Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We are moving!

For a long time now our family has dreamt of moving to Otago, we have a cottage in Dunedin city where we stay from time to time, but it is never enough. We love the vibrant cafe and music culture in Dunedin, the amazing scenery of Central Otago and the breath taking coast roads.

Over Christmas, while we were holidaying we happened upon the perfect house and land...we all cried a little bit...the perfect place but not the perfect time. We went home and talked and talked, and everytime we came back to the fact that the place was perfect, it was us, it was HOME.

So we made an offer, which was accepted and came back to Auckland to prepare.

I have had to change the way I work as my studio was home based, and has been disassembled to accommodate the constant open homes and viewings. I have been working in the family's homes, which has been a little challenging, but very satisfying. I am tempted to add it as an option when I move.

So, this blogpost is basically an update. I am no longer taking Auckland bookings, but if you are in the South Otago / Dunedin area (I will be based at Taieri Mouth - 20 minutes from Milton, 30 minutes from Dunedin via the coast road) feel free to contact me for newborns due any time from May onwards. I will post photos of my studio when we have moved. It is so exciting to have such a beautiful place to work in - from the studio which has plenty of light and room, to the flat paddocks with amazing golden hour back lighting. We are planning a paddock of wildflowers , and maybe a broken down old ute for staging gorgeous family shoots, there are cherry tress for gorgeous girls blossom sessions, and rustic backdrops all over the place, as I said...I'm very excited!

I will also have a studio in central Dunedin which we will develop over the rest of the year, but I am hoping a lot of families will come out to the farm and enjoy the full experience.

I will keep you all updated as the process rolls through, I can't wait to show you!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Safety in the studio

When you book your newborn or baby session with me you can be assured that your child's safety is my top priority. Many of the beautiful images of babies are created with the use of composites, where two or more images are combined to give the gorgeous final work of art.

Babies rely on us to keep them safe and ensure they are not placed in situations where they could be harmed. Not only have I raised 5 children along with my husband, but I have studied extensively and spoken with medical specialists about how to ensure babies are completely safe when being posed, especially if they have special needs regarding their breathing or reflux.

In the studio I will ask you to help me out at times when I need extra support for your baby, this may be a finger keeping their little head in place, or a hand keeping them stable. I will explain exactly what i want you to do before I get you to do it, to ensure that you feel confident. 

You know that "froggy" pose? The "potato sack" or the lovely images of babies in baskets hanging from a branch? All created with composites, these images cannot and should not ever be the result of a single exposure. The froggy and potato sack require hands on the baby at all times (these are removed during editing) and can only be attempted with a very relaxed baby. The hanging shots require a shot of the empty basket hanging from the branch and then a shot of the baby in the basket which is situated on a firm surface so there is no risk to the child.

Here are a couple of composite examples from my studio;

In these images (left is before editing, right is after) you see Mum's hand holding baby to keep her safe (you can also see the little toy Dad is holding to get her attention!). As well as Mum being right there, the baby is sitting on a grip mat covered with a handtowel for extra stability in the tub. Flowers are either artificial, safe for children or most often "non-existent"! I prefer to composite flowers in baths as they are distracting for littlies.

In this image you can see Mum's hand supporting the baby's head. 

This is just some of the magic photographers can work with editing, some of the other ways I work to keep your family safe are the following:

- Hospital grade hand sanitiser in the studio
- Thermostatically controlled temperature in the studio
- I am fully immunised against childhood diseases
- Families with an unwell member are re-booked, and I re-book if I am unwell
- Animals are not permitted in the studio (we photograph babies with their pets at home or outdoors)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Preparing for your session

For the past few months you have organised and planned and dreamt about your new baby and the wonderful changes this little one will make to your family and your world. 

You booked your newborn photography session early in your pregnancy and pored over Pinterest boards and Facebook posts, trying to decide which colours and poses you wanted for your little one. 

Suddenly here you are, the birth was a few short days and sleepless nights ago, you are still coming to terms with feeding and comforting this wee person and now you have to take them out into the world (and get the carseat into the right position!) for the photos you were dreaming about. You start worrying about how the baby will cope, about how you will survive, you are exhausted and bubs is always hungry...how will you get them to sleep for their photos? what should they wear? what should you wear? Feeding isnt easy, how will you cope?


