ASTANA – New parents present vast marketing opportunities for businesses worldwide, and baby-crazy Kazakhstan is no exception. One of the trends in the huge and growing baby products industry, newborn photography, is catching on in Astana.
The trend appeared roughly two years ago and has caught fire among parents since. This has given rise to a new, largely female-dominated group of entrepreneurs: newborn photographers.
“There are roughly 13 actively working and somewhat acclaimed newborn photographers in Astana and many more learners. Most of the photographers are stay-at-home moms who have the experience of caring for newborns,” Assem Smagul, a well-known newborn photographer, told The Astana Times.
“Babies do not pose for a picture; they are natural. There is a profound depth and magnitude in children’s photographs. Newborn photography isn’t just craft, it’s artistry,” Smagul commented.
The mother of two young sons says she would never have attempted to get into the photography industry had she not had her own children. “Newborn photography is a unique genre. On one hand, you have a perfect model, who effortlessly gives you a perfect picture with every shot. But on the other hand, parents entrust you with a few-days-old precious child, so you need to have the right skills to be able to dress them, put them in the desired poses. On top of that, a photo shoot may take multiple hours with breaks for sleep or breastfeeding. Photographer moms know all these nuances.” Smagul said.
Newborn photo shoots are typically done within the first two weeks of birth. The sessions involve props like dream catchers, cribs, baskets, blankets, wraps, hats and headbands. Sessions can last up to five hours. Selected images are then edited for a polished end result.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. Smagul confessed that a child’s picture is priceless and beautiful for a mother no matter how professional or unprofessional the photograph is. This benefits the photographer’s craft commercially. “Despite that, I love having enough material and vast options. I can take up to 600 shots during a session to be able to pick the best 20,” the photographer explained.
A photo shoot for a newborn in a studio with all the necessary clothing and props may range between 40,000 to 100,000 tenge (US$120 to $300), resulting in 20 to 30 processed baby pictures and two or three family photographs.
Newborn photography has its own changing fashion trends. According to Smagul, famous, award-winning photographers from Australia and the United States are the biggest trendsetters in the industry. “Blankets and clothing made from fluffy maher are the latest fashion trend,” the photographer said.
Smagul also had some advice for aspiring photographers. “If you want to be a good photographer, you need to pick what kind of photography you want to go into. You cannot be universally good at every genre and type of the fine art. Master your craft; once you feel you’ve done it, you can set the price you believe your work is worth. There is nothing better than knowing that the work you do is fairly valued,” she said.