One of the requests that Emily’s parents had, was to capture their newborn baby-girl in a photograph that would tell her birth story. Something that would have her date of birth, the time, the weight at which she was born, and the height. You may be familiar with this concept. It is very popular now for newborn portraits. Often the information is added in post-processing, or photographers get creative finding objects that would represent each piece of information. I challenged myself by choosing the second rout to take the idea a little further. It took some time finding the objects that would work well together, but it was worth it. The most challenging was the scale. It is very old. I found it at a vintage store.
I am very happy with how this photograph came together. I think it tells Emily’s birth story beautifully, and she looks so adorable curled up on top of that scale.
Newborn photography became very popular in the past ten years. Photographs of adorable sleeping babies in the first few days of their lives are so precious that expecting parents sometimes start to inquire and book a photographer in their first trimester. Having a custom artwork that features your perfect little baby is an amazing family heirloom, specially considering how quickly newborns change. But there are a few ways to make it even more special.
If you are having a newborn session, have a family portrait captured! As gorgeous as the individual newborn portraits are, you can only really tell how tiny the baby is, when parents are holding him or her. And, as much as you love your brand new little baby, the family portrait will probably be the one your child will truly cherish when he or she grows older. Imagine yourself having a photograph with your own parents when you were only a few days old. Wouldn’t that be magical? I think you would have that photograph proudly displayed somewhere in your home. And I know that most brand new mamas don’t really feel like being photographed only a few days after giving birth and caring for a newborn baby day and night, but do it for your little one and a professional photographer will know how to capture you in the most beautiful way.
Another way you can create an heirloom for your baby, is by writing a message, note, or a letter. How would you feel as an adult if you had a note or a letter that your parents wrote to you when you were a newborn? I always think it would be incredible to know what they felt like back then, what emotions they were going through, what their favorite thing was about me, what their hopes and dreams were at that time. Reading something that was written for you in the past feels truly extraordinary.
Couple of years ago I started suggesting the new parents who’s newborns I photographed to do this for their baby’s album, to write a note. They handwrite a note, and then I scan it into their baby’s photo album, and I usually place it right next to their very first family portrait where mom and dad are holding their tiny little newborn. Since then the fine art albums became the most requested product for my newborn sessions. Parents still get beautiful wall portrait collections to display in their home and enjoy it, but they get the album for their baby. Some keep it as an 18th birthday present, others order an extra parent’s copy that they can enjoy now, and I have some parents ordering an album for every milestone they have a portrait session for, and write a note for each book.
“You were created with so much love my little Vivi. Mommy loves you.”
I think these are one of the sweetest memories you can create for your child. When he or she is 40, 50, 60 years old, these will probably be some of the favorite things he or she would have as a memory of you. Don’t put off your plans to get a family portrait. Sometimes years pass by and things are still not ideal. We all have an extra pound we wont to lose, there is always so much going on in our busy lives, but now is the perfect time! We have no idea what tomorrow is going to bring.
And write letters to your children. Write them before they are born, after they are born, when they say their first word, after you drop them off at school for the first time, or just when you feel proud of them. Let this be an insight to your love for them. Make these a family tradition.
The photos in this post are of beautiful baby-girl Vivienne. I chose to feature her session as a part of this post because she has a photograph with her mommy and daddy, and above is a page from her photo album with the notes they wrote for her. You can find few fragments of their beautiful words in the video below. Vivienne’s mama also wrote a review about their photography experience with me. If you would like to read it, it’s on the testimonials page on my website.
Yelp review from Vivienne’s mommy. Sadly Yelp put it in the filtered section, but you can still see it there. And, you can find more newborn photography reviews on my website.
