welcome

Hello all! This is my blog where I'll be posting all about newborn photography training, interviews with delegates and all sort of other interesting snippets!

THE BLOG

Newborn Photography Education

I am delighted to be a leader in the field of newborn photography education. As many know, I teach 1:1 to ensure a super learning experience. My aim is for delegates to leave inspired, excited and full of creativity ready for the next stage in their business.

One of the photographers I have taught a couple of times now is Trixie Hiscock. I am pleased to bring you an interview with Trixie in which she discusses her journey.

Trixie – thank you so much for joining me. What did you do before you became a newborn photographer?

I was and am still a portrait photographer. I cover maternity, baby’s first year, kids, family and pet portraiture. Really I desperately wanted to gain the skills that would give me the confidence to push for more newborn clients.

What made you want to become a photographer and what is it about newborn photography that attracted you.

I had always been a keen amateur photographer (following in my grandfather’s amateur footsteps). When I met my husband, Graham, he was a videographer (now a full time photographer too). Graham encouraged and pushed me to take the photography more seriously. We both qualified to Licentiate level, he with the BIPP and I with the MPA. I have always been very aware that newborn photography could be a lot bigger a part of my business and that the newborn sessions could sit very nicely alongside the other services I offer.

I love that you have followed in your grandfather’s footsteps! How long have you been in full time business?

I’ve been a full-time photographer for 15 years now – I built my confidence and reputation initially photographing my own kids and those of my friends and family.

Why did you choose Melanie East to train you in the art of newborn photography?

I met Melanie at an Association when she was teaching newborn photography and loved her style of photography and teaching. I was inspired by her imagery and have always liked the fact that Melanie has such a strong sense of the importance of baby’s safety first and foremost when posing and photographing newborn babies.

How many times have you trained with Melanie and what improvement did you notice after each session?

I have attended 3 training days with Melanie. It has always been important for me to learn to photograph babies properly. I feel very strongly about safety as you cannot afford to take risks. One of the first training days with Melanie was with newborn twins. Later I decided I would also love to learn a non posed natural way to photograph newborns. I therefore undertook one of her “Naturally Newborn” training days. This focused on photographing baby just as baby is, using soft whites and very little posing. Each time I have trained with Melanie I have come away with new knowledge and enthusiasm. Also I have learned wrapping, lighting and safe posing techniques. The nature of newborn photography means that no two sessions are the same. Following my training with Melanie, I can now offer two very different styles of newborn photography. I am now confident in wrapping and settling and I am able to set up and control my lighting to get the results I want to achieve.

Would you recommend Melanie’s training to other newborn photographers? If yes please explain why.

Absolutely. Melanie is very knowledgeable, and always clear and concise in her style of training. The after training support that she gives is amazing – critique is always given when it’s asked for and Melanie has given me lots of pointers re fine-tuning lighting etc when I’ve had a blip of skill/ confidence.

How do you prepare for a shoot?

I allow a minimum of 2 hours to think about and implement setups and workflow etc. I always make sure the studio is warm, clean and welcoming with complimentary supplies of nappies and wipes and parents are catered for with snacks and drinks (This interview was carried out pre covid19 – ME).

What are your safety practices when photographing newborn babies?

I don’t operate with an assistant, so tend to try and choose setups where baby is either safely laying on their back or being held by a parent. I will however, use mum or dad to support baby’s head should the parents want shots where this is necessary ie baby in basket etc. The hand will then be cloned out in post production.

Why do you think it’s important to invest in continuing professional development?

There is always something new to learn or improvements to be made. I always function better as a photographer with the support of a mentor/trainer and being a part of the group that Melanie offers on facebook is invaluable. I’ve also made some great new photography friends into the bargain!

If you could give just one tip to a newborn photographer just starting out what would it be?

Not to get carried away buying all the kit and props you THINK you need. Invest in training first and then build the rest gradually.

Thank you so much Trixie! You can view Trixie’s work right here.

If you would like to explore the world of newborn photography or you would like to learn to refine your work then I’m the girl for you. Please click here to view options

If you are looking to book a fee paying newborn session then you need my other site which is right here.

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Newborn photography guidelines

The newborn industry is crying out for newborn photography guidelines during the Coronavirus Pandemic. I work closely with a fabulous consultant in emergency medicine. He also has a specialist interest in infectious diseases and immunology. Together, Dr Langer and I have created the following newborn photography guidelines for newborn photographers.

