When the world shut down due to COVID-19, so did our studio. Re-opening only came after the New Brunswick photography community was given the green light from the Government of New Brunswick, specifically for photographers.
In conjunction with the Province of New Brunswick, WorkSafe NB, and Public Health we were given guidelines and required to fill out paperwork outlining our safety procedures.
We are in a unique position that we work in close quarters with newborns, children and families who are unmasked. Safety is our top priority (one of the reasons I also work with an assistant for newborn sessions).
Some of the procedures stay the same, whereas others have changed. We have also increased some of the precautions more than recommended for our own peace of mind.
At Enchanted Hill Photography no one (photographer, assistant, and clients) who traveled outside the Atlantic bubble, had contact with someone outside the Atlantic bubble within 21 days may not enter the studio.
No one is permitted with cough, fever, sore throat, or other symptoms of COVID. 21 Days must pass after any illness before entering the studio.
Hand sanitizer must be used upon entering the studio with an alcohol content of 60% or higher.
Photographer and assistant must wear masks covering mouth and nose while photographing clients. They must also wear latex-free gloves when touching a client.
All loose fabrics touched by clients must be taken for washing after every session.
Cleaners with bacteria-killing ingredients are used to wipe down garbage, door handle, all surfaces clients touch after every session. Floors are mopped after every client as well.
Jen and I love what we do and have had serious conversations about what we could do to go the extra mile. Things like the toys have been removed from the studio, snacks and drinks are not longer available for clients at the current time.
We have both personally made the decision to avoid large gatherings where people may not take safety precautions. Wearing masks even when it is not necessary but we feel there is a risk. These were personal decisions based on a sense of responsibility for our tiny clients.
We are so proud of how Saint Johners have gone above and beyond by staying home during the quarantine, self-isolating when they were at possible risk, and all to keep friends and family safe.
Watching the small businesses come together to make sure we all get through this safe and healthy. I love seeing the steps some of the restaurants have made to make outdoor dining spaces and more shops having online options.
Choosing a photographer can feel daunting, there are over 100 in the Saint John and Quispamsis area! So many are extremely talented but I wanted to give some idea on how to choose a newborn photographer.
Of course, I want you to hire me! But my style may not be what you are looking for and there may be other photographers who better suit your needs. The window is so small for newborns, this is the shortest stage of human life. It is also the moment that everything changes in your life (even if baby number 4 or 5!).
Every photographer has their own unique style. From big styling differences like Lifestyle or Posed. Lifestyle is typically held in your home. Lifestyle focuses more on the family environment, unposed, and how you interact as a family.
Posed newborn photography (which is our specialty) is carefully posed, to showcase the baby’s face and features. Props can be added and sessions color coordinated.
Every photographer has their own secret recipe for editing. We all have our own unique style in editing but it also depends on skill level. Over the past decade I know my own personal style has evolved but also my skills have highly advanced.
Some photographers only enhance the image a tiny bit leaving everything as they saw it through their lens and others will do extensive editing to give a prettier version of reality and some will fall in the middle.
Editing style can also vary in making the pictures look like they were processed with film and others are very sharp and the colors nice and crisp. What may be popular and trendy now may look out of date in 5-10 years.
Realize that every photographer has their own particular style, look at their website, and make sure everything is consistent, so there are no surprises when you receive your pictures. Also, realize that photographers will be unlikely to want to change their style of editing as well.
This is a big one. Brand new babies mean you have researched safety, from sleeping methods to cribs and learn how to safely buckle them into a car seat. Choosing a newborn photographer should also require research to make sure that they have safe practices.
I am also going to say I would not discount a brand new photographer as well, we all began our career somewhere. Feel free to ask about their safety practices. They have researched them as well.
Have they taken newborn courses? Safety courses? Do they work with a spotter or assistant for more difficult poses? Do they have limitations (there are certain poses I personally refuse to even do without a spotter due to safety reasons)? Do they have a Covid safety plan (all registered businesses are required to have one and photographers were given plans from WorkSafe NB and Public Health).
Ask how many newborns they have photographed. Some photographers have more experience and some only photograph a handful.
