This is going to make me sound ancient but I don’t even think Fresh 48 photography – also known as newborn photos right after birth – was a thing when I was having my babies. And already I’m backtracking because, now that I think about it, there absolutely was a service where a photographer went from room to room, inquiring whether mom and dad wanted photos of their new baby. While that opportunity was great for some, I look at it as the equivalent of school photos in the lunchroom. No individuality, photographer paid by the hour, in and out style of service where the session is finished in about 15 minutes and you’d get the same exact photos as the people on either side of you, just with a different baby. That is not what I’m about with newborn photos right after birth.
A Fresh 48 session, to me, is as individualized as any photo session you’d get with me and I try really hard to get artistic shots that are raw and real and bring you to tears whether you’re looking at them for the very first time or reflecting back over to them on baby’s 5th birthday.
I always try to start with baby in the bassinet. I love to position it right in front of the window (which is why clearing that space before I arrive is so important) and utilize that beautiful natural light that floods in that (hopefully) huge window.
If the window is not huge, don’t you worry. The postpartum rooms at Johns Hopkins Bayview in Baltimore, MD, have tiny windows that face a brick wall and I was still able to harness enough light to get these gorgeous shots of Easton and his daddy. (My off-camera flash didn’t hurt anything either.)
Once I’ve gotten some adorable swaddled shots of your little, I’ll unwrap him and get some newborn details. I love capturing the umbilical cord before it falls off – that’s a classic fresh 48 detail.
Of course, when you unwrap a toasty warm babe, he gets a little angry so I quickly snap some kicking feet and a scrunched up nose …
… before warmly bundling him back up and passing him over to momma for some snuggles. (Disclaimer: I always ask mom and dad to nudge up the thermostat before I arrive. I’m not in the business of torturing babes so the room is plenty warm 😉)
I always ask whether mom wants to capture some breastfeeding shots in these newborn photos right after birth. Some moms are all for it, others feel a little shy. As a nurse who worked in postpartum and newborn nursery for the first 9 years of my nursing career, breasts don’t faze me and I’ve been known to put my camera aside and help with latching in those first days when everything is still a little tough. The thing that’s important to remember, if you do think you’ll be in that shy category, is that no one else will ever have this relationship with your baby. Breastfeeding is a gift, it’s quiet, beautiful moments with your precious babe that are finite. This relationship will end so don’t you want to capture it in a form that you can look back on and remember? One of my favorite photos ever captured of me and my first baby happened when my husband walked into the living room and saw us nursing. Guys, it wasn’t pretty. My hair was unwashed, we were sitting on a red couch (RED, ugh, my neutral-loving self still wants to cry), and I only had my bra on from the waist up. But he grabbed the cell phone and snapped that shot and it’s so precious to me. I don’t have it framed over the mantle, ok? It’s in a small frame in our bedroom and only we ever see it. But it’s a memory captured of a relationship that was so pure and precious and I could not be more thankful that he was there to grab that camera.
I finish out the session by asking dad to hop into bed with mom. Sure, it’s a little tight in that twin hospital bed but I’ve never had anyone say no. Those cozy shots are such a sweet way to capture the brand new family – mom and dad gazing at their tiny little bundle, Jesus still imprinted all over him.
If you’re on the fence about taking newborn photos right after birth (also called a Fresh 48 session where I come to you in the hospital within the first 48 hours of your baby’s life), hopefully these images of cutie Easton with his mom and dad will give you the push you need to reach out! Happy birthday, Easton!
Liz Viernes Photography is based near Columbia, Maryland, and specializes in motherhood, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.