Please note that these guidelines are just guidelines. Advice for newborn photographers. They are not an exhaustive list and photographers must carry out their own risk assessments relating to their own working practices. These guidelines simply set out what newborn photographers should be considering. Neither Dr Langer nor I accept any liability for any omission. Please remember that these newborn photography guidelines have been created with your and your client’s best interests.

UK SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHERS DURING COVID-19

BY Melanie East, specialist newborn photographer and trainer, newborn safety expert.

AND

Dr Daniel Langer, Consultant in paediatric medicine with specialist interest in infectious diseases and immunology.

The following guidelines have been drafted for newborn photographers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

CLEANING AND SANITISATION

The studio must be thoroughly disinfected with disinfectant before each session including the floor.

Limited studio sessions per week to allow deep clean between sessions.

A study published in the New England Medical Journal by researchers in the US looked at the survival of the coronavirus on a variety of surfaces. Those surfaces being plastics, stainless steel, copper and cardboard. Viable virus was still detected on plastic and stainless steel after 72 hours. For cardboard and copper it was no longer detectable after 24 hours and 4 hours respectively. Fabrics were not studied. However, we would suggest that delicate fabrics are quarantined for 72 hours between sessions to remain on the super safe side.

Therefore:

Cottons, linens and other non delicates should be washed at 60 degrees after each session regardless of whether that item has been soiled. This should be standard practice for newborn photographers in any event.

Props should be thoroughly wiped with disinfectant before and after use.

Teddies, felt hearts, snugglies, headbands and any other soft props or material which cannot be washed at 60 degrees celsius should be quarantined for at least 72 hours between sessions to remain super safe.

SESSION PREPARATION

Parents should be sent a questionnaire which should be returned the night before the session confirming that they, and anybody within their household are not experiencing symptoms relating to Covid-19

The photographer should confirm that they and anybody within their household are not experiencing symptoms relating to Covid-19

If either of you or anybody within the client’s or your household are experiencing symptoms you should postpone the session for at least 14 days.

Your camera should be sanitised before use.

THE SESSION

Whereas there isn’t specific evidence regarding fan heaters we would suggest these are not used to prevent possible spread of droplets.

Windows should be open throughout the session to allow ventilation.

Consider whether you will allow clients to use bathroom facilities and if so then there must be sanitising facilities. The lid must be closed when flushing and the bathroom must be sanitised before the next user. There should be at least a 2 minute gap between users.

No refreshments – clients should bring their own.

Parents must sanitise hands on arrival.

Shoes should be left outside.

Face coverings should be worn by photographer and parents.

If photographing parents, when parents remove mask in order to be photographed, then you must stay at least two metres away.

Hands should be washed thoroughly and hand sanitiser used before you touch the baby and whenever you touch the baby.

Whereas we appreciate you cannot maintain a 2 metre distance when posing a baby, as much distance as possible should be between the photographer and the baby whilst still maintaining baby safety.

Baby must not be left unattended in props.

Close up posing work with babies such as heads on hands or arms – in forward facing poses or indeed any poses which require very close up posing should be avoided. This is because those particular poses require a lot of touching of baby while posing and refining. It also means you are extremely close to baby when posing.

Touching of baby should be strictly limited.

Photographers should avoid touching baby’s face.

Sessions should be limited in time – no three hours sessions in a hot room!

If photographing from above, the photographer must remember not to stand on anything to achieve a 2 metre distance.

Photographers should not wear gloves. This gives a false sense of security and prevents proper sanitisation. The best way to keep as safe as possible is to wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap if you have facilities within your studio. Alternatively hand sanitiser with at least 60% ethanol should be used. Remember standard anti bacterial gel without enough ethanol will not be effective. You are advised to check the ethanol content on the back of the bottle before purchasing. This is a virus not bacteria.

This is our guidance, and is not an exhaustive list. You will need to make your own risk assessment based upon your own studio set up and working practices. No liability attaches to the provided guidance.

Copyright: Melanie East and Dr Daniel Langer

If you are a newborn photographer and you would like to know more about my newborn photography training which *always* has a huge emphasis on safety, then please click here. If you are due a baby and would like me to photograph your new arrival then you need my other website which you can find by clicking here.

