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My Journey as a Newborn Photographer

I am a Newborn Photographer……finally.

Here is a photo from the very first newborn I ever photographed for payment in 2011.  I called myself a newborn photographer and he wasn’t even a newborn. (UGH!)  He was two months old.  I didn’t know any better.  I hadn’t done my research.  I labeled myself a newborn photographer and that was that.  I had a nice camera and a history as a nanny and preschool teacher.  I have had 3 newborns of my own!  It had been a few years, but I could certainly handle photographing a 2 month old….you know, because I called myself a newborn photographer.  It couldn’t be too hard, right? WRONG!!!

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I was clearly NOT a newborn photographer yet.  But, I didn’t get discouraged.  Well, honestly, I probably didn’t think I was THAT bad at the time.  So, I kept on going.  And I added props.  That is what a newborn photographer does, right??  This one was certainly better than my first attempt though I can tell you now that he did not have the orange complexion that is displayed below.  And he truly WAS a newborn….less than a week old.  I was TECHNICALLY a newborn photographer, right?  I mean I was PHOTOGRAPHING a NEWBORN…..just not very well.  Thankfully he was sleepy and mom and dad were patient….well, and he was adorable too <3

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Then I started to get the hang of things.  I bought a Canon 50mm/1.4….the preferred lens of all the big time newborn photographers that I followed.  This HAD to be the missing element!  This session would be THE ONE that sealed the deal…this would be the one that would make me a newborn photographer!!  I had even done a little research on what it takes to be a newborn photographer….and this little guy was extra cooperative so that was a bonus.  He was 12 days old.  I really thought I had nailed it.  One good session and I finally declared myself a good newborn photographer.   I can now tell you looking back  that this session was 100% luck because at this point I still had no skills.  By this time I still wasn’t doing any editing beyond cropping and I wasn’t even shooting in manual mode. (UGH!)  So, yes, this newborn session was pure luck.  (Look at those LIPS!)

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Fast forward to 2012 and I had learned (read: taught myself) to use Lightroom so I was able to do basic editing on my images.  That was a huge step in the right direction though I still knew nothing about color correction 🙂  By this time I had fully mastered using manual mode when shooting so that made a big difference in what came out of my camera.  Posing was getting easier and my babysitting and motherhood skills from all those years ago DID come in handy.  I always tell all my customers that newborn photography is the makeup of 99% patience and 1% luck.  That, of course, is a huge exaggeration, but it makes my point.  In some sessions I spend as much time rocking and shushing a baby as I do taking pictures (note: I do not mind!  This is the best part of being a newborn photographer)  The other big step I made in 2012 was to open my own business.  FamilyTales Photography was born.  Up until this point I had been running my family and newborn stuff through a friend’s wedding photography business.  It was time.  I struggled to think of a name….I polled everyone I knew.  I didn’t want to use my own name because no one EVER spells Jaime correctly (thanks, Mom and Dad)….finally I settled upon telling tales of the family 🙂

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In 2013 I really got frustrated.  I decided newborn photography was not for me.  I was done.  I actually said the words “I don’t want to shoot newborn sessions anymore. I am no newborn photographer.”  So, in my world that means one thing….I get flooded with newborn photography inquiries.  I loved photography and I loved babies, but they just didn’t mix well for me and my images didn’t look like all the other newborn photographer’s that I was seeing.  I was discouraged.  But, I had just purchased a Canon 7D and Canon 24-70/2.8 from a photographer friend and I wanted to use it, so I accepted every newborn session that came through my door.  And then it happened….somewhere along the way I realized I was starting to improve….newborn photography was getting a bit easier for me.  Maybe I WAS cut out to be a newborn photographer after all…..maybe.

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In 2014 I found the gift that is YouTube.  You can truly learn anything on YouTube and that is exactly what I did.  I was still working at another job so I spent lunch hours watching YouTube videos on editing and posing.  I upgraded my camera to a brand new Canon 6D (full frame!!)  It was about this time that I started to see some consistency in my work.  I still would not have said I specialized in newborns by any means, but I was certainly booking more and more of them.  My biggest complaint at that point was that newborns required so much GEAR and I was going to clients’ houses because I had no place else to work.  My posing bag alone filled up the back of my car…..and I drive a Honda Pilot!  Posing bags, backdrops, props, buckets, baskets, basket fillers, wraps, lights and, of course, cameras.  So.  Much.  Stuff.  Pack it in and pack it back out….every single time.

