Nikon Singapore decided to feature yours truly on their Facebook page today as part of International Women’s Day. All I can say is, thank you.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is Balance for Better (#balanceforbetter), which is an appropriate theme for me as exactly one half of Bows and Ribbons Photography. We are, after all, a husband and wife team, working together in every aspect of our business, household and small family.
So when Nikon Singapore approached me for a feature on their Facebook page as part of their event commemorations, I was excited, and also a bit nervous. I took the opportunity to find out more about International Women’s Day and what I could do to encourage gender equality and help build a world that better balances the roles and responsibilities of both women and men.
As a part of Bows and Ribbons Photography, I work with my husband, who gave me all the emotional support I needed to start Bows and Ribbons Photography and become a full-time newborn photographer. And as a woman, I do my best to embrace gender equality at home and at work. I try to live every day to its fullest, doing what I love and being grateful for every little success achieved along the way.
I would like to thank Nikon Singapore for including me and Bows and Ribbons Photography for their International Women’s Day feature, and together with everyone who has supported me along the way as I embarked on the journey to do what I really loved.
After welcoming our first child—and capturing far too many images of him since he was born—we find ourselves in a bit of a quandary: how do we find the time to choose the best ones and edit them?
Let’s begin with a bit of an experiment, shall we. Dig out an old photo album from your childhood, blow off the dust, and flip through a few of the pages. Feel free to reminisce over the collection of faded sepia-tinged images, and bask in those warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia for a while. We won’t disturb you, we promise.
Okay, all done?
If you’re like us, your eye would probably land on a particularly memorable image; of moments that meant something special to us, or perhaps a photo of ourselves that was just plain funny we couldn’t help but smile. Your next thought would probably be that some of those photos really didn’t belong there in the first place. Is that somebody’s out-of-focus hand? Whose hair was that?! Why am I wearing a dress??? And this was back in the days of film cameras that captured a maximum of 36 exposures per roll, mind you.
Digital photography has elevated the number of images each and every one of us can capture into the thousands, all on a single memory card or smartphone. And professional photographers use this technology to their advantage by capturing as many photographs as they can at every session.
Of course, some of those images are going to be nearly identical. We tend to take a burst of shots for a particular pose or setup just to be sure we get the one that’s absolutely perfect. Minor movements, shutter vibrations, and autofocus hiccups can make some shots look better than others. Also, because newborn babies tend to twitch and squirm a lot while posing, even while they’re sleeping, these additional captures come in very useful.
As newborn photographers, we definitely appreciate the ability to capture more and more shots. The more we capture, the greater our chance of getting shots that are closer to perfection; immaculately exposed, framed and focused. However, with great power comes great responsibility (pardon the trope), and capturing an average of 600 RAW images per session does have its drawbacks.
Now, let’s return to our bellyache about taking far too many images of our beloved baby boy than we actually have time to work on. Even as newborn photographers who do this nearly every day, we find ourselves wishing that we could just leave the selecting, adjusting and post processing of our little boy’s photographs to someone else.
As most new parents can attest to, babies are a handful. A joyfulness inducing and utterly adorable handful, sure, but a handful nonetheless. And between feeds, baths, onesie changes, diaper swaps, bedtime lullabies, all that rocking to sleep…well, you get the picture, babies demand a lot of our time and energy. And they deserve to have it. We would rather spend our time with our boy and watch him grow than be hunched over a computer looking over images of him from 6 months ago.
But we knew what we were getting into from the start, so there’s no need to feel sorry for us! (Oh, you weren’t? That’s fine then.) We became newborn photographers a while before we became parents ourselves, and since we started doing this we’ve always sought to provide newborn photography services to best meet the needs of busy parents who want quality images that they could share, print, and treasure for a lifetime.
Firstly, we never release unfinished work. RAW images are named as such because they are just that, raw and unprocessed, so to speak. We capture hundreds of images so our mummies and daddies can always choose their favourites from a preview gallery of about 60 photographs on average. That’s about 10 percent of the images we take at a typical session.
Secondly, we don’t release all images we’ve selected because we understand the fact that the photographs WE liked best may not be the ones YOU liked best. So, while we may have our own specific preferences as photographers, we always let our mummies and daddies choose their favourites themselves.
And lastly, all our packages include full-resolution and meticulously post-processed images that are canvas-ready. We don’t resize or compress images unnecessarily since that would make them look just terrible on large canvas prints, not to mention on the high-resolution screens of your new 4K TV or smartphone. Full-resolution images make excellent desktop wallpapers, too. No annoying pixelation anywhere!
So, what we’re really saying is there may be no solution in sight for our current dilemma of having way too many photographs of our baby boy to post process and showcase. And that’s our problem, really. Sorry for the rant. But for the rest of you who are considering booking a newborn photography session for your little bundle of joy, we may have just the solution for you.
Pick a photographer that does all the work for you so you can focus on that new most important person in the world: your baby.
Why do we remember some things about our childhood, but not others? Well, we do have some thoughts on the matter if you’ll indulge us.
One popular explanation would be that we tend to remember stuff that has made the most enduring impact on us. Another reason might be that we remember as much as we were able to at a certain point in our lives—science has shown that children can form their earliest memories as early as when they were 2 years old—and that’s that really.
But one more explanation of why we remember what we do from childhood has to do with what we were told about our childhood. So if our parents never let us forget that first time we face planted and tasted fresh grass, or that other time we cried when we dropped our ice-cream cone, that could very well end up being our earliest first memory.
Finally, there is one more reason why we remember some things and not others—and this is our favourite explanation of all really, as newborn photographers! We tend to remember the events of which we have visual confirmation of. Or to put it more simply, we remember what we see in photographs of ourselves as we were growing up.
So what exactly is the purpose of this first, slightly rambling blog post doing on a newborn photographer’s website? That’s a good question.
Firstly, as vintage millennials (read: very old millennials), we tend to take photographs of everything, like literally everything. Food, our feet, the sky, and of course, our love ones. And as newborn and family photographers, we enjoy capturing memorable images of perfectly posed up babies, as well as emotional interactions between parents and their little ones.
What if we could somehow remember the day we were born, or that time we learnt to sit, or our first steps? Obviously these memories would be impossible memories to have since we’re all human here.
BUT, we could all perhaps IMAGINE what it might have been like to experience those milestones if we had some photographs documenting them. And yes, smartphones are excellent ways for almost everyone to take photographs of their little ones doing the cutest things. But professionally taken photographs are important too!
Now don’t act all surprised. You knew where this was headed the moment you clicked on a post by a bunch of newborn photographers.
Babies don’t remember much about when they were babies, but photographs help them to have that glimpse of just how cute they once were when they are all grown up one day. And as parents ourselves, who spend most days wondering where the time has gone and why our little munchkin is growing up so fast, a good photograph goes that much further into helping us remember the “good old days” when they were so itty bitty, and we were just too darn exhausted from all the feeding, crying, rocking and diapering to remember anything at all.
But don’t take our word for it. Just pry open an old photo album from when you were young, and you’ll know exactly what we mean.