5 Minutes with: Claire Elliott from Forever Memories

July 29, 2016

5 Minutes with: Claire Elliott from Forever Memories

Newborn photography trainingClaire studied graphic design, photography and fine art before finally deciding that photography was her calling. She turned professional in 2001 and her exceptional skill as a photographer of newborn's, toddlers and families soon became obvious. She is a Craftsman with the Guild and has achieved one of the highest scores to date in the international Image of the Month competition.

Her natural capability to get young people to engage with her is her 'trademark' - indeed her gift! Claire is by nature, one of life's givers, and she genuinely wants to help others to fulfill their dreams through photography, just as she feels she has! You can't help but feel inspired when in Claire's company, she truly is one of those rare gems in what is often a closed industry! 




training by claire actions


#Q ~ At which point did you decide to become a Newborn Photographer – was it a “light bulb moment” or more of a slow burner?

After the first year of family portraits being the main source on income with the odd newborn/baby session, I decided I really did enjoy the under 3’s more than the large groups, then slowly the age decreased right down to newborns being the most sought after sessions in the studio.


#Q ~ How long have you been on the judging panel of the Guild Of Photographers and what does this involve?

I have been a Judge/panel member for 2 years. This involves the monthly judging of their competition, offering help & encouragement, mentoring, and training the members. I find it very worth while to see the members grow as photographers and also as individuals.


#Q ~ How long have you been a Newborn Photography Trainer and what made you decide to begin training others?

I have been training other photographers for over 2 years now. It came about from requests for newborn and toddler photography training. It wasn't something I had thought about before and I was happy with the studio work and teaching at a local college.


training by claire uk


#Q ~ Do you have any training days coming up?

I do, I have many! My next training days are this Saturday and Sunday. I am traveling to Northern Ireland early hours in the morning. Saturday I am teaching a half day 1-2-1 on beanbag posing. We will go through the easy flow around the beanbag finishing in the basket with the flokati (well that's the plan, but you know how it is with newborns) On Sunday I am teaching a guided learning workshop to 8 students. This will be a hands on newborn safety/posing/lighting/editing workshop. I can't wait to meet my delegates and get started with the tiny newborn babies.

You can find Claire's list of Training Workshops in the UK here


#Q ~ You are the 'Stand In Baby' ambassador for the UK. For those who don’t know SIB, can you tell us a little bit more?

I am, and I feel very privileged to be involved with the stand in baby doll. Stand in baby is a posing mannequin designed and manufactured by 2 Australian Photographers. Sandra and Brendon have created the SIB doll to aid in newborn photography safety for both trainers and the photographers themselves to learn new posing techniques or safely try out new props.

sib stand in baby hire train uk



#Q ~ Do you find the same questions crop up time and time again on your training courses?

Lens choice seems to crop up a lot. A lot of people make the mistake of using wide angle lenses that aren't made for portraiture and this distorts the baby in the image.

Flow posing crops up a lot too. It seems to be a common struggle. I am often asked to explain the easiest and quickest way to do the flow on the beanbag. The way I work my flow, is to start with a squished up taco pose to settle them then, slowly move around the beanbag moving baby next onto tummy into bum-up, then the rest of the poses are done with small transitions, finishing with head on hands


#Q ~ What is your favourite prop?

Ohhh…… favourite, depends whether I’m photographing a newborn girl or boy. Girls I love to see in a curly fluff with a delicate headband. Boys I love to see in a pixie hat and something wooden :)


claire training newborn photographers uk



#Q ~ What is your go-to newborn pose?

Good baby: - TACO
Fussy baby:- Wrapped up and in my naughty basket!!!


 newborn taco pose claire guild



#Q ~ Do you shoot with an assistant or alone?

I shoot alone, I think the idea of an assistant is great sometimes but then I like to do things how I like them, and sometimes when concentrating during a paid shoot I cant verbalize my needs (I think I just like my own way)


Claire guild photographers training



#Q ~ You use the LSP Signature Newborn Collection to edit your babies with and you also offer your attendees a big discount with LSP. What do you find you love most about the Signature Newborn Collection?

O.M.G those actions………… I have used many sets of actions in my time as a digital camera photographer. These are by far the easiest and least destructive actions I’ve used. The reduce the reds and lighten baby are just AMAZING.


newborn photoshop actions claire guild



#Q ~ If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting up their newborn photography business, what would it be?

Invest in Training - camera craft, lighting, safety & posing.
But I will also sneak an extra one in. Id like to let people know its NOT about the props or effects, or paying the most for that vintage bowl ETC. IT is about creating memories of precious brand new little people.


newborn posing by claire elliott

Claire in a nutshell:

newborn photography training and editing
• Your most inspirational photographer: Kelly Brown

• Food weakness:
• Worst habit: Own worst critic 
• Guilty pleasure: Choco-leibnitz
• Favourite drink: Amaretto
• Your shooting attire: Comfies, and slippers (has to be done)
• Canon or Nikon? Canon!!!!!!!




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