Tamala Edwards and baby Massimo (PHOTOS)

September 12, 2012

Massimo was born 6 lbs, 2.9 ounces, 18 inches, head covered in dark hair.

Max was two and a half weeks early and required only 10 minutes of pushing. Tam says he clearly takes after his father when it comes to being timely, if not early, for an appointment.


Earlier this week Tamala wrote a blog about her decision to get professional pregnancy pictures. You can read about her experience below.


Parenting: Getting professional pregnancy photos

When I had my first child, I vaguely thought about taking professional photographs. Life seemed so hectic - so much to buy, so much to set up - and then I got sick with pre-eclampsia. It's a condition that can result in stroke and death.

An unfortunate side effect of the condition is edema, excessive swelling. It's not much fun to even look at happy photos of that time, even though I love the curly-haired mischief maker that came from it. I'm glad to say this pregnancy has gone better and I've gained half the weight I gained the first go round.

I've been inspired by colleagues here to think about professional pictures. I wondered about fairness: should I do this with the second child when I didn't do it for the first? Still, I decided to go for it, thinking over the years I will appreciate pulling these pictures out and thinking back.

I'm including some of the finished product, and I could not have been more right. I will cherish these pictures forever, both as a precursor to the child to come and for the images with his older brother.

They were taken by Ian Campbell, a photographer who works from his lovely home in Blue Bell. My husband saw some of Ian's work in a Chestnut Hill frame shop and got me a gift certificate for Mother's Day.

So how to go about this and get the best experience you can? The first job is to find a photographer who can help you get pictures you love. Ask for recommendations and take a look at on-line galleries. Many photographers have specialties - portraits, outdoor settings, still lifes, action shots, working with children, etc.

Ian also advises listening to your gut and being sure you feel comfortable. "The more comfortable you feel, the better the photographs," he says. "Finding someone who is flexible and enjoys working with children and families is also key." Indeed, he offered me several times and options. While I ultimately drove to him, he also offered to come to me or meet me in a park near my home.

Ian suggests outfits that are fitted and one color, since patterns can be distracting. Take a few options to discuss and try. Chances are the photographer will get you in a few different looks. That's good because it can be surprising how much a different color or style can create a different mood in the shot.

Consider some other factors. On the day I went to Ian, temperatures were in the 90s and the day was hot and sticky. So we canned the idea of an outdoor shoot and stuck to the indoor studio and window seat shots. I think that was a good call, versus frizzy hair for me and a sweaty head and mosquito bites for my pre-schooler.

Speaking of which, how to get the best out of young children, who can be cranky and impetuous at the best of times? Ian is a genius, getting some nice shots with my son, who for the most part refused to cooperate (and as a bonus mid-shoot decided to fill his diaper). As enticement I brought along snacks and the Ipad, accepting that I'd have a small window of time with my son in front of the camera.

Ian adds, "When I photograph children, I often ask parents to bring a favorite toy or blanket. Often children are excited by the lighting and equipment in my studio - they enjoy exploring a new space. I have a daughter and I have learned a great deal about working with children through my own firsthand experience. For example, never set a photo shoot at nap time! Usually mid-morning, after breakfast is the best time for children. Hungry and/or tired children aren't usually as happy to smile for the camera!"

Professional snaps are an investment, something that can cost you a couple of hundred bucks or so. Some might wonder about that, asking what difference there is between that versus having a friend play around with your family camera for free? You can try that, and it's not to say you won't get something good. However Ian points out that professionals bring better equipment, technical skills and a creative eye to your project.

Based on the photographs he did for me, I couldn't agree more. I hope you like them as much as I do. And even if you're on baby two, three or further, I would really nudge you to consider this. It's never too late to get pictures you will pull out and adore for years to come.

Be sure to check out Ian's website www.icphoto.com

Read more Parenting Perspective blogs by visiting the Parenting Channel on 6abc.com.

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