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.
It is so incredible seeing families grow over time. You truly notice how fast the years go by. First time I met Dominique and her beautiful family was over two years ago, when I captured their son’s newborn portraits. Luca, their first baby, was born 10 weeks early, before they had a chance to have a maternity photography session. And so Dominique was very excited to have maternity portraits captured during this pregnancy with her twin girls.
Of course being pregnant with twins can sometimes be more challenging than a regular pregnancy, so we decided to have the maternity session done at 30 weeks for Dominique to feel comfortable and have fun during the shoot. It was a very fun session, with multiple outfit changes, flowing gowns and fabrics, and beautiful lingerie.
Later I learned, that four days after her portrait session Dominique was taken in for an emergency c-section. The girls came 10 weeks early, just like their brother. They were kept at the NICU for about six weeks, but grew fast and strong and are very healthy. I already had the pleasure of meeting them and capturing their newborn portraits.
Oh how much I love photographing babies this age! They are so adorable! Cute, chubby, smiley, and they just sit there and can’t go anywhere. They are even more adorable with all their clothes off! Just look at those yummy rolls. He was so excited to be naked and without a diaper that he kept smacking himself on his chubby legs and curiously rediscovering his cute rolls.
This is the second biggest milestone in baby’s first year after the newborn stage. Between six and seven months old is when most babies start to sit up on their own and I always recommend having a photography session at this time. This is when they have a beautiful eye contact, they make the most adorable and cute faces, they still put their toes in their mouth, and of course since they just started sitting up you can dress them up like a little doll and they will be the cutest little model.
When I do newborn photography sessions I captured the little toes, hands, lips, eyelashes, and other beautiful detail close-ups, but I also love to do it for the six-month sessions. Babies change so much in that time and the sessions are so different from one another that it makes a beautiful comparison for the baby’s growth. And of course the photographs are very different from one another as well. The photographs from newborn sessions are very soft and delicate, they are taken of a brand new curled up sleeping newborn baby, where as the six-month sessions are more active and fun, with a drooling face, chewing on the toes, and looking into the camera.
It’s incredible how much babies change in their first year. Enjoy every moment with your little one and capture their milestones so you have something to look back at.
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.
Every photographer’s dream is to have their own portrait studio, and of course it had been one of mine since I started this journey six years ago. And when I dream, I like to dream big. I believe that it’s important to be ambitious, to thrive for the best, and work hard towards our dreams; and that only by dreaming big and believing in ourselves, we can get where we want to be. So I didn’t just want a studio, I wanted the one that I’ve been envisioning. And finally, last month, I found the perfect space for my beautiful new portrait studio, and the home for my dream.
The very fist time I walked into the location, I know that was it. high ceiling, large windows, wood accent walls, and lost of space to create a comfortable environment for my wonderful clients. In only two weeks, with the help of my family, I remodeled it, bought all the furniture and necessities, organized and decorated it to be ready for the grand opening, which was on May 22nd.
Thank you to everyone who came to support me and celebrate with me this big achievement, and the new chapter of my professional life. And thank you to my amazing family for all their help and support, and for always believing in me. When the time came to cut the ribbon, I couldn’t think of anyone more honorable and deserving then my mom. She never doubted me, she was always there for me, and she is the one who taught me that I can do whatever I put my mind to, and that I can be whoever I want to be. I wouldn’t have been here today without her and my family. I surprised her by asking her to cut the ribbon for me, and she got very emotional. One of the things she said before putting scissors to the ribbon, was wishing everyone achieve their dreams and goals no matter how hard it may seem at times.
One of my favorite corners of the studio.
The studio is now open, and I’m very excited. I tried to make it as cosy as possible for all the visitors, especially very new parents with newborns and expecting mommies. It’s important to me that everyone feels comfortable and at home. I have a privet guest room/client room which has a make-up area, changing table, kids play table, a TV, and a nice big couch. If mommy or daddy wants to take a much needed nap while I’m photographing their newborn or kiddo, they are welcome to.
