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Training leads to success

Training leads to success

Training leads to success for newborn photographer Natalie Moss

It is known that training leads to success. This is something I tell newborn photographers all the time, because it’s true. Investing in training increases confidence once you implement what you have been taught. It increases ability and it should also increase profit. I teach many photographers who have gone on to win awards and/or qualify with leading photography associations. I love to teach but I absolutely really love seeing my photographer delegates succeed. I love to see them flourish and create their own style. Therefore, I am delighted to interview newborn photographer Natalie Moss on her award of Newborn Photographer of the Year 2019 from the Societies of Photographers.

Many congratulations Natalie on winning Newborn Photographer of the Year 2020 at The Societies of Photographers Awards.   What made you decide to become a newborn photographer?

Thanks so much.  I am absolutely delighted.  I’ve always loved photography, particularly shooting portraits and it was actually a friend that first suggested newborn photography to me.  After meeting you at a conference, he rang me that night and said that he thought I would love the idea of newborn work. I attended your training and immediately fell in love with newborn photography.  Not only do I love babies, but, I love to capture this special time.  The birth of a baby is magical and I feel lucky to photograph the love, journey and story of a new family.  

What was your previous career and how long have you been a newborn photographer? 

Although part of my degree was in Photography and I always dreamt of being a photographer. When I left university I actually ended up in Event Marketing and in 2006 I left the corporate world when I had my second child. Initially I began working in nursery photography but started newborn photography in 2014 when I undertook my first training course with you.  

What is it that appeals to you most about newborn photography and what made you decide to specialise in that particular genre? 

I love capturing the love, journey and story of a new family.  Working with newborns is very special (especially all the cuddles I get), and I like the emotion of this work – delicate, soft and pure.   

What made you decide to choose that particular image to enter?

I loved the simplicity of the shot and the way it captured the feeling of family unity.  Nothing distracts from the newborn and it’s all about them. The way the little one is smiling and holding his mother’s hand encapsulates the feeling of the love of a new family. Every time I look at this image it makes me smile, so I was hoping it would have the same effect for others viewing this image.  

It definitely does. It’s really delightful and is beautiful in every way.  The lighting, sympathetic editing, expression, emotive element and composition is super.   I particularly love the unfussy element to it – with attention drawn to exactly where it should be – the baby.     Tell our readers about your style of newborn photography.

I try to have a very simple, timeless and natural style.  Muted colours if any, and props that do not distract from the focus of the baby.  Over the years my style has naturally developed and something that has always been key for me is to create images with a timeless feel.  Ones you can look over in years to come and they will still look just as beautiful. 

Your favourite lens?

The Canon 24-70. f2.8

I have trained you a couple of times over the years in the art of newborn photography – can you tell our readers why you feel professional development is important? 

I really do believe you can never stop learning new things.  It is important to me to never get complacent – I want to push myself to always improve my work, be creative and learn new things.  My work has changed and improved so much since I began my journey and this is through training and hard work.  Good training is vital.  

To clarify for those who may not realise, this image is shot on a beanbag for safety.   This shows that you can create the most beautiful artistic images without compromising baby safety.  What is your safety message to newborn photographers?

Yes, this shot is done on a beanbag for safety.  Safety is paramount in newborn photography and should always be the number one priority when photographing babies.  No newborn should ever be put at risk for an image. With the ever growing popularity in newborn photography and the rise in number of newborn photographers, it is key to have the correct and appropriate training.

What would you say to newborn photographers who are just starting out? 

Make sure you invest in good quality training! And never give up on your dream!

