Category Archives: Guest Posts

Posts from guest contributors

8 Steps to Start Your Freelance Photography Business

Today’s post comes from guest poster Kylie Glover. Connect with Kylie on Twitter. Kylie is based in Sydney, Australia and writes about small business for Authorflair from her personal experience. She has been part of successful start ups in Australia and New Zealand and is motivated to share her insights and writes for several publications in Australia and abroad. Thanks for your contribution to Beyond Here Kylie. Here are 8 Steps to Start Your Freelance Photography Business.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to freelance photography, it couldn’t be more true. It’s easy to forget that behind every stunning shot of the sunset washing over the Golden Gate Bridge, there’s a shutter, lens and focus working in synergy to faithfully capture the moment. One photo could be the difference between whether someone decides to jet set halfway across the world to one destination or to another.


SunriseHere are eight considerations that will help you get your feet off the ground when it comes to kick-starting your freelance career.

Step 1 – Start Planning Your Business

“by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin

Before your photos feature on the front of Lonely Planet, it’s important to visualise the steps you’ll need to take to get there. In other words, planning is a must. To make sure you’re thoroughly prepared, consider things like basic start-up costs, and scope out the market to check how much other photographers typically charge so you can set competitive pricing.

Will you give clients the option of giving deposits, or will you expect a full upfront payment? Will you deal in cash, or accept credit card payments? What are the risks associated with each of these decisions?

Step 2 – Establish Start Up Funds

Unless you’ve a hidden pool of money ala Scrooge McDuck, it is a wise idea to make a small investment. This usually occurs when small businesses set up bank loans, but let’s say your application with the bank is rejected, or you want to explore the market. There are plenty of other methods to kick-starting your dream.

One increasingly popular method of fundraising in today’s digital world is online crowdfunding, through platforms such as Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Indiegogo. The idea behind these services is pitching your project to the public, and placing your trust in them to determine whether it is something worth paying for.

Step 3 – Figure Out What Tools You Need

Pro photography gear is a substantial investment, to create high quality shots that stand out from the crowd, you’re going to need some high end equipment and a good basic knowledge of photography. An artist is only as good his tools, so break down all the essentials from tripods, lenses, and filters to top editing software. Sometimes it might be tempting to go for lower price range equipment, but in the long run it could very well end up costing you more. The most important thing of course is the camera itself. Check out travel blogs, books and magazines, and decide which style suits you best. Then hunt down the camera used to take those pictures, and get snapping.

BridgeStep 4 – Editing Your Shots

So you’ve taken that perfect shot of the Eiffel, and it’s ready for publication. Well, almost. The next steps include enhancing the photograph by warming/cooling the image, sharpening/blurring key areas, heightening the intensity of various colours and whatever final touches you feel give your work an edge. You might already be familiar with some basic editing techniques, or even the majority, but newer versions of favourite software programs release almost every year, offering updated versions with more powerful editing abilities. Well known photo editing software programs like Adobe Photoshop or Corel’s PaintShop Pro have affordable one-time purchases that are great for when you’re starting out.

Step 5 – Legal Lingo

One of the most important things to get on top of well before you’re in operation is safely navigating through any legal requirements first. After you’ve finalised your business plan, it’s time to pick your business structure. Are you a sole proprietor, or a corporation? Do have a partner going into this business? Next, come up with an available business name and register it. Lastly, don’t forget about tax obligations! Your accountant is your best bet for assisting you with that and making sure you don’t attract any unwanted fees.

Step 6 – Getting the Right Insurance

Photography is an art form, so naturally, you must organise insurance for both your product and equipment, but make sure you also insure for any unforeseeable/accidental injuries. These are generally covered under general/public liability insurance, which will act as your legal buffer when things go wrong. If you’re thinking of handing over the business somewhere along the line, you might want to consider life insurance, too.

SunriseStep 7 – Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Rule of thumb says most businesses won’t really take off until the three-month mark. Within that timeframe, you’ll need to spread the word about your product and convince the world about why it’s so great. Should you immediately lower your pricing if clients don’t bite?

Absolutely not. Apart from web and radio ads, a tried and true method for boosting sales is incredibly basic: word of mouth. Establish meaningful relationships with your clients, and show them you are very passionate about delivering the best quality photos. Finally, believe in your product.

