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Asheville Newborn Photo Session

Hello! I'm Melinda Knutson. Mama, wife, grandma and visual story teller. Newborn sessions are some of my favorites and I recently spent some time with a sweet little family and that got me thinking about why I love these sessions so much! I thought I'd share why I think that everyone should capture those precious early days with your tiny babe and I wanted to share what our time together looks like and show you that it truly is about your life in the moment.

Sweet beginnings. Every time I meet new parents, it takes me back to my first few days with my babies... such sweet, tender moments. Life seems a bit more chaotic as you settle into a family of three with all of your routines and normals changing. But even in the chaos of the new, there is a calm quiet that a newborn brings to your home. This is the time to capture the newness, the sweetness.

I think all too often newborn photos are missed because mama's don't feel their prettiest right after giving birth, so not true. Trust me mama's, the maternal instinct is powerful and in full force in these early days and it makes you glow. Your belly that housed your tiny human for nine months will take some time to heal but that is part of your motherhood journey and it is perfectly fine to capture that part of your journey. The reality is this. If you want to wear a pretty flowing dress, feel free to. If you want to wear your bathrobe, feel free to. Makeup? Your choice. You do not have to do anything other than what you want to. It's your moment in time and you do what you are comfortable with. As a photographer, I want to capture your "real" and all of the "feels" that go with it. I will never expect you to get dressed up and do hair and makeup if you're not up to it. I've done newborn sessions with mama's in pretty dresses, jeans and even bathrobes or sweatpants. The only thing that I ask of a new mother is to be comfortable.

Another thing that I know deters families from newborn photos is that their house is messy. Of course it is! You are settling into life that is simply chaos right now and you're healing and tired, that is all normal. As a mother and a newborn photographer, I know this. I expect this. If I show up at your house and it's spotless, I'm going to feel bad if you've cleaned your house for photos. Trust me, it's not necessary. Part of my job is to find those perfect little spots where the light is pretty and you are comfortable. If it means that I move a few baskets of laundry out of the way or clear water bottles, tissues and magazines off a side table, that's ok. It's what I expect to do. Your home is your home and the comfort you find there is what makes you relax during photos. It is definitely not required or expected to have a spotless house for newborn photos. I've done newborn sessions with toddlers in the house and the chaos was real and it was perfect! It was their life, their family and their everyday in that moment and honestly... it was beautiful. Did you see the toys strewn about and laundry baskets of clothes or the breakfast dishes still on that table? Of course not, that's all a part of my job.

I've done newborn session in many places... at their home, in parks, even in my back yard. Yes, it's true. There was a period of time during covid quarantine that the only place to shoot was in my backyard. Thank goodness it was early summer and warm enough. Was it ideal? Not really, I truly long for parents to be comfortable and cozy in their home for these sessions but through the years I've learned to make anything work and covid took that to a new level. I've heard from parents "my house is too dark." Seriously, if you have windows I can take some beautiful photos of you. What most would call dark, I call moody. I love the light coming through the windows and you'll see that it is light a soft, glowing spotlight right where we need it. I love photos that have a mood and a feel. Those are perfect for a newborn session. A perfect example is this recent session and what I love most about this is that most of their newborn photos were taken in the same spot where his mama labored for 60 hours before giving birth to him.

Maybe you've had professional photos done before, maybe you haven't. I can tell you that a newborn session is a little different from the norm. I don't set a time limit, which is my typical for all sessions but newborns are a slow moving session. Babies need to be changed, nursed and snuggled. I follow the babies wants and needs, they set the flow of the session and I have no "routine" to a session. Babies thrive and are comforted in their parents arms so a big part of the session happens in their parents arms. When the little one is perfectly calm then we capture a few sweet shots of the baby swaddled and cozy. I won't pose babies in weird, unnatural positions. It goes against everything that I believe. Babies are not meant to be folded up into "froggy" positions and such. They are perfect the way they are and that is what I will capture. The most "posed" shot I take is them swaddled up, much like they were in their mama's belly, with their tiny little hands and feet showing. Their parents are inches away and ready to be the source of comfort if the tiny little one gets upset. If the baby cries, we stop. If the baby nurses we take photos or not, depending on the mama's choice and comfort level.

How does a session look? When I arrive for a session I am loaded with baskets of blankets and swaddles and camera gear. I take off my shoes and wash my hands and let you show me around. This is when I figure out where the best windows and spaces for photos will be. Most often it's in the parents bedroom and the nursery. The coziness of these spaces provide a big soft place for photos and the comfort of everyone, so if the window light is right, these are my preferred places to shoot. The living room can work well and I've actually done a newborn session in a dining room because the house was pretty dark but the dining room had a beautiful sliding glass door. We moved the table back a bit and I threw down a soft, fuzzy rug and it was perfect. Once we find the perfect spot, we talk for a bit. I explain everything as we go and it's a slow, quiet process. I usually start with parents with the baby, moving into some solo shots of the baby and then mama with baby, daddy with baby then siblings if there are any. All of this flow is based on the baby and children's needs and mood in that moment, they are the guiding force of the entire session. It may take an hour, it may take three. It varies by family and that is the nature of a newborn session.

Posed or lifestyle? I don't think there should be a choice. Posing is not my photography style, I call it gentle posing. I will direct you into a spot and position but then let the real connection and emotion take over. That is what you see in the photos. I don't direct expressions and I want your touch to be natural so that is how I "pose" in any session. When I say "posed" or "lifestyle" when talking about newborn sessions, what I mean is gentle posing or those swaddled, adorable photos of your newborn. There are a lot of photographers who offer one style or the other. I don't think it should be a choice! You want both and should have both so this is what your galleries look like when you get them.

In this session we moved from the bedroom to the nursery, following the light. The light from the window in the nursery was bright and perfect for some of the baby all swaddled and sweet. Their bedroom window was the perfect spot for so many more.

I take time to capture those tiny details that will so quickly change... those tiny feet and hands, that fuzzy hair above their tiny lips, that tiny hand holding mama's hand while she nurses him. Breastfeeding is a process that you only know if you've nursed your babies. That's another story but I will say this, I will shoot and share to the parents comfort level. I do birth photography the same way. Some parents are completely comfortable sharing, others are more private and all are perfectly fine. This sweet family had some challenges with nursing and their newborn was tongue, lip and cheek tied, making latching on impossible for the tiny guy. Once they had that corrected with a specialty dentist, they celebrated the beauty of nursing and were happy to share their story.

Once your session is finished, I get to work sorting and editing your photos and will share a sneak peek for you to share if you'd like. Your full gallery is ready in a few weeks along with your short film if you choose to have one and includes a variety of details, lifestyle and sweet little baby portraits.

I travel throughout WNC, Upstate SC and the Finger Lakes Region of NY doing family, maternity, newborn and birth sessions. If you have a special moment in time that you'd like to capture, I'd love to work with you!


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