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Sandra Cullen Photography family photo walks

Coming in 2018: New portrait services from Sandra Cullen Photography

As I’m writing this, 2018 is literally weeks away. So, I’ve been reflecting on what’s happened this year in my portrait photography business and been hatching some exciting plans for the next!

I’ve gotta tell you, 2018 is going to be an exciting one here at Sandra Cullen Photography! I’m launching several new portrait services which I hope you’ll love.

But before I tell you any more, here’s a quick recap of the two stand-out things that happened in 2017.

Successes of 2017

  1. Studio portrait photography in south-east London

I made the successful transition from being a mobile photographer to a studio photographer back in October. And ever since, I’ve been putting the finishing touches to the new studio.

Have you been to visit me here yet? If not, here’s a sneak peek!

Sandra Cullen Photography Studio

I’m really pleased that it’s coming together. It’s becoming the cosy, welcoming place that I’ve been dreaming of offering you for some time.

And with all my props and equipment in one place, and with room for more than one camera setup plus a place for parents to relax, I’m able to offer you a more streamlined, comfortable and convenient experience than ever before.

  1. I was also featured on the BBC!

My cake smash portraits of the adorable baby Oliver got some great exposure in May by being featured on the BBC. So, my work got seen by hundreds of thousands of people across the country!

Oliver's cake smash photoshoot was featured on the BBC

As a result, I’ve seen an upturn in the number of bookings for cake smash portrait sessions. Which, of course, is great, as I love doing them! They’re such fun sessions and a great way to celebrate your baby turning one.

Read on for some more exciting cake-smash news!

New portrait services in 2018

So, what can you expect from Sandra Cullen Photography next year?

Well, I’ve been busy behind the scenes fleshing out plans for some new portrait services.

Watch this space for news about brand new mini sessions and great value, all-inclusive photography packages.

These will make it easier than ever before to get the professional family photos you want to be done and up on your walls at home.

  • Newborn ‘mini’ sessions

These will be short and sweet versions of my signature newborn photoshoot experience.

I’ll be offering the same premium quality service, although offering you the chance to have a streamlined session, at a great value price.

  • Family ‘mini’ sessions

I love it when my clients book me to photograph a family get together. And my recent autumn photo walks were a great hit! So, in 2018, I’ll be doing more family sessions.

Sandra Cullen Photography family photo walks

And I’ll be offering family ‘mini’ sessions for the first time – again, a short and sweet session, at a great price. These will be held in the spring and are suitable for up to six people.

  • Fixed price ‘Sitter’ sessions

These sessions are great for capturing the important changes that your baby goes through in their first year.

All parents know that when your baby sits up alone for the very first time, that’s a great achievement! And it’s one very special occasion that my clients choose to celebrate with a professional portrait.

Sitter sessions south east London

New for 2018 will be a fixed price sitter package including prints, which I believe are so important to include so that you can enjoy the pictures every day as you walk around your home.

  • ‘Smash Saturday’ sessions

Finally, I’ll be introducing my brand new ‘Smash Saturday’ photoshoots next year. One Saturday per month I’ll be dedicating exclusively to ‘mini’ cake smash portrait sessions – ideal for babies of any age from sitting independently to the toddler years!

Smash Saturday sessions new for 2018

There will be four slots available throughout the day. Each session will be a fuss-free 30-minute studio session, which is a shorter, streamlined version of my popular cake smash service.

Again, I’ll be offering an all-inclusive package of digital and printed images. More details to be announced very soon!

So, I hope you like the sounds of what’s to come in 2018?

Most importantly, the new portrait services and photography packages are based on what you’ve told me you want more of. So, I hope they hit the spot!

And, if you know me, you’ll know that I truly believe that photos should be printed and enjoyed rather than left to languish on a USB stick in a bottom drawer.

Therefore, my new all-inclusive packages, which include prints, will help you to get even more value from your investment in a professional photoshoot with me.

Printed photos

Have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year, and I look forward to seeing you soon!

