Newborn

5 Things You Need to Know about In Home Newborn Photography

Every time I get an inquiry or request to book a newborn session two things happen: 1. I get very excited, because I LOVE the babies.  There's truly NO other time in life you experience such a extreme shift ... of everything you know or thought you knew.  I love to document that and I'm so honored to do so.  2. I stress extremely clear expectations for my style of newborn photography just in case they were reaching out without seeing the work as you see below.  I let them know that the session is baby led, in your home and most likely 90% in your arms.  I don't do props, backdrops, beanbags, hats, etc.  That is not my style but if it yours then I'm super happy to recommend some of my amazing colleagues who will blow your mind.  If they're still with me we dive into the details - here's my top 5 favorites that you'd like to know too: 

1. Even Though We Are at home, There's Still Guidance on 'Posing.' 

Don't worry, I won't just be a fly on your wall, I'll guide you and your baby and family members into the best light and direct you on how to move your bodies, your eyes, and hold the baby for the best possible image.  I leave the connection and emotion up to you, that's the easy part.  (But be sure to read THIS blog post if you need help getting in the right frame of mind for you shoot). 

2. Let Go of House / Nursery Perfection.

I hear this a lot "but we don't have a fancy Pinterest house/nursery."  That's totally fine.  Don't get me started on how easy it is to go down the road of wanting to hide under a rock and wallow in our FOMO and our self doubt after one scroll through Instagram or Facebook, its a recipe for a piping hot plate of disappointment.   I can't stress enough that the location of our newborn shoot is meant to be one to to make you feel safe, comfortable and at home with your new family.  I'm there to photograph your CONNECTION - that's why you hired me.  So, don't stress over perfection.  Does it help ascetically to clean up the clutter, put away anything you don't want showing up in your photos? Totally.  I'll be coming into your home and looking for the best LIGHT so make sure you know I could be in any room of your home.  

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3.  Plan on the Session Lasting 1-2 Hours.

Like I mentioned above, in home newborn sessions are BABY led.  If baby needs to eat, baby eats. If baby needs a break, we take a break.  Usually this means these sessions can last a while.  When siblings are involved, we also take their lead.  Becoming a big brother or big sister is an amazing time for a little one, but also highly stressful and can need some special attention.  I always try to direct equal attention to the older children and usually acknowledge them before I say hello to the new baby.  

4. Identify What Is Important. 

When I started my first year of college, I was so sure I'd be a journalist. I ended up going a couple different paths, but still consider myself pretty good at reading people and picking up clues.  However, I can't read minds, I don't know your whole life story, hearing from you, specifically, about what is important for me to photograph is so key.  I know I say I don't do props but let's talk about incorporating things or ideas into your shoot that are meaningful to YOU.  Did your late grandma knit a hat for the baby? Did you keep mementoes from the hospital you want photographed? Is it important to have the baby's photo taken in a specific outfit? Let me know!

5. Mom, You.Are.Beautiful. 

Similar to the worries about the perfect home, I hear worries from mom about how she is going to look and feel.  Of course these are valid insecurities, you just gave birth.  But let's take moment to reframe that and really believe it.  You just gave birth.  YOU nourished life inside you! You are amazing and this is who you are right now.  Try and own that, love that. Most importantly, realize that your BABY will one day be a toddler, then a kid, then a teen then an adult.  I'd bet my LIFE on the fact that that when your child looks at these pictures ALL they will see is love, wonderment, connection and the way you looked AT them. They will not judge what you looked like. I promise.  Now that we've worked on getting your mind into the shoot, let's talk happy- mama-logistics.  Wear something you feel comfortable to YOU in even if it is flowy lounge wear.  Make sure to carve out time before the shoot that your partner is 100% on baby-duty so you can get ready, do your make up or whatever rituals help you feel your best.  You got this Mama. 

To book your in home newborn session with me simply click here.  I can't wait to meet you and help welcome your new life into this world.  The newborn days and weeks are so fleeting and honestly darn hard to remember.  Having family newborn photos is one the best investments in your family archives you can make! 

"But Mama, Is it REAL?" : 3 Tips For REAL Family Photos

A few months ago I was came across the trailer for the new Planet Earth II and was delighted to show it to my kids.  We’ve worn the DVDs out of the original Planet Earth from 2006, before my first was born.   The new trailer was spectacular with camera angles that baffle the mind.  After watching it, my 5-year-old looked really confused.  He kept asking over and over “But Mama, is it REAL though?”  I kept telling him yes, it was.  He didn’t change the question, he just got louder and louder (as he often does) and I realized he was questioning whether or not the footage was altered or perhaps even CG.  

We live in a time when our kids have have abundant access to photoshopped images, crazy amazing computer graphics, and apps on our phones that smooth skin, enlarge eyes or even give humans dog ears.  Our kids have to decipher whether or not everything they see is REAL way more than we ever could have dreamed of as kids.  Honestly, I find that exhausting and can’t imagine growing up in such a confusing world.  So why not offer as much REAL content as we can provide them.  

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Why am I talking about this with relation to getting ready for you photo shoot?  Because I want your family to look at the images from our shoot and SEE the reality of the moment - not just smiles for the camera and perfect outfits.   I am not a documentary photographer, your session is guided by me, but only YOU can create authentic interactions with your family and capturing those moments is my gift and why you hired me.  I believe a little mental prep goes a long way when getting ready for our session. 

So what can we do to prepare for a session that captures REAL moments, true smiles, laughter and love?  Take a few minutes and read over these 3 tips and you’ll be more than ready for our time together.  

