Kent family photographer – Prop testing at the beach

You know how sometimes you get something new and you just can’t wait to try it out? You buy a new sling, and your child is up on your back the minute its out of the packaging, that type of thing. Well this week has been a bit like that for me!

As many of you who follow my Instagram will know (if you don’t, you can follow meย here) I have been building myself a raft! I put the finishing touches to it this week, and couldn’t resist taking it out for a test run using my toddler as my model.

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It started off well. Beautiful sky, gorgeous light. I was so excited as I set up and got my son changed.

But things just don’t often go to plan do they?!

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This pretty much sums up the first half of the session. He wasn’t happy. At all. He was cold. But he didn’t want his cardi on. He didn’t want cuddles. He didn’t want to wear the hat, or play with the shells. Or even sit on the raft. These models, they’re such divas haha.

But we had a chat, Daddy acted silly, we promised him ice cream, and I finally got some shots I could work with.

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I’m absolutely loving this prop. And having some gorgeous photos of my camera-shy little dude is a very welcome bonus!

The raft can be used for newborns as well as sitting babies and toddlers. So if you would like this incorporated into your session, just let me know when you book ๐Ÿ™‚

DIY Needle felted basket stuffer

I love to give my clients the most bespoke service I possibly can, a real personalised experience. So, where possible, I try to source props that are a little bit different. Or sometimes I like to make my own.

This is a little tutorial I’ve put together for how I make my needle felted basket stuffers. These beautiful little squares add a gorgeous finishing touch to prop images, and making them myself ensures that they are unique. Just another little personal touch.

So to make a basket stuffer I use:

Half an A4 sheet of craft felt

Needle felting tool (mine came fromย here)

Needle felting block (or block of stiff foam)

Thick wool, at least 4ply

Scissors

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Step 1: Cut wool into lengths around 6-8 inches long. My wool is a 50g ball, but its more than enough for a small stuffer.

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Step 2: Carefully separate a strand of wool into two, and then each of those into two again. Chunkier wool can be split in half again.

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Step 3: Place your felt n top of your felting block or foam. Take your strands of wool and place the ends in one corner of the felt, with the main lengths of wool facing outwards. Then use the needle felting tool to pummel it until it is fastened to the felt.

Step 4: Repeat the last two steps all the way around the outside of the felt.

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Step 5: Keep working your way around the inside of the felt, until it is all filled in. Add a few more lengths of wool to the middle, so it doesn’t look too flat.

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And thats it! A few hours of work and a unique, bespoke prop to use ๐Ÿ™‚

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Kelly.x

 

A little something, from me to you

Anyone who has had a shoot with me in the last few months may have noticed a little extra in with their order. These little cards just look like an ordinary business card at first glance.

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But turn them over and they reveal their special secret.

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I wanted to reward the loyalty of my returning clients, and give a little something back to those special people who have chosen me to share and capture their precious moments.

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So every session you have with me earns you a stamp, and the more stamps you have the bigger your reward!

Just a small token of my appreciation, because without my clients I wouldn’t be able to do this job that I love so much โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

Kelly.x

Never stop learning

Being a photographer is like being on a never-ending learning curve. There is always a way to improve, or a new technique to try. Regular training is important, to learn new things to keep your work fresh, and to remind yourself of those important aspects such as safety, to keep you from getting complacent and cutting corners.

So as a photographer, when you find yourself child-free and caught up with work for a morning, having just received some beautiful new goodies, what else is there to do but get yourself set up and practise practise practise?

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My daughter’s doll acted as my model this morning, testing out my gorgeous new bonnet and stuffie set. Just one of many new props and bits I have arriving over the next few weeks. I will be putting out a model call on my Facebook page for real babies to test these soon!

So keep an eye onย Little Pandas Photographyย for more details ๐Ÿ™‚

Kelly.x

New heirloom products from Hythe family photographer Little Pandas Photography

Exciting times here in Kent at Little Pandas HQ. I’ve just received samples of a fantastic new product I will offering very soon.

Handmade from poplar plywood sourced from sustainable forests in Slovenia and Austria, these wooden photo blocks are made to last.

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These blocks are available in many shapes and sizes, from 4″x 4″ squares (shown above) to 16″ circles, to 16×24″ rectangles. There are even beautiful collages available (see below). The smaller sizes are freestanding, for displaying on desktops and shelves. But all come with a small hole at the rear for wall display.

