Me, my clients and my creative journey as a newborn photographer!

Last month I got a new enquiry from a client. Within it she had given me all the info I needed to respond, but in the notes section she wrote the kindest message… “You were my newborn photographer before I even got pregnant. I just adore your work and I wouldn’t have considered anyone else”.

As a small business owner and someone who is so passionate about my work, this just made my heart leap with pride! I love my clients – I celebrate every new booking and I am lucky enough to attract the kind of people who are as passionate about photography as me and who share my creative fancies! No two babies are the same and therefore no two sessions are the same. I tailor each and every newborn shoot to the likes or dislikes of my clients, whilst at the same time, keeping true to myself and the style of imagery I love to create! I am also a small business owner, which means every comment I get, every Facebook or Instagram “like” I receive or every tear I generate in a viewing (happy tears of course!) makes me the happiest girl on earth!

I always ask my clients if they have seen something (from my portfolio hopefully!) which they love and I generally take inspiration from this, but when a client gives me free reign to be creative, I never know what is going to happen until the day before, when I start planning my set ups, and even then I never really know until I’ve started pulling it all together in the studio! Quite often this is when something magical happens and I can’t wait to share it with the world!

Over the last two years I’ve undertaken a project. Some of my existing clients are well aware as I’ve probably bored them to tears with the details, but basically I needed to create a body of work comprising of 20 images, which show a consistent style, yet all images must be different from each other and as a whole, demonstrate a true style identifiable with the photographer. This challenge is part of my Master Photographer Qualification and in March this year, at the Photography Show in the NEC, my Associate Panel of work is going to be judged (LIVE!!) infront of anyone who wishes to attend! Eeeek!

I’ve worked really hard on this project. The first hurdle was finding the right kind of “style” to present. My clients requests are varied; from light, bright and dreamy images through to the more rich, opulent and vibrant colours! I used to be afraid of colour and now I just love it. After an initial battle of decisions between my mentor and I, I finally opted for the latter and focused my efforts on creating a panel of images across the colour spectrum, but that all sit together as a whole.

My sponsorship with Baby Prop Shop helped this as they provided me with a range of beautiful vintage backdrops (I think I have literally every colour!) and I spent a small fortune on colour co-ordinated props. Some my mum made for me (thanks Mum!) as she’s handy with knitting needles! Some I purchased from other prop suppliers and then the smaller details I gathered from Ebay, craft stores and any home stores that I ventured into! My friends indulged me – sent me links, helped me shop and my husband got used to the multiple parcels that were being delivered in small grey envelopes and instead of asking each time what they were, just started piling them up by the door ready for me to squirrel into the studio! Anything from wall decor butterflies to pinecones, artificial leaves or peacock feathers!

My panel challenged my lighting skills as I seem to favour lighting from the right for propped shots, but I forced myself to light 50% from each side so that the lighting pattern draws your eye into the middle of the panel and creates a cohesive look as a whole. Even as I reached the end of my journey and had photographed the images I wanted, I still had to make sure they were all perfect and that there was nothing the Master Photographer judges could knock points from. A highlight on a big toe, a small speck of dust on the floor, a bit of fluff sticking out – everything had to be perfect! A local photographer Andy Griffin agreed to have a final once over for me and he very kindly identified things I hadn’t even noticed (He is also a judge!) and then finally my local photographic Lab Menor, spent over an hour with me getting the fine art prints absolutely perfect! I am seriously grateful to them both and i now feel the panel is as good as it’s ever going to get!!

This panel has definitely shaped me as a photographer. There were times I nearly threw in the towel, but I remember my mentor Sarah, very kindly saying to me that although her comments were hard to hear, that it would all be worth it in the long run! Whilst I didn’t believe her at the time (I am impatient and wanted to get it all done within a month or two!), she was definitely right and I am so excited to show my panel off to anyone and everyone who is interested!

I can’t show you the panel just yet! I want to get it judged first as a tiny bit of my insecure self is afraid it’ll all go terribly wrong and break my heart, but I just wanted to give you a little insight into my life as a create newborn photographer, and to what makes me tick! I am highly creative, I do take everything to heart and my clients mean the world to me! I am forever grateful to them for indulging my creative ideas and for letting me share them with you!

I will show off my panel in this blog once it’s all been judged on the 17th march – wish me luck! 🙂 Rachel xx