From the Blog
Lifestyle family photography is greatly associated with warm glowing summer days, and draws a natural close after autumn. This year I have made it a bit of a personal challenge to keep shooting during the winter months, and I am loving it!We are having an amazing UK winter really, the light is fantastic, it’s very mild and there are textures and colours everywhere that suit my style down to the ground! Here are some of my favourites so far of my own two all-time favourite models ;o)
On a dull wet dayI say it over and over again, clothing will make or break your shoot, and the yellow coat and wellies do absolutely make these images (both are from JoJo Maman Bébé )You cannot plan your outfits carefully enough for shoots. Being Scandinavian I am naturally quite obsessed with dressing kids warmly and never want them to be cold, especially not during a shoot as they will be instantly miserable. So during this time of the year make them wear ski layers underneath their normal clothes allows them to stay nice and warm without unattractive big coats.
By the lakeThese are done in Denmark a few days after Christmas, it was quite a dull dark day but with the sun just about to break through!
In the snowI utterly failed on the clothing for these, but who can plan for a snowy day! These images are not really portfolio material, but it was gorgeous lighting and they will serve as valuable memories to me all the same - and that is what I want to do, create these little time capsules!
I firmly believe that having children is the biggest life changing event for women, and hence photographing bumps is a delightful part of my work, and it just got a lot more glamourous!
I continuously invest in professional photography training, and earlier this year I did a maternity course. I have since been experimenting and playing with new styles and I am really loving the new look and feel!
Pregnancy is often associated with feeling heavy, achy and swollen so being able to present women with glowing images like these, are amazing! Here is a glimpse of what I have been working on. If you like them, and are blessed with a bump I am offering bump photography sessions in my Market Harborough studio at significantly reduced rates while I am further practising this new style.
Sun set maternity photography
I love these sunset bump pictures, but admittedly they didn’t just effortlessly happen. We had talked about this shoot for weeks and weeks, but when the day came the weather was somewhat against us with a stretch of cloudy evenings and no sign of the glowing rays we had in mind. I was also, once again, reminded that you cannot plan things 100% with newborns, and thing were further complicated by the baby suddenly being scheduled for c section a few weeks early. But right when I thought it was all lost we had a tiny window of opportunity and got some really special pictures! The light changes rapidly this time a day and created dramatically different looks within our shot little session and we got a great little mix of bump and sibling shots.
I offer maternity photography in my Market Harborough studio and on locations in Leicestershire. You can find out more about my work as maternity photographer here I occasionally do special offers for maternity photography.
How do you want to remember you baby in years to come? What is it about this phase you want to hold onto and be able to revisit forever? I feel there is a bit of a shift happening in the world of baby photography and more focus is being moved back to pictures that are 100% pure baby, pictures about mum’s with babies, and less focus on hats and hairbands.
I have never been into the really awkward and unnatural newborn posing, and my style has always been quite natural, but recently I have had the opportunity to do some even less “styled” baby shoots, and it occurred to me that they feel very genuine and very real to me. They feel 100% pure baby, and incorporate much more emotion and memories than just the baby in a basket.
Lifestyle baby photography shoot at home
This gorgeous little prince had a studio session at two weeks old, but wouldn’t sleep. We did another session at his home, to incorporate the grandparents visiting from abroad, and I simply fell in love with his home shoot. So many personal memories are captured in the images, his nursery, his first clothes, teddies, grandparents and just him with his beautiful mum at this magical stage in life! I look at these images and I wish I had images like this of me and my boys (but of course like most women I refused to get in the picture)!!!
Older babies are perfect for lifestyle images
There is a lot of pressure on bringing in newborn babies for pictures in the first 10 days of being born, but the first couple of weeks fly by in a blur and many new parents simply miss this tiny window of opportunity. The great news is that lifestyle baby images along these lines are great for older babies as well. This gorgeous boy is 4 months old and full of smiles!
