around by professional photographers.

A few days ago the abstract colour landscapes of Franco Fontana caught my eye and they are amazing, a pure joy to the eye.

This is one of them but there is more in the link at the end of the post

I am sure I have seen a few of them around, in magazines or photography books (or other places) but I didn’t associate them with a name. Now I will remember Franco Fontana as one of my favourite photographers. He is italian, born in 1933.

Interestingly he started as an amateur but had his first exhibition 2 years after he started. He is apparently the inventor of the photographic line referred to as concept of line. I will need to look this…

View original post 161 more words

I love Franco Fontana’s abstract colour landscapes

Photographist – Photography Blog is a blog I follow and like a lot, it has the most stunning photos you can find around by professional photographers.

A few days ago the abstract colour landscapes of Franco Fontana caught my eye and they are amazing, a pure joy to the eye.

This is one of them but there is more in the link at the end of the post

Franco Fontana abstract landscape photography

Franco Fontana abstract landscape photography

I am sure I have seen a few of them around, in magazines or photography books (or other places) but I didn’t associate them with a name. Now I will remember Franco Fontana as one of my favourite photographers. He is italian, born in 1933.

Interestingly he started as an amateur but had his first exhibition 2 years after he started. He is apparently the inventor of the photographic line referred to as concept of line. I will need to look this up a bit more but for now I like thinking about the concept of line as something that cuts across distances, creates shapes and structures and defines contours. 

Below is the link to the Photographist – Photography Blog’s article and to the amazing abstract photos of Franco Fontana. 

Abstract Colour Landscapes by Franco Fontana | Photographist – Photography Blog

I wonder if there has been any editing done on them, I would say yes about one especially, the one with a thin line of red ground, amongst three other thicker lines of grass, yellow fields and clouds in a blue sky. What do you think?

I wish Franco Fontana was the reader of my blog and could see my photographs and give me some advice on how to improve. He could be the only reader of my blog for today. This is in response to the Daily Post: Singular Sensation of one reader of the blog we would like to have.

Outsiders – how does it feel to be on the outside?

Is it good to feel an outsider or we shouldn’t give it too much importance? After all as long as we feel good within ourselves the notion of ‘outsider’ shouldn’t apply – you cannot be an outsider in that regard. But when we think about society and what everyone can achieve, it is easy to see and define some as outsiders, those who don’t benefit in the same way to the benefits of society as others. Is that fair, how can that be changed? Here is my view of outsiders.

Children playing at the beach, in Britain and Albania

I took this photo of children paying in the sea, in a beach in Devon, in the South West of England. It was a warm-ish Sunday afternoon at the end of August and these children were wearing their wet-suits and playing around with their surfs.

I love the fact that British people and their children are always doing something, an activity even when it is their relaxing time 🙂

The waters are not very inviting (to actually go for a swim) as quite cold but make for a beautiful sight. I love the clouds in Britain as they are always around and the different shapes they create are fascinating.

Children playing on a beach, in Jale (pronounced yal), South of Albania not far from the town of Himara. As you can see it is quite different. I took this image in the beginning of September, while on holiday in Albania with Roger and Edward and my parents.

The children don’t need wet-suits and they are not playing with surfs. Generally speaking activities are more simple and people really relax, i.e. lay on their sun beds for long periods of time, reading a book, magazines or just watching the sea.

The sea is more inviting and in fact you feel the urge, to go for a swim to cool off, from temperatures above 30 degrees.

It is difficult to take a picture of the sea in Albania because of the strong sun. So often I shoot parts of the sea with a strip of the beach or the sea itself or a view from above. Like this one I took from the peak of Llogara mountain, the mountain that separates the Ionian Sea from the Adriatic sea. That mountain is also the symbolic start of the southern beaches, which are nicer and have more character than those on the Adriatic.

I don’t have a favorite sea between that in Britain and in Albania, I like both and I am lucky enough to be able to visit them regularly.

What about you, any favourites?

Little explorer

Little explorer and future photographer? Here is my son playing with the tripod, an afternoon in the field outside his grandparents house.

We had been collecting blackberries (why didn’t I think to take pictures???) and this was a moment of stopping and playing on the grass.

‘I think I know what to do with this gadget’, he is thinking…

He is looking in my direction here, but thinking again mami, another photograph???

Edward and Skomer, one of his favourite friends in the world. He loves seeing the dog and being chased around by him. Here he is busy looking at the ‘roller’ toy car, he was playing with all afternoon.

Happy moments.

This was during the August bank holiday, in Yealmpton, Devon. The weather had been pretty good all weekend, with sunny spells and warm.

The sky this particular afternoon was overcast and I understand now, the truth of photographers’ advice that the light on a day like this, is the best for portraits. The reason being that the light is diffuse, is not coming from one particular direction and is not creating any shadows on people’s faces.

It takes a while to be convinced about something, until you have experienced it yourself! At least in my case 🙂