How do you want to see your pictures in 10-20 years from now? Do you want them on your walls or in an album? How do you want to show them to your children when they become adults? Will Facebook still be a thing? Or will it go like the VCR and cassette tapes?
Back to finding a photographer, almost all will provide digitals but ask yourself the honest question, do you ever print? Or are you like the majority of families today; very busy and never get around to printing.
If you print yourself then digitals may be the way to go but if you are busy and time is valuable it would be beneficial to ask if your photographer offers prints, canvases, or wall art. Photographers have access to professional print labs that are superior to big box store labs.
The newborn stage is such a short one and it is a time your can never get back. It is also a huge regret many people have looking back. They wish they had those first pictures, pictures of themselves and their new baby. (I know I do!!). Personally, I feel newborn pictures are more important than wedding pictures. We celebrate our love and commitment with. wedding party and pictures and a baby is bigger. They are the start of a new life, they are an entirely new journey and story in your life.
The baby crib, the stroller, the fancy swing and carriers…all will be packed away someday forever or sold on the local Buy and Sell. Your newborn pictures will be the only thing left from the beginning.
Whoever you hire, hire someone, do your research and enjoy the memories.
This is a question I get regularly asked. At what age should newborn photos be taken? My answer is usually between 4 to 12 days from birth but really it depends!
Sometime babies come extra early and need more time in the NICU. This happens not too often but when it does parents feel like their world has flipped upside down. All those plans and time lines are thrown out the window. When it comes to your baby pictures we wait until they are discharged from the hospital and come home. Typically this is close to their actual due date. When baby is discharged we ask that parents call us and we try to get baby in as soon as possible.
Some babies are born well over their due date (let me tell you about one of my own babies who leisurely arrived over 2 weeks late), these babies I like to get into the studio within 4-6 days. After 200+ babies I have found these babies are more alert, a little more sensitive, and waiting to the 12-day mark means they are less ‘womb-like’ compared to babies who arrive within a week of their due date.
No matter what we do during pregnancy and birth, things do not always go as planned and complications occur. Babies need more time in the hospital or procedures that need to occur. Again in my studio, we wait till the baby is discharged from the hospital and book them as soon as possible.
This is something that were had to face after the Covid quarantine! Babies born while we were closed and still wanted those fresh little baby pictures. What were learned is some babies were not as bendy but some were still able to pose nice and curly. Some babies were much more alert and soothing them to sleep was NOT easy! Our sessions were much longer but we were still able to create beautiful pictures.
As a professional photographer I prefer photographing newborns between 5-10 days. Babies are still very sleepy and curly, nursing issues have been addressed, formulas have been figured out. Mom has had a little healing time. There are times I will stretch that time out till 14 days because behind the scenes I may have a busy schedule with my family, my assistant may not be available or we are slammed in the studio with sessions.
In conclusion with our experience and knowledge we feel confident we can create a beautiful session for your new little love and will tell you what days we have available and what works best for us and for your little one!
A few years ago I wrote a blog posting explaining how some of the poses I did during a newborn session required a second set of hands and some photoshop magic. Some beautiful poses require a second set of hands to hold baby safely in place. The rest of the poses that I did I knew baby was wrapped snuggly or safely within an arms reach while I was photographing. There were some props and poses that did require a spotter and I would ask Mom or Dad, who were at the session to help spot the baby (as long as said she felt up to helping or did not have a c-section).
Whenever I booked twins I would ask for another set of hands (outside of Mom and Dad) and hire someone for the day to help me assist during the session. I also hired someone, to help, when I was photographing a newborn at the end of my fifth pregnancy. My tummy was slowing me down and I knew I was not agile enough to reach the baby quickly enough to be deemed safe.
After Rosalie was born I decided to photograph her newborn session and realized a few things very quickly. I was SOOO sore! I had a relatively good delivery and recovery but I was still too sore to want to comfortably sit and pose my baby. My husband was spotting for me so I could do a few props that required someone to be next to her and we both realized another factor, exhaustion. This was expected, we were parents to a brand new baby and getting very little sleep.