1. TELL THEM WHY: Tell your children (and partner) before our time together what we’re doing, what the goal is: not only to have some nice family photos, but to capture memories for your family. Tell them WHY these photos are important to you. I’m going to reveal the true cheese ball that I am here but in the last couple of years I’ve had two amazing sessions that both went beyond great.  I told my kids that the photographer wasn’t actually taking pictures of our bodies - she was trying to take pictures of our LOVE.  So I wanted them to show her how we show love to each other.  SO CHEESY right?  Well, it worked like a charm.  We went through all the ways we show love, hugging, kissing, laughing, being a good listener, holding hands, high fives and so on.  Having all your energy focus on love and not compliance can be a game changer.  It changes the position of what we’re doing from a chore (usually for Mom) to a family activity.  I know this is such an idealistic way to think of this - there are things like temperament, age and stress that come into play - but think of this as a calming baseline.  If your kids are too young to have this conversation (I'd try it with kids 1 and over), have this conversation with yourself and partner before the session.  

2. LET THEM BE KIDS! I know there is a fine line between letting the kids run the shoot and letting them be free to explore and have authentic moments.   So let’s work together on this.  Tell them there will be moments that I will ask them to participate, play games, snuggle their parents and siblings, but there will also be moments when we can play and explore.  Try not to direct them too much, leave that to me. The hardest thing for kids can be having too many grown ups shouting out directions. 

3. BE YOU!  Who are you and your family? What do you enjoy doing together when you’re not in front of the camera?  Do you adventure? GREAT - let’s do that. Photoshoots don’t have to be at beaches or parks, we could ride a ferry, go to the zoo, go on a hike, be tourist downtown, chop down a Christmas Tree, hunt for Pumpkins at a patch, the list goes on and on.  Do you have dance parties? GREAT!! Let’s bring some music and dance it out during your session!  Are you homebodies? GREAT! Let’s do an in home session, I adore these, I can capture great family shots, but also photos of your family in your REAL everyday environment, playing games, jumping on beds, making food together.  Even better, combine all of the above!  Again - we’re trying to keep it REAL right? 

I want our time together to be awesome, I want your images to make you smile, allow you remember and be true artifacts of your family history.  I want your great great grandchildren to see these photos and have a sense of who you were and what it was like to be a part of your family.  I’m ready to capture your love, thank you for taking the time to prepare it.  

Footnotes and Confessions: 

 All Footnote images by the amazing  Elena S. Blair  - photo above is me cleaning up my daughters's mid-session nose bleed.  This was also just moments before my son barfed all over the ally. I've seen and experienced A LOT! From one parent to another, we got this.  

All Footnote images by the amazing Elena S. Blair - photo above is me cleaning up my daughters's mid-session nose bleed.  This was also just moments before my son barfed all over the ally. I've seen and experienced A LOT! From one parent to another, we got this.  

I KNOW so much of this blog post is, again, idealistic.  I know that.  My stress level before my first photo shoot was off the charts.  I worried about my kids being crazy and non compliant. I worried about my husband being (and looking) bored.  I worried about coming across as frazzled and angry in my photos.  But once I really thought about the families I photograph and the sessions that have been pure magic, I realized it all came down to state of mind.  I used that to talk myself off the ledge and really focus on what I wanted my results to be.  I applied the three above tips as well as these funky little tips that helped me. 1. Try the Headspace app.  I’ll keep this unpaid endorsement short and say it’s awesome - 10 minutes of quiet a day does a body (and mind) good. 2. If your kids are driving you crazy or you’re having a hard parenting day, take 2 minutes before you go to bed to sneak in and watch them sleep.  This was a tip from my co-op parent educator I use often. Seeing their peaceful little faces is a great reminder of all that is magical about childhood and parenthood.  3.  Check their (and your) sleep.  I’m so bad at this - I stay up too late and it really can do a number on stress and anxiety for your shoot.  Make sure the week leading up to our shoot that your family practices your best possible sleeping habits. 

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Let's make this a two way conversation! Did you connect or relate with something about this post - let me know! Share your experiences - how will you prepare for your photoshoot with me each year?  Leave a comment below! 

 Luca and I had so much fun with creating some un-real images, it was too easy - and I'll admit, pretty fun.  

Luca and I had so much fun with creating some un-real images, it was too easy - and I'll admit, pretty fun.  

Welcome Sweet City GIRL!!

Hi Friends, you may remember my super awesome, super quick downtown urban maternity session from this spring?  If not - click here to see the City Baby shoot. Well, the baby is a GIRL! (I had ALL my bets on girl by the way - winner).  Something even more fun was that she was born the same day as my sweet little girl - birthday twins are the best.

It was another fun session with my dear friends and their sweet new bundle.  Walking into all the 'new' that is the home of a newborn is such a gift.

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New and Perfect

Since I've been photographing families besides my own, I've been asked several times what kind of photography I like best.  Most people follow that up quickly with at guess of "do you like the babies the best?"  I still don't know if I have an answer, I like photographing all kids of people, big and small, but there is something special and even magical about newborns.  I have the chance to step foot into a home where everything is new, not just the baby.  I get to witness newborn parents at work and this is equally as heartwarming as the tiny human everyone can't stop staring at! This little dude's parents worked together like such a good team and seemed so at peace with with their newly born titles of "Mom" and "Dad."  I feel so lucky to capture these sweet moments in hopes that one day this little man will know how loved and well cared for he was and how happy his parents were have him in their arms.    Welcome little one!!! 

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