By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA
The art of photographing newborn babies requires the patience of a Tibetan monk on top of the basic artistic and technical abilities, none of which I possess. I feel like it would be easier to photograph a disobedient dog than a newborn, because at least you can bribe a dog with treats. You can’t tell a newborn to sit in a specific position, open their eyes or smile. Fortunately, there are many talented individuals that specialize in just this sort of thing, one of which we were lucky enough to work with on Kyle’s newborn photos.
When Jill told me to reserve 3 hours for the photoshoot, I was immediately skeptical. We certainly weren’t taking pictures of Kyle as the new Gerber baby, so I couldn’t figure out why we needed almost half a day to get it done. That is until we arrived. The goal is to get the child to sleep through the photos because this way they are the most compliant and can be molded into (almost) any position the photographer wants. However, Kyle was a very alert newborn child and likes to stay awake during the day. We quickly found out that over half the 3-hour session was spent trying to get him to fall back asleep. And the other half was spent trying not to wake him up. Jill fed him for most of that time, hoping that he’d get ‘milk drunk’ and pass out. Once he fell asleep, we scrambled to get him into position before his eyes opened up again.
During the latter half of the session we hit the point of no return when there was just no chance of getting him to go back down. The photographer suggested that we use this time to do some family photos and try to get a couple of good ones with his eyes open, a rarity in her business. She positioned Kyle in Jill’s arms between us looking towards the camera. This is the point at which I should mention that he was naked for all of his pictures. Before we had a chance to adjust, all hell started to break loose. After feeding for the past hour or so, Kyle was understandably full and started his bathroom ritual after a series of smiles and cooing noises.
Luckily, Jill was wearing black and the mess got on her and not me. In a moment like this there is nothing to do but laugh, which we did while trying to maintain our composure as things progressively got worse for Jill. Thanks to the magic of photoshop, you can’t see the bodily fluids on Jill’s arm in our family picture, nor can you see any stains on her black shirt. But I can assure you they were there, and we still laugh about it every time we see this picture.