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UK Newborn and Baby Photographer of the Year 2023

How is it almost the end of May already? I have been meaning to write this post ever since the amazing awards evening back in February!

Since I joined the Guild of Photographers over 8 years ago I have been pushing myself really hard. I've pushed myself to be the best I can be at posing babies, getting my lighting just right, styling my images, developing my style, all whilst trying to provide my customers with the best, most relaxing experience in my Cheam based studio in Surrey.

Last year was insanely busy for me with applying for my Craftsman Panel with the Guild of Photographers, creating a panel of images and having it judged only to find out my panel was upgraded to a Master Craftsman, the highest qualification possible. I spent a lot of time planning and creating images to enter into the monthly competition and the extra effort definitely paid off.

The Image Of the Month competition is taxing to say the least. It is not about just producing one amazing image. You need to enter 3 images in your genre for the 10 months the competition runs. Your work needs to be consistent showing that you have honed your craft to perfection. The Guild received over 13,000 entries to its Image of the Month Competition during 2023, from both photographers in the UK, as well as overseas so to achieve the Top Ten status, let alone win the actual competition is a huge achievement. One I am so very proud of!

Magda Bright, Newborn Photographer of the Year 2023, glass trophies

Crafting an image worthy of achieving a Gold Award within the Newborn Genre is not an easy task. The judges look for posing, lighting, styling, colours, impact and many other aspects. There were only 6 Gold Awards in the Newborn Category last year and I am still pinching myself over the fact that 4 of those were mine!

My first ever Gold Award with the Guild was given to the below image last March, I was literally jumping up and down when I found out. I was getting more consistent with achieving Silver Awards so this was such amazing news.

Gold Award Baby Image by Magda Bright

There was an idea in my head of an image I wanted to create with Stacking Dolls. I know the traditional stacking dolls are usually vibrant red, blue and other colours but this did not quite fit with my style and with what I wanted to create. I spent ages searching high and low for the right set of stacking dolls that would fit into my vision. One day I stumbled across Melissa ( ) and her brilliant creations and ordered a custom set of stacking dolls from her. Photographing them took me so long, as did the editing with a gorgeous baby added into the image (shot during a customer session of course :) ). Since the finished image was so unique I was super nervous to enter it into the competition, I was so close to not entering it at all! It can be really nerve wracking to submit images into competition because you become really emotionally attached to them so if they don't do well, it really hurts! A few of my photography friends gave me the nudge to enter in the end and I am so glad they did as the image was awarded Gold!

Gold Award Nesting Dolls image, Newborn photo with nesting dolls

Cream Stacking Dolls and Final Image

My third Gold Award was an image I re-shot a few times to get it perfect :) I had an idea but then needed to refine it. The scarf around the bowl has been re-shot so many times to get it absolutely spot on! But again, the extra effort was definitely worth my 3rd Gold Award and the below image was awarded Runner Up in the overall Image of the Year competition.

Image of The Year runner up photo, Baby in a white bowl with a scarf and butterflies

My fourth and final Gold Award was another idea I had swirling around my head for a while. I wanted to create a 'painting' with the baby being the Masterpiece to tie in with the theme of my Craftsman Panel. My youngest loved helping me mix the paints on the palette and trace the fern leaves through the paper to add to the set up! Another customer image was then worked into the image to create the final masterpiece. I was really proud of this image and rightly so! :)

The Masterpiece by baby photographer Magda Bright, Painting of a baby

The creative process

All four of the above images got shortlisted for Image of the Year and featured in "The Book" which was such a privilege to have so many images shortlisted in the final 10 in my category!

The awards evening of the Guild of Photographers happens the first weekend in February and it is always a fabulous event with many talks, workshops and socialising with fellow photographers over the course of the weekend. I was super nervous this time round :).

The points from the monthly competition over the course of the year get added up together and the final scores decide who wins the coveted title of Photographer of the Year. Last year I came so close to getting a piece of glass by coming third (only the Winner and Runner Up get given trophies), I was really hopeful this time round. It was an absolutely amazing feeling when I was named THE Newborn Photographer of the Year winner! I barely had the time to process this before I found out that I had also been named the OVERALL Photographer of the Year by achieving the highest score in a single category! And to top all of this I also came Runner Up in the Image of the Year competition with one of my Gold Awarded Images.

I have since had my work featured in a few photography magazines but my biggest reward is the fact that my amazing customers keep coming back to me and recommend me to all their friends and family, that to me is the most important part.

I take part in the competition for professional recognition but also to keep pushing myself, to be creative and to keep getting better because I want to offer my customers the best service and create the most beautiful images I can. So the biggest thank you goes to you, my customers! Thank you for coming back to me, for recommending me and for trusting me with creating stunning memories for you!

Love, Magda

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