Award-winning newborn, child & family photographer, Undy, Monmouthshire

South Wales award-winning newborn, child & family photographer

What a month June was! So much so, it’s now half-way through July and I’ve only just been able to post about it.

At the beginning of June, I submitted my entries for the Master Photographers’ Association (MPA) Welsh region annual awards. I’m absolutely delighted to announce that I was awarded not just one but FOUR merit awards, in the categories of Newborn Portrait, Family Portrait, Under 5s Portrait, and Creative Photographer. Here are my awarded photos…

Merit Award in Category Newborn Portrait

Merit Award in Category Newborn Portrait

Merit Award in Category Family Portrait

Merit Award in Category Family Portrait

Merit Award in Category Under 5s Portrait

Merit Award in Category Under 5s Portrait

Merit Award in Category Creative Photography

Merit Award in Category Creative Photography

If that hadn’t had me dancing around the room enough, at the end of the month I entered the national monthly competition and won UK Portrait Photographer of the Month for this beach portrait (if you’re wondering what the odd noise was one evening in early July, that was probably me, whooping and cheering!)

Master Photographers’ Association UK Portrait Photographer of the Month (June)

Master Photographers’ Association UK Portrait Photographer of the Month (June)

I love this portrait - the colour palette and the light are so gentle. It’s one of my favourite teen portrait photographs so far this year.

If you’re looking to book a photo session, whether it’s for your new baby, your growing child or your young teenager, please do get in touch. There’s no better time than now.

"Outstanding" specialist newborn photographer in Monmouthshire - International Women's Day

Outstanding Monmouthshire baby photographer

Two years ago, I wanted to do something to mark International Women’s Day. As well as the inspirational women in my family, I’ve met a number of incredible women along the way as I’ve built my business, and I felt the need to create awareness of how strong and amazing these women were. I came up with the idea of featuring approximately five women on my blog, with a headshot taken by me and a short editorial on what drives them in their business.

So, with some trepidation, I approached my network. Perhaps two or three would respond, I thought. Perhaps nobody, as my finger nervously hovered over the “send” button. I clicked it, and went to make a cup of coffee.

By the time I came back, my inbox was almost overflowing with interested messages…I was shocked! I decided to reply to the first ten, and the beginnings of the project were in place. I travelled across South Wales, meeting these wonderful, inspiring women, hearing their stories and photographing them in different settings. The whole project grew…I was put in touch with a journalist from Wales Online and the Western Mail, and you can click here to see the finished article, and here for my blog post.

This year, it’s my turn! Along with three other businesswomen in the Monmouthshire area, I’m featured in the Chepstow and Monmouthshire Beacon newspapers, however rather than using a photograph of me I preferred to show off some of my work instead (although the top of the photograph has been chopped off, which is a bit annoying!). Here are some quick snaps of the article in full and my piece within it…

International Women's Day news feature

If you’d like to read it, pop out to the shops now as it’s only in today’s edition!

Beautiful newborn baby photography near Cardiff and Newport

Newborn photography near Cardiff & Newport

I feel so very lucky to do what I do for a living. It’s such a privilege to be invited into a new family’s life and to photograph their new arrival. Often when new parents come for their newborn photo session it’s the first time that they’ve left the house since their baby arrived. It’s quite an emotional time, and so I make sure that my studio is welcoming, calm and peaceful. Parents often comment on how relaxing they find the whole experience.

newborn baby photoshoot Cardiff

I love being able to create beautiful baby portraits like this for my clients. Photographs like this stand the test of time and can become family heirlooms. If you would like to book a photo session for your newborn or your older baby click here to send me a message.

The Master Photographer Association - Licentiate & Newborn Safety Certification

Yesterday was quite a day…I drove to Hertfordshire early in the morning to have a panel of my work and an in-depth working profile document on my business judged by five of the UK’s top photographers. I’m absolutely delighted to announce that as a result I’ve been awarded the prestigious Licentiateship with The Master Photographer Association, and the Newborn Safety Certification as well, and am officially a Master Photographer!

LMPA & Newborn Safety Certificate

The MPA has the reputation for having the most challenging qualification requirements, and I’m more proud than I can say to have become a qualified member.

The Newborn Safety Certification is a highly significant qualification to hold as well - only a handful of photographers in Wales are certified, and I’m the only photographer in Monmouthshire to hold this certificate. The newborn photography industry is currently unregulated - there is no board or authority that checks up on photographers to ensure that they’re using safe working practices. The MPA’s Newborn Certification is awarded only to newborn photographers who submit their Health & Safety policies and practices along with evidence of safe working practices to a level that satisfies the MPA…what this means is that my clients can be assured of their baby’s safety and wellbeing throughout their newborn photo session. Choosing a qualified professional photographer for your session, whether newborn, child or family portrait, is your assurance of quality and service.

