The benefits of Hiring a bespoke home photography service

I know it’s not the norm. You think portrait or newborn photography and you automatically think studio right? And you’d be right, to a degree. There are many many great newborn photographers who work out of a studio, be that in their home or in a separate shop front.

But not me. I offer something a little bit different. The service I offer is tailored to the needs of a new parent, with experience gained from being that parent, five times over.

So let me run through some of the benefits you gain from hiring me, and my bespoke home photography.

  • You don’t have to leave the house

Those first days and weeks as a new parent can be tough. Adjusting to sleep deprivation, feeding, acclimatising yourself, and possibly siblings, to a new little person. Just simply getting to know this new tiny member of your family. It’s exhausting. I know for me it was hard to get everything together and get baby ready to just get out of the house, without having an appointment time or a deadline.

Imagine if you didn’t have to go through that. If you could just roll out of bed and open the door in your pjs, ready to have a mini studio set up and your baby’s beautiful photos taken. Well you can! That is the service I offer. I don’t care if your hair is a mess, if you have bags under your eyes the size of suitcases and baby sick on your shoulder. I don’t mind if you want to curl up on the sofa and catch up on a little bit of sleep whilst I work my magic with your little one. I’ve been there.

  • You, and baby, are in your own environment

Your baby is very sensitive to new surroundings. Everything is brand new, and a little bit frightening. Home is the one place they should be starting to get used to, and as a result they tend to settle better there.

I know from experience that I wanted to be at home in those early days too. Recovering from giving birth isn’t always like the soaps and the media make out. And a more relaxed mummy makes for a more relaxed baby.

  • Home comforts

Only like one brand of tea? Couldn’t even think of drinking anything but your favourite brand of bottled water? Comfiest in your own special armchair? There are so many benefits to staying at home and letting me come to you.

  • Essentials all to hand

In those early days, especially if you’re a first time parent, its hard to know exactly what you need to take with you when you leave the house. How many nappies? Outfit changes? If you are formula feeding , how many bottles and how much milk? Do I need to bring a dummy/pacifier? What if it falls on the floor? Should I bring a spare just incase?

You don’t need to worry about any of that with a bespoke home newborn shoot. Everything you need will be close at hand, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything on the day.

  • No childcare

If you already have children it can be awkward finding childcare for them whilst you bring baby for their shoot. But with a bespoke home newborn shoot you don’t need to worry. Siblings can stay at home with you, they can play with their own toys and nap in their own cot or bed. Siblings are much less likely to disturb the session if they have their own things to keep them occupied and are in their own surroundings.

  • No need to worry about transport or traffic

I know not everyone has a car, or has access to one during the day. A bespoke home newborn shoot means you don’t have to plan and pay for public transport, or worry about walking somewhere in bad weather. No concerns over getting stuck in traffic and arriving late either.

  • Lower costs

Because I have no studio overheads to pay, I am able to keep prices competitive and accessible.

 

With my bespoke home newborn sessions I aim to provide a high level of service whilst allowing you to relax and be comfortable. I bring everything with me that I need, including lighting, props and my posing beanbag. It may look like I’m moving in when I arrive! I clear the space that I need, and put everything back as I found it when I finish. All you have to do is feed and comfort baby if needed!

 

Kelly.x

 

 

Education is key

This week I was lucky enough to attend a newborn training workshop with the wonderful Tracy Willis of Tracy Willis Fine art photography. I have long been an admirer of her work, so I was very excited (and nervous, very nervous) to attend.

Our model was a gorgeous little 3 week old girl, Aria, with the most stunning head of hair. She was a little star.

These are some of my favourite images from the day πŸ™‚

I loved every moment of my training day. In a profession where trends change often, education is most definitely key. It may be a cliche, but you really don’t ever stop learning. I can’t wait to put everything I’ve learned into practise!

Newborn sessions are available, but availability is limited so advance booking is highly recommended.

 

Kelly.x

 

Celebrating the little things!

Last week I was tagged in a post on Facebook. I clicked on the notification, and was happily surprised with what I saw.

One of my past clients, Jemma, who’s little boy Frankie was one of my model call babies, had shared that it was a year since their session, how much her little man had grown, and how much she still loved the photos.

This made my day! Its so nice to be remembered, and appreciated.

This is why I do what I do, to provide people with happy memories they can look back on for years to come.

So I have decided to celebrate this milestone by sharing some of my favourite images from Frankie’s session.

 

Frankie was such a little star, and hes grown into a gorgeous little boy. These moments are so fleeting, and I’m overjoyed that I can help parents to remember how small their little ones were by capturing them.

Choosing a sling – Guest post by BabywearingKimmy

I wanted to write a post about choosing a sling, the different kinds and how to know what is best suited to you and your baby. But whilst I have worn all of my babies one way or another, I’m far from an expert.

So I asked my lovely friend Kimmy (AKA BabywearingKimmy) if she would be willing to share her knowledge and write a guest post for me! She is so passionate about wearing ALL the babies so she was happy to oblige. So I’ll pass you over to Kimmy, I hope this helps if you’re struggling through the seemingly daunting minefield that is babywearing.
This is what I have written up, please let me know if its not any good! ❀ 😊


I have been attending sling meets from Maidstone to Manchester, I love babywearing, and I love babywearers, and I am being 100% honest when I say that empowering other parents to babywear is probably one of my favourite things to do.
I have had a significant increase in expectant parents who want to try babywearing with every meet I run locally. They all have pretty much the same set of questions that I hope I can help you with!
The first thing you need to consider will be how long are you planning on wearing your baby? If you just want to wear for a few weeks or months, your best option is to find a local (or postal) sling library and hire a carrier. If you plan on wearing for longer you will want to buy yourself a carrier, so you need to consider what your budget is as well as what style you want to go for.
There is a wide array of styles of carriers, and with each style is its benefits. Just like finding the right pair of jeans to suit you, there is the right baby carrier for you and your baby. The best guess we can make with expectant parents or those who plan to carry their newborn baby, is to focus on the benefits they want to gain from wearing.
Stretchy wraps are pretty self explanatory. They are a length of stretchy fabric that you wrap around yourself and pop baby into. Stretchy wraps are great because you can pre tie it onto you, and then pop the baby in and out as many times as you need throughout the day without having to rewrap/tie. And when you have a newborn that feeds and poops, you know you need to pop it in and out! Most people transition from stretchies to other styles from about 6 months onwards.
Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs) or sometimes referred to as β€˜buckles’ are very quick to get on and off, especially once you have adjusted the straps to fit you and baby. Whereas with the stretchy wraps I could wear it all day around the house, if I wanted to pop out to the shops I would use my buckles as it was easiest to put on in a car park or shop for example. Some carriers come with newborn inserts which makes it comfortable for the babies who still need their little legs in the right position, so these too are suitable to use from birth. As your baby gets bigger you can remove these inserts and adjust the straps, meaning with the right carrier you can use it well into toddlerhood!

With all carriers though you must be safe, which is why I would always say if you can – try and get yourself to a local meet or sling library. The Sling Pages http://www.slingpages.co.uk/ is a great resource for finding local babywearing help, and for online safety information. The main thing is to remember TICKS Guidelines and ABC reminders

Photo courtesy of babywearingsafety.co.uk
T – Tight, 

I – In view at all times, 

C – Close enough to kiss,

K – Keep chin off chest, 

S – Supported back, 

Photo courtesy of babywearing international.org
Airway

Body Positioning

Comfort

I hope you have found this helpful, and can use this information to enjoy wearing your baby!
Kimmy.x

Kimmy is a qualified babywearing consultant and member of BABI (British Accossiation of Babywearing Instructors). She is due to launch Mid Kent babywearing in September 2016. Consisting of a sling library, sling swing (babywearing exercise classes) and one to one consultancy. 

Follow her pages on Facebook at BabywearingKimmy and midkent babywearing.

12 Bright/Rainbow buys for babies

I love rainbows! I may have mentioned that once or twice before πŸ˜‰ I don’t really like the whole gender stereotyping thing, pink for a girl and blue for a boy. I love things that have a bit of colour, a bit of personality. A rainbow can always cheer up even the dullest day!

So I decided to share some of my favourite rainbow/bright things I’ve come across.

Little Bird by Jools Oliver at Mothercare

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I LOVE the Little Bird range! Sadly it only goes up to age 7-8, meaning that only two of my little pandas fit into the clothes still. But we sure make the most of it! The bright colours and vintage feel, plus the often gender neutral designs, make this our go-to brand for fun, stand out clothes on the high street.

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Rainbows and brights are the signature colours, so its easy to spot another Little Bird whilst out and about. A great conversation opener!

