A PHOTOGRAPHER who specialises in portraits of newborn babies has launched an online support group for pregnant women and new mums to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

Louise Cairns, who lives in Cardross and runs her Life in Focus Portraits studio from The Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in Rhu, near Helensburgh, has started a Facebook group to provide advice to parents during lockdown.

The mother-of-three has been forced to close her photography business as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak but she is now using her background as a nursery nurse to pass on top tips to women.

She told the Reporter: “This is an especially frightening time for pregnant and new mums. They are having to face all kinds of issues they wouldn’t normally, including not having their birthing partners with them for the full duration of their labour, not to mention all of the birthing, parenting and baby classes they now can’t access.

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“The group is full of amazing support, helping each other through this frightening time with so much positivity and focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel.”

With concerns growing over the future sustainability of large and small businesses throughout the country, Louise is hopeful that hers will survive the current crisis.

As the lockdown continues, however, her focus has shifted to finding new ways to assist her clients.

She said: “As part of the support group I’ll also be giving some live video guidance to the ladies in the group on how to take their own newborn photos at home during the lockdown.

“I feel quite sad that so many parents are going to miss out on having their usual newborn photography sessions so, as well as offering this, I have prepared a guide to help parents get the best out of taking their own photos at home.

“I’d like to think that my business can survive this, it really depends on how wary people are as the rules relax.

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“Newborn photography is, of course, very hands on, and the ideal for a posed newborn session is that I see babies within the first two to three weeks, but that’s by no means a necessity.

“My many years as a newborn specialist mean I have lots of experience shooting older babies in a similar style to newborns.

“Whatever age a baby is when the guidance is relaxed I will still give those parents beautiful images that they can treasure.

“I think if anything I may have difficulty fitting in several months of babies into my diary.

“In the meantime I’m focusing on areas of my business where I can still work, like product and food photography for local small businesses."

While she is ensuring pregnant women and new mums are coping with isolation and social distancing, Louise is confident the outlook on the other side of the pandemic will be brighter than before.

“Even if the group helps one new mum feel less isolated then it’s done its job,” she said.

“I see the end of this as a time to celebrate our families, more so than ever. I think this time of enforced separation has really helped us all see how important we all are to each other, and in particular that fabulous bond between our children and their grandparents.”