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It’s a Friday afternoon and we are in the comfort of a family home nestled within Cambridgeshire. Today we are catching up with Laura Teague, a newborn photographer.
We talked to Laura about her style of photography, the woman behind the camera, and how to capture those truly special newborn baby moments….
I have always had a passion for photography, I specialised in this discipline during my early Arts Foundation Degree. I had my first son Harry when I was 26 years old, I had been living in Leeds so decided to come home to my family for support. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out with my son’s dad and the relationship ended. I now had a newborn son who I adored greatly along with significant bills to pay. Being a single mum, I needed to find a way to provide for my son and create a life for us both, this was the moment I returned to my fundamental passion for photography. I moved in with my parents where their support proved invaluable.I can’t sugar-coat it, there was difficulty re-adjusting to life at home having been away for so many years. I was a new mum, living back at home, and even worse I had to re-enter the dating game under the roof of my parents! Thankfully, they spent a lot of their time in the countryside, so I actually enjoyed great freedom back home. My parents really have been fantastic, my dad has helped me enormously in building my current studio, he painted the walls and laid the floorboards, the business was built up from the ground upwards with that support of my family. I like to look at my current path in life and the family I have today as the Phoenix that rose from the ashes of difficult times in my mid-20s, I am forever grateful for the hardships, they have made me a better person. I strived to make the very best of life despite any setbacks and follow my passion and heart always, a lesson that I constantly hold dear within my professional work.
The studio was essentially born from my obsession of taking photos of my son, I loved catching him in the moment and it wasn’t long before word of mouth regarding my talents reached both friends and family. I had all my friends asking me to do their family photos as they wanted the same level of quality for their precious memories! You don’t get too long to savour that cuteness of a newborn, the folds of skin and the chubby cheeks of a toddler, before you know it they’re turning 8 and a string bean! It’s great to try and catch these elements before they disappear in later life. I have always preferred taking photos of people rather than objects…I did go through a phase of spending hours trying to find the perfect outfits for newborn shoots, but in the end, I discovered that it’s better to just capture the memory of the moment, that’s what photography is about in its essence…In terms of my style, I’ve learnt over the years that Its ok to like lots of things, but you don’t have to emulate each of them all the time… I stopped seeking approval from photography groups on Facebook and entering photography competitions for recognition. The reason for this was my work was starting to not look like me, I was obsessing about getting the lighting technically perfect, the crop correct according to the experts, following the rule of thirds…This was not where I wanted my work to be, I needed it to be from the heart. So as of a couple of years ago, I’ve started to concentrate my sessions around emotion and capturing the joy in childhood. It’s all about the purity of moments, it’s about following your heart. This will take you far in newborn and baby photography.
It’s important to try to show that tenderness between a parent and child, the parent is that baby’s world, and as a parent you never see how you look at your baby, but these photos can capture the most special of gazes we give to our babies. It’s not about the perfect smile or a moment of eye contact, it’s about catching pure moments, not obsessing about the lighting, the staged shots…I strive to keep it natural, stick with my heart, that’s my main aim during a newborn or baby shoot. I stopped caring about trying to catch those staged moments, I want to see real life, the times when a child and parent interact. It’s like I previously said, I want to follow my heart…Never shoot for anyone else, always follow my intuition. I want the real reality, not the fake reality and staged shots you can find anywhere, it always comes back to leading with the heart.
I am someone who enjoys stalking Ikea and decorating the house, I like to shut off from the typical photography world during my spare time. I actually used to sail with my sister and father growing up, something I carried on doing until my early 20s. Unfortunately, she’s older than me and due to sibling rivalry, my dad actually had to get us separate boats in order to allow us to compete, we enjoyed some great battles. Once the little sister starts to win the rivalry becomes very real, my sister absolutely hated it when I won! It’s thanks to those early years that I have a very sportsperson like personality, I want to be the best at everything I do.I firmly believe a lot of my drive and determination has come from this discipline instilled in me during sailing, it has helped provide me with the tools I need to run my business. Growing up I had this crazy ambition of owning my own fashion company, which is quite strange as I’m the least fashionable person. However, I used to like sketching dresses and even scouted out a possible venue for my business.
I always tell my clients when they arrive in the studio to consider their own home when choosing their frames. They should fit in with the rest of your home, frames need to be in harmony with the surrounding environment, they are an extension of your interior decor. View your wall space and evaluate it, decide how the frames will work on the wall.I currently have a client who needs to take some time to consider her frame selection, scope out the environment of her home and then come back to me with sizing. With regards to the eFrame service, it’s great that it allows me to fully focus on shooting the photos for my clients, I don’t have to worry about anything else, the logistic concerns are covered by you guys. Knowing that eFrame can print and frame the photos my clients are after, it really does take the stress out of that particular aspect of the business. I’m not spending my days worrying about different packaging and despatch dates. It’s wonderful to have the mounts, printing and framing all done in one place. I simply want to focus on getting the very best shots for my clients, without worrying about the logistics. After all, I’ve got a family to look after, I’m a full-time housewife, I don’t have the time to look after the sheer amount of post-shoot aspects that need taking care off. I will only put out my very best photos, the ones I connect with, they must feel right. It’s great to know that eFrame care just as much as I do.
I cannot change my style now, I am so happy with the level I am at, therefore stylistically it will remain much more of the same. I will probably look to experiment with more textures and start to bring in some of my interior decoration passions.This means using more earthy colours and mixing it up with a lot of my personal favourite tones. I want to use more browns, infused with pops of colour. With regards to my personal ambitions, I would like to do more short breaks as a family, exploring the outdoors and beauty of our country. Airbnb is my best friend here! We went to Ambers Bell Tents last Summer in Norfolk, it was absolutely magical watching the kids be free and having absolutely no worries but to let them explore. I got some wonderful natural shots of my family. I loved capturing those special childhood memories, I love catching these snippets in time, I want to capture more of these moments, that’s my main aim personally for the future.
It’s never about the equipment, don’t get obsessed with lighting etc. The equipment is not as important, though the lens is everything, don’t go substandard on the lens for your camera. Also, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like some colours, for instance I don’t like blues and purples, don’t be afraid to stick to the colours you believe in… you’re the expert.Furthermore, don’t try out new techniques on paying clients, always do free shoots, don’t be afraid to do free shoots as its great way to try new styles. I have only done three photography workshops in my life, they are great for the basics and I would recommend them, but you cannot find a substitute for getting that vital experience and natural progression into your own style. Don’t be afraid to dump the studio lighting and go with the organic environment, it’s so freeing! I rely upon that natural lighting, it looks great, real colours, depth and real shadows! Simply take the time to learn your craft, enhance your skills by getting more experience and putting yourself out there. When you feel like you’ve plateaued, that’s when you can ask for further help.