Bookings now being taken for Spring 2018 sessions. Please contact me today to register your interest in these new portrait sessions by calling me on 07507 665492, emailing me via sandra@sandracullenphotography.com or completing this contact form.

Young baby boy smiling to camera

New photography studio to open this Autumn

I will very soon be opening a new photography studio which will become the permanent and official home of Sandra Cullen Photography.

I’ve literally been bursting to tell you about my plans for several months now. But finally, with a move-in date confirmed, it’s all starting to feel real!

So, why the move to a new photography studio?

Well, if you know me or have used me as your portrait photographer before, you’ll know that up until now I’ve been a mobile photographer.

I’ve been providing professional portrait photography services for several years, photographing clients and their children in their own homes across south east London and Kent.

And I just love capturing the unique personalities of your little ones and recording some of the most important moments in your family’s life.

Young baby boy smiling to camera

But while being a mobile portrait photographer in the Greenwich area has been wonderful and has given me great flexibility (and, truth be told, has kept the overheads of my business down), I’ve been yearning for something more permanent.

Why now?

Well, the word has been spreading about my portrait photography over the past twelve months or so.

I’ve been getting busier and busier and so it seems the right time to commit to a photography studio.

What are the benefits of the new photography studio?

With a new photography studio, I will be able to serve more clients (I’ll be spending less time traveling around south London and more time behind the camera). Which will bring lots of benefits for my clients too!

Cake Smash birthday baby

More convenient for you

Firstly, you’ll no longer need to worry about preparing your home for your photo session or have to move furniture around in order to create the space I need to work in!

A more streamlined experience

Secondly, portrait sessions will be quicker since I won’t be needing to set up my equipment each time – everything will be setup ready for when you arrive at the studio.

Shorter photo sessions

For this same reason, I anticipate that newborn sessions, which usually take several hours, will become quicker. Since I will have space within the new photography studio to have two setups ready, the transition between shots will be easier and the process will be smoother and faster overall. (Which means more cuddle time for you and baby after the session!)

More choice for you

Having the new photography studio will also allow me to offer a greater variety of portrait sessions, so there will be more choice for you.

I’ll be expanding the range of services I offer as well as introducing new packages and special offers going forward. For example, I’ve plans to offer maternity sessions at a special price for clients booking in conjunction with a newborn photoshoot. Watch this space for more details!

Where is the new photography studio?

The new Sandra Cullen Photography studio will be at Thames Side Studios, Trinity Wharf, Harrington Way, Warspite Road, Royal Borough of Greenwich, London, SE18 5NR.

There will be plenty of free customer parking outside the studio.

Sleeping baby in mother's hands by newborn photographer Sandra Cullen

When will the new photography studio open?

I get the keys on October 1st and will be making it my own for a couple of weeks. My plan is to officially launch and open the studio in mid-October.

After that, all future portrait sessions – whether maternity, newborn, older baby or child or cake smash – will be held at the studio. I will no longer be offering mobile photography.

What will the new photography studio be like?

The new photography studio will be a cosy, warm and welcoming place for you and your children.

It will be custom-designed, complete with comfy seating, refreshments and all the facilities that you could possibly need during yours or your child’s photoshoot.

My intention is to create the studio in a way that makes your entire time with me enjoyable and relaxing. Your photography experience should be wonderful, and it’s my intention to ensure that it is!

Come and visit the new home of Sandra Cullen Photography

So, will you be visiting my new photography studio? I hope you will!

I’ve been dreaming of having a permanent studio and finally, that dream is becoming a reality. So, as you can imagine, I’m really excited about this next step in my business journey and really hope that you will be part of it.

I’m so looking forward to welcoming clients, old and new, to my new photography studio and hope to see you there very soon!

Up-coming photo sessions available to book now

I’m already taking bookings for sessions in the new photography studio so get in touch today to confirm your portrait date and time.

In November, these will include my Christmas mini sessions. These are great value, and are a chance to get up-to-date family portraits for use on personalised Christmas cards or to give as Christmas gifts!

