Tatler Schools Guide 2016

The IT List

Nousha Photography

Picture Perfect

If your child is sick of you chasing after it with your iPhone shouting ‘Just one more picture, darling!’. Then make a booking at Nousha. Its professional photo sessions will have you showing off the results to everyone. nousha.co.uk

The essence of Innocence capturing your child’s beauty

By Lucy Cleland, Editor in Chief.

Even though there are moments when the supermarket tantrums, wasted homemade fish pie and obscenely early mornings can threaten to send us prematurely grey, if not to an early grave, we will miss the little darlings when they’re gone. So capture them with more than your iPhone before innocence turns to experience. We found four people/companies who will bring out your children’s shining light whilst leaving you with an heirloom at the same time.

If you want heartbrakingly beautiful pictures of your children to keep forever, look no further than former Royal photographer Lionel Cherruault and his wife Claire’s photography studio, Nousha.

There was a sticky moment when Lionel thought that my son Hector was not going to play ball. Despite his best game playing efforts (and he’s prepared to go as far as he can to get a giggle), the peekaboo, my soothing motherly words, my little blonde mop head just did not like it when the camera flashed and made a loud ‘poof’ sound. He’d screw up his eyes and burst into tears. My four-year-old daughter on the other hand enjoyed leaping about in front of the camera just a little too much. We had to come back for a second session (Hector ‘got’ it that time) – which can be quite hard to arrange – as Lionel Cherruault, a former royal photographer, and his wife Claire’s photography studio is seriously in demand. And you can see why. Excellence, perfection and quality are at the heart of everything they do from photograph to frame.
The set up is wonderful: they have oodles of space in Battersea (easy to park) where everything down to the framing is done. They’ll even arrange for someone to come and hang your photographs for you afterwards and the whole process is curiously fun and immensely moving. When you’re invited back to see the results – you sit on a big squishy sofa with a cup of coffee, the TV flicks on and there on the big screen are your children looking so exquisite in forgiving black and white that it makes you want to cry. You will want to buy every photograph, but be ruthless and get that editor instinct out. Lionel can guide you if your lip starts to quiver at the thought of deleting one. Each image is perfection, but there are some that will break your heart.

The Lowdown

Face time
The session in the studio itself lasts a maximum of one hour.

Do I see you again? 
Yes, you do. We invite parents back (without their little ones) ideally a week after the shoot when pictures have been edited and prepared for your viewing session.

When and how do I get my finished product?
Your images will be ready for you to collect or for us to dispatch six weeks after the viewing session.

Price starts from?
The studio session is £250. Framed images and digital negatives start at £160. All products are conservation quality.

020 7635 0887; nousha.co.uk

How to take a good photograph of children

Wonderful company Nousha tells you how

Image courtesy of Nousha

There is no better present for a doting father, aunt, or any other family member, no matter how distantly related, than a really touching photograph of a child they love

 

But how to achieve such a thing? For years, I’ve been putting together calendars for their grandparents of my children as they grow month by month. Summer snaps are of bronzed urchins clambering in the branches of a mulberry tree in rural France. September is always taken on the first day of term and is all shiny shoes and apprehensive expressions. The December picture is generally shot in some department store Santa’s Grotto with a long-suffering Father Christmas flanked by two slightly puzzled kids who are privately wondering why on earth he’s not off wrapping stocking fillers in the North Pole. These calendars are touching memories of a fleeting childhood, but I am afraid the pictures themselves are not works of art.

I wanted to produce a truly beautiful image of my little family before it was too late, and the children started refusing to pose. But how?

I have been to commercial photo studios infinite times for work and seen how exquisite a portrait can be when shot by a talented professional, with proper lighting, who takes his time to get what he wants. I have also (twice) been inveigled into the kind of studios you buy sessions in on Groupon where the photographer is a bored teenager who clicks away with a timer and stops short when your 15 minutes are up, and then traps you in a little edit suite and bullies you with a hard sell until you’re so confused, hot and cross that you part with hundreds of pounds for a picture in which one person’s blurred while whirling round, one’s picking it’s nose and the rest are looking in the wrong direction. I needed to find someone who recreates the values and perfectionism of an editorial shoot for families. I needed Nousha. This company was set up by Lionel Cherruault, who was an approved royal photographer for years, and shot covers for Paris Match.

