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