Mac & Laura Johnston

As we roll round into autumn with another shoot booked in for October, its time to blog about this wonderful couple.

Back in the summer I was lucky enough to be able to meet, become friends with and shoot the wonderful Mac & Laura Johnston. Based on a recommendation of my work, Laura came to me for some imagery to help promote their new song ‘Wild Flowers’ and to also update their brand and content imagery for their social media accounts. 

She said we picked Checkered Photography to work with because we loved the way they capture people so naturally and in our beautiful surroundings! We wanted to go with a photographer who captured the beauty of our natural surroundings here in Cornwall because having just moved here we wanted some images that showed our location and showed it off! It’s too beautiful to not have photos here. The way you capture the people and coastline was just what we were looking for. We LOVE the photos!! Can’t wait to do our next shoot.

Whilst the sun burnt through the cloud I drove over to them to plan where our shoot would take place, and of course with the poppies in bloom over at Porth Joke it had to take place there. Following on to their home beach of Perranporth. 

If you don’t know who Mac & Laura are, then here is a little bit about them: 

Mac grew up in small town North Carolina in a place called Gatesville. There was one traffic light in his whole county!! Full on in the middle of nowhere. That pretty much gave him lots of time to practice guitar! He is self taught and sometimes would sit in his room the whole day playing! Carolina is a southern State, and definitely has the country music vibe going on. Laura us from Rotherham in South Yorkshire… quite the contrast… not at all known for its country music 😉 but funnily enough she always loved watching the Country Music Awards growing up and probably enjoyed that genre more than Mac! Lauras mum’s family is Irish and she is sure that she therefore carries some of the Irish Celtic blood 🙂 The roots of our music are county/folk but we draw on lots of influences!

Mac and Laura met in Asheboro North Carolina and began songwriting straight away. They just had lots of fun together and in the beginning there was no big plans to go on to do music together as a job, but they just found that they clicked and they had so much fun spending time together, writing and singing… so much so that they got married!! Haha … That has made songwriting both easier and harder!!

They love music and they think it’s a gift and powerful tool that can be used to influence in a positive or negative way. From the beginning they have set out to be people who influence for good! They want people to feel encouraged, inspired and hopeful when they hear our music and chat with them after a show.

They met in 2012 and started songwriting like a month later! They married in 2014 and moved to the UK. 

They released their EP ‘First Light’ in September 2017 and will be recording the next in early 2019. This EP was recorded with an award BBC radio 2 award winning folk producer -Andy Bell. It is also available on iTunes!

Their faith plays a big part in what they do and why they do it. They are Christians and passionate about being people that share hope and represent light  in what can seem like a very dark world. Although they wouldn’t call themselves ‘Christian musicians’… as that isolates people and puts them in a box! bThey are musicians and they are Christians!  

They moved to Cornwall on Feb 2018 and they LOVE it!! They have always been in love with this beautiful county. It’s also very inspiring place to write songs with such a majestic coastline! 


Mental Health – Life experiences and discovering the Why – By Sarah Clarke

So yesterday whilst sat editing, I thought I would check out Fearne Cotton’s “Happy Place’ podcast whilst listening I realised that most recently I had been messaged by someone via instagram who said “your life looks so perfect, how do you do it?” and to be honest I wasn’t sure how to reply to them.

So today whilst I photographed in the studio my thoughts drifted to how did I get to where I am today? Now here I am writing a blog piece on my life and for those of you who do not know me this may become quite an insight into who I am as a person and that the whole social media life isn’t always what it seems to be!

I came into the world rather in a rush being born at 30 weeks weighing just 1lb 12oz on the 18th February 1992, in Wexham Park hospital to my amazing parents Chris & Tina. Luckily for myself and my parents I came out fighting, and within my first evening of being in this world I began breathing on my own and to be quite honest I have been a bit of a tough one and a fighter ever since.

Ive had a few huge life events which have picked me right up to the top of my mental and physical strength but also struggled with a fair few smashing me into the lowest. Do you ever step back and think “shit, I have been through a lot?”

Beginning with some big tough times in my life with my nan and grandad both committing suicide at different stages. Spending my 12th birthday in intensive care whilst my mum was fighting with a 1% chance of survival and she is still here today somehow and is the best mum ever. My 13th birthday whilst at my party to help banish last years upset, my great nan passed away. Im actually going to put moving to Cornwall in bad experiences and good experiences as I wouldn’t be here doing the job and being with the family I am without it but it also taught me how to grow, find friends and also lose friends. Sadly losing a friend to suicide a few years ago. 

There have been many times that I have had to think about the question of Why am I here? Have you? 