Of course there is a room where all my photography props are nicely organized and ready to go for a session. Part of that room is also dedicated to quality control and packaging for when the orders come in. I like to beautifully wrap all the prints, portraits, and albums before sending them to their permanent home.
Props, props, and more props.
Quality control and packaging area. Portraits and albums waiting to go to their new homes.
My new packaging with the pretty new logo.
And finally, the lounge and design consultation room. This is were I meet with clients when their images are ready, to find the best way to print their portraits and decorate their home with their new artwork. Portraits are not meant to be on a CD.
Display with some of the products and albums, and books from my favorite artist whom I can always turn to for inspiration.
Besides that there is of course an office, where I spend most of my time, and a kitchenette with coffee, drinks and snacks.
I can’t wait to see you here, and create some heirloom fine art for your family at my new studio. For inquiries and booking please call 818-590-8325 or fill out the contact form on our website.
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.
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.
Maternity portrait sessions can be so different from one another. Not just by location, style, and outfits, but because every couple and expecting mother is unique in their own way. There is so much love, joy, and personality to capture.
Jennifer and Marlon were such a fun couple to photograph. We had a wonderful time at the beach and I truly enjoyed capturing their cute and silly personalities, their beautiful relationship, love and pregnancy.
I can’t wait to meet their baby-girl. Newborn photography sessions are even more special to me after I have already met and photographed the parents only couple of months before for their maternity portraits. It is so captivating to witness their journey and their transition into parents.
Before the baby arrives and brings all the new experiences and emotions, and changes your lives once and for all, it is so wonderful to take the time and celebrate the love that started it all. Just the two of you in the waiting for the little miracle that will soon be here and turned you into parents.
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.
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.
Newborn photography sessions are such a blessing. I can never get enough of these brand new little cuties. Little Evan here was 9 days old when I photographed him. It’s so wonderful to capture the fist portraits of a newborn baby. And even more special, the fist official family portrait! That for sure will be a legacy for many generations.
The first stage is of course infancy. Newborn photography is very big, yet some parents avoid having photographed their newborn babies, thinking that they are too tiny and always asleep, so there isn’t much to photograph. However, those are the things that make this milestone so special. Think about it, the most adorable and precious pictures you have ever seen of babies were mostly of newborns. This is the shortest stage in our life, the very first moments of existence, it only lasts a few days, how would you not want to have beautiful professional images of it? This is the time when you should have close-up detail images of their feet, hands, eyelashes… and those adorable sleeping images of them in different curled-up poses.These poses can only be done with newborn babies of up to 10 days old. Why so early? Because only at this time they feel comfortable in those poses. They are also less sensitive to touch and sound, so they stay asleep longer and the photographer can model them into those adorable poses and capture some beautiful images. In about two weeks after birth baby’s physiology starts changing. They are not as flexible anymore and don’t feel comfortable in infant poses. They start sleeping less and become more sensitive to touch and sound. And may start getting colicky. These factors make a portrait session very challenging for both baby and photographer. Therefor, newborn photography sessions need to be done before the baby is 10 days old, or at most 2 weeks old. Some parent’s prefer to wait till the baby is three-four month old, but in my opinion, it’s not even necessary to have a professional session at that age. The babies are in transition for about six months after birth. During that time the portraits that can be captured of them are lying on their back, or on stomach pulling themselves up. It’s a good idea to have a mini session to capture them in that age, but a full session is not necessary.
The next stage is between six to seven months old, when the baby just starts sitting. Imagine this, all they can do is sit there, smile, and make all the cute and adorable faces they make around this age, and they can’t go anywhere! How great is that!!! This is when you can have a lot of fun. You can dress them up in different outfits, you can have shots indoor and outdoor, and have different fun setups. It’s also very easy to get their attention, they can’t crawl away to something that looks more interesting yet. This is the time to capture the baby giggling and clapping and doing cute and funny faces. This is also a great time to capture some adorable portraits of the baby in his or her beautifully decorated nursery. Sessions at this age can get very fun and creative.
