Thursday, 17 September 2015

Interview With Mariola Hart Photography

Mariola's work always makes me smile when any of her images pop into my newsfeed on Facebook - I love her use of colours and the richness to her editing.

I recently asked her about her use of props in her work

Do you have a favourite colour you look for when choosing props?
When I look for props the colours which always catch my eye are warm rustic colours, dusky pinks, greys and neutrals. But every now and then I happen to also buy some accessories in soft mint,  rustic greens,  soft lavender or light blue. 

Are there any colours you tend to avoid in your sessions? 
I can't stand bright intensive colours. I much more prefer something softer that helps me to create those dreamy images. 

Do you prefer one kind of prop over another? 
It is a hard questions to answer as in my prop collection you can find everything that I like using. 

On the other hand what I think determines  which prop I prefer during the session is the baby. For example, if I have a little one who is a very light sleeper I tend to avoid rompers and only focus on hats, tie back and wraps. 

How many times would you use the same prop before consigning it to the back of your prop stash?
If I like something I don't mind using it over and over again. Last time I destashed was over 1.5 year ago, and there were props which I bought right at the beginning of my journey with newborn photography. This was when I was still trying to find my own style and most of the props I bought back then  I wouldn't choose now :)

How important is the price of a prop to you? 
If I really, really like something  and I think it would benefit my images, I am not that bothered about the price tag. Of course I don't go crazy!

What do you look for when buying props?
When searching for props I look for quality first and price second. I absolutely love knitted hats, bonnets  and rompers, so when buying such props my priority is to make sure that they are made of the best quality yarn so they are soft for newborn skin. 

What has been your best bargain?
Light brown large flokati rug which I only paid £25 for :)! 

Do you have a favourite age to use props on?
I use props on babies up to 6 months old. After this age I photograph outdoors and only bring crates and bowls with me but advise parents on what to avoid when dressing for a photo shoot. 

Can we see some photos of your prop storage area and studio?
I work from home and set up before each session. 
My props are neatly put away in storage boxes, blankets hung in my very own prop wardrobe. Bowls, baskets etc  are being stored in the garage where I have a special bookshelf for them. 

It is hard work but it has also got many benefits. Parents often comment that they loved it as they felt like they came from home to another home and it was so easy for them to relax. I believe that when you are passionate about something you can make it work, but on the other hand I dream that one day when all my children go to school I will be able to move to my very own studio. 

Do you have any tips on using props in photography?
In my opinion the main focus should be on the baby. Knowing where to stop with props is essential to avoid drowning out the image. Props are there to help you create a timeless image that will be appreciated for it artistic qualities. Try to avoid anything that could be to too overwhelming or simply too big. When you look at the image the first thing that you should focus your eyes on is the beautiful baby that you photographed not the props. 

How do you decide what props you are going to use in each session?
Before each session I sit down and think of one colour that I would like to focus on. Then the vision comes and I follow what I see in my head.

Do you have setups already in place or do you chat with your clients beforehand? 
Before each session I ask clients to let me know if there are any colours they would like me to avoid or any props that they wouldn't like me to use. For example some parent's don't like headbands or hats. Apart from that they trust my creativity :) 

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the area of newborn photography?
Don't go crazy on props. Firstly invest in a posing beanbag , 3-4 fabric backdrops, a few tiebacks, hats and a few wraps. Then once you start you will see what you love and find your very own style. Doing it this way will help you choose props wisely and will save you some time and money. 

Which photographers influence you?
At the very beginning of my journey with newborn photography I was fascinated by Rachel Vanoven. I loved how she made every image look so cosy and dreamy and the way she worked with nautral light. I remember how much I wanted my images to look that cosy and heartwarming. I think she probably influenced me the most when I was looking for my very own style. 

Whose work do you love?
I adore Anya Maria, her newborn images are completely different and so natural. What also made me fall in love with her work is that it is mostly in black and white which is a type of photography that I hold close to my heart.  One day I would absolutely love to try photographing newborns in a similar way. 

Thank you so much for your time Mariola, and keep those images coming that make me smile!

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