I have had many up’s in my life, I have been able to go and compete for team England at the WKA kickboxing World Championships multiple times. I have been blessed that my mum is still here after her big near death experience and having my dad supporting her and loving her all the way. I moved to this absolutely glorious place in the world chasing a dream that fell away after 9 years but then creating a new dream alone and then finding someone else to share that dream with along with stepping into a family that are now one of my reasons for being here. Being a personal trainer to help people achieve their goals. Making the decision to become a photographer full time and not just bumbling along in life doing it on the side of other tough mentally and physically draining  jobs. Finding life long friends, who support me and I support them no matter who near or far we are in our life adventures. Having 3 of my images displayed in an exhibition.  

I also had another turning point this year that one evening whilst in hospital with Matthews dad, I heard a crying from the cubicle next to us. After unfortunately hearing the conversations between the doctors I knew that they were not about to receive good news. When the doctors left the room, out came a woman not to far from my own age, absolutely heart broken and alone. Her mum was about to be taken back home to pass away, now without any thought I went next door and offered this stranger, someone I had never met or spoken to before and told her that everything would be ok and that she needed to stay strong for her mother. Now her mothers memory lives on in her and she is doing so well. I knew at the pivotal moment she needed a rock to hold her up, go out there and be someones rock. 

Now I know a lot of you will relate with me, some wont but that is ok.

Sometimes you need to be completely honest about things, I have had days where I have woken up and felt nothing, numb completely worthless but still I have got up and got on with what I feel is my why. You need to find your why.

My big reason for photographing people is because I love to capture the memories, ones that will last forever. Memories of them in love, happy and sharing the once in a lifetime feeling with their loved ones.

Life is too short, be the person you want to be, have the job you want to have and build the relationships that you strive to build. You can do this! The life experience and relationships that you create along the way define you. Be strong and believe in yourself and don’t let anyone tell you any different. 

The Slope- Great Western Beach, Newquay

If you are looking for somewhere to sink a few beers, eat some beautifully made burgers  as you watch the waves crash and the sun sets on a warm summers evening then The Slope is the place for you.

Along with Great Western Beach holding  blue flag beach status what more could you wish for? oh just that they also have polycarbonate glassware which allows you to dine on the beach, with their full menu available to take-away with compostable Vegware plates, cups, and cutlery! 

Based on the sand at Great Western beach, The Slope takes it’s name from the hangout of Newquay’s inaugural surfers in the 1960s. Surrounding the outside seating area are images from those old school days featuring local surfing legend Roger Mansfield. Great Western was brought back to life by 4 times UK surf champ, Adam Griffiths. 

Keeping with other local business their beef, pork + chicken comes from the award-winning local butcher James Kittow, their brioche burger buns + bread is baked by Pavilion in Newquay. You will also find a beer selection from Sharps Brewery . They also serve breakfast all weekend from 10am – 12pm.

We spent an afternoon watching the waves and relaxing at this perfect little gem of a location.


Find them at:
Great Western Beach
Newquay, Cornwall, TR7 2NE

Contact them on:

01637 878772

Cornish Wine Tours

Back in March I met and photographed the owner of Cornish Wine Tours Kate McBurnie and we have just updated her profile imagery with some bright and summery images. If you are wondering what Cornish Wine Tours is all about basically as Kate puts it: 


Its a day of wine tasting while being driven around, eating the best local produce, and admiring the views  – whats not to like?

I asked Kate to tell us a little bit about herself for the people who do not know of her and her business. This blog features some of our imagery taken at Camel Valley Vineyard, Trevibban Mill and Appletons bar & restaurant



My name is Kate and I own and run Cornish Wine Tours from my hometown of Padstow.  I started the business this year and started the tours at Easter.  On a Cornish Wine Tour we visit up to three locations in a day, to include Camel Valley, Knightor Winery, Trevibban Mill and Bosue.  We also run separate events with Polgoon Vineyard near Penzance.  Each tour finishes with a beautiful lunch served at Trevibban Mill, and depending on what type of tour it is this will be served either at Appletons (onsite restaurant) or in the winery bar itself. The tours run up until November, but can be requested throughout the winter months.

The tour aims to provide guests with a day of wine tasting in a friendly and enjoyable environment where you don’t have the hassle or worry about driving.  Everything is fully catered for throughout the day and guests can sit back and relax. Each vineyard is different and offers a different experience and on this tour you can get a feel for the Cornish Wines in one day, and what Cornwall has to offer.  The day is fully guided by myself, but in a very relaxed way, and guests can ask as many or as little questions as they want.  This isn’t like going back to school, it’s an informal environment which is a lot of fun, and its the best way to learn about the different styles of wine produced in this country. 



