Sleeping Beauty, Not - Newborn Portraits
Recently I had the pleasure of photographing a couple and their newborn daughter. This was not the first time I photographed them. The first time was for their wedding. It really is a funny story that I've told before, but for those who do not know, I'll give you a quick synopsis. Rashayla, the mom, contacted me to photograph her wedding several years ago. That was all well and good, but at that time I had never photographed a wedding before. I explained this to her, but she insisted I photograph her wedding. She was so emphatic about it that I said I would, then I sat wondering how was I going to do that. Don't worry, the wedding portraits came out beautifully and she and Carl were very happy. To this day she tells me how timeless and beautiful her wedding portraits are. Hearing her say that means so much to me.
Since her wedding, I have photographed her several times. Each time was so much fun and she is an excellent model. I have known her so long I feel like we are old friends. We even meet for lunch sometimes just to catch up. Prior to her having Madison we met for frozen yogurt and that is when she told me she was pregnant. I was overjoyed for them. They had been trying for a while and now she was pregnant! Yay! So of course I had to photograph her newborn when she arrived. Actually what Rashayla said was "Ayesha would cut me if I had someone else photograph the baby." Of course that was in jest.
Now fast forward to the present. I had a solid plan. I told Rashayla to not let Madison sleep for 2 to 3 hours before I got there. She did that. Once I arrived, she started feeding her as I set up. Madison finished eating and we were all waiting with bated breath for her to go to sleep. After she went to sleep, we started picking out the hats and tutus she would wear. Unbeknownst to us, Madison had other ideas.
I have been photographing babies for years and if I have learned anything, I have learned that they are unpredictable. For whatever reason, Madison would not stay asleep. Usually I like to photograph newborns no older than 10 days, but have actually photographed some who were 6 weeks old. Generally older babies do not want to curl up like younger newborns and may not sleep as deeply. Again, this varies. Madison was 28 days old when I photographed her and she did not like curling up. In fact, Rashayla and Carl told me that she likes sleeping stretched out. At that point, I knew I had my work cut out for me.
Many times I get to my client's home and inspiration from their surroundings. They have a beautiful home so there were so many items I drew inspiration from. There was this table that also doubled as a serving tray. I saw that and immediately said "I have to use that!" First I figured I would try a simple setup just to get the ball rolling. Well, as soon as we laid Madison down on the pillow, she woke up and began moving. She even peed on my pillow. Ok, that wasn't going to work. Intermittently while we were trying to get her to go back to sleep, I took portraits of her with her dad and mom separately. We took another break and tried to put her on the aforementioned table with a blanket. Prior to getting the table, Carl made a joke about her peeing on the serving tray. You guessed it, she peed on the serving tray. Now that was a first for me. I'm used to babies peeing on my backdrops once, but not twice. I think she was sending me a message. At that point, we fed her because she was being fussy and decided to end with family portraits. I could tell that Rashayla was a little upset because we couldn't put the cute hates and tutus on her because she wouldn't sleep. It would have been great if she was awake and still, but that wasn't happening either. At any rate, I was able to capture some sweet images, even though they were not exactly what was in my mind. Below are a few images from the session.
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