Plus, I am offering Autumn photo walks which are a great opportunity to capture relaxed family portraits in the great outdoors.

Special rates apply for early bookings and to those who book both sessions!

Two boys in the woods during Autumn

Please get in touch for more details and to book.

And if you’re looking for something sooner than that, I do still have some spaces available in September and early October – for these I will travel to your home.

You can contact me on 07507 665493, email me at sandra@sandracullenphotography.com or complete the contact form on my website.

Sandra x

Professional-baby-photos-South-East-London

Why are professional baby photos so expensive?

One of the most common questions about newborn photography that I see people asking online is “why are professional baby photos so expensive?”

Now, one person’s idea of expensive is obviously hugely different from another person’s.

But I believe that it’s a question that goes through the minds of a lot of parents-to-be. So I wanted to address this in my blog here for you today.

Why newborn photography is ‘expensive’

Professional-baby-photos-South-East-London

Professional newborn photography can be perceived to be expensive.

But here are just some of the reasons why the prices being charged could be justified:

Specialised service

Professional baby photography is a specialist service. There is a lot of skill required, and those skills are developed over time. So while you can find cheap baby photographers, they will likely be cheap for a reason!

It may be that they are inexperienced and are wanting to build up their portfolio – meaning that they haven’t done many baby photoshoots before. (Which I would add, should be a warning sign to you as parents-to-be).

Choosing a photographer with limited experience of handling and photographing babies could lead to you not getting the kind of images you want. And if they aren’t safety trained, this could even mean that you are putting your baby into the hands of someone who doesn’t know how to handle newborn babies safely.

Which leads me onto my next point…

Professional training

Despite what you might think, a photographer doesn’t just decide to start offering baby photography services one day and off they go!

Being confident handling tiny babies and knowing how to soothe and pose them, in a way that is comfortable and safe for the baby, are essential skills that every newborn photographer must have.

A lot of technical training is required in order for a professional baby photographer to operate safely and professionally.

And that training costs a lot of money – hundreds if not thousands of pounds! The very best photographers also recognise the need to continually invest in training to stay on top of their game. So training is an ongoing cost to the photographer, and this is likely to be reflected in their fees.

Professional-baby-photos-Bexley

Expensive equipment

Professional photographers also need to buy a lot of expensive camera equipment, lighting aids and backdrops.

They have the overhead of a photography studio and all the operating costs that come with this. Or, if they are a mobile photographer, they will also have car insurance, fuel and travel expenses to consider.

You’ll likely also be offered the option to have your baby photographed in adorable miniature hats, outfits or wraps, and in tiny props such as baskets and boxes – again, all these cost money!

So why are professional baby photos so expensive?

Well, now perhaps you can see that the price you pay for your photography session is contributing to all these things that photographers need to buy in order to be in business.

Professional-baby-photos-London

Other things that contribute to the cost of your newborn photoshoot

And then, on top of that, you are paying for the professional photographer’s time and expertise.

This includes:

  • The time spent liaising with you to arrange and confirm the booking (and you could argue, the time and money they have invested in marketing their business in order for you to have discovered them in the first place)
  • The time spent preparing for the photoshoot – buying props, styling the studio and generally getting everything ready for your arrival on the day
  • The time they spend doing your baby’s photoshoot

Newborn photographers typically allow up to 2-4 hours of studio time for each photoshoot, and most don’t do more than one session per day. You’ll be offered exclusive use of their studio and their focussed attention for the duration of the session – time which they usually include in a ‘session fee’ of approximately £50-150.

  • Then after the session, the time spent editing the photos. This is often a misunderstood part of the process since it’s done behind the scenes, but it’s an essential step in order for the photographer to complete the gallery of photos and make each individual image ready for you. It can take as long as half a day or more for a photographer to complete a gallery of images and to digitally finish the photos to their trademark style.

Professional-baby-photos-Greenwich

Do professional baby photos seem so expensive now?

