Newborn Photoshoot: Emilia

After taking some maternity photos for my good friend Claire just over a month ago, last weekend I had the privilege of being invited into her family’s home in the heart of a tiny village in Staffordshire, just seven days after her beautiful baby girl had been born, to capture them together in a newborn photoshoot.

They named her Emilia, meaning ‘to strive or excel’ and at one week new she is the most relaxed baby I’ve ever come across.

Newborn photography is an artform, and one I have not been trained in.  There are specific ways to pose the baby, particular editing techniques to smooth out the skin tones and hundreds of cute props you can use to add to the adorable-ness (is that a word?!) of the new baby.  You need specific equipment – lighting, backdrops etc… – and an absolute ton of patience to capture the beautiful images you’ll so often see gracing the walls of proud new parents.  I hugely admire all photographers (I know several personally) who specialise in this area – they make it look effortlessly easy when it most definitely is not.

As a documentary photographer, my goal wasn’t to capture those perfect poses.  As beautiful as they are, I find much more beauty in the raw, perfectly imperfect, messy days after birth, where Mum is still finding her rhythm with feeding, Dad is just as bleary-eyed from lack of sleep and siblings are still super-excited and lovingly exuberant towards their new little brother or sister.  It’s real.  And it’s so often swept under the carpet – how hard it is, how chaotic it can feel, the emotions that are swirling around the home.  People don’t want to see that part of the story, but to me, that’s the part I want to remember the most.  That’s such a key part of the story of a new baby and I think it deserves to be captured.

Claire knew that I’d be with them for a couple of hours, quietly documenting their every day, their new routine, them finding their way around this tiny new addition to the family. They welcomed me into their beautiful home with open arms (literally – I got enveloped in bear hugs as soon as I walked through the front door) and we simply sat and chatted as I captured them.  Emilia fed and had her nappy changed; Bella and Lucas (Emilia’s big sister and brother) alternated between looking on in amazement, showering Mum and baby with cuddles & kisses, and gleefully playing; Claire’s husband David was lovingly attentive and supportive; and Claire sat in the middle of it all by the roaring fire, the winter sunlight streaming in through the windows, snuggling her baby and sipping her tea as she told me her birth story.

I loved every second of it and whilst it certainly wasn’t the easiest photoshoot I’ve ever done it felt incredibly right to be doing it. I feel so very lucky to have been given the opportunity to capture this raw vulnerability and intimacy and it’s definitely something I want to do more of as time goes on.  These moments feel like they last forever when you’re in the middle of them, but they truly are gone in the blink of an eye.

I still stand by what I said earlier about Emilia being the most relaxed baby I’ve ever met – this was just a little grumble because she was hungry.


It’s hard work being a baby

A wind-induced smile 🙂 (One of my favourites from the session – there were many favourites)

Quiet moments. I love the baby paraphernalia scattered through this scene and the closeness of Mum and her two daughters

My most favourite photo from the entire session. I’m so glad I captured this.

The first two weeks post-birth look a lot like this and I couldn’t love it more.

Dad and daughter – it’s such a special relationship

This one was all Bella’s idea – how beautiful is that?! Mum’s hand, Bella’s hand, then Emilia’s hand. Another favourite from the session.

And finally, I had to include this one (below).  Bella was absolutely fascinated with my camera and I let her have a little play around with it.  She snapped a few shots of her Mum and Dad and the photos captured their love so beautifully that I couldn’t leave them out.  This one was my favourite – slightly out of focus but I don’t think that matters in the slightest, because, well, just look!

Taken by Bella

If you’re interested in finding out more about having an in-home newborn session, please feel free to email me at I’d love to hear from you.

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  • Reply March 4, 2018

    Linda wilce

    Well done Chloe a beautiful blog & photos

    • Reply March 5, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Linda! Emilia is utterly gorgeous and I loved every second of capturing her with Claire and her family.

  • Reply March 10, 2018

    Jo - Not A Frumpy Mum

    What gorgeous photos, and I love that they aren’t the styled ones. Those first few days at home with a new baby are so precious and you have captured them perfectly. xx
    Jo – Not A Frumpy Mum recently posted…The Forever Home: Extension News 1 {The First Month}My Profile

    • Reply March 12, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Jo! It was out of my comfort zone but I was pleased with the images I captured.

  • So beautiful!! It’s almost making me feel broody again. My baby is two next week so my baby days are definitely coming to an end.
    Heledd – Running in Lavender recently posted…8/3: Five Things I Love This WeekMy Profile

    • Reply March 13, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Heledd! My littlest one is 8 now so my baby days are well and truly over. It was rather lovely spending some time with a teeny, squishy newborn though I have to say 🙂

  • Reply March 13, 2018


    Ahhh this is so lovely hunny. I will be here soon. Making me so broody especially after meeting little man on the big screen 4d scan today and seeing what he will look like. These are so precious for this family. #wrc
    Jenny recently posted…My Last Mother’s Day with Two kidsMy Profile

    • Reply March 15, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Not long to go now Jenny! 10 weeks? So exciting. I can’t wait to meet your baby boy.

  • Reply March 16, 2018


    Wow Chloe, these photographs are absolutely gorgeous! You’ve really captured the baby (and all of them actually) so brilliantly with expressions and little details. My eldest daughter is called Emilia and actually I didn’t know the original meaning but it captures my daughter’s spirit 100%! xx

    • Reply March 17, 2018

      Chloe Ridgway

      Thank you Suzanne! I loved capturing this little family and all the details of life with a newborn. Emilia is such a pretty name too.

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