In December I received the brilliant news that I had 6 images in the finals of 2 categories for The Guild of Photographer’s Image of the Year - Baby and Toddler and Newborn photography.
The Guild’s 2022 awards ceremony was held on 4th February 2023 in Stoke-on-Trent - the evening celebrates the success of photographer’s from not just around the UK, but internationally also, across a wide variety of genres.
The Image of the Year in the different categories kicked off the evening for me - The judges had chosen their 10 favourite stand alone images in each categories back in December and at the awards they announced the runner up and winning image.
Not only did one of my favourite images of the year win runner up in the Baby and Toddler category, but one of my newborn images also came runner up in the Newborn category.
The image of Amaya (left) was a follow on from a photograph from her newborn session - during lockdown I had to temporarily close my business, like parents up and down the country I had to homeschool my daughter and we ended up spending a lot of time at our allotment. The allotment became such a joyful break from the world around us - and whilst I could not grow my business, I could grow food and flowers. This lead to me commissioning my greenhouse prop and creating the images that combined both my favourite things. This has continued to develop my use of florals which has grown and become more refined. More recently I have been exploring the meanings of flowers and plants along side my newborn imagery. The newborn image of Aarika shows her sleeping, surrounded by shasta daisies - which mean: 'happiness', 'cheerfulness', 'friendship' and 'wholeness'.
During the past year I have been submitting images regularly, pushing myself to create beautiful photographs for my clients, and, with their permission, entering them into competition. For me this is a good way to obtain feedback from internationally recognised judges and find ways to improve the standard of my work.
In doing so I was creating a body of work that on Saturday night gained me the title of Newborn Photographer of the Year 2022 and Photographer of the Year 2022.
I can honestly say that my jaw dropped when my name was called!
My goal is always to create the best possible for my clients, this will always be my aim - but to win a national title whilst doing this is just mind blowing to me.
The images from 2022 - all of which obtained a bronze or high award.
I am so excited to see what 2023 brings, I want to continue to develop my work with flowers, but most of all, I want to capture your precious babies and freeze time for you so you can remember always how teeny they once were.
The overwhelm of having children home for an unknown length of time is some what real, within the space of a few days I have gone from one child in year one and one in pre school - to home, full time, education my responsibility, my job on pause (albeit for a very good reason). It is a lot. They want to go see their grandparents, they want to go to the swimming pool (something we did twice a week) the library, asking for pre school and their friends. It is going to be a long few weeks/months. Whilst I cannot fill your feeds with happy little faces tucking into cake, or sleepy newborns, all squishy and new, I hope to bring you some fun activities to break up the day - educational slants so you can fill their homework books, but most importantly, you can create memories of this time together. No matter the situation, I am focusing on this time with my babies. I am being realistic though, it wont be perfect, I will no doubt shout at times, there will be tantrums and there will be tears - but there will be cuddles, and laughter, smiles, there will be activities in the garden, growing food and flowers. As I type this my son is on my lap, giving me snuggles and despairing at how unfair it is that his sister is doing school work on my iPad!!!
I have made a list of activities to try. I hope that most of them are using things around the house, so and I have avoided anything with dried pasta or rice where possible!!! :)
I would LOVE it if you can share any images of your kids doing these activities with me - I will have my camera out a lot in the new few weeks, so it would be amazing if you can grab some photos too <3
Don't forget to share some photos with me - please! I need to see other faces soon ;)
Stay safe, and sane... Parents, check out the self care blog I did - you need to look after yourself in all this!!!
I absolutely love newborn shoots and I'm always so grateful when people choose me to capture such precious moments for them. I've been wanting to do a quick run down of questions that I get asked a lot about newborn sessions, as always though I'm always happy to answer any questions you have.
When can I book my newborn shoot?
You can book as early as you'd like, I've had some parents book as soon as they find out they are pregnant. I only take a small of newborn bookings every month to ensure I can fit you in when your little one joins us so it's best to book early to avoid disappointment.
When is the best time to have a newborn shoot?
Newborn shoots usually take place within the first 3 weeks, this tends to allow for a sleepy baby, so I take note of your due day and there and once you have had baby, simply let me know and we will set a date for the shoot.
How long does a newborn session take?
This is a tricky one to answer as it depends on how settled your little one is. I usually allow up to four hours of studio time for my newborn session. 4 hours sounds like a lot, but between feeding, burping and getting your little one used to me moving them around it goes very quickly! Allowing a good block of time means we can keep it nice and relaxed and you don't feel pressured if they take a little while to drift off during the session.
My baby is already here, is it too late to book in?
It depends on the age of your newborn. It's easier to get the snuggly, sleepy shots the younger they are but we can always get some beautiful images. Feel free to contact me and we can discuss what we can do to make sure you have some perfect little memories.
Can you do the newborn session in my house?
Because of the huge amount of props and equipment I use to capture the perfect image it's sadly not practical for me to come to your home for the session.
What should I expect during the shoot?
During your session I capture not only baby in a variety of poses but also with you, ensuring you have photographs as a family too. I always value your input as to colours, poses and props that you do and do not like. This way we can create the ideal photographs of your perfect little one.
Can you tell me a little about your studio?
I have a home studio, with wraps, bonnets and props to hand, and I keep the room nice and toasty warm for baby. I've got a whole host of white noise/lullabies on hand to make it as relaxing as possible for you and your new arrival. I'm based in Sidcup, not far from the high street and there is plenty of on street parking nearby.
What if I don't like things like bonnets or props?
Before every session I always discuss things that you would like to have included. You'll receive a questionnaire when you book with me to fill out and I'm always happy to work with you to make sure its absolutely perfect.
