I love taking pictures. I always have. At family functions often times it was my set of pictures from the event that were being shared and printed. I take multiple shots, I try multiple angles, I zoom in & out. When I can't be behind the camera I get, admittedly a bit bossy or critical of photos and how they are being taken. But, let's be honest, nothing beats a professional photographer's photos. Be it their camera, their editing skills, their "eye" what have you, professional photographers can make my at-home applied makeup look goooooood. When you have a baby you suddenly become paparazzi snapping photos on your phone at all hours of the day but what do all of these photos have in common? You aren't in them!
I Hired A Photographer For The First Year of My Baby's Life and It Was The Best Thing I Did!
Professional photoshoots are intertwined with life's milestones. Each year in school you get photos taken, when you graduate 8th grade, high school, college. Engagement photos are great for save the dates and for engagement parties. Wedding photos, DUH! Maternity shoots have really become popular over the last decade and now babies are becoming the star of their own photoshoot just hours after being born (Fresh 48 shoots). It may sound over the top to some but for an hour or two of your time you are given anywhere from 10 to 30 photos of your family that you can use on holiday cards, thank you notes, decoration for your home and gifts for others.
When I first found my photographer her package included a maternity shoot, a Fresh 48 shoot, a newborn shoot, 6 months and 1 year (cake smash) shoot. At first, my husband and I thought it might be too hectic to try and worry about getting our photographer buzzed into the maternity ward for photos so we asked to swap out the Fresh 48 for something else. We opted for a 3 month family fall shoot.
In the end, the hospital had a photographer present to take Fresh 48 photos. So we ended up with them anyway! Of course you had to pay the photographer's fee but even my husband can admit that the photos the professional took of us are better than ones we took ourselves on our phones or even with our camera. Plus, we were able to get photos of the three of us which is difficult to get because, well, nurses have better things to do than take your picture. I understand not every hospital offers an in-house photographer but I have seen plenty of photographer's portfolio's include Fresh 48's they just require a travel fee on top of the session fee.
Typically taken within 14 days after baby's birth so that they are still in the squishy and super sleepy stage. These are the photos you see all over Pinterest where babies wear tutus or ties or glasses or they are balled up inside mom or dad's hat. SUPER CUTE stuff, right? I loved our newborn shoots, for the obvious reason of getting baby pictures but also because you get family photos outside of the hospital where baby is still so tiny and new. I used photos from both of my kid's newborn shoot on their Christening invitations.
Half Way to 1
"Ohhh we're half way there.." sorry, but c'mon you know you were singing it too. Half way to 1 (or 6 month photo shoots) are fun because, well baby is half way to 1! By now baby is most likely sitting up for at least brief moments unassisted and showing tons of personality. Comparing these photos to the newborn ones are crazy because baby looks like they have quadrupled in size! Some props for these sessions include 1/2 signs, half of a cake, birthday hats with 1/2 on them. I didn't have a cake but I did have a birthday hat and onesie that called out we were half way to 1.
Two words. CAKE SMASH! You can call me clique but I do think cake smash photos are fun and it doesn't even. have to be cake. Tacos? Pie? Donuts? Anything your one year old eats? Celebrating their first birthday with food and photos. Even thought photos were taken 6 months prior, again the growth that happens in those 6 months are astonishing. Maybe by their first birthday baby is walking! Again, because I love using these photos I used cake smash photos for my 1st born's thank you cards after her birthday party.
Sure getting ready for photo sessions is stressful, you have to make sure everyone looks presentable and are wearing coordinating outfits and you hope that no one is crying at the shoot or got a bruise the day prior but after you get those photos back all of that kind of fades into the background. I try to snap photos of my kids every day but lets face it they are phone photos that don't wind up anywhere. Hiring a professional photographer for the first year forced my family to take photos together and I have them to look back on forever.
First Year Photos Get More Fun With Each Baby
I set out on a mission to make sure my second born got just as much attention as my first born and while some days I may fail terribly at that one thing I was able to control was hiring a photographer again. This time around we would get our Fresh 48 shots with our newborn as well as with our first born. During the newborn shoot we had great shots of our family of 4 and during the 6 month shoot I was able to dress them in matching outfits for some of the shots in addition to my second's half way to one outfit!
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