Relax because; you are coming to my studio and I know exactly what you are going through.

I'm a Mum, I have been there...through the birth trauma, the sleepless nights, the feeding agony, the worry, the stress and the overwhelming tiredness. I can tell you that while you are here with me I will do my utmost to ensure that your family has a calm, caring and positive experience. 

I don't care how you look, but I do care how you feel and the best way I can demonstrate that to you is to do my work in a loving manner. I'll tell you what is going to happen, I'll make you a cup of tea and sit you down on the couch so that you can relax and enjoy watching the magic happen with your baby.

So, its the morning of your session. Bathe baby if you can,but dont worry if you can't, dont fuss too much about dry skin and spots...Photoshop can deal with that if you wish, dress her or him in clothes that are easy to remove. Feed according to your choices, don't do anything different. Pack a small bag with bottles (if using), nappies and spare clothes, bring a snack for yourself and a dummy if baby uses one. Thats is, pop baby in the car seat and drive to my studio, I'll take it from here. 

Your session will take anything from two to four hours, a lot of that time will be spent getting baby to sleep, so don't worry about the time. I've said it in my studio guide, but don't worry if baby spits up, poops or pees, it is all normal and natural and if I minded I wouldn't be doing this!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Watch your crop!

I'm a "full service" photographer. It is important to me that your images hang on the walls of your home, or at the very least live in an album or treasure box on the coffee table. I don't want to think of a usb full of beautiful photos which just sits in a desk drawer waiting for "someday". I can sell you the digital files alone or as you can see in my studio I have a range of prints, framed prints, canvases, woodblocks and albums from top quality suppliers.

Recently I read a lovely article (and I'm sure there are many more around) which talks about the importance of having family photos on display, and how it boosts children's self-esteem. Children need to see themselves on the walls of their home, it is tangible proof that they matter. Kids love to sit and pore over photo albums, finding themselves and talking about the things they did when they were smaller. Photos are a great way to open channels of conversation with your kids. Mine are grown ups but when they come to visit the albums come out and the conversation and laughter flows.

But you do have that usb,  and Nana and Granddad want you to send them some prints, they don't use the internet so you are going to have to get some prints made.

In the first instance contact me, I'll guide you through the process of getting beautiful prints from my lab. If this is not possible and you have to do the prints at a local place please check the following guide to ensure your photos print out as expected. You don't want half of baby's head missing! Most of my images are in a 15:11 ratio to enable you to print most standard sizes without losing much of your image, here is a vertical version to give you a good idea, the photo shop you go to should be able to assist if you are unsure. Always check any warnings on the machine before you proceed, and remember to take 
your print release with you in case the copy shop request it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Help me help you

So, you have contacted me, received an initial email and checked out my website, prices and sessions and decided to give me the honour of taking your photos - be it maternity, newborn or baby (thank you!).

You let me know and I respond with another email, this time containing the information you need to know before the session;

  • my studio policy / contract
  • a prep sheet which explains how the session will run
  • your invoice for the session charge (which must be paid to secure your booking)
  • a booking questionnaire with basic details - name, phone number etc.
  • and finally I request "please send me a few images that you love, images you would like to hang in your house, images that reflect your family, you can do this by email, Facebook message or by sending me a link to a Pinterest board".
This last point is the one I want to talk about today, a picture really does speak a thousand words, and a couple of pictures can speak volumes about the colours, style and personality of your family and lifestyle.

Some clients like to have a conversation by phone before their session, others are too busy for a phone call during the day, but are happy to send a few photos through at a time that suits them.
This makes all the difference when I am planning your session, I can refer to my notes and see at a glance " loves pink" or "no green", "wants to use the nest" or "most important to try to get baby in the cocoon pose".

The cocoon pose (please note this is a composite image, hands were on the baby at all times)

Time is precious during a  shoot, and parents don't know the names photographers use for different poses, but by showing me a few images and fill out the questionnaire, and I can cut straight through to figure out what you want (and what you don't want) what are the must have shots and the "please don't use" colours.  I want you to love everything about your photos, and to feel that you had input into the creative decisions. This is your family, your dream and your money. Help me to help you to get art you will treasure forever.