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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.
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:
(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.
(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!
(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.
(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.
(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.
Written by: Marcela Limon
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.
Written by: Marcela Limon of Lemonshoots Emotion Photography
Your bundle of joy is coming soon and you’ve booked a professional newborn photo session! Congratulations! You won’t regret investing in your memories. But now what? It is normal to have questions and to be unsure of what to expect. All babies are different, but being prepared can be the difference between a frustrating session and a perfect one. Here are five ways to prepare for your newborn session that will help you and your photographer get the most out of it.
Communicate with Your Photographer
I like to talk with my clients before the session to answer any questions and to hear expectations. Some parents want to be in the photos, while others do not. Perhaps they want a photobook, perhaps they have an empty wall they want to fill with beautiful imagery. All this makes a difference when planning for a session. Many details are chosen depending on what you would like. Talk to your photographer about what you expect.
If your baby was born with some complication, don’t be afraid to tell your photographer. You have to tell her. Photos can still be taken, but she needs to know so she can plan for poses that will not compromise your baby’s safety.
Watch What You Eat
If you are breastfeeding, everything you eat goes to your milk, thus to your baby. Babies’ stomachs get upset really easily, so watching your diet for a few days before your session is important. Avoid eating spicy food, along with these others:
– Vegetables and Legumes: Broccoli, garlic, tomato, artichoke, cabbage, beans.
– Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, any product containing casein.
– Allergens: Fish, eggs, corn, wheat, peanuts and soy.
Avoid Doctors Appointments
Try not to book a doctor’s appointment the same day as your session. It can be too much for baby and for you. It is best to have that day clear so you can relax and focus only on your session. Although it is a beautiful and fun experience, it can be tiring too for both you and your baby.
If you have a boy and plan on circumcising him, wait after the session to do so, or have the surgery planned for at least five days before the photos. Your baby will be very sensitive and the outfits and wraps can hurt him. Otherwise, talk to your photographer so she can plan for a session with diaper on the whole time.
Keep Baby Items Handy
Pacifier. If you are comfortable using a pacifier, they can help sooth a baby once they are posed. Sucking calms them. Having a pacifier handy can help your photographer put baby to sleep without moving him, thus allowing time for more pictures.
Feeding Bottle. If you are bottle-feeding with formula or breast milk, keep one handy. They are great to top off baby if he starts to wake up in the middle of a pose or set.
Burp Cloths. Spits happen, and having burp clothes nearby can be the difference between quickly cleaning and continue shooting, and having to skip the set altogether.
Relax, Be Flexible and Enjoy the Session
A photography session can be stressful. If baby is your firstborn, everything is new for you. If you have toddlers running around, you’ll be worried about them not behaving for the photos. We are newborn photographers. We know how it is. We love what we do and we deal with it all the time. Pee and poop will happen. Crying siblings and fussy babies will happen. We are prepared for that. So don’t stress over it. We have our dose of patience and some tricks under our sleeve to make everything run smoothly.
Try to be a little flexible with feeding breaks. Just as when we need more water when we exercise, baby will need more milk this particular day. Allow this day to be a little different from your regular routine.
And the most important advice of all: Enjoy the session. Your newborn images will be beautiful. They will be happy memories of this very special moment in your life. You chose your photographer for a reason, so sit back, relax, and enjoy watching her work her magic and create art for you. Art you’ll cherish for generations.
Babies are simply scrumptious to photograph, whether it be a with dslr or an iphone. Creating bright, beautiful pictures is something any parent can achieve. Here are tips from two professional photographers that will work with any camera:
Pick your time
Babies are easiest to photograph when they are fed, dry, warm and content. Grab your camera when you and your baby are relaxed. Let your baby ‘do their thing’ while you simply enjoy a few minutes observing and snapping pictures. If after a while your baby is ready to do something else, put away the camera until another opportunity arises.
Find the light
Most homes have an area that receives plentiful, indirect light. Scope out your home to find this spot! It will probably be near a large, unobstructed window. The more light you have available, the greater chance of capturing images which show off your baby’s beautiful features. Our favorite strategy is to clear a space in a bright area and lay down a few quilts or blankets on the floor. Avoid using a space with harsh direct sunlight.
Don’t be afraid to move distracting furniture like lamps and chairs out of the way temporarily. These objects may create unwanted shapes in the background of your picture and draw the focus away from your baby.
Keep it real
When you look back years later, the most meaningful pictures will be those that truly captured a time and place. Photographing your baby with quirky props will not stir memories of how those first few months really felt.
Dress simply, or not at all!
