I’m so psyched to share with you the amazing portfolio of one of my friends, Nikki Lenae! For those of you who are still unfamiliar with her work, Nikki is this great photographer from Fresno. I had the pleasure of talking to her about her love of photography, most especially maternity, child, and newborn portraits.

The thing that makes Nikki’s work great is that it comes from a personal level. She found her passion when she had her first child. “I wanted to capture every little smile, and the firsts that are so exciting,” she says.

Once she had her third baby, she finally decided to take things to the next level and so she attended a photography workshop. “I couldn’t believe all that I learned! I took that knowledge and decided to take the plunge and begin photographing strangers,” she recalls.

I asked her to describe her style in her own words, and she came up with “natural, organic, and with a bit of edge.” Once you get to know that she loves to take pictures of clouds and nature when out with her lovely bundle of three beautiful girls, it all makes sense. “I’m a nature girl myself,” she tells, “so I’m starting to see my work as a reflection upon who I am.”

As a fellow artist, it’s difficult not to wonder how she keeps herself inspired. “When I research new poses, I look for those that showcase baby’s newness,” she reveals. “I have to say Pinterest is my best friend when I need a fresh idea! However, I also look to my favorite newborn photographers for inspiration, and spend a lot of time studying on Creative Live.”

When you look at Nikki’s finished portraits, there’s yet another fundamental question that often goes into people’s minds: how does she get the babies to strike these wonderful, charming poses that make the photographs as stunning as they are? Nikki revealed that it’s different every time, but the key is to keep the baby happy.

“The three things I do to start every shoot is crank up the white noise on my Mac, turn on the white noise app on my cell phone, and switch on my heartbeat sound device,” she describes. It’s integral because Nikki says it’s very noisy in her studio, so the white noise and heartbeat sounds often help the baby fall into a deep sleep so Nikki can work through each pose much easier.

“With every session I go in with a general idea of what poses I’d like to do, and how to transition baby into each one. Nine times out of ten I have to adjust my plan according to their personality and needs,” she explains. “Each baby is unique, and getting a feel for their comfort levels is so important. If I allow them to take the reins and guide me, the end result is a happy baby and beautiful images exclusive to my tiny client.”

And rightly so, as the results of each of her sessions really possess that genuine feel to them. Just take a look at some more of her best work:

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So what’s next for Ms. Lenae? She has a couple of shots set to be published really soon, and TAE will surely bring the details of the book once everything’s been set. Nikki also says she’s worked with Ana Brandt, owner of TaoPan and a celebrity photographer from Tustin, CA.

Things are surely getting exciting for Nikki! If you want to keep tabs on what she’s up to, visit her website. Thanks for reading!