10 Questions with Nicole Seeney

BabyInfo Interviewed one of the most popular newborn, maternity, baby & family photographers, Lavender Lane Photography. Brisbane based Nicole Seeney is the founder and owner of Lavender Lane Photography.

Photographer - Nicole Seeney

10 Questions with Nicole Seeney

Business: Lavender Lane Photography

Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Experience: 5 Years

Photography Types: Baby, Cake Smash, Family, Maternity, Newborn

1. What kind of experience do you have as a photographer?

Hi, I’m Nicole, the owner and principal photographer of Lavender Lane Photography. I picked up my first DSLR in 2016 and have barely gone a day without it since. I started the business with a passion and love for children and a desire to accomplish something more meaningful than the corporate career I previously had.

Throughout the last 4 years I have immersed myself in extensive training both online and in-person with a strong focus on baby safety and posing. I have been taught by some of the industry world leaders including Kelly Brown and Stephanie Lemmens. Though most of what you see of my work, is self-taught through years of self-criticism, reflection and hard work.

2. What type of photography do you specialise in?

I specialise in maternity, newborn, milestone and family photography.

I have a deep love for celebrating the journey of motherhood, and a passion for showcasing the strength, beauty, and determination that is pregnancy. I absolutely adore a sunrise maternity photography session: the colours, the water, the sand, the golden morning light, there is something just magical and powerful about it which I feel resonates with most mothers-to-be. They feel this new sense of strength, a calming but powerful surge and I believe setting maternity photography in such a way, yields breathtaking results.

Newborn babies have a special place in my heart. They are perfection, their tiny little toes, wrinkly hands, the way their legs tuck up, and the cute kitten-like noises they make. Newborn babies are devine, and my love for capturing just how tiny and special they are is one of the great loves of my life.

Milestone and family photography sessions are such fun sessions, I could listen to babies giggle all day long. I love capturing that sweet moment shared between mother and child. As a mother myself, I understand that we rarely ever see our children look at us with adoration, love and content. Family and milestone sessions preserve those special moments and I am so proud to take such special pictures for families all over Brisbane.

3. Where are you located?

I have a beautiful natural light studio located at on Ainsdale Street at Chermside West. We are lucky to be amongst some very lovely businesses which attract lots of families. The sense of community that we have experienced so far on Ainsdale Street has been wonderful. Silky Oak Café is always doing charity work, and The Holt Bolt team working with disabled children just melts my heart. I feel honoured to share the area with such selfless businesses.

I do my location sessions on the northside of Brisbane around the Sandgate and Nudgee areas. I have some gorgeous locations that I have trialled and tested over the years. I know just how to utilise these spots to their full potential.

4. When should clients book their photography sessions?

Sunset weekend sessions book out about 3 months in advance. Though I have more flexibility for sunrise photography sessions, thankfully I can sneak it in before my children get up out of bed.

Typically, I like to book maternity sessions in at about the 32-week mark – this allows for wriggle room in case there is bad weather, or for illness. I recommend getting in touch at about 25-weeks so we can secure you the most ideal session and gown fitting dates. All our maternity clients are invited to come in and try on our gowns before selecting 3 for the session.

Newborn sessions are best done before baby is 10 days of age. I prefer my newborn clients to book it in when they are making their maternity booking, or just as they begin the third trimester. We make a soft booking around the due date, and then secure a suitable time and date once you let me know you have had the baby.

Family sessions can be booked at any time, though if clients require a weekend, we will need at least 3 months’ notice – these sessions book out quite far in advance.

5. What kind of prices and packages do you offer?

Currently maternity and family photography packages start at $450 which includes the session and 12 digital images.

Newborn photography packages start at $600 which includes the session and 12 digital images.

Milestone photography packages start at $350 which includes the studio session and 12 digital images.

Our packages and processes are structured in such a way, that you only walk away with your favourite images. We have an online ordering system which allows for flexibility for families to select their images at their convenience.

6. How should customers prepare for their photography sessions?

Newborn photography clients are sent a booking email which contains some links on how to prepare for the session. We understand that life with a new little baby is unpredictable, but we tend to find sessions are much quicker if the baby is fed well before leaving the house as the car trip usually puts baby into a lovely deep sleep. This then allows me to then pose baby very easily. Our prep guide covers all the things families need to know in preparing for a newborn session.

Maternity clients are invited into our beautiful Chermside West studio to try on and select 3 gowns for their session. To prepare for the gown fitting we ask our clients to bring with them skin coloured strapless bra and skin coloured seamless underwear. Once gowns are selected, we go over all other details on about how to prepare such as what their partner should wear, and what to bring on the day. Family and milestone clients are provided with a colour palette sample and wardrobe suggestions prior to the session. We usually ask family clients to dress comfortably and to try not to match everyone’s outfits together – but rather to select a group of colours and have everyone wear something from that one colour group.

7. What should customers expect during a photography session?

I am a talkative and friendly woman who loves to have a joke. I talk openly about my family and children and make fun of myself. You can count on me for a light-hearted talk and a bit of a laugh. Above all else though, I love connecting with people, I love helping women see how gorgeous and powerful they are.

You can count on me to provide you with lots of direction in posing. I will fuss about and move dresses, straps, hair from faces, I will be specific with how I want my clients to move and pose. I am a stickler for hair ties on wrists, wallets in pockets and am known to insist that such items are removed.

After years as a litigation and insolvency lawyer, difficult husbands, children or even great aunt’s do not faze me. There is no one I can’t get through to or get results from. You can expect me to connect with everyone at a session so that they feel comfortable and are willing to participate.

Newborn sessions are a little different, they are more calming and slow. I will warm the room so that baby is comfortable, provide clients with cold water, tea and coffee and a fan in their direction. I diffuse lavender oil in the room and play acoustic covers – I often find myself singing along and have caught a few of the Dad’s tapping along sitting back in a big comfortable armchair. For these sessions Mums can relax, have a nap, or watch me work with their little baby. I am gentle, patient and calm with your little one. I do not push babies into poses that they aren’t comfortable with. Baby safety and happiness is my number one priority.

8. How do you ensure safety of the newborn during the session?

I am completely up to date with my vaccinations including whooping cough, flu and in due course I will get the COVID-19 vaccination.

I have done quite a lot of training both online and in-person focusing mostly on baby safety and baby posing. Above all else, I am gentle and patient with all babies – I would never dream of forcing a baby into a complex pose, anything achieved through a session will be done with baby’s safety and level of comfort in mind.

In addition to the usual cleaning and sterilising, I check everyone’s temperature on arrival, have a HEPA grade air filter in place, sterilise my hands before touching a baby, and wear a face mask. I am also fully insured and ask parents to act as spotter if required.

9. How soon will customers be able to get their photos?

Formally we say up to 3 weeks for clients to receive their online Viewing Gallery and then up to 3 weeks for us to process, review, and send out the Order. We are always way a head of schedule though. Today I sent out some Viewing Galleries within a week of the photography session, and some Orders were delivered 5 days after the client submitted their Order. Our time frames are often based on how busy we are. We like to stipulate generous time frames and then exceed client expectations – this allows us a bit of a cushion if we experience some setbacks such as technical issues, illness or patenting commitments.

10. Do you have anything else you would like to tell us?

Ask any new mother, the first year of motherhood goes by in a blink. Your beautiful baby belly, the way your newborn tucks their little legs up, the nose scrunching smile and contagious belly laugh of your 8-month-old, the way your 1-year-old wobbles along, the way your husband tickles them, the way your child looks at you with adoration and love. These are all moments that go by in a blink and I would love to capture them for you.