Smile, You’re on Camera

We asked PRO-Member Sandra of SR Portraits to give her tips for achieving smiles from your newborn baby, so next time you put baby to sleep, have your camera ready!

"My three most recent sessions have all featured at least one smiley shot and I was so taken with them it prompted me to write a little blog post on it. As my shoots take place before baby is 3 weeks old (ideally under 10 days old) the smiles I capture along with numerous other expressions are lightning fast and unpredictable so they are quite rare. My years of experience however have taught me that there are a few tricks you can do to help one along.

Some things you can try out at home:
  • Look out for the REM sleep phase and get the camera ready. When baby is just entering or leaving this sleep phase their eyelids tend to move about more and they fidget – they are more likely to smile now so be prepared!
  • Babies love snuggling up to Mum and getting really close. Cuddle up cheek to cheek and have Mum whisper in babies ear or blow on their cheek – this can produce a lovely smile
  • If you do think a smile is imminent then softly stroking the corner of their mouth upwards can sometimes help it along
Ultimately a smile is never guaranteed and remains quite hard to capture on camera until baby is a few weeks older. However if you can photograph one it makes that picture all the more special."

Have you managed to get a smiley photo of your newborn? We’d love to hear about it, comment below
Runner up in our July Showcase was this beautiful colourful image by Anna Hurst Photography

Anna is based in Berkshire and we asked her tell us more about her photography.

Congratulations on your placement in the July Showcase! Tell us what you love so much about newborn photography?

It is such an amazing and emotional time for any parent brining a new baby in to the world and I always find it a real honour to be asked to capture those early days for them, especially as they change and grow so quickly. 

Doing this job also, as you can imagine, I get to hear so many stories about the highs and lows of pregnancy and birth, so when I have the family sat in front of me and everyone is doing well, I honestly feel blessed to be able to photograph and capture everything for them. I know that this may sound soppy to some but this is really what is at the heart of my business and why I do what I do!

Can you tell us anything about the image that earned you second place?

I tend to get a lot of requests from clients for fairly neutral colour schemes which obviously do work well with newborns however I do LOVE to inject a bit of colour every so often if the parents are willing - and this baby girl, with her gorgeous lashes totally worked the mustard yellow look!

BANPAS is an independent photography association dedicated to newborn and baby photographers. We support our members in terms of education and business training and we help parents to find the right photographer for their needs. You can find out more about banpas at and follow us on facebook at 

BANPAS Showcase - July Winner : Captured By Samira

If you are looking for a newborn photographer, our members are amongst the country’s leading newborn and baby photogaphers. In fact, so beautiful are the images they produce that each month we ask our members to choose an outstanding image to showcase to the world. The winning image this month is a stunning, timeless black and white portrait of a curled up newborn.

The photographer who produced this gorgeous portrait is Samira Jones of Captured By Samira.

Samira is based in Bournemouth and we have managed to grab a few moments with her so she can tell us more about her photography.

Congratulations on your winning image this month Samira! Tell us what you love so much about newborn photography?

I love capturing newborns perfect little features. Newborns change at the blink of an eye so to capture something so new as an everlasting memory is just amazing! I just love capturing images which show how new and tiny they are from being really curled up like they were in the womb or showing size differences using hands of the parents. I also love capturing the love and emotion from parents and siblings

So are newborns your favourite type of session?

I want to say newborns as it is what I specialise in but photographing births is actually my favourite. To capture such a special personal moment in a families life is just amazing!
You can see a gallery of Samira's birth portfolio here

You can follow Samira's work on Facebook and to make a booking contact Samira at her website 

BANPAS is an independent photography association dedicated to newborn and baby photographers. We support our members in terms of education and business training and we help parents to find the right photographer for their needs. You can find out more about banpas at and follow us on facebook at 

Hat Trick Of Photography Awards for BANPAS Member Rob Mank Photography

This month saw the annual Photography Award ceremony held by The Guild of Photographers and we are delighted that BANPAS member Rob Mank Photography, South Yorkshire picked up a total of three prestigious awards.

We caught up with him recently to ask him how he was feeling 

Congratulations Rob on your fantastic achievement, that must have been some night at the award ceremony!  Where do you plan on keeping your awards?

