Angela Forker is an Indiana-based photographer who strives to make a positive impact on the lives of parents, especially those with children with special needs. She started the Precious Baby Project as a way to ensure every parent has professional photos of their children – including those who may not be able to sit up for a photo session. We caught up with Angela to learn a little more about why she started and to hear her tips for parents looking to capture this precious stage of their child’s life.
Tell us about Precious Baby Project
In early 2018, I was inspired to create the Precious Baby Project after a time of reflection and prayer, with the motto “…because EVERY baby is PRECIOUS!” My scenes are perfect for babies with special needs, who cannot sit up for photos. Most photographers are at a loss in this situation, but I had the perfect answer: “paint” my floor scene out of fabric and lie the baby on their back. This baby that may never be able to sit, crawl or walk is able to run or fly or do anything!
Parents who never had a professional portrait of their child get an amazing piece of art showing their child doing the impossible and inspiring them to believe the very best.
I hoped the project would help raise awareness for babies with special needs, while bringing hope and joy to these parents… and many others who would see their images online, at the YMCA or in clinics at the hospital.
How’d you get started?
I officially started my business about 4 years ago. A couple of years ago, I created a scene for one of my clients. It was Little Red Riding Hood. Everyone loved it. But most of all… I loved it! I wanted to do it again… and again… and again!
I made a few changes, making them more refined and professional looking and decided to call them Baby ImaginArt. I was hooked, my clients were hooked and soon I had hundreds of photographers also following me because of these scenes.
How many newborns have you photographed?
I would guess that I’ve photographed about 150 newborns so far.
Where do you pull your creative inspiration from?
When I first started coming up with these scenes, I drew inspiration from other people. But then clients started requesting scenes about favorites stories, hobbies or their occupation, inspiring me to come up with new ideas. Now I love the challenge of coming up with something new and fresh. I search for real life examples of what I’m trying to create, as well as cartoon versions—which I tend to be able to replicate a bit better with fabric!
All of this helped prepare me for the challenges of creating scenes for babies with special needs. If baby needs medical equipment, I try to feature it in the scene, rather than hiding it. This may mean baby’s helmet becomes an astronaut’s helmet and his trach becomes his oxygen supply from his spaceship! I also try to add a lot of symbolism to my scenes, as in the baby who is floating away with balloons that spell out HOPE. I came up with that scene from the saying, “Hope is in our genes.” The word hope is made out of jean material and the baby and his bear friends are all wearing jeans. My favorite part of the scene is a gene tree I created, using jean material and covering it with hearts.
What has been your favorite moment while shooting?
Besides my grandchildren, I would say one of the most meaningful moments was being there for our friends who knew their baby would be passing away soon. I was able to capture some of their final moments with her and she passed away the next day. Those photos are like a treasure to them and I feel so honored to have been able to capture those last moments with her for them.
What piece of advice do you have for parents who are looking for a newborn photographer?
If you’re wondering when to invest extra money for photography needs, your newborn session is the best time. There are lots of photographers out there who can take decent photographs of families, seniors and babies. Many friends with a camera may offer to take your newborn’s photos, but please consider your baby’s safety as well as their level of expertise.
Newborn photography is completely different than any other type of photography. I Shop around. Not so much for price, but for beautifully (and safely) posed newborns. That’s the photographer you want. It may cost more, but it will be worth every penny! Your baby will never be this small again. You want to get it right and have beautiful works of art that you will treasure for a lifetime!
What is your absolute favorite image you’ve captured?
I have a lot of favorite photos. Almost every new Baby ImaginArt scene I create becomes my new favorite, BUT there is one that stands above them all. It is the the T-Rex scene with my grandson and granddaughter.
I was taking lots of photos of his new baby sister. Some of those photos were Baby ImaginArt scenes. He discovered that he could squeeze into those scenes himself. He said to me, “Nina, you need to do one of a T-Rex…and you need to do it with me!” I never thought I could make a T-Rex out of fabric, but I gave it a try and placed him and his baby sister into the scene. Between the realistic looking fabric T-Rex and the genuine expression on my grandson’s face, that photo ended up being simply amazing. It was the first time my work went around the world. And to this day, it is the largest canvas I have hanging in my home!
What is one tip that will help parents take better photos of their children?
My tip is to take photos often of your children… and make them into prints! Too many photos on cell phones and computers get lost or corrupted. Don’t take any chances. You want your children to have photos of themselves in the future. Pick out the best and get them printed…today!
(Editor’s Note: you can print your Tinybeans photos on one of our new printed photo books!)
How can people reach you or learn more about your work?
You can see more of my work at my website: www.preciousbabyphotography.com .
You can also follow me on Facebook: Precious Baby: Newborn Photography by Angela Forker
My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org