Kay Oliver Photography – Guest Blog
How to choose a photographer and get the best photos
Babies and children grow so quickly and while you know every millimetre of their tiny, perfect face now, in time those memories will fade. Photographs capture these precious moments, providing an everlasting reminder of this treasured time. But, how do you go about choosing a photographer you can trust with this all-important task, and how can you make the most of your photoshoot to ensure you have the best results possible?
Choosing your photographer
With over 20 years’ experience, I specialise in photographing babies, young children and parents, turning memories into works of art. I’ve learnt many things over the years and have refined my work into a style that’s personal and emotive, yet fun and creative – so that would be my first tip on where to start if you’re looking for a photographer to trust with your memories – have a good look at their previous work. You’ll probably have an immediate reaction to their style and if you love the shots they’ve taken of others, just imagine how you’ll feel when it’s your own little one’s beautiful face looking back at you!
Next, have a chat with your photographer. Find out how the process works, what they offer, what the shoot involves, and if they can accommodate what it is you’re looking for. Again, you’ll probably know instantly whether this is someone you feel you can trust, and whether you’re likely to be able to relax with them. Find out where the shoot will take place and what it entails. The majority of my photographs are taken in my natural light studio, a unique feature that allows me to take true to life photos without the intrusion of a flash, which is especially important with newborns in order to truly capture their perfect, delicate features.
Take your time
Your photography session should not be rushed. You’ll need plenty of time to settle in and feel at ease and, as we all know, when babies are involved they rarely work to a schedule! Don’t worry about ‘wasting time’ if you need to feed baby or change their nappy; it’s all part of the process. It’s when they’re happy, relaxed and content that we can take the best photos and this won’t happen the instant you enter the door. Take your time and enjoy the whole experience. Typically, my sessions last between 1.5 – 4 hours depending on the session type, so there’s plenty of time for feeding, changing, and those all-important cuddles too!
Make it personal
Your photographer will probably have a range of props that you can use in your photographs but if there’s anything that’s really special such as a special a family heirloom, a treasured teddy, favourite toy or a special blanket, then feel free to bring it along to make your photos even more personal and meaningful. Do you, your partner, older siblings or other family members want to be involved? From just a supporting hand or a shoulder to lean on to a full family portrait, there are lots of ways to incorporate everyone into the photos, in whatever manner they feel comfortable with.
Relax…and be yourself!
Bear in mind that photographs will always turn out best when everyone involved is feeling at ease, so think about this especially when deciding on what to wear. Will you be relaxed in stiff, formal attire? You want the photographs that you’re going to treasure for years to come to be a true representation, so choose clothing that is really ‘you’ – your favourite top, comfy jeans or, if you feel comfortable in it, just some simple plain underwear. Avoid anything too loud or heavily patterned; the outfit shouldn’t dominate or detract from the main focus of the photograph.
For every stage
Once you’ve found a photographer whose work you love and you’ve trusted them with creating timeless art from your family memories, it’s worth thinking about booking another visit. Many photographers don’t simply specialise in one stage but will work with your family as it grows to create a set of images to preserve every precious phase. From pregnancy to newborns, the toddler years and beyond, each photoshoot can capture not only your child’s changing look but also their growing personality with something different and appropriate at each stage – from being curled up on a sheepskin rug during their first few days in the world to the shameless, messy fun of a ‘trash the cake session’ that’s just brimming with personality, or a family location shoot in your favourite outdoor spot as your family grows older and more adventurous. For a photographer, the opportunity to witness and document the growth of your family over time with a series of beautiful images is a true honour.
Kay Oliver is an experienced family photographer and Newborn Photography Excellence Award winner, based in Sawley, Nottingham. To learn more about Kay and to view her work visit www.kayoliverphotography.co.uk or www.facebook.com/kayoliverphoto.