Bridgewater resident and professional photographer Natalie Buck captures the tender innocence of newborn babies in her amazing and creative works of art.
Newborn babies are the perfect representation of love and beauty. Parents think so, and grandparents too. Capturing their sweetness as a work of art is what Natalie Buck does so very well. Out of her studio in Bridgewater, she creates images of babies (toddlers, families, and expecting women, too) that bring out their tender innocence.
Natalie Buck is a fine art photographer specializing in Newborn & Maternity Photography. She has won numerous awards for her newborn photography and is known for her pure organic style, fused with elegance and creativity. Her custom-designed artistic newborn and maternity, and creative cake smash first birthday sessions are much in demand these days, especially during the holiday season. Her goal is to capture those precious moments of families’ lives and to showcase them in beautiful works of art to be enjoyed forever.
Natalie also photographs outdoor maternity and family sessions which are shot on location throughout Litchfield and Fairfield County. “Life is a journey full of little moments that intertwine to create our very own story. Photographs bring our stories to life.” In every session she aims to capture emotion and connection between the families. She works with the natural surroundings and creates magic with light.
Born in Australia, she moved to the USA as a 5-time National Australian Ice Dance Champion. After retiring from competitive world figure skating, she picked up her camera and fell in love with the art of photography with a fierce passion. Here is what she has to say about her background, her work, and her approach to capturing those precious moments:
You were born in Australia— how did you end up in Litchfield County?
That is a pretty long story, but the short version is that I ended up moving to Connecticut to train as an international competitive Ice Dancer. My Ice Dance partner and I were Australian National Ice Dance Champions and we moved to Connecticut to train with a world renowned Ice Dancing Coach. We spent our lives training here and traveling the world competing. After retiring as a competitive ice dancer, I took up coaching at a couple of the local rinks here and also met my husband, got my Wiener dogs (not necessarily in that order)… and the rest is history!
After retiring from the competitive world of ice skating, how did you get into photography?
I have always loved photography and art, ever since I was a small child. I remember my parents giving me my first wind-up film camera for Christmas. It is something that I have always loved to do in my spare time but never thought to take it any further than just as a hobby. When I moved to the United States, my life was skating. I didn’t have any family or friends over here. I spent the little amount of spare time that I had taking photos of mostly nature and macro photography. It was a great outlet for my creativity and I always found it peaceful.
I don’t have any formal training in photography. I actually went to collage for Marine Biology at Sydney University. I am mostly self taught in photography through a lot of hard work and tireless hours. Obviously, with photographing newborn babies, which is what I mostly do now, there is a lot of training involved with the handling of newborns, learning how to pose them correctly and of course baby safety. I am diligent in continuing my education with the newborns. I have mentored under some of the world’s best newborn photographers. I have taken courses in baby safety, posing and lighting. Each year I aim to better myself by training with those that are leading the industry of newborn photography.
Was there someone who influenced you? A family member, a teacher?
I am one of those people that, once they get an idea in their head, I do everything within my power to achieve that goal. Honestly, one day, I was walking my dog and I was trying to figure out what the next stage in my life was going to be after skating. I loved photography, but I never thought I could make something of it. That day when I was walking my dog I just decided that I was going to be a Photographer. From that day on, every decision I have made has pointed me in the direction of my goals.
I decided on Newborn Photography specifically after watching a Creative Live class of this amazing Australian Newborn Photographer by the name of Kelly Brown. Her work was flawless, elegant and just stunning. She not only photographed those very first amazing moments of a newborns life, but she created gorgeous works of art. It was at that point that I saw that Newborn Photography could be a combination of photography and creating works of art, both of which I love to do.
I think if you ask most newborn photographers how they came to photographing babies, most of them will tell you that they had their first child and wanted to start documenting their baby’s life, from there they evolve into the passion of Newborn Photography. I don’t have any children so for me it was more of a decision. The process of pregnancy and childbirth is such an amazing moment in a families life. Creating life and bringing it into the world is life changing. I am so passionately connected to my work and I get the most satisfaction when I know that these moments that I am capturing are some of the most important moments in these peoples lives. What brings me the most joy is watching my moms tear up when they see the final photographs from their session of their precious sweet little baby. Their newness, their sweet little tiny details. I have captured a moment that they will never be able to get back, but now they will have something to hold onto and remember forever.
Your ability to capture such beautiful precious moments of adorable babies is amazing. How do you get them to pose without crying or moving?
