My name's Rachel Burton. I am a mum of 3 and I have been married for 18 years. Most of my life up until now has been based around the army. My stepdad was in the army and we lived in Germany for 5 years which is where i met my husband when I was 16 and he had just joined up. He has finished his 22 year service now and we are now based in Fleet, Hampshire (just outside London). My studio is just down the road in Aldershot.
I started my business in 2014, photographing anyone that would let me. I decided to specialise and focus on newborns predominantly in 2015.
How long have you been a photographer or interested in photography?
I had my first child when I was 18 and my husband deployed to Iraq soon after so that was where the photography started. I always photographed the kids and sent him photos when he was away so he could keep up with what they were doing and growing as he was deployed for 6 months at a time. I never wanted him to miss out on them, even though he wasn’t there in person. That still hasn’t changed, except now they can run faster when they see my camera out!
When did you realize this was something you were going to pursue, not only for fun but as a profession?
I didn’t have any professional photos of the kids when they were newborns, it just wasn’t a thing. When I had my youngest child in 2012, I decided we would get one done and a few with the older two kids too. It was the worst experience ever. The photographer clearly had no idea how to pose a newborn and asked me to sit him up … bearing in mind he was 3 weeks old!
Anyway, I left early and never even went back to look at the images she did take and I took my own. I just thought I would hate for anyone to have to experience that kind of session for their baby so I decided to study photography and learn how to do it so I could offer something amazing for new parents. I discovered Kelly Brown tutorials online and my husband bought me a camera and that was the start of it!
Below is the image I took of my son that kickstarted my obsession and passion for newborn photography.
What has been your favourite part about being a photographer?
I love photographing newborns. Every time the parents walk in with a brand-new person it’s amazing. Each baby has the possibility to be anything. They could be the one that grows up and discovers the cure for cancer, or becomes a prime minister, or discovers a new planet! It’s a whole brand-new person in the world full of endless possibilities and I get to capture them right at the start of their journey.
Do you enjoy other types of photography?
I LOVE maternity too. Maternity photography is extra special because that baby they are carrying knows only them. It’s a magical bond that I photograph not just the bump.
It is not just a baby that is born... its a mother too! I think It is so important to document such a huge moment in a woman's life. Not just for them but for the baby too!
A few times a year I make sure I have creative time. I love creating images specifically for award entries. I love digital art and composites. My husband has served 22 years in the army, so I make him a new image every year for Remembrance Day. It’s the one image a year I make that is just for him. It normally ends up as a battalion-wide profile picture on Facebook though!
What makes you stand out from others?
I think what makes me stand out is I know how crazy it is being a mum. I am a mum first and foremost. I appreciate it's terrifying to take your brand-new baby to a new place and hand them over to a stranger to be photographed. I also know what a bad experience in that moment feels like and I know I never want anyone to feel like that.
Most of my work comes through word of mouth and referrals, which I like. A client who has a positive experience and has trust in you will share you with anyone who will listen. On the flip side … remember that also applies if they have a bad experience too!
What are you most passionate about when it comes to your business, is it the act of shooting, printing, or working with clients?
I love being with the clients. Learning new poses, shooting, and editing. I am always learning new ways of editing. New ways to do things in the beast that is Photoshop! Mastering newborn poses with all the safety aspects that come with that has taken me years. I am still learning every day. My sessions are baby-led. Not every baby is the same. Each baby prefers different poses, etc. and to see a final gallery of images for a client from a session and see their visceral reaction to their images never gets old.
What is the future of your business looking like?
Right now, I am trying to keep my business going with shooting when I can. With all the lockdowns and restrictions put in place we have recently decided to move my studio out of my home and into a designated space just for my clients. It is hard having to keep rescheduling clients or even cancelling sessions as these sessions are so limited on time frame but I am trying my best where I can. When I can shoot I am limiting the number of sessions I can do to make sure I have time to deep clean everything between clients, etc.
2021 has to be better right? That’s what I am telling myself anyway ha-ha!
I hope so! To your audience, what do you want your customer to know?
Each of my clients needs to know I appreciate them. Every one of them. They don’t have to trust me with their babies, or to photograph them when they are vulnerable and pregnant but they do. I appreciate that. I want them to have amazing photographs and have had an amazing experience when they leave me.
Especially right now, I want them to know I'm here to help. If they need help with taking photos at home of their baby or how to get the kids in a decent light to photograph them just ask. I will help where I can.
This is an updated version of just some of the questions the creators of photobiz asked me when the featured me on their blog HERE