This adorable little guy is Brandon. One of the reasons why his newborn photography session stood out to me, was that he came with his daddy. His mommy stayed home honoring their cultural postpartum traditions. Usually the baby is accompanied by his/her mommy. It was wonderful to see a brand new daddy at the studio with his 10-day-old newborn baby, and he was so excited about the portrait session. He had lot’s of ideas and requests, and was volunteering to help out and participate in the shoot. And of course, since the mommy wasn’t here for the session, for me to witness her emotions when she saw her baby’s portraits for the fist time at their ordering appointment, was quite priceless.
Every year for the past six years I go to the WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) convention, which is one of the biggest portrait photography associations and conventions in the world. I spend the first day or two of the week-long convention watching the international portrait competition judging. Some of the best photographers in the field form a panel of six judges and critique thousands of the most beautiful photographs submitted from around the world. The critique that takes place in those rooms is quite brutal and I always found it to be one of the best educational resources. Every year I would sit there and take notes on what to do and what not to do, while judges would take apart someones beautiful photograph and critique on things that weren’t even visible to my eye at the time. Then I would review those notes while looking through my portfolio and I would critique my own work. This helped me recognize the things I needed to work on in order to improve my craft.
Even though I love watching the judging, I never had a real urge to submit my work. That is until this year, when I made new friends at the convention who enter almost every prestigious competition to collect awards. And, of course, they talked me into submitting.
I am very excited to announce, that I am now an international award winning portrait photographer. It is very gratifying to be able to say that. All four of my photographs got awarded. Three of those are newborn portraits and the forth one is a maternity photograph. It is very satisfying to know that my artwork meets the highest standards of international professional portrait photography.
I have to say, however, that at the end of the day, what matters most, is that mom and dad really love the photos I capture of their little one. That’s where I get the biggest joy for what I do. I feel so proud when parents get emotional seeing their baby’s photographs for the first time, when I see their excitement and how in love they are with the results. That’s what gives me the biggest validation for my work!
I love each and every one of my portrait sessions, but every now and then, there is a session that truly inspires me, wether because of the family’s story, their request, or something new that I discover or capture during the session. This was one of those portrait sessions.
When Salma (Obi’s mama) called me, she told me a little about their family. She said that they are from Africa, they are an older couple and are very excited about having Obi in their lives because their older children are now 21 and 23, and they would like to have a newborn portrait session to capture this special milestone. During our phone consultation (before the shoot) we were talking about the colors for the session, and I asked about baby’s skin tone to prepare the color pallet, and Salma said with her beautiful African accent: “He’s skin is dark, he is very dark.” I loved haring that! I have photographed babies of many different ethnicities, but hadn’t had a chance to work with a family from Africa, and photograph a baby with truly dark skin tone. This was such an inspiration. It immediately got my mind rolling with different ideas for the portrait session.
It turned out beautifully and I am very proud of the results. Some of these images are my new favorites and one is now a centerpiece at the studio. But more importantly, I am happy to have met this beautiful family. Their kindness and gracefulness were a very big part of the inspiration.
They are writing notes for me to include in Obi’s photo album. When I read what Salma wrote for her baby, I got a little emotional. With her permission I want to share the beautiful notes she wrote for her son. There is so much love in these words, I think every parent could relate to it no matter what religion they are.
“My beloved son Obianefo,
Words cannot express the joy and love I feel as I look at you. I was overjoyed and so thankful to Yahweh our God, when the doctor’s office told me I was carrying you. You are a gift from God almighty our God Jehovah Jireh to me. Since you have been here, I sing to you every morning filled with joy and gratefulness to God our maker.
Praying over you a few times is a daily ritual. O my love only if words could express the love I feel. Oh the love in my eyes, the feeling of warmth in my heart when I look at you. No surprise, I wake up in the middle of the night to listen to your heartbeat and kiss you. O how I love you.
As our faithful God gave Samuel to Sarah so did He give you to me. Do not ever go against our maker our Lord and master. I ask that you seek, worship and serve Him diligently with all your heart, mind, being and soul.
My love for you can’t be quantified. I didn’t remember I could love so much.
