Charity work, Events, Fundraising

Running for Bliss!

On October 14th, Simon and I will be running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in aid of Bliss.

Bliss is a fantastic charity that does an incredible job supporting the families of babies born premature or sick.

Some of my clients owe so much to Bliss, and after hearing their stories on how much Bliss has helped them through difficult times, we decided to support Bliss as much as we can.

To help raise funds for Bliss, Simon and I have signed up for the Royal Park Half Marathon in October.

The 13.1 mile route takes runners through the capital’s world-famous landmarks and four of London’s eight Royal Parks – Hyde Park, The Green Park, St James’s Park, and Kensington Gardens.

This will be my first every half marathon, so I’m feeling a tad nervous! Luckily Simon has run a half marathon before, so he knows the drill!
He will be running alongside me, so that we can cross the finish line together.

 

Here’s the best bit:

We have spoken to our suppliers (more like twisted their arm!), and they have generously agreed to help with our fundraising efforts. SO……(drum roll please)

Anyone who donates £20 or more to our cause will be entered into a lucky draw to win a 30×20″ Canvas Wall Art! (worth £529)

Shortly after we cross the finish line, we will do a Facebook Live broadcast from Hyde Park. Team Bliss will draw a name out of a hat, and the lucky winner will be contacted.

So be sure to like and follow our page on Facebook , and keep an eye out on the 14th of October to be the first to know who the lucky winner is!

If you would like to make a donations please follow this link.

Events, Information, Local Baby Services

Interview with Deborah from Tiny Talk

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Deborah Hart of Tiny Talk.

Tiny Talk is a baby signing and toddler talking group which offers classes from birth up to 3 years old. They teach BSL, which is the official sign language deaf people use in the UK. The sessions usually last an hour, and includes half an hour of learning, and half an hour of playtime/social development.

Baby signing helps ease frustration in babies, as it enables to them to communicate their wants and needs to their parents long before their speech develops. It aids speech development, and helps babies develop essential social skills.

Deborah has been working with Tiny Talk for over 7 years, and in that time has recruited 6 other teachers to cover most of Kent. They offer classes in Ashford, Canterbury, Faversham, Whitstable, Medway, Maidstone, Barham, Meopham and Thanet.

Q: How did you first discover Tiny Talk?
Deb: I first discovered baby signing when my son was about 5 months old. I was keen to do something different with him, and I loved the thought of getting my baby brain back into shape by learning a new skill! We made a 60 mile round trip each week to attend our nearest TinyTalk class, and before long Nico was starting to pick up the signs. He first signed back to me at about 9 months, and at his peak used over 70 signs regularly! I really believe it eased the frustrations of being a small toddler; we were able to communicate long before he could talk.

Q: How does signing help babies?
Deb: It follows on from babies being able to do simple gestures such as clapping and pointing, and just adds in additional gestures to help them express their needs and interests, such as ‘milk’, ‘food’ (once they’re on solid food), and ‘bath’. It helps ease frustration and confusion between babies and their parents. There’s a lot of guesswork in those early days, parents don’t know why their baby is crying, so the ability to sign is a real godsend.
Additionally, it helps babies express their interests. Babies love animals, and being able to tell Mummy “I saw a bird in the garden today” or “I hear a dog!” means they can have conversations with their parents before they’re even a year old!
It also helps with speech development. Every time we sign, we say the words as well, so the babies learn to associate the action with the word, and attempt to imitate the sound we’re making when we do the sign.

Q: What are the classes like? 
Deb: We do a different theme each week, such as ‘In the garden’, where babies learn about different animals and the sounds they make.
The classes are around an hour long, we have half an hour of learning time, and half an hour of playtime, where babies learn important social skills, such as waiting their turn for a toy, and sharing with other babies.

Q: Why is Tiny Talk so important to new parents?
Deb: Tiny Talk isn’t just a learning space for baby signing, it’s also a community for new parents. Before having children, you’re generally very secure in who you are, what you do, and what your strengths are. Once you’ve had a baby, life is thrown upside down, and new parents can feel lost after having had a baby, and lose track of who they are.
Tiny Talk helps new parents find themselves again by giving them a new purpose, and helps keep post-natal depression at bay. I love seeing new friendships form, both between babies and the parents that bring them to the classes.

Q: What’s your proudest achievement so far?
Deb: I think my proudest moment is every time I see a baby sign, and seeing that it works! I mean, I know it works, I’ve seen it with my own children, I’ve taught thousands of families over the years, so I know it works; but seeing it each time with a new baby; seeing the wonder in the parents’ eyes that their baby is communicating with them; it helps me relive that moment over and over again.
I love seeing new the new friendships form within the class, and hearing mums plan their jobs around their Tiny Talk classes when they decide to go back to work.
I am so thankful I’m able to give back while earning a living, it’s one of the most rewarding things about this job.

