If you're one of the many people who oohs and aahs over pictures of celebrities' babies, you might be surprised to know that there's actually an art to newborn photography. Jennifer Blakeley and her partner Keri Meyers are two of the top celebrity newborn photographers in the country, and now they've launched NewbornPhotography.com to connect parents from all walks of life to the photographers who can best capture their child's first pictures. BFTV recently spoke with Jennifer to get some insight into newborn photography.
How did they get started specializing in newborns? "Both of us are moms. We were both photographers before, and then both of us had children. It's like a natural progression," Jen told us. "For me, personally, after I had my daughter I just became obsessed with photographing babies...And then it's a growing thing. People see your pictures and say 'Oh, my friend had a baby, can you photograph the baby?'"
Since then, Jen and Keri - who provided the beautiful image at the top of this article - have photographed for Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, Donald Trump, Jr., The Big Bang Theory's Simon Helberg, and Ian Ziering, just to name a few famous folks. But Jen explained that newborn photography isn't something limited to celebrities.
"There's a whole industry of newborn photographers around the world. There are people who just photograph babies under the age of 14 days," she told us. "Keri, she's actually a mentor in the industry, so she's pretty well known. So we just thought it'd be interesting to get all the industry in one place and try to market it. The website is actually for photographers; there's a community where people can support each other and ask questions. We have over a thousand [photographers] listed."
"Newborn photographers are specially trained people," she continued. "We are the first people to handle a baby after it's been born, other than a medical professional and the parents. Once a person hands a baby to us, we're hands on for two hours at least." This is not just aiming a camera and getting a pretty picture.
And it's that knowledge that motivated Jen and Keri to enter into the world of celebrity newborn photography. "I see magazine pictures, celebrities who put their babies in magazines, and they're nice pictures. But I just think there's so much more of an artistic way to do it," Jen explained.
"I saw a couple of magazine pictures and I was like, really? These people, they're celebrities, they should have the best people doing this. So we decided to reach out. We sent our portfolio to a couple of people who were in the media and pregnant...It's been a ride. It's been a really, really interesting experience."
"For us, I think it's all an experience," she reflected. "It's this whole ball of expectations around when you meet a celebrity. [But] they're people. They're like every other client that comes through our doors. They've been up all night. They've just had a baby. And everything is magical. They're like you and me.
"It's a very, very grounded part of your life," she added. "It sounds cliche to say they're all so important, but I think the best part is giving people these images that they're going to have forever."
We've included a gallery at the end of this article where you can sample the work of the NewbornPhotography.com community; if you like anything that you see, the photographer's name is underneath each photo and you can search them on the site to find their individual page.
For more great photography work from Jen, Keri and others - or to find your own newborn photographer - you can visit newbornphotography.com. You can also find out more about Keri and Jen's portfolio by visiting their site (keriandjen.com) and following them on Twitter (@keriandjen).