Top 3 Tips for Meaningful & Emotional Newborn Portraits from GTA Photographer Hillary West

Updated: Feb 12, 2020

During the initial no pressure consult, and portrait planning meeting, my first goal is to listen openly and get to know what you and your family are all about. Once we get a sense of whether or not we'll be a good fit (NO biggie if we aren't - i get that this in depth approach is not for everyone!) Then, we'll help you uncover what you value most in your families portraits, and create a customized plan to create portraits that speak to everything you stand for, that are truly authentic to your own family!



Because, ultimately, the goal here is to help you build your legacy. We're not just creating a facebook post or some digital images that sit on your cloud and gather (digital?) dust… We're creating real, truly authentic portraits that tug at your heartstrings every time you see them. And, they're printed and displayed with only the highest quality archival materials, so that they will remain beautiful family treasures for future generations as well.



One of my favourite ways to uncover what authentic means to YOU is to ask you this question: it's 5 years from now, 10 years from now...you're still absolutely in LOVE with your portraits. What would have to exist in order for that to be true? And how would they be displayed?


One recent client's answer was this "they'd have to really capture my daughter's personality. When we got her newborn photos back I was disappointed… she just looked like every other baby. I know newborns all kind of look the same, but I just don't feel like they really captured who she is"


Justine's answer for her newborn portraits featured here was similar… "I want portraits of the family together. I don't really love the typical newborn images (which we lovingly referred to as "baby in a bucket" from then on!)" That was a very telling statement to what would make her

portraits authentic keepsakes - make them about family and connection.



So, with all that being said, here are the top 3 tips to create meaningful, emotional portraits of your newborn:

  1. Shoot at home, where everyone is most comfortable and relaxed. Then, bring on the cuddles. Turn up the ooey, gooey intimacy and don’t worry about anything other than cuddling your new baby and helping them feel loved and comforted - the photographer will take care of the rest! :)

  2. Create a step by step game plan with your photographer, with lots of flexibility for your newborns immediate needs (feeds, changes, cuddles) as they arise. This will ensure that the session is as streamlined as possible, while still feeling relaxed and easy.

  3. Have a plan in place and ready for toddlers - adjusting to a newborn is hard, in new and different ways if it's your second child. Have a grandparent or other helper at your home while we're shooting to help everyone feel relaxed and taken care of, so you can be 100% present and connected to the intimacy of the moments during the shoot.

The tips above and the portraits featured on this post fall into the category of “Lifestyle Newborn”, with an added layer of authenticity because of the extra connection and portrait planning with the photographer ahead of time. I’m very proud to say these portraits feel very true to this family’s unique vibe. They’ve decided to create another heirloom album with them, and I’m so pleased to know that they will be preserved and treasured for a lifetime.



So, what do you think your response would be when I ask you that question above? I’d love to hear from you and chat about what authentic means to you.


All the love,

Hillary West


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