Natalie – you absolutely deserved to win and it has been super to watch your journey. Many congratulations again. Here is Natalie’s absolutely beautiful image. Be sure to check out her work by clicking here

Melanie East Newborn photography training


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The art and business of newborn photography

In conversation with – Deana Davis

It was my absolute pleasure to interview the wonderful Deana Davis who is a highly talented newborn photographer based in Hertfordshire. She is mother to three gorgeous children and runs her newborn photography business full time. She is now an associate in newborn photography with a national photography association. I have taught Deana for the last few years in the art and business of newborn photography. Deana is a highly motivated photographer who has a clear passion for her work. She also believes in the importance of continued professional development. Deana’s work has a very clear style. It is refined, beautifully lit and posed. Most importantly, she always puts safety before any shot. In this interview she explains why she became a newborn photographer and how continued professional development has assisted her to get to where she is today. Deana is a fabulous example of how implementation of what she learned has improved her work and business. I have absolutely loved seeing Deana progress over the years and helping her on her successful journey.

Deana – thank you so much for joining me on this interview about your business and training in the art and business of newborn photography. Can you tell our readers a little about you – what did you do before you became a newborn photographer?

I worked in the tyre trade for quite a few years. It was a very male dominated environment at the time. I had to stand my ground to be accepted as knowing what I was doing and having the knowledge. I did it though, – I went from no one really wanting to deal with me, to clients only wanting to deal with me.

I love your perseverance and motivation. What made you decide to become a newborn photographer?

I have always been fascinated by photographs. To me it’s like a little bit of magic. I actually took my first baby photograph when I was about 11 – with an absolute rubbish camera, the bed and a shawl. Never planned on being a newborn photographer. I had a semi decent camera and when I had my first baby, Ella, I was obsessed. I just couldn’t believe I had managed to produce such a beautiful baby and I could not stop looking at her. Sometimes I remember feeling panicked that I would forget every little detail so I started photographing her nearly every day. I then stumbled across a newborn photograph in a magazine – an article all about newborn photography. At that time I thought it was the most beautiful image I had ever seen – and I said to myself right then – I am going to learn how to do that and I did.

Why did you choose Melanie East to train you in the art and business of newborn photography?

I actually stumbled across Melanie, having not long started. To be honest, I had booked a newborn training day with another photographer simply because I had been to a trade show and was given info on it.  I had not long joined a national photography association and they were advertising a workshop with Melanie. Even though at the time I thought “well I have just been on a workshop”, I liked what I was seeing. I will never forget that day – the first time I met Melanie. That day, I sat down and looked at her beautiful set up and light set up and it was a huge light bulb moment for me. This was it, this was what I wanted to achieve, not the run of the mill basics but this.


After that day, I booked a 1:1 with Melanie. I then attended three of her Italian workshops. I also booked a business workshop with her.

Why did you book?

Well, I only ever booked newborn training with Melanie after that one workshop. Why? Because everything about her style was what I loved. I loved the way she taught. The lighting – she actually helped me see the light, which was that missing component to my work.  The safety aspects – things you wouldn’t even think about. Aftercare and support and I know that Melanie actually *cared* about my business. I wasn’t just another photographer, she wanted me to succeed and I can’t thank her enough for believing.

Did you notice a continued improvement after each training with Melanie?

Omg absolutely. I took what I had learned and implemented it straight away. It doesn’t matter how much you think you know, you always improve and learn something new – I certainly did. Honestly the best decision I ever made for my business 

What have you learned from Melanie?

I have learnt so much from all the training in the art and business of newborn photography I have had with Melanie. The light was a massive thing for me. I already knew my style – what I liked and Melanie helped me enhance that and truly bring out my creative side. Also, I also learned how to create a smooth workflow, remain calm and keep baby calm and comfortable. I’ve also learned confidence. Confidence is key. The business side of it was something I was not the best at, but again I have learned what I need to be doing to run a successful business. I have learned how to stand out and how to provide amazing experience from beginning to end. I just feel like I can see now – I know what I need to be doing.

How do you feel you have grown in terms of your photography since training with Melanie?

