Outdoor Family Photography Shoot – Dos & Don’ts {Family Photographer Bournemouth}


Outdoor Family Photography Shoot – The Dos & Don’ts

You’ve picked your photographer and the shoot date is getting closer, you’ve suddenly started thinking about what to wear, how will it go, will the children behave, what about the weather? Fear not! Here’s a few do’s and don’ts to help guide you to get the most out of your outdoor family photography shoot.

1. DO consider nap times if you have a young child. Try and book in your family photo shoot around your children nap times so they are fully rested and ready to have some fun!

2. DO wear comfortable clothing. If you and the children are too cold or too hot, it won’t be much fun and it will show in the photographs. Check the weather forecast and wear layers if it’s cold, airy light clothing if it’s a hot day etc. Bring a set of spare clothing for the children in case it gets dirty and don’t forget sunscreen and sunhat for younger children. If it rains, the photo shoot will be re-scheduled so no need to worry, you will still get your outdoor family photographs 🙂

Woolfenden-outdoor-family-photography-poole-IMG_79432018      3. DO co-ordinate your clothing but don’t overthink it. If your photo shoot is in a park or your garden, don’t wear green or you’ll camouflage yourself! Also, basic photography advice is not to wear completely white or completely black, either of these will end up being over or under exposed on the end product. Bright colours work well outdoors as they provide a contrast to the landscape behind, but avoid clothing with big branded logos or characters on as it will be distracting. If you’re generally a matchy sort of person, think about where you are going to display your photos and what colours appear in your interior decor and wear colours accordingly. Don’t wear sunglasses, as your eyes is what makes a photo!

4. DON’T bring a handbag onto the photo shoot. Yes you’ll need to bring a few bits for the kids but if your pockets look too bulging, bring a small rucksack. Handbags will need to be left out of shot and with everything going on, it’s in invitation to a lost/stolen bag.


Jeyes-outdoor-family-photography-dorset-IMG_667420185. DO bring some snacks and drinks for the children. Well fed children make for much happier photos and even if they have been fed from home, it is a nice distraction for them to have a snack during the photo shoot.

6. DO bring baby wipes. They’re handy for snotty noses, mucky hands and any other mishaps.

7. DO bring a toy for the kids, a ball is sometimes the best option, anything that makes the whole family interact.

8. DON’T worry about the end result during the shoot. Don’t be concerned about whether you are doing things “correctly”. Trust your photographer to give you advice and guidance throughout the shoot. The more you relax the better the end result will be!

9. DO plan ahead. Don’t worry too much, but it’s just less stressful if you’re organised. A few days before the shoot day, make sure the clothes you are going to wear is clean, pre-pack your rucksack and ensure you have any favourite snacks in the cupboard ready to bring. Make sure you have directions for the location of the shoot and that you know where you are  parking and have money to pay for parking if applicable.


Jeyes-outdoor-family-photography-dorset-IMG_7298201810. DON’T leave dad out of it. This may not be the dad’s idea of a family day out, but show him  your photographers portfolio and get him onboard. He may not like the idea of having his photo taken, but he will love the photos of him and his family in years to come, trust me.

11. DON’T look at the camera unless your photographer asks you to.

12. DO be patient. Allow for your children to be tired, have tantrums or be a bit unruly throughout some of the shoot. Kids will be kids and your photographer knows this. These things will all pass as they get distracted and to be fair, these are all moments that are part of your family life on a daily basis so why not have them documented too!


Outdoor-family-photography-Poole-Bournemouth13. DO have fun! Try not to treat it as a photography shoot. See it as a day out with the family where you’re all hanging out together with no electronics, no TV, outdoors in nature, out in the fresh air. Use your photo shoot to go to your favourite outdoor location or to explore a new place. Interact with each other, play games, have lots of cuddles, lots of laughs and basically pretty much ignore your photographer unless he/she gives you some pointers. Enjoy it and each other and it will show in the photographs!

8 top tips for choosing what photos to frame – Family Photographer Bournemouth

So, you’ve had your photo session and you cannot WAIT to see the results. PING! The email from the photographer is in your inbox, with a link to a gallery with over 180 photos. You love them ALL, they’re all so different in their own way and every single photo is part of a big story. How do you choose which ones to frame and put on your wall, it’s going to be impossible!

