An Interview with Newborn Photographer Mary Huszcza of 8.08 Photography

When Paul and I had our oldest daughter we lived in North Miami. Instead of searching for a newborn photographer I simply asked our wedding photographer if she did newborn sessions. Luckily she did and that was that.

When we moved to Jacksonville and got pregnant with Hannah I had to start a whole new search for another fantastic photographer. But where to begin? Like most of you I headed to Facebook to see who my friends were raving about. Since somebody is always posting a pic of their recent photo sessions I had many to admire but only one kept popping up in my newsfeed over and over again – 8.08 Photography.

It didn’t take long for me to decide on 8.08. After seeing how several friends had used her multiple times and perusing through her gorgeous work, I knew Mary was the photographer for Hannah. From the get-go working with Mary was so easy. I opted for the Newborn Half Session at Mary’s in-home studio. We set everything up through email and when Mary and I finally met in person she was so warm and welcoming I felt like I’d known her for years. On top of that she was so laid back about the process that any stress or worry I had about Hannah waking up or being grumpy instantly dissipated. As you can see the outcome was incredible!

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Hannah’s first photo session

It’s been almost a year since I worked with Mary but I recently sat down with her to discuss her passion for newborn photography and why she is different than other newborn photographers in Jacksonville. Here’s what I learned:

JP: There are so many newborn photographers in Jacksonville, what do you feel sets you apart from the others?

MH: I’ve been working with children for the past 15 years as a pediatric occupational therapist. A large percentage of my patients have been medically fragile babies. I’ve received extensive training in how to soothe, handle, and position these little ones. I feel like this training carries over into photography and has helped me when I pose babies. More importantly, parents can be confident that their brand new tiny baby is in safe hands. Unfortunately, many “newer to the field” photographers see poses online and try to replicate these poses without knowing how to do so safely.

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JP: Why are newborn photo sessions so expensive?

MH: SO much time goes into a newborn session. Prepping and setting up for a session usually takes me 1 to 2 hours and then the session itself can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. After the session is over editing the images can take another 4-5 hours if not more. That’s at least 10 hours of time right there.

Newborn sessions require a lot of equipment and props. The backdrops I use average anywhere from $30-50 each, the headbands run about $20, cute little bonnet and pants sets average around $50. The cozy angora sets I sometimes use are closer to $70-100. Buckets, baskets, bowls etc. for posing are another $50-100. I like having a wide variety of all of these things so that I can get variety in and between sessions and so that I can style sessions according to a family’s preferences.

Newborn photography is highly specialized. Someone might be a phenomenal wedding or family photographer, but without training and practice specific to newborns you aren’t going to be happy with their newborn work.

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Mary provided me with this article further explaining the cost of custom portraiture.

JP: How did you get started in photography and what kind of training do you have?

MH: I’ve always been the friend in my group with a camera in hand. I got my first real camera in the mail the day my daughter was born in 8.2008 (hence the name of my business ). I loved taking photos of her, but I was always disappointed that the images didn’t look the way they looked in real life. I started my journey by simply reading my camera manual and playing around with the different functions. From there I read and read and read anything and everything I could get my hands on online. I joined forums where I could post photos and questions. I practiced every single day. As my skills started to grow I started wanting newer and more expensive equipment. Friends started asking me to take photos of their kids and everything just grew from there. Since going into business I continue to learn and practice every day. I’ve done numerous online classes to refine my skills and I’m saving my pennies right now to do an in person newborn workshop with one of my favorite newborn photographers.

JP: If the session is at your studio do parents need to bring any clothes or props for baby to wear and/or use?

MH: Nothing at all. I have plenty of blankets, bonnets, headbands, etc. for the parents to choose from. If the family has something specific that they’d like to incorporate into the session they can certainly bring anything. I do a pre-session consultation with the parents via phone or email to make sure we’re on the same page as far as colors and style.


JP: If it’s a newborn session in home what do clients need to have/what do you bring?

MH: I bring everything that we’ll need for the session. When I show up it looks like I’m moving in, but I always promise the families that I WILL be leaving at some point that day!

I don’t use artificial lighting so I always spend a few minutes looking around the house for window light that has a little open space around it. I’ve been known to rearrange furniture, but I try my best to put everything back together before I leave.

JP: What if baby wakes up during the session?