Here’s a selection of images from my qualifying panel…

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What to look for in a newborn photographer

Photographing newborn babies takes a good deal of training and patience, and is a skill that takes time to develop and hone.  At the moment, however, it’s an unregulated industry, which means that anyone can call themselves a newborn photographer, whether they have undergone training or not.  So how can parents be sure that they’re making the right choice when selecting a photographer for their newborn child?  Here are some things to ask when looking for a newborn photographer:

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International Women's Day - A Family Business Photoshoot

When you run your own business, it's natural for the whole family to want to get involved!  Just recently, to celebrate International Women's Day, I photographed Claire Ait-Hammi and her children - along with her husband (who was holding the fort on the day), Claire runs not one but two businesses.  Given her line of work, it seemed only right to make it a picnic in the woods!  Read Claire's story...

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Why you should print your photographs - print vs. digital

Last week, I posted about a special photograph that I have on display in my office, and why it's important to me (check back here if you missed it - "why you should print your photographs - the power of the print" ).  Today's post is all about how the march of technology could mean losing our digital photos...

As digital cameras have become more advanced and more accessible, and especially since the advent of the camera phone, the number of photos that people in the western world own per capita has grown like never before.  Ours is the generation that owns more photographs than any other.  But we're likely to end up with fewer...

If you're around the same age as me, you'll recognise these little guys...

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If you're somewhat younger, you might be forgiven for thinking that someone's 3-D printed the "Save" icon, as these haven't been around for a while!  They had a maximum capacity of just 2MB - hard to believe these days, when USBs come with 8GB and more as standard!  As the popularity of CDs and USBs rose, so sales of the humble floppy declined.  Apple was the first to produce a computer without an integral floppy drive with the release of the iMac in 1998, and production of the floppy disk ended just a few years later.  If you happen to find one lying around, it's anybody's guess as to what might be saved on it as it's pretty much impossible to read them now.

The CD was sleeker, slicker and faster.  It made high capacity portable storage available to everyone, but it too has had its day in the sun.  DVDs then emerged with higher levels of storage but, again, the story repeats itself.  You'd be hard pushed these days to find a desktop computer that has an integral optical drive, and more and more laptops are being built without them.  Competition between DVD and Blu-Ray has been blamed, and Microsoft announced in 2012 that they would be dropping the ability for playing DVD videos from the basic versions of Windows 8 and onwards.

But we still have the USB, right? Well, for now, but it's facing stiff competition from other advances in technology.  All of these various things have been or are devices for temporarily storing files, and moving them between other devices.  These days, apps such as Dropbox do just the same thing, again with greater capacity than before, and with the added advantage that when you want to share content with someone, you just connect up their email account.  No devices to lose down the back of the sofa!  So how much time does that USB with your photographs on it have until it, too, is unreadable?

If you're still not convinced, take a look at the iPad.  It has two sockets - one for headphones, and the other for the iPad-specific connector (known in our house as The Big Connector).  No USB port.  But you can still connect your USB to your laptop or desktop, put your photos into something like Dropbox or iCloud or WeTransfer and pull them onto your iPad from there...though that seems a bit long-winded for the digital age, and it makes me wonder how long the USB has left.  Market leaders have marked the beginning of the end for the floppy and the CD amongst other things by their product designs and re-designs, and I can't help thinking that the USB is already in decline.

So where does that leave photography?  There has been much demand for owning digitals and while it's true that digital images have their place in the 21st century, they really and truly should not be regarded as legacy items, memories that can be stored indefinitely.  That crown still belongs to the print, and is still very much worn by that beautiful photograph of my grandmother in my office.  One day, I'll hand that on to my daughter, along with the framed photos on the wall, the boxes of prints and snapshots, yes, even the phone camera shots!  Because while technology marches on relentlessly and storage devices are lost, prints are still here, on our walls, in our albums, and in our biscuit tins under the stairs, where we can always get to them.

 

Why you should print your photographs - the power of the print

Today would have been the birthday of this lovely lady - isn't she beautiful? I feel very blessed to have this print, it's up in my office so I see it nearly every day.

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What you won't see from this quick snap is just how gorgeous it is - the light in her eyes, how her skin seems to glow, the fine texture of the grain and the wonderful tactile quality of the mount. Hard to believe how old it is - the lady is my grandmother and she's just 21 in this photo, which makes it not far off 100 years old.

I love how, when I look at her, I can see my mother, my aunts, my cousins, and my sisters; I can also see the features that have passed down to the next generation in my cousins' children.  How, even though I didn't know her at this age, I remember her as I knew her when I was a child, with her bright, bright smile and her open arms.  It re-connects me to my family and gives me roots.

Being able to see this photo the way I do means such a lot, which is why I'm a big advocate for printing your photographs, and printing your professionally-taken photographs in the best way possible. A beautifully-presented print or product makes you catch your breath and linger in a way that a digital image can't, plus prints are outlasting digitals in their accessibility (but more on that on another day!)

Happy birthday, Nanny, we love you. x