Styling a lifestyle baby shoot
Gorgeous pictures never just happen by luck! Even natural lifestyle image like these are not left to chance, I will help you choose what to wear, choose what the baby wears, what colour bedding works, what room has good lighting – I can do lifestyle images in the studio or at my house as well, if you house isn’t suitable. And actually it can be quite a big deal to have a photographer come to your house right after having a baby, I don’t want you to feel pressured to tidy up and be the “perfect hostess”, so most people prefer to come to the studio, and that is absolutely fine.
I still love my newborn studio pictures, which are also quite natural, and I do always include the parents as well, but I do feel there is something special about these 100% pure baby shoots, and if I could turn back time this is what I would do with my boys!
With the big holiday around the corner, I thought I would share 5 easy tips on how to come back with better than normal holiday images. The aim isn’t to get perfect pictures, but imagine coming back from holiday with images of your family that will be lovely memories and you can proudly display around your home (and Facebook!). Even if you are doing them on your phone, following a few tips will make a big difference!
1. Set a date and a time – ish...
During the holiday we typically go to picture perfect locations, so decide that you will do your shoot the day you go to the beach/the forest/going through a picturesque village or just going out on the bikes, but choose a day! Do the pictures when you arrive at your chosen destination – before the kids are covered in sand and ice cream! Prep the family (including dad!) that you will spend the first 10-20min doing pictures, and be disciplined about it, is it really easy to just not do it...and you will regret it later
2. Never wear a cartoon t-shirt!
A holiday shoot isn’t about being perfectly colour coordinated, but a guaranteed way to ruin any picture is putting kids in t-shirts or dresses with cartoon/superhero faces on the front. This alone will improve any image you ever take of your family!
3. Close up, far away, down low, details...
Vary your shots, take some close up portrait style images, but also do some further away that includes more environment. Don’t forget the details, this will look great if you want to put an album together from your holiday or collages on your wall. Include sandcastles, flowers, ice creams, signs, sandals and sunglasses, whatever tells the story of your day out.
4. Handling the light
We all LOVE a sunny holiday, but anyone who has ever done a shoot with me will know that I don’t love harsh sunshine for portraits. So in order to get half decent close up pictures of your children, look for a shaded area, maybe under a tree, by a log cabin, by a beach hut or in a door way. Playful action type images are fine in the sun, particularly on the beach. If you have a somewhat simple camera, you might be best of not shooting into really bright sun light as you will lose most details, so keep the sun behind you.
5. Controlling the kids... and dad...
Remember it is officially much harder to photograph your own children, so don’t be upset with yourself if it feels a bit stressful – it will be worth it! Prep everyone beforehand, and get the children involved; say you are all doing some great pictures to put in their rooms or to make a book with. After that, there is really only one thing to do, bribe them! Promise them ice creame/pony rides/fish&chips/sweets WHAT EVER will keep them focussed and cooperative for 15min, and doesn’t involve chocolate! Don’t let them eat during the pictures, they will have odd facial expressions! Focus on the relationships between the children, it is lovely if they sit next to each other giving cuddles, they don’t necessarily have to sit and give you picture perfect smiles. Get your children sitting with dad, and make dad do some pictures with you and the children. Ask a random stranger to do a picture with all of you in it! Don’t over pose it – let the kids be kids and just shoot whatever they do :o)
That’s it, simple! 15mins later you will have a great set of varied images that will look great in a photobook, perfect as postcards to the family and great for putting on the wall at home.
Happy holiday! I hope you enjoy taking great pictures of your family!
The nature of boudoir images is very private, and hence I never really get to share a full shoot. So, with the permission of this gorgeous girl, I am delighted to be able to share quite a few images from this shoot, and hopefully give you a good idea of the variety you get from just one shoot.
Stockings or no stocking?
Boudoir can be interpreted in different way, by different people, and it is entirely down to the individual what to wear for a session! You don’t have to wear suspenders and stockings, but I love this shoot because it shows how it can actually be quite “safe” to wear something that perhaps sounds daunting. The little shaped slip dresses often come with detachable suspenders, and they are excellent for pictures. They absolutely look the part, quite suggestive but very little skin on show. And as a bonus they are brilliant for wearing afterwards in real life under dresses for a night out!