"I have 2 of them on the mantel piece above the fire and I have my Photographer of the Year one on my desk as its where I spend the most of my time editing and working!"

Which of your photographs have won which award?

Newborn Image of the year

Newborn Image of the year runner up

Children's Image of the year

Tell us what you love about photographing newborns and babies?

"I love producing fine art, something really special. Being able to do this for someones precious new baby is amazing. Knowing someone has a timeless piece of art on their wall really makes it worthwhile."

What first led you into professional photography?

"I've always had a love for the outdoors, being outside in the middle of no where is so peaceful. So I naturally started taking pictures of the landscape I explored. Then it all changed when my niece came along. I started taking photos of her and really took an interest in it. I decided it was an area I really enjoyed so I decided to get some training and start to take it seriously. I feel like my work is now going back to my original roots and combining the love of the great outdoors with my newborn work in some of the stunning outdoor composites I've created."

How long has it taken you to reach this point in your career?
"I've been going 3 years, but its only really been this last 18 months when things have really improved for me. I took the time to slow down, really learn the craft and implement what I'd been taught. I've had some great support from some very talented people."

Do you use studio or natural light?
"I use whatever light I find best for the task at hand. But because I shoot in a pretty dark room with no natural light I use flash. Flash gives me the control and freedom to do whatever I like with a shot."

What's your favourite session to shoot and why?
"I love it when a client comes to me and tells me to do whatever I like and is up for trying something a bit different. The results are often very special and completely different. Newborn sessions allow you to plan idea's and concepts but I do love around 8 month old sessions. Babies have so much more character at this stage, usually full of laughs, giggles and cheekiness!!"

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about entering photography professionally?
"Get training. Learn the craft and fundamentals of photography. Don't try and learn someone's style, look at someone who can really teach you about photography and newborns then let your own style develop from yourself. You will start to see yourself come out in your work and its sooo rewarding. Then get business training, there is so much more to running a professional photography business than taking pretty pictures. Its not easy, its a lot of time and hard work. But I couldn't see myself doing anything else."

Describe a typical newborn photography session with Rob Mank Photography.
"My clients regularly tell me how relaxing their session was and actually quite informative. Many first time parents end up leaving more confident in being able to settle their baby after a few tips of getting them to drift off asleep."

And lastly, we know that you inspire a lot of baby photographers, but who inspires you?
"I get my inspiration from lots of places and people. Some completely unrelated. My absolute favourite photographer is Joel Robison, he's so creative and humble. I really love Pebbles And Polkadots Photography and she inspired me when I started. 
There's so many great photographers out there. Some of the UK photographers work who I love to see pop in my news feed are Sally Slack, Kellie Wilson, Maddy Rogers, Natalie Leech, Donna Gray & Lisa Visser (her children's work is sublime) to name a few. I also have to put a big shout out to my lovely friends Carli Adams, Rachael Lynch & Cass Davies who have supported me so much and are there whenever I need them! And of course to my amazing mum!!! 
She makes many of my props and has been the biggest support in my career! I really wouldn't have been able to do it without her!

Rob Mank collecting one of his awards

How To Photograph Your Children


Photography has inspired generations throughout the years, from Fox Talbot taking the oldest surviving photograph of a window, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon, the nanny Vivian Maier in the 1950’s taking a photo every day of life in New York, celebrities acting as their own paparazzi, to the astronauts currently on the space station sending their images to NASA’s Instagram account.  Photographs are an everyday part of our life, we photograph meals in restaurants, our pets, our toes on beaches - selfie is even a recognised word in the Oxford English Dictionary.

But there are lots of hints and tips to help you improve photographing your children, and it’s never too late to learn.

Take into consideration the camera you are using to capture your images.  We’re not for one minute suggesting you rush out and buy the most expensive camera kit and lens (save that for the professionals!) but if you are relying on your i-phone or tablet camera, you will only ever have access to those images digitally, or as small prints.  The quality is not good enough to blow them up to a large canvas or print in an album.

A good option is a bridge camera.  Better than a point and shoot, and not as complex as a DSLR, bridge cameras have only one lens, but have a great shooting range and work really well in auto setting.

Below are examples of images taken with different cameras to give you an idea of what to expect.

An image taken with a tablet camera.  Nice to have digitally as a reminder, but a print would be very sub-standard in quality.