So, having considered all this, perhaps you can now appreciate that a lot goes into a typical newborn photography session?

Hopefully the things I have listed above help to clarify why professional baby photos can be perceived to be expensive?

A professional photographer is running a business after all, and has many business costs that they need to charge onto customers in order to be able to run it successfully.  That’s why their prices may be higher than you initially expect.

Avoid choosing a newborn photographer based on price

Just because newborn photography is really popular nowadays, don’t expect it to be cheap. (And to be honest, if it is cheap, spend some time questioning why that is before you book).

There are lots of professional photographers offering newborn photography services, but choosing the right photographer for you is really important.

I would urge you not to go with the photographer who is the cheapest necessarily, but the one who offers you the reassurance of a professional service and who feels like a good fit for you.

Definitely go with a photographer who is experienced, professionally trained and can demonstrate how they safely create the photos. And, don’t forget that it’s important to choose someone whose work you love!

Professional baby photos are worth their weight in gold!

Professional portraits by a newborn photographer capture those precious first few weeks of your baby’s life and every detail from their delicate skin and super soft hair to their curled up body and their precious little fingers and toes.

As a mum of two boys myself, I can tell you that the portraits you have taken after your baby’s birth will become so precious to you, you’ll never regret hiring a newborn photographer!

Awake baby by Sandra Cullen Photography

Any further questions about newborn photography?

It isn’t easy choosing a newborn photographer, but I hope that this has helped you to understand why you might think professional baby photos are expensive.

Let me know in the comments if you have any further questions about newborn photography. I would be pleased to help.

And, if you want to speak to me about booking a newborn photography session you can either complete this form, call me on 07507 665493 or email me at Sandra@sandracullenphotography.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sleeping newborn baby by Sandra Cullen Photography

How to choose a newborn photographer

You’re a parent-to-be and are considering hiring a newborn photographer. You want professional photos of your baby once he or she arrives because you have seen how beautiful these images can be.

But what are the criteria on which you should choose a newborn photographer?

After all, you only need to Google “newborn photographer” to realise that there are many out there. So how should you decide which newborn photographer to hire?

  • On reputation?
  • On price?
  • Or on something else entirely?

Choosing a newborn photographer

Sleeping newborn baby by Sandra Cullen Photography

Believe me, this is not a decision that you should take lightly. You’ll want to choose a newborn photographer that is the perfect fit for you and your family.

Each photographer offers something different to the next, and there are many factors to consider.  So, in today’s blog I’m sharing my top tips to help you choose a newborn photographer:

1: Ask for recommendations

It’s definitely worthwhile asking any new parents you know for their recommendations. Whether that’s friends or family, or even parents that you have met at your NCT or antenatal classes. Simply ask if they used a newborn photographer and, if so, who and would they recommend them?

You could also join Facebook groups for parents in your local area, and ask for recommendations in there. Most parents are more than happy to tell others which newborn photographer they used and are proud of the photos that they have had taken. Also ask for them to share examples of the portraits they had taken of their babies, as this will give you an idea of the end result.

Also look online for reviews – on Google+ and on their Facebook pages. These will give you an insight into how well they are regarded by previous customers.

2: Ensure that you love the style of their portraits

How to choose a newborn photographer

All photographers offer something different, so it’s important to choose a newborn photographer whose work you not only like, but love.

Have a good look at their gallery or portfolio on their website. If you find that you adore almost all of the images on there and would like that style of photo for yourself, then you have found a good match.

  • Do they use colours that you like? I use neutrals and dusky pinks, greys and beiges most often in my newborn portraits – are those the colours you like?
  • Do you like the props they use? Most newborn photographers use tiny headbands, hats and outfits?
  • Do you like how they have positioned the baby in the photo?
  • Would you be happy if the photographer produced that photo featuring your baby?
  • And do you love their work enough to want to hang it on your walls at home?

If you’ve answered yes when reviewing a potential newborn photographer’s gallery, it’s a safe bet that you will love the images they could produce for you.