I thought about the fact that there are so many jobs that require a certain amount of sleep to safely perform the job. It made me realize that I needed to be more cautious about asking parents to help. There were certain poses and props I had wanted to do but did not because of the safety risk and parents being too tired. My studio at the time was so small, that adding an additional person to the room would make it almost impossible to move around but the idea was on my mind. I know that my next goal was to have a larger studio and to add a full-time assistant who I could train.
When the new studio was finally completed, Jen joined my team. It has been over a year and she has been nothing short of amazing. She was trained by me and now has the experience that makes her invaluable! Her sole job is to watch the babies and predict their movements through breathing patterns. She checks circulation, her eyes never leave the baby and she is always inches or hands on when needed. Her focus is 100% safety. This relieves some of the pressure from me and now I am free to focus more on camera settings, being more creative with my setups and more variety.
My pictures show beautiful sleeping newborns but the truth is they are constantly moving, wiggling, squirming. They wake easily, they stretch and lurch! Jen is constantly there stabilizing their heads, holding their limbs so they do not flail and wake themselves. She is next to them to calm them. With her working alongside of me I can now safely accomplish so many poses that require that second set of hands! She can pass me items that I may need (before I would either need to ask a parents of lift the baby out of the pose and prop, risking waking them, all to reach one small item).
With sibling shots it doesn’t always look like you need a spotter because they are laying down or the older sibling has been so easy-going and sweet with their new sibling. After photographing over 100 newborns and 300 toddlers I have experienced how quickly toddlers can change their mind and move. My assistant is sitting next to the baby and ready at an instant to scoop baby up if their brother or sister gets a bit wiggly or wants to push the baby off. The same with parent shots, Mom may feel weak from her delivery experience and Jen is standing next to her helping her support baby and parents feel more secure knowing that there is someone there to aid them if need be.
With our combined experience, Jen and I have managed to photograph babies with special needs and physical handicaps with ease. Working together we do not fear even the fussiest babies and our average photography session has gone down from 3-4.5 hours to 2-3 hours. The biggest bonus? Parents can sit back and relax. They have less stress knowing there are two wide awake, experienced baby handlers holding their newborn. They are able to sit back, have a coffee, browse there phones, play with the older siblings, etc. A few have even caught a short nap knowing that their baby is safe.
I am so pleased that my studio is able to offer this service, of an assistant, for every newborn session.
What does a full session look like? How many set ups will I receive? How many images? Do I get family images? These are just a few of the questions we usually receive and the answer always is, ‘Well that depends!’ It depends on what you want, do you want certain set ups? It depends on the baby, some babies are really sleepy and very easy to pose and move around and others are more awake and not as sleepy and variety is harder to achieve. We do guarantee a beautiful gallery, with a colour palette that will flow with your own decor. We highly encourage family pictures!
We will work hard to make sure all those small details, the shape of your sweet baby’s little nose, the way their cheeks are curved, the tiny bits of downy hair on their shoulders that will disappear within a few weeks…we will find that snuggly pose that they melt into and learn how they were curled in your womb for nine months (babies often will want to do into this pose so much easier!!).
More importantly we will celebrate the moment your life has changed forever by the arrival of this new little person.
What does your full session look like? Amazing. Awe inspiring. Beautiful. Stunning. Breathe taking.
Do you have a fancy schmancy DSLR camera that you bought but I NO idea how to use it? Have you tired to figure out how to shoot like the pros but just ended up confused with the jargon and details that are a bit boring? On March 23rd, 2016 at 7pm I will be hosting a DSLR course aimed at teaching you how to use your camera on manual. This course is basic, for someone who has never charged for their photography but bought a DSLR to take better pictures but cannot figure it out. For $40 you can learn how to understand your camera, learn how to take a better picture of your kids, get that blurry background, how to look like a super smart person who not only invested in an awesome camera but also knows how to use it!
The course will be held at the studio at 1216 Sand Cove road, please email me beforehand so I know how many people (and seats!) we will have.
This course will a bit hands on, so bring your camera and your instructions manual, a pen and paper. Come ready to learn and ask questions. Only accepting a small number of people, first come first serve. Fee can be EMT to firstname.lastname@example.org
We will not be covering editing, business, gear, lighting or styling…just the basics to get you started!