About the author: Jane Burkinshaw is a professional photographer and passionate about all things photography related. Jane specialises in portrait photography and runs photography courses.

Capturing those precious moments by Cheshire Baby Photographer Jane Burkinshaw

I've had the very special experience of photographing two babies in recent weeks and both sets of parents have kindly agreed to let me share the photographs. (Click on any image to see a larger version).
This is 2 week old Emelie, a very precious first baby for her mummy and daddy. I encourage parents to let me take natural, unposed pictures of them bonding with the new baby, as these moments are so unique, personal and special and often go unrecorded.
It's so important to get all those tiny new details too - tiny fingers and toes, barely unfurled ears and swirls of hair on the crown of the head. Expressions unique to each baby, the positions they sleep in. I love Emelie's hands thrown up over her head!
Photographing baby's bath time is becoming a bit of a trademark of my newborn shoots, as it's perfect for relaxing a grizzly baby and for capturing some very special bonding moments. Baby's modesty is preserved by using a few bubbles in the bath water.
It's still important to get those slightly more posed photographs that will be displayed on the walls, but I'm a firm believer in keeping it simple and natural. A few simple props are all that's necessary as the baby is the star of the show.

If you can cope with some more cuteness, here's seven month old Callum with his older sister. Photographing very young siblings can be a challenge and my secret is to keep it fun and natural, encouraging play, making it fun and not directing them into difficult poses.
These photos were all taken around the family home, with no need for backdrops or studio lights. Simplicity and speed are the key. (Check out that gorgeous tuft of hair!)
Things don't always go to plan and babies get tired and fed up quite quickly. I keep shooting as this is the time when I can get some fantastic expressions that mum and dad will say: "That is so Callum!"

Callum has reached the end of his patience in this last image, but he looks so adorable and his sister's facial expression and eyes are beautiful!

If you're looking for simply beautiful photographs of your children get in touch. Full details are on the website. Shoots can also take place outdoors in favourite family locations. If you have any questions about how a shoot works and what to expect give me a call.


Wow! Your baby is one! Celebrate with a photo shoot with a difference! By Cheshire baby photographer Jane Burkinshaw

Wow! Suddenly your baby is one year old! How did that happen? And what a year it's been, especially if this was your first baby! A speeding roller coaster of emotions,  a time of learning new skills without any instructions, sleepless nights, joy-filled days, exhausted evenings and magical moments of near disbelief that you created this amazing little person!

Can you tell that I've been there twice? My children are now 11 and 13 - now how did that happen?! Everyone says that the time will fly and you must treasure every moment and "make the most of it"! In reality that's very very difficult to do as you are swept along on an uncontrollable journey. There are no brakes and sometimes it feels as if there's not even a steering wheel and somehow you've reached a destination: in this case that enormous milestone of the First Birthday.

One of the best ways that you can mark this momentous occasion is with a photo shoot - I know, I would say that, wouldn't I?! But really, this is such a wonderful age. Your baby has a sense of humour and giggles and laughs uncontrollably, he expresses his affection in wide mouthed wet kisses and fierce hugs. He has favourite toys and he soon lets you know if he doesn't like what's on the menu at meal times!

I know how fast this time flies by and how these precious moments become memories. Photographs freeze those moments forever and let you look back at them and share them with others. I love to capture all the natural, unposed moments and the real expressions as your baby plays and concentrates fiercely, or looks up to give you a cheeky grin, or bangs his spoon demanding more.

If you'd like to celebrate your baby's first birthday with a photo shoot please get in touch for an informal chat to find out more. Take a look at the Picture It Big website to see my work and check me out a bit! To see a natural, lifestyle baby shoot take a look at Oscar's first five months on the blog.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too! Like Picture It Big on Facebook to see more of my photography.


Baby Photography with a Difference. By Cheshire children's photographer Jane Burkinshaw

This gorgeous boy is Oscar. In the top circular image he is around five months and has discovered the delights of "tummy time". In the shot at the bottom he's around 3 weeks old and is having a cuddle after his bath. These are beautiful shots by which his parents can remember those precious early days.

