I’m a major sucker for cute baby pictures.
My Pinterest account’s been largely created just so I can scope out adorable, wrinkly, chubby-cheeked darlings in all their precious glory.
So, imagine my excitement at dolling up my own little princess for cutsie pics.
About three weeks before my due date, my family photographer Melissa Jacobs began asking if she could shoot our princess.
Melissa’s more than a photographer – like any great photographer, she’s part of the family.
I met Melissa while working for Supervisor Pam Slater-Price. On the professional front: she’s the best. I’ve seen her all over town, from the PRSA Bernays Awards to weddings to elected official press conferences.
I’ve recommended her to clients (and they’ve always been pleased), plus she’s done my professional headshot and some shots of us when I was five months pregnant which we used for our 2011 Christmas cards.
The one below got rave reviews from family and friends:
Right away, I pilfered my Pinterest account for this little magical shot.
In true Melissa form, she responds saying “no problem” and she can’t wait to meet her when she arrives.
What I loved about the above picture: it focuses on the size difference of the baby. Can’t you just “feel” that cute little baby’s soft skin?
I just happened to have a cute stuffed elephant my mom gave me for the nursery this past Christmas.
Here’s Hank all ready for Dagny to come home:
When Baby Bird arrived two weeks ahead of my due date, it threw off our photo session calendar and instead of being two weeks old – she was three weeks on the dot.
I thought those baby photo sites must be nuts for recommending a baby be 10 days old or younger for newborn pictures.
What’s to shoot? All she did was sleep.
All the mommy sites recommended I have her well-fed, calm and be prepared for another soothing feeding.
But our best-laid plans quickly devolved into a comedy of errors made more intense by her screaming bloody-murder.
- Best lighting caused her to blink angrily.
- Peaceful visions of a naked baby butt replaced by a screaming, kicking, Army-crawling baby.
- Sitting up to snuggle with the elephant. No. Laying down with the elephant. Kinda (see below).
- Peeing. Lots of peeing. Peeing on hubs (he changed his shirt for the family shots), peeing on the nursing glider, peeing on the carpet, nearly peeing on Melissa.
- Pacifier did not earn it’s name. She would either purse her lips or spit it out like a watermelon seed. The only thing that kind of worked was giving her hubs finger to gnaw on between shots.
After the sitting up pose flopped, Melissa re-assessed.
“Let’s lay her sideways with the elephant.”
Worked in theory (like the rest of the shoot), but she kept throwing her leg up in the air as soon as the camera started clicking and showing the world her pikachu.
Hubs sighed: “I’m failing already.”
Here was the best of the lot (it’s not cropped or touched up):
We finally took the elephant out of the equation and went far more simple.
Once Dagny calmed down and focused on Melissa, some beautiful shots materialized.
Hubs and I originally didn’t plan on being part of any shots and so, we didn’t get gussied up.
But since we were throwing plans out the window, what the heck?
I’m glad we did because she snapped some candid shots of hubs calming Dagny that brought tender little tears to my eyes.
Plus, she captured the three of us in our natural three-weeks-postpartum state: tired, unsure and making lots of mistakes.
I thank God everyday for bringing this priceless creature into my life.
She’s already teaching me how to let go (quite literally).
Our deepest appreciation to our dear (and patient) friend Melissa – she’s a celluloid maven.
Here’s some of my favorites from the day: