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Oh, baby! Photos of the early years

Bobbie Bush Photography

Bobbie Bush’s favorite photo subjects are newcomers to her studio . . . literally.

“Half of my business is babies from five days old to one year,” said Bush, 52, who opened Bobbie Bush Photography in Salem in 1996. “It’s what makes my heart sing.”

Bush, whose specialty is portraits, recently donated large black-and-white images of newborns to North Shore Medical Center in Salem for display in the renovated Special Care Nursery. A selection of her photos of older babies and toddlers will be installed in the hospital’s Birthplace later this year.

Q. Why babies?

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A. I started with portraits and moved to wedding and event photography. I was going in too many directions. I thought it was smarter and more efficient to focus on one thing and do it really well. I asked myself if I wanted to be the best wedding photographer. “No.” The best children’s photographer? “Yes.”

Q. Experience with babies?

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A. I am not a parent, but I am very comfortable with babies. People call me “the baby whisperer.”

Q. Photo shoots?

A.I do everything in a warm studio. A newborn session can last two to three hours. We want the baby to be asleep [part of the time]. They are more relaxed and you can position them any way you want; turn their head to see all the features or crisscross their ankles to see the bottom of their feet. All those things transform it from just a picture to a portrait.

Q. From there?

A.Half my clients continue for a full-year baby program marking various stages: newborn, six months, a year.

Q. Clients?

A. Super-excited parents of firstborns. And many come back with baby number two, and three. We then can incorporate siblings and families. It’s a big difference from getting pictures at a mall. It’s all about relationships.

Q. Cost?

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A.Newborn photo session, $250. Portraits, $800 to $1,200, and Baby’s First Year, $2,000 or more, both depending on chosen package.

Q. Hospital donation?

A. It was exciting that I was able to do it. We wanted something that would bring a smile or calm to parents in the special nursery. The simple black-and-whites are all about babies’ faces and skin and expressions. No props; nothing but pure baby.

Wendy Killeen can be reached at wdkilleen@gmail.com.