MH: I have the parents follow a certain schedule on the day of the session. Hopefully this will ensure that the baby sleeps soundly throughout the session, but if he/she does wake up I’ll have Mom feed him/her again and that usually does the trick. If it doesn’t we wait it out. Newborns can only stay awake so long. That’s one of the reasons I schedule such a large chunk of time for these sessions.

JP: How long does each session last?

MH: A full newborn session can last anywhere from 2-4 hours. A large portion of that time is spent feeding, soothing, and changing the baby. It also takes a fair amount of time to coax babies into the curly squishy positions that parents love so much. Very little time is actually spent shooting.

JP: How do you get babies to pose?

MH: I use my hands to carefully mold their little bodies into position. I pose them on top of a really big bean bag that’s covered in blankets. I often use small pillows or cloth diaper inserts rolled up under the blankets to perfect the poses.



JP: Do you do outdoor newborn sessions?

MH: Absolutely! Nothing is more beautiful to me than the perfection of a newborn combined with the natural beauty of our surroundings here in North Florida. Unfortunately, for the safety and comfort of the baby I don’t do these sessions during the colder months.


JP: Do you photograph births?

MH: Births are, without a doubt, my favorite type of session. There’s no posing, no scheduling to get the light just right, no trying to coax smiles. Births are real life and pure emotion.


JP: I’m sure some moms want to know how you are in the room?

MH: I’m a fly on the wall. I do my best to stay out of the way and I ALWAYS tell families to let me know if/when they want a little time to themselves. I’ve had a couple of moms make the comment that they forgot I was even in the room. A lot of times people are shocked that families book me to photograph an entire labor/delivery. They think that it would be awkward and make comments like “There’s no way I’d want photos of THAT!” In reality, the births that I’ve shot have been anything but awkward. I don’t get all up in mom’s “business” and the photos are honestly some of my most beautiful and emotionally charged.

That being said, I also do First Look sessions. For these, I come to the hospital after the baby is born. It’s a perfect chance to capture siblings meeting their newest accomplice, grandparents laying eyes on their newest grandchild for the first time, or simply Mom and Dad soaking it all in.


JP: Do hospitals have any restrictions on being in the room during the delivery?

MH: I haven’t had any problems being allowed to be in the delivery room. I was even allowed to join one of my moms in the room for a c-section. The only rule I’ve been told is that I’m not allowed to shoot while mom is pushing.


JP: Will you be available whenever the mother goes into labor? If not do you have a backup plan?

MH: I’m on call for 2 weeks prior to a due date and 2 weeks after. Meaning that when I have a birth on the calendar I plan no out of town trips and I go to bed each night with my ringer turned on, camera charged, and bag packed.

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JP: What’s your favorite thing about photography?

MH: When I became a mom my favorite thing about photography was being able to capture all of the moments that are so easily forgotten. As my daughter has grown and we’ve added a son to the mix parenting has gotten much harder. It’s so easy to get caught up in the demands of the day, bad behavior, sibling fights, constant messes, etc. I get stressed and overwhelmed on a regular basis as I’m sure most any mom does.

Photography has truly become therapy for me. It helps me to focus on the beauty of parenting and childhood. Obviously I’m not taking photos of the kids when they’re fighting, the mud they track onto my freshly washed floors, or the insanely large stacks of laundry sitting in our playroom. Rather, I’m taking photos of their gorgeous eyelashes when they sleep. I’m taking photos of them laughing as they jump around in the rain. I’m taking photos of their chubby little hands tuning the pages of their favorite book. I’m taking photos of the intense looks on their faces as they put a new puzzle together.

These photos force me to look at their innocence and focus on the pure absolute beauty of childhood. That’s what I love doing for my clients as well. I love the quote “The days are long, but the years are short.” I want to help people look over the trials and stresses of the long days of parenthood and focus on the details of their children that they want to remember as the years pass.


You can see more of Mary’s work, as well as pricing and testimonials on her page Also, keep up with 8.08 Photography on Facebook!

If you would like to read or leave a review about 8.08 Photography, visit our Around Town Directory below.

Jena Pugh
Jena Pugh is a stay-at-home working mom, a wife to her adoring husband Paul, and mama to two spunky girls. She currently writes daily blogs for Entertainment Benefits Group, a travel company that sells discounted tickets to Orlando theme parks (, and Las Vegas ( shows and attractions. Her blogs include happenings in both Vegas and Orlando as well as celebrity sightings in Sin City. Jena also teaches group fitness classes with Jacksonville Stroller Strength and is certified as a nutrition coach.


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