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Photographing newborns and families during covid

Photographing newborns and families during covid

It feels like the guidelines are changing daily on what we need to do to be ‘covid safe’.  Currently, Birmingham is at the start of a local social lockdown.  From the guidelines I have read, it purely means that you cannot socialise with other families or friends in your own house or garden and cannot use family or friends for child care.

 

I think there are many different reasons for this.  Apart from it being the first small step to reducing our numbers, we do become more relaxed when in a home of a family member or friend.  We would be using their facilities and maybe not quite as ‘on guard’ with hand washing etc.  Businesses have to show that they are ‘covid safe’ which means complying to regulations which obviously our homes wouldn’t have to.  I do believe that if our numbers don’t go down, then a stricter lockdown (including closing some businesses) may have to happen similar to in Manchester.  Having been given ZERO in the way of support from the first lockdown (for 6 months!) for having to close my business, I really hope, from a personal/business point of view, that another retail/hair dresser lockdown isn’t enforced.

 

So what are we allowed to do in our current Birmingham Lockdown?

Photoshoots are allowed to happen both in my studio and outdoors.  I can photograph and pose newborns and parents and siblings are allowed for their portraits at the beginning of the session.  Siblings will then have to leave once we have captured those images.  

I am not able to photograph sessions with more than 6 people – this does not include myself as I am there for a business purpose.  If your household is more than 6, then that is fine but we wouldn’t be able to have extended family in these photos.

 

What am I putting in place to keep you safe?

Dettol.

For those clients who have been to the studio since reopening, they can vouch for the many different Dettol products and the vast amount of anti bac gel available.  I do laugh about it – it’s become a bit of an obsession for me.  My studio is sprayed and cleaned (within an inch of its life) from top to bottom before and after a session.  You will see me wiping down the door handles when you leave – sometimes clients haven’t even started their engines before I’m out there.  

As always, all items are cleaned either washed if they’re material or sprayed/wiped down with Dettol after being used.  Sessions are spread out with 72 hours between each session and props/backdrops/outfits and my studio is quarantined for 72 hours between uses.  I am currently only shooting on Mondays and Fridays.  

Covid-19 is a virus.  Many cleaning products state that they kill bacteria but as Covid-19 is a virus I have chosen my products with great care.  Dettol is one of the only products that states it kills 99.9% of viruses too.  This is why I have chosen Dettol as my cleaning product.  All my anti bac gel – available for parents, children and myself – is over the 60% ethanol threshold advised for killing the Covid-19 virus.  One is 70% and the other is 75%.  

Unfortunately, toilet facilities are out of order.  This minimises the area of my home that you, as my clients, can go to for the protection of my family but also to minimise the amount of contact for you too.

Although my refreshment area is set up and looks amazing, I am currently not offering refreshments.  You’re welcome (and encouraged) to bring your own drinks and snacks but I do ask that all rubbish (including nappies) is taken home with you.

Shoes need to be removed in the porch and masks are now to be worn.  During the family portrait part of the session, masks may be removed.

A questionaire is sent out to all clients and must be signed to say that they haven’t been in contact with anyone who has had Covid-19 symptoms and that anyone in their household hasn’t displayed any symptoms over the past 14 days.  If they have, the session will be rearranged.  I also assure families, in a text the night before, that myself and all in my household are Covid-19 symptom free.

 

As a business, I have signed up to the new NHS track and trace which I believe will be launched on 24/09/2020. I do ask that ALL families scan the QR code to log in upon their arrival.  This is to ensure that a speedy notification can be sent out (should that be necessary) and therefore help stop any spread more than necessary.  I feel that this is best for all my clients protection.

 

My covid risk assessment is available should you wish to see it.

If you have any questions or concerns, please message me.

 

If you were in a similar situation to me whereby you were excluded from any meaningful support from the government during our first lockdown, please head to www.excludeduk.org 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

For those of you that might not know, today is National Rainbow Baby Day.  

You might have heard me use this term ‘Rainbow Baby’ a few times and not know what it means.  This blog post will explain all about rainbow babies.

Rainbow Baby sutton coldfield

The term ‘Rainbow Baby’ is used when a child is born to a family who have previously lost a child due to miscarraige, stillbirth or death during infancy.  For many parents who do get pregnant after losing a baby, there can be a huge bag of mixed emotions – worry, reflection, fear, overjoyed, anxiety, happiness …

 

Many parents can actually feel guilty for being excited about their new pregnancy whereas others are terrified to celebrate anything just in case.  These rainbow babies really are that light after the storm.

Rainbow Baby newborn photographer sutton coldfield

For those families who have been through such a dark time, having that baby really can feel like the most amazing mircale ever.  And of course it is.

Many people are now a lot more open about struggles and complexities with pregnancy and conception.  It used to be such a taboo subject.  I, for one, am so pleased that many more people are so open about their journey.  It really does help those who are at the beginning (or the middle) of their own journey – to know that someone else is going through something similar to you. 

