In the world of newborn photography, each session tells its own unique story. My recent session with Lee-Ann in Virginia was no exception. I approach these sorts of session with a distinctive perspective, focusing on sentimentality and authenticity over aesthetic idealism. I’m not interested in contrived infant poses, or naked babies in pumpkins or whatever. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just not into it. In Lee-Ann’s home, this approach transformed what was in many ways an ordinary day in an ordinary environment, into a series of meaningful vignettes about the first few days of this new human being’s life.
Upon my arrival, we kept introductions brief; we were all eager to begin. The first setting for our shoot was Lee-Ann and her husband’s bedroom. The significance of the parents’ bed, often a gravitational center of a family with small children, can add a profound depth to these sorts of images. So that’s where we spent the start of our time together. To encourage the comfort and relaxation of the newborn, we used a space heater to bring the room temperature up quite high. It’s a trick of the trade that helps newborn babies relax and often sleep straight through an entire session. Given how challenging it can be for a newborn to retain body heat, it’s little details like this that often make the biggest difference in the over all experience.
Midway through the session, as we prepared to transition to the nursery, an opportunity presented itself. While Lee-Ann changed her son’s outfit, I captured a series of intimate maternal photos, including a striking black and white image with Lee-Ann resting her hand against her newborn baby’s back. It’s moments like these that genuinely resonate with me.
In the nursery, the ambiance shifted. Here, I photographed Lee-Ann in the chair where she nurses, capturing the a glimpse of her motherhood in its natural form. Joined later by the father, these images were an expression of family in a new phrase. We had hoped to include Lee-Ann’s elder daughter in the session. However, respecting her hesitance, we focused on the newborn to keep a comfortable and pressure-free environment. In the crib, the baby was particularly at ease. I managed one serene shot with his eyes open, followed by another impactful black and white photo viewed through the crib’s slats.
To round off the session, we stepped outside for a change of scenery. These shots, featuring Lee-Ann and her husband, added a fresh dimension to the collection. Even the big sister, albeit reluctantly, joined for a photo, adding a final touch to collection.
Reflecting on this session, it’s clear that each element – from the warmth of the bedroom to the tranquility of the nursery, and the final outdoor shots – contributed to a story that was uniquely Lee-Ann’s. In these moments we managed to crystallize part of this family’s journey, and offering them a way to make permanent an extremely momentary time in life. As a photographer, I cherish these sorts of experiences, where the authenticity of the moment triumphs over idealistic pursuits.