I'm thrilled to be able to feature Nicole Krueger, my friend and amazing maternity, newborn, baby, child, family and senior natural light photographer on my blog today! Her work speaks for itself, but I know I had some questions around the ins and outs of her maternity and newborn shoots in particular. I figured my doula clients and other readers would love to learn more about what she does as well! Read on for an informative Q&A with Nicole of Vintage Pear Photography.
Could you tell me a little about your background and how you decided to pursue photography professionally?
I received my Masters Degree in Architecture in 2006 and worked for a local architecture firm for over 5 years after that. Everything changed after the birth of our first baby though in 2008 and I really struggled going to the office everyday and being away from him for 45+ hours a week. After a lot of soul searching and family support, I knew I needed to make a change. Art and photography has always been a passion of mine (even working at Sears Portrait Studio in my teens), and so it was a natural decision deciding what I wanted to transition to. I had a tough overlap of about a year before I felt confident enough to leave my stable architecture career for a career in photography. At that time I partnered with the talented Krista Roder and we created Vintage Pear Photography. Could not be happier with the decision and it has really worked out better than we could have imagined. I love what I do and I especially love having the flexibility and time to see my kids as much as I can!
Why have you chosen to focus on maternity, newborn and family photography?
When I first started I would take any job that came my way, but thankfully I have developed a wonderful client base that has allowed me to focus my efforts in where my passion really is. I love families and I cherish being able to watch them grow over the years. Newborns are extra special because they are only that little for such a short time and I just love being able to capture that time for parents. Most of us are quite sleep deprived during that time, so it is nice to have photographs to look back on all the little details from when they were new.
Why is natural light critical in what you do?
I love natural light, it has such a light and airy feel that I love and fits our style of photography. We did however purchase a studio light over a year ago and we mostly use it to help on really cloudy/dark days to eliminate having to reschedule when the sun decides not to shine. We chose one that we thought most resembled natural light and have been very happy with it!
How important is timing for maternity and newborn photographs, and what are the target windows?
I personally prefer to do maternity photos around the 32-34 week mark. This typically has a nice big baby bump that shows well in the pictures, but doesn’t usually risk missing the moment with an early arrival. It can also get more uncomfortable for Mom the closer we get to the due date too.
Newborn photos are really best before 2 weeks old if possible. That way they are usually still accustomed to being all curled up and sleep more soundly while we are moving them from pose to pose. My personal favorite is in the 8-12 days old, so a good feeding routine is typically in place by then too.
Do you have general suggestions for clothing or props your clients should bring?
We have a large supply of props and accessories in our studio, so I would say most of our clients don’t bring much with them. Although I am happy to use something from home too, like a special stuffed animal or quilt, etc. Personal items can really add a special touch!
Babies are in their birthday suit for most of the session (yes it can get messy ;) ), although we do have a few little rompers and wraps that we use too. Regular newborn clothing tends to be baggy on them and we want to show case them as much as possible!
For the family and sibling poses, I tell families to first and foremost stay true to their sense of style. However I always love light colored (like cream or white) clothing with texture to it (like lace, or knit, etc.). It is very warm in the studio, so keeping it light and simple is best.
Those little “froggy pose” photos of newborns are so cute. How do you pull that off?
I love doing the froggy pose, showcases their little faces and toes so cute! This is one of a few more advanced poses that you definitely want to do as a composite. Which means someones hands are always on the baby. Then we use photoshop to remove the hands (takes two photos of the same picture, but with the hands in different locations on baby.)
Newborn safety needs to always be top priority and more difficult poses should be reserved for when a photographer has experience handling newborns and feels more confident. I did not even attempt the froggy pose for the first couple years I was photographing newborns. I took a few workshops and other online training that had large portions explaining newborn safety. Taking beautiful photographs of newborns is so rewarding, but most important is keeping them safe and comfortable. Even some of the more standard (simple) poses need to have safety in mind. Babies are a lot stronger and can move themselves easier than you think!
Thanks so much to Nicole for providing this great info about maternity and newborn photography! As I mentioned, Nicole's work speaks for itself (thanks again for taking my headshots for this website Nicole!!) Take a look at more of her gorgeous work below, and reach out to her through her Facebook page, her website, or the Vintage Pear site.
Written by Angie Traska of Align Doula Services, providing intuitive, attentive doula support that aligns with you.