When I look back on those beautifully hectic days when my boys were newborns, one of my biggest regrets is that I did not have professional newborn portraits taken of them. At the time, it just wasn’t on my priority list and I figured I could just take some cute ones on my phone. After all, they would just get cuter and cuter, right? While I did get many, perhaps hundreds, of pictures of my boys when they were newborns, they all pale in comparison to the professional photos you now see all over Pinterest and social media. I wish I had taken the time to professionally capture those fleeting moments of newborn freshness when I could.
The trend of newborn portrait photography has only grown since the days when I had newborns on my hands and I love seeing all of the amazing photos captured of our littlest keiki. If you are interested in learning more about newborn portraits, what it takes to have them done, or even how to take them on your own, you’re in the right place. We interviewed three of Hawaii’s most prominent newborn photographers to get their advice and tips on what to expect during a shoot, how to take the best pictures of your baby, and more! Keep reading to hear what Lucie of LucieXYZ Photography on Oahu, Kristy of Kristy Copperfield Photography on Maui, and GiGi of Tiny Love Kauai on Kauai have to say!
The two main things you should look for when booking a newborn photographer are: photography style and experience with newborns. Lucie notes that “photographing babies is very different from photographing weddings or even families”, which is why GiGi says “newborns are extremely fragile so it is very important to have someone who is experienced, knowledgeable, and trained to handle your baby”. It’s also important that you like the style of photography, while some photographers keep it simple, others like to add more accessories — all of which are beautiful, but it ultimately comes down to your personal preference. Kristy suggests that “it's best to start at a photographers’ website so that you can view their portfolio, pricing and see if their style is what you're looking for.”
Image by GiGi, of Tiny Love Kauai on Kauai.
All of our photographers unanimously agree that the best age to schedule your newborn session is within 2 weeks after baby is born. As GiGi says, “this is when the babies are mostly sleepy and are very flexible to be curled into positions.” And while you can schedule the photoshoot up to 6 weeks, Kristy says “the posing just gets a bit more limited as they are less sleepy and less bendy as a fresh babe.” As a mom who is trying to schedule the shoot, it’s best to book the session sometime in the “later second trimester or early third trimester” per Kristy, and Lucie will “usually pencil you in about one week after your due date and you would confirm with (her) once the baby finally arrives.”
What you want to bring to your session is up to you, but most photographers are well-equipped with more props than needed! Kristy has been a newborn photographer for 10 years now and her studio is filled with “props, baskets, wraps, headbands, hats, bonnets, backdrops, and more”. And while your photographer is likely well-prepared, Lucie notes that “if you have anything that is super special to you, of course you can bring it along”. And most importantly, GiGi reminds us that “the only thing (you) truly need to bring are milk (breastmilk or formula) and (your) baby!”
The burning question all parents are dying to know — how do these photographers capture those beautiful poses? Kristy says that she “has a prep guide for parents to follow ahead of time, so that when baby gets to me they are ready to have a big meal and sleep” because “a sleepy baby is key to getting all those bendy poses.” Lucie also notes that she will “keep our studio very warm and babies nice and full so they can sleep comfortably.” And something important that GiGi mentions, especially when you’re searching for a new photographer, is “it takes a lot of practice, patience, and knowledge to safely pose newborns.”
Image by Kristy, of Kristy Copperfield Photography on Maui.
When it comes to incorporating older siblings into newborn photos, the way that it’s done really comes down to age. Most newborn sessions can be lengthy while you wait for baby to eat and fall asleep, so Kristy notes that “the older siblings be brought into the studio at the end of the session when it is time for family photos. That way they aren’t made to wait for 2.5 hours in a warm, quiet room.” GiGi says that “the younger the sibling, the more difficult it is”, but to make it a bit easier, “bribery with a reward might come into play” and “the most important thing is not to force them.” When it’s time to pose the siblings, Lucie notes that “the best thing would be having them lay down on their back and taking photos from above. This especially helps with toddlers as they can't hold the baby safely yet.” So if you’re a parent who wants to include baby’s siblings in the photos, coming as prepared as possible will make everything so much easier!
