Newborn Checklist - Did you book your photographer?

As your pregnancy progresses and you get closer to your due date there are essential things you will need to prepare to ensure you are ready to welcome your little bundle of joy. In fact the Internet is full of checklists that you can download to point you in the right direction. Here is an example from Mother and Baby

So you've thought about names, designed the nursery, bought the car seat, stroller, cot, nappies, wipes and all the other bits and pieces that you will need in the first few weeks.

 

 

You may have your birth plan in place, packed your hospital bag, planned the route to the hospital and organised your baby shower. You are feeling super organised and ready! But have you considered and already booked your photographer? 

May parents overlook what they consider to be this small detail. There are so many photographers to choose from right? You can just book one once baby has arrived.

 

 

What a lot of new parents don't realise is that in order to create those delicious portraits with baby all curly and sleepy, this is ideally achieved within the first 10 days after their birth. That's not to say you wouldn't get amazing portraits after that time frame but there are reasons why many newborn photographers book your session in this window of time.

Many newborn photographers have a flexible diary where they are already pre-booking portraits sessions around your expected due date. Many photographers may even limit the amount of bookings they take to allow for such flexibility. As we know, baby often doesn't make an appearance when expected so this means that your photographer can juggle their sessions to accommodate you within these first 10 days. In fact, I insist on being on your list of birth announcement calls when you are still in hospital so that I can arrange your session for you.

If you are only just starting to think about booking a photographer once baby has arrived and you are back at home, you risk being disappointed or missing out on owning gorgeous artwork of your newborn when they were at their smallest.

Each photographer is different but there are reasons I prefer to offer portrait sessions in the first 10 days

Hatfield Newborn Photographer Baby Feet
  • Baby is usually (and I say usually as every baby is different) sleepy and more likely to stay asleep during their session. That means we can create some of those yummy, dreamy images that are so popular and your baby is likely to be blissfully unaware as they sleep deeply through their session - it's tiring work being a model!
  • Mum and Dad are usually at home together in the first few days which means you can have portraits altogether as a new family before one or both have to return to work. I believe it is really important for baby to see what Mum and Dad looked like when they were first born
  • Baby's skin is usually clearer in these early days. Milk spots and flaky skin start to develop soon after this time
  • Your baby will never be this tiny again. You would likely regret not capturing some professional photos of your little one when they could literally fit in the palm of your hand. It won't be long before you forget that this was even possible!

So whilst you are busy planning all of the obvious essentials in preparation for your new arrival, please do not overlook the importance of booking your newborn photographer whilst you are still pregnant. We don't like having to turn new parents away because we don't have space in our diaries because we want to help you capture this unique and magical time.

For information about how you can save over £100 on your Newborn Portrait session please click here

Your lasting memories start here...

Location Photo Sessions

When Urbairns was first formed, the concept was very much about taking photographs on location in Urban settings. Although I have also ventured into studio work and newborn photography, I still love the opportunity to be outdoors with families as I find the photos to be very natural and 'in-the-moment.'

With Spring in full swing, it is the time of year when we start to spend more time outside enjoying the feel of sun on our skin after a gloomy Winter. We traditionally do a Spring clean and perhaps throw out those possessions that we have been meaning to. It is a time for new growth and new beginnings which makes it the perfect time to update family portraits.

Why a location photo session?

Not only is is good for our health to be outdoors but it is place where children can have fun and behave in a natural way. If they are happy to stop and give the occasional pose - great! If not, we can still capture some lovely shots of your child doing what they do best... PLAYING! Also, it takes the pressure off of you if you are going to have family portraits as you can relax too.

 

                                                                                   Which locations are the best?

We can pretty much use any location for our photo sessions but there are a few considerations:

  • Time of day - mostly due to the available natural light. Sunny days aren't always the best as they create contrasting shadows. In this case it is a good idea to choose a location that has lots of open shade available. Also, certain locations can get busy at certain times of the day which means that you may get a lot of other people in the background of your photos. I find sessions that take place earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon to yield the most beautiful light
  • Details - in order to add variety to your shots, it is good to choose a location that has a variety of options - e.g grassy areas, flowers, trees, interesting textures on walls and fences
  • Ideas for where: back garden, local neighbourhood, parks, open spaces, beach, forest, woods, commons, lavender fields, sunflower fields, blossom trees, farms, urban areas. The list is endless. For inspiration click here

Best clothes to wear

Whilst this can depend on the weather, in order to create timeless images, I suggest a fairy neutral pallette for clothes. I have plenty of ideas on my pinterest boards if you need inspiration. Remember these photos will last a life-time so it is definitely worth the effort of dressing appropriately.

