Newborn photography requires patience. It was a bit of a struggle to put her down and pick up my camera instead. I could have held her tiny, little body for hours while she slept and made the most adorable faces.
This shoot was very important to me. It was my daughter, my son-in-law and my granddaughter. They were all here to be photographed by me. I know they should be the ones I am most comfortable with, shoots, I was in the room when she gave birth, but, for some reason I felt just a bit nervous. I knew that someday she may look at these photos, perhaps many, many years from now and memories will drift back into her mind about her grandmother. I want this photo shoot to officially document the start of our relationship. whoa!
I had set up large softboxes in the studio so the light would not be too bright for her eyes, still adjusting to the world around her. I wanted soft, baby sweet images. My ipod was playing soft new age stuff from Pandora’s Radio, hopefully to keep a calming atmosphere in the room. There was a great summer breeze blowing in from the bay to cool the hot, afternoon. A soft, tiny bundle is placed in the middle of a pink, wooden crade. She pursed her lips and wrinkled her brow like a disgruntled old lady instead of a precious babe . The moment is memorable. I chuckle. I need to catch this expression with my camera. This is why I love photography.
Her face was tilted towards me and her two little hands softly curled by her chin. I placed one softbox in front of the crade and decided I wanted to have a large portion of cradle in the photo, with the colors, the angles and the lines in a eye-catching slant. The baby’s expressions changed from minute to minute although her eyes were closed, she was listening and reacting to everything around her. Althought the Norman Strobe was set to 50, the flash slightly stirred her expression while she slept on.
Her mother and I thought placing her naked little body in the softness of a lush pink boa would be so sweet. The feathers seemed to make her sneer; either at our idea or they were tickling her little bottom. One. Two. Three. She was up and out of them before the reality of her situation created a loud wail.
Okay. Plan B… Skin against skin is always so beautiful, never more so than that of a mother and her newborn. I placed my granddaughter into my daughter’s arms and with big, wide open eyes she said,”hey, mom, what’s this all about?” I had decided to shoot with a black fabric backdrop for the dramatic effect I was after. No other distractions in the background with complete focus on the subjects. She snuggled down against my daughter chest and I set my camera to a small aperture so I could capture every downy hair on her shoulder.
The nursing shots show the edge of my daughter’s expression bestowing her love upon her baby. My eyes swell up with tears as I watch this beautiful love unfolding before me. My daughter. My granddaughter. I could not be more blessed than to have this opportunity in my life. Before me is the most beautiful image I could have ever hoped for. My love for them is beyond words. Just as you cannot explain ‘what contractions really feel like’, I cannot explain how this little girl will touch her heart in so many ways throughout the years to come. My throats tighten as I try to focus the lens for the next shot. My daughter moves her baby to lay in the angle of her two arms, cradling her head in her hands, and brings the baby’s bottom to her chest. Her little back arches as she flails her arm upward and bring a look of discontent to her sleeping face. Click. Click. Two shoots. That’s it for that position. It’s a good thing I was in focus.
Daddy came into the room, took off his shirt and stood as the proudest man in the world as his cradles his daughter in his arms. His love was evident from the smile in his eyes, but it was the lightness of his touch when his cradled her against his chest that made me feel as though this child is one the luckiest little girls in the world. She has the love of her father and her mother, both wonderful people.
Of course, I could have taken a hundred shots of that position, each with a different expression on her face, but come on, I couldn’t be that boring. So, baby girl, was turned on her belly laying against the dragon tattoo on daddy’s arm. Then, she placed vertically against his chest with just a little bob of head peeping over his shoulder. I angled my light to catch the side of her face and his back to emphasize the size contrast, placing her hand on his shoulder, hoping her little hand would open and then relax. But, no, she didn’t like this position. Click. She was taken down before the first whimper came out.
During a studio, even more so in natural light, photo shoot, the child must be kept content in order to continue… Period. Parents only want one or two of their precious babe’s tonsils. Keep baby content. Sometimes a wailing infant will take hours before she is once again settled down. And then going for round two, is scary for both the parents and the photographer. Better to reschedule or have the patient to wait it out. Each newborn is different so you’re taking you’re chances once you’ve upset the kettle.
The new parents and newborn shots are simply beautiful. Two beautiful, young adults in love holding their own child between them. Darn, I wanted to cry again. Wipe the tears, wipe the lens and shoot. Time is precious, too. Her first expression is perfect. “How much longer do I have to put up with this?” I luckily caught the look. They swayed her a couple of times and she relaxed, closed her eyes and went back to sleep. The poses are both natural and expressive. I caught the spirit of the moment with my daughter’s family. There is love. For my pleasure, everyone was content while I clicked happily after ever, until I decided we needed to change positions.
Plumeria and lilies took up some of the next frames as well as three quick clicks as we laid her little body into the bowl of my summer hat. I learned just by the slightest little displeasure on her face, change positions.
I wonder what her thoughts will be as she ages and looks upon her first photo shoot with her grandma. I hope she likes them.