The woods were still...
the birds sang and the sun glowed through the trees during this fresh and early morning spring session. There's something quite lovely about those early mornings in the countryside. The world is still waking up and the only people you might meet is the odd dog walker. Mist rises over dewy grass, the breeze rustles through the spring blossoms and the silence is only broken by the odd bleating sheep in the distance.
I had the honor of meeting up with and capturing Hannah, Carl and two month old Elena that morning at Staunton Country Park.
Staunton Country Park is a listed Regency landscaped parkland and forest encompassing approximately 1,000 acres in Havant, Hampshire. Staunton is a fabulous location for Newborn, Family and Maternity Photography sessions with it's open meadows, ancient forest, meandering paths and Lake.
"We'll do some walking, standing, sitting....and we're going to laugh in each others faces a bit"
Sweet Elena was a "lockdown newborn" but at the earliest possible time after restrictions lifted we arranged to capture their new family. Elena must have known she was going to have her photos taken because the night before our session she let her Mummy and Daddy have a whole 6 hours straight of sleep for the first time!
Isn't it the best, after what feels like forever, when they start to sleep for longer stretches through the night? I know I was immensely grateful and practically felt like a new woman when my own small love dropped one of her night feeds!
After the usual meet and greet Hannah asked me a question I'm regularly asked, "so what did you have in mind?" My answer is pretty much always the same. "I've found a pretty spot, we'll do some walking, standing, sitting. You'll look at each other, at baby and then a little bit at me but mostly each other, oh and we're going to laugh in each others faces a bit." I've found that nothing gets people laughing and relaxing more than when they laugh in each others faces, it gets all of the nerves out (including mine).
she was so content being snuggled by Mum and Dad
I always start my sessions with the whole family together, we chat, you laugh, you look at each other while I am usually doing photography gymnastics snapping up all of your beautifully entwined moments as you interact with each other and your small baby.
Elena was such a darling and I was able to get a mixture of sleepy and wide awake photos, I love being able to capture gorgeous newborn eyes. Of course, she cried sometimes, I've not met a newborn yet that doesn't. But she was so content being snuggled by Mum and Dad and that's one of the reasons I and my clients favour lifestyle newborn photography.
Finding the perfect location
With forest sessions, I always look for slightly open spaces where the light can be filtered through the trees behind my clients and create beautiful warm halos around them. Photo sessions booked early in the morning or for early evening are perfect for getting that "glow" when in the woods. When I found this pretty spot the previous morning with it's tall trees behind and small shrubs with new leaves starting to emerge just in front I knew I had found the perfect spot. This was also an area of the woods with less footfall, even though it was earlier in the morning Staunton can get busy on the weekends and I wanted to make sure that we would have the least amount of disturbance.
Minimal posing and taking the babies lead
With all of my lifestyle photography sessions I try to use minimal posing and take the babies lead. We had a few breaks so that sweet Elena could have a cuddle and prop up the milk bar and with Newborn sessions this is totally expected! I know what it's like to be a new parent with the need to feel comfortable and not rushed so it's my main priority.
When we were planning this session I asked if they had any special blankets and they had THE best blanket. Soft, a neutral colour and beautifully crafted by Carls Nan. Along with being handmade by a loving relative, as blankets go this one is perfect for newborn photography. The wool is not reflective like fluffy man made fabrics can be and the subtle pretty pattern doesn't distract you from that gorgeous face.
Motherhood is such an important thing to document
Like with all newborn photo sessions I love to capture photos of that special early connection of just baby with each parent. To see how small they are in your arms will bring back all the feels in the future. Dads always look super proud and babies heads are so tiny in their hands but I love to prioritize Mumma's during sessions. They're not in photos nearly enough (thank goodness for selfies, right?) and early Motherhood is such an important thing to document. Although it may not feel like it at the time, it's gone in a flash. Also I know that everyday wear with little ones can usually consist of milk stained t-shirts and your comfy leggings so when you make the effort to dress up for a session I love to snap up photos were you're perhaps feeling the most "put together" that you've been for a little while.
Lifestyle Newborn photography is so important, it documents that early stage in not just your wee ones life but in your parenthood in a relaxed and natural way. We won't be creating photos just for your children to look at, you'll be able to see yourselves grow with your sweet little people over the years and that is such a special thing that lifestyle photographers are able to give. I hope that this gallery will be enjoyed by Hannah, Carl and gorgeous Elena for many years to come.
About the Author
Hi there! My name is Estella Ward, Owner of Entwined Photography. It's my mission to capture heartfelt joy and connection. I have always been drawn to photography that draws emotion and captures the spirit of the moment that you can almost hear the laughter in the photo.
I see such beauty in all the fleeting moments of time and I've carried that perspective with me into my adult life, especially since becoming a mother. Entwined Photography is a Family, Newborn and Maternity lifestyle photographer based in Havant, Hampshire and serves areas in and around Havant, Hayling Island, Portsmouth, Waterlooville, Fareham, Rowlands Castle and Chichester.