Avoid “dressing up” your baby in adult style clothes which are gimmicky and will not stand the test of time. Likewise, try not to photograph your baby in a car seat or bouncer since they are typically upholstered with brightly patterned fabric. If in doubt, take off baby’s clothes (leaving the diaper on), swaddle your little one in a solid colored blanket, and lay him on a simple quilt.
Get those details
Take a moment to zoom in on special details like fingers, toes, ears, eyelashes and lips. Because these features change quickly, it is fun to photograph them as your baby grows.
It should go without saying that photographing your baby should not involve risk. Never place your baby in a pose that could be harmful. Any unnatural pose that puts strain on his neck or back should be absolutely avoided. Likewise, do not set your baby in a location where it could roll or fall. To eliminate risk, clear a space on the floor and lay down some blankets, or capture images while your baby is in a bassinet or crib. Perhaps the best and safest place of all to photograph your baby is in the arms of a loved one.
Capturing your baby
Have you ever noticed that the best teachers, pediatricians, babysitters, etc. will always lower themselves to the height of the child they are speaking with? What these gifted child-whisperers know is that children engage best when approached face-to-face. When photographing your baby, you’ll find that the images you take will be significantly more interactive and authentic when shot from their level. This may mean that your baby is not the only one who needs her daily tummy time!
As your baby develops, he will begin interacting with the world around him with a widening spectrum of emotions. To capture the fast-changing faces that reflect your baby’s moods, be sure to set your camera to “continuous release mode.” Even if you are shooting with a camera phone, there is usually a burst mode that allows you to capture multiple pictures in rapid sequence. The more pictures you take, the better the chance you’ll have one that truly captures your little one’s developing personality.
Babies are masters of mimicry and continuously feed off of the emotions of those around them. As your baby’s main photographer, remember to stay positive when you’re capturing pictures of your little one. Often, babies will only smile in response to another smile, which means you may find yourself playing peek-a-boo from behind your camera to get those sweet, toothless grins. Whatever you do, be sure to keep your feelings of frustration at bay as you take pictures of your baby so you don’t transfer any fussiness to your little subject.
Avoid getting bogged down by your hobby
Being organized is not glamorous. No one will compliment for your amazing organization skills. But did you know that being organized makes the creative process much more enjoyable and fulfilling?
FIRST THINGS FIRST
There is nothing more heartbreaking than losing your precious images. Computers do crash — usually at the most inopportune moment. This is the least glamorous but the most important step of being organized, so do your backup FIRST. Decide on a location to store your images besides your computer hard drive and set up a way to automatically backup to this place. You can choose to use an external hard drive or an online service like Dropbox, Amazon Prime, Google, Flickr, iCloud, or the myriad of other services out there. Best practice is to use both and external hard drive and online service. If you haven’t already, back up everything NOW.
NEXT, SET UP A HIERARCHY
The next step is decide a way to keep your images in some kind of order. We use dates and keywords. Pictures are organized in folders by year and month. Within each month, pictures are organized by topic. Within each topic is a folder for all the shots right off the camera and another folder for pictures that have been chosen to be printed.
If you use Lightroom, iPhoto, Aperture or other organizational software you also have the option of tagging your images with keywords. This is an invaluable tool for finding your pictures quickly in the future. It’s pretty likely that your kids are going to need pictures for school projects at very short notice. (Like, 10 minutes before you are trying to head out the door to get to school on time. Perhaps you can relate?) The ability to locate and pull up pictures quickly really does have real-life benefits, its not just for pro photographers.
A FEW SPECIAL SHOTS
Every once is a while you make magic. You know right at the moment that you click the shutter that you’ve got a display-worthy shot. These are the pictures that shouldn’t wait until later to get printed. They deserve special treatment. Get those printed, framed and up on the wall right away!
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of images your photography hobby involves, but remember that family photography is just that, a hobby. You do it for fun. Do NOT get bogged down in perfection; instead, make it a point to get a system in place so that you can keep shooting and ultimately get your images into the hands of your kiddos. Be organized or you’ll soon find yourself under a pile of digital images that will feel more like a burden instead of the sweet memories that they are.
5 Easy Tips to Improve Your Photos
1. Straighten your horizon
A crooked picture just feels… weird. You can solve many problems of composition by keeping an eye on your horizon. You’ll be able to frame up the other parts of your image more thoughtfully if you start with a straight shot.
2. Get lower
Can you think of anything less compelling than a picture of the top of someone’s head? It’s hard to capture a lot of emotion from this perspective! If you are photographing someone smaller than you, like say, your child, get down to his level so that the picture will show some expression. Getting lower has the added benefit of changing the overall perspective of the shot to make it more dynamic and include more background information.