Sizes start from newborn, so its never too soon to be a Little Bird.

 

Mamas and Papas Jamboree Blanket

Mamas and papas blanket

Made from 100% cotton, this blanket is just so bright and colourful! It has co-ordinating items available too, so you can choose to just add a splash of colour to your pram, or deck out the whole nursery in matching brights. Available from Mamas and Papas.

I also have to give a mention to the Mamas and Papas Gingerbread blanket, which is another one of my favourites!

mamas and papas gingerbread

 

Kokadi Rainbow Stars Wrap

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This is such a happy, bright and funky wrap! Woven from 100% organic cotton, once its broken in its so butter soft and comfortable. I don’t own one, but I wish I did! One of my favourite wraps of all time.

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Annzel Creations Rainbow Nappy

rainbow nappy

Whats not to love about this gorgeous cloth nappy? Rainbows AND unicorns! Its just awesome. And handmade too! Annzel creations is a WAHM (Work at home mum), and she doesn’t just make nappies! Check out her Facebook page for more yummy rainbowness!

 

Sainsburys Colour Sort Rainbow

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I love wooden toys. They are generally so much more tactile than plastic, and more hardwearing. Obviously the natural materials is a big bonus too!

This rainbow from Sainsburys is everything I love in a toy. Wooden, brightly coloured, fun and educational. My littlest panda has one, and he loves it!

 

All The Small Things Tie Dye Clothing

all the small things tie dyed clothing

Photo by All the small things

As the slightly-crunchy, hippy, AP parent I am of course I love myself a bit of tie dye! We were gifted a babygrow dyed by Linds at All The Small Things. It was love! My little panda looked amazing in it, and the quality of the dye job was fantastic. I’ve been a fan ever since! Linds takes customs, so if you have something in mind then just pop over to her Facebook page or website and ask!

 

JojoMaman Bebe Rainbow Stripe Slipper Socks

rainbow slipper socks

These were a lifesaver for us when Littlest panda was small! Being in the sling alot of the time, and being the Houdini of socks, he would get really cold feet. We would have people stop us in the street and say “Oh, aren’t his little feet getting cold?”, when he had started off with a pair of socks on! So when someone suggested these to me I was ready to try anything!

Part thick sock, part moccasin, they really are an amazing invention. You can pull them on and tuck in little trousers, which means no riding up and leaving a bare patch of skin. And no matter how much they kick and kick those little legs, these beauties are not coming off! Plus they look awesome, so its a win-win πŸ™‚ Available from the JoJo website here.

 

Bubble and Geek Rainbow Romper

bubble and geek rainbow romper

Another fantastic WAHM creation! Bubble and Geek make some gorgeous rainbow-y things for babies and kids, but this rainbow romper is my favourite. Handmade with love, from quality fabrics. They are well wroth a look if you are wanting something unique for your little ones! Check out her website or her Facebook page

 

Cheeky Wipes Rainbow Muslins

rainbow muslins

Muslins are a parenting essential! They are so versatile. Mopping up spills and baby sick, using as a nursing cover or a swaddling rag, a comforter or a face wipe. their uses are endless. So if you’re going to be whipping it out every 5 minutes you may as well make it pretty right?

These gorgeous rainbow muslins are from Cheeky wipes (who also make great reusable baby wipe kits!).

Silicone Teething/Feeding Necklace

rainbow teeting feeding necklace

I absolutely love these necklaces from Funky Twiddle Mamas! So bright and colourful, but so useful too. Not only do they look stylish, but they are great for little ones to chomp on to ease the pain of teething. they are great for distracting little one during breastfeeding, to stop them from pulling hair, scratching and turning around to see what the cat is up to every 3 seconds πŸ˜‰ They can also be worn when babywearing, to give baby something to fiddle with. Not just a pretty adornment!

 

Rainbow Legwarmers

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For those days when socks or booties just aren’t enough, or for showing off those pretty nappies in the summertime, you can’t beat these funky legwarmers from Ali Express. Gender neutral and oh so bright, they are amazing for keeping little legs warm in the sling, or over the top of socks in wellington boots.

 

Short Rainbow Romper and Bib

Rainbow baby romper and bib

This gorgeous set is another WAHM creation, from the very talented Rainbow Baby. As the name suggests, she specialises in rainbows! She has so many awesome makes, I struggled to pick just one for this list. Pop over to her Facebook page and check out her other makes, you won’t be disappointed!

