A photographer for over 13 years, Keren Stefnasky of Cuddles and Kisses Photography has been snapping dazzling portraits of families while effortlessly getting children to pose, smile and even enjoy what can sometimes be an arduous and dull process.
These days, however, her main clients are newborns, and while that particular demographic might seem daunting for some professional photographers, Keren has mastered the genre. Those wiggly bundles of joy have emerged as her favorite—and most popular—subject.
“It’s a fun job. It’s really exciting. The parents are always so excited and it’s a very nice time to be taking pictures because everyone is so happy,” she said.
“The babies are great because I wrap them up and they love it. They love being swaddled really, really well. So I have become an expert swaddler, and I know how to make the babies happy and go to sleep.”
Keren laughs at how she didn’t know how to swaddle her own children properly. But, she says, it really makes all the difference. “They love it. They are so happy. They feel like they are back in the womb.”
Growing up in England, Keren always loved creative pursuits, but becoming a photographer was not something she had thought about. When she moved to the United States in 2001, settling in the Five Towns, she found herself constantly photographing her own children in all sorts of settings, still never thinking of photography as anything more than a passionate hobby.
But hobby or not, plenty of friends and neighbors began to take notice of the beautiful photographs Keren was taking of her children and started asking her to photograph their kids, too. From there, she says, things just “took off,” and she quickly realized that she wanted to turn her pastime into a career. She pursued professional photography in earnest, taking courses and workshops and seeking out mentors who could help her hone her artistry.
As one of the first photographers in the area specializing in outdoor photo shoots, her career was established, and photographing families quickly became her specialty.
Then, several years ago, Keren began to notice an emerging trend in professional photography—newborn baby shoots. Highly artistic photos of infants amidst gorgeous settings with unusual props and stunning accessories were cropping up all over social media. Appreciating the artistry and attention to detail, she took copious notes and started looking for opportunities to photograph newborns.
She laughs about it now but admits that her first few attempts all those years ago did not go as well as planned. Babies cried, parents fretted and she nearly gave up on the endeavor. So Keren took a hiatus and immersed herself in various top-tier workshops and tutorials that specialized in this genre. She traveled all over the United States just to take classes with some of the best newborn photographers in the world including Kath V., Hello Little, Dew Drops Photography and Jade Gaio.
Her perseverance and dedication paid off. She booked a few shoots and the results were a smashing success. Her schedule quickly booked up and her reputation as a premier newborn photographer was set.
“It was definitely something that took time because with newborn photography you really have to know what you are doing. You can’t just put them on a blanket and take pictures. There’s a lot of styling and a lot of positioning involved,” she said, citing her unique style using florals and pastels.
Investing in a massive selection of props including fabrics, hairbands and other accessories was also an absolute must. “I just went all in,” she said, and indeed, inside her Teaneck studio you’ll find a veritable treasure trove of props that Keren uses “to play dress-up” with the babies.
Cuddles and Kisses Photography has studios in Teaneck and Hollywood, Florida. Keren posts daily behind-the-scenes videos on her Instagram account so her followers can enjoy all the adorable babies she photographs @cuddlesandkissesnewborns. The photo shoots, Keren says, make for a popular and meaningful baby gift for family and friends and are also an excellent option for a group gift.
To book a session call Cuddles and Kisses Photography at 917-716-4988 or visit www.cuddlesandkissesphotography.com.