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I’m so happy to be able to offer these beautiful, heirloom products to you all as soon as my 2017 price list is finalised!

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Kelly.x

 

10 Things every new parent needs to know

Parenting is one of life’s greatest adventures! Starting out on that journey is exciting and scary in equal measure. There are so many things to learn and remember, and many people are quick to offer advice and opinions on how you should be raising this tiny new person you’ve brought into the world.

But there are some things people don’t tell you. Maybe they think it will scare you, maybe they’ve just forgotten because it’s been so long since their children were tiny. So I’ve compiled a list of ten things every new parent should know.

 

ย  ย 1. Meconium sticks to EVERYTHING!

Seriously, you think you’ve got it all ready. Nappies sorted, wipes on hand. But then your baby does their first poo. And you realise you could never have been prepared. This substance is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Thick and black, like something from the depths of hell. My husband described it as like melted licorice, a sticky black mess. You’ll be there with your cotton wool balls and water, and all it will do is smear it around and make a bigger mess! Don’t worry, after that first one it gets easier!

 

2. Boredom

No one will tell you this. It’s not something people like to admit to. But babies don’t really do much. They eat, cry, sleep and poo. And they look adorable. They will run you ragged, and sleep deprivation is an absolute killer and makes you feel like you are constantly on the go in those early days. But when the novelty, for want of a better word, passes, you will find yourself suffering from periods of boredom. They are beautiful, fascinating, wonderful little people. But the days can very easily all run into each other. Like Groundhog Day, except with less sleep and a snuffling, rooting baby instead of an alarm clock. Go out, see old friends or make new ones at Mummy groups. Or just go for a walk. Break up the monotony. You will both feel better for it.

 

3. Cluster feeding

You may have read a hundred parenting books, perused a thousand breastfeeding forums. But nothing can prepare you for the reality of cluster feeding. Most breastfed babies will do this in the evenings. Some can start as early as 3 in the afternoon. But you can pretty much guarantee that you willย end up sat on a chair, or on the sofa, with a baby who just feeds and feeds, maybe naps for 5 minutes, and then feeds again. On repeat. For hours. This isn’t a sign that you have no milk. It isn’t a sign that your milk is “no good”, as well meaning friends or relatives will tell you. This is completely normal newborn behaviour. It’s basically baby signalling your body to make more milk, putting in an order for later if you like. It’s tiring, and can be frustrating at times. But it’s a necessary part of most breastfeeding journeys. So just make yourself comfy, get a good supply of snacks and drinks and grab the tv remote. Now would be a good time to catch up on all those favourites you’ve recorded, or start binge watching a new show on Netflix.

Oh, and just when you think you’re past the cluster feeding hell, bam! Growth spurt. The first 6 weeks are pretty much one big growth spurt, but they don’t stop there. Buy new cushions. You’ll be spending plenty of time on that sofa ๐Ÿ™‚
4. Flashing the postman

Or the Amazon delivery man. Or the Myhermes courier. We’ve all done it. You’re feeding baby, boob out as you’re at home right? No need for discreet feeding here! Baby falls asleep. You sit, enjoying the brief respite, or just finishing up watching that episode of NCIS you’d started. Then there’s a knock at the door. You quickly but carefully lay baby down, and hurry to answer before they decide you’re not in and leave you the dreaded “While you were out” card. You just make it, opening the door just as they’re reaching for their pen. They look up, their eyes widen and then they hurriedly look away, shoving your parcel at you whilst mumbling something incoherent and then practically running back to their van. You close the door, wondering what had got into them, how rude! Then you feel the draft. In the rush to answer the door you’ve forgotten to put your boob away. You’ve treated Postman Pat to a view he’d have to pay good money for at Spearmint rhino. The shame. Next time he knocks at your door, assuming you haven’t scared him away for good, he will probably make some half-hearted attempt at humour, telling you he didn’t recognize you with your clothes on or suchlike. Thus cementing your embarrassment, and you vow never to order anything again, ever. Until you see that new sling that you have to have. And then you pray for a different courier.

