Thanks to lockdown, Belfast Birth Photographer had the chance to begin.
If you've been following me, you'll know that Belfast Birth Photographer only launched in July. So let me quickly tell you a bit of the back story and how I'm grateful for all the changes that have brought me here!
I launched Belfast Birth Photographer during lockdown as it was the perfect opportunity to redirect the focus of my work. I lived in London for ten years and even though I moved back to Belfast over two years ago, the majority of my work was still there. I would fly over at least once a month and combine my shoots into a few days. My work varied from commercial, to fitness and weddings. I loved it, but it was tricky to balance life here and how I wanted to grow my business here, but giving the time and energy necessary to my work in London.
I love London and am missing going there for work and to see friends, but much prefer the lifestyle here beside the sea, close to family and the friendliness and warmth of home. Since moving back, it was always on my to-do list to promote my work more over here, but when you're established somewhere else and the work is coming in regularly, I struggled to find the time to focus on getting work here. Especially when many of your days are filled with the fun of your toddler niece!
I moved back to help with child care of my niece when she was 6 months old. The plan was to do six months, then make the decision to move back to London, or build up my photography work here. It was a tough decision, but I loved being close to my family again, being part of my niece's everyday and being part of different lifestyle.
Since starting my photography career ten years ago, I moved from fashion to headshots to weddings, gradually getting more and more real. I don't have kids of my own yet (I hope to someday), but I'm drawn to the bond and seeing the connections between parents and their children. Now was the perfect time to focus on that niche, to start a new brand and play my part celebrating such a special time.
Given the name, you'll know that my ultimate goal is to be known primarily as a birth photographer. Nothing can be more raw, real and full of emotion that birth. Having photographed one last year, I've been waiting for the right time to launch my birth photography business to be able to commit to on-call life. While now is the right time for me because of the changes in lifestyle due to Covid-19; because of the restrictions around birth, that mean's birth photography is on hold for a little longer. (Unless you're having a home birth - in which case, HIT ME UP, please!).
Working with the restrictions and inspired by other photographer's "Through The Glass" work, I started a project for World Breastfeeding Week. Finally I was able to pick up my camera again, connect with Mums and deliver beautiful photographs of them with their little ones safely during a global pandemic.
New parents are missing out on so much at moment. During pregnancy and birth, they are denied moments and support that are normally taken for granted, but have been restricted to help control Covid-19 and reduce their risk. I'm here to support new parents to get beautiful photos of their babies. When friends and family members aren't able to get up close for a cuddle, professional photos play an even more important role.
I imagine for the next while restrictions are going to change, tighten and relax, so what I'm writing today is how I've been operating to keep you safe. Additional measures may be required in future, or it might be a case of putting plans on hold again for a while, or adapting. However things change, I'll be ready to adapt and do my best to continue to support you.
How I'm trying to keep safe.
Since March, everything has been uncertain! In an attempt to bring a little bit of certainty and give you some reassurance I wanted to talk openly about how I've made lifestyle changes to help to keep me safe, and then more importantly how I've adapted my business and photoshoots to keep you safe.
I'm well and truly in the camp of being a bit of a hermit to minimise contact and any potential risk of catching or transmitting the virus. As a child care provider for my niece, I'm in a bubble with my sister, her partner and my niece. Our bubble was extra strict as my sister was pregnant with her second baby during lockdown. We took no additional risks and really have been a bit reclusive! As restrictions for the general population lifted, our bubble kept in lockdown mode as not enough was known about pregnancy and Covid-19. In addition, my father had been shielding and is at high risk, so I made the choices of being stricter in my movements to be able to visit and support them if needed.
- I've stayed away from the gym, choosing to exercise outside.
- I haven't been in a restaurant, cafe or bar since March. (Although support everyone who is doing their bit to 'Eat Out to Help Out).
- I'm only doing essential trips to the shops.
- I wear my mask in shared public indoor spaces.
- I haven't been on a plane and am lucky enough to be able to drive and avoid the risk factor of public transport. (If you've been on holiday, I want every detail and to vicariously holiday through you!) Having travel withdrawals for sure!
All minor changes in the big scheme of things, but I wanted to be totally transparent, so that any Mums reading this who want photos but are nervous about having someone into their home, can be reassured knowing a bit more about me and my lifestyle during the pandemic.
While these restrictions are challenging (and the FOMO is real!), I know it's the best decision for me and gives me confidence as I started to work, that when I offer my services to clients, that I'm a low-risk element in their decision to have a someone outside of their household in their home.
How I keep you safe during your photoshoot.
- I book a limited number of sessions each week.
- I only book one photo shoot per day.
- I will arrive wearing a fresh set of clothes that haven't been worn in contact with anyone else.
- I'll sanitise my hands when I knock your door or press the door bell.
- I'll say hello standing 2m away from your doorstep and give your little one a big smile and have a wee chat, before putting on my mask and coming in. My mask will stay on until I'm outside again.
- I will try my best not to touch anything! I often move furniture around, or items out of shot. If it's essential to move it, I'll give my hands a quick sanitise before I do.
- During the shoot, I'll keep 2m distance and be using a longer lens to get in close for the detail shots I can get from further away.
- For certain shots or angles that I can't get from 2m distance, I'll be quick-fire shooting before moving back again.
- I apologise in advance for turning down any offers of tea, coffee and biscuits! Hospitality is such a core part of who we are! But this is just another way to minimise risk of transmission. I bring a flask of tea or water to ward off the dreaded cough that only comes from the fear you get of coughing when you shouldn't and don't have any reason to!
- In 'normal' times, I would spend more time chatting after the shoot, but in another way to reduce risk, I'll keep it short and sweet and say goodbye after the session ends to keep exposure time limited.
Can you just stay outside?
If you want a zero contact, zero risk session and prefer not to have anyone in your home, we can arrange a 'Through The Glass' portrait session. This way you stay cosy inside, totally protected by the barrier of the window and I can get some beautiful photos of you with your little one. If you prefer to book a 'Through The Glass' the time will be 30mins instead of an hour. (I might ask you to open the window for some of the shots and if you are within 2 meters of the window, I'll slip on my mask).
Here's the blog and a mini-gallery of photos all taken from outside, from a shoot I did in August.
What I ask of you.
Only a few things!
- If you are feeling unwell or displaying any symptoms of Covid-19, please let me know and we can reschedule your session.
- If you have had any contact with someone displaying symptoms, or who has tested positively for Covid-19, please let me know and we can reschedule your session.
- Please be understanding if I need to postpone the photoshoot because I am unwell, or any members of my bubble have been unwell or show any Covid 19 symptoms. It will be a 2 week wait until I'll be able to do the photoshoot, but will reschedule you at the earliest suitable time.