During the pre-consultation and the booking for a newborn photo-shoot, there’s a question that always crop up and the answer is almost always the same: “Me? Uhm.. I don’t really want to be in the picture, I would only like to have photos of my baby, I’m ok without being in front of the camera.”
One of the reasons I started learning and practicing newborn photography was my disappointment in the photos I had taken of my own daughter when she was little. I didn’t understand the light and positioning, and those are now hidden somewhere on a dusty server in a land far far away. I was not a quitter, so even though the artistic value of those pictures was low, I kept taking them. Baby sleeping, yawning, smiling, pooping (yup, there’s an album called the poop face on my iPhone), I’ve got it all. Well, almost all.
Amongst those countless photos of the little person who just entered your life, there’s one thing missing? You probably have plenty of daddy & bambino pics, but unless your partner is a photographer, it’s very unlikely the number of nice photos of you and your baby is anywhere near similar.
Time flies and between looking after the little one and making sure you don’t drown in a pile of dirty laundry, you never feel up for having your photos taken. The ones you do have, you rarely like, as all you see is your “baby weight”, tired eyes and sallow skin.
You generally avoid everyone with the camera for a long while post-delivery, and in some cases this period in your life is the beginning of your hatred of all things digital, and your Facebook feed suddenly fills up with baby pics to the point your friends stop recognising you when you bump into them in the supermarket.
Years go by and this situation is only getting worse as we start to notice more and more wrinkles on our faces, which were never an issue until we gave birth and realised what perfect skin looks like, before being exposed to years of sunbathing and chemicals.
Although not camera shy, I rarely like photos of myself and rarely do I feel pretty enough to feel confident from within. My skin has always been terrible and unless I plan on frequenting any location requiring me to face another human, I don’t blow-dry my hair.
I never used to be the one jumping in front of the camera but recently something has changed.
I visited my hometown and stayed over at my family home. Being over 30 years old, all of my early photos are printed. There are a few of me and my sister, some of me and my dad, but almost none of me and my mum. If it wasn’t for the fact I still remember my childhood well enough to know she was there every step of the way, I wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at the amount of photos we have together. She is always beautiful to me, whether she was cooking or going out in town with dad. The one thing I would like to see more of were photos of just the two of us, doing simple things together, whatever that might have been. It would have felt pointless for them back then to take photos of just doing “normal” things together, but that’s what I miss the most. I would like to remember those moments better, before they fade away in my memory completely: gardening together in the summer sunshine, going fishing or simply sitting on her lap, hiding my head in her shoulder, when watching something scary on TV.
Don’t ever feel like you don’t look pretty enough to freeze the moment for generations. When your baby grows up, the least of their worries will be the amount of mascara you’ve used or whether your hair looked bouncy. They will be happy just to see you were there. X