 

5. They sleep through. You don’t.

You pray for sleep every night. You reach a point where you would literally give anything for a full nights sleep, or even a few hours more than you’re getting. But then it happens. Your body wakes you from a deep sleep, telling you it’s time baby was awake for a feed. You sit up abruptly, your heart pounding. Baby hasn’t woken. Your boobs feel like they’re about to explode. Why hasn’t baby woken? You look over to where they lie. You can’t just about make out their little profile. You watch them for a minute, trying to see the rise and fall of their little chest. It’s too dark, you can’t see! You reach over, rest your hand on their chest. Hold your breath so you can better detect any movement. You feel their little heart beating under your fingers, feel the reassuring up and down movement of their breathing. You breathe a sigh of relief, try and slow the beating of your own heart as you lie down and try to make the most of this unexpected turn of events.

But one of two things happen. Either you get comfy and start to doze off, but you have disturbed the baby! Soon that familiar snuffling sound and fist chewing start. You were so close to getting more sleep! But you had to ruin it. Now you’re awake for the next two hours as baby makes up for the missed feed, and you curse yourself. Or baby sleeps on soundly, but you just can’t get back to sleep. You lie awake, expecting baby to wake at any moment. You could have had two extra hours. Instead you have a headache, and you’re hungry, and damn it, now you have to pee. Sigh.

 

6. Snoring husbands make you homicidal

You’re sleep deprived. You’re awake for the 5th time, feeding the baby. Your nerves are frayed, and you just want to sleep for goodness sake! And what is that noise coming from the other side of the bed?! It sounds like a warthog has escaped from the zoo and found its way into your bed! The longer you lie there, the louder the sound gets. You give his leg a little tap with your foot, hoping to get him to turn over. He snorts like a pig hunting truffles, and then settles back into his rhythm. Resentful thoughts start to enter your head. Why does he get to sleep, when you’re awake for hours on end? Look at him, all peaceful and shit! How dare he even breathe, let alone snore! You contemplate putting the pillow over his head, just to muffle the noise a bit of course ๐Ÿ˜‰ But you content yourself with shoving your elbow into his ribs instead. He wakes with a start, gives you a hurt look. “What was that for?!”, “You were snoring.” “I don’t snore!”

Then he turns over, goes back to sleep. And for a little while there is blissful silence. But now you think about it, even his breathing is annoying……….

 

7.ย Bottom sniffing

Before having a baby you would have turned your nose up at the thought of sniffing another human being’s backside. Its something dogs do, not people. But when you have a baby you find yourself doing it far more regularly than you care to admit. There is a suspicious smell in the air. You pick the baby up and sniff their bum. Baby passes wind. You pick them up and sniff their bum (to check for follow through). Butt sniffing is your new reality.

 

8.ย Hot drinks? Don’t make me laugh!

Pre-baby you probably liked nothing better than to sit down with a nice hot cup of tea or coffee. You took it for granted. But when you have a baby, drinking or eating anything whilst its hot is an almost unobtainable luxury. Baby is sleeping peacefully. You put the kettle on. You pour the water into your cup, and at this point you start to think that maybe, just maybe, you’ll get to enjoy this while its hot. You finish making your drink. You sit on the sofa with a sigh of contentment. And baby wakes up. Your drink is put down whilst you settle your precious little one. By the time you get back to it its cold. You play out a variation of this scenario every single time. Its like your baby has a sixth sense and knows just when you are sitting down with something hot. Steam radar. You learn to eat quickly, one handed. Sometimes whilst feeding. Sometimes dropping food on baby’s head. But thats ok. Mama got to eat!

 

9.ย A towel is your best friend in the middle of the night

Picture the scene. Its 2am. You are awoken by the sound of retching. Your baby or child is liberally painting their cot, or your bed, with vomit. You comfort them, clean them up. Change the sheets and trudge downstairs to put them in soak, or straight into the machine. 2.30am, and you finally settle back down to go to sleep. 3am the cycle is repeated. This time, you throw a towel over the sheets and go back to sleep. Towels are easier to change than sheets. You tend to have more of them too. They work great for vomit, pee, middle of the night water spillages. They save your sanity, and your sleep. Non-parents will sneer, think its disgusting. Even other parents may try to act horrified. But we’ve all done it. Long live the midnight towels!

 

10.ย You won’t remember your name half the time. But you’ll know every word of the Peppa Pig theme tune

Pregnancy kills brain cells. This is a fact. Baby brain is a very real phenomenon. Add sleep deprivation into the mix, and you’re basically a zombie (or a “mombie”, as its now known). Putting the milk in the cupboard and your car keys in the fridge will become second nature. You essentially turn into Dory, suffering from short term me-memory loss. But that damn Peppa theme tune just keeps getting stuck in your head! You find yourself singing it to yourself. In fact, kid’s tv theme tunes in general seem to be made to be as catchy and irritating as possible. Even if you limit screen time, and they only watch once in a blue moon, you will still find yourself humming along to Thomas and friends as you cook dinner.