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Newborn Photography – The New Normal

I’ve titled this post Newborn Photography – The New Normal because newborn photographers will need to change the way they have always worked. The new normal now includes social distancing. And of course, as newborn photographers this is difficult because the very nature of our work means we are in close contact with newborn babies. We wrap them, we soothe them, we pose them. Many newborn photographers carry out a lot of “beanbag” work which is where the baby is posed in positions on a beanbag. This necessitates close contact. Some of these poses can take a while to achieve perfection, particularly if baby is not in the deepest of sleeps.

So what is the new normal? What should newborn photographers be considering? How should they be working? How can they ensure their tiniest client’s safety – and the safety of the parents? Everybody who knows me knows that safety during newborn photography sessions is my main value. It always has been and it always will be. Never more so than now.

I have obviously kept up to date with all government guidelines and I have also been listening to the scientific officers. We know that photography studios have been given the go ahead to open on 15th June and that social distancing will need to be observed. However, I will be taking all of my sessions (excluding newborn) outside. I will not be photographing newborns on 15th June, and I do not anticipate doing so before July – and certainly not before hairdressers have been given the go-ahead to open. The uniquely close environment in which we work with babies means that as with hairdressers, you cannot maintain a 2 metre distance from the babies.

One of the most important points about Covid-19 is that many are asymptomatic – and therefore they do not *know* if they have the virus. They can therefore pass it on without knowing. Touching baby as little as possible is important. With that in mind this is how my newborn photography sessions will look for the foreseeable future until we have a vaccine or the virus incredibly disappears: These guidelines will come in from when hairdressers start working again and I will be keeping a close eye on what hairdressers are doing before I open up to photographing newborns. Here is how a newborn session is likely to run:

  • My newborn sessions will be limited to 1 hour to minimise the amount of time baby and parents are inside.
  • Parents will be sent a health questionnaire to complete the day before the session
  • I will not conduct any sessions if I show any indicators for coronavirus (or indeed feel in the slightest bit unwell). Newborn photographers should never ever photograph if they are unwell anyway!
  • The outside door and windows of my studio will be open to allow ventilation.
  • The room will not be heated (no need in Summer in my studio in any event)
  • The studio is disinfected with a bleach solution or disinfectant before each session.
  • Any props (I use minimal props in any event) will be disinfected before each session using a bleach solution or disinfectant.
  • Parents are asked to bring their own refreshments.
  • I will be wearing a mask
  • “Prop” shots are kept to a minimum and where used the prop will have been disinfected with bleach before each session. Props used will be my props only.
  • Client’s own props are not permitted.
  • Maximum of one session per week to allow proper cleaning between each session.
  • I will not be touching baby’s hands or face.
  • I will not be photographing babies naked at this point – babies will be wrapped.
  • Baby will be placed and photographed on their back to minimise excessive touching. I can achieve beautiful shots – you don’t need a huge variety of poses.
  • Even if parents indicate they are not infected and have not been in touch with anybody who has been infected I will not loosen the above policies. This is because the point is – the virus can be asymptomatic.
  • I will not be using items which cannot be properly washed. Where I use wool, that will be disposed of and not re-used.
  • Toilet facilities will be unavailable.
  • Whereas clients usually come to me to choose their images, these appointments will now be given via Zoom – sharing my screen so they may pick what they choose.

It is vital that newborn photographers do not rush back into photographing newborns before they are completely ready and certainly not while the infection rate remains high.

There is not enough detail in the numbers to be able to know what the numbers of Covid 19 are like in the immediate locality and in my area, I am closed to Bristol, North Somerset, and Bath and NE Somerset and also my clients come from further afield in any event.

With regard to liability releases – it is my legal understanding that you cannot sue somebody for contracting an infectious disease *unless* you have been negligence – and in any event it is against the law to exclude liability for personal injury or death as a result of negligence.

I hope you all find the above useful. We can return to newborn photography *when we consider it safe enough* and I would really hope that all newborn photographers work together so that we are all “singing from the same hymn sheet”. We all want to return to doing what we love, but the overriding principal must *always* be – safety first.

And because blog posts can be dull without imagery – here’s a little sweetie all wrapped up.

If you are looking for remote mentoring from me (which can be from my studio to your studio) then please take a look at what I offer by clicking here.

