I'd like to start by saying that this is quite a long winded blog I'm afraid, it is something that I have wanted to do for a while now so please bear with me whilst I explain myself.
I never give cheap sessions... I'm not a cheap photographer. A lot of skill, effort, time and love go into my work and I am priced accordingly. Yet I have found myself planning out a way for my customers to have a free shoot with me which is highly contradictory!
This has been 8 months in the making and at the moment is running as a trial- the main reason I usually take a session fee before a shoot is to ensure that people don't mess me around, cancel last minute, change days etc so if any of this does happen then unfortunately I'll have to pull the plug on this which will upset me greatly and also mean that people are going to miss out on a really lovely opportunity. As I said... 8 months of planning this, umming and ahhhing and trying my best to ensure that this is a good move as it is something close to my heart. What happened this weekend was a massive kick up the bum for me...
We stayed in a beautiful hotel on the way up to the Isle of Man to see some friends tying the not. The next day we packed up (anyone with a toddler will agree that packing up a hotel room is equivalent to a challenge in the Crystal Maze), jumped in the car, crossed the Irish Sea and checked into our new hotel where we found that Bunny was missing.
***Bunny is our daughter's white, flowery eared Jellycat soft toy who she sleeps with every night, loves most of all out of all of her toys and was one of her first words ('Bunneeeeeeeeeeee' as she calls him). He is a little bit grubby, well loved and still smells of baby despite Rose being less baby-like by the day.
Rose wasn't too bad, a bit unsettled at night but mostly hadn't realised that he was lost. I on the other hand was distraught. So much so that I panic searched the bags, the car, called the hotel, retraced every step of our trip so far in my mind and just wanted to sit and cry. I even considered doing one of those facebook search posts for lost dogs/toys/people. I felt like a bad, bad Mum, like I had lost a bit of my little girl- her first toy, the one Andy and I bought together for her whilst I was still pregnant and the thing that comforts her at night when I'm not there. Luckily there was a happy ending- the hotel called over breakfast the next day, they found him and would keep him safe for us.
This isn't the case for a lot of children, we were lucky that he was found and returned safely to us (I realise that it sounds as if I am talking about a living animal! It really does feel like that though). When I was visiting family in Australia in 2009 my cousin who was 3 at the time lost her Bunny up a mountain. She was heartbroken. My Aunt was the same and the next day drove for over an hour to search for him (luckily he was sat waiting in the carpark for her).
How many kids lose their bunnies?! Not only this but these toys are their first loves. Their friends, their comforts and their whole heart in one tiny, little stuffed toy (I was the same with 'scruffs' the dog as a child). This is why I am offering every single newborn who is booked in for a session with me a second 'mini shoot' later on in their first year to document them and their teddy. Each session will last 30 minutes and I will be waiving the minimum spend limit that I usually apply to my sessions so you can purchase what you want from your online gallery, any digitals purchased will be available via a download link. These sessions are not as in depth as my regular sitter sessions so will not include any changes of clothing or set changes. They will take place in my studio in Northleach.
I hope everyone else can see the potential in this, I'm really excited to be offering it!