I'm supposed to say
because I'm a photographer. But I'm going to speak as a mom, a wife and a daughter.
I didn't know he would be my only when he was born, that wasn't the plan. I didn't know how quickly our days together would pass or how foggy and time warped it would feel with colic and baby eczema reducing both our sleep and contributing to the blur. I didn't know I would have a c-section instead of a home birth and that I would have to work so hard to get my milk to come in.
I also didn't know how deep and boundless my love for him would be. My love for him is still like that part of the ocean where they can't find the floor.
Having a newborn was far more beautiful and hectic than we imagined. We were forever changed.
I'm married to a photographer so we didn't hire someone in the beginning. When our son was 9 months old we realized our mistake - there was a lack of photos of all three of us together and we could see that our time with an infant was short so we did bring a professional in. I regret not having newborns taken, I wish I could see more of what we looked like together as new parents in the early days.
There are plenty of photos of my baby to look back on but not enough of us together to give to him.
That's really how I feel about it: leave something beautiful for them to find! Let them see how joyful and tender and over the moon you were. Let them see both the peace and the chaos: show them their curious and occasionally resentful siblings. This ephemeral time where a new Universe is forming in your home is unlike any other that came before. A metamorphosis is taking place, whether you realize it or not.
So, with my own mom-regrets already on the table, here's my professional photographer advice. And if you want to see more of what this could look like for you, visit my newborn gallery here.
Why you should take newborn photos at home
1.) You can't remember what it was like but you were a baby once.
What are you more curious to know? How you looked when you were a baby or how your parents looked caring for you? Ideally, both. I've only ever seen one photo of me as a baby, my mom is holding me in her lap.
I try to imagine my mom feeding me or singing me to sleep. I try to imagine my dad changing a diaper or how they made room for me in their tiny NYC apartment. But imagining is all I can do. I'm sure their young faces lit up when they looked at me but I sure would like to see that.
Its very normal to be focused on taking pictures of the baby and with phone capture being what it is these days, there will be millions of baby pictures.
But someday, your baby will long to see your faces and how loved they were in the beginning. They'll want to know where they came from, where and how you lived, who you were. We can't make our own memories when we are babies but photos can help us know the people who love us most.
2.) Your home is part of your baby's history and story
As families grow, homes change. Maybe we move out of an apartment and buy our first house when baby #1 is born. Maybe there is a new city or suburb that comes later down the line. Or maybe an entire childhood takes place in one home - how amazing would it be to see that familiar place when you first arrived? Not only is home the most comfortable place for a newborn shoot, the context itself is a crucial memory.
3.) They will never be this small again
I still can't believe that the boy who now stands taller than me could ever fit so neatly into the crook of my arm like a lock and key! Photographing your baby at their very tiniest is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that never presents itself again. Choosing to do it at home where your baby stays in your arms lends both context and scale.
4.) Moms are photographed less than anyone else in the family. Let's change this from the very start.
While doing market research I had an opportunity to talk with 12 mothers. Only one had commissioned newborn photos, 9 out of 11 regretted not having done so.
The two who did not have regrets had partners who photographed them with their children often and well. The nine who regretted it, when asked why they didn't hire a photographer, cited overwhelm, external circumstances, uncertainty about their body, an unwilling partner and/or feeling that it was too luxurious or impractical an expense at the time. It was often more than one of these things.
Add to that the mounting evidence that moms are the documentarians of their family - both making and capturing the magic - and therefore absent from physical memories of outings, birthdays, holidays and vacations. If you'd like an article or podcast list addressing this topic, just reach out.
We can change this. All of it. Together.
How to get past whatever is holding you back
1.) Whatever you feel about your pregnant and/or postpartum body is entirely OK.
You are allowed to feel however you want to about any aspect of your own body at any time, whether you birthed your baby or not. You are allowed to decide which photos go out into the world and which you put in an album for your family's eyes only. If your fear is big, talk with your photographer before the shoot: if we are women, we are likely sensitive to this already and want to assure you because we know its vulnerable work. Just don't let it get in the way of taking the photos and having these memories to hold and share. In all likelihood, you will look back later and think you looked amazing. And even if you don't, these photos will bring back all the wonder and joy and that will always be worth revisiting.
2.) This is not a "Better Homes and Gardens" shoot and your home is already perfect!
A lot of couples think that they can't be living in an apartment or must own a fancy house in order to be photographed at home. Say it with me: "your home is perfect, just the way it is!" That said, trusting your photographer and feeling comfortable with them in your space is a must so get to know them a bit before you book. We're not coming to show off your home either in its design or in its flaws - we're there to capture your story in this moment where you are most comfortable and where you have everything you need to care for your baby. We know that family homes are ever evolving spaces and we respect that. (We might even have one of those ever evolving spaces ourselves!)
3.) Its OK to commission a shoot for this baby, even if you were not able to do it for your other children
Life is imperfect! And raising kids is imperfect, we do the best we can. If you are only just discovering home sessions now, that's OK. If you couldn't afford it in the beginning but you can now, that's OK. And if you think about it, the session with the baby who completes your family might even be the most value because everyone will be there. Its not too late!
4.) It can be easy.
All you have to do is hang out at home with your favorite people and fur babies. The only rule I'll give you is, "don't clean up before I come!" and I mean it - I will move whatever needs to be moved and I'm not going to photograph the dust bunnies or the messy bathroom, I promise. I want for families to feel comfortable, play their music while we shoot, wear morning slippers and have access to whatever makes them feel calm and present to the moment.
If you can book your session before your baby is born its even easier! I'll walk you through everything and answer all your questions ahead of time so you know exactly what to expect.
5.) If you're worried your baby will be born premature...
Just stay focused on your care and your baby's care - my contract is built to be flexible. Most of the time we've been able to maintain our session as planned once everyone has been sprung: and its been even sweeter! Or, if your NICU stay is extended, a brief session there can often be arranged.
6.) We can work through any concerns your partner has
If your partner is resistant to either the experience or expense, hand them this post to read or tell them why you feel its so important to do - i.e., not for IG or TikTok but for an artful archive you can pass down to your kids. They will want to know so much about both of you someday. Another plus? I'm not going to make anyone dress up for photos or do anything posey or cheesy and the dads seem to appreciate that most!