Styling tips for girls

Styling tips for boys

Colour choices

What to expect from an Urbairns Location Session

We are a full service studio meaning that from your first contact to delivery of your art work, I will be the person that you are in communication with the whole way.

Our service includes:

  • Pre-session phone consultation. Once you have made your enquiry I will call you to talk about what you would like from your session and the type of art work you may be planning to purchase. We can choose a location and talk about preparing for your session
  • You will receive a welcome pack that will outline what was discussed in our first phone call and further details about what to expect on the day
  • 1 - 1.5 hour location photo shoot allowing a relaxed pace and plenty of stops for drinks and snacks
  • An in-house private cinema viewing of your images at my home studio
  • Guidance when choosing the right product for you to display your family art
  • Final delivery of your art work

Urban Angels

A new venture from Urbairns

A new venture from Urbairns

LIMITED OFFER MODEL CALL

As a location photographer, I am constantly striving to offer alternative images for my clients. I am about to embark on a project called Urban Angels and I am going to start with a model call for girls aged 5 - 8yrs. (Boys to come at a later date.) 

Lots of little girls dream of being a princess and this is their opportunity to dress up and have some beautiful fine-art portraits taken. The back drop will be an urban location in Hatfield which will provide an interesting contrast for a princess.

What you will need:

  • A princess-style dress (think prom not Disney) there are some ideas including some hair styles on my pinterest board.  STYLING TIPS

What to expect

  • A 30 min complimentary photo session on location in Hatfield Business Park (near the Galleria)
  • A collection of 5 digital images as a thank you for your time (to print up to 10x8)
  • £50 credit towards any future purchase of images/prints
  • Images may be used for future promotional purposes. A model release form will be provided. 

*Parking and changing facilities available

If you are interested to book an Urban Angels photo session, please fill in the contact form below to find out more information.

Selected dates available during the current Easter Holidays. Photo sessions will take place either in the morning (10am) or late afternoon (5pm).

As an Early Years Teacher I have an enhanced DBS check for your peace of mind.

Name *
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A visual story to treasure

Something I love about photography is capturing your stories for you. Last Summer, I did a lovely photo session with a family at the Hitchin Lavender farm.  With a range of ages in the family, I was keen to have a back-up plan in case the youngest lost interest in having her photos taken so I had bought a long a helium balloon which she adored. Of course, where there are young children with helium balloons there are often balloons slipping through their fingers and heading to the sky. That is exactly what happened in the sequence below. From the joy of being presented with a balloon to the shock of letting it go. Thankfully someone close by caught it for her. This series of pictures perfectly tells that story and I can put myself right back in that memory whenever I look at them.

We are planning many mini-sessions over the course of the year so if you would like to find out where and when you can receive our newsletter  

Preparing for your newborn shoot

The first few days of motherhood pass by in a blur. You are elated, tired, happy, overwhelmed - pretty much experiencing a full spectrum of emotions. It is during these first few days that many families may choose to have a photo shoot to document this wonderful time.

You can take beautiful photographs of your baby at any time during the first year, however, the first 11 days are perfect for capturing those timeless, curly, sleepy poses. Your baby will never be this tiny again and will change and grow everyday so this is the ideal time to create unique art work of your baby.

During a new born session, it is possibly the first opportunity you will have to relax and put your feet up! In my experience of photographing newborns there are a few helpful tips I have learnt that will help to make the session as smooth and calm as possible.

1) Allow up to 3 hours for your session, the first hour may well be spent nursing and settling your baby. Once they are in a very deep sleep, they will be able to be placed in a variety of poses without waking or startling them.

2) Moisturise - as we know baby skin is often blotchy or flaky and whilst this can often be addressed in post-processing of images, it helps if the skin is well hydrated.

3) Remove nappy and clothing up to 30 mins before the session, this prevents marks on the skin or waking your baby to undress them. Bring a snug blanket to keep them warm.

4) Bring any special toys, blankets or heirlooms if you would like them in the photographs.

5) Be prepared to be in the photos yourself. A simple black or white T-Shirt/vest top will keep the images clean and timeless. 

6) Relax - you may feel very anxious and feel like things are taking a long time but don't worry. That is why we allow 3 hours so that we can make sure your baby is comfortable, relaxed and safe. 

