When was the last time you took a photo? Struggle to remember something? Just snap a photo to remind yourself. Snap the sunset. Snap the baby laughing. Snap that slice of cake. Everyone and anyone is doing it. Chuck a decent filter on it and it’s instant Instagram gold. Once confined to special occasions, the rise of the smart phone has made daily photography commonplace.
But are those photos enough? Should you pay a photographer for professional photos for the very special bits? Get a beautifully made baby album? The chances are you probably paid someone to capture your wedding. Sure, you might be able to get an excellent shot but are they as good as a pro would get? Will they stand the same test of time?
Prior to having a baby I would have been one of those people who thought I could do the job. I had a pro take my wedding shots but that was it. Why would I pay for photos of my baby? I was perfectly capable. But the nearer it got, the more I fancied booking a newborn shoot.
Why? I could take a good photo but I couldn’t get the same quality of image. I just don’t have the same level of equipment that a professional has – the lighting, the lenses, the editing process. I could research how to pose my child to get the ‘best’ shot but I wasn’t confident in handling a small baby; I couldn’t merge photos to create composite images – I would have been there trying to bend my baby into positions that they just couldn’t manage. I could set aside the time to do it but in amongst the newborn blur, would I? Would I be able to find the time to set-up, take and edit images when I could be feeding/cleaning/sleeping/surviving?! Probably not.
Whilst we mention that blur, would I remember amongst all of that survival exactly how tiny he was? How his entire body was still in a state of flux by unfurling? The expressions that fleeted past as he slept? As Roger Kingston said ‘The camera is a save button for the mind’s eye’. Thats what I needed. A pause button. A chance to hit Ctrl+S.
So, at exactly a week old we trundled off to a newborn photographer. Terrified at our first jaunt out for longer than 30 minutes with ‘the baby’, we arrived sweaty, nervous and panicky about what was to come. Here was where the photoshoot came into its own. Our photographer was used to babies. She was better at handling him than we were.
She took him, calmed him, shushed him and got him quickly off to sleep. She gently helped guide him into positions with my husband providing a steadying hand which she would later (seamlessly) edit out. She was patient, understanding and put us at ease, to the point that she was the first person, outside of family, that I breast-fed in front of. There wasn’t an option. She made it seem normal (which in retrospect it is but at the time it was a HUGE mental battle for me!). Yes, it cost us to do it but it felt special, just like our baby.
A week later we got the proofs through. And in that moment I knew that it was worth the cost, the time and the prior terror. Without a doubt one of the best investments we’d gotten for our newborn. A perfect, timeless reminder of that magical period where your newborn is still unfurling far better than anything I could ever have achieved. And now, when I look at them, I remember all of those feelings, those emotions and those little things like how he used to knit his hands together, how much hair he had, how he frowned in his sleep.
So, should you get professional photos of your newborn?
If you can, there really is no better momento.
Did you get pro shots? Would you in future? What did you think?