May God almighty grant you peace, joy, love, wisdom, all the days of your life; as goodness, mercy and favor also pursue you all the days of your life, and you shall dwell in the presence of God forever and ever. Amen.
Nyame Nhyira wo!!
I love you, Medofo Obianefo Adnan Okonkwo.”
Salma, her husband and little OBI came to the grand opening of the new studio. My friend Jodie Myers filmed the event and did little interviews. To see the video and what Salma said about their newborn portrait experience, CLICK HERE.
Cassidy’s newborn photography session was such a special moment of celebration for her parents. They had very hard time conceiving, and it took many years before the amazing news, so she is her mommy’s very big “dream come true.”
“My dearest Cassidy,
Mommy prayed and wished for you for many years, so when you were born and I heard you cry for the first time, I cried too. Seeing your first smile melted my heart. And every time your little hands held on to me, I wanted to hold you forever. I promiss to always be there for you, teach you lessons, and give you tough love when needed. You are my dream come true, and I will love you forever and always.
Photographing newborns with their older siblings who are only couple of years old themselves, can sometimes be a challenge. We all know how active toddlers are and how gentle we need to be with an infant. When I go to a newborn session and they have an older sibling I am very curios to see how the older child is around the new baby. It is such a big change for a little toddler, the first baby, who is used to being in the center of attention. Sometimes I see a lot of love and affection, and I feel more comfortable moving on with photographing the little ones together. And, of course, sometimes there is a little jealousy and resentment; it’s not easy to share mommy and daddy with this tiny stranger who takes up a lot of their time and attention…
Two sisters, a bond that will last a lifetime. Newborn and a toddler 🙂
Usually it is very important for the parents to try and have a portrait of their children together, and I work with them to find the best and safest way to do that. One of the safest poses to photograph a toddler with the new baby is by having them lay next to each other on the propped-up and cushioned floor. To make the toddler even more comfortable, often I have one of the parents right next to them.
That’s what we did here with Zea and Zoe. Zoe is only 2-years-old, and it took a few attempts to convince her lye down on the floor, but she did a great job staying there for a few minutes, even though she didn’t really want to put her arms around the baby LOL. What makes this image really work for me, is that you can see Zoe’s personality in it. Her playing with the rug, the silly smirk while biting her lip, the little fire in her eyes, it’s adorable! I can’t expect a two-year-old to pose for me with a newborn baby in her arm, I can only expect her to be who she is, a little toddler, and capture exactly that, as beautifully and safely as possible. Mission accomplished!
I got some more images of them together that you can see below. Those are also very safe for this age. I love the one of Zoe kissing the baby, I think it’s such a sweet little moment to remember.
This session went very well, but of course there have been cases, when it didn’t work out. Some toddlers are more active then others, and if they are between one and two years old, they don’t understand a lot of things yet, and we can’t expect them to be careful around the baby. I have had a few sessions when the parents and I decided that it’s best to just photograph the infant alone. If this happened to you, please don’t be sad! You will have more chances to have a portrait of them together, when it would be safer and won’t make your heart stop for a moment 🙂
Little Baby Zea getting a kiss from her big sister.
Being a big sister and guarding the baby 🙂
Shusssssh… The baby is sleeping.
I may be a little girl, but I am now a big sister.
Luca’s newborn photography session was done much later then usual. He was 6 weeks old at the time I photographed him, but he was born ten weeks early and was still four weeks away from his original due date. Even then he was very tiny and weighed 7 pounds. He gave his parents quite a scare by arriving so early and had to stay at the NICU for a while. As soon as he was home, it was time to schedule his newborn session.
Photographing premature newborns is a little different from a regular newborn session. Regular newborn sessions are usually done within the first 10 days after the baby is born. Babies are very sleepy at this time, they are not yet used to our environment so they aren’t as sensitive to touch and sound, and sessions go much more easier for them. Another reason why it’s done so early, is because they are very flexible and feel very comfortable in those adorable curled up newborn poses you often see in newborn photographs. As the time passes, babies start to get more and more sensitive and lighter sleepers, so doing a newborn session after two weeks is usually much more challenging.
