The McMaster Studio’s annual Cutest Baby Contest is back once again, running until the end of May for families with children aged newborn to 18 months and judged by prominent local Moose Javians.
First prize in the contest is $500. Trudy Thiele at McMaster Studios is still looking for the second- and third-place prizes. Last year, the second-place prize was a one-night stay at the Moose Jaw Ramada Inn, while the third runner-up received a gift certificate to the Golden Lux Restaurant.
“We’ll be taking pictures of babies up until the start of May, and then we’ll have the judging after that,” Thiele explained.
Last year’s judges were Mayor Clive Tolley, Wanda Hallborg from the Moose Jaw Express, and Moose Jaw’s Member of Parliament. Judges have to try and stay objective and are not allowed to be personally familiar with any of the children in the contest.
“We’ve done a contest like this probably going way back to the ’80s,” said Mark Duffy, owner and photographer at McMaster Studio. “And we’ve done it off and on maybe eight to ten times. But this is something we’ll do every winter now, I think.
“People really like it, and they’re so excited to bring their babies in, and it’s just a lot of fun. You can ask anyone who comes into the studio, they just love the whole experience of Trudy posing the babies and me taking the photo, and all the different ideas Trudy has for props and outfits and wraps.”
McMaster Studio has been at 70 Stadacona Street West in Moose Jaw for more than 40 years. They have a permanent upper-floor studio packed with props, backdrops, costumes, and other fun accessories to create memorable, permanent memories.
Thiele and Duffy are also happy to work with clients to make any of their ideas and themes happen.
“The only thing we haven’t really done this year is working with some ‘older’ babies,” Thiele said. “We haven’t had anyone over one — I think our oldest has been 11 months. So, we’re looking forward to doing some shoots with some babies that are a little older than that.”
When the shoot is over and the images have been edited, the album is uploaded for parents to browse online. If there’s a photo they’re happy enough with to enter it into the contest, they receive 50 per cent off regular prints and 20 per cent off everything else.
“They could also, technically, bring in their whole family, and they’ll still receive those same discounts for the shoot,” Duffy noted. “We’ll take some pictures of all the kids, the whole family, then we’ll do a string of pictures of just the baby so they get something really high-quality for the contest.”