****** THE FULL DISCLOSURE PART******
Without making this an essay, I want to give facts. I didn’t pay for my shoot, but I had every intention of paying. However, you may remember from a previous post I made a quilted blanket (and the kids some artwork) for a friend’s baby. Fox Cub’s Jess was that friend. We also cooked meals for them daily for a week (maybe 2) so that they could concentrate on the baby. Jess can’t sew, nor can she make the food I would eat (we like far too many vegetables in this house for her liking). This shoot was her version of that for us. We clashed heads over the payment dispute for a while.
You see, I’ve watched her build this business from the ground up. The training, the hours spent practising, the passion (and broodiness) that comes with working with small babies, the attention to detail. There was no question I wanted her to be our newborn photographer. But I want to be transparent in my reviews so I’m explaining that this review has not been incentivised. That despite my lack of traditional payment, I have paid in other ways. Nor has she asked me to post a review here. Now… onwards with what matters…
The website itself lists the packages available and what’s included, so there’s no need for me to go into that, if you want to know more about the business itself see the website directly. The prices reflect the lack of pushy aftersales, so don’t compare them to cheap/free shoots where they will claw the money back after the fact with emotional sales techniques etc.
Despite our personal relationship, the topic of the shoot was approached in a very professional manner. Jess wanted to make sure she had an idea of what I wanted to gain out of our experience and the content of the images I’d like to see. I was invited to suggest colour schemes and look through her gallery to provide examples of what I had liked the look of.
Closer to my due date I was given information explaining what to expect and what was expected of me (arrival times, when to feed, what to bring, how to prepare baby etc.). But, as per our birth story, baby arrived 2 weeks early. I knew Jess was fully booked so this felt a little stressful. However, I was reassured that, for her, this was a normal part of the process – babies work to their own timelines that it was no big deal to her.
On the day
Again, despite the personal connections, Jess acted in a very professional manner. I was welcomed in to get settled, and gave me a few choices from the colour scheme I had chosen, before explaining how the shoot was going to work. She made me feel comfortable to breastfeed as Milo required. That she knew there was a high risk of baby pooping or vomiting at some point, and that it was normal and not to feel stressed or worried about it (in fact, the poop bit did happen and it just ended in giggles). The backdrops and sets were ready to go to minimise periods of waiting and to maximise photography time.
The shoot itself was special. Jess was so gentle with Milo, he remained asleep throughout changes of clothing, wrap and set. She was attentive to his needs and conscious of safety throughout. It wasn’t just about getting a good shot, and making him look cute. His safety and physical and mental state were paramount to the whole experience. There was no stress, and both myself and Milo left feeling chilled.
After the shoot
On the day we were given a realistic timeline of when to expect access to the gallery of photos, and that full instructions would follow with that. Communication was open and the professional approach still remained. The gallery itself was easy to use, and when I asked about canvas options there was no pressure to buy. But in our artsy family, we have a wall of painted portraits so felt it natural to have a canvas of one of his newborn prints until he’s old enough to do his own portrait to add to the mix. The price of the canvas was not cheap, but frankly you get what you pay for on that front. I’ve had/seen canvasses from online budget photo printers and there’s honestly no comparing the quality – different leagues entirely.