Northern Ireland mum turns amazing baby photos hobby into business
A mother who turned a hobby into a blossoming photography business said her inspiration for the newborn images comes from her frustration at not having pictures of her children as babies.
Karolina Harper from Co Londonderry is giving up her day job as a classroom assistant after demand for her creative personalised pictures soared during the last year.
After moving to Coleraine from her native Poland some 11 years ago, the mum-of-two taught herself how to use what she terms a "proper camera" only three years ago.
Although she has been interested in photography for most her life, the part-time English teacher never imagined she could turn her hobby into a successful career.
"I have always carried a camera with me wherever I go and I love taking photos every day," she said.
"After I bought a new camera in 2013, I started to get really into it and took loads of photos of my son and sent them into competitions.
"I then had different ideas that I wanted to capture and after that people started asking me if I could take photos for them.
"My newborn photos have come from the fact that I never had my kids photographed when they were babies, which is something I really regret, as it goes so quickly."
Mrs Harper, who runs Harper's Photography and specialises in newborn pictures, said her images all have a purpose and tell an individual story about the baby or child, captured in a priceless moment.
She often takes photos within the first two weeks of a baby's life, as she says that period is the best, as it passes so quickly.
She added: "I don't like to take just random photos, I like them to have a purpose and have something that tells a story. I also like to have a theme - every baby is different, so you have to have a personal approach to each client.
"People know that every photo is different and I try not to repeat myself."
However, the mum to Laura (15) and nine-year-old Kaiser admits it's a risk to give up her job in the classroom.
"It's a business that will either be a feast or famine, but I just want to give 100% to it as I believe this is where my heart is," she continued.
"This year has really picked up. My husband, Steve also helps me with newborns and his nickname is baby whisperer, as they just fall asleep in his arms.
"I'm the creative one and he's the calm hand."
The cost of some of her packages, including family and children portraits, start at £150 while a gold premium package will set you back £360.
Ideas for the images are usually inspired by vintage and natural scenes or props that are unique to a family.
"My brain is always working overtime and some ideas will pop into my head. I will also speak to a customer and ask them if there any hobbies or jobs they like to have included.
"You have to have a really personal approach to it and envisage what they want. I also like to contribute my ideas and they appreciate that.
"Those very first moments of a baby's life are such a magical time and it flies so quickly, to be able to capture that is priceless.
"I never had that for my children and to give that to families is amazing, as every time they collect the photos some time later the baby has already changed.
"For me, I love creating priceless memories for them. It's like creating an immortal moment."