Welcome to our Parent Tips!

Because you have questions and we have answers!

 Check out our articles in the following categories…

Three Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Newborn Photographer

Finding the right Newborn Photographer for you can be an overwhelming and time consuming task, but well worth the effort invested once you find the right match.  Because working with newborns is such an art, requiring lengthy skill development and an intimate knowledge of specialized safety aspects, it’s important to know what to look for when shopping around.

At APNPI, we’re passionate about helping parents find the right photographer who is skilled in their art and places safety above all.  We hope you’ll enjoy the video below, where one of our lovely Ambassadors Lizzy McMillan of Momento Studios, discusses 3 of the most important questions to ask before you hire a Newborn Photographer.

 

About Lizzy:  Lizzy McMillan is an APNPI Qualified Newborn Photographer, PPA Certified Professional Photographer, and APNPI Ambassador with a boutique maternity and newborn studio in Downtown Mesa, Arizona. She has specialized in newborn portraiture for nearly a decade and has photographed over 1200 newborns. Her extensive work with newborn twins, triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets has set her apart in the photography industry, garnered international acclaim and has earned her the apt moniker “The Multiples Whisperer™”. Lizzy is passionate about documenting family history and preserving the important moments in her clients’ lives. When she’s not snuggling newborns or teaching other photographers the art of photographing multiples, she and her husband are usually busy wrangling their three children or watching The Office on Netflix.

For more about Lizzy McMillan and her work, visit www.momentostudios.com

Documenting Motherhood – My 2018 Challenge For You

Written by: Lizzy McMillan

Photo: Lizzy McMillan, CPP www.MomentoStudios.com

 

Every January is met with a host of New Year’s resolutions, goals, good intentions and promises to ourselves that we will “do better this year.” Many of those well-intended resolutions have already been put on the backburner. We fall back in to the familiarity of daily routines and succumb to the organized chaos of raising young children. I often joke that our family is a circus, and I’m attempting to be the ringleader most days, perhaps you can relate!

 

Photo credit: Shannon Lee, QNP, www.ShannonLeePhotography.com

 

This often means that you revert to putting your children’s needs before your own, as mothers often do. You spend late nights rocking babies, evenings shuttling kids between activities and weekends juggling play dates and birthday parties. There are only so many hours in the day, so it can be difficult to carve out time just for you.

 

Photo: Lizzy McMillan, QNP, CPP www.MomentoStudios.com

 

There is no doubt about it- this season of life is hard. Tiring. Often lonely. As moms, we are inundated with so much information, opinions, and decisions about parenting, it is akin to drinking from a fire hose. It is easy to allow self-doubt to creep in to our daily thoughts, and fears of “not being the perfect mom” to fester and grow. I can guarantee you, the way you see yourself as a mom is very different than the way your children see you. While you may focus on your imperfections, your children see you as their hero.

 

Photo credit: Liana McCorkle, QNP, www.littlelullabyphotography.com

 

This is where my 2018 challenge for you comes in.

Can you believe this year is almost a quarter of the way over? I can almost guarantee that your phone (or even your “big girl camera”) is filled with snapshots of your children. No doubt, you have captured photos from the fun adventures and silly moments from the first few months of this year. But mom, I have a question for you: how many of those snapshots are YOU IN?

 

You are a main character in your children’s family story. Your children NEED to see YOU in their pictures.

 

 

Photo credit: Liana McCorkle, QNP, www.littlelullabyphotography.com

 

As a professional photographer, I often hear the laundry list of excuses from moms about why they can’t or don’t want to be in portraits. I want to share some of the most common excuses, and provide some insight that will hopefully inspire you to make a change this year.

“I have 15 pounds of ‘baby weight’ I need to lose first.”

Growing and birthing a baby is no easy feat. Your body is transformed before your eyes, and your once taught-skin is now soft and scarred. You are frustrated that your favorite jeans are still too tight, and your face is round.

Your child does not see the baby weight that you are struggling with. When he looks at you, he sees home. He sees your warm, cozy lap to crawl into. He sees a soft bosom to rest his head, and listen to your heartbeat. He needs to see you in his pictures.

 

Photo: Lizzy McMillan, CPP www.MomentoStudios.com

 

“I haven’t had my hair done in months. I need to get a color and cut first.”

You look in the mirror and see roots that need a touch up. You see scraggly, split ends that desperately need a trim and blow out. You see the gray hairs sneaking their way in to your once perfectly maintained mane.

Your daughter sees your soft brown curls that match her own. She loves the way you snuggle and give her tickles with the ends of your ponytail as she giggles and asks for more. But mostly, she loves twirling your hair between her fingers as she gazes up at you while nursing. She needs to see you in her pictures.

 

Photo credit: Liana McCorkle, QNP, www.littlelullabyphotography.com

 

“I look so tired”

“The baby hasn’t slept through the night yet. I have huge bags under my eyes. I’ll wait a few months until we’re both sleeping better so I don’t look so tired.”

When your son falls and scans the playground for you, he doesn’t see the “tired” on your face. His eyes lock with yours, and he sees your soft, reassuring smile telling him he’s OK. He dusts himself off, and is back on his way. He does not see the worry or the bags under your eyes. He looks at you and sees eyes that sparkle with your love, and are the same shade of hazel-green as his own. He needs to see you in his pictures.

 

Photo credit: Shannon Lee, QNP, www.ShannonLeePhotography.com

 

“Money is tight right now. We will take pictures next month/fall/spring etc. ”

Finances and budget vary for every family. I am not suggesting you put yourself or your family in a financial strain. My goal of this challenge is to encourage you to be in your family’s visual story- not just a cheerleader from the sidelines. That may mean tossing the camera at your partner, or setting your camera on a timer. I also want to encourage you to schedule a professional portrait session, or to find a way to include it in your family budget this year.

 

Photo credit: Mary Kriss, QNP, www.MaryKrissPhotography.com

 

The professional portraits and daily snapshots are your children’s visual history. They need to see you in their childhood portraits. Twenty years from now, your son will look at the portraits and see the love you gave unselfishly that shaped him into a man. Your daughter will treasure the images of your journey through motherhood as she begins her own.

 

Photo credit: Mary Kriss, QNP, www.MaryKrissPhotography.com

 

Your family history is happening right now.

My challenge to you for 2018 is to get IN your photos. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, so ditch the excuses. Do it for your son. Do it for your daughter. Most importantly, do it for yourself, because YOU are the glue that holds that family-circus together. One day those pictures will be all your children have left of you.

 

Lizzy McMillan is an APNPI Qualified Newborn Photographer, PPA Certified Professional Photographer, and APNPI Ambassador with a boutique maternity and newborn studio in Downtown Mesa, Arizona. She has specialized in newborn portraiture for nearly a decade and has photographed over 1200 newborns. Her extensive work with newborn twins, triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets has set her apart in the photography industry, garnered international acclaim and has earned her the apt moniker “The Multiples Whisperer™”. Lizzy is passionate about documenting family history and preserving the important moments in her clients’ lives. When she’s not snuggling newborns or teaching other photographers the art of photographing multiples, she and her husband are usually busy wrangling their three children or watching The Office on Netflix.

For more about Lizzy McMillan and her work, visit www.momentostudios.com

Valentine Themed Photos

Written by: Amy Tripple and Heidi Peters

It’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to chocolate, hearts… and kisses. Valentine’s day is just around the corner and we wanted to share a few ways to mark the occasion.

These ideas are simple, quick and inexpensive. (Who has time to build a complicated set? We’d rather spend our time snuggling up with our loved ones!) Grab a few simple items from around the house and off you go!

1. Paper hearts

A couple of sheets of colored paper and a clear section of floor is all you need to make this simple scene. Bonus points: let your kids do the cutting – it will keep them busy and it’s great practice for those fine motor skills!

 

2. Hugs and Kisses

Cutest thing ever? Qute possibly. Put siblings together for a snuggle, or plant a big, wet juicy one on your little kid. We’ve seen this taken to extremes with babies entirely covered with red lipstick marks. And yeah, it’s actually really adorable.

 

 

3. Candy Hearts

Don’t know about you, but for us, seeing a picture of these little candy hearts triggers a sweet taste in our memories. So simple. So iconic. So fun. Available everywhere. Cheap. And you can eat them after they have been photographed!

 

4. Red Balloons

Kids. Love. Balloons.

 

We hope this inspires you to mark the day in your own way. Other ideas for simple props: fresh flowers, paper flowers, heart-shaped doilies, ribbons, chocolate hearts, valentine’s cards, red crayons, glitter or sequins!

Amy Tripple and Heidi Peters are award-winning photographers. Their work has appeared in Parents Magazine, US Weekly, People, The Chicago Tribune and Professional Photographer Magazine. They created Shoot Along to give themselves structure and accountability to capture their own families and decided it would be a great concept to share with other parents.

What began as a personal project has grown into a friendly and rewarding passion, offering support and instruction to parents on six continents. The goal of Shoot Along is to give parents the tools they need to document their families through photography.

