Earlier this week, we did one of the ubiquitous family photo shoots. (I think these are required for bloggers with kids, right?) I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to get it in (that’s what she said), since it was POURING in the AM. And actually, as we were taking photos, Will’s cell phone made one of those “scary thing approaching” sounds and it was a tornado warning saying to take cover. We were on top of a big hill at Sotterley Plantation, so we decided we could probably see if a tornado came our way. (Totally safe, right?) And apart from some light sprinkles and the humidity being approximately 2,5678%, it was perfect (ie the lighting was great). I’m sort of glad we procrastinated a bit until 7 months, because now A can sit up well enough on her own so she could do some true solo shots in this dress that I bought before she was born (I love it so much I actually bought it in newborn size, too. And yes, it is the same dress Clara from YHL wore for a fam photo shoot that I can’t find the exact link to. I swear I am not a stalker; I just saw it at JCP and loved it. ).
The wonderful Ben Hallissy took the pics and did an outstanding job. He was very patient with a sleepy baby (he does weddings on the weekends, so we had to fit this in after work), had lots of great ideas for shots, and even got a couple smiles out of Will! If anyone local or in the DC area would like his info, let me know. I highly recommend him!
There are even more pics on his blog, and this is just a preview of more to come. I am SO glad we did this!
Before we get to the UM ADORABLE pics, here are some tips:
- Don’t be overly critical of yourself in the pics. Of course I look at these and obviously say “omg my HAIR. my CHIN.” but duh the baby is adorable and the pics are great.
- Guess what Ainsley did 0.5 seconds after I put her in a cute, brand new, white shirt? Puked orange baby food all over it. Bring some baby wipes (or shout wipes) to clean up such messes, and keep them on hand (maybe a couple in dad’s pocket?) instead of in the diaper bag, since you’ll be walking around. If you’re super-obsessive, maybe buy 2 of whatever outfit you want baby in. Leave the tags on one, and if it isn’t needed, return if post-photo shoot.
- Wear whatever clothes you are wearing while holding the baby PRE-shoot. It’s not in any of these shots, but the other shirt I wore was a cute blue shirt with some ruffles from Old Navy. But in the million percent humidity and with A pulling on me, it got kind of loose. Would have been better if I had washed and shrunk it first, or maybe even wore a different shirt.
- Back to the puking thing – the baby may also puke on YOU. So white in general is maybe not the world’s best idea.
- Wear your clothes in the kind of weather it will be. Like the blue shirt, the jeans I wore were a bit big (I had lost a bit of weight the previous week). So they kept falling down annoyingly.
- I also wasn’t crazy about the whiskering on them, but I went jean shopping a couple weeks ago and couldn’t find anything that fit me very well. I put a ton of time into picking out the shirts, but not the jeans. I should have bought some new jeans that fit better and didn’t have the whiskering.
- If you’re changing the baby’s clothes, make sure it’s a quick change. I did plan this well. And we were able to go back to the polka dot dress after the white top got pukey. Ditto for you on the quick changes. I wore a white tank so I could just easily change shirts without it being a production.
- Maybe think about ironing the baby’s dress before you are about to leave to take pics. Maybe do that the day before.
- Start a tradition. In some of the shots, you can see that Ainsley and I have matching necklaces. Will got them for us for xmas last year, right before she was born (she was born on 1/4/12). Probably, we’ll wear these for subsequent photo shoots as well. At least until she gets old enough to say, “MOOO-ooom. Not that necklace AGAIN.”
- Incorporate things for the baby to play with. Maybe a photo-worthy new toy. Maybe a favorite/sentimental toy. Maybe some home-grown zinnias that she will immediately stick in her mouth. Gotta keep them amused! Once I used the rocks to help prop up the frame Ben brought, Ainsley discovered that you can play with rocks. And dirt. Thankfully we could (at least temporarily), distract her with flowers to eat.
- Props! We brought a blanket, a wooden rocker that was mine, a stuffed lion that was Will’s, and a mason jar of zinnias. Ben brought 2 different empty frames to use. Props are good.
- Practice! Your hair. Your face. How you old your arms so they look at skinny as possible, without also looking like you are trying to hold your arms that way on purpose so they look as skinny as possible. Again with the hair complaining. I kind of wish I had just pulled it into a ponytail at the end (tho I am glad it was down for the pic that is my fave). Bring a mirror to check yourself, and don’t be afraid to practice hair flips (could have run my fingers through my hair to make it less odd), non-awkward baby holds, smiles, etc in the mirror before hand. Your husband will think you’re crazy, but he probably does anyway. But in the end, the cute baby will balance out your double chin smile. So don’t stress over it too much.
And now….adorableness. Again, visit the blog for more pics and to see these larger!