We recommend booking your session after your first scan and we can schedule in a session around your due date. Your baby really will change so rapidly and soon you will not be able to hold them in the palms of your hands. Celebrate your family and create beautiful memories that you can treasure forever.

Family Moments

This moment perfectly captures a mother-daughter bond. She is looking down on her daughter with so much pride love

This moment perfectly captures a mother-daughter bond. She is looking down on her daughter with so much pride love

With my photography, there is no greater privilege than being the person that can capture those special and subtle interactions between family members. Whether it be the loving glance from a proud mum or dad, or the rough and tumble between two active brothers or the inner confidence of a young adult, the moment in which the shutter is released, freezes that exact moment in time. It can never be recreated or replicated so becomes your only window to that point in time. Looking at that image in years to come, you may even remember that exact moment, how you felt or what happened immediately before or after. Your memories are so precious and we look forward to helping you treasure them.

This new mum looked beautiful with the back light of the window. It was an unplanned shot but I couldn't resist.

This new mum looked beautiful with the back light of the window. It was an unplanned shot but I couldn't resist.

DAd was sure he didn't need to be in shot and was about to move. I am so glad he didn't, this beautiful family image would not have been the same.

DAd was sure he didn't need to be in shot and was about to move. I am so glad he didn't, this beautiful family image would not have been the same.

A quiet moment between mum and daughter. This was captured in a break between photos,

A quiet moment between mum and daughter. This was captured in a break between photos,

The beautiful connection between mum and her son

The beautiful connection between mum and her son

Daddy's Girl momnet

Daddy's Girl momnet

Why I love natural light photography

As I went for a morning walk this morning, I was tempted to leave my phone behind because it is always glued to my hand whilst I am busy managing my social media platforms and business from it. However, a quick glance out of the kitchen window revealed a beautiful morning so I thought I'd better take my phone just in case. Rather than taking a brisk walk for exercise, I found myself totally distracted by the splendour of the morning light. Constantly off route and climbing gates that I perhaps should not have been climbing, I took picture after picture. During winter I love how the sun hangs low in the sky, creating long shadows. The colour of the light in the morning, before the sun gets stronger is stunning and it interacts with nature in a way that, I feel, flash cannot. The sparkling drops of dew on the tops of grass blades, the slight mist in the air, the glow of red berries in the branches... It quite simply took my breath away.

As a natural light portrait photographer I need to maximise my opportunities to find the perfect light and I am always searching for it. When I am walking, sat in a meeting, teaching, driving I am constantly looking and imagining how I could use that light in one of my photos. It is not always easy of course. Perhaps the bonus of flash is that it is constant and you can recreate the same affect again and again. However that is the challenge of using natural light. Is it just never quite the same colour, intensity from shot to shot. It is unique and it is beautiful.  (All images unfiltered/unedited from phone.)

 

Christmas Advent Idea

If you are looking for a lovely idea for advent calendars:

Gift wrap 25 of your child's favourite books and put them in a pile at the end of the bed. Each night you unwrap a book and read it as your bed time story. A simple, cheap and sugar-free way to count down the days until Christmas!

Why Urbairns? An insight into the Urbairns experience

With so many photographers to choose from and with so many people owning their own digital cameras, you may find yourself asking "why bother hiring a photographer to take portraits for you?" If you are undecided about whether hiring a photographer is right for you, here is an insight into working with Sara Tomlin of Urbairns.

1) A genuine passion about working with young children

I am an early years teacher and have over 17 years of experience in working with young children. I am used to trying to help children relax when they first meet me and I have a lot of patience if it takes some children longer than others. Being a teacher, I have an enhanced, up-to-date DBS check for your piece of mind. Apart from that, I have a few (hundred!) nursery songs under my belt that have helped me impress many a youngster!

2) Location based

I bring the studio to you. At home this means that you can relax in familiar surroundings and maybe even put your feet up for a while whilst I take photos. In a favourite outdoor space this means that your child can run, play and have fun whilst having photos taken. We can work in your garden, local neighbourhood, woods, park, house, city, countryside, beach... you name it! In your home we will look for the best natural light and set up there. What could be more convenient?

3) Natural, timeless style

You do not want to look at your images in 10 years time and regret over-stylised images or dressing your child in the latest trends. I offer expert advice about what to wear for your photo shoot so that your images will look timeless. I limit the use of props and will capture your child in a natural way where their true personalities can shine through. Smiley faces don't always make the best photos, sometimes it is the moments between where you capture the most beautiful images. 