Q: What was your most embarrassing moment?
Deb: Oh, I think it was the usual “calling someone by a different name” whoopsie!

Q: What are your goals for the future?
Deb: We’ve got some exciting stuff happening right now! We’ve just launched our Newborn classes, which are aimed at babies aged 0-3 months.
We’ve launched in Ashford, and will be spreading across the nation, so keep an eye out!
We also have some outdoor events coming up in the summer! We have a couple of dates in August for Whitstable and Barham, we’re really looking forward to those!
We are also looking to recruit more teachers to fill in the gaps around Kent, I still have mums travelling miles and miles to get to our classes!

 

If you would like to know more about Tiny Talk’s classes, visit Deb’s website here. You can also find her on Facebook!

Uncategorized

Click Conference 2018

Every year around the end of June, Click Connection Corporation hold their annual Bump to Baby conference, and this year it was held at the Hilton in Watford.

It was an awesome day packed with amazing speakers, including my favourite photographer in the whole wide world – Elli Cassidy!

An impromptu live demonstration just before the start of the conference meant we started off a bit late, but no one was complaining!

Click invited some fantastic speakers onstage including Barrett & Co., Gary Hill, James Carter, and Elli. Their talks were very informative, I learnt loads!

All attendees were treated to a gorgeous buffet lunch, courtesy of the sponsored partners.

As always, we were joined by some great vendors who were offering special discounts on their products: printing labs, lighting professionals, SONY, and of course, Click themselves were there promoting their props and courses.

 

(vendor images courtesy of Click Props)

Information, Maternity Shoots, Newborn shoots

How much are your photos?

I get a lot of new enquiries that go something along the lines of:
“Hi, I’m interested in a newborn shoot. How much are your photos?”

I struggle with questions like this because:

You wouldn’t walk into a car dealership and go “I’d like to buy a car. How much are your cars?”

Answer: it depends on what YOU want and what YOUR needs are.

The car salesman would probably inquire as to whether you want a family car, a personal car, or a company car. He would ask if you want 3 doors, or 5 doors. He would ask if you’re planning on using this car for social or commuting. He’d also ask how much power you’re after – would you want a 1.0L, 1.6L or 3.0L engine? Do you need lots of space for child car seats? Or are you an eligible bachelor looking to draw everyone’s eye?

The same goes for photography: I can’t charge one flat rate for every client that walks in through the door.

First I have a pre-shoot consultation with you: I sit down with you, either in person over a cup of coffee, or over the phone. I find out what your needs are, which images from my portfolio you love, where you would like to display your portraits, what colour schemes you have in your home, and so on. No two clients are the same, and no two shoots are the same.

Throughout our session my husband Simon and I will get to know you and your story – how you met your partner, how you found out you were pregnant, what you do for a living, etc. We build up a relationship with you to further understand what your passions are.

At the viewing, we present your portraits to you in a beautiful slideshow. We help you decide what products you want, and make every effort to ensure the decision-making process is as easy as possible. We don’t overwhelm you with 100+ photos and rush you into making a purchase!

When you book a session with me, you become part of my family. The session fees are simply retainers to guarantee you a slot in my diary.

Get in touch now if you would like to join our little family!

Newborn shoots

Baby O’s portrait session

Another adorable baby boy came through my studio doors last week.. Everyone, meet Baby O! 😮

O how gorgeous are those folds on his back! His mum squealed with delight when she saw them!

Check out those dinky little toes!

Baby O was such an angel during his shoot – he literally slept like a baby!

I had such fun photographing Baby O, this beautiful blue blanket was knitted specially by his Granny ❤

Most Mums looks tired and worn in the weeks after giving birth – not this Mum! She looked too stunning for words! She was a superstar, both inside and out

 

If you would like portraits just like this, simply get in touch to book your session!

Information

FAQs

Q: How much do you charge?
A: It depends on what type of portrait session you would like. A full list of my session prices can be found here.

Q: What’s included in the session fee?
A: The session fee acts as a retainer, and simply secures you a place in my diary. It covers use of the studio and all its equipment – i.e. professional lighting, a variety of backdrops, props, wraps, and outfits for you and your little ones. Your session fee also pays for our time and expertise (newborn shoots can last up to 4 hours, and post-processing can take up to 3 hours). It does not include any products – these are purchased separately at the viewing session.

Q: How much are your digitals?/How much for all the digitals on a CD? 
A: I cringe when I hear this question. I don’t sell digitals, I sell portraits. Digitals is such a crass word, used to describe photos that are stored on a media device (phone/CD/memory stick) and are never looked at. Can you remember the last time you went through your camera roll on your phone? When you have guests round, do you crack out the laptop/tablet to show them photos that you took a few months ago? CDs and memory sticks eventually end up on a shelf or in a drawer gathering dust, fading from memory.
I create portraits designed to be shown off – on the wall, in a presentation box, or in an album. Nothing beats turning the pages and hearing the gasps of wonder from your nearest and dearest when you show off your pride and joy.
For this reason, I only sell digitals as back-ups to accompany a product purchase. So when you buy an album or presentation box, you are provided with a complimentary memory stick that matches the design.

