I had just had a baby via c-section and I had picked up photography 9 months before. I had been blessed by having my first son’s newborn photographer as my mentor, had shadowed her on sessions, and had done a few newborn sessions myself over the past several months. Surely, I could do newborn photos for our newest addition myself. Now, almost a year and a half later, I’m going to tell you why I regret that decision . . .
I didn’t schedule it.
I had a handle on newborn posing, and I thought that it would be easy because I could do them whenever it worked for me, as long as I got it done in those first two weeks. That was foolish of me. I often hear one of my favorite podcasters, Gretchen Rubin, say, “Something that can be done at any time, is often done at no time.” I thought I could do a few photos here, a few photos there, when the moment was right. The moment was really never right. I had a toddler running around, a newborn baby, and I was always looking for the perfect natural light in my house, which never seemed to be perfect in the rooms I was trying to use when the timing would have worked for the toddler and the baby.
I was recovering from major abdominal surgery.
I was doing things I wasn’t supposed to do in order to get the shot I wanted. After a c-section, you aren’t even supposed to do stairs, and here I was climbing on a step stool and standing very unsteadily on my bed. I was going downstairs to get boxes of backdrops and props that I wanted, (I’m not great at asking for help). I did not have a difficult recovery, but it was a recovery nonetheless.
I was adjusting to life with a toddler and a newborn.
Life with both a toddler and a newborn was a major adjustment! My one year old had just recently become mobile, so someone always had to be on top of him. And even though we had just gone through the newborn stage with our first a year before, I had quickly forgotten how tough that was. I was sleep deprived, dealing with a ton of hormones, breastfeeding a new baby (and each baby is different when it comes to feeding). I was trying to use my husband as my safety assistant when it came to photos, but he also had to make sure our toddler (who was not a good napper) was safe.
I had frequent visitors.
You would think that this might be helpful in regards to getting the photos done. However, for me, it just added to the stress. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciated the visitors and the help with meals and help around the house. It just wasn’t helpful in regards to accomplishing photos, because as I was trying to take photos, I felt like I should be spending time with my company.
I was not yet skilled at self portraits.
I am still working on this aspect of my photography, but that’s a subject for another time. I set my camera settings, showed my husband how to make sure the focal point was on me, and asked him to take some photos. Then I would look at the back of the camera to see what I needed to change in regards to my posing, my angle, the light, and then have him take more. I don’t feel like I captured the feelings, the moments that I would’ve like to of this time with my new baby.
If I had hired an newborn photographer . . .
There would have been a scheduled time blocked off. We wouldn’t have had visitors during this time, and I would have only been focused on being mom and being the subject of some of the photos. I would’ve trusted another professional to get the variety of photos done in a newborn session, rather than spacing out taking photos over more than a week, trying to check things off of a list that I had created before having the baby, and ending up with much less than I had hoped for.
All in all, I feel fortunate that I did end up with some newborn photos of my second that I do love. But I wish I had more, and the only way I think I could’ve had more was to hire someone else to do it, someone who wasn’t trying to play the role of both mom and photographer. And I recently felt very validated in this, when I found out that another photographer friend hired someone else to do her newborn photos. So if you’re reading this and have a little one on the way, and some skills with a camera, I urge you to consider hiring someone to capture some of those fleeting first moments for you.