Deborah Longmore Achieves Craftsman Status – Newborn and Baby Photography


I drove to the Guild of Photographers Office in Stoke yesterday, armed with my 20 mounted prints and some products, to attend my Craftsman Submission Review Panel.

On arrival, I was invited into the Judging room to set up my Panel of images.

Once I was ready and all set up, the Judges were invited into the room.   I very nervously introduced myself and my panel, before running out of the room (literally). I stood nervously in the kitchen holding a cup of coffee in my shaking hands, which I had barely sipped before being called back into the judging room!

I am so glad the Judges put me out of my misery immediately and informed me that I had passed my Craftsman!!!

So what is Craftsman status?

As you know I have previously achieved my Qualified status in 3 categories: Newborn and Babies, Professional and Weddings.  If you want to read about my previous Qualifications you can press HERE and HERE

The Guild say “Our ‘Qualified’ status is aligned to standards of competence that reflect a level where the customer should be ‘pleased with the results’, when employing the services of a skilled tradesman (the photographer). In other words ‘Qualified’ indicates professional ‘competence’ to a level where the Guild is willing to recognise the photographer as an ambassador of the association , so those who achieve that level should be proud of doing so.”

So what about Craftsman?

People working in crafts have organised themselves into Guilds as far back as Saxon times, and by the medieval period, Guilds had a fundamental role to ‘protect the quality and reputation of a trade’. Most Guilds would consist of those seen as being able to produce a good standard of work (those Qualified to work in the trade), those who were very skillful and experienced (the Craftsman) and those who could go beyond even that and create a Masterpiece (the Master Craftsman).The Guild Of Photographers is no different than the original Guilds in that it wishes to protect the quality and reputation of our trade (the photographic profession), hence our Assessment structure is aligned to that historical context.

The Guild say “Our ‘Craftsman’ status is, as one would imagine, aligned to the exacting standards of a true ‘Craftsman’. Therefore to attain this level we add an increasing level of professional critique to evaluate our members work. In other words we get increasingly ‘fussy’ and look in minutiae at all the elements of photographic understanding. Those that achieve this accolade have demonstrated the finest technical skills and an exceptional creative and artistic ‘eye’.

My Panel

During my 3 years in business, I noticed that most people book photography sessions for newborns, cake smashes, or sessions for older children and families.  Very rarely do clients enquire for babies between 6 and 12 months.  This got me wondering why?

For me, 6-12 months is a perfect age! Whilst babies of this age cannot be posed, these little people have such strong personalities and always have the best expressions.

Having decided that I wanted to photograph this age range for my craftsman submission I knew instantly I wanted to give my images a contemporary yet vintage fine art feel breaking away from the high key images of babies.

I invited several babies to my studio over the course of 2018.  On their arrival, whilst I was waiting for the babies to get adjusted to their new surroundings and myself, I asked each parent why they had not booked a photography session for their little one.  Every parent answered the same, they were worried how their little one would react in a studio environment and wanted to wait until their child was older and would be more compliant.

All of my sitter sessions took no longer than 30 mins.  My aim for my sessions was ensuring babies were having fun and it is because of this reason that I worked fast and kept up the excitement to ensure I got the best reactions.

Whilst I always had a few ideas in my mind of a particular set I wanted to capture, every baby is different and you can only go with what a baby is happy to do. Unfortunately, you cannot pose a baby of this age range, you can only lead them and encourage them through play to get the look you want.

All of these images were taken with a one light source to camera left and a reflector to camera right.  The lighting pattern changed for each pose and set up to ensure that the light worked for the babies position and height within the frame and the props that I had used in the sets.

I love my job! I love getting little ones coming into the studio and having some fun!  I hope their little faces and reactions make you smile and you enjoy looking at my work.



initial mentor – Andrew Appleton

second mentor – Kevin Pengelly (Pengelly Photography)

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