3. One Year Celebration
Than you can skip a couple of months again to the one year session, when the baby is already crawling and standing, and you can have a very dynamic and fun birthday celebration session with a yummy cake. Babies are very active at this age, they want to explore, they are very fast and they are now standing! These pictures are all about catching the right moment!
You can have some creative indoor or outdoor shots and than let the baby go crazy and messy with a birthday cake. If you are having a party the same day you are doing the photoshoot, than you will probably have a nice fancy cake.
Of course you should include it in the pictures but remember to buy a back up cake for the fun images, because you don’t want to ruin the real cake and you must have the cake-face pictures. The back up cake can be small, and because it’s just for the baby, try getting something the baby will like the taste of, you want him or her to really dig into it!
As you see all these stages are different and worth having a professional session. When you think about it, it’s only three milestones in one year, but very important ones. The problem is, that babies grow up so fast, and being a parent takes up so much time, that many parents miss these milestone when they should have a professional session done. It makes me sad when a parents ask me “When is the best time to photograph my baby?” and they have already missed that time. Sometimes they have such a disappointed look on their face, it breaks my heart.
If you are working with a professional photographer, he or she must have a baby package that includes all those milestone, and you can just purchase that package and he/she should take care of everything, so you don’t miss out on documenting any important events of your babies life. Just make sure to take care of this before the baby arrives, so you don’t miss out on anything. Contact me if you are interested in my baby portrait plan and I will tell you all about it.If you have any questions, feel free to email me or post a comment. I will be happy to help you out. To see more posts and images please go to the recent posts. Explore my website to learn more about my Newborn Photography as well as Baby Child Family and Maternity photography services.
The little star of this newborn photography session is adorable, 9 days old, baby Arabella from Oxnard CA. Her auntie got this portrait session for her as a birth present. And I must say, what a wonderful present! She will grow out of every piece of clothing and furniture, but she, her parents, and the entire family will always cherish these newborn portraits.
And for Arabella’s newborn portraits I used some of the cutest new headbands I got recently at a photography convention in Las Vegas, I think I’m in love with them 🙂
This is my adorable little niece (my cousin’s baby) little princess Eva. We had a one year old cake smash portrait session for her. I think this photography session was very appropriate for little Eva because her favorite words are “Nyam-Nyam” LOL and she pronounces it so sweet and loud, that you just want to keep feeding her 🙂 I love this little marshmallow!!!
At first she was a little shy about touching the cake. Then she got really into it, and pretty soon she was done with being the celebrity for the day, and so I captured her last shot which I call “no more pictures please” LOL
And a few shots from baby’s one year old cake table:
Having an outdoor family photography session, or a baby photography session, with kids that are about one and a half years old is usually a lot of fun. They just love to explore things, and so that’s how my favorite portrait of baby Flynn happened, with her hugging the bench and sticking her thong out LOL I just love that image 🙂 And the one of her giggling in mom and dad’s arms, is just precious.
Family portrait is like a time capsule. And I am so happy to have captured these beautiful moments for this wonderful family.
Please meet this baby portrait session‘s little happy and fashionable star – baby girl Hayden. I got so much energy from her giggling, clapping, and dancing, that I wanted to keep her for myself 🙂 She is like a little happy energizer bunny radiating love and joy! And she looks so much like her beautiful mommy Vanessa, who had a maternity photography session with me when she was expecting Hayden. You can see her maternity portraits by clicking HERE.
Now I hope you enjoy Hayden’s images. Be careful her smile is contagious! 🙂
Baby photography sessions are always fun! I don’t only get to enjoy all the cute faces babies make, along with the clapping and giggles, but there is also a great show behind the camera, as the entire family is cheering for the baby, making funny faces and silly noises LOL Alex’s session was no exception. His mommy, aunt, and grandma were very fun to be around.
And of course to remind you, Alex is the adorable winner of this years Cutest Kid Contest, and this portrait session was his prize. I love how vibrant his portraits turned out. Alex’s mommy did a beautiful job putting together the nursery, and she got some adorable outfits for Alex to wear for the portraits.
Watch the slideshow in the end to see more of his adorable images.