A DESIRE TO CAPTURE THE MAGIC OF NEW LIFE FIRST DREW ANNA BERG INTO THE STUDIO. TWENTY YEARS LATER IT’S WHAT KEEPS HER THERE STILL.
Anna has a more intimate knowledge of the subjects she shoots than your average professional photographer.
Having been pregnant and given birth three times herself, the 45-year-old knows only too well how precious this time is in a mother and her newborn’s life. This is why she considers it a privilege to be asked to document this fleeting time photographically.
“The whole experience of being pregnant, giving birth and then holding your newborn baby is one of the most profound times in a woman’s life. It is also a time when a woman is said to be her most beautiful. I have three wonderful children and as a mother and photographer, I am dedicated to capturing this momentous stage in life with all its joy and beauty,” she says.
After leaving school Anna studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in photography at Sydney College of the Arts. She spent two years working as an assistant for commercial and aerial photographer Phil Grey before heading to Prague to complete her Masters Degree.
It was while in the Czech Republic capital she met her Norwegian partner, now husband, Ronnie who works as a wedding photographer.
“Our interest in photography began in high school, Ronny has always had a passion for social documentary, while I loved people and studio portraits. Living in Prague was a great inspiration for both of us. The Czech Republic has always been renowned for its great artists and was one of the first countries to recognise photography as an art form. We were living there just after the end of the communist era and there was a very special atmosphere and sense of unlimited possibilities among the people. This energy fuelled our passion for photography and the possibility for photography to tell stories and preserve memories. We have very different styles but the same philosophy behind our images – to connect with the subject and capture their true essence,” Anna says.
An accredited AIPP member, Anna has staged exhibitions across Europe and Australia and was the featured photographer in Antonia Kidman’s television series From Here to Maternity, which debuted on Australian television screens in 2007.
After finishing school in Year 12, Anna saved hard to purchase her first camera, a Nikon FM2 after first being exposed to Nikon at the start of her time at Sydney College of the Arts.
An early adaptor to digital, Anna introduced Ronny to team Nikon in the late 1980s and the pair has remained loyal ever since.
Their first digital camera purchase was a Nikon D2 but since setting up their business, Creek Street Photography, in 1995 have accumulated several camera bodies including a Nikon D3, D3S, and a D4S.
Their weapons of choice these days are a Nikon D4S and a Nikon D750 with NIKKOR AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, NIKKOR AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR lenses, Nikon S-B 900 and Nikon S-B 910 speed light flashes and Nikon RFN-4S wireless remote shutter release.
Anna, who has specialised in maternity and newborn shoots since 1999 says her favourite time to shoot is first thing in the morning as this is when pregnant women and babies are “most alert and happy”.
“The best time for a maternity session is around 32 to 36 weeks pregnant when your joyous glow perfectly complements the beautiful curve of your belly. Women are so excited at this stage, as they are so close to meeting their newborn for the very first time.”
Anna says the rules change when a multiple pregnancy is involved and for this reason maternity shoots for twin pregnancies are usually done before 32 weeks as women giving birth to twins or higher order multiples usually go into labour earlier and frequently experience more discomfort towards the end of their pregnancy, potentially impacting their enjoyment of the session, she says.
The fact that she has walked in her clients’ shoes also makes Anna more sympathetic as well as empathetic when it comes to timing her newborn shoots.
“All stages of babyhood have their own special brand of magic. Many newborn photographers think newborns should be photographed in the first 10 days of life, but I photograph newborns from birth up until 12 weeks as some mums and bubs are not ready to leave the ‘nest’ so early on. I tell my clients to come when they are ready, as all stages up until 12 weeks of age are magical. The first 10 days are wonderful if you are after very sleepy shots when newborns still have their womb-like behaviour. From two weeks to 12 weeks babies gradually become more alert and wakeful during the session and their personalities are emerging more day by day.”
Anna says while every newborn session has the potential to present its own set of problems for the photographer, twin births often involve a special kind of challenge.
“I have done many twin pregnancies and twin newborn sessions. It can be quite challenging, for example, often one baby is fast asleep and after placing the other baby next to them they generally want to grab them, wake them etc and tired babies are not happy. It helps to have both mum and dad on hand for twin sessions so I can work with each baby individually and also have time to photograph them together.”
To see more of Anna’s work visit www.creekstreet.com.au.
Anna offers the following tips to newborn photographers looking to develop their career:
1. Be patient.
2. Work entirely around the baby’s needs (feeding, sleeping etc)
3. Don’t book in two sessions to close together as you never know how long a newborn session will go for (most babies need feeding during the session, which can take anywhere from five minutes to 45 minutes)
4. Make sure the studio is toasty warm for the no-nappy photos.
5. Always remind adults in the photos to bring a spare change of clothes as accidents can happen during the no-nappy part of the shoot.
Words: Tracey Porter