With my unusual age gap between my children I’ve noticed so many changes in all of the fantastic services that are out there now for mothers to take advantage of that fifteen years ago didn’t really exist and certainly weren’t readily available. It seems like we’ve all twigged in the last decade that your children are only tiny for such short amounts of time and that thought it’s bloody tough, it’s also really really precious and capturing memories to take with you through the rest of your life is so important.
I’m thrilled to introduce you to yet another local talent who has been helping Mums in Gloucestershire do just that since 2013. Today on the blog we interview Laura Parkin of The Rose Photography Company based in Northleach.
CMHQ: Morning Laura – thanks for taking the time to meet with me. I’m fascinated with newborn photography – the photographers I’ve met have all been absolute baby whisperers! We start out every interview here at CheltenhamMaman with a question about the small people in your life. Who have you got?
Laura: I’m Mum to Rose who is now just 17 months. You’re right – one of the skills I’m proudest of is how well I can settle a fretful newborn! Would you believe I became a newborn photographer long before I became a mother too so it was a skill I was pretty pleased I had when Rose came along!
CMHQ: And can we presume that the company is named after Rose? Or was it the other way round?
Laura: No… you’re right. I was working under another name when Rose came along and had been thinking about a rebrand for a while. The timing seemed right and as I felt I’d finally found my niche and the kind of photography I wanted to offer I bit the bullet and set up The Rose Photography Company.
CMHQ: So tell us about that niche?
Laura: Well when I first decided to take the plunge and make my hobby my career I offered all sorts of photography services – weddings, family shoots, commercial… but over time you learn what you are good at and also realise that each different sort of photography requires it’s own unique skill set and knowledge – I wanted to offer a truly outstanding level of service and product and I couldn’t do that unless I focused my attention into one area. It’s the newborn photography that I love and I’ve tailored a package to include a maternity shoot too as the two fit together so nicely but it’s those tiny babies that make me love my job.
CMHQ: So do you always meet the mums first at maternity shoots?
Laura: No, some people just book in for the newborn shoot but it’s an optional extra to tag the maternity shoot on before the baby arrives. I love capturing bumps in all of their glory and it gives me a great opportunity to get outside of my cosy little studio in Northleach where I photograph the babies and into the countryside to capture some of the incredible landscapes we have in Gloucestershire. I photograph pregnant women usually at around 32 weeks but sometimes as late as 38 weeks and the shoots can involve partners, children, dogs…. I love shooting dogs! I make use of Haresfield Beacon which provides the most stunning backdrop and sometimes head out to Snowshill if the lavender is in bloom.
CMHQ: And then how do these ladies know when to book in for the newborn shoot… you like to get them when they are tiny don’t you? It must make planning so tricky?
Laura: It usually works out just fine. I note each customer’s due date in the diary and they contact me as soon as the baby is born and they are feeling up to venturing out. Ideally the best shoots are done during the first week or two of life but it’s important that mums have taken some time to recuperate first and for some that can be just a day or two, for others they need much longer – no two shoots are the same.
CMHQ: There’s a few of you out there offering this kind of service – what should mums be looking for when they choose a photographer?
Laura: Well the key things are safety and end product. Newborn photography isn’t officially regulated but BANPAS (The British Association of Newborn Photography) is a good place to start looking for someone who takes safety seriously. There are safe ways to position newborns for shoots and some of the poses if done incorrectly can have serious risks so just spend a little time feeling comfortable with the training that your photographer has had. I trained alongside Clare Elliott and Faye and Trevor Yerbury who were inspirational and taught me such a lot about light, composition and technique as well as safety. You should also check your photographer is adequately insured.
Then you need to find someone who takes photos in the kind of style you’re after. We are all so different – I prefer a natural light and poses that are soft and organic but some photographers will love colour and a bolder statement – go with the look and feel that suits you and your family. There are also so many different price points – there is literally a photographer for every pocket. I’m at the higher end and I offer a seriously luxurious service, experience and print but that won’t be for everyone so take a little time during your pregnancy to find the right person for you.
CMHQ: And what does a newborn shoot actually consist of?
Laura: Well it’s done at the pace of the mother and baby. My studio is a snug little cocoon in Northleach with masses of natural light that’s kept between 25 and 27 degrees so the baby is always comfortable. I spend a lot of time soothing the little one and swaddling or wrapping them in adorable natural fabrics. There is plenty of time for feed and change breaks and though I edit all obvious blemishes and play with shadowing to ensure a superb finish I don’t mess about with the baby’s skin – it’s part of your child and it’s beautiful. The end result are images that you can treasure forever.
CMHQ: So four years into life as a MumBoss what have you learned particularly?
Laura: Well I guess that it takes time, so not to be impatient. The first two years I didn’t really make any money but that’s normal and you mustn’t rush things. Investing in as much training as you can in the early days will save you lots of money later on in expensive mistakes. I really regret not learning more earlier on. Also it can be really lonely when you work for yourself. Yes your fellow photographers are your competitors but try not to see it like that – I meet up regularly with other local photographers – we share ideas and skills and can cross refer if we encounter potential clients who are looking for a different style or price point to what we can offer. Plus it’s always great to offload and have a whinge with them – sometimes you need to be with other people who just get it.
CMHQ: Your pictures are stunning! You’re obviously producing photography that doubles up as art. What’s next for your professionally?
Laura: I’m actually at the very early stages of putting together a fine art style maternity shoot that really celebrates the female form with some semi nude shots. Women are slowly learning to celebrate their bodies and the incredible things that our bodies can do to create new life. My new service will be a celebration of all women in all shapes and sizes and it’s something I’m very excited to be developing.
CMHQ: Sounds like we need to watch this space! Body positivity is a really important skill to master in pregnancy and beyond. Thanks so much Laura for telling us all about what you do and sharing your MumBoss tips. Keep in touch with your new projects.
About The Rose Photography Company
Laura Parkin has been photographing pregnant mums and newborns at The Rose Photography Company for the last two years having set up as a photographer two years before that. You can find out more about her style and packages at her website You can also follow Laura on Instagram or Facebook.