I first met Oscar's mum and dad when I went to show them how to use their camera to get some great shots themselves. Take a look at my photography courses if this is something that interests you. We hit it off immediately and they booked me to come back and photograph Oscar a week or so later.

I always go to a shoot prepared to do some staged, very cute images with props and hats etc but I often end up also taking lots of pictures that are less formal. This is usually when baby is being settled and cuddled or fed. Many parents prefer these natural, bonding images and this was very much the case at Oscar's session.

I took these pictures when I first got there, when Oscar was wide awake.

Although you can't really tell from these pictures he was being a bit grizzly and unsettled, but really needed a sleep (which is when I usually take the staged photographs). His mum suggested he had a bath (despite it not being bath-time!) and it proved to be a genius suggestion. We got some truly gorgeous photographs of Oscar relaxing in his bath with mum and dad taking it in turns to wash and play with him.

Oscar's parents and family absolutely adore these images as they capture such a special time. Once he was warm and dry, mum asked if we could do some "naked" shots of the three of them. No one was actually naked, except Oscar of course! We did some clever rolling down of dressing gowns and shy dad was coaxed into taking off his shirt! The resulting photos were well worth it and they've ordered the black and white picture of the three of them as a large print on wood (details can be found here). 

With Oscar fast asleep after his relaxing bath I also got the more formal naked baby shots.

But this isn't the end of the story! His parents were so thrilled with how the first shoot went, that they decided to book a Baby's First Year package with me. I went back last month to photograph Oscar again. I did some classic "portrait" type shots - the ones you'd want to frame - but I also did lots of natural pictures of him, including him eating his lunch of swede and carrot (he wasn't very impressed with that course!).

Mum and dad are building up an amazing collection of images for their Baby's First Year album. Time is flying by and it won't be long until I'm next photographing their beautiful baby boy again.

If you are interested in booking a baby photography shoot or one of my other packages, just get in touch. Packages can be tailored to your individual requirements.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too! Like Picture It Big on Facebook to see more of my photography.


Baby Harriett's first photo shoot (by Cheshire baby photographer Jane Burkinshaw)

I photographed Harriett back in October but couldn't share many of her pictures until now, as her parents were giving framed images as Christmas presents. The lucky grandparents had no idea that Harriett had even had a photo shoot and were bowled over by the pictures. I'm really happy to be able to share them now as she is a beautiful baby girl.

The name Harriett means "lord of the manor" and this was certainly true of this little lady in the first few weeks. She wasn't easy to settle, preferring to be held in her mum's arms all the time. And when she wanted something she knew how to shout for it! My daughter was exactly the same in the early months and I knew that we were going to have to be patient to get those angelic, sleeping images.

Whilst mum fed and settled Harriett I made cups of tea and photographed the sort of details that also make amazing memories. This is my favourite - the family's slippers lined up in a row!

Mum was also happy for me to take discreet pics of Harriett breastfeeding - I love the way she is soothing her daughter by stroking her temples.

When babies do take a while to settle, which is more often than not, I like to take pictures of mum and dad interacting with their baby, often catching very intimate and natural moments that reflect what it's like to be a new parent.

And when Harriett finally fell asleep the magic really started to happen. With the aid of a screen and fake flooring I'd created a simple backdrop with a lovely comfy bed for her in a vanity case and we'd got the heating set on tropical. Harriett's parents couldn't believe how it was possible to get such lovely images without them having to tidy up their lounge!

If you're expecting a baby and would like to enquire about a newborn shoot in the comfort of your own home, then please get in touch. I'd love to hear from you.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!

A newborn photo shoot with Isabella Rose (by Cheshire baby photographer Picture It Big)

Are you thinking about having a newborn photo shoot but are a bit apprehensive about what's involved? Perhaps you're worried about coping with all the needs of a brand new baby and at the same time inviting a stranger into what is usually a rather chaotic home? Hopefully I can put your mind at rest and give you an insight into what's involved.

