Before Harrison was born, I jumped at the chance to book his newborn photoshoot. Taken before he was 10 days old, it was supposed to be a keepsake – a special way to remember the cushy baby days as they pass so quickly. The pictures of the little babies in the baskets, or nestled into their fathers arms made my heart melt and I was all too eager to jump on the band wagon and book my own. My pictures are a keepsake, but I found myself in a situation where I felt completely overwhelmed by the price and extravagance of it all. I found myself questioning my ability to be a parent due to my lack of willingness to pay an arm and leg for the sake of a few pictures. Albeit lovely pictures, but no picture could ever be worth the prices asked. My newborn photoshoot left me with pictures to last a lifetime, but if given the option again, I would never go back.
I booked with a local company found on Facebook, and it was all ridiculously easy. A deposit to secure my booking slot, which would then be taken off the total of any images I chose to buy at the end of the day – if I didn’t want any, I’d get my deposit returned. It all sounded great, obviously too good to be true though, as it all went swiftly downhill from here.
Harrison was born a week late, so our newborn shoot was pushed back, and we were scheduled to go on the Monday when he’d be exactly 4 days old. An illness meant it was rescheduled, and so we were all ago for exactly one week after his birth. We were told to keep him as awake as possible for the whole morning, and hold off on his feed, the mentality being that we would feed him whilst we were at the shoot to try and make sure he was asleep for as long as possible. This all went to plan, but what we didn’t account for was the fact that our little baby doesn’t like to sleep, and he certainly didn’t like to be put down in a basket whilst wide awake. Low and behold, what was supposed to be a 40 minute shoot swiftly turned into 4 and a half hours of white noise, dimmed lights and petted lips (the third being more-so from me than from my week old baby). In all honest, I cannot fault the photographer enough. This post is not bashing her skill or her process in the slightest: she was extremely talented and was a perfect example of how newborn photographers should respond to uncooperative babies.
Although we were only penciled in for less than an hour, she was admament that the shoot would take as long as it would take, and I respected her immensely for that. Or at least, I did until we were 4 and a half hours down the line, with a crying baby who was tired and showing no signs of giving in to our demands. It wasn’t working, and although I was extremely disappointed, I just wanted to go home. I wanted to bath my baby, and cuddle him, and make it all better. He wasn’t comfortable and he was certainly not a model, it was time to call it a day, and everyone, bar the photographer agreed. In a last ditch effort, we moved from the basket, to a cushion, and voila, in less than 10 minutes, she captured the 7 pictures we managed to leave the photoshoot with. Nothing in 4 hours, but in 10 minutes when we were ready to leave, she gave up on our basket request and gave us something that would actually materialise. Again though, I cannot fault the photographer, in the end, she gave us what we wanted: pictures that will last a lifetime, and personalised Christmas cards for the next 5 years…
We were asked to then come back in later on in the week for a ‘Cinema Viewing’, and at this point, alarm bells probably should have been ringing. At no point prior had we been given a price list, or even so much as been told a price range, and I was probably naive to think it would be anywhere near the price of a normal photoshoot. As we went to leave, we were handed a sealed envelope, and told to have a look when home. Ripping it open in the car, we found the ever elusive price list, and my jaw near enough hit the floor. For 20 images on a disk, it would set us back nearly £1000. For 10 images, £600 – bear in mind, these are for simply the image file. Dared we get them printed on a canvas, half a mortgage deposit would have been gone. I’ve never felt more embarrassed, more frustrated, or more inferior in my entire life, and I was angry at myself for having put myself in that position. I was lured in by the promise of the cushy newborn pictures, by the lull of it all, and I didn’t even think to question why there was no advertisement of the prices before we arrived.
If you have a grand or two spare to spend on 20 pictures of your baby, then I envy you completely for a start, but I also don’t want to have to compare myself to you. Having seen the price list, automatically I found myself comparing our ability to care for a baby to those of in completely different situations, and looking back, I’m so angry at myself. Not having the means to spend £1000 on 20 pictures of my baby does not mean I am any less equipped to be a great mum, in fact, even those with the means probably won’t spend that anyway. There will be many new families in the same position we were, sucked in by the ever appealing Facebook ads’ and completely blissfully unaware as to what was about to hit us. I understand why these companies don’t make their price lists public, but for new parents, its an inconvenience, and there’s the possibility that someone else will find themselves in a potentially overwhelming situation. My picture are absolutely beautiful, and I couldn’t be happier with them, however a public price list, or the ability to request one, would have my experience a hell of a lot better, and would have saved me a very sweaty car journey as I thought of how the hell I was going to tell Jordan what we were going to have to spend…
Did anyone else have a similar experience? Or a better one, please, let me know.