Pumpkin Newborn Session

Fall and babies! This one is my own baby, so whether he likes it or not, he will now be my photography model. I bought some mini pumpkins with visions that he would hold it or lean against one but he thought them strange and cold. So here he is, dreaming among them.

My oldest two love their baby brother so much, it’s all I can do to keep them from smashing him. As they were holding him, he made bubbly butt music, which of course elicited the best smiles.

Don’t grow up too fast, little one.

18 Month Old Photoshoot; Balis Park, San Marco Area

Balis Park is a little oasis in a quaint yet hopping part of San Marco area in Jacksonville. As I met up with Lizzy’s little girl, I saw her peeking out from behind her mom’s legs. At 18 months, kids are full of movement and personality, but they also are beginning to get more nervous around people. Cue the dog statue! Cue the fascinating water fountain! Cue many rounds of peek-a-boo! Cue tickling. After a tag-team effort between Lizzy and I, we saw many gap-toothed smiles and mischievous looks.  It was such a loosely-structured, carefree session, I thought, “I wish I could do this all the time!”

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Conrad: Newborn Photo Session

Sometimes newborn photo session make me nervous because they are unpredictable. So when I arrived at Conrad’s parents house, I was relieved to hear that he had cried the whole morning so now he was tired and ready to be photographed. Parents out there, any way to plan for this for your next newborn photo session?

Those eyes…

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Conrad’s mom said she wanted a minimalist life-style shoot. In the past, I’ve depended heavily on props or unique locations to engage children or make interesting pictures. So this was a stretching moment for me, but in the end, I liked it! There is nothing to distract from family interactions and the sweet moments they shared.

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We shifted him to different positions, held him, passed him around, and he still stayed asleep 90% of the time.

This next picture with baby and big sister was tricky. Big sister didn’t want to cuddle Conrad, and when I loomed over her with the camera, I became scary. So with the help of Mom and Dad, we laid her on the bed and held a laptop playing her favorite movie above her so she could watch while lying down. Then slowly we shifted Conrad closer to her, and like a sneaky hunter in the wild, I moved in – watching and waiting for the perfect moment. That’s what I call a parent-photographer team.

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Some daddy-son moments:

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Some mommy-son moments:

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Mom has a beautiful, contemplative smile.

Some behind-the-scenes of what daddy-daughter were doing in the meantime. Even though it doesn’t seem like anything big, I can imagine this being a cool thing to remember: “Remember how “Sing” was your favorite movie? See! You made me watch it everyday!”

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Mom was so good with engaging her daughter with Conrad. “Where are his feet?” she’d say. “Where is his nose?” Asking the parents on the best way to involve their children is something that I want to work on better in future shoots. The parents know best.

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The love and closeness in their family is very apparent in their home.

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The last few photos of the session, I tried to use some of the props I had brought because I have a secret love of photos where babies are lying in layers and layers of texture rich fabric. Don’t tell my daughter that I cut off the bow-tie from her favorite teddy bear to use in this photoshoot.

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Then, I tried to turn Conrad over and balance his chin in his two hands (I’d seen infants posed like that on other blogs), but that was too ambitious. He got shag fluff in his mouth and he started to cry – the sort of cry that I could tell it was all over. I felt so bad! Lessons, lessons.

Lollipops in Mandarin Park – Family Photo Session

We met bright and early on a Saturday morning. No chance of rain, but 100% humidity. Danielle said the kids were already restless, and taking pictures next to a playground was a lot of temptation for a little boy. I was armed with props, bubbles and lollipops, but would it be enough?

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Kids are so honest – that’s why I love their son’s side-grimace as his parents kiss. Their daughter is the perfect age for pictures – good with eye contact and always happy.

After the first set-up, we decided to utilize the big open field to expend some energy.  Sometimes I like to just sit back and let the unexpected happen.

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Interaction with his dad brought the most genuine smiles from their sweet boy.

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Next came some props! I prepared a huge jar of bubble solution, but didn’t really have good bubble wands, so the bubbles were not as prolific as I had envisioned. But they were good sports.

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The lollipops had a calming effect on everyone. Little sister is eyeing the lollipop. She’s going for it!

And then, she gets her own. Still wrapped, of course…

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I like to tell my families to do family hugs. Sometime it turns into a gaggle of heads and arms, but they got it down perfect.

At this point, I asked Danielle if she wanted any other set-ups. She mentioned she liked the wooden deck/ramp beside the playground. I’m glad she said something because they turned out to be my favorite family pictures of the shoot. At this point, their little boy was tired (and wanted his lollipop back), so I had to be a little creative to get him to smile. I tried to shake around the branches and leaves above me (like a maniac), but that wasn’t fruitful. Then, I balanced a lollipop flat on top of my head. It worked! He has the cutest smile, he just made me work for it.

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Throughout the whole shoot, their little girl was perfect – always looking at the camera, smiling and laughing. You would think she would be the first one to run out of stamina, but she surprised us all.

At the very end, we took some pictures of her in her blessing dress. It has very special meaning, because it was made by Danielle’s grandmother. The blue background fabric is also special because it was used at their wedding reception. I was glad to capture this moment for them.

In the end, I’m really glad to have worked with such stellar parents. As a photographer, I feel like I partner with the parents to make this fun for their kids, get true smiles, and do things that are meaningful/unique for their family.

Amelia: Apple Basket Newborn Photo Session

How lucky was I to capture Amelia when she was just 5 days old. As we worked to find a place in the house with enough light, I felt drawn to their front courtyard where the warm weather and soft morning light made for a perfect baby sleeping area.

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It wasn’t all buttery smooth though. At first we put Amelia face-down in the basket, which encouraged her to flop forward and almost tumble out. Later, we went diaperless to get some cute baby bum shots. Feeling free and breezy, she pooped 3 times on her mom’s black dress. Afterwards, we were tired but laughing.

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In the end, Amelia woke up enough to cuddle with her older brother. I love how natural and intimate this moment is, her brother still in his underwear, bouncing with energy and still just long enough to plant a kiss on his sister’s head.

Newborn photography is so priceless. Here are some tips for when you try it:

  1. As a general rule, 5-14 days is the best time to photograph a newborn because he/she has lost their umbilical cord but is still sleepy most of the time.
  2. Be flexible and plan plenty of time for your newborn photo session. The baby may cooperate, but he/she may need to spend half the time nursing.
  3. If you get the baby comfortable in one set-up, consider changing the background or the wardrobe/blanket without moving the baby.
  4. A baby’s expression can change from second to second, so you need to be ready for when they randomly give you a milk-smile.

Let me know if you have any other good ideas!

Love,

Enge