The Story of Scout
And just like that, our whole world has changed. Allow me to introduce the newest member of the family. Scout Bailey Rose Buenrostro was born at 10:30pm on May 25th. After 28 grueling hours of labor she finally made her arrival. Thank you for all the love and support from friends and family, we are over the moon to finally meet her. We knew we wanted a unique namesake and ultimately fell in love with the name Scout, based on a character from the book To Kill A Mockingbird.
All of our friends with children told us that the clichés about becoming a parent are true, and I have to admit that it has happened to us. From the moment Scout was born we were just so in love with her, it's like a new type of love you've never experienced before. As cheesy as it sounds, your heart is just so full it aches. It was important to us to capture these moments in photos, so that one day we can show them to her when she's older.
Top 10 Tips to Planning Your Newborn Photos
1. Pinterest Research - I began this process by looking through many "newborn photography" search results on Pinterest to get a feel for the different types of options and styles. I discovered that newborn photography is mainly divided up into two categories, candid lifestyle and studio shoots. There are pros and cons to both styles but it ultimately comes down to your personal preference.
Studio Photography - When taking photos inside the studio, you have complete control of the props and lighting which makes it easy to create that "angelic baby" type photo. If this is your preference, you will need to find a local studio which is equipped with newborn props. For all you folks located in Northern California, Luminis Studios in Folsom has an excellent studio environment filled with bright natural light and modern decor aesthetics.
Lifestyle Photography - In the case of newborn photography, sometimes being at home in your natural environment is more your preference. This style can be more casual and candid, capturing everyday moments. It's important to keep in mind that lighting conditions can be unpredictable inside a home so your photographer may need to bring in extra lighting. Talk with your photographer about options and work out the best arrangement for you.
2. Pick a Theme - Start building the aesthetic you desire by selecting a color palette, fabric textures and even props. Think about adding elements such as warm woods, yarns, linen, etc. It's the small touches that will give your photos a curated look and feel.
3. Make it Personal - Because you are building your photo shoot experience from the ground-up, you have the perfect opportunity to incorporate personal elements to really make the photos your own. The knitted blanket in Scout's photos is actually a project I made with my late grandmother. Seeing it come to life in the images makes it all the more special and heart warming.
4. Invest In Your Photographer - My most import tip for your photo session is to invest in an experienced and talented professional photographer. If you've never hired one before, you may have initial sticker price shock at their rates but trust me, it's worth it! Make sure you thoroughly look over their portfolio and ask lots of questions before you begin working with them.
If being able to look through raw proofs is important to you, make sure you have that conversation before you book. Every photographer has a different work process and this may not be something they offer. For me, having a first look gives me a chance to select my favorites and takes the guessing work out for the photographer. Ask your photographer if you can have both digital and printed copies of your images. Often times digital images will have watermarks which is fine as long as it doesn't disrupt the image. If you ever share on social media, make sure to properly credit the photographer.
5. Communicate - If you've got a vision or inspirational photos, be sure to show them to your photographer and talk about how to incorporate them into the shoot. Don't feel shy to speak up, the more insight you can give helps the photographer plan out the shoot. Remember this is your time and budget, you want to walk away with the best photos possible.
6. Set a Tentative Date - Newborns work on their own schedule and trying to make appoitments can be tough. Newborn photography is best taken within 10 days of birth because at this age they're still be small and in a "curled up" position. Plan from your due date and make sure your photographer is flexible to accommodate a time and date close to when baby is actually born. As soon as you go into labor, send a quick email letting them know baby is on the way. Give yourself a few days to recuperate and get your new life situated as new parents, and then head in for photos.
7. A Family Affair - Take the opportunity to get some family shots with both parents (and siblings) in the photos. Finding the perfect time and place to get everyone in the shot is tough, so be sure to take full advantage. You may not be feeling very "photo ready" after delivery (and all the lack of sleep) but years from now when you look back, you'll be grateful you captured these family moments.
8. Primp and Proper - Planning my outfit for photos at only one week postpartum was tough because I wasn't pregnant anymore but I certainly wasn't back to my old body either. Most women will have a bit of a "pooch" after delivery and regular dresses are not always flattering. Find an outfit that is forgiving around your midsection and works with your current body.
The smallest details can sometimes make a big difference in photos. Make sure everyone's clothes have been steamed or ironed to remove all wrinkles before the shoot (including baby's outfit). If the fabric is especially prone to wrinkles, I don't recommend wearing it on the drive over. Slip into outfits upon arrival.
Making sure your nails are either freshly painted or bare is also very important because you will have many close-up images of your hands holding your baby. Chipped nail polish is an unsightly distraction and can take away from the image's quality.
9. The Night Before - Newborn babies are very unpredictable and getting enough sleep the night before is not a guarantee. In order to be as prepared as possible, have everything all ready to go and waiting by the door to reduce stress in the morning.
10. Relax - As a blogger I've spent many hours in front of the camera but I still get a little tense and stiff at the beginning of a photo shoot. The best photos come from genuine and spontaneous moments, which means your favorite snapshots will happen when you're relaxed and having fun. Play off the reactions from your baby and your partner and enjoy the moment!
One of my top tips is to do your research and invest in a high quality photo studio and photographer. After searching through many Northern California photographers, when I came across Luminis Studios I immediately knew they had the style and aesthetic I was looking for. Their photography style is modern, upbeat and editorial.
During our time working with them on our newborn session with Scout, we felt completely relaxed and comfortable which led to these amazing photos. They took the time to watch what unfolds naturally, capturing the most authentic and beautiful moments of our session. Their expertise in newborn photography helped to direct us through the session, capturing a mix of candid and posed photos so that we had a wide range of images to choose from.
Their goal is to provide you with beautiful art for your home and heirlooms for your family--all with the attention to detail and quality our discerning clients deserve. As photographers, they love the artistry that happens behind the camera but what they love even more is getting to know you and making your entire experience with us one that is personal, fun, an special.
Nicole Swaleh Photography
During our session inside Luminis Studios, photographer Nicole Swaleh worked her magic and captured these gorgeous images. She did an excellent job working with Scout, keeping her calm and peaceful during the shoot (no small feat with a 7 day old newborn!). Her experience with babies put us at ease and made the shoot a breeze.
Nicole Swaleh is a photographer that specializes in Weddings and Portraits serving Northern California from San Francisco to Tahoe. She picked up a camera in 2011 and, with the help of great mentors, learned how to use it. Photography won her over, and she started photographing professionally in 2012 as a full-time second photographer and part-time lead photographer for weddings in St. Louis, MO, where she grew up. She moved out to California at the end of 2013, continuing in the field of photography and digital artistry. She is a wife and a mom and loves to spend her free time with her family exploring all of the beauty that California has to offer.
See more of Nicole's work on Instagram.
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