“What a man thinks of himself, that is what determines, or rather indicates his fate “- Henry David Thoreau

Step 8 – Be Inspired

Inspiration is often depicted as a fleeting, curious phenomenon and has become the subject of many books and presentations over the years. The truth is, there’s no secret, everlasting well of inspiration that somehow runs dry. Inspiration for the perfect shot can be found anywhere, anytime.

As humans, we place a lot of undue pressure on ourselves to achieve constant perfection, and thus may not take risks because we are afraid of ‘failing’. When you feel seeds of doubt start blossoming.

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working” – Picasso

Launching a new business can be a frightening prospect, especially when it centres around your greatest passion. But with the proper legal and financial planning, adequate preparation of equipment, and enough self-belief that your product is worthy, the road to success is well within reach.

Thank you again Kylie for your contribution to Beyond Here. These 8 Steps to Start Your Freelance Photography Business will set people off on the right foot!

From Start to Finish

One of the unexpected benefits I have gained from Beyond Here has been the diverse range of creative people I have met or have swapped messages with. It has been inspiring to see the range of projects people are tackling all around the world. I recently met Rebecca McIntosh. Rebecca is a model based in Melbourne, Australia where we were able to meet face to face. She kindly contributed this post for Beyond Here – A Model’s Tips for a Successful TFP Photo Shoot – and she is a contestant in Miss World Australia. In this post, Rebecca shares an exciting project she is working on and outlines how you can be involved. It is called “From Start to Finish”. Let’s hear more from Rebecca.

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credit. Model Rebecca McIntosh. Photography Vispenn Photography

Rebecca, tell us about your experience participating in Miss World Australia.

Hi Craig! For those who don’t know, Miss World is the longest-running international beauty pageant, which focuses not only on external beauty, but more importantly, on character. Dedication, motivation, and generosity are all assessed in the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ program whereby contestants are encouraged to raise funds for the allocated charity.

This is my first time competing in the Miss World Australia pageant, so to be honest, it can be a bit daunting! Every contestant has her advantages; some have been competing in pageants for years, some are professional models, and some have professional experience with marketing. However, I love the challenge because I know it will make me develop into an even better person. Miss World Australia has been a journey that has pushed my boundaries and made me reach out to do things that I have never tried before, especially with regards to raising money for charity.

Which charity are you raising money for?

Miss World Australia is a registered fundraising organisation raising funds for Variety – the Children’s Charity. Variety Australia is a not-for-profit non-government organisation that thrives on the generosity of the community to provide equipment and experiences to Australian children who suffer from disability, serious illness, or disadvantage. Variety basically does anything it can to enrich the lives of children, be it through providing medical apparatus, organizing outings, or granting scholarships.

What is the major fund raising activity you are planning?

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credits. Model, Rebecca McIntosh. Photography, Tacitic Photography

To raise funds for Variety, I have organised a photography workshop entitled ‘From Start to Finish’, to take place on Friday 7th August at the venue ‘Quat Quatta’ in Ripponlea (Melbourne, Australia). This day events comprises three parts: an informative photography seminar, a photo shoot, and a retouching seminar. It’s essentially an all-encompassing workshop demonstrating what you can improve on as a photographer from the start to the finish of the shoot. I’ve been lucky enough to make an arrangement with Social Value – Mark Scott Photography to sponsor the workshop, and I’ve brought together a teams of models, make up artists, hairstylist / hair extensions provider, and designer who are all sponsoring the event. I’m particularly excited for the photo shoot – our designer Vicoola Fashionista has the most gorgeous gowns!

What do photographers need to do to participate?

Interested photographers can email me at missworldvictoria@gmail.com for the comprehensive information booklet, and to make a booking. The event, which goes from 11am to 4pm, costs $80, and requires full payment to secure the place.

To make the workshop more intimate, I have limited bookings to thirty places, so I’d recommend all interested photographers to contact me as soon as possible!

Beyond Here has readers all around the world. How can Beyond Here readers who can’t come to the event, contribute to your fund raising efforts?

Anyone can donate directly to Variety – the Children’s Charity, through my EverydayHero page https://missworldaustralia2015.everydayhero.com/au/rebecca-mcintosh

If this event goes well enough, I’m hoping to organize another one on a weekend!