What if my baby won't settle during the session?
All babies are different, some are very settled and others aren't its part of what makes them so special. I've been working with little ones for so long now that I completely understand that each baby is totally different so please don't worry if they decide to test out their lungs on the day. I leave enough time in the session so that you can feed your little one as often as you need to and have picked up a few little tricks from my own two along the way that we can try.
Are we allowed to be in the pictures with our baby?
Absolutely! I LOVE it when you get involved. If you have any older siblings they are more than welcome to join in too.
Can I bring my own props/outfits?
I have most things available in the studio, everything is carefully chosen to co ordinate to create the styled images you see on my social media/website. Should you have something sentimental you would like me to include this can be worked out for you :) Just let me know in advance if you can so I can plan it into the session.
What if my baby has baby acne or flaky skin?
Please don't worry about this, Almost all newborns have flaky skin or a few little spots, I am skilled in reducing how much is visible in the images if you’d like me to.
Cake, Bubbles and Birthdays
My studio has been a whirl of Christmas sparkle and Newborn magic recently so Cake Smashes have taken a bit of a back seat recently. Its such a shame because look at these amazing sessions that I've had recently.
There's not much that makes me smile more about my job than seeing my clients come back to me for their birthday cake smash sessions. Gone is the tiny curled up little newborn and in their place is this bundle of personality and character just itching to get stuck into that cake.
It's not all about the cake with my smash sessions though, they are a three part shoot which gives us plenty of opportunity to capture every little giggle and smile. We start off with some beautiful portrait shots, these can be done on a plain backdrop (set up in front of the main set) so you've got something a little more classical if you wanted.
Then comes the messy fun, the unique set for the smash is discussed beforehand and handmade by me to match your brief perfectly. Sometimes the little ones can be a little shy about getting stuck in so its always best that you wear clothes you don't mind getting a some cake on if they need a little encouragement. Wooden spoons often come in to play to give them a hand too, this can help if your little one is a little hesitate to start!
Some smashes are super messy, the cake goes everywhere. The cakes are included in the session fee, and made by my fab baker at Belles Bakery.
Some are a little more reserved, have a good taste and explore but prefer to leave the cake for Mum and Dad to enjoy at home with a cup of tea ;) you get to take the remaining cake home with you!
Finally we have a bubble bath to clean up, its a perfect opportunity to grab some happy bubbly pictures.
Cake smash sessions are £99 and you can find my image pricing here
As you can probably tell from the photo spam that is this blog post, I do enjoy a cake smash! They are full of laughter and celebrations.
I'd love to see more of you in for cake smashes in the new year so get in touch if you'd like to book in for your little ones first birthday shoot.
Check our Yeovil photographer Sarah's blog this week on photos to capture this Christmas. She has a massive list of photographs you might want to capture this year to remember your festive fun.
In Sidcup and the surrounding areas :)
The summer holiday's are here!
This is my first summer holiday with children, my daughter finished her second term at Pre-School this morning, the childminder is on holiday and my weeks have grown in length (and my night time work load!!!)
I have found I have been scribbling notes of ideas, things to do, places to visit to keep the Threenager amused so the tantrums (her's and mine) are kept at bay - wishful thinking??
I thought I would share - if you have any cool ideas, please do comment! The days are long ;)
Lark in the Park
This is walkable for us, and opens 22nd July - 6th August. A variety of FREE activities for a range of ages - I am going to pop along tomorrow to check the itinerary so will try to update! You can pre register for these, but last year we turned up for some.
Pets at Home
Pets at Home have 'My Pet Pals' workshops running, again, free. The link is for the store at the Nugent, Orpington. You have to register for these.
Whilst at the Nugent - Hobby Craft
This is exactly my cup of tea and you will find me at these, 100%. Love a good craft! Telescope and dream jars anyone? I can't see a way to book, so think its a turn up jobby!
Odeon have their kids clubs running over the summer - great if there is a rainy day....it's England after all. £2.50 showings, I can't comment on how much it will cost you in pick'n'mix!!
Under1Roof have a wonderful schedule for the Summer! Make sure you check their booking system. Again, great for that Great British weather!
I also have a list of things to do at home...here are my favourites:
Garden Treasure hunt - I have loads of stars cut from my cake smashes, so I plan to hide these around the garden and my 3 year old can have a hunt around!
Make a den - we love a den, inside or out, bedsheets get dragged out, blankets, pillow's galore, we can be hiding from Mor'du (I have a red head...she loves Brave!!) exploring a cave, bust out the slumber buddy and look at the stars!
Bubble painting - I love pinterest for crafty ideas, it is a wonderful source of inspiration!
Chalk on the patio...and up the garage wall...and probably on the studio!!
Baking - whilst Super Chunk naps we can get some tasty treats made, I am thinking flapjacks!
A Nature Walk/Scoot - now, we are SO lucky in this area, Swanley Park, Scadbury Nature reserve, Jubilee Park, Petts Wood, Chislehurst Common, Oxleas Wood, Danson Park to name just a tiny selection of all the wonderful outdoor spaces on our doorstep!
Coolings Green and Pleasant, a firm favourite in this house! Great price (and have an annual pass too) and so much fun for the littles. They have birds of prey now too so check out their events section on the website.
Make a Fairy/Elf garden! Those of you who have been to my studio recently have seen that we are making big changes to our family garden, so this could be my chance to add a bit of fun out there!! Maybe I won't tell the husband about the glitter I've already ordered....Pinterest has a lot to answer for!!
I shall have to blog about our adventures this Summer...Let me know any ideas you have!
See what I have been up to recently!