I’m not going to lie, this selection process is pretty hard, but here’s some tips to help you choose what photos to put on your wall. Of course this is completely subjective, but if you have already checked out my photos and like them, I know you and I will both be on the same page when it comes to picking out the “winners”. These suggestions also apply to the photos you take yourself by the way, so have a read and get some ideas!


1. Which ones immediately stand out?

In the gallery which you receive from your photographer you will be able to mark your favourite photos straight away, then you can narrow them down later. I’m a big believer in love at first sight, which photo pulls your heart strings straight away? These are the images that you are going to love having on your wall in the long term. So flick through the photos don’t overthink it, don’t worry about choosing too many, don’t even think as far ahead as “would this really work on my wall?” Choose which ones catch your eye and makes you feel something.



2. Be bold.

I’d dare go out on a limb and say that 90% of family photos on our wall are those where the whole family are posed in a certain way, all staring into the camera with big beaming smiles. Now whilst there’s definitely a place for this style of photography, but I urge you to resist and be a bit different! Yes, for the “group photo” choose the photos where your whole family is in shot of course (but you can and should still break this rule), but why not choose the one where you are all looking away, or at least not all of you are staring into the camera. Choose the silhouette ones where you can’t  make out your faces or details, but you see all of you in the moment. Or choose the one where daddy is making a coffee in the background and you and the kids are baking, faces full of flour and giggles. Now, that’s a REAL family photograph that you will be proud to display in your home which gives a true snap shot of your family life.



3. Be artistic

When you come to chose which photos to get printed and framed, be creative and look for a bit of art for your walls. As you flick through the photos, look out for different compositions and photos with interesting light. There may be a photo with some “negative space”, with your toddler only occupying a third of the frame or even less, but it looks different, a bit more unusual than your standard portrait. Or you may find a photo with half your sons face in the shade with his beautiful blue eyes popping out in the only bit of light in the photo. Yes, you can’t see his whole face, but this is the point. This will be the photo that will intrigue everyone when they see it on your wall. Again, images that are a bit more unusual than your bog standard “face-the-camera-and-cheese-within-a-standard-composition”, creates mystery, interest and emotion, and well, they look good!




4. Interaction

This is one of my most passionate reasons for even getting into family photography in the first place. I love, love, love watching different families interact with each other, it’s so interesting to watch and little things you never would have thought taking a picture of, will look amazing on your wall. Take, for example, a close up of daddy wiping  down his daughter’s hands after her taking a tumble. Or the whole family comforting the youngest after she ran head first into her brother. Or mummy habitually pulling back her toddler’s hair as she’s holding a cuppa and chatting to daddy across the kitchen counter. The interaction between siblings is also so much fun to capture, and so important to have displayed in your home.  They evoke emotion and memories like no other photo can. I cannot stress how beautiful these little meaningful moments will look on your wall.

Elliott Hi Res-94


documentary family photography Bournemouth sisters portrait siblings

5. Character and individuality

Is your little boy the biggest joker in the world who loves pulling faces and playing tricks on everyone? Is your daughter a little shy and pensive? Everyone’s unique and everyone has their own personality even from when they’re babies. These personalities are bound to come out at a photo session and a good photographer should recognize these traits and capture them for you. I have heard parents tell their children not to pull funny faces in front of the camera and granted, you don’t want to end up with hundreds of those, however, firstly getting them out of the way makes the children relax but they also make for great photos, full of character and personality. I’m the kind of person who would definitely have a photo on my wall of my daughter pulling a hilarious face. After all, it would make me giggle every time I look at it, so why not?!


6. Quality printing

Right, this is an absolute must. When you have chosen your images and you are ready to get them printed, please, please do not go to the high street to get them printed. Yes you may save a few bob, but honestly, the difference in print quality from Asda to a professional printing lab is huge and you will be disappointed. I know this is the boring bit, but it’s important if you want your prints to be the same standard of the vibrant images in your gallery. Your photographer’s computer is colour calibrated to their professional print lab’s computers, so what you see on the screen is what is printed. No muddy colours, skin tone will be correct and all detail will be there and the paper quality is of a far higher standard. Most photographers will include a number of print options in their packages anyway, but if not, just drop them a line and they will always be happy to sort some good quality prints out for you. Trust me, your photographer will not want you to have a poor quality framed print of their work displayed!