Beyond Here readers will be interested in how to organize an event like this. What are your top three pieces of advice to people wanting to organize similar events?

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credits. Model, Rebecca McIntosh. Photography, Tacitic Photography

1) Find a great venue, not just any venue. If you’re organizing a fundraiser photo shoot, you need to find a place that is happy either to give you a discount or to sponsor you the area. Keep your charity and your plan in focus. While I could have written up a generic email to send to all the venues I know, I instead specifically targeted Quat Quatta; they were the first and only venue I contacted. I knew that Quat Quatta would be the ideal workspace for such an event, because it has multiple places to shoot, is located in a prestigious area, and allows for a seminar setup in the dining room. I told the Quat Quatta staff all of this, so they knew that I was considering them specifically to help me with Variety – the Children’s Charity. Don’t settle for anything; and aim high and precisely.

2) Use your network. Everyone who has a common interest is useful. While I was compiling images from Mark Scott’s latest shoots for the information pack, I saw a photo of a model with amazingly luscious hair. I contacted the hairstylist with a proposal to join the group, and was delightfully surprised that she wanted to help! She even offered to bring hair extensions to style with! People are quite generous when it comes to working towards a fundraising event, especially as it helps get their name out in a positive light. I trust the people on my team because I know that they want to be part of the event, and they trust me because they know me through their network (and I, too, obviously want to be part of the event).

3) Be organised but flexible. Be prepared to spend many hours composing, formatting, and updating documents. I have everything documented: from each model’s hair length, to the last person who commented on my ‘From Start to Finish’ Facebook post. At the same time, remember that everyone has their own lives, and that volunteering is not going to be everyone’s top priority. Nobody is going to be constantly available for your plans. Some people may take weeks to confirm a detail, some people may pull out abruptly. All you can do is try your best to accommodate the changes and be patient with the whole process. Enjoy it! You’re doing a great thing for the world.

Rebecca, thank you very much for sharing about the ‘From Start to Finish’ event. Best wishes for the event and for your participation in Miss World Australia. Readers who would like to see more of Rebecca’s work, please see Rebecca McIntosh’s Facebook Page

A Model’s Tips for a Successful TFP Photo Shoot

This post comes from Rebecca McIntosh – a Melbourne, Australia based model. Rebecca is currently a contestant in Miss World Australia. In this post on Beyond Here we discussed TFP (time for portfolio) shoots being an excellent way for a photographer to build their portfolio. Rebecca outlines a model’s tips for a successful TFP photo shoot.

You have a great photo shoot idea. A model is happy to collaborate with you. You speak to a make up artist, a hair stylist, and have a stylist on the team who all want to work on your photo shoot. They are so keen to work on your photo shoot that they are happy to do it without monetary compensation – as long as they receive photos for their time. This is called a TFP arrangement (time-for-portfolio). These unpaid collaborations can be extremely useful for enriching your folio, building your reputation, and challenging your skill set as a photographer – organisational skills, social skills, technical skills etc.

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credits. Model Rebecca McIntosh, photography Alchemy Designs, clothing Casey Marie Demko

However, when photos are the only compensation it can be difficult to please the team, especially the model, who is probably a harsher critic than you are when it comes to her image*. (*I refer to the model as female, simply because I am speaking from a female model’s perspective. The same advice applies for male models too.)

Here are seven tips from my experience to holding a successful TFP photo shoot. From my point of view, a successful TFP shoot will never only result in good photos, but also in establishing positive relationships, and pleasant experiences.

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credits. Model Rebecca McIntosh, photography Mariana Navarro, hair, styling and makeup Victoria Marie

1. Check out the model’s folio. It’s not creepy to look at her work, as long as you are looking at her StarNow / Model Mayhem / Facebook page that she has provided specifically for her modelling work. See her good angles, and generate a realistic idea of how you can cooperate. If she has shown interest in your casting call, it is most likely that she wants to add that concept to her folio regardless of her experience with that theme. Nevertheless, it is beneficial for you to see what poses, angles, and facial expressions she chooses to put in her portfolio. If the photos that make it to her folio often include a catwalk sultry pout, she may not be the bubbly, surprised pin-up model you’re looking for. That does not mean you should rule her out straight away; consider asking her what she thinks of your casting call in relation to her style. Perhaps she has misinterpreted your casting call and is not really interested, or perhaps she has interpreted it correctly and simply wants to branch out into that field. It is a portfolio building experience for her as well. Knowing your model’s capabilities and motivations makes it much easier to coordinate a shoot to please both parties.

