Baby Photography GOLD award

Pete Bennett photography SWPP GOLD Baby category August 2013

Baby Photography Gold Award – Pete Bennett Photography

Before I realised I loved photographing weddings, the creative side of me was allowed to escape through taking photographs of babies. Despite many photographers telling me it was an area they were not interested in (for many reasons) I enjoyed it and wanted to pursue this area to the best of my ability. In the early days I couldn’t find enough babies to photograph almost begging people to bring their new born child to my studio to have some pictures taken of them. My work was improving in a steadily and I was continually reading blog posts, you tube films and looking at other photographers work for inspiration on baby photography. I used natural light where I could and occasionally mixed it up with a bit of studio flash,  I was learning a little more after every photo-shoot from trial and error.

I regularly attended ‘Focus on imaging’ a trade show for photographers held every March at the Birmingham NEC. I would drag Sarah my wife along and convince her she would have a nice time and ‘this time it will be different, you will enjoy it…….’. I generally went along to try and grab myself a bargain on props, lighting or camera equipment, but in 2012 having walked the show 20 times and grabbed all the bargains I could afford I thought it would be a good idea to listen to some of the experts, the professionals who were scattered around the suppliers stands offering snippets into their own genius or demonstrating how good a particular product was convincing you it was a must for your photography. Another part of the day Sarah was ‘thoroughly looking forward to’!

We planned our route for the speakers around the various trade stands and were going through the motions listening to one speaker after another. The day was nearly over and we only had two more speakers to go from our list, so we headed over to the Elinchrom stand to see Bjorn Thomassen do his thing. I was particularly attracted to Bjorn’s work and was aware of his contributions to DSLR magazine which I was a subscriber at the time. Bjorn had attracted a large crowd so we pushed our way to the front so we could see what was happening. He had an attractive female model on stage a camera on a tripod and a microphone headset Britney Spears style! I don’t remember much about the content of the session other than the fact he didn’t use his camera once and the model was there to tilt her head a little bit from time to time, but it captivated me and the lesson I really took away from Bjorn was that social photography was about people and emotion. Not a revelation to most perhaps but that was the day it clicked for me. We took a discount voucher for training with Bjorn and were on our way.

It was a few days later when I was looking through my Facebook news feed when I realised that Sarah Bennett MUA (my wife) was now friends with Bjorn Thomassen! I thought she was mad this man was a celebrity and she had sent him a friend request!!! Not to be outdone I sent my request through and thankfully he accepted me too. Two weeks later Bjorn posted on Facebook that he was going to start a portrait group and was looking for an expression of interest, I couldn’t type fast enough YES OF COURSE I AM INTERESTED!!!!

The rest of the story is a bit of a blur but before I knew it I was learning about studio lighting, single and multiple light setups, location lighting, how to control natural light and portable studio lights, reflectors, diffusers and so the list goes on…. Lots of theory, followed up by practical demonstration and experimentation. This period of time moved my understanding of the behaviour of lighting into a different place and I cannot recommend Bjorn of Inspire Training enough.

Every new born shoot I was thinking more and more about ‘light’ ‘moment’ ‘composition’ and after I photographed all of the cute baby pictures I would always shoot something for myself. This is how I arrived at this slightly different composition. If you ever get the urge to try it just remember, babies do not care if they wee on your camera or on you!! Which the babies parents and I laugh about every time I see them.

So there you have it, my first GOLD award in the Baby category in the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP) international monthly competition. Now to go and get some more…………

If you are interested in having new born photographs taken of your baby please contact Pete for more details

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