4) Beautiful products

I aim to provide you with art work that you can proudly display on your walls and shelves. So many people take photographs on digital cameras and hand-held devices and rarely print them. I prefer old-school, your images should be printed and displayed for all to see and I offer a range of beautiful albums, wall art and frames for you to showcase your images.

5) Effective relationships

I am always honoured to be chosen to capture your precious moments and ensure effective communication from your first contact. You will be provided with a welcome pack containing advice before the shoot about suitable locations, what to wear and what to expect on the day. A sneak peek is usually available on the day of the shoot and the remaining images ready within the week. We will usually schedule a time for me to visit you at home to show you the images. After this date you will receive an online gallery to make final image selections. Your products are shipping to you within 10 days of your selection.

If you are ready to book your shoot contact us to book today

 

 

Outdoor Play - Why is it important?

At this time of year when the evenings are drawing in and the weather is getting cooler it is tempting to stay indoors with your children and opt for warmer and quieter play activities. However, apart from being lots of fun, there are other benefits to playing outdoors.

Urbairns take lots of portraits outdoors so it is important to embrace the weather.  "There's no such thing as the wrong kind of weather, only the wrong kind of clothing," so wrap up, get your waterproofs on and enjoy being outdoors because here are some of the benefits:

  • Physical Development children can use their whole body as they play outdoors. They can run, jump, roll, climb, swing, spin... if your child has well-developed gross motor skills this will help later when they are going to start holding writing implements. Fresh air also makes you feel good and you can get lots of exercise meaning that your child may sleep better.
  • Connecting with nature our planet is in the hands of our children and it is our duty to teach them about nature, how to respect and care for it so that they may become responsible citizens with good environmental awareness
  • Taking risks our society is becoming increasingly risk-adverse and so many activities are banned in schools. Being outdoors children can learn to manage risk as well as trying new skills. As a parent it can be hard to step back as your little one clambers into a tree but believe in them, be close by and be amazed by what they can do
  • Creativity children often use objects around them when engaging in play. Inside this may be limiting as many toys can have a fixed purpose. However outdoors loose parts can be used in imaginative ways. Stones can become characters in a story, a stick can become a sword and mud can become a chocolate cake
  • Well-being children are generally happier when they are outside. Perhaps it is to do with the lack of walls or ceiling and the endless space that they have in which to explore. They can get rid of built up energy and helps them to become calmer.

 

 

Taking Great Autumn Portraits

I love Autumn, for me it is arguably the most beautiful in terms of the rich colours against a bright blue sky. Add children to the mix and they get that natural glow that comes with spending time outdoors when there is a slight chill in the air. This is something that cannot be captured in a studio.

Due to it's close proximity to Christmas, it worth considering an Autumn portrait session so that you might have some gift prints to give to family members or perhaps it is just time to update the family pictures. You could even get some Christmas cards made up to send to friends and family.

As we can never guarantee the British weather, after a few frosts all of the beautiful leaves will drop and the opportunity to use those colours as a backdrop are gone for another year. Don't leave it too late to book your session or you could be disappointed. 

There are so many locations that you might choose for a shoot so be sure to talk to your photographer in advance to select the perfect locations with the most gorgeous colours.

If you are lucky enough to get a clear day, a shoot at Golden Hour (just before the sun sets) can add a gorgeous golden glow to the images such as the one below.

Golden-Hour-childhood-portrait-Autumn

When taking Autumn portraits, I prefer to use a shallow depth of field in order to blur the beautiful colours, making my subject pop out of the image.

 

Sophie-Daventry-26.jpg

Top Autumn Fun for Kids

Autumn is my favourite season but it won't be long before the leaves disappear and Winter sets in. Here is a list of recommended activities to do with your little one before Autumn has gone

Autumn colours

1) Go on a colour hunt - Colour some spots on a white paper bag and ask your child to find something natural that matches that colour

2) Play with leaves - Make a big pile, jump in it, roll in it, cover your body and jump out again pretending to be the leaf monster

3) Go on a nature treasure hunt - make a list of things you will try to find before you go e.g 3 conkers, 4 yellow leaves, 1 red leaf etc

4) Make a nature mobile - Use collected sticks and hang all of the treasures your little one found on their Autumn walk

5) Take pictures - Give your child a digital camera to take their own photos. This will offer a unique insight into what catches their eye

6) Have a bonfire and toast marshmallows - because... why not?