2. Create a concept board. Pinterest boards are a convenient (and free!) way of putting together inspirational images that constitute the atmosphere you are trying to achieve in your photo shoot, to share with your model. Alternatively, consider making a document with inspirational photos to give to your model at least a week before the shoot. When you and your team members have the same images it is easier to achieve the desired result. At the same time, be honest with the model about your experience and expectations and provide her a link to your portfolio.

3. Agree on the compensation before the shoot, in writing, in detail. Frustration arises from TFP shoots where compensation is ill defined. Try to address all points:

  • How many edited, high resolution photos will the model receive? Will she only receive edited photos? What do you consider to be high resolution?
  • Who will select the photos for editing? Will the model have choice in which photos are edited?
  • Will there be proofs for the model to look at? To save? How soon until these will be available? Can she upload these anywhere as teasers?
  • Will the model have any say in how the images are edited? If she is unhappy with how you have edited the photo, will you have the time and motivation to alter it for her?
  • How long will it take you to return usable photos after the shoot? Will you be watermarking the images?
  • What can the model use the images for?
  • How will you transfer the images to the model? Dropbox, CD, USB, Facebook, email? Keep in mind how the web can compress images.
  • Write up or find a relevant model release form to provide models at the shoot to legalize your specific agreement.

Try to remember that your model, make up artist, hair stylist etc are only involved in this shoot because they believe it can help their folio. If you want total creative freedom and exclusive rights to the images, pay the people you are working with.

In my experience, one method which pleases everyone is that the photographer uploads all of the low resolution, unedited proofs for the team to see, and then they choose which images they want edited. Of that choice pool, the photographer edits which ones he likes best, as well as any additional images he feels will be useful for his portfolio. Whatever method you decide on, make the whole selection process and compensation details as clear and comprehensive as possible to the model before the shoot.

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credit. Model Rebecca McIntosh

4. Respect each other at the shoot. Never touch a model unless you have her permission. If you think she should do one pose instead of another, try to explain why. For example, I recently had one photographer suggest that I raise my chin while posing, which went totally against what another photographer was saying the previous week at another shoot. However, this photographer patiently explained how raising my chin elongates my neck, and took comparison photos on the spot to show me the difference, so I respected his opinion and him as a photographer, even though it differed to the popular opinion.

5. Let your model move! It can look unnatural if you try to stage one particular pose. Encourage your model to fluidly move into the pose, even if means repeating the movement multiple times.

6. Communicate and credit as arranged. Follow up the agreement. If something has happened which prevents you from returning the photos in the arranged time, tell your team. Even if they say nothing, they are most likely wondering what you are doing with the photos and when they will receive them. In a TFP agreement, withholding photos is like withholding money.

7. Don’t expect the shoot to be perfect. This is the worst injustice you can do to anyone, including yourself. A TFP shoot will never look exactly like the concept image on page or in your head. If you are disappointed in the photos, ask yourself what exactly you could do to make it better. Satisfaction has more to do with attitude than outcome.

Rebecca McIntosh

Photo credits. Model Rebecca McIntosh, photography Alchemy Designs

As you can tell from these tips, a successful TFP shoot does not just have to do with producing good photos, but assessing your team, assessing your team’s needs, and assessing what you can realistically offer and expect of yourself. TFP arrangements can require a lot of effort, patience, and personality to satisfy your team as there is no instant monetary guarantee. Nevertheless, it is worth taking these measures to build a strong network, upscale your reputation, improve your folio, and challenge yourself as a photographer.

Thank you for your post Rebecca – a model’s tips for a successful TFP photo shoot. If you would like to follow more of Rebecca’s work, follow this link to Rebecca McIntosh’s Facebook page.

Newborn Photography Props

Today’s post on Beyond Here is from Julie and Victor at Propjar.

