Amanda Maree Photography » Amanda Maree Photography - Brisbane Newborn Photographer

Newborn baby boy in basket with cream bonnet cuddling rag doll belonging to sibling who has died

On the 3rd March 2012, after 25 days of life, our first child left Earthside to watch over us always as an Angel Baby.

Niamh Therese Christina was born on the 7th February 2012 at 26 weeks and 6 days, weighing a good 960grams and looking cranky ( let’s face it, who wouldn’t be after leaving a nice snug little womb that early!) Niamh thrived for 13 days and we were so hopeful, feeling positive she would eventually be home with us. She was almost past the second week; the week when if a premmie is going to have something go wrong, it goes wrong.

Premature baby girl in isolette on ventilator

On day 14, we got an early morning call from the NICU saying I should get into the hospital as Niamh’s health had deteriorated. She had developed severe Necrotising Enterocolitis. Over the following days Niamh had so many complications due to her illness, but it looked like she might pull through. Around day 22 the doctors started to lower the medication that had kept Niamh under heavy sedation throughout her sickness. I was so excited to see her move again (she was such an active baby before she got sick) but this was something that wouldn’t happen. She had had a haemorrhage in her brain that had previously not been detected due to being so sick, and this affected her ability to do just about everything. The only thing she could do on her own was open her eyes and move her forehead a little.

On day 25 we made the decision to redirect her care under circumstances we could control, so in the early hours of the morning of the 3rd March, in the quiet of the hospital, all support was withdrawn from our daughter and we held her as she took her last breath.

After losing Niamh it was a hard decision to try to have another baby, especially because we didn’t know exactly why Niamh came early, but we did know that I have a uterine condition that lends itself to premature labour. Was it irresponsible for us to try to bring a baby into the world knowing the challenges we faced, and that they may then face? Were we just trying to replace Niamh? So many questions and concerns….

Despite this, we did decide to have another baby and unfortunately went through 2 miscarriages. While this was heartbreaking, we decided to try one more time for a baby. In early 2014 we conceived and after a stressful, emotional and yet beautiful pregnancy our son was born on the 18th September at 38 weeks.

Newborn baby born naked in dads arm with tattoo of sisters name who has passed away

Newborn baby boy sleeping in cream crochet blanket

Newborn baby boy laying in brown fur and brown wrap sleeping with hand on his face

Newborn baby boy laying in brown fur and brown wrap sleeping with hand on his face

Newborn baby boy sleeping naked in mums arms with mum smiling

Oisin (pronounced O-shean) is truly the most beautiful special boy: an amazing gift made especially for us. He has his own personality and is very different from his sister and at times we still can’t believe he is here, the time just goes so fast. Sometimes looking at him, holding him, is so bittersweet: the overwhelming joy of him and the heartache of losing Niamh are both felt in equal measure sometimes.

And yet we are so much more fortunate than many families. We got to know our daughter, to say goodbye to her and tell her we love her, and we have our amazing, delightful and happy little boy (who has his own Angel looking out for him, lucky boy). Many people don’t have our happy ending, and for that we are so grateful.

While a little piece of our hearts will always be broken and there is sadness in our story, our journey is also one of strength, hope and love. That’s what Niamh taught us, and that’s what gave us Oisin.

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Newborn baby girl on pink blanket in pink wrap with pink head band smiling

Newborn safety is paramount when it comes to handling and working with the most fragile and vulnerable populations, and in my opinion, should be the primary concern of all photographers when meeting their tiny clients. Being a qualified and extremely experienced Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse gives me an amazing insight into this, and something I know my families value when choosing me to photograph their precious little ones. After all…we have their most valued possessions in our care during a session.

Newborn baby girls hand with white knitted pants on also

As a NICU nurse, we are trained to focus on important factors such as comfort, thermoregulation and nutrition….or, in NICU lingo….pink, warm and sweet!! The same principles can be translated to newborn photography.

Keeping a baby comfortable during a session is so important….if baby is happy….mumma is happy, and then of course, the photographer is happy! An experienced photographer will remember, every baby is different, and not all will go into each pose. Some babies prefer their tummies, some their backs, some are happy to be curled, others prefer to be swaddled and wrapped. Ensuring we treat each baby as an individual and let them guide us with their cues during the session is invaluable. We must watch each pose and observe how well the baby is tolerating it, changing if and when necessary, also closely monitoring little ones circulation particularly with their limbs curled or tucked….remember, keep them pink! It’s also important that your photographer takes care to collect information from you as parents prior to the session in regards to your little ones medical history…. was there any trauma during delivery, have they had issues with their hips, have they been circumcised. If you have any other considerations that may effect the way your baby should be handled, be sure to share this with them. Rescheduling a session to ensure a little one is most comfortable is easily done, and very important.

