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Grow and Gather Meets...Rachael Lynch from Beautiful Bairns

Sometimes it can feel like our pregnancy might never end. We may feel nauseous, tired, heavy. Our bodies no longer feel like our own as we adjust to our growing stomachs and the nocturnal kicks of our baby. ‘Beautiful’ is probably not the word that women would use to describe themselves when pregnant (or ever!) but as a midwife, I have to disagree! Pregnant bodies are incredible, not only beautiful but strong and capable too. I had the pleasure of chatting with Rachael Lynch recently. Rachael is a maternity and newborn photographer who loves taking photos of pregnant women (of all shapes and sizes) and newborn babies. Having some professional photos of your pregnancy or newborn baby is such a lovely way to hold onto a moment of time that, although exhausting, really does pass by so quickly. Rachael is going to be telling us a little more about her photography work and what you can expect from a photoshoot with Beautiful Bairns.

Hi Rachael! Welcome to the Grow and Gather Blog! Why don’t you tell us a little more about yourself?

Hi I am Rachael and I am the photographer behind Beautiful Bairns Photography! I set up Beautiful Bairns back in 2011 (almost 11 years ago now, eek!) and very quickly realised that I wanted to specialise in photographing families. Over the last decade I have trained with many top photographers so that I can focus on safe newborn baby posing, creative maternity portraiture and studio portraits. I have a lovely studio in the Chesser/Shandon area of Edinburgh and love welcoming families back year after year and watching their families grow!

So how did you become involved in photography and what led you to pregnancy/newborn photography in particular?

As a kid one of my favourite things to do when visiting family was to look through old photo albums and listen to grandparents and other family members tell stories about the people in the photos. I fell in love with the magical ability that photos have to transport us back in time, to remember and unlock forgotten memories and connect us to our past. I can't remember exactly how old I was when I got my first camera but I can tell you it was a pink kodak and it was my pride and joy! As an adult my love for photography grew and eventually I followed my passion and turned it into my career. Having trained as a primary teacher and worked with children since leaving school it seemed like the natural choice to pursue family photography. Family photography is still my passion now and it begins with the bump! Having trained with the incredible Natasha Ince, I discovered how much I enjoyed empowering women to feel amazing about their body and I get a real buzz when a woman comes into the studio perhaps a little unsure but strides out feeling full of confidence and feeling beautiful! And then of course after the bump comes the baby!!!!! Little piggy toes, those adorable newborn squeaks (and snores!) and old man wrinkly foreheads, I can’t get enough of them! It is such a tiny window of time and to be invited into the baby bubble for a few hours is something I never take for granted.

Other than the newborn snores and wrinkly foreheads, what do you love most about your job?!

I love SO much about my job I could rattle off a huge list! I'd say my top 3 are: hearing birth stories, watching the faces of parents fill with love and joy and pride as they look at their new baby and tell me how they came into the world. Happy tears - when maternity clients gasp on seeing their images or new parents well up seeing their newborn slideshow. Best feeling ever! And seeing families come back and watch those tiny newborns grow into big brothers and sisters is such a joy.

What can families expect when they come to your studio?

!A warm welcome, a comfy sofa, a rainbow of colours to choose from so we can create the perfect colour palette to suit their home. They can expect me to ask about the birth and for me to explain how I work and why I do certain things to help settle and soothe their baby. they might even pick up some new tricks to use at home! I will 100% gush over how cute their baby is and the biggest thing I hear from my clients is how relaxed an experience it is and how much they enjoyed it which is always what I hope for!

Do you have any words of advice for anyone keen to have a photoshoot but feeling a little bit anxious or nervous about being in the limelight?

Honestly nobody should worry, photographers are typically THE worst at being photographed and we feel much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it! So trust me, I've put myself in their shoes. I've done the naked maternity shoot, I've hiked up a mountain in wales in a big maternity frock and sat in fields with my husband and kids having family portraits done. Almost nobody loves the idea of having their photo taken, (unless you're a kardashian!) but I will do everything I can to make sure you feel comfortable and will light and pose you in the most flattering and comfortable ways so you love how you look! I have photographed maternity sessions with women ranging from a UK size 2 to size 26+ and I have options available for all body shapes and sizes. There is never any pressure to show more skin that a woman is comfortable with either.

And once we have conquered any anxieties about having our own photographs taken, what about our newborn babies? They can be pretty unpredictable customers!

Babies cry, all of them. It's perfectly natural and of course they will need to feed at some point. My newborn sessions are entirely baby led so if baby needs a feed then they go back to mum or dad and have a feed, a wind and we carry on once they are happy and settled. Typically babies will feed when they arrive at the studio then I gently soothe them to sleep. Then the magic happens! I only schedule one newborn session a day so there is always plenty of time and baby is never rushed.

When would you recommend having photos taken or is it down to personal choice?

There is no "wrong" time to photograph your baby, they are always cute! But for those sleepy posed newborn images it is typically recommended that baby is under two weeks old. Beyond the first two weeks babies quickly gain muscle tone and become increasingly alert during the day. But if mum or baby need to stay in or return to hospital for any reason and can't come in until baby is a little older that is absolutely fine and we can still create a gorgeous collection of images for the family. I always recommend having a chat with your photographer prior to baby being born so you can decide what your main goals are from the session.

This all sounds amazing. Where can couples find you if they would like more info?

You can find me on instagram, facebook and my website

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