Propjar is all about props. They supply photography props for newborn, maternity, family and portrait photo shoots. Based in Melbourne, Australia they ship their products worldwide. For shipping within Australia – all shipping is currently free. And for international addresses, shipping is currently free for all orders over $50. Check out the Propjar website for more details. Read on for more about newborn photography props.

Silk extravaganza for newborn photography!

Newborn Photography

Propjar daffodil silk swirl being used as a basket stuffer. Image copyright Kelly Gladwin.

The current trend in newborn photography is creating organic images, whether it’s in gorgeous neutral tones or with splashes of bold color.

A lot of the products used to create these images are very hard to clean, and some, in particular synthetic products, can be very harsh on baby’s skin.

Natural silk is the solution!

Silk is super soft and squishy, and gives a gorgeous natural, organic feel to images. Not only is it very gentle on baby’s delicate soft skin, but it always amuses us how parents just can’t get enough of touching the silk and exclaiming with ooooh’s and aaaaah’s.  And because these little clouds of softness can be gently hand washed after each photo shoot, you’ll be able to use them many times over. As a newborn photographer, you will know just how much cleaning is involved after a newborn shoot. To have a product that cannot be cleaned properly can become a real headache.

Newborn photography

Propjar snow silk swirl being used as a wrap. Image copyright BeccyRose Photography.

We highlighted in our maternity photography props post that building a bond and rapport with your mum-to-be client, and understanding what she’s comfortable with, was critical for building a relationship that can lead to follow up business, such as newborn photo shoots.

The same applies to the parents of your newborn client. Making sure baby is comfortable and safe with whichever props you choose to use to capture this special moment, will help you in building this bond and trust with the family.

Newborn photography

Image copyright Jamie Lee Photography

If you’re able to do this, you’ll be remembered when it comes time for baby’s one year old birthday cake smash, toddler portraits, family portraits and any other photo sessions the family may want.

Image copyright Emily Clare Photography

Image copyright Emily Clare Photography

If we can leave you with one tip, it’s that in business, it’s far easier and cheaper to sell to existing clients who are also fans you’ve connected with, than it is to find new clients. That’s why connecting with your fans / clients is so important to building a thriving and sustainable business.

At Propjar we’ve created a range of silk props available in 22 colors.

Our super soft silk swirls can be used as a wrap, layer, or basket stuffer.

Combine the nest with layers such as the Propjar stretch wrap. Image copyright Jamie Lee Photography.

Combine the nest with layers such as the Propjar stretch wrap. Image copyright Jamie Lee Photography.

The versatility of the Propjar silk nest allows has proven to be a real hit with photographers and their clients. These nests come with a removable cover, with extra covers available to purchase, so that you can change the color of your nest to suit your theme.

Look at those gorgeous eyes! Propjar silk swaddle sack being used with a silk nest. Image copyright Siobhan Wolff Photography.

Look at those gorgeous eyes! Propjar silk swaddle sack being used with a silk nest. Image copyright Siobhan Wolff Photography.

Because this soft nest ring makes it easy to pose both newborns and older babies, you’re able to give parents who may have left their newborn photo shoot a bit late to still get wonderful memories of baby. The posing options are endless. Use it as is on an old wooden floor with character, or perhaps a posing faux fur. Or anything else your creativity allows.

Thank you Julie and Victor at Propjar for this post for Beyond Here. Newborn photography props can assist in creating outstanding images. If you are looking for a great source of those props, please visit the Propjar website.

Maternity Photography Props

Today’s post is the first in a series of guest posts from Propjar.

Propjar is all about props. They supply photography props for new born, maternity, family and portrait photo shoots. Based in Melbourne, Australia they ship their products worldwide. For shipping within Australia – all shipping is currently free. And for international addresses, shipping is currently free for all orders over $50. Check out the Propjar website for more details. Read on for more about maternity photography props.

Maternity dress

Propjar is based in Melbourne, Australia with shipping available worldwide. Picture copyright Southern Haze Photography

Capturing the journey of a mum-to-be in a maternity shoot has become a popular way to record one of the most special moments in the life of a young family. This moment that has been entrusted to you as a photographer is truly a special one, and one that can set your photography business apart through building a unique bond with your customer on this journey. Building this bond and rapport with your customer is crucial in knowing how to capture this special time. There are many styles of gorgeous long flowing dresses that can be used, for example a long flowing dress such as the Pink Lace Maternity Dress below, that splits in the middle. The crucial part of all of this is understanding your customers personality and what they are comfortable with. Remember, this is about their journey, and how they would like to share their journey with family and friends.

