Linnea Lenkus has more than 17 years of experience in pregnancy, baby and family photography. Here, she shares her expert tips on achieving pregnancy and newborn portrait perfection.
When I started my professional career in photography, I really just wanted to take hip, fun and enticing photos. I was inspired by the images splashed across the covers of magazines like Vogue and Vanity, and I dreamed that maybe someday I’d be a fashion photographer. But after I got married and had children (first my son and a year later, a set of twins), I realized life wasn’t about impressing people with looks only, but about living and remembering those moments that speed by in a blink, and appreciating the inner beauty of oneself and those closest to you.As I grow as a mother, a wife and a professional photographer, I’ve learned how important it is to create a “visual history” of one’s family’s life. Too often, with the passing of time, memories fade and the emotional feelings we experienced during highlights in our lives go dormant. So it’s vital to create portraits of our lives as a way to capture the timeless moments that serve as the foundation of our family.
Capture your visual history to cherish
There is no better time to begin the creation of your life’s visual history than to have portraits taken during pregnancy. For many women, the sight of their pregnant belly is one of nature’s most awe-inspiring images. Literally hundreds of my mom-to-be clients have told me that they absolutely love the way they look pregnant -— and usually, their partners couldn’t agree more. Doing a pregnancy photo session can truly be a family affair that can involve the soon-to-be dad, future siblings, grandparents, even pets. There’s just something amazing about how a man looks at his pregnant wife, or the image of a child’s tiny hands embracing mommy’s growing belly that should be captured for eternity. The next most significant moment in a family’s life is when the new baby finally arrives. As most new mothers can attest, too, often those first days, and even weeks after birth can blur over time. And yet, it’s the first weeks of a baby’s precious life that a family wants to remember the most. And as many new moms know, finding a photographer with a crying baby in your arms is not going to be high on the priority list. That’s why pregnant women should book a photo session for their newborn in advance, before the baby arrives – especially if you’re already doing a pregnancy portrait. Using the same photographer allows for the continuity of style to tell the story of your new family’s life. For my clients, I strongly encourage them to bring in their newborn within the first two weeks of life. As a mother, I understand how time flies by, and before you know it, the tiny head that once fit so perfectly in the cup of your hands has outgrown them. I love the looks on the faces of new parents when they see, through fine photography, what they produced together as a family. The images we create in a portrait session truly demonstrate the love they have for each other and provides a glimpse into their future. The artwork displayed throughout their home serves as daily reminder of the unique bond the makes them a family.
Tips on finding a professional photographer
When you choose a professional photographer to create portraits of your life, it’s important to choose someone whose work you are moved by and whose artwork is consistent and reliable. Consider that this person or company may be your life photographer and, therefore, their dedication to their craft is paramount. Look for photographers that offer pregnancy packages that let you bring your newborn baby in shortly after she/he is born. Purchasing a package will serve as an incentive for you to follow through with your newborn photos despite your crazy busy new schedule. It’s important when choosing portraits that you pick the portraits that have artistic and emotional impact, and yet, the portraiture for the various times of your lives. Too many people think of only now when choosing portraits. They rarely think about their future selves and needs. Consider that what you love today may not be what you love tomorrow. Choosing classic and timeless, as well as trendy portraits, will ensure that your choices are sound. It’s also wise to create a duplicate set to be stored in a safe place for the future. The irony of life is that while you’re busy with your family, you won’t have time or a hand free to record the moments you’ll want to remember 10, 30, or even 50 years from now. A professional photographer can help you create a visual history that will survive your lifetime and can be enjoyed by those you leave behind.View Linnea Lenkus’ photo gallery here.