Specialized education is critical for becoming a trained newborn photographer. We must learn posing and calming techniques, of course, as well as various editing tricks, but the number one focus is always on safety. I am constantly looking to improve my skills, even after years in the business. How do I do that?
A Trained Newborn Photographer is Created In Person
I firmly believe that there are some things you can only learn face-to-face. Very early on, I began participating in live workshops with one of the best newborn photographers in the business, Kelly Brown. I have invested thousands of dollars and flown across the country to work with her in person (once just days after a hurricane!), and every minute was worth it.
These workshops are small, with less than a dozen students each. I am able to stand directly next to the master at work, asking questions as they arise, and soaking up precious knowledge. She demonstrates various wraps and posing techniques, but watching her soothe babies is truly a miracle!
One of the skills I specifically remember picking up during a Kelly workshop was simply the ability to tilt the camera properly for the ideal angle. It seems small, but it can make a big difference in the final image. I remember preparing to take my turn shooting the model, and having Kelly stand behind me and gently tip the corner of my camera just a tad. Boom! Instantly a better shot.
Sometimes we are crowded around Kelly, whispering questions as she makes adjustments here and there. Sometimes we are frantically scribbling pages of notes as she speaks. Sometimes the whole room just watches her silently, in awe of the skill on display.
There is nothing like the rush of possibilities and dreams after a live workshop. I leave with my mind absolutely packed with new information, new ideas, and new ways to become the best at what I do. I was so grateful that I squeezed in one last workshop one month before COVID hit the world!
Continuing Education is Key
Unfortunately for me, Kelly Brown lives on the other side of the world! So I can’t just pop by whenever I’m ready to learn. I had been purchasing her training videos for years, so I was thrilled to become a member of her online education portal as soon as she launched it a few years ago. It is one of the most powerful tools there is for becoming a trained newborn photographer.
I have spent countless hours watching and rewatching the tutorials, and participating in the online group. You can’t imagine the thrill of seeing a comment from THE Kelly Brown on a post of yours! Whew.
Photo Contests Sharpen Skills
Of course, it’s important to get feedback from more than one authority. Entering image competitions and collecting critiques from various professionals is a vital part of growing and improving as a trained newborn photographer.
It’s not easy to hear the criticism, of course! Especially when you have spent dozens of hours laboring over a single entry. It’s a great lesson for your ego to hear the multiple tiny ways in which your masterpiece could have been better.
But there is no high like winning a powerful award after working so hard for it. Every previous attempt made the final result so much sweeter. Even now, I am preparing images for a print competition run by the Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association. Wish me luck!
Local Photography Associations Build Community and Competency
The “Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association”, you might ask curiously? Yes! The TCPPA is one of the best decisions I made for my business last year. I had been a member of the national PPA for years, but had no idea what I was missing in the local chapter.
Every month, I drive to St. Paul to take a four-hour photography workshop from a national speaker, and network with other professionals in my field. The topics change every month, and I always come away having learned something new – about posing, editing, marketing, business, and more.
Education Never Ends
There are no official certifications for becoming a trained newborn photographer. Many of us wish there were! Perhaps someday an organization will come to light. In the meantime, we seek out education wherever we can, as often as we can, and keep honing our craft.
If you’d like to learn more about what a difference training can make, please reach out! I would love to tell you all about it.