7. Have fun!

I will write a separate blog about framing and displaying your precious family moments, however, I just wanted to give a couple of pointers that I believe will help you in your decision making. You DON’T have to frame your photos like everyone else does. You DON’T have to print on canvas if you don’t like it. You DON’T have to have a photo gallery wall with lots of different types of frames, if that’s not you. There are SO many ideas of Pinterest on how to display your photos, check some of them out here. One thing which I am a huge fan of, as well as printing large images on aluminium panels (simple and beautiful, more on this in a later blog), is displaying the narrative of the day. For example, I received a vast amount of photos from my amazing wedding photographer Amanda Thomsen, and as every photo was divine, I had an “instagram” poster printed and framed with 35 images, telling the story of the day. It hangs in my hallway and everyone has a peek at it when they walk in and remember the happenings of the day. I will change this poster when I get bored of it, as I have bucketloads of amazing images from that day! There are many more ways of displaying multiple photos. It’s all about storytelling and having the flexibility to change it up when you want. Just have some fun and be brave!

Check out some of my favourite photos from 2018 below and don’t forget the 50% JANUARY DISCOUNT*, so book your spring shoot in now 🙂

**Book your shoot before the 31st of January and get 50% discount off the session fee! Shoot date must take place before the 30th April. Ask for a brochure here and get booked in! 


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Florence’s preemie story – Family Photographer Bournemouth

When I started the premature project back in the summer, my aim was to raise awareness about the issues associated with pre term birth. Having a premature baby can be a lonesome journey and you can feel quite dis-connected from other parents who have not shared the same experience. Those overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety, I hope when you read this, will be replaced with hope, understanding and the feeling that you are not alone. If you know someone who’s had/having a premature baby, please read the stories and reach out to them with a listening ear and any support you are able to give. I promise it will make a huge difference.

According to UK charity Bliss, 54,000 babies are born prematurely – before 37 weeks gestation – in this country every year. The earlier a baby is born, the higher the risk is of them developing problems or becoming seriously ill.

As I was photographing my lovely volunteer families, they shared their stories with me and completely wore their hearts on their sleeves for this project. (You can read Harrison’s story here and Alfie’s story here) As they did, I thought, so should I. So here’s my little contribution.

Here’s Florence’s story.

Written by her mum, Janni.

Florence Ida Atherton 20/11/2016 4lb 7 36 weeks 2 days


It was Wednesday afternoon when we had our last scan and it was my last day at work on the Friday and I was looking forward to a month or so of maternity leave, before our little one was due to arrive. After the scan we saw a consultant and he told us to pack our stuff come into hospital two days later to get induced and to be vigilant about monitoring the baby’s movements. The diagnosis was intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), also know as fetal growth restriction (FGR). A condition where the baby’s growth slows down or stops during pregnancy. I was 35 weeks pregnant so it didn’t sound so bad in premature terms, but the problem was, that the baby had stopped growing weeks ago.

The consultant told us that the baby had gone into “reserve mode” and that it was so clever that the few nutrients it received from my failing placenta was being put towards the head and the heart to avoid disaster.

“Such a clever baby” I thought at the same time as “I’ve failed this baby, what do they mean failing placenta, I did everything right???!” The guilt was quickly replaced by an almost detached feeling and going into preparation mode for the next two days. I rang work the next morning and said I wouldn’t be coming in again, I cleaned the house, I stocked up on preemie baby clothes and sped read the section in the baby books about premature babies, I went for a last minute reflexology session to calm my nerves (But just bawled my eyes out for an hour to my poor therapist). I wasn’t at all mentally ready to have a baby I said, I’m supposed to have another month! I raced around but I don’t regret that actually. It felt like it was the only thing I could control at that moment in time. In the back of my mind was the fear that the baby would come out ok or not, I was counting kicks and movements constantly.

I was induced on the Friday night at midnight and on the Sunday afternoon I gave birth to a perfect little girl and we called her Florence. She was whisked off after a few minutes. She weighed 4lb 7 (good size by preemie standards!) and we stayed in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for 10 days.  She had a huge head and a tiny skinny wrinkly body but she was perfect to us.