I'm a mum of two so I've been there - so tired I can't remember which way is up, getting to grips with the complete mystery of a new baby - breast feeding, nappy changing, winding and settling. And fretting about the state of the house as it's besieged by visitors!

It was no different when I arrived at Lucy's house mid-morning on the day of the shoot. Isabella Rose was fast asleep upstairs so I had a cup of tea and a chat with Lucy about what she was looking for in terms of shots - would dad be around and did "moma" (gran) want to be in a few pictures too. I explained what equipment I'd got with me - I'd already sent Lucy an information sheet with handy tips on and she'd identified a great spot in front of the living room window and turned the heating up high to make sure it was lovely and warm for Isabella - we were soon sweating away! I then brought in my back drop and props and got everything set up. The crate I used is available as a toy box with wheels and a lid and can have baby's name and date of birth stencilled on the front. I offer it as part of a newborn photography package - it's a wonderful gift for new parents.
 I use natural daylight so we don't have hot studio lights and trailing wires around - the image shows the basic set up. We picked out some blankets I'd brought along and some of Lucy's and also some gorgeous little shoes that had been sent as a gift all the way from New Zealand from Lucy's brother. I like to photograph special details like this and also include them in shots with the baby.

Once everything was ready Lucy went to fetch Isabella and we started to get a few shots. I never expect to get the perfect newborn shots at the start of the shoot - everybody is getting used to each other and the camera. Isabella was awake and quite calm and we managed to get a few images of her surveying what was happening - I'd love to know what babies are thinking as we point strange black things in their faces whilst making funny noises and daft faces! 

She lay quite happily for a short while on the crate bed we'd prepared, but when she started to grizzle Lucy cuddled her and Isabella pulled some amazing frowning faces during this time, which had us all laughing. 

Newborn shoots are very different to others that I do as baby's needs come first at all times, so there's lots of downtime, when there's nothing for me to do but make cups of tea and wait until we're ready to go again. I love babies (and tea!) so this is no chore for me. There are lots of moments like this one whilst we try everything to settle a grouchy baby!Just after Isabella had had a feed Dad nipped in from work to get in on the action and we worked quickly to get some pictures of mum, dad and baby. 

Time for another feed and then Lucy's mum was keen to get a picture with Isabella so we did that next.

Isabella was zonked and the signs were there that she was going into a deep sleep - this was finally the time when I knew that the magic would happen! We had been gradually stripping her down over the last few hours - the room was a balmy 25 degrees by now! - and we settled her in her nappy onto the crate bed and I got on with capturing those blissful sleeping newborn shots. Lucy chose to have Isabella partly covered with a pink muslin, whereas some parents go for the bare baby's bottom look - it's a matter of personal preference and I will always respect that!

As ever, everything had come together in the last half an hour of the shoot - the rose petals were a last minute addition and really made the shots look stunning. Mission accomplished!

Read about Ella Rose's Newborn Shoot and see the beautiful images her parents have displayed on the walls in their home.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!
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A newborn photo shoot with Ella Rose (by Cheshire baby photographer Picture It Big)

I was delighted to be asked to photograph one week old Ella Rose - she is absolutely perfect and second time mum, Mindy, was totally chilled out, so this was the ideal newborn photo shoot.

Ella was having a feed when I arrived so having set up the first shot I put the kettle on and made us a nice cuppa. After a short while Ella fell asleep and we settled her onto a snuggly blanket and popped a matching hat on her head. I'm a bit of a knitter and take along a selection of things I've made for mum to choose from. This pink and purple blend really suited Ella's colouring.

As it turned out Ella didn't fancy a very long nap and I took the opportunity to set up the next shot whilst she had another feed and a quick nappy change. Mindy's family own the Hollies Farm Shop and we incorporated one of their branded apple boxes into the next shot, along with some beautiful sunflowers borrowed from the shop!

