The first newborn I ever photographed turns five next week. My sweet, charming second born, Thomas, was the first newborn I ever photographed. He and I share a birthday month, and shortly before my birthday five years ago I asked for a “new to me” camera which I purchased used from Adorama. (They rank their used equipment with a pretty cool rating system if you’re ever in the market for a used DSLR). For both of my boys we had hired a photographer for their newborn sessions. We love our images from both because they captured such a special time in our lives. However after his session I realized I had forgotten two things I had intended on bringing with me. (Which by the way is why I send a checklist to my parents the days right before your sessions, so you don’t leave home without a pumpkin hat and the blanket below) So I figured I had a nice camera so I’ll play around a bit and see if I could get the images. I swaddled Thomas up in the blanket his great aunt in Scotland had made for us and I finally saw my first smile out of my sweet boy! (Prior to that his uncles, daddy, grandparents had all seen him smile but I had yet to see one! Boy was I excited to have gotten the first one I saw on camera as well!) Take a look at this lucky shot from 2011… to keep this shot authentic I did not re-edit it. Good to see my photography grew in 5 years and I no longer leave babies oompaloompa orange!
When I had purchased my camera I immediately wanted to know how all of its bells and whistles worked, so I joined an online community of photographers (who were almost all women) who offered plenty of advice and tips and tricks. The community has since dissolved (but there are tons that exist if you’re looking for support) and I’m thankful for the group of friends that remain from that forum. Those friends have supported me over the years as my passion for capturing my own boys unexpectedly developed into what is now Erica Colvin Photography. I found my previous experience as a third grade learning support teacher overflows into my newborn and family photography as my patience for waiting out the perfect shot is a skill I often used in my classroom while waiting for my third graders to have that “aha” reading or math moment!
And as much as I’ve learned about newborn photography through online communities, workshops, mentorships, and courses some things are learned through experience. One of the things I’ve noticed as a seasoned newborn photographer is the “sign” of a newborn smile approaching. Sounds crazy but a newborn’s smile (nope not always gas!) typically comes when the baby is in a deeper sleep but with shortened breaths. The next indication is the eyebrows; the eyebrows will begin to raise and lower. Occasionally the eyes peep open, quite often those eyes roll! I know that’s when I should either recompose my shot or brace myself and hold out and wait. Take a look at these unedited shots below from the series of this sweet little lady! I knew once her breath got a bit shallower, eyebrows popped up, and her eyes started rolling to get into position and wait for that smiling shot because it was likely coming!
I’ve put countless hours learning the craft of newborn photography. It’s knowing tips like this that distinguish a good newborn photographer from the average. Make sure to find someone who knows how to look for those signals that will capture those perfect tiny details of your 7-10 day old infant. Seek out a professional who has developed a workflow that allows her to work at efficiently at your baby’s pace and comfort. It’s important to have a photographer who knows how to safely pose your baby, not only on the beanbag but in a prop. These things should guide your decision of selecting a newborn photographer that will forever freeze in time your emotions and memories. If you’re looking for a newborn photographer in the Montgomery County or Bucks County area feel free to contact me here. I’d love to have you come to my North Wales studio to photograph your session and capture those fleeting details of your sweet new baby!
Here’s my final edit of beautiful little Emily!