We learned to feed her through a tube in her nose (Nasogastric feeding), how to fill in feeding charts, expressing charts, weight charts, label bottles like a pro, meticulously sterilising everything and rigorously washing our hands! Again and again, over and over. The smallest amount of weight gain was a good news day.

She was too little and tired to latch so I was expressing every hour to an hour and a half around the clock, whilst trying to get as much skin to skin time in between. Sleep was pretty non existent. My husband stayed next to me on a chair for the duration, he would insist I wore ear plugs to try and sleep and he would stay awake and wake me when Florence needing her next meal. He didn’t sleep at all and only went home for a shower every few days and was straight back after even then. I honestly don’t think I could have done it without him and his never fading commitment, support and not one complaint.

After a few delaying tactics by a few bouts of jaundice, we returned home and we were over the moon, but months of anxiety followed. Florence lost weight (how can this be, I thought, all that feeding, pumping and effort?) and didn’t get back to her birth weight until she was 4 weeks old. It was a constant battle to get her to feed from me but after 3 months she started to thrive, spent longer feeding from me and gaining good weight. I remember when she hit the 5lb mark, we were so happy, it had taken so much hard work from all three of us to get there. She remained at the 2nd percentile (If a child’s weight is at the 2nd percentile line, that means that out of 100 normal children her age, 98 will be bigger than she is and 1 smaller) for 7 months.


Florence is two now and like any other two year old has started to explore the word NO! and the tantrums are steadily a feature in our household. Although it is slightly frustrating at times, most of the time I feel the awesome strength in her little tantrum-ing body and I smile inside. She’s here to stay. And not quietly.



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Harrison’s Preemie story – Family Photographer Bournemouth

It’s World Prematurity Day today and I decided a few months back that I’d like to raise some awareness, especially as I’ve been in that rocky boat too when I had my daughter two years ago.  I found some lovely families who were willing to wear their heart on the sleeve and share their stories with me and I popped over to their homes to photograph the children who were now over 6 months old.

Here’s Harrison’s story.

Written by Lucy, Harrison’s mum.

Harrison, 07/12/17, birthweight 2lb 2 ounces,  29 weeks and 3 days


We’d been trying for three years and given up the hope that we could get pregnant, so when the test came back positive we both broke down into tears and it was one of the most happiest moments of our lives.

The pregnancy was horrendous, I had severe morning sickness  from 7 weeks up until 22 weeks, where I couldn’t eat anything without being sick. I then developed early on-set preeclampsia at 24 weeks and was in and out of hospital until Harrison was born. The last three weeks in hospital I was completely bedbound in hospital in Southampton. I also had to inject myself with blood thinners every day for about four weeks until Harrison was born.

This was our first pregnancy and I don’t think my husband and I were quite prepared for just how premature he would be born or how scary it would be. The fear and uncertainty really set in when we were taken for a tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit  (NICU) in Southampton and saw the babies in their incubators.

I had an emergency C-section and was heavily sedated and put to sleep again once he was born. I did see him for a few seconds when he was born and the first time I went to NICU to see him, I was wheeled in on a hospital bed, a few hours after I was out of surgery, so my memory of seeing him is hazy. I do, however, remember how red his skin was and not being able to see his face because of the C-PAP facemask he was wearing to help him breathe.


The days after the birth were extremely difficult as I couldn’t do anything for myself for three or four days. To add to this, when I was discharged from hospital we moved to the Ronald McDonald House (Read more about the house here) which was a very stressful time as my husband’s work was not extremely helpful and he had to go back to work 6 days after Harrison was born. This made everything harder for me as I was in Nicu every day on my own, just watching our son, hoping that every day he would get stronger and that every test they did would come back ok and that they would tell me he was fine. Harrison was diagnosed with anemia just before he went home, but fingers crossed, with the help of medication, this seems to have passed.

We spent a total of 73 days in NICU. We were in Southampton NICU for 10 days and were then transferred to Poole NICU where we stayed until February 18th, one day before his due date.