These images have both been taken with a camera phone. There are lots of apps available that allow you to get creative with your images by adding filters and textures, but bear in mind they will invariably look a better quality on your screen than as a printed item.  And the more apps / filters you apply, the more you reduce the resolution quality.

An image taken on a point-and-shoot camera.  Notice how everything in the image is in focus.  This would look even better if the background was slightly out of focus, making the child the main focus of the image.  This is called "depth of field" (or DOF for short).  DOF cannot be achieved with tablets, phones and point and shoot cameras.

 An image taken with a FujiFilm bridge camera on auto settings.  The camera has coped nicely with the cow in the foreground being backlit by the setting sun.

This image has been taken with an expensive DSLR camera and expensive lens.  Notice how the DOF ensures the girl is the absolute focus of this image.

Same girl photographed with an i-phone and by BANPAS member Helen McGlynn Photography

The beauty about cameras these days is you can easily delete images, so take lots of photos - this will eliminate any blinkies or mid-speech faces.

Let's look at the different ages you might want to photograph :

Photographing Your Newborn Baby

Don’t shoot up his nose.  This is a classic error people often make when photographing a newborn.  Choose your angle carefully - there are far nicer things to look at on a newborn baby other than the inside of his nostrils.

Switch your flash off. All cameras, including mobile phones, have the option to switch the flash off.  Babies are very sensitive to bright light, and the light from a camera flash is never flattering unless used correctly.

Flash and nostrils all in one image!

Get their attention. Newborn babies can only focus on something within very close range - get their attention by waggling your fingers very close to their eyes and then you will be able to focus your camera on the area where they are looking.

Image credit : BANPAS member Wings Photography

Wear contrasting colours. Again, newborn babies can only differentiate between contrasts in colour (think of the black and white Lamaze mobiles) - so if your camera is silver in colour, wear a dark top and your camera will stand out against it and they will be more likely to look in the direction of the camera.

Safety. Keep their environment warm and safe at all times.  Never try to recreate an image you may have seen in a professional photographer’s portfolio - chances are, they’ve used their photoshop skills.  Never put your baby in anything or on anything they could fall from - babies have a startle reflex and can pack quite a hefty kick and easily push themselves forward.

Don't let this happen for real - read more about working safely when photographing newborns here

Siblings. Always consider their safety and comfort too.  Don’t force them into holding their new sister if they’re really not confident in doing so.  A shot of the newborn sleeping with a gentle kiss on the forehead from big sister is much nicer than a photo of an unsure sibling awkwardly holding a baby.

Image credit : BANPAS member Magic Photography

Image credit : found on Pinterest 

Which photo looks happier? 
(Don't try this at home - leave it to the professionals!)

How to Photograph Older Babies

Dignity.  Remember their dignity at all times - they are people who will grow into adults.  It won’t be very nice for them to know that mum or dad had published photos of their private areas for the world to see online, even if it was an innocent photo of them splashing in the bath. 

Posing.  If they can’t yet sit unsupported, don’t make them sit in a pose hoping to capture a shot before they topple over.  As stated above, never put your baby in or on anything they can fall out of.  If you see images of a baby in a container in a professional’s portfolio, they will have used their photoshop skills and applied the compositing technique (read more about compositing here)

Be silly!  Be prepared to make stupid noises and pull silly faces - kids like nothing more than seeing mum or dad making a fool out of themselves.  If this is out of your comfort zone, you can download apps for your phone that will make silly noises to get your child’s (or pet’s!) attention.

Angles.  Once you’ve got your child’s attention, change your position and take different angles of the same pose. Move up above them, down to their eye level, even lie on the floor.

Image credit : BANPAS member Clare Metcalfe Photography

Distract them.  A balled up piece of sticky sellotape can distract a curious baby that has hand control for a while, giving you the chance to photograph them in deep concentration.  Just have someone on standby, or be ready to stop them yourself, the instant they inevitably try to put it in their mouth.

How to Photograph Toddlers and Children

Get fit!  Be prepared to move fast!

Make believe  If you’re struggling to get your child’s interest (because let’s face it, the world is a distracting place!) tell them a fairy / pirate / dinosaur lives in your camera lens and will wave at them if they look really closely.  Be ready for them to walk right up to the camera to see for themselves!
If your child is too old to believe you, ask them if they can see your shutter opening and closing when you take a photo - tell them they have to sit really still to see it.

