Saturday, 30 May 2015

[#WOW] Meet Amanda from YM-Creations

Today we meet #WOW Winner Amanda, a mummy of one from Blackpool who runs YM-Creations a brain-child from YM-Designs. After all everyone loves something personalised! Here she is to tell us more!

Can you tell us a little about yourself as a person? 
I'm a married mummy of one cheeky little Monkey called Hayden. He is my world. I'm 26 Years old, from not so sunny Blackpool, and an Ex Army wife.

How did you first set up the business?
I set up YM-Creations on twitter after having set up my graphic design business due to being an army wife and always travelling, 2 years on after setting up YM-Designs, I found people loved everything personalised, especially items with names that were sometimes spelt differently and were hard for them to find gifts for. Due to this, YM-Creations was born.

How old is the business?
The business turned ONE on 22nd March 2015

Did you ever think you’d be running your own business?
No, I was always was too shy and lacked self-esteem & confidence in myself, to believe that I could run my own business.

Where are you based? Do you have a shop or are you just online?
We are online based based in Blackpool, I don't have a shop, although offer local collection on all of my items.

What is the most popular product sales wise?
My personalised glitter globes.

Everyone has a favourite product - what is yours?
My favorite product is my personalised phone case.

What is your newest item / product?
My newest item, is a typography birthday cushion.

What is the one thing people must know about your business?
The majority of my items are now printed in-house by myself and my husband. We print a press a range of items from mugs, cushions to phone cases. I design each and every one of the items myself and can be completely customised by the customer.

What is your proudest business achievement?
Winning the #WOW award, I entered every Wednesday afternoon, at the hope my business would be selected, On 14th October 2014 we were delighted to find out we had been chosen, on the same day my website won a Silver mumpreneur award also. Double whammy.

What do you do when you aren’t working on the business?
Being a mummy & housewife. Doing everything mummies do, nursery duties, chores, All the none glamorous stuff, but the most important family time. I also look into design new items & products, my mind never stops working.

What five words describe your business?
Unique, Personal, Keepsake, Proud, Typography

Any big plans for 2015 you can share?
I have just launched a non-personalised range called "Everlasting Words" that I hope to get stocked in other small business, gift shops & boutiques.

How can we find out more about you:
Telephone: 07788203607

I love everything about personalised items. Having never being able to find anything with my name on when I was little was always something that was a bit of a pain :) 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

[Studio] Newborn Alby & his Big Brother Loxley

When Lucy first enquired about a newborn session for her baby boy who was due, it was quite wonderful. The reason that Lucy lives in Nottingham and there are a million (ok not quite) photographers between her and myself which she could have chosen, but she chose me.

Lucy also know's one of my other customers too - so it's always lovely when clients come based on my work, and recommendations too.

Fast forward gorgeous little Alby arriving. I was a little worried, they'd come a long way if he didn't sleep, it isn't like I could just easily re-arrange. But I didn't have to worry. This boy loved his cuddles and settling back down into a sleep!

Alby's big brother also came, and whilst I was photographing him being good, Loxley was in the main showroom playing with the toys and eating crisps with his Daddy. According to Mummy & Daddy, Loxley doesn't smile "properly" and normally does a typical 3-Year old cheesy, eyes closed smiles.

No he DOESN'T look at that gorgeous smile he has!

I have had lots of expression funny baby faces in recently too and Alby was no different. I really need to come up with some captions!

The amount of poses, and images that you get from your Newborn Session all depends on how sleepy your little one is, and if having sibling or family shots too.

And the many faces of cutie big brother Loxley! Thank you Mummy and Daddy for bringing your gorgeous boys to Blue Lights Photography!

Thank you for this lovely review too! 

Monday, 25 May 2015

[Studio] Elliott and his Cake Smash

Total cutie Elliott came in for his Cake Smash to celebrate his birthday. I've known Elliott's Daddy for a long time - as we used to work together in my first ever job! But that just makes both of us feel really old so let's not mention that again!

We got a couple of photos of Mummy & Daddy with Elliott but he wasn't too fussed on them - he wanted all the limelight himself!

He was happy to pose, and was a little cautious of his cake first - as most children are - but as soon as he got a taste for it - boy did he get a taste for it!

I love seeing how children explore the cake, how they figure out the taste and texture of the cake. The good thing is that all our cakes are made fresh by The Sweetest things, and delivered to the shop - which means they're extra squishy - so even if your little one doesn't seem to "eat" lots - a tiny bit of buttercream goes a long way on the paper - and makes it look messier than it actually has been!
After the Cake Session its Splash Time! 
Kids come into the studio to have FUN and that's what they have with a cake smash session and then splash time! Splash time allows kids to get "clean" or some additional fun shots if they've not quite enjoyed the cake as much as expected!

Thank you Mummy & Daddy for choosing me to photograph Elliott's Cake Smash!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

[#WOW] Meet Kate from Burp! Boutique

Today we meet Kate from burp! boutique - and has won not only #WOW but #SBS too. Here she tells you more about her business.

