A photographer skilled in newborn photography is integral to professional-looking photos of your precious bundle of joy. However, as a parent, you can play a part too! One way to add a special touch to the newborn photos is to incorporate your traditions, memories, or heritage into elements of the photo shoot. If you are an expectant mother and you are considering doing a newborn photo session, be sure to research and book the photographer by the early part of your third trimester. During this time, also think about your vision for the photo shoot. Planning is key. Newborn photo sessions typically occur during the first or second week after the baby’s birth. Once the baby is born, the last thing you want to deal with is finding a photographer, especially considering such a short time window. The newborn photo sessions occur so early because once babies are more than two weeks old, they are more alert and sleep less, thus making it more difficult to pose the baby. Plus, since babies grow quickly, the first two weeks are great time to capture how truly small they once were.
During your pregnancy, buy or make any props, clothing, and accessories you would like for the photo session. Although your newborn photographer will have an ample supply of these items, if you want a personalized touch, try bringing some of your own items to the session. For example, for my daughter’s newborn session, I had two themes in mind: a peacock theme and a Indian sari theme. As part of the peacock theme, I made one headband and purchased another one from Etsy. I also purchased peacock feathers, which can be found at a craft supply store or on Amazon. Additionally, I found an adorable knitted diaper cover from Etsy that resembled peacock feathers.
Here are a couple of photos featuring the peacock theme. Our photographer, Nancy Manzano of Nance E Photography, did a fabulous job in understanding my vision and executing it even better than I had imagined it! For the first photo, she placed the baby atop a large cushion draped in one of my mom’s ethnic saris. She placed my handmade headband on the baby and scattered peacock feathers around her. The result was nothing short of magical!
Here is the whimsical photo of the baby wearing the headband and knitted diaper cover from Etsy. The bird’s nest prop was provided by the photographer.
My parents are from India. The traditional garb of our culture includes saris, which I saw my mom wear on a frequent basis. While growing up, I really adored one particular sari of hers – a lavender and gold one. Luckily for me, she no longer wore this particular sari, as it had faded in certain sections. With my mom’s permission, I cut a small piece from the sari. Using the sari remnant, some pink tulle, and a ribbon, I hand-sewed a newborn-sized tutu — a simple 20-minute DIY project.
Voila! Our photographer made my heart melt into a big puddle with this particular photo! My favorite part about this photo is that I can tell my daughter that she is wearing a piece of her grandmother’s sari – a memento of my own childhood.
Recently, I was amazed by the breathtakingly beautiful photos of my friend Nancy’s baby. They are stunning examples of incorporating traditional garb and items of personal historical significance into newborn photo sessions. In this photo, the beautiful baby is lying on and draped with her mom’s wedding sari!
In the photo below, the canopy of the baby’s bed was formed out of the mom’s wedding veil! What a great vision that Nancy had for her daughter’s photo session, not to mention the planning and forethought involved. Kudos to photographer Lily Hayes for taking this particular newborn session to new heights!
If you are wondering whether you can incorporate saris into a session for boys, my answer is: why not! Here is a photo where the little boy is wearing traditional kurta and lying on a vibrant embroidered sari. Photography by the immensely-talented Janica Boles of JBO Photo!
I hope this post inspires you to incorporate your own culture and traditions into your future newborn and family photos! I would love to hear from you!