I’ve just been working on an order from this newborn session that I did right at the end of my pregnancy. Photographing so many newborns while I was pregnant was a massive privilege that I feel very grateful for. It put me in the right frame of mind to welcome my own daughter into the world.
Looking back on these pictures today is a little bittersweet as it reminds me just how quickly babies grow up. It wasn’t that long ago but this little girl will never be that tiny newborn again, that moment is gone forever. The baby that was in my tummy when I took these pictures is now on the cusp of crawling and about to start eating food!
On a less emotional and more practical note, I love using over-exposed windows as a background. It’s almost plain white but if you look closely you can see London buses, which shows where the family live.
Late last year I did a very exciting fashion shoot for Campbell Crafts. In our first time working on location together, we did a bowling themed shoot at All Star Lanes in Bayswater with Miss Victory Violet modelling Campbell Crafts latest creations. The venue was amazing. The decor was so beautifully evocative of another era. The staff were great to work with: nothing was too much trouble and they make a mean milkshake. Miss Victory Violet was very professional, friendly, easy to work with and looked amazing in the clothes.
However, the shoot was a little challenging. The lighting in the bowling alley, while perfect for a night out, was much to dark for photography. When I set up my portable studio flash I discovered that pretty much everything in a bowling alley is reflective (polished floors, chrome fittings, shiny balls), so avoiding reflections and glare was pretty tricky. I was also five months pregnant at the time, but thankfully everyone helped me get my massive amount of kit from the roof top car park to the basement bowling alley!
I love the variety and different experiences that this type of work brings, in addition to getting a chance to work with such interesting and creative people.
Here’s how the pictures looked when published in the spring issue of In Retrospect magazine.
So, it’s been a little quiet for Warm Glow Photo recently as a business but it’s been very busy period for our expanding family. I’ve taken some time off because my daughter was born earlier this year. The time has passed so quickly and I can’t believe I am already back to work, but I am really looking forward to being able to focus on photography again.
During both my children’s early babyhood I thought that I would take loads of pictures of them and use this as an opportunity to practise new techniques and really build up my portfolio. I forgot two very important things:
Firstly, I will be pretty busy actually caring for the baby. Feeding, changing nappies, wiping up sick and dealing with poonamis take much more time than I remembered and this time I’ve been juggling it with entertaining a five year old.
Secondly and perhaps most importantly, the act of photographing distances yourself from being part of the event you are photographing. You are slightly detached; the camera is between you and your subject. This is a constant dissonance I feel: I want to fully participate in life, but I also want to record it.
I wanted to photograph the warm, beautiful, cosy moments of the newborn period, but I also wanted to lie listening to her breathing. Feeling her hot, milky breath on my face and believing that we were in some ways still one person. When I put a camera between us I couldn’t do that.
I’m so grateful that my wonderful doula Juana took amazing photos of the birth, recording a life-changing event when I was totally in the moment and wanted no distractions. I also plan to hire a photographer for some family photographs when my daughter is six months old, so that I can be present in them. I want other photographers to photograph my life, while I get back to photographing other people’s lives.
I did manage to take some pictures of the first few months, and here are some of my favourites. The special moments that I didn’t photograph I drank in deeply and keep inside me.
The lovely family that I wrote about last week also asked me if I could photograph their new daughter’s baptism. This was a new one for me, having never photographed or even been to a baptism before. However, I hoped that my many years of experience of photographing weddings and children would enable me to do the event justice.
I am so grateful to them for offering me the opportunity to try something new. The baptism took place the day after our home lifestyle shoot, which meant I had already got to know the family well and the children were comfortable with me. It was a small, private ceremony which worked really well for my first time. The guests and the priest were very welcoming and friendly. A list of shots required provided by the mother ensured that I didn’t miss any of the key moments.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience of photographing a baptism and hope I get the opportunity to do more in the future.
I recently had the most wonderful weekend photographing a lovely family. I’ve been really looking forward to sharing it.
The mother contacted me a very long time ago after finding my details on the South London Attachment Parenting Facebook group. She initially contacted me to enquire about photographing the birth, which I have never done before but was massively intrigued by. That ended up not working out but she did get in touch with me to do a lifestyle shoot with her partner, baby and older child and to photograph the new baby’s baptism.
My own interest in learning about attachment parenting has massively influenced the way I work as a family portrait photographer, so I always really enjoy working with families who have a similar approach. For me, the comfort and happiness of the child is always more important than getting a particular shot and I believe that if the family are relaxed and happy then we can make great photographs together.