Over 3,500 parents have taken part in Shoot Along since it started in 2014.

For more exciting information about Shoot Along, visit www.ShootAlong.com

Shoot Along 2018 – Taking beautiful images of your children

Written by:  Cara Hall

My journey with my camera has been a lifelong passion, one that I come back to over and over no matter where else life takes me.  Like many other photographers, I honed my skills and opened up a business, partly because I was obsessed with photography, and partly because it seemed like a great way to fund my passions and desires to buy my dream camera equipment.  It was an unfortunate paradox then to realize that I was spending so much energy on providing beautiful images for my clients, while being negligent in getting out the camera for my own family, and had little to nothing of my own children!

When I saw another photographer mention Shoot Along in 2015, I joined right away, I was eager to have beautiful images of my own family.  My skills were mainly as a studio photographer, under controlled lighting and controlled sets.  Lifestyle imagery and natural light was wayyy out of my comfort zone!  Needless to say, with the purpose, the guidance, and a community to tap into and interact with, I took the challenges and pushed myself out of my comfort zone… the results?  Images that I CHERISH and would never have taken on my own!

So if you’re still reading, you’re likely a lot like me in that you just LOVE images of your babies and your family.  Whether you’re new to owning a camera, or have had one for a while but haven’t gotten around to learning all those functions at your finger tips, or maybe you’re just stale in your photos and looking for something more.  Shoot Along 2018 is a great program for those looking to learn and improve, and to purposefully build a collection of beautiful images of your family!

If you’re interested in more information about Shoot Along 2018, visit here:  www.shootalong.com

Below are some of my favs from my Shoot Along journey in 2015.  🙂

 

 

Hi everyone, thanks for reading my post. Since 2015, I’ve continued to follow various challenges to keep photos of my family front and centre in my life and I just get so much joy from looking at these images. I’m also a big advocate that Moms need to get in front of the camera and have their photos taken too…  but if you’re like me, too shy, too busy, etc etc, then selfies with my kids is the answer and currently the only way I’m ever photographed. For me, it’s the best way! 🙂

Cara is the owner/photographer at Cafe Bebe Photography.  She’s also a proud team member of APNPI, and proud mama of 2 amazing children.

 

 

Christmas Season 2017

With the festive season upon us, photographers everywhere are working hard providing Christmas themed photos to their clients.  It’s the most popular time of year to update family photos and to get those hard to capture sibling portraits, which means many photographers work around the clock during this very busy season!

It’s always fun to see what the latest trends are, so we thought we’d provide a peek into what our APNPI members around the world are up to this Christmas.  To see more info and imagery about the photographers behind these beautiful images, simply click on the image itself.

Grab a cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy!

Session Spotlight: Golden Hour Nursing Session

This is... hands down.... the most beautiful image I have ever taken.

The Story Behind This Session

This amazing session was this beautiful mom’s idea.  I love when clients push me out of the box!!

This session was rescheduled 4 times because of weather!  What a wet summer we had.  It was totally worth the wait.  From the beautiful fresh floral crowns to the epic light, this session will always be one of my favourites and one that I feel very proud of.

I am a STRONG supporter of breastfeeding and this session filled my heart and soul.

I love her little bum in this image <3

mamas perspective <3

snuggles


Session by: Azure Photography

I am a professional newborn photographer in Guelph, ON. I mainly focus on newborns but also enjoy photographing maternity, sitters and cake smash sessions!
I have had a camera in my hand since I was 18 years old. I learned a lot about exposure and colour working the lab at Black’s Photography in my home town and locally in Guelph.
Photographing newborns and babies and anything connected to those is my passion.

 

Find out more about this photographer at:

APNPI Profile

Website

Facebook

What One Member and Her Clients are Saying about the QNP Certification

Written by: Heather Glude – Owner/Photographer of Itty Bitty Bug Photography
This article first appeared on the Itty Bitty Bug Photography blog.

CERTIFICATION AS QUALIFIED NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER

The world’s first international newborn photography association, Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers International, has just certified Heather Glude of Itty Bitty Bug Photography in their second group of Qualified Newborn Photographers. Heather is honored to be selected to be part of this elite group of photographers dedicated to elevating the art of newborn photography. APNPI was founded to help clients discern the difference among photographers and build a comprehensive educational curriculum to continue to drive excellence in imagery and safety.

“When looking for a newborn photographer, there were so many choices, but skill level seemed to vary a lot, and I didn’t know how to assess their ability to work with newborns. I’m so glad I found Heather anyway, but something like this would have been so helpful!”

