Capturing Memories

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

dsc_5250aWith 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

dsc_9080aaYour 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

dsc_4372bOnce 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 or


Small, perfectly formed classes

It is important to me to keep my classes small and welcoming. I attended baby massage and yoga classes with both of my babies and one of the things I liked best about them was how small and friendly they were. I made friends with other mums (who I still see now 5yrs later) and it was lovely and relaxing.

My main aim for each class is for you and your baby to feel relaxed and welcome. It’s a zero judgement environment where whatever choices you’ve made about how you care for your baby will be full supported. Breast and bottle, cloth nappies or disposables, baby lead weaning or total purées, all of it is fully embraced.

I’ve been to almost every baby and toddler class there is with my own two children and I’ve experienced the isolation and awkwardness you can feel when attending a group for the first time. Especially one where everyone else seems to know each other already. I work hard to make sure that everyone feels welcome and integral to the group.

Babies love looking at and interacting with other babies. It’s great for their social development and it’s also lovely when they make little type friends that they go on to see at other classes and eventually school and or preschool. 

For mum’s it’s a chance to relax a little, have a drink made for you and an opportunity to talk to another adult which can help maintain your sanity if your only company has been a baby since 6am!

Hanging with other people who have babies of a similar age can be very reassuring and supportive. We often chat about what each baby has been getting up to and share ideas and suggestions to help with ailments and concerns. Knowing you’re not the only person who’s baby is singing at 3am or is refusing to take a bottle can really help you to feel better or less worried.

So you know that if you come along to a ChilledBeans baby class you can feel confident that you will be greeted with a happy, smiling face, you’ll be offered a drink and a snack and you’ll be listened to and supported no matter what you have to say or who you are.

Baby Sleep Aids

Most little babies can be rocked or soothed to sleep by their mummy or daddy without too much trouble but being able to put them down happily can be a tricky business!

Of course this can be wear babywearing comes in and there have been many occasions where I have popped my clingy or nap refusing baby into a sling so that they can get some restorative rest and i can get some jobs done. The thing is there are still some occasions where you just need to be able to put your little one down. Maybe to have a shower, or to eat a bowl of soup.

There are a number of soothing aids out there and over the years we seem to have acquired quite a lot of them. Interestingly when talking to the parents in my baby classes there seems to be one clear winner for the most effective. Have you tried any? Have they worked?  Continue reading

Bags Packed!

Here was my blog post about what I packed in my hospital bag for each of my births. I’d gone back and added notes about what i used and didn’t use.
What were the best and worst things you packed for your birth?

Tiddlers in Tow

After the last appointment we thought we ought to crack on with packing my hospital bags packed. There are soooo many different lists in books, magazines and websites for what to throw in these bags but I decided to ask for advice from friends with kids who I think I’d be sort of similar too.

As I’m used to travelling around alot I thought i’d be able to do my usual minimalist packing but I hadn’t taken into account that one you put in a packet of nappies and a packet of maternity pads and a bath robe your bag is almost full!

I’ve decided to go for a labour bag and then a separate bag for afterwards that Peter can bring in after the baby is born. (bad move – i hadn’t realised i would be in labour for soo long)

In the background of the picture you can see the…

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My towel cleaning kit..

It may not be the most thrilling conversation topic but if you have small kids or teach baby massage then you probably get through alot of towels.

I find that an average baby massage class gets though around about 30 towels. I’ve got a 9kg front load washing machine and 30 towels is about its limit.

I use and Eco Egg and Miofresh to wash my towels. My eldest daughter has very sensitive skin and we found that most detergents had a bit of perfume in or left residues on the laundry but the Eco Egg washes in a different way so nothing is left on the clothes or towels to irritate skin.

I add the Mio Fresh to ensure that there are no germs left on the towels. Having used cloth nappies with my children i’m quite familiar with getting baby solids and liquids out of fabrics and this combo is what works for me.

Demo session @ NCT Bumps and Babies


I really enjoy doing demo sessions at the NCT Bumps and Babies group in Long Eaton. There are always lots of gorgeous babies to meet and often a few familiar faces which is lovely.

I attended this particular group waaay back when I was a bump with my first baby. It was lovely and welcoming and a great way to meet other parents and carers of babies of a similar age. In fact, my daughter went on to go to pre-school and now primary school with some of the little people that she met there. It made it soo much easier for her on her first few days of settling in at pre-school because she already had a little group of friends.

You don’t have to be an NCT member to attend the group and the recommended donation is only £2. The group organiser is really proactive and arranges for lots of people (like me!) to come and visit which can really help you to decide about activities to do with your baby.

So if you live locally why not drop in. 10:30-12:30 on Thursday mornings at St Johns church hall on College Street in Long Eaton, Nottingham.

Me and my Chilled Beans Baby all ready to go!

Mama Bean Summer Social

A few pictures from our lovely friendly social event. Thank you to everyone that came along  on the day and to our partner businesses The Bakery Cafe and Mi Tiempo for helping to make everyone feel welcome.

It was lovely to catch up with some former class members to see how the babies have gown and brilliant to meet some new little beans and their mummies too.

Mama Bean Summer Special!!

Relaxing massage, Mani Pedi’s, Pregnancy Massage, Pregnancy and Post-natal skin care, Baby Yoga, Baby Massage, Cakes and much much more!!!
Come along for a lovely bump,baby and toddler friendly day.
Tickets are £5 for Mama Beans free for Baby and Toddler beans!