Another important consideration is comfort and safety when using different props and poses. Many images in complicated poses or props are created using a composite image, ensuring safety of the baby is maintained at all times. Other simple elements such as having a second person, either an assistant or mum/dad to spot the baby and stand close for support, keeping a hand on bub at all times, and weighting baskets securely before putting a baby in to create a firm base of support during posing are also important. Another factor is newborn anatomy, keeping in mind their head weighs approximately 25% of their total body weight, which in proportion makes them very top heavy and is definitely something that needs to be considered when posing. Always keep a baby low when hanging, and use bean bags underneath when suspending. We must also take extra care with firm surfaces and always use towels, beanbags and pillows for support if able.

Newborn baby girl laying on lace pink blanket with pink wrap and pink head band

Keeping tiny neonates warm is essential in the NICU, and the same goes for a photography session. Newborns have an inability to regulate their own temperatures and therefore need more support than an older client. Add to that they are usually undressed and exposed. It is important to keep the session environment warm with the use of air-conditioning or heaters, I set mine to 29 degrees Celsius. Considering these tiny ones have spent the past 9 months in a snug warm environment…it can be a major adjustment. Warmth ensures comfort…that is for sure.

Another thing to consider when it comes to the safety of such a vulnerable population is health and hygiene. Photographers should always wash/sanitize their hands prior to handling little ones and after cleaning up ‘spills’!! Also laundering linen and wraps in between clients, and if the photographer themselves are at all unwell, they should consider rescheduling a session. A common cold for an adult can be catastrophic in a vulnerable newborn. Their immune systems are functionally immature in the first 4-6 weeks of life and they should never be put at risk if you are at all unwell. Of course both my assistant & myself are up to date with our immunizations, something we consider extremely important.

Newborn baby girl laying on her stomach on a pink blanket on a white lace doily with a pink wrap and a white tieback with pink bow

And finally….while it doesn’t influence newborn safety during a photography session as such, it is the most important thing in relation to comfort and that’s nutrition…..keeping tiny one’s sweet (with stable blood sugar levels) and nourished. Read a newborns cues, stop for feeding breaks. A baby that is unwrapped and being handled may want to feed more frequently than usual, and that’s ok. Your photographer should always work on with your baby’s timetable, and the rewards will be limitless!

I hope that all of my families feel comfortable, safe and relaxed during their session and take away memories of nothing but comfort and love.

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Last week I posted a little sneak peak video of the set up prior to a recent newborn session and turns out it’s created lots of talk so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to share just what happens during a newborn session. There were loads of comments in regards to how many set ups were in the sneak peak….9 props & 2 bean bag set ups! Yes ….for that session, that was what we had…..it is a little cray cray but here is how we got to that point!!!

When a client first gets in touch with the most exciting news ever….they are expecting….I send them some general information about booking a newborn session. I also include pricing and a questionnaire which helps me create a beautiful session especially suited to that family. I want you to tell me about your family and about your little one that is on the way. I want to know about the nursery and what colours you like and don’t like. It helps me put together a picture to help tell your story. I also want to know if there is anything in particular that your family wants to include or share in their session and it is usually these type of questions that give me a beautiful insight into a family’s journey to get to this point.

That blink of an eye when your teeny tiny newborn is just that….is exactly what I want to capture. Little ones grow and change before your eyes and soon that moment is gone. When families let me into their lives during that magical time I feel extremely blessed and it is with that in mind that I set out to tell your family’s story.

After all…”Sometimes you will never know the value

of a moment until it becomes a memory”

-Dr Seuss

Smiling newborn baby girl in brown wooden trench bowl laying on purple wrap wrapped in purple knitted wrap with purple tieback and surrounded by purple flowers

When I was chatting to this family they gave me lots of ideas to help create their story. Mumma liked turquoise, purple and grey, papa liked pinks, white and creams. The family breeds sausage dogs so we worked to include that concept. Mumma had a gorgeous scarf that was given to her and we both agreed it would be beautiful with their new little princess. Isabella’s grandma had made her the most divine little elephant. All things that made their family unique and special.

They both wanted to include their beautiful first born son who was watching over them from heaven. So we worked closely to create a couple of special images that meant Anthony was with us on the day and to capture the special bond he had with his siblings even though he was no longer earthside.

Once I have a plan for the session I work in the time leading up to piece together their story. I set up individual props and set-ups to celebrate their newest edition and capture them in their teeny tiny way but also use the families ideas as inspiration.