"Can you see the pirate waving at you?"
Image credit : BANPAS member EM Westwood Photography

Action!  If it’s a sunny day, ask them if they can jump on their own shadow for some great jumping shots.

Capture everything  Not just when they’re happy and smiling, but also when they’re sat peacefully engrossed in Peppa Pig, or sat sucking their thumb with their blanky.    Include all family members - when mum is reading a bedtime story, when dad is walking ahead of you holding their hand.  These times will pass by all too soon and these will be the normal everyday memories you want to remember when they’ve left home.

Toys  Take photos of their favourite toys to remember how innocent they once were.  It won’t be long before they are replaced by technology and new toys - think of Toy Story 3!

5 years later and look at Reggie now ...

Show their growth  Take the same photo on the same day each year.  Try to recreate the pose and location each time - this creates a brilliant and fun sequence of images to look back on.

Photoshop has been used to create this fun photo - but you could do the same with images side by side

How To Photograph Older Children and Teens

Bribery! Serious, monetary bribery!
Sorry about that.

One thing any professional photographer who has children of their own will tell you, all children are cheeky for their own parents!  Here are some images from our members of the times they have tried to photograph their own kids - with hilarious results!

But get someone else to photograph them and they are sweetness and light .... 

As a photography association, we would urge you to consider booking a local professional photographer, who can capture timeless pieces of artwork for your family and future generations.  Lots of our members don't only photograph newborns so please visit our directory of members to find a photographer near you.

Copyright Explained

Now that you’ve had your photoshoot, you’ve had your viewing session (if applicable) and you’ve chosen the images you want and you’ve received your photographs, you own the copyright to those photographs, right?

Not quite, no.

There is a general misconception that once you have paid for and received your images, either in digital format, as a print or canvas, that the paying customer owns the copyright.

Whenever anybody presses the shutter button to take a photograph, whether that be on an i-phone camera, a tablet, a point and shoot or a dslr camera, that person owns the copyright to that image. But in just the same way that an author who writes a book, or an artist who paints a drawing owns the copyright to their work - when you buy a book or buy a painting, you don't assume you have also bought the copyright to that work do you?

When you receive your digital images from your photographer -  they are releasing them to you with printing rights only. This entitles you to make as many printed copies of your digital images as you like. You can design and print an album with them, you can print a huge canvas with them, you can have them printed on thank you cards. But unless you have written permission from your photographer, what you can’t do with your images is :

• Edit them with photo editing software
• Sell them in any form or use them commercially such as in advertising
• Upload them online without displaying the photographers watermark or crediting the photographer
• Enter them into competitions or gain financially from them
• Claim them as your own work
• Photocopy or scan prints

So, “printing rights only”, really does mean all you can do with your images is print them.
We hope that explains the difference between copyright and printing rights, but if you have any questions, please get in touch, either with us, or your chosen photographer.

Book A Maternity Bump Shoot

Lots of our readers might be too young to remember the controversy in the media that happened when Demi Moore posed nude with her bump for the cover of Vanity Fair. At the time it was unusual to see a heavily pregnant woman pose in this way, but what Demi did was show the world how beautiful a pregnant woman is and paved the way for maternity portraits.

Image from Google

A majority of BANPAS registered photographers offer Maternity photoshoots and we would urge you to consider booking a session to record one of the most amazing times in your life.

{image supplied by Alexandra Lord Photography}

Don't worry if you don't have the perfect Demi Moore pregnancy body, our members are able to light, cover and pose you, as well as edit skin blemishes to get some stunning portraits.

Photographers will see your bump from all kinds of different angles ...

{image supplied by Elen Studio Photography}

 {image supplied by Blue Lights Photography}

They may cover you in dramatic silk

{image supplied by Tiny Posers}

{image supplied by Elli J Photography}

They may take more natural images outside
{image supplied by Mariola Hart Photography}

 But what they will all do, is make you look like the beautiful, pregnant woman you are

{image supplied by A-Photography}

 {image supplied by Jo Rutherford}

To find a photographer local to you who can create your own version of Demi's cover image, please visit the
BANPAS website