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This guest post comes to us from maternity photographer extraordinaire Rachel Castillero. A brand-new mom herself, Rachel has a true gift for capturing the beauty of motherhood in a fresh, feminine way. Her gorgeous portfolio has us all day-dreaming about a photoshoot session with her company, The Fox and the Sparrow. See more of Rachel’s work and get to know her better here.


When doing photo shoots for new babes and mamas, my philosophy has always been that real is better. I want to take pictures of who you really are and where you really are. And right now? You’re in it. You’re in it deep, this motherhood thing. Having done so many shoots and then experiencing this on my own, I have come up with a few tips on just how to embrace this current moment, while still feeling beautiful.


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1. Lighting

Natural light is best, especially if you’re using your phone. If you’re shooting outside, the best light is when the sun is lower in the sky around sunrise or sunset. Finding shade will also give you a nice soft light. If you take some pictures inside (which are usually my faves – my Fox and Sparrow sessions are all shot inside with natural light), then you’ll want to turn off all the indoor lights, find a window, and use the natural light coming from that. Stand next to a window as it casts light on the side of your body, not directly in front of it. If you have sheer white curtains you can pull those over the windows, which will soften the light even more.

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2. Light Makeup

I’m not much of a makeup gal, but for pictures I do use a tiny bit to slightly enhance (not change) my features. The ‘tired’ look in pictures doesn’t actually bother me during this postpartum time; I feel like that’s REAL motherhood and I want to embrace and remember that! Make up, all in all, should not be a time-consuming affair: pop a tiny bit of concealer under the eyes to lighten bag, add a dusting of blush on the cheeks, a stroke or two of mascara is always a yes for for pictures, and a touch of chapstick or gloss for extra glow, and you’re good to go!




3. Angles

Angles are SO important for pictures. SO important! The universal look-great-in-pics angle is when you’re looking down. This happens to work perfect for baby shoots – all you have to do is look down at that sweet baby of yours, and you’ve got it! Just be sure not to pull your chin in too much when looking down, which can create that double chin we all try to avoid in photos. If you’re standing, bend your arms just a tiny bit (we’re talking micro bend here, not hand on hip bend). That microbend will leave your arm at the best, most flattering angle without overdoing it.

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4. What to Wear

It’s so important to wear something that you feel comfortable in! Pick something loose but still slightly fitted. I prefer sleeves during this time for comfort, and they also look great when babywearing. Babywearing for pictures is perfect: not only is it flattering, it draws so much attention to the beautiful connection between mom and babe. Choose a natural-toned outfit and brightly colored wrap to be the focal point. I’m wearing Coral here and love the way it pops. This will help to show off that sweet little one of yours!

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5. Smile

Smiling truly is your best, most beautiful, accessory. I love pictures of mamas interacting their babies instead of the camera – smiling or laughing with them. They just look a bit more natural. For when we do need those tricky look-at-the-camera-and-smile shots, try to think of something light or funny to get a little laugh. Laughing makes for the most natural smiles. Then, wait to actually look at the camera until the last second, right before the picture is taken, to keep that smile fresh and bright.


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Photography: Jackie Wonders, Mama: Rachel Castillero, Wearing: Coral


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