3. Go off-center
Putting your subject front and center in an image is boring. The most powerful points in an image are 1⁄3 across or 1⁄3 up or down, not in the middle. Try creating an image where the subject is not in the center and you will see that it suddenly is much more interesting.
4. Notice shadows
It’s a sunny day, perfect for pulling out the camera and grabbing a few special shots. But when you look at your images it’s painfully obvious that the sun has cast dark shadows into your subject’s eye sockets, giving her a raccoon-like appearance. Before clicking the shutter, have a good look at the direction of the sun. Is it casting strange shadows? Is your child squinting from facing the sun directly? The easiest fix it to find an area that is in total shade. If you can’t do that, try keeping the sun at your subject’s back.
5. Use your manual zoom
There is a powerful piece of photography equipment that you may not even know you own. Have you discovered it? It’s your legs! Rather than cranking your zoom lens, make your images better by moving yourself to a new position. Closer, further, higher, lower. Putting yourself at the ideal vantage point will ultimately give your pictures better composition, cropping and exposure.
Enjoy peace of mind knowing you are placing your baby in the hands of a Safety Educated APNPI Photographer.
Our directory listings will connect you with APNPI Newborn Photographers. Each listing identifies the skill level of the photographer, so you will know what you can expect from them and from your session.
Each photographer listed has been Safety Educated in the unique needs of infants.
Currently the APNPI has three main levels of certification that comes after the Safety Education. All members are Safety Educated and have attained their QNP before they can market themselves as APNPI members. The three levels are as follows:
Qualified Newborn Photographer (QNP) – this certificate demonstrates proficiency as a photographer skilled in lighting, camera functions, artistic composition, and working with a range of family scenarios including multiples, siblings, and family portraiture. You can expect that a QNP photographer is either well established in business practices, or emerging in that area, have successfully passed an extensive business portfolio review, and are striving toward, or have completed levels of Accreditation. They are capable of taking on a wide range of photography challenges, and have demonstrated competence and proficiency in producing a well rounded and satisfactory gallery for any given client. This certificate is an excellent indicator that separates a skilled professional from the hobbyist.
Accreditations: At the accreditation level, photographers are now taking their art to a higher level with the fine tuning and honing of their specialties within their field. They must achieve a minimum standard in order to earn their accreditation in specific accreditation categories. Hiring an APNPI Accredited Photographer will give you peace of mind that you are hiring an educated, experienced and professional photographer competent in both their craft and in business.
Masters Designations: The Masters Designations level indicates a newborn photographer who has achieved outstanding results in photography and business, and is now starting to give back to the community in various leadership and mentorship roles. Hiring a photographer of this level is nothing short of a real treat.
Being your family’s journalist
I’ve always believed that one of the biggest privileges of owning a decent camera is the opportunity to capture my children’s lives. In fact, a number of years ago I deemed myself the “Family Journalist” and began to look for opportunities to capture the life of our little clan. Of course, I’m always sure to document the big events and special occasions, but deep down I think the most important part of my self-prescribed role is the way I can document the “everyday” beauty of our family’s existence.
It’s easy to lose motivation in this role, however, because the everyday is just that: every day. Often, we’re uninspired by the things that are constantly around us: another day eating breakfast at the kitchen counter, squirming through homework after school, playing in the sprinkler on hot summer days, brushing teeth and getting ready for bed… and yet…
As a mom of a ten, nine, and six year old, I can now say with 100% certainty that those seemingly endless days of footie pajamas, baby food in the high chair, preschool pick-up, and evening tubbies do, in fact, have an end. I can also guarantee that you’ll be grateful for every single photo you took of those everyday events.
When I’m having a hard time finding motivation to fill my role of “Family Journalist”, I find that there are a few things that help get me back on track:
Change it up
Sometimes, I switch my focus from the kids to their things. Your children’s special things (their lovies, rooms, craft sets, collections, etc…) are important to them and represent a part of their childhood. Pictures of these everyday objects will evoke warm feelings for them years from now… it’s an amazing gift to give each of them!
If you tend to shoot from eye level, try capturing things from an aerial view. If you like to shoot close-up, step back and tell the story from a more epic perspective. You’ll enjoy the shift and you might just find the challenge motivating.
Pull out old pictures
When all else fails, it’s time to excavate some pictures from the past. Take time to revel in the changes your children have made in the short time between now and then. It’s a powerful reminder that our everyday moments grow exponentially in value as the years go by… and there’s no better motivation than that!