“Darling, where did you put that important letter?”

“I’ve no idea Dear. But I can tell you what Nanny Plum and the Grand Old Elf have been up to and how to make Easy Peasey Pasta like Bing!”

 

Parenting is a roller coaster ride for sure. But those early days pass in such a blur. Thats why what I do is so important. Capturing those memories, so you can look back on them and remember those days with fondness.

Kelly.x

 

Little Pandas Photography – Providing a bespoke home photography service in Hythe and SE Kent.

 

 

 

Making memories

One of my greatest pleasures in life is spending time with my husband and children, outside in the fresh air. Not really doing anything, just being together and walking, letting the children explore. Its not something we get to do often. Weekends are mainly taken up by my husband working Saturdays, and my son playing football and us visiting family on Sundays. So when we found ourselves with a free Sunday, we decided to spend it exploring a new and undiscovered place (to us anyway!).

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By the time we were all up, bathed and organised it was past lunchtime, and the weather was cool and overcast. Perfect for a walk!

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With lots of trees to climb and mud and leaves to squish about in the children were in their element! Lots of imaginative play opportunities, and plenty of space to run around and explore. And of course, me with my camera ๐Ÿ™‚ The perfect Sunday afternoon!

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The only disappointment was that my son arranged to go to his friend’s house instead of coming with us. He would have loved it! But it gives us good reason to visit again ๐Ÿ™‚

Mothers day mini sessions – family photography near me

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I know what you’re thinking. Its a bit early to be thinking about Mothers day right? Its not until the end of March! But I like to be organised, and I like to offer the best to my clients. So my sessions have been released nice and early, so as to give you plenty of time to plan, and me plenty of time to get your prints and products to you ๐Ÿ™‚

I have a beautiful location planned for these mini shoots. I’m lucky enough to live just across the road from the Royal Military canal, and this is one of my favourite locations for outdoor shoots! There are so many beautiful areas along the canal.

This, my first of two planned mini session weekends, is aimed at children and families. The perfect opportunity to capture some beautiful images to give as gifts to your Mum, or the Mother of your child or children ๐Ÿ™‚ As always, I’ll have some exclusive on the day packages that you can purchase too if you so wish, and offers on some of my favourite products. I just need to keep my fingers crossed for good weather!

Print sizes – Wall display guide

I often get asked about sizes for prints. What size will look best on my wall? Its hard to visualise sizes you are unfamiliar with, so often people will opt for the sizes they know. 5×7 and 10×8 prints are great, low priced options. They fit into an album, are great for table top display. But they often get lost on the wall.

Thats when you get into the realm of larger sizes, and it can be a bit overwhelming!

So I’ve put together a little infographic, which will hopefully help you to see how some of the more common sizes would look when displayed on the wall.

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My motto is, if in doubt, go large! Photographs are made to be displayed ๐Ÿ™‚ Research shows that children who grows up surrounded by family photographs have better self esteem and a greater sense of belonging. Some researchers even recommend displaying family photos in a child’s bedroom, so that they are the last things they see before they go to sleep, and the first things they see when they wake. They believe that this shows a child they are loved and cared for, that they are important.

So don’t just stick them in an album, or hide them in a drawer. Print them, display them. Talk about them with your children as they grow, share the memories with them, even if they were too young to remember when it was taken. Photographs are more than just a snapshot in time, they are memories. They are something to be proud of, so put them on the wall for all to see ๐Ÿ™‚

Christmas mini sessions – James

My Christmas mini sessions were so much fun! It was a busy day, a busy few weeks, but Sasha (my eldest daughter, and assistant) and I had a lovely time. Getting to wear a Santa hat and play Christmas music at the beginning of November particularly pleased Sasha!

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Little James was a star. He is such a smiley baby, his whole face lights up and it is beautiful to see. I had such a hard time narrowing down the photos for his gallery!

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I’m so excited for Christmas now. And I really can’t wait to plan next year’s Christmas minis! Bigger and better next year!!!

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Meanwhile, sessions are available as usual. Sessions or print package make great Christmas gifts ๐Ÿ™‚

Just use the contact form or message me on Facebook to enquire or book.