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! 


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.



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 

The Esplanade Hotel

There is nothing like being able to take time out of a busy week to relax and enjoy a stay in your own county! One of our very big reasons as to why we love living here in Cornwall. Last week we drove approximately 30 minutes from home to relax at The Esplanade Hotel based in Newquay.

We absolutely love Fistral Beach, it is where Sarah’s surf photography journey began and blossomed around 5 years ago and she continued to work with local surfers to produce work for their sponsors along with working with Quiksilver Surf School. So when we were asked to stay we jumped at the chance. 

We arrived after a busy day at work, to be greeted by a friendly receptionist who we could see was in training she was very informative and directed us to our ‘ROXY’ room whilst explaining that our dinner reservation was at 8pm that evening. The Roxy room is beautifully situated overlooking the south side of Fistral, a surf themed room teamed with relaxing colours to fill your head of surfing thoughts! Unfortunately the tide was too high when we had time to surf so we relaxed with a shower followed by a few images of the surf before heading down to dinner. 

The hotel’s restaurant is very relaxed we were lucky to be sat at a window view table to our enjoyment we watched the sun go down as we dined. There is two menu options here and we sat for a few minutes deciding just which would suit us best. 

Our Choices were as follows: 

Matthew – Baked Camembert – Fillet Steak (medium) – Raspberry Cheesecake 

Sarah- Mussels – Fillet Steak (medium rare) – Lemon & Lime Posset 

After we finished dinner we quickly got our gear together to capture a sunset image via our DJI Phantom 4 Pro + drone to show off just how beautiful Fistral Beach is at night. Whilst conversing with other hotel goers who were on holiday we had met along our flight we returned to the hotel and relaxed in our room. 

I must say it was rather warm but the sound of the waves crashing as the tide dropped out was the perfect relaxation sound to sleep too.  

Awakening to the sound of the birds and the sea, we lay in bed with a coffee whilst talking about the days plan. We got ourselves packed and headed down for our breakfast. We once again sat at a window table and had a very large choice of breakfast options but after a full 3 course meal we chose to have more coffee followed by orange juice, fruit and some beautifully baked pastries. Once we had relaxed into our breakfast we headed back to our room, grabbed our things, checked out and headed back to work for a photoshoot in Newquay. 

All in all, there is no better way to spend an evening then with the sea at your door. 

The Rockpool

Situated out on Godrevy towans is the beautiful The Rockpool whether you fancy a coffee to something a little fancy or a just a sandwich they cater to all needs. 

We had a catch up and photo shoot with them last week to show off their newly refurbished back room ready for live bands, open mic nights creating a really relaxed atmosphere to accompany their brilliant menu. They present a surf vibe styled interior teamed with fresh fish dishes from the local Cornish seas. In the sunnier months the outside areas are a wonderful addition to this brilliant place, with the view of the sea out of the back. 

If you fancy a surf lesson or you just simply need to hire equipment to work up and appetite situated next to them is Gwithian Academy of Surfing

They have Boca 45 & Ash Walker playing this weekend, its one not to be missed: 


The Fox’s Revenge

Theres nothing like spending a rainy afternoon tucked away in a beautiful location. This afternoon I decided to head over to The Fox’s Revenge which is situated on Carvynick Farm in Summercourt just outside of Newquay. After having a few meals there before I thought it would be a great place to have some lunch and catch up with a friend. Their food is fine dining pub style and the atmosphere is relaxed and the interior matches the beautiful exterior perfectly. I cant wait to attend the events this venue hold in the summer.


There is nothing quite like a Tarquins & Tonic on a rainy day to help push your spirits towards the summer feeling. Photographed here is a Tarquins Raspberry & Rhubarb.

An absolutely perfect lunch, with a generous portion size to match the price, I would highly recommend it here if you wish to be slightly outside the busyness of town pubs and restaurants.

Roman Restate

When I reached 25 I made a plan to try and travel around the occasion of my birthday. So last year on my 25th birthday I spent the day photographing a point break in Morocco.
This year I headed to somewhere on my list of places I would love to travel to – Rome, so here are a few tips and things to help you should you decided on a trip to Rome.


  • Pick a time of year that best suits you, we didn’t go to Rome to soak up the sunshine and get a tan we went to look at the beautiful architecture. So we picked February as well as being my birthday month it was one of the quietest months, meaning we got to see and photograph lots of the landmarks without the crowds of people. 


  • You will need a good quality pair of walking shoes or boots, it is best to have some that will support your ankles fully as whilst walking in Rome the ground can be uneven and slippery when it has rained. If you are a photographer take a good comfortable backpack, we took this one. Which allowed us to hold our two Canon cameras, 4 lenses, tripod and laptop easily and comfortably during our Easyjet flight as hand luggage and travelling around Rome minus the laptop.

  • If you are going to stay near the tourist hot spots then have a look at We found a wonderful property just 10-15 minute walk from the Colosseum. Our host Emanuela was so amazing, with tips and local maps we found our way around very easily. Check it out here, she is doing a 20% off in April deal.


  • Be prepared for saying no a lot or unfortunately eventually ignoring people, especially around the big landmarks. There are a lot of tour companies trying to get your attention along with people selling selfie sticks and bracelets. Its best to do your homework have a look at different tours before you go ahead with booking one. We were very pleased that we did the Vatican and Sistine Chapel Tour, as our tour guide was brilliant and told us everything we needed to know. In addition when it rains be aware you will be asked about an average 200 times whether you would like to buy and umbrella or a poncho, which will still remain a running joke when it rains between Matthew and I.


  • When it comes to the security of your personal belongings be aware of your personal space when in crowds, we looked out for each other. Also if you have one already then great, but if not then invest in a jacket with inside pockets, whilst at the Trevi Fountain Matthew had a person put their hand in his coat pocket and then remove it when they realised it was empty, he thought it was me but it was a opportunist pick pocket.


  • If you are looking to sample the delights that Rome has to offer in terms of food & drink. Try not to get taken in by the ones near the centre of the tourist spots. I am talking from experience, we despite reading about it got overwhelmed with the view leading up to the Vatican and before we knew it we were sat down in a restaurant finishing off our lunch, to then being surprised by the price of the bill. Yes, we were well and truly spotted a mile off and they scooped us up and amazed us with their restaurant, and in a flash we hadn’t asked the price and had ordered food.


  • Re usable drinks container, we took our elephant box water bottle which came in very handy as with a lot of walking you get thirsty and in Rome there are free water fill up stations.


  • Travelling
    We arrived in Rome from the airport at night we got a transfer arranged, as it is a little easier and less stressful and it also allows you to get your bearings the next day. We decided to take the tube back to the airport as it was daytime and we had lots of time to kill, so it was very relaxed and we were quite lucky with this as once I had purchased my ticket it would not stamp before getting on the train. Which is something you have to do, if you do not get your ticket stamped then you will get a fine. You will find green ticket machines dotted around the train terminal.


We absolutely loved our trip to Rome, and we hope we have inspired you with our images and helped you with our tips. If you have any more questions do not hesitate to contact me.