frequently asked questions
Where are you located?
Nickola Balsdon Photography has a boutique-style studio located Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre in White River (just outside of Nelspruit), Mpumalanga. Our address is Nickola Balsdon Photography, Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre (near the Courtyard Cafe) off the R40. There is plenty of secure parking near my studio. We do on-location maternity sessions and twice a year hold outdoor family mini sessions, one of which is usually at a specially selected location. Birth and Fresh48 session are done in the hospital or at home if a home birth. Most of my sessions are held in the studio, including all newborn sessions, baby/children and women's portrait sessions.
Who photographs and edits my images?
Nickola is the owner and photographer of Nickola Balsdon Photography. I shoot all maternity, birth, newborn, baby/children and portrait studio sessions myself. Occasionally, I will have an assistant to help with certain poses with twin or triplet sessions. I do all my own editing; taking care to use just the right techniques to enhance the image from the camera to its final print or digital form. I also manage all my client liaison, including email correspondence and phone calls etc.
Who is included in my newborn session?
Newborn sessions all include a few beautiful portraits of parents and siblings with their newest family member if desired. Please keep in mind that toddlers (from 13 months to 3 years old) are often unpredictable and are still figuring out who this new little person is in their lives - it can be more challenging to capture them with a newborn. Having said that, I am a mother of a newborn and a toddler, so always have a few tricks up my sleeve to compliment my experience with photographing children and babies. Please let me know ahead of time if you would like parent/sibling portraits so that we can plan the best strategy for your family. As a rule, I usually ask a parent or grandparent to bring siblings to join the last 30 minutes of you newborn session.
Who is included in my maternity session?
Generally, maternity sessions are just for the glowing mom-to-be and her beautiful belly! However, should you wish to include your partner or children, please let me know beforehand so we can plan accordingly. Please bear in mind that I am a natural light, studio portrait photographer. I only do outdoor/location sessions by request and they may incur a travel cost.
What do I need to bring to my session? Do you have any props and outfits for babies?
All you need to bring is yourself! I have a large, beautiful selection of blankets, baskets, bowls, hats/bonnets, headbands, fluffs, and other props in my studio for newborn and baby sessions. If there is something specific that you would like to have photographed with your baby, please feel free to bring it along. Remember though, I have plenty of items for you to choose from!
How early should I book my session?
Please book your sessions as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. I prefer to book child and portrait sessions at least 2-3 weeks in advance.
If you are interested in maternity and newborn sessions, it is best to contact me when you are in your 5th-6th month of pregnancy. You can contact me at any time during your pregnancy to give me an estimated due date. We will then make a tentative booking for your newborn session. When you arrive home from hospital with your brand new baby, you can contact me to arrange a suitable day for your session. Newborn sessions are best done before 10 days old.
The best time for maternity portraits is when you are between 28-36 weeks. I typically book up a few weeks in advance and I am only available during weekdays. If you choose to book a maternity session with your newborn session, we put both sessions on the calendar when you reserve the package.
If you are wanting a newborn session only, it is best to reserve your session about 10-8 weeks before your expected due date to ensure availability. Please do not wait until your baby is born. Having said that, I will always do my best to accommodate you. The best time to photograph a newborn baby is when they are under two weeks of age. After two weeks, babies are a little harder to settle and things like colic and baby acne can start to flare up. If your baby is a bit older, I do have the skill and experience to still ensure beautiful images but they will be more natural/lifestyle type images and less posed.
With regards to birth and fresh48 sessions, please make sure you book as early as possible. There is a lot of paperwork and authorisation required by hospitals, which can take several weeks to collate. I will of course guide you through the process and together we will get all our ducks in a row well before baby arrives.
Your services are not cheap. I see other photographers charging less?
My prices are based on many factors, but rest assured I have thought long and hard about my pricing. I realise that custom photography is not for everyone and it's not in every family's budget. My cost of doing business and supplying what I feel are some of the best print product options available, play a large role in my pricing structure. I am insured and pay my taxes, as well as do my best to stay current and up-to-date with global trends. I also personally source my gorgeous prop collection from around the world, with you my customer, in mind.
My studio is nicely stocked with all the beautiful items you see in my portfolio images. All the different blankets, baskets, backdrops, cute bonnets and headbands, wraps, and other unique props are all available and waiting for your baby! Often you can see the difference between photographers in the lighting, posing, and quality of the images on our websites. It is important to make sure you not only like the person you are hiring to capture your images but that you love their artistry and photographic style.
I pride myself in being able to do more than just take a picture - I aim to capture the emotion and tell your story while creating timeless keepsakes for your family. My goal for clients is that you leave not just with a USB or electronic download of your images that then sit in a drawer or on your computer, but with beautiful artwork for your walls or display albums, that will last generations.
I strive to show the beauty of pregnancy, the precious tiny, wiggling, stretching little newborn, and the relationship between a mommy and baby or a family with that new little member. I strive to capture genuine smiles and the happiness of families. And I take the time to edit each image individually and offer you products that will stand the test of time.
When you choose Nickola Balsdon Photography, you are choosing an experienced photographer and investing in this experience and the quality of my work.
When and how do I pay?
Nickola Balsdon Photography accepts electronic transfers only (EFT's). The first payment you make is the session fee, which is due to reserve your session. Full payment is required at least 48 hours before your scheduled session. No acceptions. About two to three weeks after your session, you will be sent a link to view your images online, based on the number of images you selected. Additional images may be available to purchase. Once you have decided on which print products you would like to purchase, full payment for your order is due. Orders are only placed on receipt of payment.
I do offer structured payment plans if requested.
*Please note: images and products are not delivered until the last payment is made on a payment plan.
