Posted on January 7, 2019
It’s no surprise that newborn babies love to be held close and snuggled – but how do you get anything done when your baby wants to be permanently attached to you? Especially if they get very upset when you try to put them down, or if they have a problem like reflux to deal with where lying flat is very uncomfortable for them.
The answer is surprisingly simple – you need a baby sling. Of all the newborn ‘essentials’ out there, this is one that you definitely should consider if you haven’t already. It gives you the freedom to get up, move around, and enjoy the use of your arms for whatever you need to do next – all whilst knowing your baby is safely snuggled up and secure with you. Want to do some housework? Great, the sling has you covered… Want to go to the shops without having to manoeuvre the big lie flat pram around the aisles? A sling has you covered for that as well! Or do you just want to be able to eat your lunch (or cake/biscuits/take away, we won’t judge you here!) without having to do it awkwardly one handed? You guessed it – the sling is ideal for this too! In fact, a good friend of mine used to swear by her sling for going out for dinner in the early months – baby would sleep happily in the sling whilst her and her partner went out for a nice meal. It helped them keep up their date nights whilst their baby was very young and they weren’t ready to leave him with a baby sitter.
Choosing the right sling for you and your baby can be tricky though. There are hundreds of different baby slings and wraps on the market, all suitable for different ages of baby, and for carrying in different styles. Before you jump in and buy one it’s really important to check that it is safe to use for your little newborn. A lot of the structured and buckle carriers say they are suitable from birth, but you often need to purchase a separate insert to ensure baby is sitting high enough and that their little body and head are supported well. In contrast a stretchy wrap works well for a tiny newborn without needing any extra inserts to support them – but they can be a bit daunting if you have never used one before as there is so much fabric to wrap around you!
If you would like advice or help choosing a sling that is right for you and your baby, we are lucky enough to have an excellent sling library in Lancaster and Morecambe! You can try everything from stretchy wraps through to structured carriers, and if you pop in to one of their regular drop in meetings, the advice is completely free. You can also choose to hire a carrier if you want to try one for a little longer before committing to a purchase. The hire fees are really reasonable, and it gives you the peace of mind that you aren’t spending a fortune on something that might not work in the long term for you. They also offer a free stretchy wrap hire for newborns – perfect if you want something to get you through the first few weeks! Don’t worry if you can’t make it to one of the drop ins though – they also offer private one to one sessions so you can try a few different carriers and ask all the questions you need starting at just £15. More info on our local sling library can be found over on their website – http://www.morecambebayslings.co.uk or their facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/MorecambeBaySlings/
And excuse my messy hair, no makeup and very washed out selfie – but here are me and Freya enjoying using our stretchy wrap hire back in August this year. She was 6lbs in this picture and is perfectly happy and secure in her wrap.
Posted on December 18, 2018
I often get asked why it is so expensive to hire a newborn photographer to capture precious memories of your little one – especially at a time when money is tight for new parents. Hopefully this blog post will help explain why we have to charge what we charge.
First – Time
Your photographer has to block out a large amount of time for your newborn session. Because newborns are so unpredictable I always allow three hours of shooting time for a newborn session. This allows us to work at the pace of your baby and respect their needs for feeds, changes and fussiness. Sometimes it might not take the full three hours, and sometimes we may end up going slightly over the allotted time. If we use three hours as a guide for studio time, that’s just the portion where we are actively taking pictures of your newborn.
On top of the studio time we have the time to set up and clean down before and after you and your baby. Set up time includes picking out backdrops and props, putting lighting and posing sets together ready for you to arrive and generally ensuring the studio space is safe for you both whilst you are here. Clear down includes clearing up sets and laundering or cleaning everything that has been in contact with the baby so that it is clean and ready for use by other newborns in future shoots. Even if your little one doesn’t have a nappy accident during a session everything is still thoroughly cleaned to make sure it is perfect for next time. In active time (not waiting for the washing machine or dryer!) this adds around another hour onto each session.
