Friday, 9 October 2015

Interview With Sally Slack Photography

If you are in the UK and photograph newborn babies, there's a 99% chance you know Sally Slack for selling her range of newborn wraps.

Not only does  Sally create beautiful photographs, she is also an Ambassador for BANPAS (Baby and Newborn Photography Association), which is a membership association for newborn and baby photographers that I co-own.

I asked her to lift the lid on how she chooses and uses props in her photography sessions...

Do you have a favourite colour you look for when choosing props?
I do love natural more earthy colours, I'm not someone who gravitates to bright colours anyway. Creams and heathers are some of my favourite colours for girls, and for boys I love greys and blues.

Are there any colours you tend to avoid in your sessions?
Anything bright. Unless a client asks, in which case I’d used a natural colour backdrop and a brightly coloured wrap for a pop of colour. Mainly though, clients book me for what they see on my website.

Do you prefer one kind of prop over another? I love them all, some of my favourites are the props that I have knitted. But mainly I love a wrap, you can’t beat it for an unsettled baby!

How many times would you use the same prop before consigning it to the back of your prop stash?
I would use a prop until I got bored. I sell a lot of my old props through my store.

How important is the price of a prop to you? 
I don’t care about price, if I love it and it’s good quality I will buy it. My clients pay a session fee so if I want to re-invest that money in new props I will do. In my opinion it’s worth paying for good quality. I wouldn’t want to ruin a lovely image with a cheap looking prop.

How important is it to you that a prop is one of a kind and unique to you? It’s not important to get one of a kind at all. It’s the way you use a prop and style for an image that’s more important. You could give the same prop to half a dozen photographers and they would all come up with a completely different image.

What do you look for when sourcing props? 
Good quality.

What has been your best bargain? A flokati rug in TKMaxx.

And what has been your most extravagent purchase? I knitted a snuggle sack and hat out of hand spun wool I imported from Canada, I’m too embarrassed to tell you how much it cost…. But it was worth it! 

Do you have a favourite age to use props on?
I love props on any age. I’m gradually building up a collection of props and knitted pieces for older Children and I have some lovely props I use for cake smash shoots.

Can we see some photos of your prop storage area and studio?

Do you have any tips on using props in photography?
The image should always be about the baby not about the prop. Sizing is crucial, sometimes when I have a splurge and buy props I’m often disappointed to see that hats are often too big for newborns. This is why my stash of older children props is gradually increasing.

How do you decide what props you are going to use in each session? My clients fill in a form and I ask them to tell me anything they are particularly looking for from their shoot, I also discuss colours and prop options when they arrive. Mainly though I just get on with it.

Do you have setups already in place or do you chat with your clients beforehand? I normally do four set ups. My beanbag is put on a backdrop and floor so once I have finished beanbag poses the floor and backdrop are already set up. Parent shots are against the backdrop and then Flokati shots are set up while parents are there.

What is your absolute most favourite image in your portfolio and why?
That’s hard and changes on a weekly basis. Some of my most favourite images are awake shots. Which does make me laugh as we spend all that time getting the babies asleep. But I love shoots when babies have an awake time and are alert. Other favourite images include Newborns that I have photographed through out their first year. Other times I like an image simply because I struggled to get a pose right and I’m happy because I’ve finally nailed it! I love that feeling!

Sally won first place in the September BANPAS showcase 
as voted for by other BANPAS photographers

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the area of newborn photography
The best investment I made was to invest in quality. The one thing that I use every shoot without fail is a wrap. It helps the baby drift into a deeper sleep once they are swaddled. The other thing is to invest in decent machine washable backdrops if you are doing bean bag poses.

Which photographers influence you? Whose work do you love?
The main photographers that influence me are some of my close friends. I like to have people around me who will be honest with feed back and tell it to me straight. I think I’ve learnt most from those friendships. I’ve have also been fortunate enough to train with a couple of amazingly talented US photographers. To be honest I try not to follow anyone, I’m jut trying to do my own thing and work on my own images. I like to take what I can from training and put my own stamp on my images. I think following people can be hard, because what you forget is they only post their best work and it can in some ways affect your confidence if you don’t remember this. They are all human - even the “greats” have bad days too!

Any advice you can share about using wraps?
I learnt to wrap mainly from you tube, I watched 100’s of video on wraping and just gradually became more confident. All the information is out there, you just need to look for it. The trick is to have a baby that’s relaxed and use a double layer. My first layer wrap is generally a mess, the second wrap will then cover everything and make it look pretty!

Visit Sally's website to see more of her images, and to order wraps

No comments:

Post a Comment