I decided to shoot this against a simple black background with Ella lying on super soft black velvet and I love the simplicity of the final shot. These apple boxes can be decorated with a baby's name or birth date, or simply "Made with love" etc, so watch this space as I intend to offer newborn packages incorporating the apple box, which can be used as a toy box or planter afterwards.

Mindy and Phil had been given a beautiful stripey blanket by some friends and wanted to use it in a shot, so we incorporated it into the next one with Ella's "big" brother, Ewan. Now this is where our relaxed morning shifted to a different pace, as I worked at the speed of light to capture this active toddler with his new sister! Mindy was thrilled to bits with the resulting pictures - it was very important to her to capture them both together and I like to have a happy client!

I then switched to a plain cream background. It's always nice to have a variety of shots with different props and colours. By this time Ella Rose was in a deep sleep and was very amenable to being posed.

The whole shoot took about two and a half hours and I think Mindy would agree that it was a very stress free experience, interspersed with several cups of tea, a delicious lunch brought across from the Hollies restaurant and quite a few curious visitors! I think our only complaint would have been about the heat! With baby Ella stripped naked for most of the time we had to keep the room nice and warm.

A couple of weeks later I returned to show Mindy and Phil the final photographs and to show them some options for displaying them on the walls. Mindy and I had already discussed before and during the shoot what she wanted to do and I also had some other ideas mocked up.

Mindy was a very well behaved client (!) coming back to me with her order within just a few days, so I was able to get everything turned around for her and delivered back nice and quickly. I love presenting clients with their finished, framed images - it's a magical moment, often with a few tears (of the happy variety!) and I realise all over again why I love this job!

They had chosen a number of different framed images - here are some of them.

I'm looking forward to going back to photograph Ella with her family during the next year and seeing how much she has changed.

If you'd like to see how I set up a newborn photoshoot in your home, check out A newborn photo shoot with Isabella Rose.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


How to take great pictures of babies

From the moment they explode into our lives babies are amazing! For something so small they have a massive impact on everything we do. Life as we know it ceases to be and the world revolves completely around them. We are totally governed by their every need and mesmerized by their very prescence. Go on, admit it, you've idled away many a moment just watching your precious new arrival sleeping and breathing. It's no surprise that we take literally hundreds of photographs, trying to capture every expression and moment. And it's not easy is it?! New babies sleep for England and when they're awake their eyes can't focus and can look a bit bozz eyed for the camera! Well, here's a few helpful hints to ensure that you make the most of this magical, albeit brief time.

Place baby on a sofa covered by a blanket to create a neutral background.
Location: Put your baby in a snuggly, safe and warm place in front of a window where the natural daylight from outside is falling onto them. Floor to ceiling windows are best. If the window is higher up then place baby safely on a sofa or bean bag. If you cover the sofa in a neutral blanket it creates an uncluttered background. Avoid areas of bright sunlight as it creates harsh shadows. Just move back away from the window a little. My children used to have a crib under the living room window and in the afternoon the light was wonderful. Hold your camera nice and steady, lean against a wall for extra support if possible.

Clothing: Personally I think new-born babies look amazing in the altogether - their skin is so precious. You have to be careful to arrange limbs and shoot from the right angles of course and sometimes I use blankets or muslin cloths to preserve baby's modesty! Knitted hats and bootees can look very cute, especially if they are special gifts.

Camera settings: Whatever type of camera you are using, make sure your flash is turned off! If you are using a point and shoot compact camera or phone just take pictures from lots of different angles and zoom in to capture close ups of feet, hands and faces. Try using the Macro / flower setting to get some real close ups.

If you are a little more adept with your camera then take into account the following too: ideally you need a shutter speed of 1/60 minimum - you should be able to see this displayed on your camera LCD or in the viewfinder. If it's less than 1/60 try increasing the ISO number. Using the Program mode will allow you to get some nice shots, especially if you zoom in on details, but try using the Av / A aperture setting and try different low apertures such as f/3.5 or lower and close up shots to focus on tiny details and blur the background. If you are using very low apertures you need to be very careful where you focus. If you have time to plan ahead a 50mm fixed lens will give some great results.

