Mom and Former NICU Nurse Make Family Photography Their Focus

Photo courtesy Molly Watson
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Scanning through social media feeds, you may have noticed photos of newborns and moms-to-be that look straight out of a magazine. Family photos have evolved from stereotypical sessions often taken at the mall. Some are glamour shots with moms and babies in formal attire and makeup. Others look more like everyday moments captured with a high-quality camera. These types of family photos have evolved into a genre of their own. In advance of Mother’s Day, ideastream spoke to two area photographers about how they made this their careers and advice for anyone trying to capture family memories.


Photo courtesy Brittany Gidley

Nurse turned photographer

Brittany Gidley began photographing newborns while working as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit. About 6 years ago, she transitioned from nursing into fulltime photography. She said she continues to photograph newborns in the NICU on a volunteer basis. One high-profile client has been Cleveland Cavalier J.R. Smith.

Life inspiration

Molly Watson picked up a camera after the birth of her daughter about 8 years ago. Initially, she focused just on documenting her daughter’s developments. She said she later began photographing friends’ kids, charging “next to nothing,” before growing a business and opening a studio in Cleveland.  


Photo courtesy Molly Watson

Why family photos

They both say it’s the relationships that draws them to this type of photography.

“I love being a small part of something so big and something so important to [clients],” Gidley said.

“You keep seeing these people year after year,” Watson said. “That’s hard to do in some of the other genres of photography.”


Photo courtesy Brittany Gidley

Picture-taking advice

Get in the picture. Parents may be the main photographers when it comes to taking snapshots of their kids, but somehow moms and dads need to get into the frame, too.

One idea from Watson: Set a timer on a smart phone through a camera app.

When in doubt how to behave in front of the camera, Gidley said she often prompts families to play together.

Letting go of perfection can also help the process.

“I know that it can be hard to get your children to listen to you, but that’s not really the point,” Watson said. “It’s just remembering those moments as they are.”

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