When little premies are allowed to go home, they are usually still very tiny, like little Luca was (only 7 pounds), and are still developing. That’s why a session was still possible at 6 weeks. It was a little challenging, but very much worth it.
It can be very difficult on new parents, when a baby is born early and kept at the hospital. When the little one is finally home, being able to do something normal like a portrait session, to capture the little one and celebrate having him by their side, is very special and exciting. Just look at this adorable face! I so glad I was the one to capture it 🙂
The background for this photograph was actually an artwork from their home. Luca’s parents and I collaborated and came up with this idea.
This little baby just loved to model for me during his newborn photography session. Whatever position I would put him in, he would move his little body around, adjust his arms and legs, until he would find a cute curled up pose he liked, and would stay there for a while. I mean, how cute is this photo on top…? This is a new newborn pose and it’s going into my book LOL
It’s amazing how much personality newborn babies have. Travis was only a few days old when I photographed him and he just kept doing what he wanted to do. Every little newborn I photograph is different. With every newborn session I notice how the baby already has distinctive habits. It’s incredible to think that even before we start to live and let life shape us in different directions, we are already set in our own ways.
This was a very interesting newborn photography session for me, because baby Nahshon is the tiniest little newborn I have ever photographed. He was born full term and very healthy at 4 pounds and 15 ounces, and at 7 days old he was giving me the most adorable smiles. I was amazed how he would almost fit in my hands when I would position him in some of these poses. It was quite fascinating.
I’ve been photographing newborns for almost six years now. They keep surprising me and always bring joy into my life. It’s such an honor to be entrusted with such fragile precious little humans, and creating artwork by capturing the beauty of them being so tiny. I don’t think I could ever get enough of it 🙂
Newborn photography sessions are usually just about the baby, but I really love it when the parents get involved. It’s so beautiful to see their love and excitement and to capture it on camera. There used to be just the two of them, and now there are three of them – the incredible miracle of life!
Usually when I’m photographing parents with their newborn, I find that the mom has this beautiful soft loving smile on her face, and the dad has this spark in his eyes and a special proud smile. And, no matter how tired they are, after all the sleepless nights, when they are embraced for the family shot with their little one in the middle, they start smiling and giggling and joking… It is so much fun to watch and such a privilege to photograph. Often it’s their very first event as a family, which makes it even more special.
When I find a unique prop for my newborn photography sessions I get excited like a little kid in a candy store. I’m sure many people who have a passion can relate to this. I hadn’t felt like that in a while, until recently I found this gorgeous vintage crib. It’s about 90 years old, it’s worn, it has little chips on one side I think from rocking it, and it has this beautiful heart-shaped cutout on the head-side panel. All these little details make it so special to me. I see so much history when I look at it. And of course the moment I got this baby crib I started planing the perfect portrait in my head for when I get a chance to use it.
Shortly after I had little Mikey’s newborn photography session. His wonderful parents liked the idea I had and I captured this image of their baby-boy peacefully sleeping in my adorable vintage crib. I think I’m in love!
Baby Mikey was such a perfect little model. He posed like a pro for me in all the other images too. Thank you little man for helping me capture my vision.
It’s been a busy summer, but I finally got a little time to do a blog post. As much as I enjoyed all the shoots I recently had, I wanted to share a newborn photography session with you. These little ones are just too adorable!
This newborn baby-girl is miss Jasmine. She was only 8 days old when I photographed her, and even at this tiny age she looked so much like her dad, he could claim her without a birth certificate 🙂 And she is already daddy’s little princess, he even got her a tiara to prove it 🙂 I just love that image of her yawning with a tiara on her head!