Photograph newborns when they're asleep... because it's easier and also because they look so cute! In the first two weeks a newborn baby will still tend to curl up its legs and arms when asleep and it's such a beautiful pose. The best time is when baby has been changed and fed and has gone into a deep sleep. I'm sure you've realised that nothing short of an explosion will wake them and it's surprisingly easy to move them into nice positions.

Having said that, it's lovely to get some pictures of eyes open and new babies have some extremely comical faces - even mid cry!

Photograph hands and feet... and include your own hands for a sense of scale and to create a picture full of emotional impact. And don't forget to photograph those all important little bootees and gifts, again putting them in natural daylight near a window.

For ideas and tips on how to photograph babies Pinterest is an amazing resource and I've collated quite a few boards full of gorgeous pictures and useful suggestions.

If you've enjoyed my blog please leave me a comment! If you're interested in photography lessons or know someone that would like a newborn shoot then please just get in touch with me!

Tel: 07868 750505

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!


Mad hatter

I’ve come up with a cunning plan to combine my two favourite hobbies and have even managed to dress it up as a strategic business development opportunity. Number one hobby / obsession has already been turned into a profession (although it will always be a work in progress). My second passion is knitting, especially knitting small things that can be completed over a few days. I used to start far more ambitious projects (note the use of the word “start”), but they usually proved to be costly mistakes. £25 of merino wool either transformed into some hideous garment that I would never wear, or simply didn’t get beyond the half a sleeve stage. Abigail was rummaging through one of my knitting baskets the other day and held up several half-finished and very un-loved projects, querying “What’s this mummy?”. One item was part of an apple green jumper for a seven year old. I could no longer remember which part and Abigail is now ten!

Anyway I digress. I am now knitting hats for newborn babies – devastatingly cute and ultra fast to complete. I can whip one out per night or per double episode of Waking the Dead. I am not diversifying into selling hats for babies (although if needs must...), but I do hope I’ve hit upon a way of breaking into a new photography market. Once upon a time newborn babies were only photographed in hospital, something I didn’t quite get. I wanted to be photographed with my precious new baby but I looked like I’d been attacked by the Michelin Man (a bit like being Tangoed but instead of being turned orange I had been inflated), not to mention the suitcases under my eyes. Many mums (me included) then waited for several months until baby could hold its head up and focus both eyes in the same direction before shelling out for a photo shoot. There’s a growing trend now for babies to be photographed within the first 10-14 days when they still have that newborn, curled up, scrunched up look. The photo shoots take place in the comfort of the home, at a relaxed pace and around the baby’s non-existent schedule. New babies sleep for England and capturing them curled up and oh so new to the world is absolutely magical. They lose that special “newness” within a few weeks, unfurling, filling out and growing at an unbelievable rate. Blink and you’ll miss it. I wish I had taken many more pictures of my children during this brief phase.

During an idle moment perusing knitting books I came across one full of the most outrageous hats for newborns and babies. The photography was gorgeous and I experienced one of those “Eureka” moments. Tiny new babies in super soft chunky hats hand knitted by yours truly. The chunkiness, texture and softness of the woollen hats give a sense of scale and a feeling of protection, as well as just being so darn cute!

Since that moment I've been a one woman knitting factory and have put together a nice little collection of natty hats. I've made very good friends with the lady at the knitting shop in Knutsford - she's probably just being nice because I'm such a good customer now! I've probably scared off a few heavily pregnant women with my eagerness to get a few models for my hats! Thanks to those mums who have let me into their homes to photograph their precious bundles.

My new venture looks as if it's going to reap rewards. I can't wait to photograph baby Ocean next week - suspect the azure blue hat will go down well. And I've had a lot of interest in the hats too. Perhaps I should offer them as a package...!

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I'd love to hear your comments too!
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