Big chunky jumpers
Big chunky jumpers are mighty popular for boudoir photography. Very classic in look, and feels like a very safe option. You can either wear it over lingerie or go for a suggested “wearing nothing underneath” look!
Do something different
I am a creative person, and therefor trying something new will always appeal to me! It can be daunting preparing for you shoot, and it is easy to loose your nerve and revert to a set of M&S bra and pants, but if you go some something out of the ordinary, there is a chance you will end up with images that are that little bit more special and unique. I LOVE these – I feel they are stylish and beautiful and quite anonymous, you could frame them and hang them up and people wouldn’t know instantly it was you? Or have it as the front cover of a notebook? What would you wear at your very own boudoir experience???
These images were all done at The Nevill Arms, a lovely venue for boudoir photography, what's not to love about those amazing windows!
Specialist? Don’t you just just pop a sweet baby in a pretty basket and hey presto, lovely picture? Newborn pictures melt you heart and they might look easy and effortless. The truth is that newborn sessions are the most difficult part of my photography, and by far the most time consuming!
For me though, it all goes well beyond the sweet picture. Weddings are nice, but I believe the most important day of a women’s life is the day she has her first baby. It is an exciting, emotional and overwhelming time. We go from being (somewhat) confident and successful women, and then overnight we become mums with a baby that is now dependant on us 24 hours a day. Nothing will ever prepare us for this, and ask any mum, and she will say the hardest thing in the world is being a mum! Those first few days and weeks go by in a blur and it is hard to keep up with the emotions, and try as we might it is impossible to remember and hold onto that very brief initial newborn stage, and that is what I give mums (and dads); an invaluable set of images to look back at. To see herself with her tiny little baby in those early days. I feel genuinely privileged to do these images for people!
As a specialist newborn photographer, my sessions begin long before baby arrives...
Before... I work really hard to create individual session, so you images will be unique to you, so lots of preparation happens long before the day of your shoot. I have a lovely studio in Market Harborough, that is specifically set up for newborns. I predominantly use natural light, as this is my style and it means the studio is light and bright and welcoming. Of course I have public liability insurance and professional equipment, including professional macro lenses to capture the tiniest of details. I arrive well in advance of my sessions to ensure the room is heated up to be nice and toasty for your baby. I have a wide range of rustic baskets, soft blankets, cute hats and pretty hairbands for you to use. I prepare at least three different set-ups with carefully colour co-ordinated props, to match whatever we have spoken about and you might have requested when making your booking.
During... There is no set time for my newborn photography sessions. Everything we do is on baby’s terms and there is plenty of time for feeding, nappy changes and cuddles. I am fortunate to have two young boys myself, but I have also done professional training with some of the very best newborn photographers in the country, and apart from being confident handling your little diamond, I am also extremely carefully about the health and safety! Some of those sweet pictures you might have seen on the Internet are not real pictures. They were created by the parents holding and supporting the baby and then the parents hands were removed afterwards in Photoshop – please never ever attempt to do those poses with your newborn at home, you could really compromise the safety of your baby. Some of those poses I don’t actually offer as I find them too unnatural. You will be present throughout the session and will get to watch me carefully pose and photograph your baby – it’s a great opportunity for tired new parents to just sit back and enjoy your new addition to your family.
After the session... Well immediately after your session, I go home with a ton of washing… so please don’t feel bad when your tiny one wees on my blankets 😉 On a more serious note, I will go away and personally select the very best images from your session, and I individually process each image to ensure I am entirely happy with all of them. When you come back to view your pictures, typically two weeks after your shoot, you will see all your pictures in both colour and black/white and I will prepare some suggestions for how you might be able to group your pictures together for great effect! There is no hard-selling or any pressure, it is just a lovely opportunity to see beautiful pictures of your baby. I offer lovely carefully selected products, of high quality, perfect for keeping your newborn pictures safe for generations, including prints, digital files, albums and wall art.
Being a newborn photographer is special, and the pictures are really special. I have personally got baby pictures up around our house of both boys and those early pictures are mighty precious to us! I feel I can confidently say that no one will ever regret having newborn pictures done! However, if I had a £1 for every time someone says “I wish we had newborn pictures done...”. There are lots of people out there willing to photograph your newborn, but please do be critical and choose carefully, you will only have one chance, by the time you view the images your gorgeous little newborn will no longer be newborn.