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And finally, here I am in 2015.  I am a newborn photographer.  I quit my “other job” last June.  I upgraded my camera (again)  to a Canon 5D Mark iii (who ever thought I would own one of THOSE??) and bought new lenses.  And yesterday I bought 4 Alien Bee lights (they are pink and purple!!) along with lots of gels and other accessories.  I have taken webinar after webinar and purchased more photography and editing tutorials than I ever thought possible.  I signed on with an amazing photographer in Harrisburg who taught me advanced Photoshop techniques and studio lighting.  And, the biggest change I have made is that I opened a studio….and I loaded it with newborn props!  I have booked more newborn sessions this year so far than I have done in all my years of photography.   I am getting more creative with my set-ups and I am truly enjoying being a newborn photographer the way that I really thought I was going to way back in 2011.  Now I know….newborn photography is a science.

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Along the way I have learned a few things about newborn photography:

– I will never know it all.  Learning photography in general, but especially newborn photography, is a never ending process.

– I am not perfect.  Not every picture is perfect.  Not every set-up works.  Not every baby sleeps.  And that is all just fine.

– It is ok if my images don’t look like everyone else’s….why would I want them to?

– Success is in the details.  Straightening out those little tiny fingers 13 times before they stay that way may seem like insanity to my client’s parents, but to me it is the difference between a good photograph and a great photograph.

– It’s all about patience.  Building a business takes more patience than I ever thought I had and so does newborn photography.  But truthfully, I wouldn’t change a thing about either

– I am newborn photographer.  Not because I declared myself so, but because I worked hard.  Because I did research.  Because I practiced.  Because I didn’t give up.  And because I have the portfolio to prove it 🙂
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Sean and Jenna :: Marietta Photographer , Maternity

Sean is my 14 year old daughter’s social studies teacher.  She has spoken very highly of him since the very first day of school back in August.  He is young and interactive and, judging from the way his students talk about him, clearly very good at his job.  When I heard he and his wife were expecting a baby this Spring (picture the delivery of this news from a 14 year old baby-loving ginger) I, of course, offered my services as a Marietta photographer.  They accepted.  We settled on one of my favorite places in Marietta as the location for their shoot.  Once again, Mother Nature played with me the week before I was supposed to photograph this session, but by Saturday, the day of the session, the outdoor world was a beautiful place again, albeit a bit chilly.  As soon as I met Jenna, also a teacher….but for the little folks, I adored her.  She was sweet and kind.  And Sean was just as smily and friendly as I remembered him from our school interactions.  These two are the perfect match.  High school sweethearts.  And, seriously, just so comfortable with each other.  My job photographing them was one of the easier jobs I have ever done.  Ordinarily I get a little nervous before a maternity session because sometimes clients just aren’t comfortable showing affection in front of the camera.  Sometimes things look staged.  I can tell you now that not one moment of this couple’s interaction was staged.  When I instructed “Just act natural….snuggle in like you would if I wasn’t here”….they did.  And it is all captured in the images below.  I love an image you can FEEL.  I loved the images when I told them to look at the camera and Jenna looked, but Sean chose to stare at his wife instead.  I could go on and on about this sessions, but I will just say that this baby (gender unknown) is already one lucky child <3

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Alexa :: Lancaster Newborn Photographer

Winter has always been my slow season in the Pennsylvania photography world because so many people prefer outdoor portraits.  I did have a decent customer base as a Lancaster Newborn Photographer, but it was still always my slowest time for business because family photography fills up a good bit of my schedule as well.  So, in my slower times I always try to learn something new.  This year I went crazy with the education part of my business.   You can never possess too much knowledge, right?  To start, I decided to start taking some studio lighting classes in preparation for opening my own photography studio.  I also decided to buy some webinars on newborn photography.  And, if that wasn’t enough, I met with a mentor to learn advanced Photoshop skills one to two times a week.  So, I was busy and I was learning a LOT.  I also decided it was time to increase my prop collection for new humans.  I was tired of my old stuff.  So, in addition to learning, I was spending!!  And, oddly enough, this was my busiest winter ever.  I booked a dozen newborn sessions, but unfortunately, none of the expected babies were making their entrance into the world until Spring.  So, I put out a model call…a heavily discounted session for someone who would let me practice my newly discovered knowledge and skills on their 5-12 day old baby.  Enter Alexis…her mother emailed me and said we had the same hair stylist at Blades Salon and she saw on Facebook that I needed a model.  She was due the following day and would be induced the following Monday which meant I could have my hands on a new human within 10 days.  Done.  Alexis came into the world three days later weighing in at 9 lbs, 8 ounces and looking just beautiful….the perfect model.  I had a wonderful time practicing with her.  Her parents were patient and chatty and the entire experience was truly exactly what I had been hoping for.  I sincerely hope that I am able to work with Miss Alexa and her parents in the future <3
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Dipti & Amit :: Harrisburg Maternity Photography