But his first love was portraiture and, after years honing his talents shooting the young Princes William and Harry, he has come back to it. What’s good enough for the Windsors is surely good enough for me.

His base, just off Battersea Park, is far removed from the cramped and seedy basements adorned by a single light and a grubby Colorama roll of other portrait studios. In a former Victorian laundry, which makes a surprisingly huge and elegant building, the space is light, bright, and decorated with the most exquisite images of children, not merely fetching but thoughtful and revealing – the way all good photographs are, and those of children are so rarely.

Nousha has a house style: always black-and-white photographs; no shoes; and logos are kept to a minimum – which contribute to a timeless image.

As anyone who’s ever desperately shouted ‘cheese!’ at an unresponsive toddler knows, getting children to co-operate with you in front of a camera is a challenge but Cherruault wisely removes half the stress by banning parents from the set. Banned that is, except for the first few frames which Cherruault encourages the whole family to pose for since, as he says, ‘if you get divorced, at least you’ve got one nice photograph of yourselves as a family’. This ordeal over, out the adults go, to wait in the anteroom with the Saturday papers. You’re in earshot but unable to intervene or to remonstrate fretfully with a tot who is playing up. Cherruault tells me a lot of children he shoots have autism spectrum disorders who are uncomfortable with strangers and flash lights. As a result, he and the other two photographers who work with him take infinite pains to get insecure or disengaged children to relax for the camera and relate to. Having daughters of his own means he knows how to

communicate with a child without either talking down to them or getting impatient, which are invaluable skills.

After about half an hour, our children emerged good-tempered and we scampered off to walk through Battersea Park and feed the swans. There had been no hysterics and no tears.

There were tears, though, a few days later when I went back to the Old Imperial Laundry to view the pictures. No hard sell here, and no rush; Cherruault sat with me as I gazed at picture after picture of my children on a large screen in a comfortable sitting room. They were not beautified, or forced into awkward but ‘flattering’ poses, but presented to me as if afresh, as individuals. I was unexpectedly moved as I sat there and saw glimpses of their faces as they had been as tiny babies, and vague foreshadowings of what they would look like grown-up. It is rare to spend so long focussing on what your children actually look like and even getting a sense, through their eyes, of how they are feeling and thinking.

There were hundreds of frames to choose from and, though I have edited pictures professionally for decades, I would have been stumped had it not been for Cherruault, who encouraged me to keep in some and lose others that, though charming were perhaps not so thoughtful and wouldn’t have the same longevity.

Unlike other, lesser, studios, Cherruault offers a retouching service that meant stray hairs wisping into the air, or a too-obvious jeans label, could be edited out, leaving images that are magazine-perfect.

A few weeks later, Nousha sent me three glorious prints, beautifully framed, that have captured a precious moment in my children’s lives forever. Book now at nousha.co.uk

Here are Lionel Cherruault’s secrets of taking successful pictures of children:

1. The technology should become invisible so don’t fiddle with the camera too much.
2. Never talk down to children  – treat them as intelligent, sentient beings.
3. Though that doesn’t mean you can’t do silly stuff and blow raspberries to make their eyes light up.
4. To begin with, let them mess about a little bit, roll around and jump up and down – you can get great pictures that way and it helps them relax. The moment they know you’re on their side, you can ask them to get into the pose you want.
5. When a child sits cross-legged it always looks good.
6. But if they lie on their tummies you get a wonderful close-up of their face.
7. Get them to take off their shoes – they like it and children’s feet are gorgeous.
8. Use black and white – colour pictures age badly but black and white lasts forever.
9. It doesn’t matter what camera you use (though I use a Canon 5D mark 3) what matters is the lens and the relationship you build with the subject.
10. Minimise the props – teddies and sweets in the picture are distracting. If a teddy has to stick around, put it on your head and make it help you take the picture – that way the child will look at the camera and laugh.