 

I’ve had so much fun putting this list together, and found it so hard to narrow it down! In fact, I may just have to do a follow up πŸ˜‰ I used to despair about the lack of funky clothes for little ones, boys in particular. Everything seemed to be dull and beige or blue (or pink pink pink for little girls). But as you can see, there are nice clothes and other items out there! I hope this list helps you to find them πŸ™‚

 

Kelly.x

Babywearing session – Kimmy and Tilly

I was really excited about this one! When Kimmy contacted me and told me she was training to be a babywearing consultant I knew that she would have a few wraps. But when I jokingly replied to her message saying she didn’t know which ones to bring with “All of them!”, I didn’t expect to be greeted by a bag full of gorgeous coloured slingy loveliness! Coupled with such a vibrant, genuinely lovely lady, beautiful little people and a truly gorgeous location, we had a great afternoon lined up!


Leeds castle has so many beautiful locations, and Kimmy had a sling for all of them.


The weather stayed beautiful for us, and we had such a wonderful afternoon. I have serious sling envy again, especially when Kimmy cracked out Erna! One of my all time favorite wrap designs.


So many lovely photos to choose from, only a fraction of them here! I’m loving these babywearing shoots in the sunshine! To for details on how to book see my Facebook page www.facebook.com/littlepandasphotography, or my price list page on the website.

To follow Kimmy’s journey go to www.facebook.com/babywearingkimmy

Kelly.x

The Importance of capturing memories

So I’ve mentioned before why I got interested in photography. I’m the youngest of 5 children, and Mum and Dad didn’t bother with photos of me. One reel of black and white film sat in a drawer and never developed was what my baby years were reduced to. I have no doubt that my parents love me, that I was a cherished addition to the family. But I guess they just didn’t feel the need. As a result I have gone the other way. My children are immortalised in print many many many times over! Each of them have their own albums, and they love to look through them and try to remember the day they were taken, the moment they were captured.

Sometimes they aren’t even aware that I am photographing them.

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The other day my littlest man fell asleep on the sofa. He looked so adorable, and I was so full of love and wonder that I just had to grab my camera! He is growing up so quickly, and he rarely stays still (as with most 2 year olds, he is a miniature hurricane on legs!), so capturing these quiet moments, those little details of his beautiful little toddler face, is so important to me. I will never let my children look back and wonder why there are no photos of them, wonder as I did growing up if they are somehow less important than their siblings, less worthy of remembering as time goes by.

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So why should you pay someone to capture memories for you?

Maybe you have a decent camera, or just a camera phone. You can catch those moments yourself right? Absolutely! Snap away, immortalise every detail! Make memories, and shoot them. Print them, make albums. These moments are important! Too important to just be stored on your phone, or your computer. What would happen if your computer crashed, your phone broke? All those memories, lost forever. Shoot them, print them, pass them down to the next generation!

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So why do you need professional photos?

Sometimes its tiresome being behind the camera. Look through my family albums and the only photos you will find of me are selfies. I’ve been so busy capturing my children that I have rarely appeared in front of the camera. This is going to change, family photographs for the album and the wall are in the pipeline. Yes, I am going to pay someone else to photograph my family and I! A bit of a busman’s holiday, but necessary. Because I want my children to look back and find photos of me with them, not forget what I looked like because I was always behind the camera.

A pro photographer can catch moments that you might miss, will let you be involved in those moments instead of just being an observer and will give you a finished product, not just a snapshot. Editing plays a big part in a photographer’s style, its much more than just pressing a button and burning to a disc!

Professional photography is a luxury, there is no doubt about it. But it is one that is very much worth investing in. Some people spend their life doing housework, and hating every second. Some hire a cleaner to do it for them. Its not that they can’t do it themselves, they would just rather free up time to do other things, and pay a professional. Its very much the same with photography. Its not for every day, but it is an investment. In your family, in your memories, in the next generation. It is worth every penny.

Kelly.x

Welcoming spring

I love spring! It’s so colourful, with the new leaves just coming out on the trees, the blossom and the flowers starting to bloom. The newborn lambs bounding around in the fields and the birds gathering nesting materials. The season of new beginnings, new life. It’s one of my favorite times of year! One of the best things about spring though, is the bluebells!

I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of the country. Kent, the garden of England. 5 minutes drive and I’m at the beach, 5 minutes in the other direction and I’m in the countryside. Wooded areas abound, and with them comes that carpet of lavender blue that is known and loved the world over. I’m truly blessed.