Dipti contacted me to inquire about maternity portraits.  She was due in April and wanted outdoor portraits in February.  I thought it an odd request, but I am usually game for anything.  When I offered her my Maternity and Newborn Session discount she kindly informed me that she lived in New York City and  and would be visiting her family for that weekend only so newborn photography was not an option, but she was up for some Harrisburg maternity photography.  (Yay for Google search for pointing her in my direction!)  I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to photograph her baby, but I was still really looking forward to her maternity session.  She wanted to wear her traditional Indian clothes for part of the session and then change into another outfit for the rest of the session.  I was a bit nervous as I watched the weather that week in February because Mother Nature seemed determined to ruin my fun.  But, as session day approached Dipti assured me that she and her husband were determined to get these portraits taken.   And, let me tell you, they were serious.  When they arrived I was a bit taken aback by how gorgeous they were!  (Man, I wish I could have been their newborn photographer!)  She was dressed in bright orange and it was actively snowing.  What AMAZING luck I have!!  We managed to do the shoot and warm up in the car thing pretty successfully.  At the end of their session they told me if I came to New York they would happily hire me for their newborn photography.  Oh how I wish I could have.  Newborn photography is just too unpredictable and requires far too much gear for me to be able to take it all to NYC on a moment’s notice.  But they assured me that I have not seen the last of them.  I certainly hope that I haven’t <3
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FamilyTales Photography is located in Lancaster County, PA. Specializing in premiere in-studio maternity, newborn, family and wedding portraiture. Serving Lancaster, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas in Central PA.  All images and design © FamilyTales Photography. All rights reserved.

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Kylie :: York Newborn Photography

This little bundle’s middle name is Sunshine <3 Her parents contacted me for a maternity shoot.  We got to know each other during the maternity session in a beautiful York park.   I was very happy when Mom and Dad  decided to ask me to photograph their little angel when she arrived.    I have been trying to venture over the river into the world of York newborn photography considering most of my business has been as a Lancaster newborn photographer.  This was my chance to cross the river!!  Kylie arrived into the world a little early, but she was absolutely PERFECT in every way.  She was snuggly and sweet and she smelled so good…..and those cheeks!  How adorable are those cheeks??  I had the nicest time getting to know her mommy a bit better as she watched me work.  I love this new family of three and really hope to get to work with them again.
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FamilyTales Photography is located in Lancaster County, PA. Specializing in premiere in-studio maternity, newborn, family and wedding portraiture. Serving Lancaster, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas in Central PA.  All images and design © FamilyTales Photography. All rights reserved.

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Ansley :: Marietta Newborn Photographer

I recently opened a studio in my home (Look for a blog about that soon!) And Miss Ansley was my first studio customer.  I wasn’t “officially” open yet as a Marietta newborn photographer, but they agreed to overlook the disorder and bring their brand new baby girl to me.  It was a wonderful experience on every level.  She wasn’t too interested in sleeping, but I used all the magic tricks I picked up through my years of photography and she eventually gave in.  Mom and Dad were awesome….Dad was a enthusiastic, proud daddy.  He couldn’t have been more adorable with his tiny new human.  I was relaxed in my own space trying out new props and techniques.  And I feel as though the end result captured my comfort and happiness in my new studio.  I am already looking forward to photographing this family again and again 🙂

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FamilyTales Photography is located in Lancaster County, PA. Specializing in premiere in studio maternity, newborn, family and wedding portraiture. Serving Lancaster, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas in Central PA.  All images and design © FamilyTales Photography. All rights reserved.

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Ethan :: Newborn Photography, Milton

Ethan’s mommy and I went to school together.  I hadn’t heard from her in years, but she must have been following along with my Facebook posts because as soon as she had little Ethan she messaged me and told me I had to take his portraits!  Who am I to deny an old friend?  This session gave me some angst because Mother Nature was playing games with the weather and the forecast was not good. I didn’t want to push Ethan’s newborn portraits too much later because I didn’t want to miss his “sleepy baby window”.  So I ventured up to Milton despite the weather warnings.  I am SO glad that I did.  This smirky, happy little guy was absolutely worth the trip.  And, of course, it was great to catch up with his mommy after all these years too.

