Whilst pregnant with Poppy, I started looking for a newborn photographer. I remember googling for Melbourne photographers and spending lots of time going through portfolios and looking at all the different styles.
There are definitely two main types of photography to choose from. There’s the natural, candid style and then there’s the styled, posed shots which often use props and colour themes. I knew I was having a girl and, although I had never been interested in any sort of styled photography up until this point in my life, I was drawn into the fun and femininity of this type of baby portrait. I figured I may only ever have one baby girl and would never get this chance again, so why not go ‘all out’ and capture her at her tiniest surrounded by all the pretty things!
I found the website for Kath V Photography and fell in love with her ethereal and whimsical signature style. She’s also a natural light photographer which my friends assured me was a bonus. I contacted her and we soon began emailing and planning a session for my baby girl. Kath and I clicked instantly as we both have a love for anything ‘girly’ and she was so accommodating with my requests for lots of flowers, pink and particular outfits.
We were going to be the first family she photographed in her new studio.
I’m going to add at this point that this is not a sponsored post. In the blogging world, a positive experience can often sound as if it’s been paid for, and that’s not the case here. We have paid for all of our family photography sessions.
When you book with Kath, she provides everything- outfits, bonnets, headbands, halos. I had initially been under the impression that I had to source my own bits and pieces but everything is provided (something to keep in mind and ask about when you are comparing businesses). Kath’s studio is the stuff photographers’ dreams are made of- an absolute treasure trove of colour, texture and the most precious, delicate baby props you have ever seen (she often has bespoke pieces made just for her studio). The only thing you need to bring with you is clothing to wear in family shots and she suggests that you wear something white.
Kath is located in Sunbury and our trip to her studio one week after Poppy was born was the first time I had officially left the house with Poppy after being in hospital for the first 4.5 days. I found this a bit daunting. This was my first baby and I had never breastfed in ‘public’ and was still quite anxious about everything (Hello hormones!). As soon as we got there, my fears were eased. Kath’s studio has a separate sitting room which mums can use to feed and settle their baby and Kath is so patient and allows you as much time as you need.
During the session Kath was meticulous, not taking a photo until everything in the shot was perfect. This is why I’m not in her line of business- I would have said “Oh that looks good, that’ll do” and taken the shot, whereas she notices every little detail and will persist until she’s 100% happy.
Poppy was supposed to be a Winter baby (hence her middle name) but ended up arriving early Spring (by that point we were too attached to the name). This timing meant I could use the pink blossom from my mum and dad’s backyard which only blooms for a very short time, which added some further sentiment to the photos.
Kath warned me that if I wanted to bring Poppy back for ‘baby’ shots in the future, I needed to do it when she was around 6 months old. Basically they have to be able to sit unaided but NOT be crawling. I, of course, left things to the last minute and didn’t get my act together until Poppy was 8 months old and crawling very quickly. This meant it was much harder to get the shots as our Little Miss was super curious and would move ever so quickly towards the camera or out of shot. It wasn’t the end of the world- we still got absolutely beautiful images but poor Kath had to work much harder for them! Lesson learned!
When Teddy was born we again made the trip back to Sunbury. This time I was really looking forward to getting some beautiful shots of the two children together. I thought Poppy had been a tricky subject the last time but Teddy certainly upped the anti. He cried, he pooed on me, he weed on me, he did not want to sleep. Kath keeps the studio super warm and I kept offering Teddy lots of milk- the combination of these things will normally lull babies to sleep, but not Teddy! I actually love the grumpy look on his face in these photos.
Since the first time we met, Kath has gone on to become a multi-award winning photographer and the 2016 Victorian Family Photographer of the year. She also now runs workshops for photographers and travels around the world sharing her knowledge.
Last weekend Teddy and I went along to be some of the models as a part of one of Kath’s workshops. Teddy is not yet crawling (although desperately wants to!) so when she put out a casting call on Instagram and Facebook for ‘sitters’ I was, of course, keen to be a part of another session.
If you’re a photographer who wants to learn the tricks of the trade, check out the details on Kath’s website. She also shares tips, shooting specs and information about her work on her blog.
I’ll leave you with a few tips I have discovered along the way:
-My children are proof that no matter what happens on the day, your baby’s personality is guaranteed to be captured. Grumpy old man/woman faces can be just as sweet as a babe sleeping peacefully.
-All newborn/baby photographers can understandably only book a certain number of clients each month to make it possible to allow for the unpredictability of timing each baby’s arrival so if you find someone you absolutely love, I suggest you book in with them early to secure a spot.
-Prepare to feel hot! As I mentioned earlier, in newborn sessions the heat is cranked up so that your tiny new baby is not cold and can fall asleep.
-Think about where in your house the images will go as this can help to guide your colour choices. Is the image going to become a pop of colour in your baby’s nursery or elsewhere in your home? Are you going to add the photos to a family photo wall? Are you using one of the shots for another special purpose (birth announcement cards)? Thinking about these things can help guide your colour and style choices.
-Run with the photographer’s suggestions. Initially I did not want to be in any photos post-baby but Kath persisted and I am thankful I have them now, especially for my children’s sake as they’ll have them forever.
-Instagram is a great resource for looking at photographers’ style. Look at their feed for inspiration and to get a sense of what they’re all about.