“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “
Why are you passionate about newborn photography?
Well frankly, I’m obsessed with babies and the miracle of growing tiny little humans. It’s such a magical time and it should be celebrated! I find that each newborn is unique with their own personalities and they have the cutest little features. I mean, it’s the only time in your life that photos of your back rolls and close ups of your toes are that stinking adorable! I get lost in these babies and I could just cuddle and stare at them for hours on end. They bring peace and calm into my crazy life.
As a mom of 5 ages 4-18 years old, I’m completely aware of how fast they grow! I strive to capture timeless dreamy images that parents can look back on when they’re graduating from high school, like my oldest is this year. Newborn photography is so incredibly important to me because after about the 2 week mark their developmental changes are drastic. While you can’t turn back time, you can freeze this memory in the form of beautiful photography. I’m also passionate about creating art that not only resembles my style but also infuses aspects of the clients’ nursery. Creating custom set ups for each baby is a creative challenge that makes each session special, unique, and fun.
When did you first realize you liked newborn photography?
I originally intended to make photography a hobby and maybe take some Christmas photos occasionally. I thought I’d enjoy doing newborn photography eventually after I gained some basic skills. I studied how to use my first DSLR online while it was in the process of being shipped to me. By the time my new camera arrived, I understood how to shoot in manual mode. I took a photography class as a gift two weeks later and at that moment, a fire was lit in me that was indescribable. I became obsessed with learning the art and researched techniques from sun up to sun down. I had a neighbor friend that was expecting so I thought I’d try a shoot with her sweet baby (for free of course). I found myself studying so hard to do my best for her pending session. I became obsessed with all things baby almost immediately. I would listen to classes as I got ready in the morning and as I laid in bed at night. I completely drowned myself in the craft 24/7. I literally would dream about newborn photography every single night without fail. I also realized that babies make me feel so calm and I would get lost in their beauty and innocence. The immense love a parent has for their newborn baby is completely palpable. I’ve found that there’s intangible rewards in giving parents art of their own sweet babe.
What are some of your tips for newborn photography?
1. Know the basics: Take the time to understand lighting (avoid flat light or up the nose lighting), just say no to nostrils (if I can see up their nose it’s just not flattering), details matter more than you think (fists can make the baby look stressed so loosen fingers and flatten if the look calls for it), do they look comfortable or in pain (watch for weird arm/leg positions, ask yourself if you would you like to sleep like that). Above everything else, baby safety is not optional! Please do not attempt certain poses until you’ve been properly trained. Many complicated looking poses (froggy pose) are actually two images combined in Photoshop. Please never leave a baby unattended! Some babes are stronger than you may think.
2. Stay true to YOU! What is your style? I have a list of keywords that inspire my work. I make sure to follow these words in every shoot I do. This gives my work a unique voice and consistency. I use my client’s nurseries and home décor as inspiration for designing their sessions. If I don’t stay true to my keywords it would be easy for my work to look inconsistent. Furthermore, I suggest ignoring your local competitors work. I want to avoid accidently creating an image too similar because I was inadvertently inspired. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love all of my local photographer friends! I just want to be different. I like having a style that is unique to my area. There are so many babies being born, each family has a different style, and you will attract those that share a similar vision. Not everyone is my ideal client and that’s ok!
Finding your style isn’t easy all the time. If you’re inspired by an image, I encourage you NOT to copy it because that won’t represent you. I encourage you to stare at the image long enough to understand what specific aspect of it draws you in. Is it the colors? Is it the composition? Is it the angle? Is it the mood? I suggest compiling a list of words that inspire your techniques when shooting and styling instead of creating a gallery of images to copy.
3. Quality props matter! I trust in the best vendors in the industry to hand make my props. They have the best fit, texture, and color to give my images the look I want. I don’t carry props in my studio that don’t represent my aesthetic. For instance, using no hat is better than a poor fitting hat or one of ill quality. I provide all props for my sessions to make sure my clients are given the best of the best in overall experience and quality.
4. Seek out constructive criticism and practice! If an aspiring photographer sent me 5-10 images of their work, I bet I could easily identify super easy tips to improve their work dramatically! I think so many photographers are scared to ask for constructive criticism (cc) or want a gentle criticism. You need to learn to identify what is constructive and ignore what is not. You need cc to grow. You can’t fix what you don’t see! Don’t hold yourself back by avoiding feeling hurt. We are artists, so we can take things very personally but I promise the hurt will resolve and you will come out better than ever.
5. Invest in your education and business! There’s always ways to improve, get inspired, push yourself further, or streamline your business. I contribute most of my success to investing into my education so early on in my journey. If you think you know it all, you’ll fall behind no matter how good you are. I’m always taking new classes and pushing myself to be better than the last time! You should only be in competition with yourself.
6. Don’t do newborn photography if you don’t love it! If you do love it practice, practice, practice, and never give up! I learned pretty early on that shooting weddings caused more stress than I needed which can potentially stunt your creativity and quality. It would’ve been unfair of me to continue to shoot them if I wasn’t 100% passionate. This goes for newborns too. There’s no redo’s in weddings and newborn photography. I do everything in my power to perfect each image because I understand that this is such a priceless time for my families.
What were your challenges in the beginning?
Oh gosh, there’s so many challenges in starting a photography business let alone a newborn photography business. I know I bought a ton of props that didn’t fit my aesthetic but it took me a little while to understand what my style was. I ended up selling or donating so much of my initial investment. I also remember after taking classes how frustrated I was with not being able to master the froggy pose. I felt like this made me less of a photographer. Looking back it was so silly but I thought I was going to be the only photographer that could never do it. I had to find my own technique to do the froggy and since then I have had every baby do it successfully (do not try the pose if the baby has hip issues or other limitations).
I think every entrepreneur experiences major challenges but I have so much faith that this journey was made for me. I believe with 100% of my soul that with every major challenge my business has experienced that incredible growth has resulted soon after. I know that babies and I were meant for each other. Babies are my besties!
About the photographer:
I am a maternity, newborn, baby’s 1st year photographer. I currently reside in Southern California but I’m originally a Seattle girl. I am a dreamer, creative addict, coffee enthusiast, mother to 5, and wife to an amazing husband of 20 years. I must say my husband believed in me before I believed in me, I am so grateful for his constant encouragement! I was the little girl growing up who loved making dresses out of natural elements like ferns and daydreaming was my all-time favorite activity. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do in MY life and follow my heart without listening a world of influences. I have a background in nursing which has helped me immensely in my ability to “read” newborn ques. If I’m not doing photography I enjoy decorating spaces in my home, going to the beach, relaxing on the patio with a good book, attending my kids sports, and watching movies with my kids in our pajamas on a lazy Sunday. I’m the luckiest photographer in the world to have some of the best clients who trust me with their littles and have become part of my photography family!
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