Maternity dress

A Propjar pink lace maternity dress used on this glowing mum. Copyright BeccyRose Photography

One way of using the Propjar Lace Maternity Dress can be as a skirt with the sash as a bodice. This has been used to great effect in this photo.

Maternity dress

Propjar maternity dress. Picture copyright BeccyRose Photography

Here’s the thing, not all women feel confident enough to bare their bellies. Secretly they would LOVE to have images of this magical time, but are not all together comfortable doing it. This is a potential sale lost to your business. As a photographer you have an opportunity to show how magical the moment in maternity photography can be, setting yourself apart from other photography businesses. This may be what also leads a potential customer to choose you to capture their family’s special moments once their newborn arrives. One way to ensure you have the comfort of your customers in mind is to invest in a few dresses that are not all that revealing but still celebrate the pregnant form.

Grace Dress

Propjar Chiffon Maternity Dress. Picture copyright Southern Haze Photography

For example, the Propjar Grace Dress in this photo comes in a range of colors and is a soft, flowing dress.

Stella Maternity Dress

Propjar Grace Dress. Picture copyright Southern Haze Photography

Maternity Dress

Maternity dress used in an outdoors setting. Picture copyright Southern Haze Photography

The Propjar Stella Maternity Dress in this photo has a beautiful, timeless vintage look it which captures the moment perfectly.

Let Propjar help you to create beautiful maternity images so that ALL women not only feel comfortable, but beautiful while capturing this special time in their lives.

Thank you to Julie and Victor at Propjar for this post for Beyond Here. Appropriate maternity photography props can really help a photographer create outstanding maternity images. If you are looking for a great source of those props, please visit the Propjar website.

 

Manly Urban

Today we have a guest post from Renate Hechter from Pure Dynamics Photography in Sydney, Australia. Earlier this year Renate launched a new twist on family portraits – a concept called Manly Urban. In this post, she explains Manly Urban.

Thank you again Craig for giving me the opportunity to post on Beyond Here.

I have the privilege of living near one of the most beautiful areas in the world.  I do not think anyone that has been to Sydney and more to the point, Manly, would disagree with me.  One is surrounded by beautiful expanses of blue ocean, with the heads in the background on one side and Manly beach on the other side.  If you have ever been on the Manly ferry, you would agree that it one of the most iconic and picturesque methods of public transport.  All in all, to be able to have this view, day in – day out, is not only a blessing, but a calling to a photographer.

Manly

Manly Urban. Family portraits with famous Manly backgrounds. Copyright Renate Hechter.

For any photographer, it is important to create a service that is new and different to new and existing clients.  I have come up with the ManlyUrban idea, as people not only love to get some photographs of the area they live in, but it also provide a beautiful and modern back-drop for some stunning and different photographs. Manly also has a huge expat community, so it is a great keep-safe of your “home away from home”.

As you walk around and through Manly, you will realise it is a treasure-chest of scenic and urban areas. Here are some of my favourite areas.

  1.  Manly Ferry/Heads (in the background)
Family portrait

Manly Urban. Families in context. Copyright Renate Hechter.

The Manly Ferry is a tradition.  Since 1855 it is a “must do” for visitors.  It is the way Manly locals commute to Sydney. It operates 7 days a week, day and night.  It is one of the most picturesque and relaxing commutes in the world.  What a wonderful way to include this as a backdrop for a photograph.  The same is to be said for the famous Sydney Heads, which is the 2 kilometer-wide entrance to Sydney Harbour. People from all over the world will recognize it and these are some of Sydney’s most iconic landmarks.

  1.  Manly Corso
Manly

Manly, Sydney, Australia. Copyright Renate Hechter

The Corso is a busy and bustling place.  It provides direct access from the Manly Ferry Wharf to Manly beach.  It is also the main shopping area of Manly.  You get locals, tourists, buskers, mum and babies, school children, toddlers in the playground, retirees, surfers, skateboarders and many more all mixed together and wandering about.  Being photographed in the Corso takes some courage, as soon a crowd of people will gather to see what you are up to.  (My urban ballerina kept her cool in the Corso, even though she was surrounded by holiday-makers).

