There is no bigger honor for a newborn photographer than having the privilege of photographing a family from the time there were only two to when there are three (and eventually more), and it has been this newborn photographer's privilege to have followed this young family from pregnancy announcement session to maternity photography session to, finally, Baby Kylie's newborn photography session!
"Thank you so much for coming on this journey with us! The pictures from start to finish have been amazing and will be in our family for generations." -- Beth, Baby Kylie's Mom, Gaithersburg, MD
In planning for Baby Kylie's newborn photography session, our brainstorming with Kylie's mom & dad brought us to three different themes in addition to the family portraits: a mermaid theme, a flower theme, and a fall theme. I do believe the mermaid theme ended up being my favorite, because, don't you agree that these mermaid newborn portraits could not be any more precious than they are!
Notice the ring in the second flower photograph below? That's Kylie with Grandma Anne's ring, which has been passed down from Kylie Anne's great-great grandmother to the first girl in each generation. "Grandma Anne would be so proud," said Kylie's mom.
Don't let your memories of your newborn baby's precious first breaths fade with time.
And, a heartfelt thank you to Kylie's mom for writing this awesome review of our pregnancy announcement photography, maternity photography and newborn photography services on Yelp a few days ago!
What kind of baby will your baby be? There's just one thing for certain, and it's that your baby will be unique, special, and one and only.
Let our newborn photographer design a newborn photography theme for your baby that is just as unique & special as she or he will be.
Hooooraaaaaay! The 2017 "People Love Us On Yelp" award is out, and our photography studio is an award-winner for the second year running! Nothing warms our heart more than having the honor of creating gorgeous portrait photography of babies, families, couples, and individuals, and having amazing, wonderful clients who are nothing short of ravingly joyous about their experience with our photography studio. Thanks to each and every one of you who took a few moments from your busy schedule to share your thoughts online with others this past year!
1. Not doing your newborn photography session in the first 10-12 days of life
If you’ve never worked with a professional newborn photographer before, you likely wouldn’t know that the best time for newborn photography is in the first 10-12 days of your baby’s life, because this is when your baby will be the sleepiest. Imagine trying to create baby pictures of an awake baby, arms and legs flailing, fingers in the mouth, private baby parts immodestly displayed… At the newborn stage, it’s much, much more difficult to capture beautiful newborn photography of an awake baby than a sleeping baby. This isn’t to say that if you wait until day 20 or 30 that newborn photography is impossible. It can still be done, however, your professional newborn photography session will likely result in a smaller quantity and variety of images, the longer you wait.
Wait beyond 45 days, and the classic sleeping baby pictures of babies in bowls and in adorable positions with their bums in the air, etc., are most likely no longer possible. By this point, your baby is much too awake and is also no longer as “curly” and flexible as s/he was during the first 10-12 days when still used to being curled up in your womb.
One final caveat: doing your newborn photography session early is no guarantee that your baby will sleep. Every baby is different; the goal will be to get your baby to sleep most or at least some of the time. And the earlier your newborn photography session takes place, the easier it will be to coax your baby back to sleep after s/he wakes.
So need I say it? I know you’re busy, but you need to book your professional newborn photography session before your baby is born! (And I don’t mean in the weeks before your due date.) Your baby’s newborn moments are fleeting. They’re once in a lifetime and will be gone before you know it.
2. Eating the wrong foods or drinking the wrong drinks in the days leading up to your newborn photography session
I already explained why we’re going to want your baby to sleep through most of his/her newborn photography session. If you’re breastfeeding, then some of the responsibility for this falls on you! Certain foods can make babies fussy, agitated, or otherwise uncomfortable, and drinking caffeinated drinks like coffee can also keep your baby from sleeping.
The half-life of caffeine in newborns is up to 5 ½ days, so stop drinking coffee at least 6 days before your newborn photography session. For foods to avoid in the 48 hours leading up to your newborn photography session, check out these two guides:
3. Not personalizing your newborn photography
You’re unique, and your baby is going to be unique and special and one of a kind. So why settle for cookie-cutter newborn photography? Instead, personalize your newborn photography session to make it truly your own and representative of your achievements, style, and values. We have a separate guide on how to personalize your newborn photography session, which you can get here.
4. Not being in some of the newborn photos yourselves
During a newborn photography session, we spend most of the session photographing just your baby. But we typically also create some photographs of mom & baby, dad & baby, sibling(s) & baby, and the entire family. Now, after having been pregnant for 9 months and after just giving birth to a beautiful newborn baby, I understand that you may not feel as photogenic as you’d like. It’s easy to slip into the mindset of just wanting photographs of your newborn baby, and not wanting to be in any of the photographs yourself. This would be a mistake! This newborn photography isn’t just for you. This collection of baby pictures is a legacy that you will leave behind for your future generations. When your baby grows up, s/he will treasure these baby pictures of his/her earliest moments with the two of you like nothing else, and I promise, your child will not care if you gained weight during your pregnancy or if you look a little bit tired.