 

I love that my families often talk about their pregnancy journeys with me. 

Rainbow Baby Newborn photographer sutton coldfield

Our rainbow babies are to be celebrated just like the angel babies that were too perfect to be here.  And that is why, for many people, it is important to have that rainbow.  To show that there is light, there is hope.  But that the journey to get to this beautiful miracle hasn’t been forgotten.

rainbow baby sutton coldfield

So what can I do for your rainbow baby?

Firstly, you need to decide if you want to honour your angel baby in this way.  Some parents do and some don’t.  It’s 100% your personal choice – everyone deals with things in very different ways.

 

Then, when I’m planning your session I can include as much or as little ‘rainbow’ as you like.  Like all my sessions, the set ups are designed and tailored to you.  For example, in this set of images accompanying my blog post here, Mom and I discussed incorporating rainbows a lot.  Mom herself loves colour and wanted to celebrate her miracle whilst remembering her angel.  

Rainbow Baby

For me personally, it is a huge honour to be able to capture your newborn pictures especially when they can mean so much.  If you are booking in with me and would like your session to include anything special like this, please discuss it with me before the session so I can prepare my set ups accordingly.

Rainbow Baby

People work through their situations in different ways and there is no right and wrong.  But if you are needing someone to talk to there are many different charities out there who can help including those at Sands, Tommy’s and The Miscarriage Association.

 

Award Winning Newborn Photographer

Award Winning Newborn Photographer

I wrote a blog before about the benefits about being involved with The Guild of Photographers.  One of those benefits is being able to enter into the Image of the Month competition. 

 

Every month, all members have the option to enter their images into a variety of categories.  There are set criteria that must be fulfilled in order to enter.  Images are then judged by a panel of 3 of their master craftsment (absolute top of the game photographers) and given a score.  That score could be converted into a Bronze, Silver or Gold award depending on how high the image scored.

 

I’ve not had the guts to enter before.  Having only started my newborn photography journey 2 years ago (Thank you Facebook for reminding me of that last week!), I am still at the beginning of my journey.

 

Maybe it was the effect of lockdown that pushed me over the edge – haha! – but this month I entered a few images into the image of the month competition.  

 

21st of every month is results day and they’re usually posted at 12pm.  I kept refreshing from about 11;45 just incase.  I don’t think I was this nervous about getting my a-level results!  But at 1pm I refreshed again and 

 

I GOT A BRONZE AWARD!!!!!!!!!

 

My other images were classified which is still really good and I am absolutely super proud of myself and how far I have come in my journey so far.

 

So I am now an award winning newborn photographer.

Award winning newborn photographer sutton coldfield

If you’re a photographer and would like to become a member of The Guild of Photographers, my referral link below will get you a discount!  https://photoguild.co.uk/r/5CB4pa

Great to take advantage of their special offers, competitions, advice and discounts with a variety of industry suppliers.

How To Get Those Cute Pictures of Newborns During Lockdown

How To Get Those Cute Pictures of Newborns During Lockdown

My maternity leave finished in April and just as I was planning to be returning to the studio, we went into lockdown.  I was so looking forward to welcoming beautiful babies into my studio again after being on my maternity leave for 8 months.

But such is life.  We have our health and that’s all that’s important.

 

Being stuck at home with itching editing fingers got me thinking … digital composites!  I offer them within my studio newborn sessions anyway so it would be something that I could offer to my newborn clients while we wait until we can safely open for their photoshoot.

 

I’ve got a lot of requests and I am absolutely made up that so many people really love these images.  The digital backdrops I use are from the Luisa Dunn collection of digital backdrops.  Her work is stunning for sure.  She loves floral, pastel, colour and earthy tones so her backdrops fit perfectly into my newborn photoshoot galleries.  There are hundreds to choose from and I always guide my clients to her website https://www.luisadunnphotographyshop.com so they can choose the backdrop (or selection of backdrop if they can’t narrow them down!) they like.

 

They’re incredibly versatile too.  For example, this same backdrop was changed to suit it’s baby.  Arthur was in the original brown tones, Reggie – who is a Rainbow Baby – has his rainbow coloured, Lenny had blue tones and then Chloe had pinks and purples to match the other composites I did for her.

These sweet digitals show all the babies off perfectly in a beautiful surround.  Almost like we were able to do the real newborn photoshoot in my Sutton Coldfield studio!

 

There are, of course, lots of different backdrop styles to choose from.  Here are a few others I have used both in lockdown and also in my newborn sessions.

After my Facebook link advertising these digital composites was shared, a lady from NCT Sutton Coldfield contacted me and wanted to share my work too!  Absolute honour!  It’s such an incredible feeling when an organisation supporting new mothers reaches out to you like that.  And it was a pleasure to work with some new NCT families too.  

 

So if you have had a baby during the coronavirus lockdown of 2020 and would love to have a special picture like these, please get in touch!  Or if you know of anyone send them my way 🙂