This article was provided by local Charlottesville photographer, Ashley McKinney. She is a mother of 4 and specializes in all things from bump to family, including maternity, fresh 48, newborn, and milestone images! https://www.ashleymckinneyphotography.com
Hi friends! I hope you all are doing well on Day 1 of our statewide “social distancing.” Charlottesville seems to be somewhat shut-down as of today, and I imagine the rest of Virginia is looking pretty similar as we all work together to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I am at home, with my four kiddos, trying to enjoy the extra family time we have been given for at least the next couple weeks (rather than offering any of my energy to fear or anxiety) while also figuring out what our daily schedule will look like for the next couple weeks. I know there is information coming from every direction about the actual coronavirus, so I am not really here to touch on that today.
I have four children close in age – 6, 4, 2, and 2 months. While I was nursing and cuddling my sweet two-month-old last night, I couldn’t help but think about all those sweet mamas who are due any day with their baby or babies. In an effort to protect patients and medical workers, our local hospitals have been forced to put restrictions on who can be in the room with a newborn. Basically, the parents/caregivers can be there, and that is it. While this was absolutely a necessary decision, my heart just goes out to all those families welcoming babies at such a crazy time.
So with the realization that I and other fresh 48 photographers are not going to be able to be there for our amazing clients to document those first incredible moments with their precious newborns, I wanted to offer everyone four tips for capturing some “fresh 48” type moments on your own!
1. Turn off ALL lights in the room and use natural light from the window
- I can’t stress this one enough – you want to use all natural light when possible. I know it can be tough if you are in a room with small windows or it is a cloudy day, but just get as close to that window as you can. Roll the bassinet over next to the window, take pictures with baby in parent’s arms by the window, etc. You will end up with beautiful natural light coming from the side, creating a soft shadow instead of natural light from one side and the yellow color cast on baby from the other side. I promise your pictures will thank you!
2. Plan your pictures for right after a feed.
- Of course when your baby is only hours old, the two of you are still figuring out what feeds really look like. Whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, there is almost always a learning curve for feeding when baby is this young. But the good news is that you will be there the whole time, so it is totally feasible for you to just capture a couple pictures after each feed if that works better for you than trying to get all the images you want at once.
3. Don’t be afraid to move things around the room
- My clients are often surprised about how many things I move around when I am photographing fresh 48 sessions. I tell them that I of course want it to be clear that we are at a hospital (or wherever it is they gave birth), but we don’t need to have the distracting red cup or green duffle bag or whatever in the background. And I also move furniture all around the room to get the angles I want. Hospital rooms are not huge, so I am frequently dragging chairs, the bassinet, rolling tables, all around the room to keep them out of my way to photograph.
4. Don’t forget to get those little details!
- One of my favorite things about getting to photograph babies all the way from when they are just cute little baby bumps at maternity sessions through all those milestones up to their first birthday is seeing how quickly they change and grow. When clients receive fresh 48 and newborn galleries from me, they are always amazed to look back and see how much their babies have grown in literally just a short number of days! When I photograph fresh 48 sessions, I try to make sure I am also documenting the cute little details, like closeups of sweet baby yawns or precious baby feet. I love including those little detail reminders in galleries for parents to remember how tiny their fast growing and quickly changing baby really was!
I hope this information is helpful! I am thinking about and praying for all you sweet mamas who will be getting to meet your babies so soon! I know that this does not replace having a fresh 48 photographer, but my hope is that this helps you all document this special time so you have pictures to look back on and treasure. And hopefully this all passes as quickly as possible so you will be able to have professional newborn images, as well! I have photographed newborns up to a month old, so it is definitely possible! Remember that the hospitals are doing everything they can to keep you and your precious baby sick from illness as well. Just focus on keeping yourself healthy and enjoying those precious baby snuggles you have been waiting for so long to get!