Baby Photography in Winchester – Ophelia makes this Family Complete

A few weeks ago I had the absolute privilege of being asked to photograph 4 week old baby Ophelia along with her Mum, Dad and two older (and very proud) big brothers. I have recently added baby photography in Winchester (and beyond) to my portfolio and as photo shoot opportunity.

This family is incredibly special and important to me. Along with my husband, I was lucky enough to photograph Veronique and Carl’s wedding 7 years ago, which was just exceptional. Sadly their plans to start a family were thwarted when they were told that this would be unlikely, if impossible. Thanks to the nature of Veronique’s determination, personal sacrifices and positive outlook however, they have just welcomed Ophelia to their beautiful (and now complete) family of five, with Ezra (aged 4) and Saul (aged 2) being the very proud and doting older brothers!

Over these years I have photographed the boys quite a lot which I have just loved, as not only have I built up a lot of resources and tactics to photograph these shy, young boys who don’t necessarily like the camera, but I have also gotten to watch this young and beautiful family grow and blossom! This is the beauty and benefit of having regular families who keep coming back – you get to watch the family grow which is the biggest honour you can get! You can read about their previous shoot when they welcomed Saul to the world here. You can also read about the time we had the most amazing Teddy Bear’s Tea Party.

Outside Shoot – Bishops Waltham Ruins

As a family photographer in Winchester my main way of shooting is outside  in natural light and in outdoor locations in and around Winchester. I do not own a studio and avoid shooting with flashes or additional lighting because I prefer natural lighting all the way. I tend to offer a mix of posed and unposed images as the majority of my clients prefer natural images of their children just playing.

This style can obviously provide difficulties for baby photo shoots especially with the unpredictability of the Great British weather! Most children don’t mind a few spots of rain (especially where wellies and puddles are concerned), and if they get cold you can just add another layer or get them to run around more. It is not quite so easy with babies however, so they either end up so wrapped up that you can’t actually see them anymore, or they’re glued to Mum or Dad for fear of being put down! This is why 99% of my baby photo shoots tend to happen in the clients home as there it is safe and warm and dry!

This is why I wanted to blog about this family shoot – because it was a tale of two halves and the first time I have conducted a shoot in two different places. The first half was spent outside at the beautiful Bishops Waltham Ruins where I focussed on Saul and Ezra. This is an amazing location if you want the juxtaposition of grass and wildflower with old ruins and beautiful stonework. It’s actually one of my featured locations in my locations blog.

We managed to get a couple of lovely family shots, but other than that, baby Ophelia wasn’t really party to this part of the shoot. Like most newborns, she didn’t appreciate being put down (not helped by the storm that was brewing) so I left her in the comforting arms of Mum or Dad while the rest of us ran around, chased bubbles and ate a lot of chocolate buttons! With hindsight, I think was a really nice part of the shoot for the parents particularly because they get images of Ezra and Saul just being themselves without posing or constraints!

This is where I am in my element – I love to shoot reactively to the children when they are out and about as it makes the images so much more natural and personal to the families. I would have happily stayed for ages if it weren’t for the weather!

Inside Shoot – The Anning Home

As is so often the case at the moment, we had to call it a day when the rain just got too heavy so we decided to relocate back to Veronique and Carl’s home. They only live two minutes down the road which was super convenient plus I felt that although I had the boys covered, I hadn’t got nearly enough shots of Ophelia that I was hoping for. Despite being incredibly laid-back, Veronique initially had that panic of inviting somebody armed with a camera back to a messy house. I get these moments of panic a lot and I worry that the option of shooting in their own home may actually put people off. As I said to Veronique – I am not there to judge or comment on your home or mess, and if you saw the chaos of my own home then you really needn’t worry. All I need is a decent amount of light and somewhere to start playimng around with the baby!

Ironically, as Veroniques house is a beautiful old cottage, it is quite dark inside which, when coupled with the dark and stormy clouds outside, did not make it easy.  Well-meaning parents always then put the light on, but this can often have the undesired effect of adding a warm light into the mix along with the natural light coming in through the windows and I really struggled to capture Ophelia naturally and as beautifully as I knew I could.

It was then that I asked if we could go upstairs to the master bedroom where I could place Ophelia on the bed and capture her from different, more interestimg and flattering angles! It also meant I could get Ezra and Saul back involved but with a completely different feel to the pictures taken outside.

We had to make sure Ophelia was fast asleep first as then it would be easier to shoot her and have the boys kiss her without upsetting her. It also gave Veronique the chance to either get her changed, get her naked or wrap her in a blanket that had personal significance. In the end we did all three and then Veronique brought out her wedding dress. She said she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with it, but she really liked the idea of her little girl having a shoot in it every year! Isn’t that the most beautiful idea? I personally am looking forward to 3 year old Ophelia wearing Mummy’s wedding dress with a pair of dressing up shoes! I can see that image now – her sitting on a chair with her little legs swinging! Gorgeous! Looking forward to it already!

Something that is worth bearing in mind when considering baby photography is the amount of time needed. I spent about 4 hours with The Anning family for this shoot. Toddlers can be notoriously fickle when it comes to having their photos taken, and babies of this age have to be in a deep sleep before you can really do anything with them. I absolutely don’t mind how long it takes, but I know that some parents worry if the baby needs constant feeding, changing or rocking to sleep. Please let me reassure you – I am a mum so have been there! I am not there to judge you or your parenting styles. Please do not worry about the time it takes – a relaxed and happy mum is a relaxed and happy baby!

We have been very lucky to have Caroline capture so many magical moments in our lives and she already does so with such skill. Caroline is a wonderful photographer who always takes the time to get to know the person she is photographingwhich makes a huge difference when you have a camera-shy 2 year old. She is always keen to take omn my personal suggestions and requests which makes the shoots so much fun. We really wouldn’t want anyone else to capture these moments as she has an amazing talent and it shows with the wonderful quality of photos you get. Thank you so much Caroline.

Veronique Anning

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