Our advice to anyone who may be going through the experience of having a premature baby would be to not listen to outside voices, unless someone has been through the experience, they will never really understand it.

Listen to doctors and what they are saying, but don’t be afraid to speak out if you think something is wrong. The doctor only comes to see your baby maybe twice a day, so you will know your baby better than anyone.

Lucy, Harrison’s mum

Here is Harrison when I photographed him in his home, he was full of beans and personality and eyes so inquisitive! Such a cutie!



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Alfie’s preemie story – Family Photographer Bournemouth

Janet was one of the first to come forward to help me with my premature awareness project. I really wanted to share other family’s experiences as well as my own, and hopefully a little thing like this would raise some awareness and facilitate the understanding of the impact on families with premature born babies. If you’re reading this, I’d really love if you could donate what you can to Bliss here, their invaluable work supports and educates families with premature and sick babies.

Here’s Alfie’s story.

Written by Janet, Alfie’s mum.

Alfie James Cailes, 25/11/2016 born 3lb 12 34 weeks 5 days


After two failed IVFs and being 46 this was my last chance, so when I rang the hospital to find out the results of the blood test I had prepared myself for them saying it hadn’t worked and I had planned my response.  When they said I was pregnant I literally couldn’t get any sensible words out and must have sounded bonkers! I was so excited and happy.

The pregnancy went brilliantly until week 32 when I was told that the baby had stopped growing.  My whole world fell apart. As I was a high risk patient as I was old, IVF and overweight I was being watched and scanned very frequently (thank goodness!)  I was advised to be signed off work as the said it was very important for me to be able to count the kicks and monitor movement. As I am a teacher, I said this was impossible as my job was manic so agreed to stay at home and rest.  The next two weeks were so scary as they convinced me that the baby would be better to stay inside me for a few more weeks so that it could develop. Poole maternity hospital were amazing and let me go and check on the baby’s heart beat etc.  I pretty much lived there! When I got to 34 weeks 3 days I had another scan and they said it was important to get the baby out as he would now be developed and just needed to grow. I was given 2 days of steroids to help his lungs and then had a cesarean. 

I was absolutely heart broken as I felt I had failed and put my baby in danger.  

The birth was so so amazing.  It was a planned cesarean and so we knew we were first on the list on the Friday morning. My husband arrived early and got into his scrubs and crocs (he was given size 8 and he has size 13 feet!)  We then went into theatre and my husband was by my side.

There was music playing which made me want to dance and the first thing I heard was the doctors say “hello”, so I remember beaming as I knew they could see him.  They then sang happy birthday to him, which I loved and then they held him up above the screen. It was like the scene from Lion King.

They had pre-warned me that he may not make a sound and that he might need help breathing.  When I heard him cry, I knew then that the lungs were working. It also meant I was allowed a quick cuddle before he was taken away from me. My husband and I had been trying for years for a baby which I had always called James. As soon as I saw him, I said he doesn’t look like a James, and renamed him Alfie.  I think my husband thought I was high from the drugs! We had a few photos and then he had to go to Nicu. I was then taken to recovery as I had lost a great deal of blood.

After seeing him straight after the birth, I then went to see him in the incubator in the evening, but wasn’t allowed to hold him.  I then went to bed and woke up about 3am in the morning and got wheeled from my ward to Nicu and got my first real cuddle. No words can express the love I felt.  


The early days were absolutely petrifying.  I was so scared that something terrible would happen and I was pretty much holding my breath until I could see he was ok.  Looking at the monitors and seeing his Sats made me feel comforted.

I found breast feeding a nightmare as my baby was so tiny and it was clearly hard work for him to latch on.  

Alfie was mainly tube fed. I felt so much pressure trying to express milk and after having a cesarean found it so hard getting up through the night to get as much milk as I could.  The nurses were amazing as they could tell what an anxious mum I was. Once I was discharged I had 2 weeks of coming back and forth from home to hospital. I used to get there 7am and leave at 8pm every day.  Most of the time I was just watching Alfie in the incubator. I knew he needed lots of sleep and this would help him grow! I hated the time I had to leave him and couldn’t wait to be back in the morning. My partner came every evening and had a cuddle with Alfie.  He decided to take his paternity leave when we came home from hospital as he felt I would need more support then. The nurses taught me everything from changing a nappy, to bathing the baby and I cannot explain how amazing they were. They also were so sympathetic when I had a melt down.  