What should I wear?
We will have a pre-session consultation (usually over the phone) to discuss specific wardrobe ideas about a week or two before your session. Maternity wardrobe is quite fun and very simple - wear whatever you love and are comfortable in! You want your outfit to be snug on your belly (to show the outline and roundness) but you want to be comfortable and stylish. Under-the-belly waistbands are always best so that there are no visible lines on your skin.
Personally, I love color - there is no need for boring black or white - and don’t be afraid of patterns or floral prints. I will soon have an online gallery of the gowns for you to select in advance of your session.
Newborns generally wear nothing at all or a simple wrap and/or headband or bonnet. Clothing is often too big for those tiny babes and they get lost in all that fabric. Most of my newborn session poses with your baby are done with simple wraps or tastefully in their birthday suits. If you prefer your baby to be covered, please let me know. I have quite a few wraps options, and rompers in my studio collection.
For baby/toddler sessions, less is more. Two outfits is usually the most that a baby will tolerate, so I ask that you bring your baby in the outfit that you most want to be photographed and then we will strip down to just a diaper or even bare bottom for some more ‘organic’ portraits. Then, if baby tolerates it, we’ll put on the second outfit and take some more beautiful portraits.
Families and generation portraits should strive to coordinate without being 'matchy-matchy'. Choosing a color palette you love or selecting one dress or piece of clothing and matching around it is usually the best approach. Please avoid heavily branded clothing and large logos.
What time of day will my session take place?
Maternity and newborn sessions start at 9am and are held at my studio where I have all the items needed and can control the temperature and environment perfectly for your baby. All sessions end at 11am. I schedule these studio sessions within the first 10 days if possible as this is when newborns are bendy and curly and allow us to pose them in all those cute and cuddly poses. If professional hair and makeup have been booked, your session will start at 8am. Baby sessions (including Milestone Plans) also begin at 9am. Newborn lifestyle session time are a bit more flexible but shooting in the mornings is preferential for small babies.
*Later session times are available on request.
Women's portrait sessions start at 8am with professional hair and makeup.
All session take place during the weekdays - exceptions by pre-arrangement only, with an additional R450 levy.
If you wish to have an outdoor/garden or use a special location, please let me know when booking so we can plan accordingly.
Can you take out scratches on my baby's face or make me look skinnier?
Basic retouching can be done easily and without incurring any extra expense. If your child has a scratch or blemish on their face that you want me to remove, please let me know at the time of your session and I will be happy to digitally remove it from each of your portraits before proofing them to you. Generally, I do light retouching of all images as a standard.
For more extensive retouching, I do offer the service for R200 per portrait. As a professional photographer, it is my job to pose pregnant women and new mommies in ways that flatter your figure and accentuate your curves in the best way. I would much rather you love the way you look in your portraits naturally than give you a ‘digital diet’.
What happens if we need to reschedule?
Sickness happens, and rain does too. If it happens to be really overcast or rain on the day of your session, we will reschedule to the first mutually available date possible.
For newborns, if your baby is born premature and needs to stay in the hospital for a little while, we will hold our session the week that he/she comes home. Chances are, we will still be able to get those sleepy baby photos.
When will I see my photos?
Unless you stipulate not to at the time of booking or in your session, we will post a sneak peek of your session on Facebook and/or my Instagram within a day or two of your session. The full gallery of images will be presented to you via online gallery approximately two to three weeks following your session.
Can I just buy the digital images by themselves or do I have to buy a package option?
Custom photography is an investment where each image is hand-edited to print beautifully. These portraits are precious memories that you have invested in.
I want you to at least see what the images look like when printed from a professional source, so even my digital collections come with printed proofs. I do archive images and am willing to work with you on a payment plan if custom photography is something that you value and are committed to investing in. Please just ask me.
I believe that we are a now generation, in that we want everything now! Not just the digital images but beautiful prints, ready to display. This is why I offer you digital files in each of my collections - I feel strongly that you should be able to have, share, and print your favorite images from our session together if you wish.
Choosing your favourite images is hard, but it is an important step in printing those pictures so that they don’t sit in a drawer and fade away like old memories but rather be hung on your walls or displayed in a luxury folio box or printed in a beautiful keepsake album for you to enjoy them often!
Will I be able to share my images on Facebook? Can my family print from Facebook?
All of my collections include two versions of each image, the high-resolution printable files and a web-sized, watermarked version of each photo for sharing online. These images are sized and sharpened perfectly for screen resolution and will display beautifully for your friends and family to see. However, they are NOT printable images and include a watermark to protect my work and your family’s image from being misused or stolen. You'll want to use the non-watermarked image for any printing or project.
How long are images stored for after my session?
Your images will be available in your online gallery for 7 days. Should you require them to be re-uploaded, an admin fee of R250 will be required in order to do so for an additional 7 days.
I try to keep all ordered images for at least one year, however, there are no guarantees (this is in case your order becomes damaged). I do recommend that you back up your digital files in two places to be certain you have them for years to come. Unordered images are purged after 30 days in order to leave room for new session images.
Do you offer gift cards?
Yes. Gifting a friend or family member with a studio session is a wonderful idea that will carry a lot of meaning for them. You can purchase a gift card to the value of R500, R1000 or R2500 or your own choice of value, to be used towards a client session and print collections.
Can I register with you for an upcoming baby shower?
Anyone who has booked a newborn session with Nickola Balsdon Photography can sign up for a baby registry. I will provide you with information to include in your baby shower invitations which give instructions on how your guests can purchase gift cards toward your portrait order or photo session itself. Please ask for details.
BEAUTIFUL. SIMPLE. TIMELESS.