  
My husband and I took our 2 year old son for a walk in one of these wooded areas a few days ago. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t too hot. The perfect conditions for a leisurely walk in the woods! Of course, I took my camera with me. I can never pass up an opportunity to make and capture memories with my family.

  
My little man was in such a happy mood. He played and posed for me, pausing to spot and delight in the local wildlife. Seeing everything through his toddler-sized view fills me with wonder. Everything is new and exciting. A ladybird is an exotic and wonderous creature, a bee buzzing past is loud and enchanting. The flowers are like miniature works of art to be admired and gasped over. I truly learn so much from watching him, and getting down to his level!

  
Of course, a walk in the woods wouldn’t be complete without playing the Gruffalo. Daddy was more than happy to play the part. So much fun to be had! 

  

I loved my little family walk, and all those gorgeous colours. I’ll be offering a limited number of bluebell mini shoots soon, so watch this space!
Kelly.x

Milk baths – picturing innocence

Bathing in milk is nothing new, Cleopatra is said to have taken daily baths in donkey milk, and the Romans were known to have done the same. But there is a rising trend amongst photographers for photographing women and children in luxurious baths of milk. When I mentioned this to my daughters, it being the Eater holidays and us being at alone end and all, they decided they were up for the challenge.
So off I went and dutifully purchased some dried milk powder, and a bunch of pretty pink roses. I ran the bath about 4 inches deep, and then mixed up some of the milk powder in a jug. After about 3 jugs full I had achieved the look I was after, a translucent, milky white bath. I then added the flowers. It looked very pretty. So then I was ready for child number one. She got in the tub happily enough, but then we had a issue with the depth of the bath. She didn’t like the water covering her ears! So we had to let out a little water. I then climbed above the tub and braced my feet on either side (not the easiest of tasks, we have a corner bath and it’s really quite wide!). 

  

She was a little squinty and stiff when we started, but I made her laugh by pretending to almost fall in the bath and she soon relaxed.

  
  

Next it was the turn of my youngest daughter. She was a little more challenging. Having a few sensory issues, she was a touch reluctant as soon as she saw the bath. She had a mini meltdown and I had to talk her around and negotiate. In the end it came down to adding more warm water to encourage her into the tub. Then we had another ear meltdown. So it took a little while to persuade her to lie down. Once she was in though she found the whole thing quite amusing. She loved playing with the flowers and swishing her hair.

  
I may be biased but I think the photos haves turned out beautiful, showing their innocence and beauty stripped back and natural.

   
 
The added bonus is that their hair has been left so soft and shiny! Milk is definitely good for a conditioning rinse.

So will I be offering these shoots as a regular thing? I don’t think so. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon with my girls, but I’m not sure I could achieve the same results with children who don’t know me. I’m glad we did it though, I now have more beautiful photos for my gallery wall πŸ™‚

The endless battle for the perfect party!

My eldest son turned 11 a few weeks ago. Every year, as his birthday approaches, I face a dilemma that I’m sure many parents of older children can relate to, the dreaded birthday party decision! I have to admit, I only have myself to blame here. His very first party, for his fifth birthday, was so awesome and memorable that I find myself having to try and come up with something a bit different to the norm every year! That first party was an animal encounter party, long before animal encounter parties were all over the place. 
Since then we have been tobogganing, bowling and had an outdoor adventure building campfires and shelters. We have missed a few years due to illness or lack of inspiration! But this year he only had one thing in mind, something he has been asking about for a few years but has been too young for until now. This year, we have been paintballing!
  

We found a great place nearby, Domination paintball. The staff were fantastic with the kids, scared them into be having with tales of people in America who has removed their masks and been shot in the eye and died! None of them were tempted to remove their masks after that! 

Of course, I took my camera! I relished the opportunity to shoot something a bit different, and edit alot more gritty and urban than my normal style! I was made to don a mask that my daughter gleefully told me made me look like Antman, and was then allowed to enter the battlezone. The paintballs whizzing around made me slightly nervous, as aside from the mask I was not dressed for getting covered in yellow paint! But one of the marshals kindly shielded me and my camera from harm with a riot shield.
  

Great fun was had by all, every child went home happy but exhausted, full of tales of shooting his friends. They are still reliving it now. I call that a success!

So now to relax and forget about birthday party stress. Until next year. The struggle is real :/