Finally we have selection and editing time. For a standard session with no nappy accidents to edit out, it takes around four hours to go through and remove images that haven’t worked out (mid yawn faces anyone??) and edit them to the standard that reaches you. There are subtle colour and toning edits such as lightening and darkening, skin edits to remove any baby acne or dry flaky skin and even out skin tone, removing parents body parts where we have used a spotter for safety, and editing out nappy accidents from backdrops and scenes. If there were a lot of nappy accidents during your session it can take even longer to edit your images – sometimes up to six hours for a standard thirty image session. Here’s an example of the type of editing that is done after your shoot. The camera image is on the left, the edited image on the right. It takes a lot of time and skill to get the perfect end result!
So to summarise we are looking at three hours for your session, an hour for setting up and cleaning down and four to six hours for editing post production. A total of eight to ten hours of your photographers time.
Second – Training and CPD
Your photographer has to do a lot of training both online and in ‘the classroom’ to ensure they are up to date with current safety standards and popular posing techniques. These training sessions consist of online lessons and physical in person workshops at various locations around the country. All of these have costs associated with them, whether time, course fees or travel related. Whilst this isn’t directly related to your own shoot, without it they are unable to offer the service and it must therefore be costed into every booking.
Third – Props and equipment
Those lovely props and setups that your photographer is using cost a lot of money to purchase. These costs have to be built into the cost of your session in order for your photographer to make any sort of wage from their business. Most photographers are always adding to their props in order to stay current, so it isn’t just a case of once they have been purchased they are done. Basic bowls, baskets or boxes that are safe to pose a baby in start at around £50 per item (and go up to a lot more!) so the cost of props soon adds up! And that’s on top of your photographers equipment – cameras, lenses and lighting quickly add up to thousands of pounds worth of equipment which your photographer has to purchase, maintain and upgrade as required.
Finally – Product Costs
Your photographer has costs associated with the products they are supplying you. Depending on what is included in your package, these can be upwards of 20% of the total cost of your package. Once that is taken away from the cost, whatever is left has to cover everything else – the time, the training, and the props that your photographer puts into every single session they do.
I hope this has gone some way to explaining why it costs so much more to hire a professional than you might think it should! There will always be someone who will offer to do it cheaper – but compare what is included in your package for the price and make sure you see examples of their work before making a booking! Your baby is only little for a very short space of time and you don’t want to end up with something like the below picture to remember it by (photo examples below from demilked.com) ! It’s also worth remembering that vouchers for newborn photography sessions make a lovely baby shower gift and many guests will be happy to contribute towards a main present rather than worrying about what smaller things might still be needed.
Posted on November 16, 2017
Most of my portrait shoots can be done in the comfort of your own home or outdoors, however on some occasions I may need to ask you to come to my home studio. This really depends on the available space in your home, and the type of photography that you are looking for. If we are using a backdrop then a space around six feet wide and 4 feet deep must be available for the photography equipment, otherwise there simply won’t be enough room to position the lighting and people to achieve a beautiful result. If you are worried you won’t have enough space in your home, I can arrange a quick visit prior to our appointment to check and if not you will be invited to come to my home studio instead.
If you are looking for a specific type of shoot, or you really want to recreate a photo you have seen online, just send me a link in advance and I can let you know if it will be possible. Otherwise, pick out your outfits and any special or meaningful props of your own that you might like to feature and ensure they are ready to use on the day of your shoot.
If your shoot is taking place in your own home (around 90% of my shoots are done this way), then you will need to ensure you have a suitable space free from furniture and clutter before the shoot begins. Once I arrive at your home, I will need around 15 minutes to set up my equipment and get everything ready for your shoot. I’ve found that school age children often like to get involved in setup – and that’s completely fine as long as they are supervised by a parent or other suitable caregiver! I tend to bring smaller items that they can help carry and boxes of small props and toys that they can look through to choose their favourites.
The shoot itself is very relaxed and usually lasts around 1.5 to 2 hours – or until the children get tired. I like to involve the children as much as possible, and often let them have a go at taking a picture or two of mum, dad or siblings if they are curious about the equipment. The shoot will go at the pace of the child, and if that means we need to sing ‘twinkle twinkle’ or ‘if you’re happy and you know it’ whilst I’m taking their picture – well so be it. Happy children take the best pictures, so it’s really important to get them relaxed and help them to enjoy the experience.
