I truly love being a newborn photographer. And there’s no more amazing feeling than when I travel up the wonderful driveway to Cams Hall to my studio. In fact, when I first found the gorgeous Palladian mansion that is Cams Hall, the feeling I had that day is the feeling that I want my clients to feel – it’s just wow.
I’ve been a newborn photographer for over 5 years now and started my business in a converted barn in Upton Grey, near Basingstoke. I absolutely loved my little studio. However, once I moved to live in Fareham, it got a little too far to travel each day so I started the search for a new studio. I just wanted to pick up the little Bulls Pen, my studio and move it to Fareham. It was so important to me that I found the right studio that would create an amazing newborn photography experience for all my lovely families. And I can definitely say that Cams Hall ticks all those boxes.
Cams Hall is like a hidden little treasure trove in the middle of Fareham. Quite often clients will say they have driven by and never knew it existed. It actually has quite a bit of history behind it. I am always amazed that such a beautiful building was left derelict in the late 80s. One of my clients said he can remember playing in the derelict building as a child. I would so love to see some old photographs. It’s such a beautiful building and I’m truly so lucky to have a studio in an amazing location.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Cams Hall, the current building actually dates back to to around 1770 when it was first built of its traditional yellow stone, designed by architect Jacob Leroux. The land that Cams Hall stands on was also featured in the Domesday Book – in fact even a manor house was known to have stood here in the 13th century.
Over the years, this wonderful building has certainly seen many changes. Back in the 12th century, the family of Robert Oysell owned the property; naming it Cammes Oysell. Since then it’s had several different owners. A lot of the changes to the building were created by the Adam Brothers, who were renowned Georgian architects of the era. Unfortunately back in World War II, Cams Hall was the victim of an explosion after shelling of Portsmouth Harbour’s Bedenham pier.
Sadly, Cams Hall was then left to deteriorate, until it was bought in 1962 by Charles Church. Unfortunately it never had the opportunity to be restored however as the owner died in a plane crash, with Cams Hall staying derelict until it was finally restored to its beauty in the 1990s thanks to a £4m investment by Strand Harbour Securities and Warings of Portsmouth. And in 2000 it was bought by the Wilky Group which now runs Cams Hall as one of its Parallel Business Centres, and where I’m incredibly lucky to have my beautiful studio.
I wanted to share with you the little details about Cams Hall that make me feel so proud to have my lovely warm newborn studio there. I’ve already mentioned the impressive drive up to Cams Hall. The grounds are breathtaking and in the first lockdown, I used the beautiful grounds to take outdoor portraits in the summer. When you come into the front entrance of Cams Hall you’ll be welcomed by the ever-friendly reception staff. They are all so lovely and really make me feel part of their team, even though I am a resident business. I love our little daily chats and I know they definitely love seeing the newborn babies visiting too. Once I have greeted and taken my mummies and daddies to my studio, I love opening the door to the studio. This is when the second wow happens – and instantly feel that they can unwind. Relaxed on the comfy sofa, they get to chill and enjoy watching their little gorgeous bundle of joy being photographed.
My studio is lovely and spacious which is so incredibly important with social distancing in these times. The extra space means that I have separate shooting areas that ensures I can safely move babies from one area to another. I even have a hairdryer plugged in at each station to help settle the baby – a magical trick of mine which most definitely works. And I’m not alone when I say newborn photographers love to buy props. We definitely need lots of cupboard space for our bowls, baskets and wraps etc. This makes sure you’ve got lots of choice of which props you’d like to include, so that you can make sure your newborn photographs are just what you are looking for.
I love continuing to enhance and improve my studio so that I can give you the best newborn experience I can. I’m very much looking forward to 2021. Fingers crossed for the end of full lockdown so that lots of newborns can come to the studio at Cams Hall.