Behind-the-scenes: What it takes to get the perfect baby photo session
You could say Nicole Baca was born to be a mom.
“There’s a lot of us. We’re a family of six now,” said Baca, who is mom to Tatum, twins Cassidy and Camden, and the tiniest of the bunch.
“His name is Lincoln Cole Baca,” said the proud mom.
It was Lincoln’s day to shine in front of the camera, and because Nicole is no novice, WFAA asked to tag along.
“Oh my goodness gracious… Look at him, isn't he so cute?” said photographer Jessica Cook from behind the camera.
"Cute" is Cook’s specialty.
“They're so fresh and so pure,” said Cook, owner of Fat Baby Photography.
The SMU graduate started her business while still in college.
“My mom owned a daycare when I was little, so kids were my life,” said Cook. “I guess I was just destined to do something with babies.”
Four years later, her baby business is booming.
“I supply everything -- outfits, backdrops,” said Cook with a studio full of goodies. “I literally tell them 'all you have to do is supply the baby.'”
On this day, mom Nicole delivered.
“It’s cool to be here to see how she can take a small space and really make a picture come to life,” said Baca.
But it’s far from easy.
“We're about to do naked. What are my precautions? I have none,” said Cook while setting up Lincoln’s photo shoot.
“We’re going to squish,” said Cook, illustrating those precious baby rolls.
“I love it,” said Cook. “I can't help myself, you know? How do you stop when you're looking at something that cute, right?”
Between squishes, Cook uses blankets to prop up those sweet little baby booties and get the angles just right.
“And then I keep it warm in here because babies can't control their body temperature,” explained Cook. “Keeping them in a comfortable state helps them stay sleepy.”
A sound machine shushes Lincoln into a sweet slumber, even while Cook contorts his little limbs.
“I’m molding them into different positions with ease, and they're sleeping through that,” said Cook while moving Lincoln into that popular frog pose. “Almost every session I get a parent in here that says, ‘I can't believe they're asleep! How are you keeping them asleep?’”
Cook certainly proved her magic touch with Lincoln.
“People think that just because [they] have a camera, they can make it work,” said Cook. “But it's really an art of forming that baby, making that baby comfortable, keeping them safe.”
But let’s not be naïve. Four hours with a newborn isn’t all rainbows and sunshine.
"So I prepare people for that -- you're going to be here for a long time,” said Cook.
There’s frowning, crying, and so much pooping.
Leave it to the mystery of cropping, editing, and a little wizardry from the baby whisperer to come away from those messy memories with pristine pictures.
Cook’s prep guide for parents before a photo session: keep babies up in the morning to wear them out; bathe them -- getting them clean makes their hair nice and fuzzy; finally, feed them right before leaving the house.
“People will comment on my Facebook page and say, ‘Stop making me want another baby!’ I'm like, I can't help it!” laughed Cook.
All this from a woman who hopes to earn the title of mom herself one day.