Nadine Eversley is a modern-day baby whisperer. The photographer who specialises in maternity and newborn photography does what most parents wish they could do — take perfect photos of their babies with little or no fuss.
"I love babies and they seem to be comfortable with me... When parents come to one of my sessions, I tell them that it is their time to relax while I work. Most dads fall asleep during my sessions. I have also had a few mums fall asleep and sometimes even both parents fall fast asleep while I worked. I love the fact that the parents feel comfortable enough with me handling their precious two-week-old baby, to fall asleep during the session," which she said is usually about three-hours long.
The mother of six, however, told WMN she didn't always possess the skill to pose and photograph babies for the picture-perfect outcome she is now able to deliver. In fact, before she decided on photography she had considered on other options that would have allowed her to spend time with children. "I have always loved babies and always wanted to do something with babies. I considered running a nursery several years ago and also considered being a doula," she said. "I started my photography career in 2012, but it was only after the birth of my last daughter four years ago that I fell in love with newborn photography."
Like all new mothers, she said, she took a lot of photos of her daughter, "But I wasn’t very good at it," she admitted. Her love for both photography and babies motivated her to invest in training with award-winning Australian photographer Kelly Brown, who specialises in capturing newborn and baby photographs.
"I love photography and I love babies so I decided to see if I could make a career of it. She taught me how to light and pose the babies, as well as baby safety, which is a very important part of newborn photography. Most of the babies are photographed at two-weeks-old, so experience in handling babies is extremely important," something with which she facetiously reminded WMN she has had a lot of experience.
And with six children, two of whom are now adults and do their share to help out, Eversley said balancing her family life and career has always been and remains one of her biggest challenge. "Like most working mothers, were it not for the support of my family I would not be able to manage. My oldest daughter is usually my assistant at my shoots, and helps me not only during the shoots but also by preparing snacks for my clients, as she is a pastry chef... My eldest son helps tremendously by doing school pick up for the younger ones, which allows me a bit more time to dedicate to my photography — either shoots, editing or marketing. My husband is always there to assist with homework in the afternoon and very supportive of everything I do. I also have the help of my own mother, who never denies any request to pick up or babysit at any time. I cannot imagine my life without this support system."
Eversley operates out of her studio in Petit Valley, where all the magical and not-so-magical things happens. "I have been pooped, vomited and peed on but it doesn't bother me. I love it when the babies poop on their dads. The looks on their faces are hilarious. Getting the babies to smile is pure luck. Sometimes it's just because of gas," she chuckled. There are times when she may be required to go to someone's home to do a shoot, but she much prefers to work at her studio. "I have all my props here, some of which I may not be able to take to someone's home."
Before a shoot she would discuss things like style and colour preference with the parents. "I enjoy creating timeless images that can be displayed on walls for generations. My preference is for simple set ups using neutral colours, where the focus is on the baby and not necessarily on the props. But within the last year I have started to incorporate composites and more elaborate set ups into my sessions, and these allow me to explore my creative side while remaining true to my style. This new style has changed my images from photos of babies to piece of art," which recently opened up a whole new window of opportunity for her.
Last month Eversley's work was on display in a collaborative exhibition called I See Angels at the Art Society of TT, in Federation Park. Her pieces were the only ones in the photo genre on display. "I was the lone photographer." She said the objective of the exhibit was for artists to use their various mediums to tell how they see angels in everyday things. "And what better way for me than through babies? If I am having a bad day and I have a newborn session, my whole day turns around for the better. They bring a sense of calm and peace to my otherwise hectic life," just like angels.
She said the pieces that were sold were not even bought by the parents of the babies in the photos. "People had no problems buying photos of other people's children because they were works of art. I was also honoured to have been asked to speak on my journey as a newborn photographer at the TT Photographic Society. These events allow me to showcase my work as well as share with others and maybe even help up and coming photographers in their career."
And her success at her passion doesn't mean that she will stop trying to improve on it. "I believe in continually learning and growing and, as such, my future plans include continuing my studies by attending an in-person workshop with another world-renowned newborn photographer, Ana Brandt, and possibly another exhibition later this year or next year."
In as much as she spends so much time with other people's children, though, Eversley said her children never have to vie for her attention, as she makes sure they get their time with mummy. "On days when I am not shooting on a weekend we enjoy heading to the beach as a family, or sometimes just going to the savannah to play football or cricket. The children love to be outside and I love the fact that they are not anywhere near a television or electronic device for a few hours."
To see more of Nadine Eversley's work visit www.neversleyphotography.com or www.facebook.com/neversleyphotography