Don’t worry about any eczema, baby acne, or skin problem breaking out on the day – almost all blemishes and imperfections can be removed post production, so it really isn’t something to get stressed about. From experience, happy and relaxed parents tend to lead to happy and relaxed children and toddlers, so the more at ease you feel the better! Don’t worry if your little angel throws a tantrum as nine times out of ten they will come round and still perform well enough to get a good amount of beautiful pictures. A lot of the most beautiful pictures happen when your child is fooling around and playing, so try not to worry if they aren’t posing for all of the pictures, or if you think they are being cheeky or messing around – if it’s a problem I’ll let you know!
Here’s a behind the scenes picture from a recent Christmas themed shoot
After the shoot comes the post production process. You’ll receive untouched proof images the day after your shoot so that you can pick your favourites – at this stage don’t worry about any problems with skin, blemishes, lighting or prop setup – you just need to pick your favourite images from the shoot in order for them to go through to post-production. During post production I will individually retouch your images before they are supplied to you digitally around one week after your shoot. The complimentary retouching process includes correcting and altering colour balance, skin imperfections, background replication, and adding or removing items from backgrounds as required. Any other retouching will be done on an individual basis, but each and every image that you choose to go through the process is individually worked on to ensure the most beautiful end result possible for your keepsakes. If you have ordered prints, they will be available to collect around three working days after you receive your digital images, or can be hand delivered around one week after you have received your digital images
Here are two examples of post-production techniques used in my editing process
Posted on October 24, 2017
Do I really need a professional photographer? My guests have smartphones…
I hear this question so often when customers are planning a wedding, special occasion or corporate event. Most people now own a smartphone, and with modern phones often boasting high megapixel cameras you might be thinking ‘Do I really need a professional photographer?’. This post outlines the benefits of using a photographer rather than relying on your guests for your special moments.
Let’s start with the obvious – how many of your guests will actually send you the images after your event? Most guests are happy to take a photo in the moment, but sending hundreds of images the day after an event takes time and patience, things that a lot of your guests just don’t have. Attaching large images to emails won’t work, uploading to the cloud takes time and putting them onto a memory stick or disk for you and delivering them – well that’s just far too much effort for most people to go to. Your photographer will ensure that all images reach you in a timely manner and in a format that suits you. Whilst your guests are nursing a hangover the morning after or just generally going about their busy lives, our job is to work on your images. You don’t have to worry about not receiving them, or whether you’ll even be able to use them when you do. You can simply sit back and relax knowing that we have everything in hand and that you won’t have to do any chasing.
Next up – image quality. Even though smartphone cameras are better than they ever have been, they still aren’t great in low light, bright light or changeable weather conditions. Your event photographer has expensive kit for a reason – it’s designed to perform exceptionally in all conditions. Say goodbye to grainy images of your evening event, dull images from a cloudy day or overly exposed images from a really bright day. Our cameras can be tweaked and altered to ensure that your images look amazing no matter what! By working with a professional photographer you can be sure that your images will be beautifully exposed and grain free, perfect for printing or displaying on your website.
Lets look at Social media next. Your guests will upload images as they take them. Some will be flattering, some less so and none have been vetted by you. Sometimes you’ll be tagged and be able to request copies, but often you won’t. Your event photographer checks and perfects each individual image for you before you receive them. Anything that shows you in a less than perfect light doesn’t make the cut. For corporate events, your branding can be added to each image and you control when they go live. For special occasions, lighting and minor imperfections can be corrected. Your guests will know to check your social media page within a few days to find pictures of themselves, driving traffic to your pages and increasing recognition and followers.
Moving on to variety – guests tend to take selfies with their smartphones, often in the same groups or of the same features. Your photographer is there to engage with your guests and ensure you receive a huge range of different high quality images, without a selfie in sight. Your images will be beautifully framed, well composed and capture all aspects of your event or occasion. Reportage style or group photos, the choice is entirely yours, but you can rest assured that your images will be beautifully diverse and capture a true reflection of your event.
Finally, your photographer will spend time looking at each image individually, and edit them beautifully to make the most of the subject. If you have a certain style of photography in mind, discuss it in advance with your photographer and we can ensure that you aren’t disappointed. The process can take several hours to complete but the outcome is a set of beautifully clear, well composed images that represent your event in its best possible light. You just can’t get that with a smartphone….
Contact me today to find out how we can help with your event, or if you still aren’t convinced, drop us any questions you have and we will do to best to answer them honestly and openly. Happy event planning!