Congratulations to our Top Pic of the Week, Julie Worthy. Read to learn more about the production of her photos.
How long have you been a photographer & how did you begin your journey?
My professional photography journey started 3 years ago this April. I have always been an avid lover of photos; booking multiple sessions a year for my own family. My husband purchased a camera for me shortly after the birth of our son so that I could have quality images of my children at home, not just cell phone snaps. Once I had a camera in my hands, I couldn't put it down. It quickly developed into a passion and something that I felt a drive to do not just for a hobby, but as a profession as well.
As a maternity, birth and newborn photographer, what are some tips you have for posing and styling your clients?
As a newborn and maternity photographer, my job is to capture some of the most exciting, but most fleeting moments of a young mother's life. I would like my clients to look back and remember more than just the achy feet that come with pregnancy or the sleepless nights that come with a newborn. I want them to remember the happiness they felt, the roundness of the new life inside of them, and the quickly changing features of their new baby. Style simply and cleanly so the focus of every image is the people or subject you are photographing. My biggest tip of all however, is to connect to your subject. If you are passionate about what you are shooting and you have a goal in mind for your session, it will come through the lens.
This was shot standing on a step stool in the field. I like to tell my maternity mommas to "show their belly some love" and snapped this while she was cradling her stomach looking down.
I do the majority of my editing in Lightroom. This photo was edited with Pretty Presets Film Bohemian collection.
I was actually tagging along with my dear friend Karolina Agner of Karolina Agner Photography, for sunflower sessions when this was taken. We very much believe in community over competition and often shoot with each other if we are doing something fun, or even just to spend time with each other! Her prior shoot ran a little long so she asked me to step in and take a few shots so that her clients were not standing around waiting. I remember telling her I was getting her "warmed up" for the main event! I had just gotten into maternity photography at the time, and had honestly been struggling. This session was a turning point for me and the first time that I honestly felt like I was "getting it"! I loved every single photo I shot, with this one being my particular favorite. I'm not sure if it's just nostalgia, but even now it's still one of my very favorites.
Describe your process of becoming comfortable with the newborn baby. How do you prepare?
I don't think as a newborn photographer you should ever allow yourself to become completely comfortable. Newborn safety is something I am extremely passionate about. I am always watchful and mindful of my handling and positioning of my babies. For the 2-3 hours that I am posing, I am holding someone's entire world in my hands. I have taken multiple posing courses and do a yearly newborn retreat, which helped tremendously with safety tips and posing, but the number one thing that videos can't give you is experience. Newborn photography is so hands on, and honestly I think a lot of it is instinctual. A video can't teach you how much pressure to apply with your hand on a baby's limbs to keep them from startling or how to recognizing when they are sleeping deeply enough to try those more difficult poses. It just comes with time.
I let the heater blow directly on it to get the wood warmed up a bit. Posing on hard objects is not something newborns typically like to do, so I waited until the baby was in a deep sleep before attempting to put her on it. I positioned her in my hands and then set her down already posed onto the guitar.
For this shot, I filled in the background a bit in Photoshop, applied a texture layer from Glow Portraits, and then finished with a preset from Pretty Presets Film Bohemian in Lightroom.
I am very dedicated to the brand I have built and only using quality products on my newborns. I provide all props and accessories for my sessions with the exception of heirloom or personal items. The parents brought in this guitar for me to pose their little one. Music was deeply connected to their lives and this was the dad's favorite guitar.
What is the most difficult part of photographing newborns?
The most difficult thing about photographing newborns for me was learning to be patient. My clients tell me all the time that I have the patience of a saint, which is really funny, because in every day life I have none at all! It is so important to take things slowly and not to stress. If things start out a little rough take the time not only to compose yourself, but to soothe and calm the parents as well because newborns pick up so easily on the tensions in our body. These sessions run long, the room is hot; it is not something that can be rushed or done quickly. The end result is always SO worth it.
How would you describe your photographic style?
For the most part, I like to think that my newborn and maternity photographs are timeless. I try to select gowns and props that will last thorough the years and not come and go as fads. There are always the exceptions when I do something creative or out of the box, but every single gallery has clean, simple, portraits inside where the focus is solely on my subjects.
Baby was first wrapped in a potato sack pose. I put a small weighted bean in the bottom of my bucket (Modest Little Me Boutique) to lift baby up a bit and then placed the baby inside of the bucket at a slightly forward angle with her chin resting on top her hands. I then lined the inside of the bucket behind baby with more weighted beans for safety.
This photo was edited with Lemon Sky Photography Newborn Presets and brushes.This gorgeous headband is from Huckleberry Baby Prop.
What advice or tips would you give to other photographers regarding finding their style?
Finding your style is so important. Try and look to yourself, and what speaks to you, when you're editing rather than trying to replicate another artist's style. Don't give up! I tried so many different edits and had so much inconsistency in the beginning, eventually something will click. It's just part of the process.
This was shot at close range on a dark grey backdrop with my subject half lit.
This photo was edited using SMAL Presets
While not quite a newborn portrait this photo was taken during one of my newborn sessions. The momma in this photograph was under 2 weeks postpartum from a c-section. Showing the realism and beauty of the postpartum body is also a subject dear to my hard and a message that I am passionate about spreading.
Do you own multiple cameras? Which is your favorite?
Since I have only been doing this for 3 years, I have not made it to the multiple cameras stage of business. The very first camera that my husband purchased for me was a Canon Rebel (from KEH). About a year and a half into this journey I upgraded to my 5D Mark II (also from KEH) which is what I currently use. I am hoping this is the year that I treat myself to my first ever brand new camera, but this company provides such great opportunity to own a quality camera if you cannot afford the initial investment of a new one for the start of your business!
What gear are you hoping to add to your collection?
Aside from a new camera, I'm really hoping to add a Sigma 24-70mm lens to my collection. I have rented it a couple times and it was LOVE.
Thank you, Julie, for allowing us to share these photos! Check out more of her work on Instagram, Facebook and her website.