Can you tell us a little about yourself as a person? 
I have been a designer and illustrator for over 15 years working for brands such as the RAF, 7digital and Three. I am Mama to Evie (5) and Lukas (10 months) and married to James, also a designer. We live in North Hampshire and can often be seen in London too checking out fun things going on. We want to have a camper van and travel with the kids to expand their awareness of other cultures and to have lots of fun.

How old is the business?
It is 4 years old this April

Did you ever think you’d be running your own business?
When I got to 30 I realised I wanted out of the office environment and office politics, so yes I knew I wanted my own business.

Where are you based? Do you have a shop or are you just online?
We are in North Hampshire and just have an online shop.

What is the most popular product sales wise? 
Our Mysterio Tshirts are one of our best sellers. Mystery predicts the childs future on a shirt. They are a great gift for newborns and come in size 0-6 months.

Everyone has a favourite product - what is yours?
New label Noe & Zoƫ

What is the one thing people must know about your business?
Well my shop is a fun place to come to get cool, quirky gender neutral pieces for your kids, be it to adorn them, their rooms or their minds :D

What is your proudest business achievement?
I won WOW and SBS a couple of years ago which was pretty cool.

What do you do when you aren’t working on the business?
Looking after the kids, sometimes doing freelance work, running around like a loon fitting it all in.

What five words describe your business?
Gender neutral, fun, individual, cool & happy.

Any big plans for 2015 you can share
New brands joining us. Keep tuned.

How can we find out more about you:
Twitter: @burpboutique
Instagram @burpboutique
Pinterest: @burpboutique

You definitely won't struggle to find a gift here for any of your friends little ones!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

[Studio] Elna 3 months

When people ask me what age is best to photograph if the Newborn Stage has been missed, then 12-16 Weeks is the next best age.  They still look like a baby but are more responding with smiles and other cute facial expressions.

And Elna was no different when she came in for her session at 12-Weeks old.

Elna came along to her shoot with Mummy, Daddy and her big brother - but our main part was to get photographs of Elna, looking new, and a total little cutie pie!

Elna started being a bit grumpy, but a snuggle with myself and she gave in and fell asleep! That doesn't mean the session stops there! Oh no! It is still possible to do some basic "Newborn" poses with older babies too! 

How much of a complete lovely is she! Absolutely adorable! Thank you to Mummy for bringing her to Blue Lights Photography! x

And thank you for this fabulous 5* Review on my Facebook page!

Monday, 18 May 2015

[Warning] Newborn Baby Safety

As a Newborn Photographer you know you will have heard me several times mentioning Baby Safety, but now I have to bring it once again to your attention.
As a specialist newborn photographer, I am urging all new mums in South Yorkshire to be aware of photographers who are attempting to produce arty, creative, newborn baby shots without following appropriate techniques and safety procedures.

This issue comes after two new mums were left horrified by photo-shoots where one baby rolled off the posing stand and another baby’s delicate head was allowed to drop in an attempt to create a head-in-hands pose.

I trained in the safe working aspect of Newborn Photography for over three years - and I know that these poses should only be created using edited composite shots.

Specialist newborn sessions can last anywhere between two and four hours. The rooms are temperature controlled and baby safety is the main focus of all our newborn sessions, using parents as “spotters” where required to support the baby. Sadly, there are photographers who do not use the right techniques or have not had training, and because there is a lack of awareness on how these images are created, parents see them, request them, and are none the wiser about what is right or wrong, or whether the baby is safe. Babies are being put at risk and I am keen to raise local awareness about the issue. No one is able to monitor the entire photography population, but we can reduce the problem by making parents aware and putting them in control of the situation. If you as a parent aren’t happy with something - you have a voice.

Parents in the UK are generating the demand for these pictures which came from America and led to the UK Market being flooded with photographers offering the service, with the likes of Pinterest and Flickr have added further to the demand.
I am a member of the Baby and Newborn Photography Association (BANPAS) - Helen McGlynn, co-owner of BANPAS, said recent reports illustrate not only the bad practises of some photographers, but a major lack of awareness amongst parents about how these photographs are created when done properly.

“Sadly we think this is the tip of the iceberg - newborn and new baby photography has exploded in this country in recent years, and so there are many stunning photographs of babies in sleepy poses in baskets, on suitcases or swings – all of which have been taken very safely, as two or three shots and created as a composite image,” she said.

“The problem is parents see these photos and ask for them, not knowing how they’ve been created. At that point mums and dads, who are usually exhausted with very young baby, are totally relying on the photographer to know what they are doing and to have had the right training.  Sadly that is often not the case.”

Emma Canham, co-owner of BANPAS often receives messages from concerned members of the public and photographers, with links to images of newborn babies in what appear to be worrying and/or unsafe poses.
“It’s a major problem,” she said. “We see images that show babies feet and legs are purple from where the blood supply is being restricted due to the pose or being left to get cold. We see photos where babies have clearly been left to balance in an unsupported pose, potentially restricting their airways or putting pressure on their delicate joints.
“And we see shots where babies do not appear to be relaxed, happy and at peace.  In some cases, it’s clear that the baby is in a very uncomfortable position.