Enjoy this beautiful time while it lasts :)

 

Tips for exhibiting at your first wedding Fair

When my wedding photographer partner got the call to tell him there was a booth available at a major, London wedding fair we jumped blindly at the chance. We were totally unprepared for the work and financial commitment that would be involved. This is a very honest blog about my experiences of getting through this first wedding fair experience.

After securing the booth, we realised quickly that the cost literally involved just the booth. Electricity? extra. Furniture? Extra. Wifi connection? extra and so on. It seemed like the list of extra expenses was never ending. As a new business this was already a massive investment for us and at this stage we had no idea if that investment would be returned.

After a few weeks of designing the booth, buying drapes, table cloths. enlarged prints, easels, branded clothing, stationary, printed brochures, business cards and a new pair of shoes (!) we were finally as ready as we felt we could be. The night before the fair, the enormity of what we were about to do hit us and self-doubt crept in. What if people viewed our work negatively, what if we didn't get a single booking?

The first day went by in a blur. A steady stream of people visited the booth and I lost count of the number of times I described our album as 'Hand made Italian leather.' And my feet! Ouch, my feet hurt as my partner insisted that I dress according to our brand. 

On the way to the venue on the morning of day two I was overcome with emotion. I didn't know how I was possibly going to manage another full day and my feet had several plasters on them from the day before. As I sobbed onto my newly purchased Levi's I managed to pull myself together in time for the start of the day.

It was a wonderful experience and a fantastic way to put your face in front of hundreds of potential brides and grooms. It was also a steep learning curve. Based on my experiences I have the following recommendations for which you may agree or disagree, this is just what worked for us

1) Be true to your brand - Let people experience what kind of service they can expect from you. Dress to impress the kind of clients you are hoping to get business from. 

2) Go big or go home - Display your best images large if you want to make an impact. 

3) Invest in high quality print materials - Visitors to the show often have a bag where there are putting literally hundreds of leaflets and fliers. Make your print material stand out from the rest. They may not look in this bag for months after the wedding fair and you can be sure that an 8 paged, glossy brochure will make more of an impact that an A5 flier.

4) Create a call to action - This is a way to draw people in so that you can engage them in conversation. We had a competition to win a free engagement shoot and to enter we asked for e-mail address and phone number. We collected over 200 by the end of the show so a great way to reach out to people after the event for future  marketing.

5) Follow up all leads the evening of the fair - thank people for dropping by your booth and remind them of your services.

6) Network with other vendors - There are lots of very useful contacts to be made at wedding fairs. For us we were able to secure a venue, dress designer and hair and make up for a styled shoot.

7) Be prepared to get limited breaks - keep bottled water and snacks close to hand as there were very few opportunities to leave the booth for refreshments

8) Don't be disheartened if you don't get a booking  It might feel like all the effort and expense are for nothing but be patient. Lots of the people we met weren't getting married until 2017/18 and were merely window shopping to find out the kind of expenses that were involved or to just see what is available. They are in no rush. It is just now, 2 months after the event that we are getting enquiries and bookings and it could be an entire year before we realise how successful we were.

Enjoy it. Be open-minded and expect the unexpected!

Top 5 tips for dressing your child for an outdoor photo shoot

Often I get asked about how to prepare children for photo shoots. After the initial contact, I always send a detailed information sheet with suggested ideas. I also link to a Pinterest Board to give parents inspiration and further ideas. 

Your choice of clothes can really make a difference to the overall quality of your images so make sure you plan and prepare your outfits in advance.

Here are my top 5 tips:

#1 - Keep it classic and timeless You will have these images forever so really think about the clothes you will dress your child in before the shoot. Passing trends and fashions tend to look dated in a few years time. Keep it simple, keep it neutral and your images will look timeless.

#2 - Avoid slogans ad logos There is nothing more distracting that a novelty message written on the front of a T-shirt. You eye will likely be drawn to that before anything else.

#3 - Dress for the weather  With location photography you often have to accept we are at the mercy of the weather. A rainy day doesn't mean that the shoot should be cancelled, it just means we can add a different dimension to the shoot. "There is no such thing as the wrong kind of weather, only the wrong type of clothing."

#4 - Comfort First You may love the idea of putting your child in that gorgeous outfit that granny bought but if it is too fussy or uncomfortable, your child will not be able to relax and be themselves. This will be evident in the photographs.

#5 - Consider the location A splash of colour can go a long way to enhance a photo so think about the location you are visitingIf you are going to be doing a shoot in lavendar, consider hints of purple or blue in the clothes. If it is and Autumn shoot, consider hints of orange/red/brown.