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Six Tips for Newborn Photo Shoots (for People Who Hate Newborn Photo Shoots)

6 Tips Newborn Photo Shoot

There is an Anne Geddes print hanging on the wall at my OBGYN’s office. It’s babies doing ballet. Or something. They are all perched around a bar wearing pastel shoes and looking squishy. Most expectant women walk by the darling image and get all glowy and wistful about it. Not me. I walk by quickly, gaze down, careful not to engage the toothless Caucasian infant army (who I’m certain are on the brink of a collective breakdown of Black Swan-eque proportions). There is nothing some people love more than an über-staged newborn shoot—the babies dressed as woodland creatures, sea anemones, major league pitchers, and the like. Quite frankly? On a good day, I find the whole thing borderline creepy. So, during my pregnancy, I decided I would forgo the whole obligatory baby photo thing and save my twins the humiliation of being perched (against their will) inside Easter baskets or tea cups or whatever the prop-happy photog had up her sleeve. I decided I would just take the photos myself. Why not? I have the iPhone, y’all!

Unfortunately, my photos look like this:


Yup. Unfortunately, they don’t make a filter for astounding lack of talent. Yet.

It became apparent very quickly that if we wanted any pictures of our children where they didn’t look like the scary thing from The Grudge running through a sprinkler, we would have to hire a professional. And though I got all hesitant and sweaty about the whole thing, I worked with an amazing photographer and ended up with classy baby pictures that I’ll love forever. If you’re like me—maybe a tad grumpy and just a wee bit jaded about the whole baby photo deal—rest assured that if you follow these rules, you too can have not-tacky images of your infant children!


Do Not Dress Your Girl Baby Like Sarah Jessica Parker

If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

First, there’s a bow. It’s relatively harmless, kinda big, but everything looks kinda big on someone who weighs 7lbs, right?!

You know you should stop there, but you don’t. All of a sudden you’re feeling inspired. You coo to yourself audibly, “Wouldn’t she be just darling in a strand of pearls?!” The baby shifts her foot. You take this as a sign of consent. You grab three necklaces and begin draping. You stand back, take a peek at your precious babe drowning in jewelry, and begin positively beaming with pride. You’re an artist, a absolute artist.

“Tulle. Just a little tulle.”

As you’re grabbing the infant tutu, you peek back into your closet and notice that feather boa which was leftover from that one sexy-time after you watched “Chicago” on TBS. The boa looks kind of lonely. Oh Boy. Seemingly within moments, you have a two-week-old who looks like a liberated woman in her 30s ready to take Manhattan by storm. And it’s not cute.

Mamas, I’m not saying don’t have any fun with your little teeny weeny gal pal. I’m just urging you to exercise a smidgen of restraint before things spiral out of control. (Because they will. You might not think you like tiaras, but trust me—deep inside, you do.) Choose one accessory (or better yet, no accessories!), and keep the focus on the baby instead of the Manolo Blahnik crib shoes.

twins newborn photos Nashville Moms Blog

She’s so happy there’s not enormous peony on her head. Photo credit: Rachael Rae Newborns

Or a Mermaid/Basset Hound/Sunflower

I have a philosophy when it comes to costumes:

Like football? Take a picture of a football.

Like babies? Take a picture of a baby.

For the love of all things, do not dress the baby like a football.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good ol’ game of dress up as much as the next gal. In fact, sometimes in the winter? I’ll throw on a coconut bra and grass skirt just because it makes me feel alive! But, if you’re going to go ahead and pay somebody to photograph your wee babe, you might want to make sure that the little lad/lass isn’t obscured by giant angel wings and a 60-watt light up halo.

**Halloween Disclaimer: If it’s October 31st, near October 31st, or there’s a certain autumnal chill in the air, go to TOWN on the costumes. Obviously.)

Stay At Home

You had a baby. You haven’t gotten more than 2 hours of (consecutive) sleep in the past three weeks, and the idea of wearing actual pants is so overwhelming that it makes you ugly cry—let alone the thought of leaving your house in said pants (I’m on the verge of a panic attack just thinking about this). Going to some photographer’s studio on the other side of town? Completely out of the question. So don’t go!

I know, I know, I’m losing you. The only thing more horrifying than having to put on jeans (or even your second best yoga pants) and leaving the house with a screaming baby is having the post-partum squalor you’ve been living in since the tot arrived immortalized on film (or, you know, digitally). BUT since this is a baby shoot (and not a super secret exposé on the atrocious living conditions of American middle class families), rest assured that your chosen shutterbug probably won’t want to take pictures of your baby next to the floor Cheetos.

Shooting at home is also a great opportunity to take a few pictures of baby’s living space. In a few short years, this room will have Victoria’s Secret Angels taped to the ceiling and will smell like a stuffed crust pizza and gym sock graveyard. You might as well get a few snaps while you’re still allowed past the doorway.

Twins nursery Nashville Moms Blog

Photo credit: Rachael Rae Newborns

Be in the photos. But not actually

Don’t be in the pictures…that much…unless you actually want to be. If you’re somebody who likes having her picture taken, then by all means, put in that Bumpit, and go right on with your bad self. But if you don’t love all that paparazzi attention like—ahem—ME, there is no law that says you have to take part in the session.

Or, you can just take part a little bit.

Since my beauty routine consists of and allows for no more than a good tooth brushing and a spritz of whatever deodorant my husband and I happen to be sharing at the time, the idea of sticking my bleary-eyed noggin in front of a lens makes me all nervous and gassy these days. Despite my unabashed camera shyness and my utter disdain for anything deemed “instagram worthy,” I kinda wanted to be in there—somewhere—to show the world that I’m the momma of these two awesome twinfants. So, my brilliant photographer suggested that we do a little something like this:

Twins Snuggled Nashville Moms Blog

Photo credit: Rachael Rae Newborns

And I love it. Posing with one hand, drinking a coffee with the other. Winning!

Roll With It

Sometimes your kid is so angelic that you think you can actually hear him plinking away on an itty bitty, perfectly tuned harp through the monitor. Other times, he’s like this:

grumpy baby boy

There is a chance (a sizable one) that no matter how carefully you schedule the nap/feeding, you still might end up white-knuckling your way through the photo shoot. Don’t panic. If your photographer regularly shoots babies, he/she has seen it all before. I’m talking about colors of poopsplosion that you didn’t even know existed.

When life hands you a screaming infant, make lemonade. (And add vodka to the lemonade.) Get some meme-worthy pictures of that angry baby and his fat quivering cheeks! Why the heck not?! Trust me. These are the snaps you’re going to want for the wedding montage!

Find the Right Person

Finding the right person to take pictures of your baby is almost as important as finding the right person to have a baby with. HA! Just kidding! It’s not even close! BUT finding a good photographer is still really, really super important. Check out their images online before just taking your sister’s best friend’s sister’s recommendation because sometimes your sister’s best friend’s sister might have the worst taste ever.

And y’all—if you live in Nashville, just do yourself a favor and call Rachael Rae. I love her. Forever and ever.

sweet baby photo Rachael Rae Newborn Nashville Moms Blog

Photo credit: Rachael Rae Newborns

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One Response to Six Tips for Newborn Photo Shoots (for People Who Hate Newborn Photo Shoots)

  1. Alana Rasbach October 16, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    Hilarious post, Shannon! I love the artwork over your twins crib. Where is it from?!

    If you ever need a family photographer or updated photos of your sweet twins in their nursery, I think my work would be right up your alley. Family documentary photography — — check out my quote on the first page!

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