In today’s over-saturated market, parents are faced with an overwhelming amount of choice, but have few tools to determine who to trust with the most precious thing in the world – their newborn baby. APNPI’s certification program evaluates the quality of the photographer’s images, their business practices, and their knowledge of and dedication to newborn safety, giving parent’s peace of mind that their baby and their memories are in excellent hands. Jennifer Johnson, a new mom, explained, “When looking for a newborn photographer, there were so many choices, but skill level seemed to vary a lot, and I didn’t know how to assess their ability to work with newborns. I’m so glad I found Heather anyway, but something like this would have been so helpful!”

Newborn photography has been on the rise since the Anne Geddes calendars and books in the 90s. Today, it seems like everyone is booking a photographer to capture their babies’ first moments, and now there’s a photographer for everyone, whether you want documentary-style in your home, whimsical themes and costumes, or fine-art studio style. What has been missing is an organization to evaluate and ensure quality. Amy Kenny, a Snohomish mom, noted that a certificate like this would “make me feel assured that the photographer is well versed in working with newborns, who are so fragile and special.”

 

“make me feel assured that the photographer is well versed in working with newborns, who are so fragile and special.”

As part of the recognition process, Heather submitted images from dozens of recent sessions for evaluation by a panel of judges, who . Her clients agree with the judges’ assessment. “Heather was kind and patient with my newborn, and has a wonderful eye for composition not all photographers possess. She really listened to what I wanted, while also creating beautiful memories that will last a lifetime,” said Ms. Kenny.

 

Heather Glude offers maternity, newborn and milestone sessions in her cozy studio in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. Contact her for more information on her sessions.

TRENDING NOW: 5 Unique “Cake Smash” Alternatives

Written by: Lizzy McMillan

Celebrating your little one’s first birthday is big milestone! Congratulations on the monumental achievement of keeping your tiny human alive (and keeping most of your sanity) for 365 days!

Documenting your child’s first birthday with a portrait session is a great way to preserve the memories for generations to come. Over the past few years, photographers have been capturing first birthday sessions with a fun “cake smash” set up. The idea is to provide the birthday boy or girl with a mini-cake and photograph the process of him or her enjoying and destroying the cake in the process. The sets range from a simple cake outdoors to elaborate decorations in studio.

Traditional cake smash sessions usually go one of two ways: the baby loves the cake and does not want to stop eating, or the baby wants nothing to do with the cake, resulting in tears! Both scenarios result in adorable images of your little love bug.

A new trend in first birthday sessions is the cake smash “alternative.” Your baby is unique, and your photographer is constantly striving to create custom images that showcase that. A cake smash alternative is a fun spin on the traditional cake smash. The cake is replaced with another fun, messy food that baby enjoys.

Here are a few unique concepts to consider as an alternative to a traditional cake smash:

Watermelon Smash

(Images courtesy of: Cortney Talbott)

The watermelon smash is a cool, refreshing and healthy alternative to cake and is perfect for summer birthdays. It is also a great option for babies that have milk or egg allergies. Photographer Cortney Talbott Photography added extra watermelons to the set create the perfect scene for this birthday girl.

Tacos/Burrito

(Images courtesy of: Momento Studios)

Who needs a birthday cake when you can have tacos or burritos? The mix of beans, rice and all the fixings are a fun and messy way to celebrate. Momento Studios captured this little one’s first birthday “Chipotle-style”. Don’t forget the sour cream and guacamole!

Donuts

(Images courtesy of: Momento Studios)

Donuts are a fun, sweet alternative to the traditional cake.  There are many options available, as donuts come in an assortment of shapes and colors. The donuts can be used to decorate the set, but it’s also fun to watch as your child moves around to “taste” little bites out of all of the treats.

Spaghetti

(Images courtesy of: Mary Kriss Photography)

Not a fan of cake? How about a huge bowl of spaghetti instead! Babies love digging in to the fun, and messy texture of a bowl of spaghetti. Photographer Mary Kriss captured this little guy’s first birthday, Italian heritage, and his love of spaghetti perfectly. If your little one has a favorite food that relates to your heritage, incorporating that in to his or her first birthday session is a great way to customize your portraits.

Yogurt Paint

(Images courtesy of: Momento Studios)

Who says you can’t play with your food? The yogurt-paint idea knocks that old idea out the window! Yogurt is another healthy alternative over cake. In this series, Momento Studios used food coloring to dye Greek yogurt, and set the stage for a perfectly messy (and edible) painting session.