I always set up more than I use and just see how the session goes. Every baby is so unique…not all baby will go into every pose or every prop. Some babies like their tummies, some love their backs, some need to be wrapped, some don’t like to be swaddled at all. We just work on the little person’s schedule and get through whatever they feel like doing on the day! Generally I set up 5 props and 2 bean bag set ups but often we only use 3 props.

My sessions usually start out on the bean bag with the cute little tooshie up pose…I just love how it shows the curliness of a newborn, their rolls and folds, and their pouty lips!

A little bit of pink, white and girly for her daddy.

Newborn baby girl laying on her stomach on a pink blanket on a white lace doily with a pink wrap and a white tieback with pink bow

And some green for mumma….how cute are those little piggies?

Newborn baby girl laying on her side on a green lace blanket wrapped in a mint coloured wrap with a mint tieback

Then I move onto props if bubba is happy, so first we went to the special set ups we had created to include Bella’s angel brother Anthony. This bear belonged to him so I knew we had to put them side by side, big brother looking after little little sister. We also included the butterflies to signify Anthony’s spirit surrounding Bella that day and always.

Newborn baby girl in white cane basket on white wooden floor with blue fluff and lace wrap wearing little blue lace outfit and white bonnet cuddling blue bear surrounded by butterflies

And a story piece special to mumma with her favourite colour purple…..

Newborn baby girl in little white wooden bed with purple quilt and purple head band with white butterfly, puprle flowers and wooden scrabble tiles with the name Anthony

Some more purple for mumma…it was this set up that we also included grandma’s special handmade elephant in.

Newborn baby girl in brown wooden trench bowl on wooden floor wrapped in purple knitted wrap laying on purple blanket with purple head band and surrounded by purple flowers

This was the stunning scarf mumma wanted to include in the session which tied in with their ideas of purple and grey. I think she liked it!

Newborn baby girl in wooden crate on grey spotty blanket wrapped in purple blanket laying on multi coloured scarf with little smile and purple head band

And of course a little more grey never goes a stray…I just love grey on little girls. We also included some sausage dogs if you take a close look at the beautiful wrap snuggling Bella from behind!

Newborn baby girl in small grey felt basket wrapped in grey sausage dog wrap with lace knit blanket and grey tieback

This sweet set up was all about creams and girly but when mumma spotted a canvas in the studio she loved the idea of incorporating browns into their session too so we went with it! I think Bella approved of the addition!

Newborn baby girl in nest surrounded by cream and brown and green flowers wrapped in a brown wrap laying on green fluff with a brown head band and a little smile

I had got this divine dusty pink romper especially for this session from Prop Boutique and I think it went perfect with their girly pink theme and of course one of my favourite little owls from Earthborn Photography Props. Who doesn’t love a little girl in lace?

Newborn baby girl in dusty pink lace romper with pink tieback holding little cream owl laying in wooden round bowl with cream blanket on cream lace blanket

And I made this little pink knit wrap for Bella’s session so we included that too.

Newborn baby girl in pink knit wrap with pink head band laying in brown wooden bowl with dusty pink fluff on white wooden floor

And then we ended the session with all things girly and pink and lace just for papa!

Newborn baby girl in round wooden bowl filled with dusty pink fluff wrapped in pink lace wrap laying on cream lace with pink knitted bow headband and on brown back drop

From there we went onto sibling shots with Isabella’s 3 big brother’s….Bailey and Cooper plus Anthony’s special bear. Then some special shots with Bella and her mumma, Bella and her papa, and then the whole family together. Bella was a dream and practically slept the entire session which meant that we ended up working our way through every thing I had prepared, although often this is not the case.

Every baby is so different and I honestly just go with whatever a baby wants to do at that very moment. Sometimes…that involves just giving me snuggles and no modelling what so ever but we work with that too!

So….that’s what 9 props and 2 bean bag set ups looks like in action.

That’s a little insight into how I work my newborn sessions. I hope it makes you excited to book yours today? Did you know that newborn sessions are best scheduled in the first 14 days so I always recommend getting in touch early in your pregnancy to best ensure your booking and also so we can get to planning some magic like above!!!

Thanks so much to Bella and her family for sharing their story with me and with you.

Thank you to my gorgeous assistant Rebecca.

And of course to my stunning vendors that make this magic happen!

Princess and The Pea Props

Little Doe

A Little Life Fabric & Props

Twisted String

Pup & Frank Photography Props

Chino Creations

Love That Prop

Little Vintage Fox Prop Shop

Prop Boutique

Timeless Heirloom

Earthborn Photography Props

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A butterfly to remind you….

Although we are apart…

My spirit is always with you…

Forever in your heart.

