Charlotte Harding gets some tips from a Haywards Heath photographer about working with children and being crowned the best in Sussex.
The saying goes you should never work with animals or children, but for photographer Nikki Goodeve specialising in equine and baby photography combines the things she loves.
“I have been riding horses since I was ten. Horses are such majestic beasts that I love capturing that,” she explains.
Using a mobile studio it means that Nikki can take her work with her and she has a number of props, different fabrics and costumes for the family and newborn shoots.
Based in Haywards Heath, Nikki says she has always been interested in photography.
“Growing up, I was always playing with cameras. My dad also had a passion for it so I was surrounded by cameras.
“I got my own dark room and at 14 started doing my own black and white prints.”
After completing a degree in graphic design at university, Nikki got a job in London and kept photography as a hobby.
But when she had children she decided she didn’t want to go back to London to work and decided to see if she could pursue photography as more than a hobby.
The business - Photography Fairy - was launched six years ago.
Nikki specialises in newborn, children, family, maternity and equine photography.
“I am a people person and seem to put people at ease,” she smiles.
“I think it is those qualities that work really well when it comes to working with children.
“You have to be really patient. Having children myself has taught me that. They don’t understand so you have to give them time and work with them at their level to get the best from them.
“It can be challenging working with a two-year-old and sometimes I can hear parents say ‘oh I hope she can get something’. But I can put the child at ease and get them to pose and smile in between running around the set, and the parents are amazed by the results they see.
“That is one of the things I love about my job - the reaction from people when they see my images.”
With the newborn shoots Nikki says the ideal time to capture those initial few moments is within the first 14 days when they are ‘sleepy and still squidgy’.
“They are curled up as if they are still in the womb as well so you can get some lovely shots,” she explains.
“After they have lost some of that squidgyness it can be harder for me to get them in the poses that work best.
“I have done a course so I can safely pose a newborn. Some photographers don’t know how to do it right so you don’t hurt the baby or make them feel uncomfortable.”
Many people book in with Nikki after their 20 week scan and then once the baby is born a date is put in the diary.
Nikki also recently won the best photographer category in the Sussex Muddy Awards through lifestyle website Muddy Stilettos.
“You are nominated by clients and the top five make the final then it goes to a voting stage,” enthuses Nikki.
“It is so heartwarming and overwhelming to know people like what I do and have voted for me.
“It is lovely I have a lot of support locally so to be recognised as well has been amazing.”
The Muddy Awards are free to enter and thousands voted in Sussex across the 24 lifestyle categories, including best wine merchant, day spa and art gallery.
With a passion to capture those precious moments, it is not surprising that people also love what she does.
For more information on Nikki, visit www.photographyfairy.co.uk