If you think nervous brides and grooms are finicky photo subjects, have you ever tried photographing a temperamental baby?
They cry. They scream. They squirm.
It’s for these reasons that Eau Claire-based photographer Laci Eberle advises parents to keep their baby awake for two hours before a photo session. This way, the newborn will be sleeping sweetly – not wriggling angrily – when it’s time for the close-up.
“There’s a certain amount of pressure I put on myself to capture a newborn and do it right.” – Laci Eberle - Family Photographer
Another pro tip? Leave the baby in a diaper during the photo shoot. “They’re so unpredictable,” explains Eberle, without having to elaborate (at least for this parent).
Despite such challenges, Eberle has made taking pictures of newborns and babies a successful part of her lifestyle photography business – successful enough that she won the Family Favorite Photographer category of the 2017 Family Favorites reader poll in Chippewa Valley Family magazine.
“There’s a certain amount of pressure I put on myself to capture a newborn and do it right. I like to see them within 10 to 12 days after birth,” Eberle explains. “If I don’t do it right, I can’t go back. You have to get all of those details right the first time, to capture the newness.” Parents may be sick of hearing (or saying) it, but the cliché that “they grow up so fast” is true, especially for newborns. A three-month-old is decidedly different from a three-day-old, and new parents should act fast if they want to preserve that angelic look for posterity.
Between 10 and 12 days after they are born, babies and their parents are home and have (ideally) settled into some sort of routine. Eberle comes to her subjects’ homes – that makes things easier for both parents and babies – and relies on natural light alone to capture images of her tiny models with her Canon 5D Mark III. Because of the need for natural light, she often finds herself photographing babies in front of sliding glass doors on kitchen floors; at other times, they are perched on couches, kitchen tables, or their parents’ beds – anywhere with adequate sunlight. You’d never know about such unusual placement, however, because Eberle uses neutral-colored blankets as backgrounds and swaddles the babies in lace, cheesecloth, or fur. The effect should be timeless, she says: “I don’t want things to be trendy looking. I want them to focus more on the baby’s details than on the background.”
Eberle became a professional lifestyle photographer in a roundabout way. She shot her first wedding a dozen years ago as a favor for a friend. Soon after, she relocated from Madison to Eau Claire and gradually added other kinds of photography – including newborn portraiture – to her portfolio. She learned to use her camera in part by photographing her own children, 13-year-old Caden and 8-year-old Emma. A few years ago she made the leap from her job at a credit union to become a full-time photographer.
Whether it’s capturing formal “wall-hangers” or cute candid moments, Eberle’s lens can record your little ones before they’re too big to curl peacefully in sunbeams on the kitchen floor.