Melanie is an extremely talented newborn photographer and trainer who has been at the forefront of newborn imagery for many years. She is an advocate for the safest practices in newborn photography. I am extremely grateful to have met Melanie and had the opportunity to train with her on more than one occasion

Georgia Lemon

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Newborn photography and staying positive

This post is all about newborn photography and staying positive. I teach many newborn photographers both in the UK and throughout the world. If you are a newborn photographer then you will not be photographing newborns at the moment, given the worldwide pandemic. I made the decision to temporarily close the studio. This was before the UK went on lockdown. Those that know me know that safety is my overriding principle in my studio and that includes any risk of infectious disease.

It’s easy as a photographer to sit and think “yikes – no work”. But actually you do have work! You have time now to do all the things for your business that you never had time to do before!

Staying positive can often require a mindset flip. I list some examples below.

  • instead of thinking “I have no work”, think “I do have work. I may not be shooting at the moment, but I can still be working on the backend of my business”
  • instead of thinking “I’m stuck inside and can’t go anywhere, think “I am in the best possible place and staying safe”
  • instead of thinking “I don’t know when this will end, everything is so uncertain”, think “things are uncertain but I can’t control that. What I can control is staying safe and listening to government advice to remain safe. This will pass.”

Take pleasure in the little things. I love to bake, so I will take time out of my day to bake a cake, or make some bread rolls. The simple things such as sunshine, the smell of fresh coffee, the new spring blooms can bring happiness if you stop for a while and just remain in the moment.

Be proactive. Now is the time to do a photography healthcheck on your business. Check your subscriptions – are you paying out for something you no longer use and don’t need? Look for offers – Adobe offers two months free when you go to cancel your membership. Light Blue Software are offering a 50% reduction on their subscriptions for those who need it, for three months.

HMRC are offering to pay self employed people 80% of their average net monthly earnings. This will be based over the past three years up to £2,500 per month for three months. This is available to those who earn no more than £50,000 per year net. HMRC will pay this directly into your bank account in one lump sum.

I run a Facebook group called Melanie East – The Art of the Newborn – if you are a newborn photographer and you would like to join then come on over. It’s a very friendly supportive group.

If you are interested in having me teach you newborn photography (art and/or business) at a later date, when all is calmer, or you would like some online remote mentoring then do get in touch by clicking here. Details on both can be found by clicking here. If you are a mama to be and you have landed on this blog post then you may like my other site – please click here for that.

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Coronavirus and Newborns

Coronavirus and Newborns. What an uncertain time and what a situation we are all in as photographers. Before the government put us in the UK on partial lockdown I had already made a decision to temporarily stop photographing newborns, older babies and children until the world is calmer. Those who know me know that safety is a huge value of mine. I never take any risks with newborn babies. I’m certainly not going to take a risk with an infectious disease. And particularly one when you can be asymptomatic and still contagious.

There are bookings in the diary for teaching newborn photographers. I made the decision to postpone those for the same reason. Coronavirus and newborns? Nope. I also of course have a duty of care to my photographer delegates and would never put them in a situation where they may catch an infectious disease. I am lucky in that every single newborn photographer I have booked in understands and respects my decision. And that is because they *also* take the safety of babies very seriously.

There is one common theme I have noticed about the photographers I teach. They are as passionate about newborn safety as I am. They want to learn how to photograph safely and to understand everything there is about a newborn baby. I love that. I received this from a newborn photographer I had to postpone because of the Coronavirus:

Thank you for getting in touch. I think your decision to postpone our training is very sensible and it reinforced to me one of the reasons why I chose you in the first place. You always put safety first before everything. Thank you for looking out for me and for the little babies…”

What a lovely note!

When people know your values, and they share the same values, they are naturally drawn to you. I am offering remote 1:1 mentoring for those who would like to learn with me. This isn’t a new thing – it’s been up and running for a good few months now. It’s something I offer for those who have either already been taught in person and wish to continue learning, or for those who live in another country, or for those who don’t need the “in person” training but would like to progress in terms of business or art (or both). Programs are tailor made. Do get in touch by clicking here if this is something which interests you. To read more about remote mentoring then please click here.

If you are a newborn photographer and you would like to join my Facebook group then please come along and join – available to photographers who do not live within a 50 mile radius of Bristol, UK. Click here to request to join and please answer the questions so that I may approve you!

WHERE I'M TEACHING

Melanie East is a specialist newborn photography trainer and newborn safety expert. Her belief is that newborn safety should come before any shot, and that taking risks with newborn babies is unnecessary. Melanie is a published author on the subject of newborn photography and teaches newborn photographers throughout the world.

FOLLOW ME

T. 07590 813858

 

E. melanie@theartofthenewborn.co.uk