5 minutes with Valentina – The mum behind those Heartwarming Photos

Back in February, I was featured in Kensington mums with an interview that I recently found and I thought to share again with you.

5 Minutes with Valentina Rebeschini, the mum behind Photography by Valentina.

KM. Owning a camera is not enough until you have explored all the features of your equipment. What top tips can you share with Kensington Mums trying to capture the moment of their little ones?

We live in a digital world today and everyone has a camera or a phone. Cameras on the phone are getting always better and more powerful and are perfect for everyday snapping. I’m sure all the mums take tens of photos a day of their children especially when they are very little: the first smile, the first tooth, the first time eating solid, rolling, crawling, sitting, walking . . .

Either that you are using a DSLR, a compact or a phone just remember those few little tips that will help in the outcome of the picture.

1. Get down-low: I see a lot of parents standing and shooting down at their children. I’m not saying it’s wrong, it’s definitely another point of view but try to go on their eye level and it will feel you enter their small world and the image will have more impact.

2. Stay natural: use the light near a window if you are inside and try to stay away from the horrible camera flash, you will get a more natural look 🙂

3. Don’t force a smile: children will get frustrated if you keep saying smile or cheese and they will get you a fake smile or a grumpy face when they are done. Just capture the expression, the moment: a child looking away from the camera can have sometimes the same impact as a great smile! A child looking down at a book and smiling at a favourite image is cute. The peaceful look of a sleeping child is priceless!

And when you see they had enough of the camera, just put it away or if you push them too much they end up hating seeing a camera.

4. Be quick. Those little monkeys won’t wait for you to get ready so be prepared at their quick movements. If you have a DSLR set the camera in Tv mode (for canon) or S mode (for Nikon) and choose a high shutter speed to freeze the action. If you have a compact set it in sports mode and

5. Clean up the room/background: this is something that will make a huge difference in a photo. If you decide to take some photos one morning and you are in the living room, for example, have a look around and see if there are any books or magazines on the floor or any piece of clothing on the sofa, anything will bother you when you look back in a picture. It will only take a few minutes and it’s worth it!

I am thinking about organising little classes to teach mums how to photograph their children so if you are interested please drop me a line 🙂


KM. What can a family expect in your family session?

I love the emotions behind a maternity session, I feel fulfilled after a newborn session but I have the most fun during a portrait family session because I can see the real personality of the children and the parents.

I am not a traditional photographer and I think that the time of having formal family portraits is nearly over. A couple of posed images are fine but then I’m sure parents want to remember everyday life with their children, want to recover the emotions and the relationship with them. Plus after a while, children are bored to be directed and to be standing without moving.

That’s why my sessions are very relaxed. I prefer shooting in a park or in any open space and let the children be children, running around, jumping up and down, dancing, singing, spending some time with mum & dad, kissing, hugging, cuddling them. The session should be no different than any other family Sundays spent together. Of course, from time to time I can shout to look at me, to look at each other or sit rather than stand but that’s very minimal. I try to stay unobtrusive as much as I can so the family can “forget” I’m there.

A few weeks after the session I will present them with all the selected and edited images through a beautiful musical slideshow and they can decide what’s the best way to display their memories. It could be selecting a few images and creating wall art in the living room or in the children’s room. They can have a customised album designed with all the images. I offer a wide range of beautiful products so they just have to pick their favourite.

Bedroom with wall art display. Images used for 5 minutes with Valentina

KM. What are the different baby packages you offer?

Every age is special and peculiar. Newborn images are surely the sweetest and parents love them. At six months babies are hilarious and they have so many expressions. At one year they are full of energy and they will start walking… there is so much in the first year to document!

If you can’t decide I offer two packages to cover the first year of your baby. The first one is the ‘Bump & Baby’ with a maternity session usually between 35-37th week and a newborn session within the first 2 weeks of the baby’s life. The two favourite images of the session will be presented in a beautiful folio. These are both emotional sessions and the memories you can have are great! Newborn sessions are very special and it’s unbelievable how you forget quickly how tiny your baby was.

The Baby Plan is the following program to document the major milestones of the first year. There will be three sessions at 3, 6 and 12 months to record when the baby holds the head, sits alone and finally stands/walks. These are actually quite fun sessions and you can get the real personality of the baby! In the last sitting a cake smash session can be included to celebrate the first birthday of your little one and although they will be messy, it’s a really good time! A beautiful folio included in the package will display your favourite image from each session.

Folio with 2 photos, maternity and newborn. Image used in 5 minutes with Valentina

KM. Complete the sentence. I am a Mum and…

Like all of you, we are a cook, waitresses, nurses, personal assistants, teachers, councillors, event planners, entertainers, singers, dancers, cleaners, doctors, researchers, friends, drivers . . . I’m sure you could add a long list of what we are right?

What I really am is a very proud mum of a beautiful girl and a happy wife to a wonderful man. That makes my life full and gratified. It happens then that I chose to do the job I am passionate about and that’s the cherry on top of the cake! I love children and I feel super lucky to be able to photograph them and let parents have unforgettable memories.

KM. I love London because…

it’s a city where you can do and be whatever you want. You cannot be bored in London. There is so much one can do, even with children there are tons of funny things and activities.  I grew up in a small town in the Italian Alps where everything is different so being here is like living in a great big amusement park!

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