OMG – where do I start? I can’t quite believe that I am at this point now – producing the best work I have ever produced. Not only that but I know exactly where my business is going and what I want to achieve. I am confident, I believe and I am excited about what the future holds. Really I honestly swear by the fact that training every year has got me to this point. I have invested in myself even when there were times I couldn’t really afford it, but I can’t tell you how much it has paid off and how all the training has been worth every penny.

Why do you think continued professional development is important in the world of photography?

Because we never stop learning and the minute we do, we don’t progress. I wouldn’t be doing what I am today if I had just stopped learning. How can you progress if you stop? I have done quite a lot of training and have every intention of continuing to do so. Quite a few people say to me “More training? Why are you doing that? You don’t need it.” That just makes me laugh because it’s the continued training that has got me to where I am today. Every year my business and my work gets better and every year I train. Coincidence? Absolutely not. If I want to grow as a business and creatively I have to keep learning & trying. 

Would you recommend Melanie’s training to other newborn photographers?

Yes I would. Melanie’s training is perfect for every level – from completely beginners to experienced. It will give you the knowledge and tools, the confidence, passion and drive to succeed in your business.

What would you say to others about Melanie’s newborn photography training?

If you are serious about your business, just do it.

Thank you so very much Deana. It’s such a pleasure having witnessed your journey as a newborn photographer. I love the work you produce and your clear motivation, passion and confidence. I’d like to thank you for trusting me to teach you over the years.

I love to see newborn photographers thrive, just like Deana. If you feel that I am the newborn photography trainer for you, then please click here to view what I can do for you.

And to finish – here is one of Deana’s beautiful images from her associate panel. Be sure to check out her website by clicking here

the art and business of newborn photography with Melanie East

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Updating your newborn training is important.

Melanie East | In conversation with…. Georgia Lemon

I had the pure delight to interview Georgia. She is a talented photographer based in Aberdeen and has trained with me three times. In this interview you can clearly see the importance of updating your newborn training. She is relatively new to the world of photography having started her business only three years ago. Read how Georgia discusses her background, why she chose newborn photography, and what keeping her newborn photography training updated has done for her business. This talented photographer is proof that implementation works. She has seen a definite increase in wall art sales and profit. The changes she has made following my tuition means that Georgia is now working smarter, not harder. She is earning more money for less work. The result is a more confident, creative and profitable photographer.

Thanks so much for joining me Georgia. Tell our readers – how long have you been in business?

I have been a photographer now for just over 3 years and it’s been a wonderful journey!

What was your previous career before you became a photographer?

I loved my job as a tax advisor (as dull as it may sound) but my role in the business could not be sustained when I became a mother.  Having a fulfilling career that would enable me to be the mum I wanted to be is important to me.  My move to photography has done exactly that.  I can be at home with my children when they need me the most (and this is something that was of utmost importance to me). It means that I can run my studio around their school hours.   I was offered a training opportunity with a wonderful local photographer in Aberdeen and I trained with him in portrait photography. I gained my licentiate that year for child portraiture.  It was then awarded the best licentiateship panel of 2017 – something I am very proud of. 

That’s fantastic! Tell me – what made you branch into newborn photography?

I decided to expand my skills into newborn photography. With my love of child photography, this move seemed an obvious choice for my business allowing me to build client relationships from this early stage.  

Why did you choose Melanie to train you in the art and business of newborn photography?

I researched a number of newborn photographers before booking. Throughout Melanie’s website and also her book, the emphasis was on safety and this appealed to me most. There are many newborn photographers out there looking to increase profits with training but with little or no emphasis on safety. I want to provide the best service for my clients in the safest manner possible – this is why I trained with Melanie. She also runs a successful newborn photography business so I knew that she would be speaking from experience – and this was important to me. I think it’s important that you train with somebody who runs a successful business in terms of profit and is proof of what can be achieved.

Why and what did you book?

I booked the following:

1-2-1 at Melanie’s – I was new to newborn photography. I wanted to ensure that before I provided this service to clients, I was equipped with the skills and safety advice necessary. This is absolutely vital to operate as a professional photographer with a newborn focus. 

