Chronicles of a Typical Newborn Shoot

Normally, one might title this newborn photographer in Boulder session as “Ayla at 2 weeks.” This one is special.

I’ve known Ryan and Temple since from official beginning and casual beginning. This post will uncover the joys and trials of being a newborn / parent photographer…. showcasing the meritorious service badge we wear with honor (not often documented).

I rarely post these types of images. 1) Newborns are very different to photograph 2) Newborns are very different to photograph, thanks in part to Anne Gheddes.

Not everyone has model perfectly-behaving babies, perfect light, and studio assistants to waft the perfect puff of air to raise the hair over the left ear.

Yes, stuff like that happens.

For Love or Money?

Let’s rewind.

I work for two reasons: 1) paycheck 2) feed my soul.

When I’ve been apart of my lives of friends for a decade, well, the money portion goes out the window. Especially with Ryan and Temple.

When I shoot for free (which is rare), I follow my heart and my photographer soul lifts to new levels, I feel. Perhaps, I garner extra notches in my creative toolkit.

On this newborn photography shoot of Ayla, I wanted to showcase material this Bono might call b-roll.

B-roll, as they call it in the broadcast TV, would be the visuals that might cut away after the primary focus. Secondary moments are what people really want. They just don’t know it.

Real, Raw, Relatable.

I call it the 3 R’s.

Life, ain’t always pretty. We must learn to roll with it. If we fight it, like a ocean wave rolling over us, we will get pummeled. When approached with finesse and experience, we glide.

When we approach a tense situation with humor, stress becomes diffused. We laugh. Life becomes funny, without hindsight.

Remember the time the baby sucked your nose, vomited milk, then diarrhea diapers were changed in the doorstep of a home?

That rocked!

But did you get a shot of that??? Most would say: “Put. the. camera. DOWN, HONEY!”

Safe shots are great. They establish cuteness. Fancy lighting add highlights.

***In the end, we don’t want to live with a childhood photo book of tightly curated photos of perfect.***

Raw moments matter.

All moments in life are real. “”Beautiful moments in time,” just isn’t my thing. However, I know this image will become priceless to the baby in about two decades.


What first-time parents know, most photographers wouldn’t create:

Dad tears up (He tears up at Lord of the Rings movies, too). Great Hair in Action. See the textured brown hair similarity???

Never forget how small these little creatures are, which is why I recommend to bring along something sentimental and an item that can showcase scale. Photographing them in the first few months allows us later to see the growth (which we often don’t see as parents, like watching our weeds grow). To the right, yes, the baby change can happen anywhere! Most photographers wouldn’t take this picture.

Seriously, folks, this is where the truth doesn’t lie: getting a newborn to play peek-a-boo. No Photoshop.

We’ve all seen half-naked Dads holding a baby…. what about a half-naked model dad getting the full treatment?

I can just hear it: “You can milk anything with nipples, Focker.” … “Or a nose.”wpid-newborn_baby_photographer_boulder_co_008-2015-08-23-10-16.jpg

Most photographers wouldn’t take this picture. I love it. The lips. The contrast in human strength, met with contrast in light. Real, raw, relatable? Right?

Yes, this type of image is great. It showcases the family in the now, which is important. And these are great people. But I know you  laughed out-loud at a few more times in the above images… that is what I wish to convey!

These two lovebirds made one beautiful prom date for our son!

Praise from  Mom:
Oh my sweet goodness!!!! RJ, you truly captured Ayla’s looks, personality and emotions along with our endless, crazy love for her. Who knew 6 lbs and 3oz could make my heart come alive outside of my chest and my love for Ryan increase tenfold. Thank you for taking our new life to heart and using your talents to put it in pictures we will cherish forever!

One Response to “Chronicles of a Typical Newborn Shoot”

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