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The Power of Print: Newborn Photographer Kelly Brown on What’s Fueling Her Skyrocketing Business

April 20, 2018

By Sponsored

Photo © Kelly Brown

Newborn photographer Kelly Brown’s business has skyrocketed over the past few years—in part, she says, because of the high value she places on prints.

For Brisbane, Australia-based photographer Kelly Brown, the power of print has never waned. Her business, Little Pieces Photography, which specializes in newborn and maternity shoots, puts an emphasis on print-heavy packages for clients. “When you see something on the wall, it’s a daily reminder of what your value is in life,” Brown says. “For me, it’s family. I want to be reminded daily of the importance of that. I want to create that sense of value for all of my clients who come in [the door].”

Photo © Kelly Brown

Even more than providing her clients with lasting mementos, she wants to offer them a professional product that they couldn’t purchase anywhere else. Anyone can share a digital file, but only a professional can create a work of art, she says. “If you work with a professional photographer, you deserve a professional product.” Brown started taking photographs in 2004, after the arrival of her daughter—who was quickly followed by a set of twins. At the time, film photography was still prominent, and that’s what Brown used to take photographs of her children. “I was taking rolls and rolls of film, and only getting one or two images in focus,” she recalls with a laugh. “My husband said, ‘You should learn how to take a decent photo.’”

Photo © Kelly Brown

She went back to college to study photography (previously, she had worked in hospitality and retail, and as an office manager). She began professionally shooting weddings and families but found that she was naturally drawn to photographing babies. And, as more of her friends began their own families, she had no shortage of subjects. Her newfound passion fit into her life as a mother, too. “I could work school hours,” she says. “So I created a business model around my availability.”

Over time, her business grew exponentially. In 2017, Little Pieces moved into a state-of-the-art facility in Brisbane. Brown increased her exposure by entering her work in competitions—and often winning them, including the WPPI Newborn Photographer of the Year in 2017. Today, Little Pieces Photography is a fully staffed studio that does all printing for clients, with the exception of albums, in-house.

Photo © Kelly Brown

Brown focuses on print as a means of setting Little Pieces apart from other photography businesses, many of which have succumbed to the digital age and turned toward offering primarily digital packages to clients. “We needed to give people a reason to stay with us,” Brown says. “We focused on the quality of our prints and providing our clients with something that lasts a lifetime.”

Clients at Little Pieces Photography are offered four different packages, which, depending on pricing, include prints, framed prints, canvasses and albums. Every package includes an in-studio reveal wall that clients are invited to see, with their edited prints displayed (and many choose to purchase them on the spot, Brown notes).

To create such a display, Brown uses a range of papers. “Not every photograph looks the same on different papers,” she notes. For all of the prints Brown makes for clients, she uses Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag, which is a 310gsm paper that mimics the F-type smooth satin paper once used in darkrooms. She especially loves it for its subtle texture, she says. “It has a bit of a gloss that really makes the details and the blacks pop.”

When she’s printing personal or conceptual work, she often experiments with different types of Canson Infinity Etching Rag papers, which have a painterly quality. “I’m inspired and motivated by paintings,” Brown says. “I want to be able to have that texture in the print itself.”

Photo © Kelly Brown

The prints Brown submits to competitions require a special kind of paper, such as Canson Infinity Baryta Prestige 340gsm. In award settings, Brown notes, prints are often put under very bright lights, and any gloss can obscure details. “The Baryta Prestige 340gsm is a little flatter, so judges can see every detail,” she explains.

More than anything, Brown’s prints convey her love for the photographic object. “I want to see a family on a wall, not on a USB port,” she says, recalling the experience of looking at prints of her children for the first time. “There was nothing better than opening that packet of photographs to see how they turned out.”

And while she’s accomplished a great deal with her business, Brown continues to set lofty goals, like imbuing the power of print in coming generations. One day, she hopes, the newborns she photographed will look at the prints she created of them and cherish their value.

Learn more about Canson papers and get a free Baryta Prestige sample here. 

—Sponsored by Canson