Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sara's Newborn Photo Shoot Experience

We are all so consumed with our daily lives.  We put our heads down and power through the work day, pay the bills, clean the house, feed the dog, etc.  We hardly take a second to look up.  Monday melts into Tuesday, which melts into Wednesday, and, before we know it, the days turn into weeks, which turn into months and the seasons pass us by.  

There are a few moments in life that are so special we all stop to take notice, to celebrate, to cherish every last second.

My husband and I just welcomed Cassidy, our first child, into the world in early January.  As I'm sitting here typing this story, she's cuddled up on my chest, dreaming little baby dreams.  In the short time we've had her, she's grown so much already.  She's started smiling, and cooing, and sleeping longer stretches.  She's helping me remember to slow down and take notice, to celebrate, to cherish every last second.  

When I got married, choosing a photographer was at the top of my list when it came to planning the wedding.  Clearly, being in the imaging business, I am a big believer in the power of photography.  As my father says, "All we have is our stories.  That's what makes us who we are."  Photography has always helped me document, retell and relive those stories.   

My parents used to keep all the prints that didn't make it into albums in a drawer in the buffet in our dining room.  One of my favorite things to do growing up was to reach in, grab a handful and then sit down and pour through them.  I've actually already started my own "shoe box" of pictures so that Cassidy can enjoy the same pleasure one day.  Images have always been important to me.  I think they've always been important to you too.  There's something about a photograph that helps us stop to take notice, to celebrate, to cherish every last second.

Late in my pregnancy, I decided that I wanted to hire a photographer to do a newborn photography shoot.  This step was not quite as obvious to me as hiring a wedding photographer.  I wasn't 100% sold on the importance or the value.  EVERYONE hires a wedding photographer, but not every new mom chooses to book a newborn shoot. I am so so happy that we did.

The weeks since Cassidy's birth are a total blur.  Recently, she's started sleeping longer, but at first, I was lucky to get a 3 hour stretch.  In fact, the first time she let me sleep for 2.5 hours, I felt like a million bucks - I was so thankful.  Needless to say, I've been walking around like a bit of a zombie.  I think everyone would agree that the birth of a new baby is one of those few precious moments in life that make us stop and take notice.  The trouble is that new parents are so tired and overwhelmed it can be really hard to celebrate and cherish every last second.  

Enter the professional photographer.  We decided to work with Erin Feuerstein of Erin F. Photography.  She helped us capture images like these:

Cassidy is 14 days old in these pictures.  My husband and I are exhausted, but happier and more in love than we ever knew possible.  I am so thankful to have these images to look back on, to remember the funny face she made when we burped her, how cute she looked when she yawned, and even how sweet she could be when she cried.

I could not be happier with the results of the shoot.  A big reason I'm so satisfied is that I did my homework before deciding on a photographer.  Contrary to popular belief, an amazing camera does not necessarily produce amazing pictures.  It's the person behind the camera that really matters.  And, every photographer is not the same.   Just like chefs specialize in specific cuisine, photographers specialize in different types of photography.

Before choosing a photographer, it's important to know what you want.  I wanted mostly candid shots (rather than posed) and I am a huge fan of natural light.  

It's also important to be comfortable with the photographer herself.  That comfort level shows through in pictures.  If the photographer makes you nervous or rubs you the wrong way, you're not going to relax and be natural - your images will look forced.  I don't really know Erin very well.  I only know her through her work (she's been a customer at iPrintfromHome for years and also shot my nephew's newborn pictures) and through the small interactions we have when she picks up her prints.  But, both of those things are very telling.  Her work speaks for itself.  Check it out here.  And, those little interactions at the pick up counter sealed the deal for me.  Erin often has one of her kids in tow when she stops at iPrintfromHome and she's always struck me as someone who has it together.  Kids are kids - they touch things and drop things and ask for candy (we always have a bowl of chocolates at the front counter for customers).  Sometimes this makes parents nervous and they get a little shifty and seem rushed.  Erin is as cool as a cucumber.  I knew that her sense of calm and humor would help keep things running smoothly during our shoot.  

So, we decided to book the shoot.  And, like I said before, we are so so happy that we did.  When we first talked, Erin asked me if there was anything specific that I wanted her to focus on.  I was so confident in her abilities, I told her to just do her thing.  I explained that I chose her, specifically, because I liked her work and trusted her skill.  She's the photographer.  She didn't need any instruction from me. We picked a photographer whose style we liked with a personality we were comfortable with and the results are stunning.  Check out this sneak peek video Erin made: