Still counting down the days until baby girl arrives! We’ve got less than two weeks and I find myself dreaming about what she’ll look like and how my older two will interact with her. Eeeek! I can’t wait!

Another thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is how I am going to document this new baby. When my first was born almost 15 years ago, there were no iPhones or digital cameras. I never even thought about bringing my camera to the hospital. Fast forward more than a decade and Fresh 48 sessions are on the rise along with Documentary Birth Photography. And I totally get why. Those first few days of a newborn’s life are truly extraordinary. You’re completely exhausted, but so totally energized by the experience of bringing new life into the world. You think you’re going to remember everything, but inevitably the details will fade as the weeks fly by.

It makes me so sad to not have those memories with my first two so I am making it a priority to capture everything this time around. I know I am not going to be able to capture it all, but I’ve made a list of must have photos in the hospital. Here’s what I’m hoping to get.

Meeting her sisters for the first time. I mean, could there be anything sweeter than that? This is definitely a must-have for me, but it may not actually happen in the hospital for us. The hospital I am delivering at currently has a ban on visitors under the age of 16 because of the flu. Fingers crossed it gets lifted before we are admitted, but if not, I will have my camera ready  to capture the shot at home. I feel like my heart might explode seeing my two big girls welcome their new baby sister into the family. They have been wishing for her for years and I know they are going to make the most amazing big sisters. And I am looking forward to watching their relationships blossom!

Image credit www.brittanyblakephotography.com

In the bassinet. Every hospital seems to have those same powder blue and pink blankets and I love the way a newborn baby looks all wrapped up in the bassinet. I plan to roll that sucker over to a big window and take as many different angles as I can. My favorite shot is from directly over head because that’ll be my view while I swoon over her tiny features.

Image credit www.ashleekay.com

All the details. These are my favorite shots. They are the storytelling images I like to have because they are the ones that are the easiest to forget. Things like that little card the hospital provides with all of baby’s stats. Baby’s umbilical cord. The hospital bracelet. Their tiny toes. Footprints. Their fuzzy hair. Baby yawns.

Image credit www.alexmorrisdesign.com

As long as I can come away with these images of her first 48 hours, then I’ll be a happy mama. Even if I have to hand the camera over to my husband or grab my iPhone, as long as they are recorded, that’s all that matters.

If you’re interested in learning more about photography and following along on my journey to document baby’s first year, check out my private online community.

Bringing home a new baby is such a special and exciting time. Those first few days can feel like a blur, but you’ll no doubt be taking tons of pictures. I know I will once baby #3 arrives later this month! I want to make sure I capture every tiny detail because I know how fast they grow. I’d love to share a few tips with you about how I plan to photograph my own little one and hopefully you can use these tips to improve your own photos.

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

Find the Light

In photography, light always comes first! Before you set your baby up for a photo, take a walk around your home and pay attention to which rooms get the best light. Pull back the curtains and open up the blinds to let in as much light as possible. Also, it’s important to turn off all overhead lights so you’re not getting any color casts from those yucky indoor lightbulbs. In the shot below you can see the window to the right and there was also a window behind me to help brighten this adorable duo.

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

Move Around

Once you’ve found some good window light, position your baby as close to it as possible. You may need to move the bassinet or push the crib or a bed up closer to take advantage of the light. Just make sure baby is safely swaddled or sleeping so you can move around while taking pictures. One of the best places to photograph your newborn is in their crib. There are a ton of shots you can get without even having to move the baby. Get creative with your angles and perspective! Grab a step stool and shoot from high above using the rails as leading lines.

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

Shoot straight on through the crib rails. Then, get in closer so you can see baby’s face.

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

Walk around to either side of the crib and capture baby’s toes or the top of their heads.

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

These rules don’t just apply to crib shots either. If your baby is sweetly snoozing in some pretty light, take advantage of the quiet time and experiment angles to capture as much as you can. Go wide shot to show what room you’re in.

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

Move in closer to focus on baby’s features. Get even closer to capture details like flaky skin, tiny toes, and pouty lips. All those things you want to remember that you can’t necessarily get while baby is awake.

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

Shoot from the side, above the baby, get on baby’s level, etc. Don’t stop moving until you’ve captured every angle.

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

Prop Ideas 

If you want to add some personal touches to your photos, try including a few props. They don’t have to be anything fancy. Just a few special items from around your home. Some ideas to include – colorful swaddle blankets, rugs, blankets, or bedding with texture. You can also include a few of their favorite things. Ok so maybe your newborn doesn’t have a favorite thing yet, but maybe a special stuffed animal that is meaningful, his/her pacifier, or booties that a grandparent knit. Don’t leave out those details!

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

How to photograph your newborn at home. Practical photo tips for taking pictures of your newborn at home. www.stacymaeandco.com

I hope these tips help and that the photos serve as inspiration for the next time you pick up your camera. I’ll be posting a lot more examples once baby girl arrives so keep an eye out for most tips on photographing your newborn at home.

 

 

 

I never documented my other two pregnancies and since this is our last one, I want to remember all the details of the last 9 months. The good … and the bad. 

Pregnancy Update - 35 weeks. www.stacymaeandco.com

This pregnancy was not an easy one. Yes, it was planned. I get that question a lot! Hubby and I talked about it and decided to go for it over the summer. It’s never taken us long to get pregnant and this time was no different. We found out in July and told the girls right away. They were over the moon! My oldest has had a ‘baby’ on her Christmas list for a couple of years and we finally made her dream come true. The hardest part was keeping the secret for so long. Two whole months!!

We told my side of the family at my mom’s 70th birthday party in August. We made her a scrapbook with a page for all the grandchildren and stuck a picture of our first ultrasound at the very end without telling her who was pregnant. All it said was “Coming soon. Grandchild #10!” It was so fun to see everyone looking around trying to figure out who it was! This is a video my 14 year old took. I’d recommend turning the volume down. There was a lot of squealing!!

Pregnancy-Announcement from Stacy Mae Photography on Vimeo.

We let the news trickle out slowly because it was still pretty early. And then finally, when the girls started school in September, I made a social media announcement and the cat was officially out of the bag.

Pregnancy announcement. First day of school. www.stacymaeandco.com

It was really sweet and funny to read people’s reactions. The thing is, I have always said that I would never have another. We were at a point where the kids were older and we had our freedom back. We could leave the girls home to make a quick stop at the grocery store or they could go to the bathroom in a restaurant by themselves while we finished our meal. Another baby and we’d be back in the trenches. Not to mention we’re both over 40 now! I was scared I wouldn’t have the energy for all those sleepless newborn nights and the toddlers years.

BUT

Every time we were out and saw parents with little ones, my husband and I looked at each other with a longing that we never had before. We missed those days. As hard as they were. It was especially prevalent when Jaime turned 10. Something about double digits. It was really hard for me. She wasn’t my baby anymore! So we talked about it and we were so excited to start this new adventure.

I don’t think I ever imagined that this pregnancy would be as adventurous as it’s been though. In the first trimester, I didn’t really eat much. Lots of indigestion and nausea. I also went through what I thought was a painful bladder infection only to find out that my bladder actually had a kink in it which wouldn’t allow me to empty it fully. It was SO PAINFUL and of course it happened while my husband was away. On one of the worst days, I had an extended family photo session with about 15 people and I had to wear a pad in case I had to ‘go’. So embarrassing, but the family was traveling from out of state and couldn’t reschedule. It was awful for me, but the pictures turned out beautiful.

The next day I made it to the doctor and had to be catheterized right there in the office. The nurse could not believe the amount of urine that came out!! Sorry if this isn’t what you expected to read, but it’s real life.

I wish I could say the rest of my pregnancy has been without incident. When we went to the 20 week anatomy scan to find out the baby’s sex we were told there was a spot on the baby’s liver. A calcification they called it. “Nothing to worry about,” everyone said. So I didn’t worry. But they wanted to see me for some additional ultrasounds to make sure nothing changed. That it didn’t change in size or that more didn’t show up. And each time, before the appointment, a little part of me worried. Maybe because I’m an ‘older mom’ there is something wrong. Maybe I did something – or didn’t do something – that caused this. Thankfully every ultrasound showed that nothing changed. Even this last one at 35 weeks. So, she’ll have one more ultrasound when she’s born to determine where exactly this calcification is and that’s it. Again, nothing to worry about. Funny thing to tell a pregnant woman who is carrying life inside of her!

In my last trimester, it’s been a struggle to get a good night’s sleep. I’ve been dealing with restless leg syndrome, leg cramps, and even had what I think might have been an anxiety attack twice over the last few months. I have been going to the chiropractor to help ease some of the pain, but even that’s been hard to do in these last few weeks.

Now I’m just trying to take it day by day. There’s still so much to do. I’ve been washing baby clothes like crazy and pretty soon I’ll pack my hospital bag. Hubby has one more business trip next week and then it’s time to hunker down and wait for baby!

What was your pregnancy like?? Did you have any unexpected issues come up? Share in the comments!

 

 

In my last two posts we talked about a simple exercise you can do to help unlock your creativity and also how to find your creative voice. The idea behind this blog series is to get you to think more creatively about the world around you. As a mom, I’m sure you are busy with the chaos of everyday life and there’s not much time to explore your creative side. I’m hoping this series of posts will inspire you to see the beauty in the world around you and maybe motivate you to pick up your camera more often. Or write in a journal. Or paint a picture. However you like to express yourself. Since I’m a photographer, we’re going to focus on taking pictures.

In this post, I want to share some ideas I came up with that can help spark your creativity. I’m not going to give you a ton of direction other than to explain what the photo prompt means. I’d love for you to share any pictures you take too!

10 Ways to Spark your Creativity. Simple photography prompts you can use to help inspire and motivate you. www.stacymaeandco.com

1. Photograph a day in your life. From start to finish. Keep your camera accessible or just use your smartphone. Photograph your routines and document the things that you do everyday that don’t normally get recorded. Breakfast. Saying goodbye to the kids at the bus stop. Where you work. Chores. Storytime. All of it!

2. Take a faceless portrait. Normally a portrait involves your subject’s face, but I’m challenging you to photograph something other than their face. This is a great opportunity to focus on details and get creative with your composition. One way to do this is to get in nice and close to your subject and isolate just one part of them. Hands, hair, lips, etc.

3. Edit your phone photos. If you use your smartphone for most of your pictures, are you editing them? There are a ton of really great apps out there that can take your photos to the next level. A couple of my faves are Lightroom, A Color Story, VSCO, and PicTapGo. Start by increasing the overall brightness or exposure of your image. You can also play around with the contrast and shadows to make your image more dramatic. If you like a lot of color, check out the saturation slider on these apps or apply a filter. Flex those creative muscles!

4. Go on a photo scavenger hunt. All it takes is a simple Google search and you’ll be met with tons of options for items to photograph on your scavenger hunt. You can make it seasonal or search for items in your home. This is a great one to get the kids involved in and excited about taking pictures.

5. Use an interesting backdrop. You can find all sorts of great backdrops outside or you can make your own. When you’re out and about look for color, patterns, and textures that would make a cool background for a photo. If you want to get crafty, create your own backdrop using a fun wrapping paper, pretty fabric, blanket, or even a chalkboard.

6. Take a blurry photo. I’m talking intention blur. Not the kind that happens by accident. Most of the time we want our photos crisp and clear, but an intentionally blurry photo can be beautiful. To do this, set your camera to manual focus and twist the ring until your subject is blurred. If you are using your smartphone, tap anywhere on the screen that is not your main focus and your subject should stay blurry. When you are deciding what to take a picture of, think of capturing a feeling or a gesture.

7. Photograph your home. I’ve been doing a lot of this lately. Especially since we are getting ready to welcome a new baby into our home. Your home is where you spend most of your time and everyone is always so reluctant to take pictures of it! Why? Because it’s not perfectly clean or styled? Who cares? It’s your home. It’s not supposed to be. If it was, it wouldn’t look lived in. Still, I understand the hesitation so here are a few things you can do. Take it one room at a time. It’s much easier to tidy up one room than it is to deal with your entire house. Decide if you want to capture the whole room (with a wide angle lens) or just a small portion of it. Use natural light if you can so that means pulling back the curtains or opening a door to let more light in.

8. Try food photography. You’ve probably already done this. Think about the last time you were out at a restaurant and you had an amazing meal. Did you take out your phone and snap a photo? I know I’ve done it. Mostly with desserts. What does that tell you about me? Lol! Food photography is a great way to practice composition and how to arrange the elements in your frame. Here are a few tips when snapping pics of your food. Try different angles. Get up on a chair and shoot from above. Get in nice and close to highlight the textures. Make it come to life! Pour syrup on your stack of pancakes. Take a bite of the cupcake you just made. Or sprinkle cheese on your favorite pasta.

9. Style a flat lay. A flat lay is arranging items in your frame and shooting from above. If you scroll through instagram you’ve probably seen a million flat lays. Fashion bloggers use them for clothing. Beauty bloggers use them to showcase makeup. If you’ve ever taken a photo of your food from above that would be considered a flat lay too. So, give it a try for yourself. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind. Shoot in square mode on your phone if you’re going to be posting on IG. Stick with an odd number of objects in your frame – 3, 5, 7, etc. Larger items should be towards the edge of the frame and the bottom too. Keep the background simple. And use natural light whenever possible.

10. Photograph your pet. Talk about a challenge. Lol! Make sure you’ve got lots of treats on hand for this one. Or just practice some patience. You can wait until they are tired from playing and don’t mind having a camera in their face. Or try to capture the action. Just keep your shutter speed super high!

I hope you enjoy these ideas! My advice would be to pick your favorite and give it a go! Or go through the list when you’re feeling stuck. I would love to see what you come up with so please feel free to tag @stacymaeandco on Instagram or post your pictures in the private Facebook group.