Natalie Leech Photography
The day we made the 90 minute long road trip to Natalie's studio, it snowed, we drove through the snowy country lanes of Derbyshire and it was utterly beautiful (cold but beautiful) no motorways or dual carriage ways just the Derbyshire countryside until we reached Glossop. Olive was 21 days old, older than we had originally planned for the shoot but with her ill health we had to put the shoot back, we were fresh out the hospital following her heavy case of Bronchiolitis and I was constantly panicking about.. well everything. I hadn't done a professional newborn shoot with Oakley, we had a friend take some images for us (which I love might I add) but Oakley screamed blue bloody murder, because lets face it under absolutely no circumstance do newborns like being stripped off and forced into poses with props.
On arrival the first thing I spotted (beside the signs featuring her logo) was the eye catching sage green door tucked away down a quaint side street, behind the door at the top of the stairs sat the cutest blackboard sign that read 'Welcome Oakley and Olive' the loveliest of welcomes. The warmth from the studio hit me the second we step foot inside, it was so unbelievably cozy and I felt so at home immediately. Beautiful vintage arm chairs, corners of old fashioned toys from all eras and fabrics, oh my there were fabrics and wraps galore, any and every colour and tone you could ever imagine. Safe to say my creative juices started flowing and I could not wait to assist Natalie in capturing some images of little Olive girl. The boys headed out to the park down the road and went to buy warm sausage rolls and hot chocolates whist we girls got carried away with bonnets, bows and all things girly for the shoot. High Peak Designs (owned by Natalie's mum) was one one of the makers of just a smidgen of the beautiful pieces used in the shoot, the choice was incredible but we decided that very neutral nudes and subtle dusty pinks were the colours that complimented Olive the most.
The second Natalie started positioning Olive I knew I had absolutely nothing to worry about, Olive did not even flinch, she lay like a sleeping little angel whilst the camera snapped away. Ive never seen someone handle a baby in the way Natalie did, she has the most gentle hands, a seriously unique technique. She is ridiculously talented and mostly self taught, however she did train the art of newborn handling and their safety in the US and now trains other photographers this art in the UK, the safety of her delicate subjects is paramount to her and that is clear to see. Which is a huge relief to new mums who watch their babies almost seem distorted into poses for the perfect photograph, believe me when I say Olive was 100% comfortable 100% of the time. Next up... the bonnets. Now if you know me, you will know that I'm crazy for my girl in a bonnet. I was lusting over Natalie's collection and I'm so glad we got lots of images of Olive modeling them.
Did I mention Natalie has the patience of a saint? She was peed on several times not to mention the couple of pooh explosions she received also, not a care in the world, whilst I scarpered like a crazy lady to grab wipes and supplies to clear up said mess she didn't bat an eyelid. She simply unwrapped Olive slowly and softly from the fabric she was in to start the whole process again from the beginning. So I popped into the kitchen to make us both a cup of tea (told you the studio was homey) we both sat with bare feet by the window soaking in the last of the daylight before the early nights were about to steal our key ingredient. That is the quality that attracted me the most to Natalie's style, she prides herself on only working with natural light. Not another piece of equipment in sight, just us, a large window and her camera. You just can not get any better than that, no harsh light blinding your sleeping muse and no bright uncomfortable studio environment, it was so calm and almost therapeutic like watching her do her thing. We took a little milk break for Olive, I had pumped in the car and got the bottle out to warm and without a second thought Natalie perched in the arm chair and proceeded to feed Olive, leaving me to enjoy my hot tea. Following Olives hospital stay breastfeeding and bottle feeding was still up in the air, for the first time in what felt like forever Olive drank the whole bottle and winded like a dream (seriously hands of a god this woman) Off we went to finish the shoot, with a very happy and settled Olive.
Before we attempted to get a few family portraits of the four of us, we were shown a little collection of green leaves Natalie had plucked from her mother’s garden. Turns out mother Leech has an Olive tree, these leaves were picked specially for Olives shoot. After the last few weeks we’d had, seeing Olive weak and pumped with oxygen, I can’t tell you how special it was to arrange these round her now healthy little body. She looked so beautiful. Soon it was time to get Oakley in the frame, I was skeptical, he was an almost 2 year old and a real busy body this was going to be difficult. I wasn’t wrong, he was like his normal energetic self and barely managed to look at the camera twice, yet somehow she managed to capture what is now one of my ultimate favourites of my pride and joy. The expression on his face in that shot is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and I fell in love with him all over again. Just before we wrapped up for good, we decided to try and capture a candid sibling picture, we placed Olive on the bean bag and asked Oakley to give her a kiss… the perfect end to our day at Natalie Leech Photography studio.
When my disc arrived in the post yesterday, I couldn’t believe my eyes. A stunning hand painted case, Olives name in the middle and delicate little Olive branches around it. The craftsmanship that went into making our whole experience so perfect, is something I won’t forget. The images speak for themselves; a magical album that I know is going to provoke all the same emotions in years to come as it does now.
Thank you Natalie Leech Photography.