This family were really great to work with. Their son seemed to feel comfortable with me very quickly and was happy to let me photograph him playing with his dad and his toy trains. I also managed to get some very cute pictures of his little sister snoozing in her sling. We then went out for a walk/scoot around the neighbourhood, which meant an unexpected opportunity to take some of my favourite type of pictures – children enjoying autumn. We even got to throw leaves over each other. Then it was back home to get some pictures of the family reading together and some of the baby in her very special reusable nappy.
I so enjoyed working with this family and was very happy to come back the next day to photograph the baptism, which I’ll post about next week. I also received the most wonderful feedback from the mother:
“I also wanted to say how positive of an experience it was to have photos taken by you. We felt very relaxed with your presence and appreciated how you just worked with the flow of our home. One think that particularly stood out was how you knelt down to our son’s level and spoke with him about why we wanted to scoot/walk in the direction we pointed. I think we all knew that if I just scooped him up, that would surely lead to tears. We found you via the SELAP group so I assume you are a similar minded parent, but it really means a lot to us that you were willing to step in and not just photograph.”
I am very excited to have one of my photographs featured in the 28th Annual Exhibition of the London Independent Photography group. The image I submitted is quite a departure for me because it is not a portrait, but something from a personal project that I have been working on for a while.
The exhibition runs from 15th – 20th November st The Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, E2 7DG.
Here is a message from Alec Leggat, the exhibition organiser:
“This year we are showing over 90 prints from more than 70 photographers, demonstrating the extraordinary diversity, breadth of talent, and craft for personal expression within the London Independent Photography membership.
For the first time we also invited members to submit photo publications for inclusion in the show. The selectors chose four titles from a submission of 12 handmade books, zines, limited edition and short print-run books.
Our independent selectors this year were Max Houghton, senior lecturer in photography at London College of Communication, previous judge for the Firecracker Awards, and was named among the top 50 industry professionals by Featureshoot; Melanie King, alternative photographer and founder of the London Alternative Photography Collective; and Michelle Sank, senior lecturer in photography at Falmouth University, and who has exhibited and published her work widely including in The Guardian, The Observer and The Telegraph.”
I recently had this lovely family in my studio for some newborn pictures. We had initially planned to do the shoot at their place, but they had a full house of visiting family so the night before asked if they could come to me instead. I love the way the studio flash has brought out the bright colours of the baby blanket and dress, which make a change from the usual pastels and contrast well with the parents black outfits.
This family have booked a first year package and I’m really looking forward to watching this little girl grow up.
13th October 2016 Child photography
Last month I had the joyous occasion of my first autumn photo shoot. I love doing outdoor sessions in autumn, the colours are amazing and it is a wonderful time to be out in nature.
This one was extra-special for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the photo shoot took place in Bushy Park, Teddington. I used to live around the corner from this magnificent park when I was a student and haven’t really been back much since. It was lovely to be able to revisit somewhere that I have such fond memories of. The second reason is that it was the final shoot of a First Year Package for a close family friend. I’ve really enjoyed doing all these photo shoots and seeing this little girl grow into such a fabulous little character. In what I think is pretty much the perfect set up for a first year package we did the newborn shoot at her home, the six month shoot in my studio and this final shoot when she was comfortably walking and exploring in her local park.
As often happens, things didn’t do quite according to plan. The mother had a special autumn outfit with a little cardigan planned but it was such a hot September day that the little girl had to wear a sundress. She also woke up a little grumpy from her nap but her parents brought a good selection of her favourite toys to the park (teddy and pushchair, ball and most importantly bubbles) so she cheered up pretty quickly.
The funniest moment of the shoot was right at the end when she confidently strode up to a whole herd of deer, then on closer inspection realised they were actually pretty big, turned around and got away as fast as her little legs could carry her.
I really love watching kids explore nature like this and look forward to doing many more park sessions this autumn.
Last month I photographed a lovely family in Belair Park, Dulwich. It was a bit of a last minute booking because the grandparents were visiting the new addition from overseas, but as they were happy to do the photo shoot on a weekday I was able to fit them in with very little notice.
I’ve mentioned before how much I love photographing a newborn joining an existing family and having the opportunity to record the older child becoming a sibling, so I was very excited to do this shoot. I also rarely get to photograph newborns outside but it can be a great option, particularly if there is an older child to keep occupied too.
The family were great to work with and having the grandparents there really helped as they could keep the big sister occupied while I got some pictures of her newborn brother. However, my favourite picture of the whole session was her enjoying herself so much on the swing.
Earlier in the summer I had a great time photographing this family. The best thing about photographing families with siblings is that all the attention is not on one child all the time. If one child takes a little longer to warm up or needs a break you can switch your attention to the other one.
Once they got used to the studio, camera and me both the children were incredibly smiley and very photogenic. The colour co-ordination of the families clothes really helped the photos as well.