In tribute to Keith Williams, a very kind and lovely man.

Hubby and I hail from a little place in Essex, known as the Dengie Peninsular. For some reason I struggle to identify (but definitely has something to do with pride), it’s important to me you know that prior to walking out together, I lived first in London, and then in Bristol. (I didn’t even know him before moving back to Essex, so there must have been some serendipity at play, as it later emerged that we’d actually shared the same school bus for several years!)

Despite now living a little way out ourselves, we both have family there and so the small town where we went to school is somewhere we still visit regularly. Like all small seaside towns (this one is actually on a tributary), it’s quaint and quite lovely, particularly in the summer.

But (as is often the case), knowing an area well takes away some of its shine: Burnham-on-Crouch is no doubt a desirable place to visit, alas it doesn’t hold the same allure for us.

And yet I know that if we stumbled across a similar town on our travels, we’d be more than content. I admit it – I’m a hypocrite; such is the curse of over-exposure to nice things.

 

A Gift of Memories

Last Christmas my in-laws kindly bought us a voucher towards some professional photos. The photographers are based in Burnham, and – somewhat ignorantly – neither hubby nor I had high expectations. Essentially, we’d formed an uneducated opinion based on nothing more than our biased feelings towards the small area in which we’d grown up.

We were in no great hurry and decided to wait until our daughter was old enough to be interacting with us before attending our session. Nearly a year on, and I finally got around to contacting Williams Family Photographers to book a photoshoot.

Firstly, I should point out that we’re a normal family, and as such, after almost 12 months I was quite unable to lay my hands on our voucher. It may have helped that Williams know my in-laws, having been booked to cover their wedding; either way, they agreed to allow the use of our voucher without the physical evidence of it. (In fairness, I’m not sure we’d have gone along otherwise, so this was a bit of a relief!)

 

Williams Family Photographers: First Impressions

My initial thought as we entered the premises was that it was a very professional outfit. In hindsight, it was unlikely to be unprofessional; but suffice to say, it exceeded our expectations. By comparison to our wedding photographers, we were expecting to be underwhelmed – but were actually seriously impressed by the set-up.

Pixie awoke as we arrived, and it can take a little bit of time for her warm up to her bright, sunny self when she’s sleepy, but I was unconcerned.

Our daughter is usually very friendly (read extrovert); so much so, it can be embarrassing sometimes: I might be in a queue and hear baby talk coming from a grown man, only to turn and find my little girl making eyes at him. This is not a rarity, it happens almost without fail every time we leave the house and she’s awake.

So I was not unduly worried about getting some nice photos: a man plus a camera = Pixie in her element (she takes after her dad – a massive flirt and poser).

 

Never Work With Children…

Alas, that day she had other ideas. We tried every trick in the book, but it was as though she knew we were on a time limit to get some good snaps. She was not interested. At. All. 

Morgan, our photographer, was fantastic. I can’t fault his effort and attempts to calm and entertain Pixie. From playing with stuffed toys, to blowing bubbles, he tried it all. (He may have been feeling a little impatient towards the end – I know we were – but his heroic attempts to hide it were valiant.)

She was having none of it. After about an hour of trying, we gave up and left with only a vague hope of maybe having managed one or two okay-ish images. We also thought there was a realistic possibility of not having a single photograph of her where she wasn’t crying.

(For the sake of transparency, I also had a couple of pro shots taken, one of which I was given in exchange for writing this post. You can check out the image on my About Me page.)

 

The Result

When we returned to view our photos, we were very pleasantly surprised to find that Morgan had captured a couple of stunning images of our little family.

Naturally, there were a few not quite so great ones too; but mostly he’d done a fab job given the child he was working with that day!

We actually saw Keith (Morgan’s dad) when we went back for the viewing, so didn’t get to thank Morgan; but both were equally welcoming. And when I joked about Keith touching up a couple of imperfections on our chosen photos (for example, the crumbs from the biscuits used to bribe Pixie), he was only too happy to do so. This may sound like a given – but actually, our wedding album (from a different company) arrived without the agreed retouches; while our photos from Williams were exactly as we’d hoped.

We chose to purchase several images on a USB stick; we decided to opt for all colour photos, and simply change them to black and white ourselves (so we’d have both options). When we mentioned our intention, Keith kindly offered to include both for us at no extra cost, since they’d do a better job than if we did it at home.

A few days later we received a thank you card through the post, including a small bonus photo of our favourite image, which was a nice touch.

When I went to collect the USB, even that was a pleasant surprise – it’s almost pretty enough to wear as a necklace!

All in all, our experience with Williams was very positive, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them. We will absolutely be returning ourselves in the future (particularly as Keith has offered to shoot me dressed up as a Jedi on their designated set, to accompany this post!).

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