All photographers agreed that this was not an easy question to answer! Each session is so special in it’s own way. Kristy mentions that “It's hard to nail down one special moment but...It's very special when I see families come with baby 3 or 4 and compare their first session to their 4th.” She also says that “there are quite a few that come in with their rainbow baby, a baby after pregnancy loss, and honoring their journey with small momentos, like rainbow fabric or pillows, IVF vials and needles or even little plaques to honor their loss sibling always pulls at my heart-strings.” GiGi has a moment that’s stuck with her when “the mom was so in love with her son, she began to cry tears of joy.” it reminded her that “that is exactly why I love what I do. I live for those precious moments.” And to sum it all up, Lucie said “I seriously can't. I love them all…” I think it’s safe to say that when you are scheduling with your newborn photographer, you can relax knowing that this session is special to them in some way, too.
“I have the best job in the world. I capture moments that will last a lifetime.” - GiGi
Being a newborn photographer is such a rewarding job. Kristy loves that “being a newborn photographer is watching families grow”, and because the Maui community is so small, she said “I really do watch families get bigger.” This time in a family’s life is brief, so Kristy highlights that she “really loves that they choose me with their most precious of memories.” Aside from documenting these timeless memories, Lucie wants everyone to know that: “I don't think there can be anything better than cuddling tiny babies for a living!!!”
Cuddling cute babies and capturing beautiful and fleeting moments for families? It really doesn’t get any better than that!
The most important takeaway when it comes to capturing the best photos of your newborn on your iPhone is lighting! Lucie mentions that you can “choose a spot in your house with the most natural (but not direct sun) light. For example, a bed by the window is perfect.” GiGi also says “The best tip I can give is to keep things simple”. When it comes to posing, Kristy offers some advice and mentions “I would suggest wrapping baby, laying her on a beautiful fabric or swaddle, getting near a beautiful window and getting photos top down.” It’s also important to “capture the everyday, seemingly insignificant moments at home. Feet, hands, flaky skin, those newborn qualities that you will most definitely forget.”
Image by Lucie, of LucieXYZ Photography on Oahu.
Gigi of Tiny Love Kauai: “Never in a million years did I think I’d end up doing newborn photography. I actually graduated from Kauai CC with a degree in hospitality and pursued a career in the hotel industry. But the universe had other plans for me, and I am so happy I finally found what I really enjoy doing. I am extremely passionate about newborn photography so I continuously take courses to perfect my art. I also take courses in safety to stay up to date with CPR and first aid so that I can ensure the safety of the babies that come into my studio.”
Follow her on IG to see more of her work at @tinylovekauai!
Lucie of LucieXYZ Photography: “I have been photographing babies for about 15 years and I truly enjoy being "the Baby Whisperer". Our specialty is not just capturing newborn photos, but the entire 1st year through our First Year of Baby session series and I just love seeing the babies grow over time and sharing all the love and laughs with their family. Seeing the smile on everyone's faces while looking through the albums gives me such joy and I would not trade my job for anything else in the world.”
See more of Lucie’s work when you follow her on IG at @luciexyz.photography.hawaii
Kristy of Kristy Copperfield Photography: “I think the most important thing to say is to get on my books sooner than later. In the past I have taken last minute sessions, however with the amount of babies being born now, it is usually impossible for me to get a baby into my schedule within weeks before birth, or if the baby has already been born. It breaks my heart to turn a newborn session away, but I regularly turn away families if the baby has already been born.
Check out Kristy’s work on her IG at @kristycopperfieldphotography
And there you have it! We know this was a lot of information, but we hope it’s made you even more excited to book your newborn photoshoot. Here’s to capturing memories that last a lifetime, mommas!