Hello! Thank you for stopping by and spending a moment. Hope you are enjoying your view of these precious new souls I have the honor of capturing as much as I do! Decided today is the day to touch on the subject of shadowing, internships and mentoring in this unique industry of newborn photography.

First, a bit about this unique industry. Day after day, we are interacting with *brand new human beings* and their parents who are rightfully cautious in selecting those who will be around their littlest family members. We literally handle the most precious living things on earth. My focus is always on baby’s safety and comfort, which means any distraction is not welcome. Add a pandemic to the mix, and newborn safety reaches a whole new level! Vaccinated or not, the fewer people in the studio, the better.

Professionalism is expected by my clients, and my goal is to exceed their expectations. My clients are paying me to produce a product during this once-in-a-lifetime session, and they deserve 100% of me and my attention during said session. Training or mentoring would only take place if the subject was brought in as a model with a signed model release, who would receive free images for his/her time. Since it makes sense all photographers be paid for their time, experience and product, free training/mentoring/shadowing, well, does not.

Let’s touch on mentoring a bit…the average one day workshop is $1,000 plus travel and lodging. The average online workshop is $500. Twelve years in and I just spent another $500 on my continuing education because I value personal growth AND the skilled photographer’s time from whom I am learning what will (hopefully) turn in to a profit. My spend over the last 12 years on education?…I’d guess it has hit $10,000. In many industries offering shadowing days or free internships, one tends not to see a boutique setting with a client who is paying for your undivided attention, while you handle a baby barely two weeks of age. In addition, every second is precious ~ how long before baby wakes?, poops? gets hungry?, etc. To stop for explanation and demonstration throughout a session adds at least an hour or more. This is why models typically receive a promise of 3-5 free images while a paying client can receive five times as many in half the time. Mentoring takes a lot of time and effort.

Internships are typically created to allow the intern an opportunity to learn and grow. Whether paid or unpaid, the sole purpose of an internship is learning. This brings up right back to the issue of attention being taken away from the newborn, be it by myself or the intern. Knowing an assistant is there to learn the ins and outs of newborn photography would put me in a position to question if their full attention is on the newborn and their main goal newborn safety. Surely interns can be of help behind the scenes, helping with administrative tasks, etc, but there they’d benefit more in a larger studio setting vs. a one-man-show boutique studio.

But we all start somewhere and we all benefit from continued education, so here are some great options:

Looking for a free education in newborn photography? Youtube is your place! There are so many posing videos at your fingertips on Youtube. Use their search engine and grab a cup of joe. Happy learning!

Looking for a budget-friendly way to learn newborn photography skills? There are tons of online e-workshops available! I’ve enjoyed online courses from The Milky Way, Rachel Vanoven Photography, Charlotte Gamache Photography, and Jessica G. Photography. You will always come away from these online videos with new skills and inspiration! Happy learning!

Ready to dive in head first and grow your business? 1:1 mentoring is where it’s at. Or, 1:2 if the photographer offers such, to save a penny. As mentioned previously, this type of mentoring is NOT cheap, but you will absolutely learn the most in this setting. You will be right by the photographer as she works with baby. You will witness the magic of various soothing techniques. You will learn about lighting and see it happen before your eyes. You will learn more about angles in person than you can from a video. These mentoring sessions typically include editing information and business information, as well. Great photography skills mean nothing if you can’t run a business! Can you tell how much I favor in-person mentoring? Worth the cost when it comes to earning a profit at the end of the year! Many offer group workshops which are much cheaper, but I’ve not found them as impactful. Still, something to consider. Happy learning!

Do I offer in-person mentoring? Yes, I do. You can shoot me an email for information if you are interested (francine@lillybellerosephotography.com), but there are many options out there. Less due to the pandemic, but they are out there! Find a photographer who’s style you love, AND who’s business model you admire. Look at their website, social media AND their blog posts. Make sure your money goes to THE photographer you admire most. Google “newborn photography mentoring” or the like, and grab a snack…really spend time on this one. It will pay off! …Happy learning!

I’ll end with an eye-roll worthy truth: You should not expect to be completely transformed after mentoring. You will gain skills which will, unfortunately, take time to hone. Time and practice is where it’s really at, my friends. Lots of time and practice. Be patient with your growth and put in the effort! We all start somewhere… ; )

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