How one photography session altered the course of my career (sort of)...

At the beginning, there was light…

Today, I am going to share with you one of my first client photography sessions I did back in 2016.

It doesn’t seem that long ago, and yet it seems an eternity ago already.

Anyway, this lovely family approached me in early 2016, asking about newborn photographs. Now, this was so early on in my photography career that I remember telling the client that I’d be able to bring along my portable studio and take the traditional posed newborn shots (with bows and everything!). I was in the middle of figuring out which way I was going to go with my business, you see.

I hadn’t yet acquired all the gear necessary for this to happen, so I also advised her that I do more natural unposed photography, using available light. I sent her some of my earlier work, in all natural light. She loved those photographs.

On the day of the session

I drove up to their Toronto home, with some gear in tow. I remember perhaps bringing an umbrella into the house, or maybe I left it in the car. I knew well enough to borrow a macro lens to capture some baby details.

Boy, did I luck out. This family is BEAUTIFUL, they are beaming, happy, loving people. They photograph so well. They were very accepting, and trusted me, even though I was a relative novice.

And their home - a modest little house near downtown - happened to have BIG windows. Plenty of light.

All the elements were working in my favour. Add to that two cute-as-buttons girls, and you’ve got all the stuff photographers’ dreams are made of.

I don’t remember how long I stayed - I believe it was around 2 hours. After I drove back to Kingston and uploaded the photographs to my computer, I was very happy. Sure I messed up some exposures here and there, but overall, I felt (I hoped!) that the photographs did justice to the family, to their children, and to their life.

[A small side-note: when we acquire experience in any field, we become acutely aware of our own limitations. We experience a heightened feeling of inadequacy, even as we improve our skills in that field. I went through this with writing, with academia, with everything. At the beginning, you think you are good. The more you learn, the more you realize you’re not that good. But that’s ok - it pushes you harder to learn more!]

All the days since then

I didn’t realize it back then, but this was one of the sessions that would shape my career in photography. It was after this session - during which I didn’t once glance at whatever lighting equipment I had brought - that I realized I probably do not NEED all that equipment I had planned on acquiring. Most of all, I realized, the real life stuff that was unfolding was pretty interesting. Not just to me, but also to the very people in those photographs.

I realized over the course of those early months and early shoots, that real life was enough.

In fact, not only was it enough, it was BETTER than what I was envisioning doing as a studio photographer. I knew myself well enough to know that I would get bored of posing babies in the same ways, month after month.

I guess this is one of the benefits of having learned a thing or two about my personality from my academic days.

When someone asks me about newborn photography now

I get inquiries about newborn photographs from clients who are unfamiliar with the documentary style approach to family photography.

They ask when is a good time to have the photographs taken.

I tell them there is no good or bad time, as long as they are ready and up for having a session.

This is different from what they might have heard from studio photographers before. With studio newborn photography, timing matters. Ideally, newborns should be a few days only. They are much more moldable at this age, and amenable to being dressed up and photographed in front of a heater.

They look cute as buttons in those photos, with their soft, creamy skin.

But that is not what I do.

I photograph babies of any age. I photograph their siblings and families, too, because everyone is part of the family.

Frankly, I believe a 10-day old baby is as beautiful as a 10-month old baby.

I really don’t get caught up in timelines because as far as I’m concerned, the baby need not be doing anything for me. Because my sessions are all about following YOU and your life, the age of the baby simply isn’t a deciding factor in when we do the session.

Other factors become much more important - like, what do you like to do? How are you feeling? Are you tired after giving birth and trying to get a handle on night-time wake-ups? Do you feel like a sleep-deprived, milk-soaked wreck and would rather just nap when you can than deal with me and my camera? No problem! I can come next month.

Or, if you’d like to capture all that beautiful chaos of parenting a fresh newborn, then all the better! I’ll be right there!

Now I will leave you with some photographs from that very early session I did in 2016.

If you like what you see, then you might consider this non-traditional form of family photography for your own family. If you didn’t have a chance to have birth photographs taken, then having a session with your newborn is super fun, too!

If you’re curious to know more, you can get in touch by clicking the button below - I’ll send you a free estimate of the session cost, PLUS lots of info about what you can expect!

candid newborn photographer kingston