By LEIGH ZALESKI for Smart
Your infant’s first photos are an automatic must save. How could you forget what he looked like, eyes scrunched and face red, all bundled up in his bassinet?
Here’s another reason to hang on to them: Infant photography in some hospitals has become more personalized, similar to a baby photo shoot.
York Hospital contracts Our365 to photograph all infants’ first days. The company switched about a year and a half ago from taking photos of infants in bassinets to using portrait-studio-style photography.
“Bassinet photography wasn’t really like being a photographer,” said Kimberly Fling, one of the three photographers at York Hospital. “It was like pushing a button.”
Our365 offers eight poses for each infant. Some poses can include mom, dad and siblings.
Fling said mothers are informed about the pictures at their obstetrician’s office. She said many parents come prepared with outfits. She recently photographed a baby wearing a suit and tie. Some parents prefer the naked look.
Photo packages range from $29.95 to $149.95. Parents can also order birth announcements and keepsakes, such as holiday ornaments for $29.95 and a CD to reprint photos for $99.95.
Photographers take photos whether parents choose to buy or not. A photo of each infant born at York Hospital is posted on wellspan.org and at our365.com. The traditional pose is used for the hospital’s site.
Al Sexton, Our365’s director of hospital operations for the Northeast, said the portrait-studio photography allowed Our365 to expand its offerings in catalogs, but the prices are about the same as when bassinet photos were sold.
He said the company’s goal was to delight parents and offer a contemporary style. He said infant photos are incredibly significant to parents.
“It is a life event that parents will remember forever,” Sexton said. “It’s almost like a family heirloom. They want to remember that momentous occasion, and we help them capture that.”
The photo experience might hold more significance for Allison Hiser, 32, of Wrightsville. Her daughter Isabella Grace was born 12 weeks early in March. Babies in the neonatal intensive care unit don’t get their pictures taken until they’re ready to go home. Isabella still needed a final checkup, but she was ready to go for her photo shoot.
Hiser said Isabella’s dad, Ben Ferguson, was deployed to Afghanistan at the end of June, and Hiser wanted him to have the photos to take with him.
“I never knew hospital pictures could be so fun,” Hiser said. “It’s nice to have someone help you through this process.”
Preparing for the shoot
Be ready to be in the photos.
Photos are taken primarily in the morning and afternoon. If you’d like dad and the baby’s siblings to be in the pictures, plan accordingly.
Have outfits ready, but realize that your newborn might not cooperate with being dressed and undressed.
Have cash, a check or credit card on hand, or opt to pay your bill later.
For new moms, have someone help you choose what to buy because it’s hard to decide when you’re sleep deprived or recovering.
Don’t worry about making the ultimate decision. You can always order more online after you get home.
More than 2,000 hospitals nationwide contract Our365 for infant photography, said Al Sexton, director of hospital operations for the Northeast. Sexton said the company was one of the first to switch from bassinet photography to portrait-studio photography, which has become the industry standard.
Take your own photos
Infant photographer Kimberly Fling said the best time to photograph an infant is when he or she is fed, warm and sleeping.
“It’s impossible to pose a newborn baby when they are awake,” she said.
Also, use a white backdrop to eliminate redness in the face.
Other area hospitals
Memorial Hospital, Gettysburg Hospital and Hanover Hospital contract Cherished Memories for infant photography. Service consultant Deb Pascale said about 1,000 hospitals work with Cherished Memories. Infants’ pictures are taken in bassinets.