There is no doubt that breast is best, but also no doubt that breast isn’t always easiest! This local Mumpreneur’s “Top up tab”, is an impressive little invention to help new mums make it a bit easier...
I had the privilege of photographing baby Freya as a newborn, and I will always remember her as she is the only newborn I have met with a proper little belly laugh at just a few days new! So when Freya’s mum contacted me about pictures for her new little invention the “Top up Tab”, I didn’t really have any hesitation in getting involved. It is hard work being a working mum, never mind starting a brand new business with a tiny baby to look after, so I have nothing but support and admiration for Sarah! And more importantly I genuinely like her product! I would instantly have bought one, if it has been available when I had my first baby.
So one Thursday morning Sarah and three lovely models and their gorgeous babies came over for a business profile shoot for Sarah’s new invention. What a treat, to have four babies at once, and a privilege to capture that precious breastfeeding bond. For most of us, breastfeeding our babies, is such a short period in life, and it made me realise I had just about forgotten about that time, and it did hands down make me miss it.
It also reminded me how mum is EVERYTHING to her baby. Those amazing melting moment smiles that babies give to their mums as soon as they see her. Weather they have just woken up and see her, or whether she has popped into the next room and reappears – magic big smiles! There is just nothing more important in their world at this time than their mum.
Anyway, enough of me melting over the babies… A bit more information about the Top up Tab. I liked it because it means no need to purchase expensive breast-feeding tops, you can use any of your normal tops, with just a vest underneath. You can attach it to you bra strap when it isn’t in use, and not only will you always have it at hand, but it will also help you remember which side you are due to feed on next – anyone who has breastfed will recognise that once baby brain sets in you just can’t remember which side you fed from last!!! Super simple but really helpful – perfect little present to anyone expecting a baby!
Corporate profile picture, with baby
Usually working mums try hard to look professional without a trace of aby, but for Sarah her baby was the initial inspiration, so I thought it would be nice to include them both in her "corporate" profile images. Which one would you chose?
You can follow Sarah and her Top Up Tabs business adventures on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Topuptabs, I wish her all the very best of luck.
Not only is the whole country living enormously trendy, it is also enormously enjoyable! I had a lovely time working with this fantastic place, right on my door step.
I love doing business profiles, especially local ones, but I do always include the people behind the business, so this is just phase one, and phase two will follow soon. The Nevill Arms in Medbourne and the White Horse in Stoke Albany has lovingly been restored over that past 15 years, but despite Marc being there every day, seeing his business every day, there was a magical moment when he saw it all in pictures, looking great, proof of their achievements, and something he can proudly show the world. Seeing really is believing when it comes to your businesses - we stop seeing it every day, but a set of new, fresh, beautiful images will bring it all back to life! I can’t believe how lucky we are to have, not just one, but two places like this, just on our doorstep!
The Nevill Arms Inn and Cafe in MedbourneNevill Arms Inn & Cafe in Medbourne
The White Horse in Stoke AlbanyThe White Horse Inn and restaurant in Stoke Albany
There is so much talent in our rural villages, with women running exciting small businesses, often from home or from small studio spaces. Marketing is hard when you are a small business, on a small budget, but giving your business a tangible look makes a big difference to the appearance of your business and marketing materials.
I really enjoy meeting women in business and hearing their stories. Often women have an ability to turn hard times into talent, and I find it very inspiring. My old marketing side does surface though when I meet other businesses, and I think there are some quick easy advantages to gain by having some good photos!
I believe good lifestyle images, will represent you and your business in a much more professional manner, and you are more likely to be taken serious by others businesses and networking connections if you look like a business, compared to the vague “oh, I just work from my kitchen...”. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working from your kitchen, but you can still create a brand and give your business a look to communicate that brand message 🙂
Last but not least, make sure you have a profile image that matches your brand and business. Being visible in your business and marketing adds no end of credibility, and makes the difference between you (a professional) and some unknown dodgy eBay dealer.More about my profile photography