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July 25, 2018

Before she was Ana Brandt, newborn photographer extraordinaire, she was for a decade Aunt Ana - an amateur with a camera who loved babies. Based in California, Ana shares her trade secrets for photographing babies around the world...

Hi Ana, where are you based and how long have you called that home?

I live in California, I moved here from New York in 1999.

What do you love about photographing newborns?

Everything! Their smell, their breathing, their size. The sheer beauty of just being days old.

What are the challenges?

Working with fussy babies and figuring out how to comfort them. Some need to be swaddled, others really warm. Some like tummy time, others like being on their back. I have a short period of time to get to know this new little being and try to do my work as efficiently and safely as I can.

Are there any trends?

Every season. I have been a photographer for 18 years and I have seen many trends come and go. When I started it was a naked baby on a black background - no props or anything! Now it's all about organic and natural fibres, as well as a lot of flower influences.

Have you ever been peed on? (or worse!)

Almost every day - and both!

What tips or tricks have you learned?

My yoga ball is the best tool ever. Babies love being held and gently bounced. It works like magic! Wrapping and shushing works, too.

What props do you like to use?

Baskets, beds, beanbags, bowls - you name it!

How do you make a newborn pose look natural when it isn't?

It's all about positioning the baby in your hands until you can feel that they are comfortable and positioned in a way that is pleasing, to them and to the eye.         

What do you look for in a model?

A well-fed, non-gassy baby.

Any tips for parents before they bring baby to a session?

We suggest parents feed the baby right before the session. If baby wakes early it's best to feed them then let them go back to sleep. Uppon arrival, they can wake and feed them, which usually works very well.

What inspires you?

Images with a connection. We are surrounded by great photography on billboards and in magazines. I love to work with textures and muted colours, too, which inspires me to create.

Do you have children?

Yes! My kids are 13, 15 and 17 years old. I started photographing them from day one and still do! They all have cameras, Instagram accounts, YouTube channels and all capture their own images, too.

How do you balance home life and work?

I don't work on Sundays and Mondays, which allows time to spend at home and plan for the week ahead. We all keep shared calendars and talk daily and often hourly to be on the same page. We all know where everyone is, we plan dinners and time together.

Do you have a favourite quote, mantra or philosophy of life?

Maya Angelou - "When you know better, you do better"

Henry David Thoreau - "Live the life you imagine"


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