“Sadly, we are unable to monitor what people are doing at home or police the newborn photography industry, there are no regulations or health and safety laws specific to this genre of photography.  

“We are determined to raise the profile of this issue and educate the public and the photographic community - working with, photographing and posing newborn babies requires skill, patience and safety awareness, which are the core values of our organisation.”

BANPAS requests documentary evidence from photographers that they have business insurance in place and for visual before and after composite image examples that they are working safely with newborn babies.  

BANPAS spends time looking at a photographer's portfolio to see the kind of poses they are regularly photographing.

And parents -  It is okay to ask to stop the session if your baby looks uncomfortable or you are concerned that your baby is being left to 'balance'. If you are not happy - speak up! 

All photographers listed on the BANPAS member directory have satisfied Helen & Emma that they are capable of working safely and have business insurance in place.  

Saturday, 16 May 2015

[#WOW] Meet Jane from Titchy

Today we have Jane to tell us about her business Titchy! Jane has been sewing for over 30 Years since her Mum taught her how to sew when she was little. Here she tells us more about her #WOW Business.

Can you tell us a little about yourself as a person? 
I’ve just celebrated my 37th birthday, which means it’s now 30 years since I got my first sewing machine! My Mum taught me how to sew when I was 7, and I used to make clothes for my Barbie’s. Fast forward 30 years, and I’m now a mummy myself, and the owner and creator of all things ‘Titchy’. 

How did you first set up the business?
It was July 2013 and my youngest was 6 months old, when I came across an advert for a children’s event taking place in September. At this point in time ’Titchy’ was still a pipedream, but there’s nothing like a deadline to drive things forward, so I booked my space. Two months later, a lot of hard work, late nights, lots of prototypes and of course the occasional tears, Titchy launched at the event.

How old is the business? 
18 months old.

Did you ever think you’d be running your own business?
No. It had been a dream for years, but until I met my very supportive husband, had my two girls, and escaped a career in sales, that’s all I thought it would ever be. 

Where are you based? Do you have a shop or are you just online?
I’m based in Macclesfield, Cheshire. I don’t have a shop, but I sell online via my own website, and All by Mama.  

What is the most popular product sales wise? 
It’s my Titchy Keepsake Bear. I currently have the time to take on 4 commissions per month, and I’m currently fully booked until late August 2015. Having said that people are already starting to book their Christmas slots too!

Everyone has a favourite product - what is yours?
Attached is one of my favourite bears (and also the one that caught Jaqueline Gold’s eye. Could it be the bear’s name?).

What is your newest item / product? 
It’s my Titchy Grandparent Bear. He/she’s made using a selection of clothes from all the Grandchildren.

What is the one thing people must know about your business?
I love what I do and I’m often too sentimental for my own good!...I understand how precious those clothes are, and although I’m going to cut them up with a pair of scissors, they’re in good hands.

What is your proudest business achievement?
It’s got to be wining my #WOW award! To have someone as influential and successful as Jaqueline Gold pick my business, well it just blew me away!

What do you do when you aren’t working on the business?
I’m ‘Mummy’ to Isabelle (4) and Evie (2), so they keep me very busy… & occasionally I find time for a spot of housework! 

What five words describe your business?
Personal, friendly, professional, bespoke, popular

Any big plans for 2015 you can share?
I am currently working on a range of fun children’s wear, influenced by my bears – watch this space!

How can we find out more about you:
Telephone: 07850 221734

I love the idea of the Grandparent Bear! I've not known anyone have one of those before!

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Girl Behind the Camera

Anyone who knows me will know that I really do not like having my photographs taken. Bit silly I know considering I am a photographer. So imagine my surprise when I find myself booking a photo shoot as I needed some professional head-shots for a press release. Yes you read that right! Me on the OTHER side of the camera!

I likened it to going to the dentist (I have a fear of the dentist) that you don’t really want to do it - but sometimes you just have to suck it up and go with it - and that’s exactly how I felt. After having a bit of a grown-up tantrum that I didn’t see why I needed them and Laura from CopyCat Costumes telling me to get on with it - and to contact Helen from Masque Photography.

Obviously I know lots of different photographers and as I know Helen mainly does Boudoir Photography she didn’t jump into my head straight away. Silly me! Helen is used to dealing with women and making them feel good about themselves - she really should have been the first and obvious choice.

Luckily Helen could fit me in the day after I enquired as I needed them quite urgently. I arrived at her home studio and we just generally chatted, and nothing was too forced. I couldn’t say I was 100% relaxed in front of the camera, but I suppose it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be! And definitely not as bad as going to the dentist! 

So I finally have some pictures of me - I don’t see myself rushing out for a regular photography shoot of myself - however - if the time comes and I need some more updated ones then I will contact Helen again begging her for her help! 

It now means that you are able to see me, the girl behind the camera - albeit you already see me anyway when I come in for photographs. And parents when you step in front of the camera and I tell you I know how it feels - I really honestly do!

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