Italian Retreat 2018 with Melanie – Having learned the fundamentals from Melanie I wanted to push my work to the next level both technically and creatively. The Italian retreat was also very reasonably priced and made it an easy decision to attend. 

1-2-1 at my studio – I then wanted to be able to take my work to the next level up again. I felt the only way to proceed was to learn in my own studio with my own props, equipment and lighting. Again this was hugely beneficial and the cost was surprisingly low given the huge benefit. 

Tell our readers – what have you learned from Melanie in terms of each training session with her?

I have learnt the safe posing of newborns, how to light an image beautifully without the loss of detail in the shadows. I am now working more creatively. Most recently Melanie helped me understand that I need to produce work that I love and be able to sell this to clients. Melanie has given me the confidence to push forward my own ideas and styles. This has greatly improved my business and average sales. Since training with Melanie I have seen a significant upturn in my average sale value from each newborn shoot. 

I’ve also implemented many of Melanie’s strategies across my portrait business and had similar success with our average sales here too. 

Tuition breakdown

1-2-1 at Melanie’s – I saw an immediate difference with Melanie’s training. Before coming to Melanie I was a relatively new photographer (albeit qualified in portraiture). I was therefore completely new to newborns. Attending my initial one to one with Melanie gave me the confidence and skills to go away and build a portfolio of work and create saleable images. 

Italian Retreat 2018 – the difference in my pre Italy shoots and post Italy shoots after Melanie’s tuition was unbelievable. So much so that an image shot in a session in the weeks after Italy scored an Award of Excellence in the Scottish MPA awards. Something I could never have dreamt of, just 2 years into my photography career. 

1-2-1 My studio – after Melanie’s visit I took a while to sit back and reflect on the advice given and particularly in relation to sales, marketing and ordering sessions. On the advice of Melanie I revised my collections. I reduced my Wall Art offerings (to become more streamlined and creative). I also made significant changes to my digital image pricing.  This was something we covered in detail together. As a mum to two young children and expecting my third, I wanted to work smarter and reduce the hours I was working. It was important that this did not have a detrimental effect to profit. I worried that making these changes would impact on the volume of customers. However, Melanie taught me that the gaining the “right” clients for me is more important than just “any” client and she taught me how to do that. 

Melanie’s advice and tuition worked – I do have less clients but the clients I now have are spending much more than I could have imagined so I am now working less hours for more money – something as a mum of two young children I am very grateful for! 

My average sales figures since implementing Melanie’s advice have at least doubled and in many cases tripled. Wall art sales have increased. 

In what way was it helpful for Melanie to visit you in your own studio?

From the moment Melanie entered the studio she was able to identify that my beanbag was too soft…..which was affecting the posing. This is something that I would not have picked up at a visit to Melanie’s  studio – because you can’t always remember on leaving how firm or soft her beanbag is! Melanie was able to guide me on light positioning using my own lights and space available. She was able to help me with using particular stuffers with my prop work to enable me to get baby in the right position. We worked on angles and using my lighting and my props in my own space.

Melanie was also able to guide me on my ordering room layout and sample displays. This was invaluable as she was able to look at this from a client perspective. She was able to give a large amount of advice concerning my set up. I wouldn’t have had this insight from a 1-2-1 at Melanie’s studio. 

How do you feel you have grown in terms of photography and business since training with Melanie?

Since training with Melanie, my confidence has greatly improved. My posing, creativity and lighting have all improved,  I have noticed a significant improvement each time I have trained with Melanie. Melanie reveals all during her training sessions and each time I train with her I leave enthused and ready to take my work to the next level. 

Why did you train multiple times with Melanie?

