Kelly Brown of Little Pieces Photography has been named as the baby and newborn Canon Master photographer. Kelly told Jenna Templeton about her photographic experience and gave some expert tips on how to turn your own family snaps into beautiful memories.
I started my photography career after the birth of my first baby. I owned a Canon EOS 300 SLR camera and I couldn’t stop taking photos of my own first born. After many bad photographs, my husband Robert suggested I should study photography – I did and I was hooked. I think my passion for photography also came from my grandfather. He knew the importance of documenting the lives of his family through photos.
In 2004, I started my own business, Little Pieces Photography. I started it off with a collection of gift cards I created with photographs of flowers that I had taken. I sold them at local markets in the Blue Mountains and to boutique gift stores. From this, I moved on to taking family portraits and weddings. A lot of friends and women I knew were having babies and began asking me to capture and photograph their babies. So in 2006, I began photographing newborns too and I loved everything about it. It wasn’t until 2009 that I decided to solely focus my business on newborn photography. I haven’t looked back since. Being able to document a birth is truly amazing! I like to photograph newborns in the first two weeks when they are still nice and fresh and sleepy. My favourite time to photograph is around 10am.
Running my business from home means I can structure my working hours around my children’s lives so I don’t miss a minute.
I have photographed quite a few births, but sadly due to my husband working away from time to time, I’m not able to be on call all the time. However, two years ago my husband joined me in the business, which means he’s now home full-time. He looks after all of the bookkeeping and does a lot of the running around, which I’m so grateful for. This has really allowed me to focus on my career and to travel and teach while being a mother.
It feels like a dream to be awarded Canon Master. To be acknowledged like this for my work is so amazing. For me, being a Canon Master is the pinnacle – it’s something I never thought could be possible. It’s truly an honour.
My style has changed over the last 10 years photographing newborns. I used to love working with bright colours and props, but now I’m drawn to more organic natural tones and textures.
I love teaching and have been very fortunate to travel the world as an educator. During my classes, photographers learn a lot of technical aspects of photography from camera settings and lighting, through to composition and most importantly, how to work with newborns safely. They also teach a lot of business strategies and how to price and market their businesses.
I also host The Baby Summit annually – it’s a unique, three-day photography conference in August aimed at helping attendees learn from some of the industry’s most genuine and passionate leaders, as well as connect with like-minded people. It includes a three-day Trade Show and lots of social events. The overall objective of the event is to improve the technical skills and business acumen of professional photographers across Australia who specialise in or want to learn maternity, birth, newborn and baby photography.
Being able to share someone’s story with an image and create images that I know will be hanging on walls for generations inspires and drives my creative endeavors.
Kelly Brown shares her 6 top tips for photographing newborns:
1. Take photos in the morning, as babies are usually happier at the beginning of the day.
2. To capture those sleepy peaceful moments, make sure your baby is warm, well fed and feels secure.
3. Come in nice and close to capture all those perfect little baby features – their hands, tiny feet and beautiful faces.
4. Turn off your flash; it can be very unflattering to your baby.
5. Don’t forget to look at what’s going on in the background. Busy backgrounds can be distracting. Keep it nice and simple.
6. A great everyday camera to capture your family is the Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II, I love this camera and travel with it everywhere. I recently upgraded from the Canon 5D Mark III to the Canon 5DS and love it. It has an extremely high resolution sensor, which makes the image quality incredible. For beginners though, looking to an EOS 1300D is a great way to learn manual settings and get some really nice shots.
In my quest to capture the little pieces of life, last year I photographed 139 newborn babies, mentored 23 photographers and held 19 newborn posing classes across 12 countries. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I love and capture moments that’ll be treasured by families for generations.
Watch this video to see Kelly at work.
Multi-award winning baby and newborn photographer Kelly Brown lives in Queensland with her husband Robert and their children, Georgia, 12, and twins Mackenzie and Alex, 9. To see more of Kelly’s work, visit her website and blog and keep up to date with her photographic adventures via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.