Ok parents of the toddler-age and under set, let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute. Our children are in their glory days, aesthetically speaking. Sure toddlers are known to be the least rational people on earth after Kanye West, and infants are, as we all know, total dead weight socially speaking. But little kids have one thing going for them, and that is that they are cute. CUTE! Mother nature is not an idiot. Clearly there needed to be some compelling reason to care for our young. Something to sweeten the pot, if you will. Turns out, that something is looks.
And folks, let me be clear. This will not last. Sure, it will last for a few kids. There are the Mary Kate and Ashley Olsens of the world who start out strong and then more or less hold steady. But most just don’t preserve that well. I mean how many adults do you want to squeeze because they’re just SO ADORABLE. Yeah, like none (except maybe Meg Ryan circa 1989).
So, you can handle this reality in a few ways. You can hope that you have an Olsen twin on your hands, or you can face the odds that you don’t and make sure to get some really good photos of your kids while they’re little. I’m going with the latter option. Thigh and back rolls aren’t cute indefinitely, after all, and middle school is just around the corner.
Which brings me to my point. Have you been taking photos on your cell phone like a trigger happy paparazzo?
Click click click (read text message) click click click
(Now take away the clicking sound, because YOU ARE USING YOUR PHONE AND NOT A REAL CAMERA)
If this is you, join 99% of all parents. It was me for the first 5 months of Nolan’s life, and I actually am a photographer! The thing is, your cell phone can take decent pictures, especially when you add in a nice Instagram filter for effect. And it’s convenient, don’t I know it. But it really can’t replace photos taken with a good camera, by someone who knows what they’re doing. It just can’t.
If you haven’t already, I’d recommend springing for some high quality photos of your kids. How else are you going to be able to prove that you birthed attractive offspring? Certainly not by showing off junior prom pictures! Because, well, you’ve seen pre-teens before, correct? Do I need to go into it?
Don’t be foolish. You want to catch the good stuff now.
Today Nolan and I went to Christina McPherson Photography studio in Lincoln, MA. Christina and her assistant Kristen Schueler are friends of mine from photo school (I did a brief stint as a photographer somewhere between working as a social worker and birthing Nolan. It’s all very hazy at this point). Christina and Kristen are excellent photographers, and I was excited to take the meatball back into a real studio. This was our second trip in, they also took Nolan’s infant photos, when he was just a glorified fetus.
Note: if you want those Anne Geddes type photos with your baby posed in a bucket or curled up in a baseball mitt or whatnot, you have to take them in the first two weeks of life! That’s the only time babies are supple enough to be contorted into these poses.
Looking back, I realize that at the 2 week photo shoot Nolan was a stranger to us! I mean, we had JUST met him. Sure we were into him, the way people are into each other on the first few dates. But now we really know what he’s all about. Christina and Kristen were able to capture Nolan’s spirit of sweetness combined with complete and utter sloth. It’s a winning combo and they really nailed it.
Ok, so here are the results. I also took some behind the scenes action shots at the studio, much like on VH1, if that’s even still a thing? Who knows.
Now, despite Nolan’s natural pose, it takes a lot of work to capture a shot like the one above. Which is why it’s a good idea to work with the pros. In addition to knowing how to use cameras, they also have a variety of toys and tricks to distract your baby (or dog; babies and dogs pretty much like the exact same toys and tricks).
A fancy trick used in the studio is putting stickers on the baby’s toes so that he’ll grab them rather than exposing his private bits in the shot. And as luck would have it, Nolan JUST discovered his man parts this week! Perfect timing.
Nolan was a bit of a prima donna on the grass. He seems to be saying “I don’t enjoy being pressed against nature in this way.” At least that’s what I’m reading from his eyes here. Please note the slight under-neck rash. Some of you may recall that we’ve been battling that demon since early infancy. I would like to take this chance to remind you that yeast cream for the neck folds smells fabulous! Now back to our topic.
To accommodate his distaste for nature, Nolan was treated to a soft synthetic fur to lay on, the way a baby of his stature demands.
Once we wrapped up with the nudes, Nolan began his work as an infant character actor. I would describe his work as “a revelation.”
Here, in the role of hipster/dork, Nolan is posing as an infant from Park Slope who’s writing a letter to the editor about his distaste for big chain book stores.
Here we were going for something between an Ewok and an extra on Game of Thrones. It’s a very fine line, really. Basically Nolan just wanted to wear this lady-crown, and who am I to stop that sort of passion? I also suspect that he’s been watching Toddlers and Tiaras and thinks this may be a good promotional head shot for the series. He can dream big, can’t he?
I don’t think I have to tell you that this is Mario Batali. I like everything about this picture. We’re sending it in to Top Chef to see if they want to do a spinoff that’s kind of like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo but with a less abrasive child and more produce.
Overall, Nolan held up well for his big day. Sure he got a little upset when being taken in and out of costumes, in part because his thighs were a bit heftier than some of the other babies, and he needed to be kind of molded in, like sausage into its casing (particularly in his chef pants, good lord). But the results were awesome and Nolan was so wiped out from all his posing that he passed out as soon as he got in the car. I drove him around like the diva that he is, and everyone was happy.
Do yourself a favor and check out Christina at Christina McPherson Photography. If you like her work, vote for her on Boston’s A-List to help her reclaim her title as Boston’s Best Children’s Photographer! Vote Here.
Also check out Kristen at Kristen Schueler Photography. Kristen specializes in weddings and is a kick-ass photo retoucher. She rocks.
A few other great Boston-area photographers to check out:
Leah LaRiccia at Leah LaRiccia Photography. Leah is an awesome photographer with a photojournalist approach. She does amazing weddings and portraits, and can also do “Mommy and Me” shoots!
Kourtney Buchanan at Baby Bloom Photography. Kourtney specializes in baby and family portraiture and can shoot out of her home, on location, or in the comfort of your home!