A Newborn Photoshoot with Kate Kirkby
...what to expect.
So you are having a baby!! Exciting times... As soon as your little one arrives every second of your day will be filled with caring for your little one. That includes the hours when you are just sitting and watching them sleep, unable to take your eyes off the precious little being you have created. Before you know it they will be 3 weeks old and you will have already noticed so many changes. For many new parents this is the time when they think about booking in for a photo shoot. Unfortunately this can often be too late as sessions ideally take place between 5 and 18 days old. I will always do my best to accommodate late bookings but this is not always possible. Never again will they be so curled up, like they were when they were inside you, or their tiny feet all wrinkled and new.
This is why I always try to encourage people to get in touch whilst they are still pregnant. Any time after your 20 week scan is great. When you make a booking I usually suggest a provisional date, roughly a week after your due date. This is obviously flexible as we never know exactly when your little one will arrive. I limit the number of bookings I take per month to ensure that we will always be able to find a suitable date for your session.
So your baby has arrived and we have agreed on a date for your session. I will send you a preparation guide so make sure you read it well and follow my guidelines as much as possible. Newborn babies are unpredictable creatures so despite your best laid plans, there is every chance that they have all gone out the window! Fear not...
My newborn photo sessions are always baby-led and there is plenty of time for feeding, changing and soothing. They normally take about three hours, sometimes more, sometimes less, but I recommend not having anything else planned for the same day! When you arrive at my studio you will have plenty of time to settle in, have a cup of tea, a little chat and if necessary feed your baby. I have a beautiful natural light studio with a comfy sofa and refreshments available to you throughout the session.
At this stage I like to find out a little about your tastes so it can be really helpful if you've had a chance to look at some of my photos so that you have an idea of the colours and props that you like the most. Don't worry if you haven't had time, I am completely flexible with all my set-ups so feel free to stop me from using a colour that you'd rather I didn't - I wont be offended!
If your baby is asleep I will most likely start with photos of them on either my 'beanbag' or in a prop. Please don't be alarmed if I just 'take over' at this point. The smell of mum or the sound of your voice can sometimes be enough to wake an otherwise sleepy babe. The studio will be really nice and warm so that your baby will stay happily asleep when I remove their clothes. If they are still a bit fidgety I may decide to swaddle them for the first few photos. To them this feels like being cuddled so it is a great way to get them into a nice deep sleep. Once they are in a deeper sleep I will be able to remove the swaddling so that I can capture those beautiful tiny hands and feet.
If at any point your baby is awake but content I will always take the opportunity to get a few awake photos and perhaps some family shots. If they are unsettled then please do not panic. I have two children of my own and having photographed over one hundred newborns I am fairly practised at soothing them. Many of my past clients have asked if they can hire me by the hour in the middle of the night and I've been called a baby whisperer on more than one occasion!! I have quite a few tricks up my sleeve...so bring your notebook (only joking!!)
Many people worry that trying to get photos of a potentially awake or screaming baby will be really stressful and this is enough to put them off having photos taken. I don't think this has ever been the case and the overall resounding comments I receive are that it has been a relaxing and enjoyable experience. So sit back, put your feet up and watch me create some beautiful memories for you and your growing family...
If you would like more information on the Newborn Package please click here.
If you would like to contact Kate to make a booking please fill in the form here.
The Great Outdoors
...a Training Day with Nina Mace
In a Rut.
Last year it dawned on me that since studying for my Foundation Diploma in Photography 14 years ago I had not done any formal photography training. Since deciding to make a career of photography back in 2011 I have been continuously learning but mainly through personal practice and the odd YouTube video. I was in a bit of a creative rut and wanted to learn something new! Up to this point all of my family sessions had been using my pop up studio in clients' living rooms but as my own children grew I realised the benefit to being able to take the photo shoot outside to let them run free and have some real fun.
I've had a camera in my hand as long as I can remember and a love of landscape & travel photography is where it all began. So taking photos of kids outside should be easy right? ....wrong! Whenever I attempted to photograph my boys outside I felt something was missing. Where was the 'wow' factor? I was happy with the studio work that I was producing of younger children and babies but I knew that if I was going to be able to continue to take photos that I loved of our two energetic boys, who had long since tired of posing for me in the studio, I had to learn some new skills. We had to get outside!
When I heard that Nina Mace, winner of Children's Photographer of the Year, was coming to Bristol, I leapt at the chance to do training with her. After booking the course I discovered that none of my lenses were suitable and that this was the perfect excuse to treat myself to a new lens, I was so excited - I'm a bit of a techy geek! The Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 arrived a few days later and I took the boys to the park straight after school to try out this 1.5kg beast of a lens. To say I was disappointed with the results is a bit of an understatement. Nina's training could not come soon enough.
The Big Day!
So on a gorgeous sunny afternoon back in July 2016, myself and a group of about 8 other photographers went along to Nina's training at Ashton Court in Bristol. After covering some invaluable technical theory in the classroom we took our cameras outside to put what we had learnt into practice. I was instantly getting better results than I did in the park with my boys - what a relief!
Training day with NinaTaken when the sun was low in the sky, an hour or so before golden hour.
Despite what you may think, bright sunny days are the hardest of all. Harsh shadows, blown out skies and squinting children don't make for the best photos! Often referred to as The Golden Hour, the most beautiful light is the hour before sunset. With the sun low in the sky the light is soft and warm, but in summer months this is usually around 9pm - not the ideal time for a photo shoot with young children! Nina showed us how to find the best light even when waiting for Golden Hour is not an option.
Training day with NinaTaken in the shade when the sun was still high in the sky
After experimenting with different lighting situations and locations we headed back into the classroom where Nina demonstrated some of her editing techniques. Having trained on a film camera, without the luxury of Photoshop, I always strive to get the shot as perfect as possible in camera. Having resisted using Photoshop for the first few years of business, believing to some extent that it was cheating, I have now come to realize that it is an incredibly powerful tool. When used correctly to enhance what is already a good image, you really can achieve that wow factor I had been searching for.
Since my training with Nina I have done several outdoor family sessions and look forward to doing many more. I love my studio work but I am so happy to be able to offer my clients the option of an outdoor session. And for me, most importantly, I have photos of my children that I love.
If you would like to see more of Nina's beautiful work please visit her website.
My boysLeigh Woods in Autumn 2016. My BoysLeigh Woods, Autumn 2016 My BoysLeigh Woods, Autumn 2016
Rainy DayWho needs sunshine when you've got puddles! PeekabooFun and games at Ashton Court