The quintessential newborn photo typically has a single focus - the itty-bitty newborn. This makes perfect sense because in that immediate moment, the new baby is the focus of everyone’s world. However, in the long-view, there is so much more going on. There is the welcoming of a new human life to our beautiful planet earth, the making or expansion of parent and sibling roles, and there is obvious wonder at how we all start out so small, tiny and fragile.
Some of my favorite newborn photo sessions, though, are those that include grandparents. From the perspective of a photographer who is called to make and produce captivating and compelling images of newborns in their most delicate form, it’s special to add grandparents to the mix. From a much greater perspective, I know that the ability to capture three generations together, particularly at such a wonderful time, is extremely precious.
I was lucky enough to enjoy my two grandmothers until I was an adult and my grandfather is 90 years young! I loved them so much and I cherish every single image I have with them, specially where they are holding me as a baby. This is a gift live gives to certain people, so if you are a lucky one, make sure to document it with beautiful imagery.
Capture the magic of grandparents and newborns while you can
Newborn-hood is fleeting. Those fragile tiny limbs, the ones that can curl up to the chin and the arms that can’t even reach the top of their own head, the sweetness of sleepy expressions - all become longer, plumper and more awake before you know it. This is one of the things that makes newborn pictures so compelling; not so long from now, you’ll look at the albums, framed photographs or canvases and say, “Wow! Was s/he ever really that tiny?” Yes, s/he was.
Similarly, the ability to capture grandparents cradling and nurturing that same, delicate and fragile form is also fleeting. In addition to the natural unfolding of life and the fading of generations from oldest to youngest, the reality is that life can change in an instant. Having three generations captured in a newborn photo is a gift you can give to yourself many times over as you, your child and the extended family look at the images year after year, and decade after decade.
They are a one-of-a-kind-keepsake
A photo of your newborn and his/her grandparents is a one-of-a-kind keepsake. For your child, it is a visual tool to learn grandparents’ names and faces, particularly helpful in an era when many of us live thousands of miles - or even continents - apart. The canvas becomes physical proof that the child is held and loved by their grandparents.
Similarly, grandparents delight in being a part of this special moment. Sure, there are plenty of digital photos of them with the baby on their first visit - maybe even in the hospital - but many of those never make it to print so they languish in digital space. Thus, a professional image that is intentionally posed and beautifully rendered becomes one of grandma and grandpa’s most prized possessions.
Side Note: While this is in no way the main reason to invite grandparents into the mix, it has been my experience that some grandparents are so moved by their emotions during the session, they feel inspired to gift an album or some artwork to their son or daughter  , making them part of that very special keepsake.
It honors the role they hold as Grandparents
I recently read a novel where a woman commented on why being a grandparent was so fantastic. As a mother of six adult children, she learned that not much of what she’d said or did as a parent had any serious bearing on her children’s adult lives. She believed that ultimately, we are all born who we are. Thus, being a grandmother was amazing because she could let all that worry and responsibility go, simply delighting in the individual people each of her grandchildren were in their own right.
This sums up the special and kindred relationship that exists between grandparents and their grandchildren; both have the ability to delight in who the other is, with far less judgement than we tend to have in parent-child dynamics. Including grandparents in your newborn photos, if even for an image or two, pays great honor to the special role they have - and will always have - in your child’s life.
High-quality images last for generations
The reality is that many grandchildren never really know their grandparents because they are still young when their grandparents pass away. As much as we want the ones we love to live forever, it’s simply not reality. So, it is our responsibility to honor that precious balance between what we hope for, and the happenstance of life, doing our best to honor the moments we have with the ones we love most.
Capturing the sweet connection between your parents and your brand new baby is a meaningful and intentional way to walk confidently within that delicate life balance. There’s a reason why the adage, “Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today,” strikes a chord; answering the inner-call to include grandparents in your newborn photo session allows you - and them - to breathe a little easier. Have a great-grandparent still living? The addition of a fourth generation makes the resulting images even sweeter.
Are you interested in learning more about how to incorporate grandparents into your newborn photography session? Contact me, Marcela, here at Lemonshoots, or feel free to give me a call at (510) 747-9019. The possibilities are endless.