When Alfie was born they suspected sepsis and treated him with antibiotics just in case.  Fortunately he didn’t have it. He was a bit anemic and so had a day with the ultraviolet light.  He lost weight when he was born so went down to 3lb 5 so had to stay in an incubator for a week. After a week he was moved to the nursery and I was told I had to grow him!  It also meant I was allowed far more cuddles.

I was there for 3 weeks and as it was close to Christmas, I was so excited when they said I could take him home.  The nurses had checked that Alfie was comfortable in his car seat and then we drove home. He was still only 4lbs so looked tiny in the seat.  I panicked when I took him home as he went from lots of trained professionals looking after him to just my husband and I who didn’t know very much.  I used to just watch him all through the night as I was too scared to sleep. I bought a monitor which beeped if he didn’t move This made me a nervous wreck!!  The hospital had got him into such a good routine that I just kept to it and he was a dream baby!

My baby now is 20 months old.  He is so gorgeous and makes me laugh so much.  His smile is infectious and I honestly feel so blessed to have such a happy and laid back baby.  

My advice to any parent having a premature baby, is to be kind to themselves and not blame themselves for the baby being premature.  I would also advise them to read the guides that the unit give you.

I was very frightened and didn’t really want to talk to other people in the unit.  I wish now that I had as I think you can support one another.

Becoming a mum at 46 was very emotional as I really didn’t think it would ever happen.  Alfie is by far the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life and I didn’t realise it was possible to love someone as much as I love my Alfie.  I am eternally grateful for Poole and Bournemouth hospital for all the scans and the checks. As for Poole NICU, I will forever been in their debt for the way they looked after us both.  They are incredible.

Janet, Afie’s mum

Here’s laid back, nosey and mischievous Alfie now! We had such a fun photoshoot, Alfie was a gorgeous cheeky little monkey!




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Ryan, Keeley, Zach & Darcey – Family Photographer Bournemouth

A few weeks ago I spent a lovely late afternoon in the Evening Hill area of Poole with the loveliest of families, Ryan, Keeley and twins Darcey and Zach.

For those of you who don’t know Poole, Evening Hill is a view point (cue picnic benches and Friday night fish ‘n’ chips) which sits at the entrance to the Sandbanks peninsula. Known for its millionaire houses, Sandbanks has by area, the fourth highest land value in the world! On one side of the peninsular are the most stunning beaches with a view to the Isle of Wight on a clear day and on the other side, the Poole harbour entrance, where watersport enthusiasts use the shallow waters as a playground for paddle boarding, kite surfing and windsurfing. The harbour side is often overlooked in favour of the immaculate beaches on the other side, but this side is where the sun sets. Here, you can take a long evening walk along the promenade and enjoy spectacular views or sit on one of the many benches on Evening Hill and take it all in.

You can tell I’m quite emotional about this spot, not only from a photographer’s point of view – the late afternoon light is like liquid chocolate for the camera along with the reflections off the water, but this is where I learnt to paddle board, kitesurf and where I met my  hubby!  To be able to hang out with a gorgeous, warm, kind and fun family, capturing these natural moments was an absolute privilege. Darcey and Zach were adorable, hilarious and super energetic, so much fun to work with.



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Grace, Ranulph and Max – Family Photographer Bournemouth

August 2018

This was absolutely one of my favourite family shoots. Grace and her husband live a 2 minute walk (even on toddler legs) from the woods and they spend so much time together in this awesome playground of nature.  With daddy still at work (We did a shoot with daddy later) this portrait session focused on mother and son and their “ordinary” day they spend together.

Well, it turned out to be less ordinary, more extraordinary… When the clouds gave way to the sunshine, pools of light travelled through the woodland canopy, landing on the leaves of the lush green fern. I can’t help but feeling a bit poetic, but honestly, the force of nature’s beauty hit me yet again that day. It was a privilege to be able to capture the obvious bond between Grace, Rannie and nature itself. Max, the dog, wasn’t going to miss out on his spot in the limelight as well and I’m pleased to announce that he didn’t lick the lens once! Phew.




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