A LOT OF PATIENCE! haha. The posing I have learnt over time. Every baby is different. It is amazing that babies can have a personality at 2 weeks old. Some sleep the entire session and others need a lot more coaxing off to sleep. It requires a lot of patience. You really have to love it. The adorable little poses require the baby to be asleep. This is generally why all my sessions happen within the first 2 weeks of a baby’s life. At this point they are still fresh from the womb and like to be all curled up, but also they spend a lot of time sleeping and are much less alert than older babies. The window for this type of photography is very tight.
Your styling aesthetic is stunning. What inspires and influences you?
I feel like my style is always changing and evolving. I am inspired by my fun creativity but also drawn to everything vintage, rustic, earthy and organic. I love incorporating these aspects into my Newborn Photography. For me, each photograph of your newborn is a piece of art. I see in colors, shapes and light. I think there is a fine line in Newborn Photography between cheesy and artistic. I try to stick to the artistic fun side.
Do you prefer portraiture over landscapes or interiors?
Definitely Portraiture. I am completely drawn to portraiture. I love capturing emotion and connection. I enjoy landscape photography here and there, but portraiture is where my heart is.
You also offer family portraits at people’s homes and properties. How is that different than shooting newborns in your studio?
My studio is set up perfectly for photographing newborns. It provides a perfectly heated environment and I have complete access to my endless supply of props and accessories that my creative mind needs for any newborn session. There is a lot of equipment involved in newborn photography and having a perfectly controlled environment such as my studio allows me to have complete control over my photographs.
I travel to people homes for portrait and family sessions, but these are usually shot outdoors or on location. These are more candid moments, less staged and don’t usually require any amount of props and accessories.
The cakes in your photos are gorgeous. Who makes them?
I have an amazing local baker in New Milford that makes all my cakes for my 1 year old Cake Smash Sessions. The Sweet Spot in New Milford is amazing. Nearly all the cakes in my shoots are baked by them. Their work is outstanding and just beautiful. They are able to create anything!
Tell us about your maternity sessions. How do they work?
Maternity Sessions are best photographed between 28-34 weeks. The last few weeks of pregnancy can be fairly tiring and exhausting. We want the maternity session to be an enjoyable experience and so we try to capture it before those last few weeks. The session is usually focused around the mother, but I always encourage partners and other children to be a part of the session.
I am very lucky that my studio is located in a beautiful part of Bridgewater that is surrounded by gorgeous fields, woodlands, dirt roads, rock walls and amazing sunsets. This allows me to provide my clients with the opportunity to capture both a combination of indoor studio and outdoor photos all within the one session. We start the session in the studio and then head outdoors for the last half an hour of sunset light to capture that magic light that I love so much. I do also offer on location sessions if my clients have something more specific in mind, but most clients come to me here in Bridgwater as I am able to provide them with everything needed for a perfect session.
I have a wardrobe of gowns that I offer my clients to borrow for their sessions. The use fo the gowns is complementary with their session booking. Often my clients have a very specific idea of what they want to wear and choose to purchase their own gown for their session. If this is the case, I will then provide them with a great list of online boutique stores that sell gorgeous maternity gowns to help them start their search for the perfect gown for their session.
Maternity Sessions differ from general portrait photography in that you are photographing a very intimate moment in a couples life. My goal is to capture emotion and intimacy in my sessions, the connection between a mother and their unborn child or that pure joy between a couple at the thought of the little life they are bringing into the world. There is almost no looking at the camera, no cheesy smiles, just feelings, love and raw emotions.
Who are your clients and where are they from?
I have clients come from all over, throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Manhattan. Living in Bridgewater for so long, being surrounded by such beautiful nature all the time, I often forget that people from the city don’t see what I see every day. My clients come for the experience, to capture those ethereal magical photographs. I also think that being able to provide my clients with a bit of both Studio and outdoor photography within the one session is also a big bonus. The majority of my clients come from either word of mouth, Instagram and searching online.
What are your plans for the future of Natalie Buck Photography? Do you have additional areas in your work that you would like to explore?
This year was such an explosion for my business, I am going to have to sit down at the beginning of next year once all the holiday craziness is over and figure out where I would like to go from here. I feel like when I started out I had all these huge goals, and this year was a big year for achieving most of them. I am so grateful that all my hard work is finally paying off. But to be honest, the root of my joy comes form documenting such special moments in people lives, as long as i can keep doing that and also feeding my creative side, I will be completely happy. I have a few creative ideas in my head but mostly, my heart is in Newborn and Maternity Photography. I think I am definitely going to have to look into hiring a full time assistant though!
Natalie Buck Photography