Disclosure: This review is a collaboration post with Emma’s Diary. I received a photo session and photo gift free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed in this blog are honest and my own opinion.
So recently we had the opportunity to have a free photoshoot on behalf of Emma’s Diary! If you’re a new mum or mum-to-be you’re probably well aware of Emma’s Diary and what fab freebies you can get. You may have also heard of the ‘Baby of the month’ competition they run also! If you haven’t well you’re just about to find out!
So given the opportunity, I couldn’t say no, I mean it’s a photo shoot that’s worth £170 for free! So, of course, my excited self on that day, booked in with our nearest photographer to try it out which was at Mark Swinford Photography in Leeds.
The phone call was straight forward, I did have a newbie taking the call but she did a great job to give me all the info I needed, like how to prepare for the shoot, what to bring like he’s favourite toys and what to wear. She suggested bringing a number of different outfits as Mark loves to get creative with his shoots, which she wasn’t wrong!
Roll on to the 13th February, the day of the shoot. Let’s just say that the start of the day was STRESSFUL. We’d forgotten half of Logan’s outfit that we originally planned for him to wear, Jonny also forgot his jeans (Don’t even ask how!) we were so unorganised but a quick trip to ASDA sorted us out. We arrived nicely in time and was made to feel comfortable as soon as we stepped foot through the door. The level of service within them first few seconds won us over especially after the stressful morning we’d just had.
We sat down on nice comfy seats and enjoyed a cuppa whilst Logan was exploring the reception and playing with the toys they had out, Until his eye saw the Hoover that was it he wouldn’t leave the woman or Henry alone. After our drinks we got Logan cleaned up and dressed into his outfit ready for his shoot. Not long after we got ourselves ready, Mark came down to introduce himself and his assistant, he gave us a quick brief and said when we’re ready he’ll start the shoot!
Off we headed upstairs to the studio and wow… Let’s just say we weren’t expecting to see such a huge space. The outside of the building looks so cosy and small, yet the studio itself where all the magic happens is huge! They had so many props laid out, a number of backdrops, different forms of lighting and a nice homely looking spot with baby changing facilities.
They also had a salon for hair and makeup which I’ve never seen before at a studio, so my first thoughts so far were it’s so obvious to why the shoot is worth £170!
So Mark had the first set up all ready to go, which was a lovely white sofa. He told us what to do and how he wanted Logan and within seconds the shoot began and let’s just say it was super fast paced. Within a minute Logan was no longer sitting but was now stood behind the sofa, he then took the sofa away and was then stood on a chair. Mark then quickly took family photos of us all which was super fun even if the pace were fast to keep up with. Logan was loving every second of being in front of the camera, he knew exactly what to do. We also had him up in the air, ran around the studio with him and he had so many toys to play with so he never lost interest, he was full of smiles and giggles the whole time.
One thing I loved most about the shoot was how good Mark was interactive wise with Logan he knew exactly how to keeps his attention to get the perfect shot, I also love how even though outfit changes were suggested, he actually had a whole cupboard filled with themed outfits, which he used for a Peaky Blinders photo, which we loved!
I personally thought it was lovely to get a couple photo done of me and Jonny too, I’m far from being confident in front of the camera but he did a brilliant job of making us both feel comfortable and making us laugh. Of course, we didn’t have to have photos as the shoot wasn’t for us but it was a nice to have some involvement.
The shoot eventually came to an end, surprisingly it was around 40 minutes long! There was no rush to get ready at all and we had a lovely chat to his assistant too which kindly recommended where to eat after the shoot because as you can imagine, That much attention and playing around makes a hungry and tired baby!
Once ready we headed downstairs to do the boring adult stuff like sign some papers whilst Mark explained his offers and showed off his work in all the different types of frames he had to offer. The metal frames seem to catch our eye most and so did the photos, the odd few around the studio was actually past winners from the baby competition which you could tell he took so much pride over. I mean I’d be the same if I won it 13 times! After filling out paperwork we booked out viewing appointment which was three days after the shoot.
I really wish that I took some photos of our experience but with it being so fast paced and all three of us just enjoying the moment we just forgot to pick up the camera and take some snaps!
I won’t lie, we slightly dreaded this day. Of course a photo shoot worth £170 is going to have pricey packages… Prices that was way out of our budget which was such a shame as we loved to have bought each photo as they’re moments you can’t get back and babies just grow to fast.
However, once we arrived we got greeted and shown into the viewing room which was super cosy and comfortable. The woman was ever so lovely, straight up we said we couldn’t afford the packages, we got ourselves prepared for in case she tried to push us into buying but nope, totally shocked us on how understanding she was. They were no need to buy any photo at all, she also said that we get one free print regardless and that photo is the one we choose to be entered into the competition.
She dimmed the lights and the viewing began. Let’s just say I got emotional. I don’t know if it’s because the photos were so beautiful or if it was Ed Sheeran’s ‘perfect’ that set me off…or both. I really enjoyed seeing all the photos each one was perfectly captured, bearing in mind these photos still needed editing which personally I couldn’t see any flaws.
The viewing ended and this is where hard choices were made, we had to reduce the numbers and pick the photo to be entered into the competition. For once Jonny and I actually agreed on something! As much as it hurt to delete some photos we narrowed it down to 12 perfect shots, with the help of the assistant of course!
We choose a photo to be entered into the shoot and I thought that would be it… However Jonny just couldn’t leave without the other photos and asked how much they’d be. The price became more affordable as she asked for a budget and she worked around us, we got what we wanted so left super happy!
I see many people say that these free photo shoots are a total scam but they’re not. Our experience was positive, we loved every moment of the day and no one pressured us into buying any photo that was our personal choice. Especially with it being our first professional shoot as a family it was a no brainer to not leave without photos and we had planned to buy before the shoot had even happened. So if you’re debating having the opportunity to have a free shoot, I say go for it!
The final photos
We need to go back in the next week or so to collect the finished product (which were super excited for!)
Since having photos, I just can’t stop looking at them,I honestly can’t wait to get these photos up on our walls and get extras printed out for family members. Mark and his camera have done such an amazing job of capturing these special moments that we will treasure forever and like he said at the end of the shoot “You’ll look back at these photos in years to come when he’s left home and smile, think wow can we do all this again?” And he’s so right, nothing can beat looking at old photos and reliving that moment in the shot.
I just want to say a huge thank you to the team for kindly sending us raw digital copies for the purpose of this blog! I could not post this without showing off some of some of the shot’s we had done so here are some of the beautiful shots Mark took below!
EMMA’S DIARY BABY OF THE MONTH
Logan is being entered into Baby of the Month competition, unfortunately we was too late for the February entry but his photo will be going up in March! I’d be super grateful if you kept your eyes peeled on the blog and all our social media platforms that we will share it on, it takes two seconds to vote! 😊