  1.  Murals
Manly

Murals make vibrant backgrounds. Copyright Renate Hechter.

There are a number of murals in different alley-ways in Manly that provide fabulous backdrops for urban photography.  Note, Manly Urban are not just for children.  My friend, Liz, is a local business owner and a Manly local.  As an artist (www.muktiart.com.au) she loved the opportunity to have a photograph taken in her beloved Manly in an area where the photograph could double as a piece of art.

When you visit Sydney again, make sure you get your Manly fix. You may even see me shooting Manly Urban in different locations! Please STOP and say HI!

Newborn Photography Some Easy but Essential Tips

Newborn Photography some easy but essential tips is a guest post from Renate Hechter. Renate is the owner and operator of Pure Dynamics Photography in Sydney, Australia. You can find out more about Renate and Pure Dynamics Photography on the Beyond Here contributors page.

Newborn

Keep your newborn warm and well fed. Copyright Renate Hechter

Newborn photography some easy, but essential tips.

Thank you Craig for the opportunity to write a guest post on Beyond Here.  I am a family photographer, but love newborn photography best of all. It is such a privilege to be able to capture those early moments in the first few weeks of a baby’s life. It will be a keep-safe for the family and the baby in years to come.

When I tell people I do newborn photography, I often hear them gasp, “Wow – how long did it take to get that shot, must have been hours? You must be some sort of baby whisperer!”.

Of course I’m not! It may have helped that I have 4 small children and therefore have had to deal with 4 newborns at some point.

Rather like dealing with your own family, newborn photography is all about planning and preparation. Here are some easy, but essential tips that you can follow if you want to capture the first few weeks of a precious little one’s life.

  1. Make sure baby is safe

Safety, safety SAFETY!! You will need a baby spotter and mum usually works best.  They need to be clearly briefed as to their responsibility – they are to watch their baby and preferably keep a hand on baby at all times before the shot – looking out for hazards such as rolling off the baby posing beanbag.

  1. Newborn

    Take your time with newborn photography. Copyright Renate Hechter

    Make sure baby is fed

Really stress to the parents that baby is fed and burped before arriving and is coming to see you in their normal sleep time. You may want to get the family to arrive slightly early for their session, so mum have the opportunity to give baby a quick feed again, if necessary.

  1. Make sure baby is warm

Make sure where you take you photographs are toasty warm so the baby does not get cold – especially if you are taking pictures of naked or semi-clad babies. Turn the heating up to around 25 degrees C or use a directional heater. If using a directional heater, make sure you keep it far enough away from the baby’s sensitive skin.

The next few tips involve four S’s for helping to settle a newborn into a pose;

  1. Swaddling

Invest in a number of stretchy baby wraps.  They can be used successfully for babies who struggle to be settled straight away. Shoot your swaddling poses first if that’s the case.

  1. Shushing (or white noise) 

There are a number of smartphone and computer apps that you can download for white noise – turn up the volume – that is very effective for baby, and I find that it also relaxes the adults.  Relaxed parents mean a relaxed baby.

  1. Sucking

Have a dummy/soother ready and make sure you communicate this with the parents beforehand.  Some parents have dummy fear, but using a dummy to settle baby in the pose and then taking it out just before you take the shot works well.

Baby suckling

Use a dummy or soother to calm baby. Copyright Renate Hechter

7. Sidelying or stomach position

Almost miraculously, a lot of baby poses are in tummy or side-lying position.  Babies do love those positions and will often settle and fall asleep.  Keep a firm hand on baby in those positions, as that will aid them falling asleep.

8. Take your time

Add a good dose of patience into the mix. The newborn should be fast asleep when you attempt your poses, and that may not happen immediately.

9. Keep mum calm

Explain the process to the mum.  A calm and relaxed mum often means a calm baby.

Newborn

Newborns allow you to position them. Copyright Renate Hechter

10. The younger, the better

The best time to photograph newborn are between day 5 and 20.  During this time period, they tend to sleep a lot (especially if they are fed well). Your can also get them into those wonderfully squishy positions.

And last, but not least – Safety again!

So important, it’s worth mentioning twice.

Do not forget to enjoy your session!