The parallels of newborn and senior photography | Amanda Holloway Photography | The Woodlands, TX Senior Photographer

30 Nov The parallels of newborn and senior photography | Amanda Holloway Photography | The Woodlands, TX Senior Photographer

I’m going to talk about a subject that I don’t speak on much…. newborn photography. I am by no means a newborn photographer, but in the end, I will tie it to senior photography, so just sit tight for a bit.

I had my son in June of 2009 and with him came my love for photography. I bought my very first DSLR (aka big girl camera) when he was only 2 weeks old so that I could better document his life. I was hell bent on not spending money on newborn portraits… after all, I had a fancy camera that cost a lot of money and I could take his pictures just like any other professional out there. I pulled out a fur blanket, propped some pillows up underneath him and started to click away. This was the result…

(notice the watermark on the above images… no – I’m not trying to gain credit for their fabulousness, but I want to make it perfectly clear that that was back in 2009 – not current! Hahah!)

When I was done, I uploaded the pictures, edited them in Picnic and proudly displayed them on my personal Facebook page. I remember my mom even telling me that they looked just as good as a professional photographer’s images. I was so proud of myself… I had taken amazing pictures of my son without having to go to a professional photographer.

As my journey with photography went on, I learned a lot of new techniques that helped me improve. I took some online classes and some in person training to help me better train my eye and shooting skills. Through trial and error, I have developed my own style of shooting and processing. In the six years since my son was born, I’ve become a professional photographer. My eye catches things that most people can’t and I know a beautiful image when I see one. I sat down a few months ago and decided to take a look back at the above images. When I did, I was a horrified. Yes… my son was still just as cute as could be, but I knew deep down that no matter how great I thought they looked in the past, they were indeed not amazing photographs. My son is out of focus, the composition and posing is horrendous and the color is not true to life. As I examined each picture I had taken, I began to cry. I realized that I screwed up the memory of one of the most important times of his very first month in life. Because I didn’t want to spend money on something I thought wasn’t very important, I will never have professional pictures of my son when he was a baby. My heart aches when I wonder what kind of images I could have had if I had just taken him to a professional.

Back in 2012, (almost 3 years after he was born) I got together with some amazing photographers for a newborn photography get together. I decided to shoot a few frames and this was the result:

Sure, I was excited to have great images, but again… my mind went back to my own pictures of my son when he was a baby. I cannot tell you enough how I wish I could turn back time and go back to that day and take him to a professional photographer. I could have images like the ones above of my son… but instead, I don’t. And still, my heart is broken that I don’t have professional portraits of my son when he was a newborn.

Senior photography is a lot like newborn photography in that this is it. This is the ONE CHANCE to get it right. You can have family portraits taken every year, sibling pictures, etc. But a senior is a senior only once. You can’t ever go back to that year once it’s over. Once it’s done, it’s done. Take the time to find a professional photographer who is right for you and will give you amazing images that you will be proud of years to come.

Please learn from my mistakes… this is not the time to do it yourself, or have someone who just bought a fancy camera, or someone who takes “ok” pictures to take your child’s senior pictures. NOW is the time to invest in your child’s memories… they’re not a child forever and as soon as your senior graduates, you may find yourself wishing you could go back. They are becoming an adult and moving on in life. This is the time to have a professional photographer capture your child as they are and freeze that moment forever… just as newborns are, the senior year is fleeting.

  • Tina
    Posted at 17:21h, 03 July Reply

    I have the exact same regrets with my daughter. I couldn’t have said it better myself! Beautiful post! 🙂

  • Carol Rogers
    Posted at 19:33h, 03 July Reply

    Dear Amanda,
    I am sorry about your experience with your son’s infant photographs. I have always had my boys pictures taken professionally to capture the essence of who they were at that moment and to document how much they change over the years. By the way I have two son’s one is 16 and one is 12. I purchased my DSLR many years ago after seeing some action shots a friend of mine took with her camera of my son playing football. I wanted to be able to capture those moments myself. Needless to say I have taken thousands of pictures of them on the field and off the field with my camera. However, when my son started playing football with his high school team I found myself having trouble getting a good shot cause the stadium lights caused so much blur. Well I started to do some research on how I could fix this problem because I was missing out on so many good shots. That is when I realized I was not utilizing my camera to it’s fullest abilities. Yes I was still shooting on the preset modes!! It took a lot of time and lots of research but I am slowing but surely getting there. As I was doing my research I came across your images and fell in love with your work. Your images sparked something inside me that I knew was there but just didn’t know how to tap into. I am about to buy my second DSLR and I can now say that I am starting to shoot on manual mode or aperture priority mode and I am hoping to have my own photography business up and running within the next year. There are many moments in our children’s lives that are special and should be captured by a professional. I hope to be able to capture my own son’s senior portraits in a couple of years. I also hope to be able to take one of your workshops soon. I know your upset that you didn’t get professional shots of your son in those precious first days but you did capture your love for him and that is what matters the most.

  • Sandra
    Posted at 05:25h, 04 July Reply

    I can relate! I did the same thing and now have the regret that my photos of our son are not up to par. But we live and we learn. You had a very quick learning curve! The progress you’ve made has been nothing short of amazing!

  • Jana
    Posted at 09:20h, 04 July Reply

    This post really touched my heart. what an effective, evocative, and extremely personal post on the importance of capturing the really important moments and stages of life.

  • alison
    Posted at 13:37h, 04 July Reply

    I am so glad you shared this! So many clients don’t realize how important getting professional pictures are. I have so many clients run away when they learn my pricing, and they end up going to some place cheaper, even though the quality is much less. As you said, kids are only kids once!

  • Sophie
    Posted at 00:18h, 05 July Reply

    What a wonderful comparison, and I couldn’t agree more!! 🙂

  • Nikki
    Posted at 06:15h, 28 July Reply

    I actually didn’t start doing photography until after my son was born… I did take him to a “professional” to get his newborns done, but it was at an outlet mall. The images are the basic ones you get, there is nothing creative about them. I thought I was getting a great deal for $50. I wish like everything I would have gotten a real legit photographer to do his pictures. Luckily with the next one, I will be the one to do the pictures. I know have learned that most of those places don’t even require you to have any knowledge of a camera, and the editing is either normal, black & white, or sepia.

  • Portrait Retouching
    Posted at 06:59h, 15 December Reply

    Excellent kids photography. I can’t stop my eyes!

  • Lindsay
    Posted at 15:20h, 29 July Reply

    I feel like you are saying all the things my heart feels about Senior (and Wedding) photography. And I have similar regrets about my daughters’ newborn photos as well…

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