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FamilyTales Photography is located in Lancaster County, PA. Specializing in premiere in studio maternity, newborn, family and wedding portraiture. Serving Lancaster, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas in Central PA.  All images and design © FamilyTales Photography. All rights reserved.

Ella Rose :: Harrisburg Newborn Photographer

I booked Miss Ella’s newborn portraits months ago.  Her mommy found me on the Internet by searching for Harrisburg newborn photographer (which always makes me happy).  I felt an instant connection to Jen because she shared with me that they chose the name Ella Rose for their firstborn daughter.  Ella is my eldest daughter’s first name and Rose is my youngest daughter’s middle name.  How fun is that?!?  (I considered asking if they had a dog named Henry at home since that is my son’s name, but I was afraid they would think I was insane and change their minds about using me as their newborn photographer.)

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Ella was due to make her entrance into the world on March 6th, but instead arrived January 24.  Jen emailed me asking how we handled newborn pictures since the newborn would be spending some time in the NICU.  I explained that she should just contact me when they were released and we would do her portraits at that time.  And then, on a whim, I offered to go to the hospital and do a quick lifestyle photography session to capture these early moments.  Jen enthusiastically agreed.

So, this morning after some serious disappointment over the lack of a 2 hour school delay, I was off to Hershey Medical Center.  Good news!  Ella was progressing well and was moved to the Continuing Care Unit instead of NICU.  I arrived at feeding time and just went to work snapping Ella and her mommy together.  Jen is a natural and Ella…..well, Ella is just beautiful.   I liked Jen and instantly felt at ease.  We chatted and I snapped.  I snapped and we chatted.  She shared with me some photos of Ella and her daddy from her phone.

All in all, I only ended up spending about a half hour with Jen and Ella, but I had such a wonderful time.  I am so anxious to hear from them that they are headed home and I can see them again.  Until then, enjoy this adorableness <3

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FamilyTales Photography – Harrisburg Newborn Photographer

FamilyTales Photography is located in Lancaster County, PA. Specializing in premiere in studio maternity, newborn, family and wedding portraiture. Serving Lancaster, York, Hershey, Harrisburg and surrounding areas in Central PA.  All images and design © FamilyTales Photography. All rights reserved.

Maternity Photographer Lancaster, PA

Justin & Heather :: Maternity Photography Lancaster PA

Maternity Photography Lancaster PA

Heather’s parents won a gift certificate for a session at a silent auction for maternity photography, Lancaster PA.  When she contacted me she mentioned she was pregnant with a baby boy and wondered if she could use the certificate for a maternity photography session I was thrilled.  We tried to get together and shoot the session several times, but Mother Nature had a different plan.  So, when I arrived for this maternity photography session near Lancaster PA, I was shooting a couple I had never met at a location I had never seen.  As it turned out I hit the jackpot with a gorgeous couple and an amazing location.  I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

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Maternity Photography Lancaster PA
Maternity Photography, Lancaster PA
Maternity Photography, Lancaster PA

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Maternity Photography in Lancaster PA

Maternity Photography Lancaster PA, was done by top rated and reviewed photographer Jaime Warburton of FamilyTales Photography. Maternity and newborn photography are a specialty of Jaime, who has many years experience photographing babies and moms throughout the Lancaster County area.

 

Newborn Photography, Milton

Tucker :: Newborn Photography, Milton

I first met Megan and Brandon when I did their engagement portraits several years ago.  It was the first time I had ever had someone photograph ME at a shoot.  Brandon’s mom was documenting it ALL!  I went on to photograph their wedding.  It was an amazing event.  It was one of those weddings that I love so much.  The kind where everyone there makes me feel like family.  I was SO excited when Megan told me she was pregnant.  After all, we had become more than photographer and client.  We had become friends.  I made the trip up to Milton to photograph their pregnancy announcement which heavily featured Wyatt, the St. Bernard.  A few months later I happily left my own family’s Labor Day picnic to photograph Brandon and Megan’s gender reveal which they held at their own holiday picnic surrounded by family and friends.  It was so exciting!!  A boy!  Megan was as shocked as anyone though there were priceless expressions all around.  Then there were the maternity portrait on a bitter cold winter day.  Wyatt, the furry big brother to be was the party star once again.  And after all that Tucker FINALLY arrived!!  And at 4 days old we finally met.  I can’t wait to watch him grow.  This is the goal for my business.  I want to watch families grow <3RT2-0978

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