Q: When should I book a session? 
A: As soon as possible! My diary fills up quick, so leaving your booking till you’ve had your baby may not guarantee you a session. I usually pencil you into my diary a week or so after your due date; if your baby arrives earlier/later than expected, we can always shuffle your session date around – it’s easier to shuffle a provisional date around than to book an entirely new date in.

Q: Do you only photograph the baby?
A: Certainly not! Although the new arrival steals everyone’s attention for the first few weeks/months/years, the rest of the family is so important as well. I always encourage parents and siblings to join in as well. Mum and Dad will take dozens of photos as the little one grows up, but how often will they be in the shot? A portrait session is one of the rare occasions where the whole family will be in the shot together.

Q: How do I book a session?
A: Simple, just get in touch, and I’ll take care of the rest!

Events, Information, Local Baby Services

Hello Baby Event at Singleton Village Hall

Wow what a whirlwind of a day!

Simon and I spent yesterday at Hello Baby’s open afternoon at the Singleton Village Hall, and BOY, did we enjoy it!

This was my first exhibiting event, so I was a little nervous at first! I’m not normally comfortable meeting new people in environments as busy as this one, but the organisers and other vendors were so lovely and easy to talk to, I soon came out of my shell!

I’m still buzzing from meeting so many people! New parents, parents-to-be, and not to mention all the other lovely vendors that were exhibiting there as well!

There were baby massage services, baby swimming groups, baby slings, baby sign groups, and so many more!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be interviewing as many of these businesses I can, and posting about them RIGHT HERE so you can learn all about local baby services for you and your family!

Be sure to follow my page and blog for all the latest updates!

 

P.S. Rumour has it…there’s going to be another Hello Baby event in the next couple of months! Watch this space!

Information, Newborn shoots

Your Studio Experience (Newborn portrait session)

When you book a newborn portrait session with Baby Elephant Portraits, you are guaranteed a top-notch service.

From the pre-shoot consultation, right up to the delivery of your products, you are treated like part of the family. Every client that walks through our doors is well looked after, and given a personal service. We get to know our clients and their stories – how they met, what they do for a living, what they’re passionate about.

Those first few weeks are a cloud of haze for most new parents. They’re still riding that high of having brought a brand new baby into the world, and BOY, are they tired!

For a few hours, you’ll be able to clock off. Both Simon and I are fully trained in newborn handling and safety, and will look after your precious baby while you relax and take a break.

Refreshments are provided at every session (Baby needs to eat, and so do YOU!).

Throughout the session, we will (bottle) feed them, burp them, clean up after them, rock and soothe them, and photograph them.

This is probably one of the few opportunities Mum and Dad will get in the next few months to be waited on hand and foot, and have every need taken care of.

No two shoots are ever the same – every baby settles differently, every parent has a different story to tell.

Let us get to know you and help tell your story. We will capture memories in portraits that you and your family will treasure forever.

Newborn shoots

Baby B’s portrait session

Last week, I had gorgeous Baby B come to the studio for his newborn portrait session.

Look at those BEAUTIFUL eyes!

He didn’t fancy sleeping much during his session, he found everything going on around him to be far too interesting!

I managed to grab a few sleepy bean bag shots, but once those were done with, Baby B spent the rest of his session watching me work.

I’ve never been watched so intently by such a cute little face! You can almost hear him going “What on EARTH is this crazy lady DOING?”

Baby B’s parents ADORED his photos, and loved how I managed to capture all his cute little expressions. A few tears were even shed during the viewing session!

I had such a wonderful time photographing Baby B, this is why I love my job!

If you, or someone you know, is expecting a new arrival, get in touch now to book your own newborn session and capture memories just like these ones!

Events, Information

The Newborn Photography Show

Last week I drove up to Coventry to attend the Newborn Photography Show at the Heart of England Conference & Events Centre.

This annual event is a big hullabaloo in the newborn photography world, as both photographers and vendors from all over the country gather together under one roof in the heart of the beautiful countryside in Coventry.

Once inside, I was greeted by stand upon stand of vendors and suppliers, all showcasing beautiful products; I couldn’t decide which direction to turn first!

I spent what felt like ages walking round all the stalls, admiring all the different products on display:
Props, wraps, baby outfits, maternity dresses, accessories….

I saw a few familiar faces; all the top-end printing labs were in attendance, as well as other companies such as website providers, customer management partners, photography associations, and even a couple of charity organisations.

Of course, one cannot attend an event like this and not spend money.
I left the conference with my purse considerably lighter, and my arms full of goodie bags!

It’s a good thing I left the hubbie at home for this one, otherwise I probably would have spent even more money!