If you wish to contact Kate regarding her tours then you can find her here: Kate McBurnie  |  Cornish Wine Tours
+44 (0) 7537194088

Ecowagon Camper Van Conversions Photo shoot..

So on Saturday we had planned a mini shoot for Kenny Green and his company Ecowagon Campervan Conversions based in Redruth.

Deciding a time of day to shoot became rather difficult as after 3-4 weeks of wall to wall sunshine, Saturday it decided to absolutely pour down with rain and give us some wind to go with it.

But we met at his workshop and headed over to a campsite where one of his customers was set up and we convoyed with Kenny and his other customer. 

Requiring to be photographed were two Volkswagen T5 vans converted by Kenny into campers. One white with a family feel to its set up and one black designed for a couple of adventurers.

Here are the images we produced with the excellent co operation from 3 wonderful little children and two beautiful vans in the Cornish rain….


30th Wedding Anniversary Photoshoot

When I got a message via facebook regarding booking a photoshoot for a Mother and Father who were celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary I jumped at the chance. 

At 9am this morning we met at Crantock to take advantage of the morning light and the quiet beach. They explained that their family never all gets a chance to get together due to their distances and commitments and they wanted some relaxed informal style photos to capture memories. So here are a selection of images that we took today. They were absolutely brilliant, a close family and lots of fun to photograph as you can see it shone through in their images.

Did you know you can hire me for family photoshoots? You don’t always have to be that family member who is always the one behind the camera. Especially if you are coming on holiday to our beautiful county.


A Sunday to relax and explore

So this Sunday we took some time out to relax and also to recharge our batteries after a very busy few weeks. We decide to get up early before the roads got busy and see a few places we had not been before. So we headed over to the beautiful Porthcurno which was followed by a drive to Penzance to take a look at Jubilee Pool and then along to Marazion for breakfast at The Goldolphin Arms which I have to say was the best all round breakfast experience I have had since moving to Cornwall. The food was piping hot and delicious, the service was outstanding and well the view from the window table along with the Hazlephron Jam was perfection and we shall be returning very soon. We rounded off our Sunday with photographing a wedding at Cosawes Barton before finally relaxing down in the evening after an adventure filled day.



Scott & Rachel

Well if there was a day for a wedding then it was yesterday, I must say it was definitely the hottest afternoon that I have photographed a wedding. 

A perfect bluebird sky and the smell of wild flowers filled the air of Scott & Rachel’s wedding venue of Cosawes Barton and the music of Kaj rung true.

Here a selection of images from a beautiful afternoon…

Travellers Rest – Mawgan Porth

Is there anything better than a costal walk followed by food and a drink under the sunshine in a pub garden?
Well we think not, so we headed over to the beautiful The Travellers Rest based in Mawgan Porth after a wonderful coastal stroll.


We spoke to the owners Natalie and Martin who said that they took over the Travellers in November 2016 after moving to Cornwall from Edinburgh where they spent 8 years in hotel management.  Our families had already  moved to Cornwall and we always knew that we’d like to move here eventually.  We fell in love with the pub as customers and would always visit when down on holiday.  

Natalie continued that in June 2016, she spent 6 weeks in Cornwall and having driven passed the Travellers thought to myself it ever came up for lease then we would go for it.  Two days later we received a newsletter from St Austell Brewery with available pub tenancies which featured the Travellers.  We are firm believers that everything happens for a reason so went through the application process and haven’t looked back since.  
What wonderful people to take over a well established pub and create such wonderful food, whilst visiting Travellers Rest I sat in the sunshine drinking a Tarquins and tonic before heading inside for food. I had the two dishes which are much loved favourites of the customers who come to the pub, The Calamari followed by the Teriyaki Beef which were both packed full of flavour and cooked perfectly.
At the Travellers Rest they aim to provide a warm and friendly welcome, a relaxed atmosphere, serving home cooked dishes that have wherever possible been created from locally sourced produce.  

They are able to cater for dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free meals.  As well as being dog friendly and catering for families/

They also like us love their live music and have at least one band night a month as well as acoustic music every other Sunday.  

You’ll find them serving up and delicious carvery on a Sunday  served 12-3pm. They have extra plus sides to their venue of Free parking, free Wifi and a beer garden perfect for those summer days.  

They are also up for a Muddy Stiletto award like us you can vote for them by pressing this link 
You can check them out here at
Facebook: @thetravellersrestcornwall
Instagram: travellers_rest_cornwall