Viral ‘roller baby’ snap shows parents are going gaga for newborn portraits.
Newborn photography is on a roll.
In fact, a behind-the-scenes video of an 8-day-old baby wearing hair rollers for her first close-up has been viewed more than 4.8 million times and shared more than 75,000 times and counting on Facebook.
“This is so crazy, so bananas – and it was just a low-resolution video at the end of the shoot that I took on my phone,” photographer Jessie Marrero, 45, told Moneyish.
She’d bought the $75 little rollers wig (including plush hair dryer) from the Off My Hooks shop several weeks before, but the moment baby Camilla came into her Teaneck, N.J. studio, the shutterbug and self-described “baby whisperer” was inspired to set up the beauty shop scene, which also included a pink chair and a handful of fashion magazines.
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“I read my babies, and I know who’s going to do what – pose in a dreamcatcher, or curl up in a baby bed with dried flowers in their hair, whatever speaks to me,” said Marrero, a cancer survivor who’s been specializing in infant and maternity shoots for five years. “And Camilla had the perfect cheeks, and just the perfect face, so I knew I was using the rollers on her.”
Marrero has become the newborn photographer to the stars – but even her adorable shoots for the days-old celebabies of Coco and Ice T, designer Angela Simmons and stylist Emily B. haven’t gone viral the way “roller baby” Camilla has.
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“Since roller baby, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I’m getting three times as many appointments,” said Marrero, who already snaps three babies a day, with newborn packages starting at $500 for two hours with little ones less than two weeks old. But parents have plopped down $3,000 for her to work her magic – such as swaddling newborns in her lap, or soothing fussy babies with heaters and heartbeat sound machines – to get that perfect shot for digital files, life-size canvas prints and more.
Of course, parents are going gaga for newborn portraits across the board. The photography industry is poised to hit $10.2 billion this year, according to IBISWorld data, largely driven by portraits, which include the aww-inducing shots of sleeping infants curled in flower pots and swaddled in silk cocoons. And Americans dropped $6.2 billion for online baby products last year.
Jonathan DeCarlo, an IBISWorld industry research analyst, told Moneyish that has the economy has turned around and more Americans enjoy disposable income, “parents are opting to glam their children up and take pictures of them.”
And as digital cameras and equipment become more affordable, it opens the way for more professional shutterbugs besides icons like Anne Geddes to open their own studios and compete with store chains.
💛❤️💙 Remember Zoey, Grace & Lily, my beautiful Princess Triplets? LOVE That mom sent over an update wearing my custom onesies!! HOW beautiful are they?!! Can't wait for our 6th Month Milestone Session!!! #JessieMarreroPhotography #Triplets #Newborn #NJbabyPhotographer #tripletgirls #Multiples #BabyPhotographer #BabyPhotography #teanecknj #BergenCounty ……… Get ready @sewtrendynewborns for the Milestone! 😍
“When my daughters (now grown) were born, I took them to Sears and JCPenney, but there was no ‘wow’ factor, which is where social media comes into play today,” said Marrero. “I take a very unique and artistic approach to my babies, which parents really respond to. They’re not sitting in a waiting area with 10 other screaming children. I’m just there for you and your baby, and we create unbelievable images together, and you immediately want to put them up and share them.”
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