I’m a firm believer in training and development. Updating your newborn photography training is important. Many view it as a failing admitting that they have been for training more than once. I don’t see it like this. It’s impossible to learn absolutely everything in a day. That is one of the benefits of learning with Melanie. Each day is tailor made to your requirements at that time. As we develop in our careers, so do our training requirements. It’s obvious to me that you would want to refresh your skills, refine a technique, or keep up to date with safety practices. That is exactly what i have done with Melanie the last three years. I will continue to do so as my needs develop.

I’m very proud that I’ve trained with Melanie on more than one occasion. It lets my customers know that I am constantly striving to develop my skill base and that I’m not standing still. It gives clients great comfort to know you’ve invested in training by a leading newborn photographer who has a focus on safety.

Would you recommend Melanie’s training to other newborn photographers?

Absolutely. There are very few trainers who are prepared to give you all of the information. Melanie does! This coupled with her focus on newborn safety is the reason why I would not hesitate to recommend her. Melanie’s strategies work.

What would you say to others about Melanie?

Melanie East is an extremely talented newborn photographer and trainer. She has been at the forefront of newborn imagery for many, many years. She is an advocate for safe practices in newborn photography. Melanie is hugely supportive of all delegates who train with her. She and invests a significant amount of time in mentoring. I am extremely grateful to have met Melanie and had the opportunity to train with her on more than one occasion.  I will continue to do so.

**Very well done to Georgia** If you need help with your photography art or business (or both), then please get in touch. It is important to keep updating your newborn photography training. 1:1 days are tailor made to your complete requirements. Please click here to take a look.

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Newborn photography training is a journey

Newborn Photography Training is a Journey with Me

And I love that journey! When I am teaching, I tend to establish a long term relationship with my delegates. I usually attract delegates who believe that newborn photography training is a journey and not just a one off teaching session. Sometimes however it may well be that a one off is all that is needed – it all depends on where the delegate is now, and where they want to be. My delegates realise and appreciate that you can’t possibly always learn everything there is to know in one session. You know – you simply can’t do it all at once! Newborn photography training should not be viewed as a quick-fix. Rather it should be viewed as a long term project. A project where you grow in terms of your art and your business, your confidence and profitability.

There are normally three stages in a photographer’s journey. Let’s take it right from the very beginning:

  1. Novice – the photographer may be completely new to photography or they may be new to the genre of newborn photography so they invest in training in “how to* do it.
  2. Developing and refining skills – the photographer gets to a stage where they want to improve further and refine their work. They may be wanting to enter competitions or obtain the next stage in their qualification. They are understanding and developing their style.
  3. Business – The photographer wants to ensure their business is profitable or they may want to increase profitability and work smarter not harder.

Georgia Lemon

Georgia is a client of mine. I’ll be featuring her interview shortly, but let’s look briefly at Georgia’s journey with me. Here is what she booked and what Georgia had to say about each.

1-2-1 at Melanie’s – I saw an immediate difference with Melanie’s training. Before coming to Melanie I was a relatively new photographer (albeit qualified in portraiture) and completely new to newborns. Attending my initial one to one with Melanie gave me the confidence and skills to go away and build a portfolio of work and create saleable images. 

Italian Retreat 2018 – the difference in my pre Italy shoots and post Italy shoots after Melanie’s tuition was unbelievable. So much so that an image shot in a session in the weeks after Italy scored an Award of Excellence in the Scottish MPA awards. Something I could never have dreamt of, just 2 years into my photography career. 

1-2-1 My studio – after Melanie’s visit I took a while to sit back and reflect on the advice given and particularly in relation to sales, marketing and ordering sessions. On the advice of Melanie I revised my collections, reduced my Wall Art offerings (to become more streamlined and creative) and made significant changes to my digital image pricing.  This was something we covered in detail together. As a mum to two young children and expecting my third, I wanted to work smarter and reduce the hours I was working but without having a detrimental effect to profit. I worried that making these changes would impact on the volume of customers. However, Melanie taught me that the gaining the “right” clients for me is more important than just “any” client and she taught me how to do that.