Cake smash alternatives are all the rage, and it seems the only limit is your creativity. Babies love exploring their world, especially when a variety of colors and textures are involved. These are just a few fun ideas to get the creativity started.

Lizzy McMillan is an APNPI Certified and PPA Certified Professional Photographer with a boutique maternity and newborn studio in Downtown Mesa, Arizona. She has specialized in newborn portraiture for nearly a decade and has photographed over 1200 newborns. Her extensive work with newborn twins, triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets has set her apart in the photography industry, garnered international acclaim and has earned her the apt moniker “The Multiples Whisperer”. Lizzy is passionate about documenting family history and preserving the important moments in her clients’ lives. When she’s not snuggling newborns or teaching the art of photographing multiples, she and her husband are usually busy wrangling their three children or watching The Office on Netflix.

For more about Lizzy McMillan and her work, visit www.momentostudios.com

Certified Newborn Photographer Marcela Limon

Written by: Marcela Limon

APNPI

Earlier this year I learned about a photographers association called APNPI (Accredited Professional Newborn Photographers International). This association was created by talented and experienced newborn photographers – including Stephanie Robin (the queen of newborn safety) – with the purpose of making our industry better and safer.

As of today, newborn photography is not regulated at all and anyone with a camera and a basket can call themselves newborn photographers. The reality is that newborn babies are the most fragile human beings, and handling and posing them means there’s a lot of responsibility in our hands. Sadly, there are some photographers who don’t take newborn safety seriously. Newborn physiology, their reflexes and their inmune systems, newborn posing and image compositing (like the example to the right) should be part of every aspiring photographer’s learning agenda.

That’s where APNPI comes in. In an effort to educate newborn photographers in best practices and new parents in how to choose their photographer, this association is the new go-to place to find all the resources you need regarding your newborn photography session.

Can I be a little braggy for a sec?

A few days back, I announced through a Facebook Live Video that I had passed my QNP (Qualified Newborn Photographer) application and that I am now a Certified Newborn Photographer through APNPI. This is a big deal! There are just 19 of us for now worldwide! Obtaining this Certification was not easy at all; it requires photographers to be licensed and insured; to prove that we know our lighting, composition and posing techniques; that we have been trained by experienced photographers; that we know how to pose a baby alone, with siblings and with parents; that we can work in different scenarios with consistency in style and that we have happy clients telling their friends about our services. For this I had to submit very detailed paperwork along with tons of images that showed my experience. It was an extensive application process! And I’m very proud to share with you this press release:

And as much as I’m in celebration mode right now, there’s still a lot to do next. I’ll continue working to get accreditations in different areas of photography, like maternity, posed newborn and macro. This will take time, but every challenge requires hard work, patience and perseverance. As I have said before, this association is not here to charge us a membership fee and give us a seal. We have to earn our professional levels. And that’s what I’ll do.

The importance of YOU taking action too

You, as a parent, can help in making the newborn photography industry better too. When looking for a newborn photographer, don’t settle for one that does not take it seriously. You might put your baby at risk without even knowing it! Ask your photographer about their business and their practices. He or she should have no problem in answering these questions (based on this APNPI’s blogpost):

  • How many years in business and approximately how many babies has she handled up to this point?
  • Where has she trained and with whom?
  • What are the safety practices she takes into consideration during her sessions?
  • Will your newborn be supported by human hands in all upright positions as well as any poses requiring suspension?
  • Does she work with an assistant or provide spotters at her newborn sessions? Or will she allow you to spot your baby during a session?
  • What will happen in the case of illness, the photographer’s own or otherwise?
  • Is she up to date with vaccinations?
  • Is her business licensed and insured?

You should invest enough time, thought and research when looking for your newborn photographer. Make sure you are giving your baby to someone that understands newborns and that will treat your little treasure with all the delicacy and respect that they deserve. If you want to find a Certified Newborn Photographer in your area, make sure to visit apnpi.com.

Marcela Limon is a newborn and maternity photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She began taking photos of bellies and babies in 2013, but Lemonshoots wasn’t born until 2015. Since then she has trained in person with some of the best photographers in the industry, including Ana Brandt and Paloma Schell. She’s committed to newborn photography safety, that’s why she has been learning about baby physiology and recently joined APNPI. Marcela considers herself very lucky to capture her clients’ happiest memories with her camera and immortalize them in beautiful photos to decorate their walls. Every mama and every baby she has met has left a little mark in her life and in her heart.

 

See more of Marcela’s beautiful imagery at www.lemonshoots.com