In fact, let me tell you a true story. We once had a newborn photography client who didn’t really care to be in any photographs with her newborn son. When we spoke about it, she said, “Well, if you really want to, you can take some photos of the baby with my husband and me, but I don’t really care.” We did create family portraits of the three of them, as well as mom & baby and dad & baby portraits. And can you guess what happened at their “photo reveal,” when they saw their baby pictures? They chose a family portrait of the three of them to be the largest of a 5-piece canvas gallery wrap love grouping to hang on their living room wall!
5. Choosing the wrong newborn photographer (for you)
Newborn photography is a very distinct specialty that requires very different skills than other types of portrait photography. Beyond that, not every newborn photographer is created equal! Even if you follow everything else I’ve put forth in this guide, choose the wrong newborn photographer, and your baby’s newborn photography session will be a spectacular fail instead of a spectacular success. Here is a checklist of things to consider to help you determine which professional photographer is the right fit for YOU.
Whenever we get a call about a newborn photography session, I always ask why they chose to contact us over the hundreds of other newborn photographers out there. And the response I hear over and over again is:
"Your newborn photography portfolio didn't look like everyone else's. Each one of your newborn photography sessions seemed different from the others."
And so I thought I'd share with you 5 ways to personalize YOUR newborn photography session and make it truly your own.
First off, the possibilities are absolutely endless. Before our photography sessions, we have an in-person design meeting with our clients to brainstorm about creative ideas, themes, props, colors, and more. So this guide is just to get you thinking. Don't worry - you don't have to do it all on your own! If we're your newborn photographer, we'll help you through the process, and we'll work together to find the best ways to make your newborn photography session completely you!
What did you and your partner study in school? What are your professions? Do you use "tools" in your work that could serve as props in your baby's newborn photography session? In the top two images below, dad was in the military and studying to be an anesthesiologist. We incorporated his stethoscope, anesthesiology textbook, and military cap into this set of newborn portraits. And in the bottom two images, this baby's dad is an architect, and his mom studied architecture and works in construction. We made a collage from dad's architectural drawings to serve as a backdrop, and then used mom's construction hard hat and dad's drawing tools as props.
Make sure those engagement & wedding rings aren't at the jeweler's for resizing or cleaning! There's no better way to remember and cherish your wedding day than to incorporate the greatest symbols of that special day and the love that you share into your newborn photography.
Is there a movie you absolutely love? A specific scene within it? A particular character or set of characters? For the newborn photos below, this little one's mom and dad loved the newest Star Wars movie, Rogue One, and I had the perfect blanket to replicate the deserts and sand dunes of the planet, Jedha.
If your newborn photographer offers in-home newborn photography, as we do, in addition to studio newborn sessions, you might consider having your session take place at your home. Most of our newborn clients opt for a studio session, either because they don't have the space needed for photography, or have unruly pets or simply don't want to have to clean up (!). However, some of our clients do choose an in-home newborn photography session, sometimes for convenience, but more often so that their newborn portraits can be more personal or so pets can be included.
In the first set of newborn pictures above, the baby's nursery was decorated with a cute owl, bird & tree decal, and we added a stuffed bunny for dimension. For the second set of newborn photos below, the chevron rug graced the floor of the nursery, the big bear and chest sat against one wall of the nursery, and big block letters with the baby's name decorated the opposite wall. We made good use of everything in that small, but special room!
What about other areas of your house? The families pictured below had bedrooms with a photogenic bed and blankets that made for nice and very personalized settings for their newborn photography.
While we do our best to brainstorm and plan during the pre-session design meeting, sometimes we discover the unexpected, and that's a good thing. When we arrive at your house for an in-home newborn photography session, the first thing I like to do is take a walk around in case I see anything else that we might like to use as a prop. And in the two cases below, our clients had artwork hanging on the walls. The red painting made for a bright and vibrant backdrop, and the flower canvas gave a sweet spring feel. Each time these parents look at their newborn photos, they'll remember not only the precious newborn moments, but also the wonderful memories associated with how those pieces of art came to hang in their home.
And finally, sometimes it's not about what's IN your home, but what's OUTSIDE of it, and the meaning that holds. The family at right was lucky enough to live within a block of a wooded trail. It was a trail they enjoyed walking together with their dogs, time and time again. So after photographing inside their home, we went out to create some new memories of them walking the trail with their newborn son. That's what photography is all about, right? Memories...
And finally, sometimes the perfect accessory is staring you in the face each morning as you get dressed. How about a favorite tie for a baby boy and a favorite scarf for a baby girl?
Are you starting to see how boundless the possibilities are for personalizing your newborn photography session and making it truly your own? Has this guide inspired you with ideas unique to YOU? If so, I've done my job. Drop us a line in the comments below - we'd love to hear YOUR ideas!
"On the day you were born, the angels clapped their hands & the moon danced with the stars."