When Time Stands Still

By Liane Nelson

Founded by husband and wife duo Lionel & Claire Cherruault in 2009, children’s photographic studio Nousha (quirkily named after the couple’s cat) specialises in portraiture which aims to convey the personality and individual beauty of every child.

A personal service with exceptional attention to detail is in place to make sure that your little one will be captured in just the right light.

All post production, printing and framing is handled in-house by the team to ensure the best quality, with a bespoke framing team using traditional techniques and beautiful hand crafted mounts. Nousha doesn’t just deliver a photograph but a memory that can be cherished forever. As Lionel himself says, you’re buying “a one-of-a-kind collection of images of your adored children that could never be repeated.

When you come to think of what we do, in that way, you will understand the joy and the pleasure from such objects of beauty; they are laden with emotion. Your children will change over weeks, months and years, but those glorious naive years will be there for all to see for years and years to come”.

Maggie Loves

FAMILY PHOTOS

One of the things about having lots of kids is the number of photos that you accumulate! With the ease of use of a digital camera we all end up with tens of thousands of images – we recently uploaded all our pics from phones, laptops and camera to a central cloud storage facility and we had 36,000 images!

I really noticed the difference in image quality over the years – most are iPhone snapped moments and gone are the days of nice portraits and actually printing out pics! Getting all of my kids in a decent photo for family members is impossible and trying to get myself and Sean into the shot even more so. With Christmas coming, pressure from the Grannies and a recommendation from one of our members, we took the plunge and attempted a family portrait session with the team at Nousha.

Having seen all the highly edited flashy images around, Nousha were refreshingly old school – classic B&W shots are their speciality ( and they love kids feet so their shoots will always be barefoot). We headed off to their studio in Battersea. my kids are a handful at the best of times and trying to get their pictures taken is like herding cats. I was feeling sorry for Lionel Cherruault, the owner and chief photographer : I half expected to get kicked out pretty much as soon as we got there!

However Lionel was the perfect pro and he handled the motley crew beautifully – matching their energy like for like and wearing them all down into submission! It was all pretty painless and we were in and out in about an hour. He even got the grandparents in (Christmas present done!).

Lionel definitely has the skills for this line of work. having trained in the art of portrait photography, he had the privilege of working for the Royal Family for 20 years (ed: dear reader, please note this has been corrected in the online edition but not the distributed print version, Lionel would like it to be known that he has never worked for the Royal family) Lionel specialised in photographing the British Royal Family during an almost 20 year tenure working on behalf of a number of photographic agencies.

The service level that he is now providing at Nousha is excellent… lots of tips and reminders in advance so i didn’t forget to turn up (!) And after the shoot you get a cute little app. sent to you with some teaser shots. You then attend a slideshow, where you love them all and heartbreakingly have to narrow it down and choose which ones you really want.

As with all quality photography sessions, it doesn’t come cheap. People forget how much time it takes to edit the images behind

 

the scenes and to upkeep all the equipment!

Printing and framing is done by hand on site and the quality is gallery standard. Prices start at £215 per digital image or £180 per small framed image. Lionel says that “people should expect to spend upwards of £500, though most people find themselves spending more, not because we are salesmen, but because the pictures really are ‘Art’ and not vanity”.

The last time we attempted a family shoot was over 4 years ago. Seeing as though we haven’t managed to get a single picture of us all together since, this was well worth the effort and price to capture the family before our lot gets too old to be photographed with us anymore – and this happens sooner than you think!

Maggies’s Tip!

Cloud based storage Picture life is great to centralise all your pics and safely store in the cloud and off laptops and phones that tend to get lost or stolen ! It also has decent editing functionality and only costs around £10 per month for unlimited storage.