3: Consider your available budget for newborn photography

Sleeping baby in mother's hands by newborn photographer Sandra Cullen

Newborn photography is now a popular way of celebrating the arrival of a new baby into the family. But, just because it is popular, that doesn’t mean it is cheap.

In fact, newborn photography is still relatively expensive. After all, it is a highly specialised service. Photographers will have gone through lots of expensive training and will also have costly equipment and business costs to cover. The price of newborn photography naturally reflects that.

So it’s important to do your research about the prices newborn photographers charge. You need to know that you can afford at least their most basic package BEFORE you book.

As with everything, there are some photographers who are more expensive than others so it’s important to shop around and find one that matches your budget.

While I wouldn’t recommend that you base your decision solely on price, do review the pricing of the photographers you are considering. It’s usually somewhere on their website – or request a price list if you can’t see it online.

If a price seems too good to be true though, there is usually a catch! I strongly recommend that you beware of cut-price newborn photographers! Low prices could reflect the fact that the photographer is inexperienced, and the last thing you want is an amateur to be handling your precious newborn baby. Use a professional and experienced newborn photographer or you may regret it later!

4: Check what products they offer as part of their packages

Continuing on from the last point, make sure you check two further things.

  • What products they offer as part of their packages. What’s included and what isn’t?
  • And what specification of products will you be able to buy after your photoshoot?

All photographers price their services differently so it’s important to understand what is included in the packages of the photographer you choose. This helps to avoid any surprises later.

Photo Packages

It’s worth pointing out that most photographers charge an initial session fee – anything from £50-150 usually. This covers their time for the photoshoot, but nothing else. No photos – whether digital files or printed photos or albums – are usually included in this price. Presuming you want to buy the photos afterwards, there will be product packages for you to choose from which are charged in addition to the ‘session’ or ‘booking’ fee.

So having a firm idea of the maximum budget you have available will allow you to decide what photo prints or albums you can afford once you have done the photoshoot.

Awake baby by Sandra Cullen Photography

Product Quality

And, it’s also important to check that you are happy with the range and quality of the photo products that are available. By that, I mean the albums, frames and wall art.

I know that my clients want to hang their baby photos on the walls at home and that they want something high quality and far superior to what they can find on the high street. They don’t want a cheap looking frame, or something that reflects the light or will fade over time. And they want something different – a real WOW piece.

So I offer aluminium wall art, and this is my best selling product.

What products do the newborn photographers you are considering offer? Would you like these in your home?

5: What level of customer service can you expect?

How to choose a newborn photographer - tips by Sandra Cullen Photography

Finally, the level of customer service can vary from one photographer to the next. Every aspect of the process is a chance for your newborn photographer to differentiate themselves from the competition, and to offer an exceptional level of service.

Will your newborn photographer rise to that challenge? Will they take care of everything from the moment you make that first enquiry until the day your photo artwork is complete, making you feel like a V.I.P.? Or is their service more basic?

  • Will they keep in touch with you as baby’s due date approaches?
  • Will they provide tips on how to prepare for your newborn photoshoot or tell you what to expect in advance?
  • Will they allow you to customise the photoshoot or not?
  • Do they offer extras when you are at the photography studio like free refreshments or nappies, wipes and milk?
  • Do they take care of all the ordering of the photos and photo products?
  • Will they deliver your completed artwork or will you need to collect it from the studio?

You’ll get an idea of what level of service is on offer from looking at their websites and reading reviews from previous customers. You don’t need to go for a V.I.P. experience, but you’ll certainly want to choose a newborn photographer who offers excellent customer service.

How to choose a newborn photographer

Choosing a newborn photographer is not as straight forward as you might first imagine! So I hope that these tips are useful to you as you start the process yourself.

And if you would like any further information about my newborn photography services please visit my newborn gallery and my pricing page and find out more about me here. Or call me on 07507 665493, email me at Sandra@sandracullenphotography.com or complete this form.