To be a photographer, one must photograph. No amount of book learning, no checklist of seminars attended, can substitute for the simple act of making pictures. Experience is the best teacher of all. And for that, there is no guarantee that one will become an artist. Only the journey matters.
– Harry Callahan
We are starting series of blog posts where we will interview the most talented newborn photographers and publish their amazing work of art.
In this blog post I have the pleasure to introduce Niki Sprekos – the owner and artist behind Niki Sprekos Photography.
In this article, you will:
- learn more about Niki, her wonderful journey in newborn photography;
- be inspired by her stunning work of art;
- reveal the secrets of her successful modern, natural and minimalist newborn session;
- discover great tips for a beginner photographer.
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Exclusive hand-made newborn baby photography prop – charming unique work of art created by co-founder Lina and can be found here and only here.
If your goal is to deliver unique photo galleries to your clients, this vessel is vital – very few copies will be made, so it’s a very small chance of seeing it in another photographer images.
Meet Niki Sprekos
Niki is a Melbourne photographer that specialises in newborn, maternity, baby and family photography.
As a mother of two beautiful girls Niki understands the importance of creating lasting memories for future generations. She is known for her modern, natural and minimalist photography that is timeless and sought out by all. Over the years, Niki has done numerous courses and workshops to develop her art.
Niki has always had a love of photography from a very young age and has a natural eye for creating beauty within. She constantly receives glowing feedback from clients that she’s very patient, relaxed, easy going, fun energy, caring and a baby whisperer.
We are curious to hear about yourself. Please introduce!
I live in Melbourne Australia with my husband and our two gorgeous girls aged 7 and 9. Life is busy these days with school and dancing lessons almost every day, netball training and games. So I can say that I have many hats – mum, photographer, driver, negotiator, mediator, chef, cleaner, shopper, stylist, trainer and wife (is that a job!!! ha ha).
How long have you been in photography business? And how many years have you been shooting newborns?
Before a photographer I worked in HR within a law firm for over 10 years. Towards the end I worked part time and started doing photo shoots for friends and slowly through word of mouth it just grew into the little business I now have. When I started newborn sessions, I would travel to clients home which was quite challenging but I learnt a lot throughout this process.
Mid 2015 I opened my home studio and it has just been amazing. I can now control my lighting, temperature and have all my props, blankets and everything else in one place. I can also have everything prepped and ready to go so my clients get a relaxed experience. For most clients it’s their first outing and I want that experience to be perfect. I want them sit back, relax and enjoy their new baby’s first photoshoot.
Featured newborn baby photography props:
The niche of newborn photography
Why did you choose the niche of newborn photography? What do you enjoy the most about it?
At the start I would shoot anything just to get more and more experience and I loved being behind the camera no matter what. But once I photographed my friends newborn baby I feel in love. I booked myself in for workshops, online courses and never looked back. I love newborns and I think they love me too! I find it super relaxing, have lots of patience (which I believe is a must) and I love that every session is unique. Every baby has a different story to tell, how they arrived, who their family is and I love capturing the love has been brought into this world.
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Who/what inspires you for your newborn photo sessions?
I love clean, simple things and live in a minimalistic home. I think that comes out in my images. I keep things simple, clean and crisp. I want to create timeless images that people can love for years to come. I want images that show off newborns simplicity, their gorgeous little features and add a little prop and colour here and there too. The Australian photographers that inspire me are Kristen Cook, Melanie Kellermann, Kellie Mac, Photography by Sandra and Samantha Dennaoui.
How much time is the newborn photoshoot?
My newborn sessions run anywhere between 1.5-3 hours. It all depends on the newborns themselves, do they require feeds, changing, settling etc. I have never gone over 3 hours and in saying that (touch wood) never had to reschedule a newborn session due to an unsettled baby.
What type of lighting do you use?
I’m a natural light photographer. I have large windows with beautiful linen curtains that diffuse the light. I get morning light peering through and I time my sessions to get gorgeous light in summer and winter. In saying that there are times in summer where I have to add an additional layer on top of my curtains. Australia summers can be intense!
What camera are you shooting with? What lens?
Canon 5D Mark III with a canon 24-70 lens. For my macro newborn images I use Canon EF 100mm f2 Macro.
What aperture do you generally use?
Around 2.5 and with group family or sibling images this will increase to ensure that I don’t miss out on that amazing shot.
Featured newborn baby photography props:
The secrets of smooth newborn session
What are the tricks that you use to make newborns fall asleep?
I recently did a blog about this, there are a number of contributing factors – click here to read.
What are the must-have newborn photography props that you cannot shoot a baby without?
My beanbag and my vessel from All Newborn Props of course. I have two and need more!!! In additional having beanbag blankets and wraps are a must. In every shoot I will use the vessel and the beanbag.
Do you use a beanbag only or you have a stand also?
I have a bean bag and have made a frame for it too. I needed something that I could move in and out of my studio as it’s small. So when I do sitter sessions and maternity sessions it comes out. I can turn to the side and out it comes. Its perfect in that it provides the best blanket background and fade.
Is your bean bag full to the top and firm or did you leave a dip in the middle?
It is quite firm but there is enough “give” to make a little well and I also use my newborn posing pillows and ring to lift/raise baby to where I need them to go.
What do you have under the blankets?
Underneath the top layer I place baby on I have around 8 other blankets to ensure I get the perfect fade. And of course a puppy pee pad in between to protect layers and to reduce my washing load! Right at the bottom I place the posing pillows where I need to ensure I get the perfect blanket fade.
Featured newborn baby photography props:
Tips for a beginner newborn photographer
Do you have any expert tips/tricks to getting the best newborn photos for a beginner newborn photographer?
Don’t think you have to do what every other newborn photographer is doing. Do what you are comfortable doing and every now and then challenge yourself and introduce a new pose. The key to success at the start is keeping it simple this helps you learn that every baby is different in how they can move, be posed and be settle so don’t make it any harder than you have to. You don’t want to get burnt out or disappointed in yourself in not being able to do what others may be doing. We all start somewhere.
I believe the simplest images are the ones clients are after, they want to showcase their gorgeous baby. For example, with one simple wrap (full wrap with hands tucked in or placed to side), you can have the baby in two different props, without disturbing the newborn. Making it easy for you the photographer to get lots of newborn images.
For example, with this simple wrap place the baby into the ‘Create-a-Nest’™ or Vessel, take a full image of prop, take side angle images, back lit, close up, an image from the back of their head (if they have gorgeous hair). Then quickly do all the macro images while the newborn is still. From there move the newborn onto beanbag. First take images with baby facing up, change a headband or beanie, cover them with a blanket to resemble a bed, then move the baby into a side lying position, open the wrap a little and this can go on and on. Before you know it you have taken 12+ different images with one simple wrap.
What is the best email that people can reach you?
Thank you for taking the time to share your advice and story with the All Newborn Props community!
All images published in this blog post are taken by Niki Sprekos.
PIN IT: if you’re on Pinterest and want to save this article for later – here’s a graphic we made for you.
Let me know how did you like this interview? If you like it, please share and comment. If you have more questions to a newborn photographer please leave them in a comments section and we will find a photographer to answer it!