Bringing Up Baby

. October 30, 2012.

Whoever dreamt up the idea of babies arriving via storks was out of tune with the miracle of birth.Photo by Trudi Lynn,

Every parent (or expectant parent) knows the experience is so much more wondrous, complex, intense, ecstatic, tender, and sleep-depriving than that. From the waving of the home pregnancy test wand to the moment that tiny person who’s captured your heart arrives, it’s a dizzyingly happy, fresh time. And as any new mom or dad knows, there are plenty of people with an opinion on how to handle it. (Including us!) We let the experts weigh in on all things baby in our Ann Arbor Family 2012 Maternity and Baby Guide.

A thousand words                                                                                                                                                                                                 Some of Ann Arbor’s best children’s photographers share their tips on making every shot count.

Don’t “oversharent” 

Local social etiquette expert Marci Raver ( believes that parents should use Facebook with caution — as in holding back a bit. “Great Aunt Eloise may not be thrilled to click the YouTube button and see her new namesake enter the world head first.” Sharing happens. Even within the confines of Facebook, your pictures can be viewed, second, third, fourth-hand, etc. Be discreet.

Photo by Kat foley, photographer, www.katfoleyphoto.comPortraits are great in the first 10 days … babies are still tiny, fresh and sleepy

Photo by Trudi Lynn,

Let the sun shine in
Want to do your own session? Consider photographing newborns without a flash, positioning baby close to a window with bright, indirect light. The most important ingredient, according to photographer Kat Foley, may be “patience. Babies always make fun little yawns and faces, and so much personality comes through even when they are only a few days old.”

An early start

Portraits are great in the first 10 days, according to Trudi Lynn of Photography by Trudi Lynn; babies are still tiny, fresh and sleepy. Kat Foley agrees. “My favorite newborn photos are the ones where they’re swaddled tight, lying in mom or dad’s arms, or on a soft blanket,” she says.

Photo by Erin Drallos,

Research photographers while pregnant … once the baby arrives, the session can be done right away”

“Consider photographing newborns without a flash”

Capturing the first moments

Do photo and videotape as much or as little of your baby’s birth as you want. Some photographers, including Erin Drallos of Footprints Photography, can arrange to document the entire birth in stills or footage. On D-Day, she positions herself so that she’s unobtrusive, favoring the point of view from over the mother’s shoulder and shots that focus on relationships, like the love between parents. Her most important tip? “Know your camera before you get into the delivery room. The lighting can be very tricky.”

Ann Arbor parents tell us the quirky reasoning behind their children’s monikers

Name: Sakina “Sakina is Arabic for ‘tranquil.’ She was my first home birth, and I was so much more comfortable and stress-free.” Bayyineh Muhhamad, teacher

Name: Moonlight “Moon, so she would attract and reflect back the light in every human she meets. Light because she carries her own bright spark that illuminates every dark corner. Although, just as often, we call her and her brother Thing 1 and Thing 2.” Peaches Black, tutor


Name: Oscar “I started calling my baby bump Oscar. Once we had the ultrasound and confirmed he was a boy, well, he was already named.” Susan Campbell,photographer

Name: Eleanor “I was determined to name my daughter after a strong female figure in history, so we chose Eleanor, after Roosevelt and Aquitaine. And we liked that we had several options to shorten it.” Christine Pilsner, consultant

Wonderland Walls

Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan's muralists specialize in bringing childhood imagination to life on the painted walls of nurseries and children's rooms.

Norman Wilder

Want to feel as if you’re part of the art? That’s Norman Wilder’s goal. An artist for 25 years, he loves to help you discover the right theme for your nursery — from superheroes to storybooks to an entire fanciful environ- ment — and then help you execute every aspect of it. “Will it be one wall or the entire room? I’ll help you determine the best way to adapt to your windows and doors, as well as the different angles from which the painting will be KatheriNe larsoN viewed.” Norman works carefully within your budget and time specifications. Murals (which take from three weeks  to a few months to complete) start at $775 for a one-wall storybook image. 616-681-2902

Katherine Larson

Youmay have already fallen in love with a Katherine Larson painting; she’s the illustrator of a number of Sleeping Bear Press titles, including M Is for Melody. With vast experience creating over 150 murals and public art works, she works to match the age of the child with colors, shapes and subject matter that will be most stimulating. “My subject matter is always uplifting and happy; even the bugs have little smiles on their faces.” Children ages 3 and up even become a part of the painting process, whether it’s by lending a brush or simply watching. Murals start at $650 for an 8 by 10 wall. 734-417-0141

Mary Theifels

“A baby’s room is an especially intimate place where fam- ily and baby grow and observe the world for the first time together,” says Mary Thiefels of Tree Town Murals. “I personally love to be a part of this joyful time. I believe a baby mural should inspire the child for years, by provid- ing imagery that will evoke imagination.” Mary meets with you to discuss design possibilities in a one-on-one session in order to get your ideas out and onto the wall  as a wonderful mural that your baby will love. Murals range from $350 to $750.734-846-4455


Katie Halton

Babies and children love the bright, colorful creations of Ann Arbor artist Katie Halton; in fact, she counts them as some of her biggest fans and most discerning collectors. That may be because she still considers herself a kid at heart. She infuses her work with a joyful, play- ful energy that kids respond to in kind. After consulting with you on the colors and subject matter that you think will best suit your child, Katie will turn his or her nursery into a vibrant mini-gallery that delights and surprises with wild or tame animals, sea creatures, or a lively cityscape. Murals start at $250. 734-239-1895