Melanie’s advice and tuition worked – I do have less clients but the clients I now have are spending much more than I could have imagined so I am now working less hours for more money – something as a mum of two young children I am very grateful for! 

My average sales figures since implementing Melanie’s advice have at least doubled and in many cases tripled. Wall art sales have increased. “

Results

So let’s analyse the results from Georgia’s three step training with me:.

  1. She started out completely new to newborn photography. She invested in a 1:1 with me and attending that gave her the confidence and skills to build a portfolio of work and create saleable images. Perfect.
  2. Georgia then wanted to refine her work further so she invested in the Italian Retreat with me. What happened straight after that? She won an Award of Excellence. Superb.
  3. Then, Georgia realised she wanted to work smarter. She knew how valuable having me in her studio would be so she had me come to *her* studio in Aberdeen. We carried out a morning of photography, and an afternoon of business. Having me in her space was incredibly useful for Georgia because I could immediately see her set up, particularly important in terms of the design room. Our afternoon of business was particularly of importance to Georgia. What happened after that? She doubled and in many cases tripled her sales.

Conclusion

Training split into stages works. Georgia (and many of my other delegates who will feature) are firm evidence of that. It is a journey. You can see the steps which Georgia followed.

Perfect the Art, which in turn increases your confidence. Know your business which in turn increases profitability. I can show you how.

To book me for newborn photography training and have me help you on your journey please get in touch with me here . We can look at where you are now, and where you want to be and devise a plan.

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What is creative newborn photography?

What is creative newborn photography? How can I be more creative in my work? Do I need to be creative? These are all questions that I get asked, hence this post.

Creative newborn photography is a term that I see used in a lot of newborn photography websites. There are some great creative newborn photographers out there – but it’s about so much more than just popping some flowers around a baby, albeit that always looks so pretty!

What does the term mean?

To my mind, being creative is about having an open mind. It’s about telling a story in your image. Creative use of light, textures and tones. Having a deep connection to your art, your subject and what you want to create. These are all elements that I believe are important when creating an image.

Digital Backgrounds

I never use any photographers’ digital backgrounds. Now please don’t misunderstand me – I think digital backgrounds are great – they certainly have their place and if you are working with a fussy baby – I am sure they can be an absolute life saver. The reason I don’t use them is simple – it’s somebody else’s creativity. Somebody else has thought up the concept and executed it. I want to produce authentic images that have been executed in studio by me. Where I make sure that I am thinking very carefully about the palette, tones and textures so that I can bring the whole image together. It’s important, of course, to ensure that the image works well within the client’s interior decor. Obviously it’s very important that I have thought about the light and the baby’s pose. I have thought about the story telling element and what we want to portray.

The client has usually had involvement. We may have discussed what it is that we wish to create, or sometimes the client wants me to come up with a concept and they don’t wish for involvement – although I have to say that is very rare.

Result

The image below was created by me in front of a client in my studio from scratch. The baby is one hundred percent safe and this is something that is vital. When I pose babies I think very carefully about their poses, risk to breathing, temperature, position and a whole host of other things which may affect baby. It is vital to remember that you are dealing with a precious miracle here, – not a doll.

creative newborn photography

Get in touch and let’s see how I can help you. If you feel that you’d like a week of learning how to be creative then the Art and Soul of Newborn Photography in Italy is for you! I can’t wait to hear from you! If you are a parent and you have come across this site and you would like me to photograph your baby then you need my other site here!

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WHERE I'M TEACHING

Melanie East is a specialist newborn photography trainer and newborn safety expert. Her belief is that newborn safety should come before any shot, and that taking risks with newborn babies is unnecessary. Melanie is a published author on the subject of newborn photography and teaches newborn photographers throughout the world.

FOLLOW ME

T. 07590 813858

 

E. melanie@theartofthenewborn.co.uk