When I photographed this beautiful family for the fist time a few months ago, baby Lucas wasn’t here yet, but he was very well on his way. I captured some fun family portraits for them then, and we did a cake smash session for Lucas’s now big sister Giana. At that time we scheduled a newborn photography session for baby Lucas, and I recently had a chance to finally meet him and capture his first portraits in these adorable curled up infant poses. And of course we did a new family portrait to include the handsome new family member.
I get so excited when I get a chance to photograph newborn twins. It’s double the joy and fun! And something interesting happened during this session that I want to share with you.
Take a look at the first image below. They are both SMILING!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this image, so I have to tell you the story behind it. When I planned out this shot in my head, I thought it would be adorable to have the baby girl sleeping in her brothers arms, best friends forever right?! So I did the set up, tucked the babies under the blanket, took a few test shots, and then did a few adjustments and took the shot that I wonted. But when I got home, and looked at the images on my computer, this was the very first test shot from that set! It was the first few moments after I put them together, when they smiled! I guess they do know each other very well and were very happy to be so close together again. I think it’s fascinating, and I still can’t believe I got it on camera! Of course being the first test shot it was very far from being perfect, but I knew I had to do everything to save it. This may not be the most creative portrait from their session, but it sure is the most special one!
It’s amazing how even a newborn baby has a very distinct personality, and you can notice how there are certain things that he or she likes or dislikes. During every portrait session I learn something new, especially when I’m photographing a newborn baby. And when I was photographing little Liv I realized that she likes to be very warm, she doesn’t like to be naked, and her mommy told me that she feels very comfortable in her little polar bear outfit. So, of course, her portrait session was a little more challenging then usual, and when the time came for the family portraits and she started being uncomfortable we brought in her cute little polar bare onesie. I have a little obsession with teddy bears, so I think it turned out quite adorable 🙂
This is baby Ethan. His mommy actually won his newborn photography session at the Los Angeles Mom Expo event and exhibit back in November. She was one of over 300 mommies who entered to win. She was very excited and told me that she never won anything before. I guess this little bundle of joy is her lucky charm 🙂
This baby boy has a few pilots in his family. His own daddy used to be a pilot. So an aviation set up was highly requested by his parents, and the little pin that he is wearing on his hat was his great grand-fothers. It’s so much fun adding personal items to the set up, especially when they have this much history.
This newborn photography session was for precious 12 day old baby Charlotte. She is the second baby-girl in this beautiful family, and I had the pleasure of capturing newborn portraits of both their little girls. I met Charlotte’s sister Nicolette for the first time 2 year ago for her own newborn photography session. Now she had the big responsibility of holding her brand new sister safely in her little arms, for me to photograph them together for the first time. And she did a wonderful job!
As for little Charlotte, she was fighting her sleep in the beginning of the session. I think she wanted to show me who the boss is 🙂 But once she did fall asleep, I captured these sweet peaceful images of her. I think she’s going to rule the world.
This is little Droy. He had his newborn photography session when he was 10 days old. This adorable little boy was born 5 week early, but all cute and chubby at 6 pounds 🙂 He did very well during his portrait session. He got a portrait with his mommy, daddy, his older sister, and the entire family. And I enjoyed designing four wall portrait groupings with his beautiful images for their home. You can check some of them out at the end of the gallery.
I recently visited Kai and Coleman and realized that I never posted their newborn photography session. I don’t often get a chance to photograph newborn twins, so had to share these images with you. It is so different from photographing a single baby, and so fan posing the newborn twins together. Definitely takes some patience and creativity, but double the joy when looking at the final images. They are almost 10 months old now and absolute angels. I have a picture with them on my Facebook page if you want to check it out 🙂
I also enjoyed so very much meeting their wonderful parents. They are very creative themselves and it’s always a pleasure being in their company. The boys mommy is a singer and songwriter, and it is her singing for their slideshow, you can watch it at the end of the portrait gallery. She also has an amazing life story and experience to share, and I hope you will get to learn about it on my blog one day.