Newborn baby girl in white cane basket with a while lace blue romper on and white knitted bonnet laying on blue fur and white lace next to a blue teddy bear from her lost sibling and surrounded by blue butterflies

A special image of Isabella snuggled up to her big brother Anthony’s special bear…so sweet seeing the two of them together. Bella I hope you know he is looking down on you from heaven. Im so glad we could include him your session today.x.

Mark and I first met back in 2009 and fell in love instantly. We knew we wanted a family and when we found out we were expecting all our dreams came true. Sadly, we lost our first born boy, Anthony, in 2010 at just 22 weeks and our hearts were completely broken.

In time we learned to love again and we soon found ourselves expecting again. This was such a scary time, considering what we had been through to get to this point. Then, in true Bailey style, he arrived in a whirlwind of excitement and a little sooner than we would have liked!! Amazingly, we found ourselves expecting again and in 2012 Cooper arrived….again in a whirlwind and even earlier than his brother Bailey, competition between the boys already!

In 2015 our hearts grew even more when we found out we were expecting a sweet princess…..and in true family tradition, she beat both of her brothers and arrived at just 31 weeks!! Thankfully, she has done extremely well, despite a few bumps and we are feeling extremely grateful to have her safely at home with us after such a big journey.

Newborn baby girl laying on green lacy fabric wrapped in green wrap with green tieback on

Smiling newborn baby girl in brown wooden trench bowl laying on purple wrap wrapped in purple knitted wrap with purple tieback and surrounded by purple flowers

Smiling newborn baby girl in brown wooden trench bowl laying on purple wrap wrapped in purple knitted wrap with purple tieback and surrounded by purple flowers

Smiling newborn baby girl in brown wooden trench bowl laying on purple wrap wrapped in purple knitted wrap with purple tieback and surrounded by purple flowers

Smiling newborn baby girl in brown wooden trench bowl laying on purple wrap wrapped in purple knitted wrap with purple tieback and surrounded by purple flowers

Smiling newborn baby girl in brown wooden trench bowl laying on purple wrap wrapped in purple knitted wrap with purple tieback and surrounded by purple flowers

True daddies girl we had to do a pretty in pink set up just for him. Mark…your princess is just divine.

Newborn baby girl in pink lace wrap laying in brown wooden bowl on brown back drop with pink fluff and white lace with pink bow tieback on

Newborn baby girl in wooden bowl on cream lace laying on cream blanket wearing pastel pink lace romper and pink lace tieback holding cream little owl

Isabella you were such a delight to photograph today….all 2kg of you! I am so honoured your family chose me to capture some special memories of your journey so far and include you 3 beautiful big brothers in the day today.

Mark and Tiffany, she is just so special. I hope you adore your sneak peak just as much as I loved capturing it.x.

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On the 19th of November….7 weeks early and in a whirlwind of drama, sweet Orson Rex arrived earthside. In his short time here, he has proven to be a fierce fighter, who is just as fiercely loved by all who know him. He’s come such a long way. Although he’s going to have a few more hurdles to jump throughout his life, in regards to his health, and the things we might otherwise take for granted, he is surrounded by the most loving family, who will face whatever he is confronted with together and help him overcome them.

“Orson is our fourth boy, long awaited for, highly prized and family completed with his addition.”

Premature baby boy in brown pants laying in brown wooden tub with brown fur and orange blanket holding rust coloured owl

From the very first moment I met him….I fell in love with his sweet nature and his sheer determination to fight for survival. Orson you are brave, you are strong, and I am extremely honoured to be able to capture some special moments in your journey.

Orson Rex, which means ‘Little Bear King’…..how could we not create a special set up for the little king himself!

Premature baby boy wrapped in brown wrap with brown knitted bear bonnet and crown on laying with brown cream and tan knitted bears on brown fur

This divine quilt was given to Orson when he was born, I just love the gorgeous colours and special details…dinosaurs of course following in suit from his three older brothers!

Premature baby boy with nasogastric tube wrapped in blue wrap laying on orange blue yellow and green dinosaur patchwork quilt

Then we created some gorgeous green and blue set ups to fit in with Orson’s nursery. He was snug as a bug wherever I popped him and slept like an absolute dream!

Premature baby boy laying in green wool nest and green knitted wrap on green blanket Premature baby boy wrapped in dark blue blanket and blue knitted bonnet laying in blue crochet basket and on blue fur rug

Premature baby boy in brown wooden bowl wrapped in pale blue wrap on wooden floor

I know I say that all of my families are special but these guys take the cake. Seriously the nicest couple ever and I am so blessed to be able to share their journey with you all. Bek and Michael you are divine. I can not think of a more loving home for Orson to grow and flourish in. Be proud that you have created the most beautiful little man, surrounded by love as you move forward and grow with Orson.

Orson….you can come and snuggle me any time darling.x.

 

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