Photographer pulls out the pixie dust to transform newborns into tiny Disney stars

To be a good newborn photographer you need faith and trust. That's what Karen Taylor has learned. That, and maybe a little pixie dust.

Taylor is the owner of Roseville's Beautiful Photography studio, and caught a little of that dust when Babble, a Disney site, posted a story and video highlighting her shoots.

She said her kids inspired her Disney photo projects. "I missed doing princess dress up with my girls," Taylor said. "That's how I got the idea to start doing the Disney shoots."

Taylor has two daughters and one son, ages 14, 13 and 11, and began her career as a newborn photographer 11 years ago.

Taylor released her first Disney newborn photos in July 2017. The photos showed six baby girls, all under two weeks old, sleeping soundly while dressed as Ariel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Cinderella and Belle.

Taylor is shooting her newest Disney photos Wednesday, with three babies embodying "Frozen" characters Anna, Elsa and Kristoff for an adorable new set.

Taylor does not make money from these Disney shoots, but they help bring public attention to her studio. Babble's original post and video went viral, getting millions of hits on Babble's Facebook page and gaining the attention of national news outlets.

Babble contracted Taylor to produce a special, Halloween-themed Disney villains photo set for their website, including babies dressed as Cruella de Vil, Ursula, Jafar and more.

Soon after the original princess shoot, Taylor also did a photo set with babies dressed as the more culturally diverse Disney princesses, including Tiana, Pocahontas and Mulan. Recently, Taylor also did a photo shoot for Valentine's Day with two newborns dressed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, which was also featured on Babble.

A recent Peter Pan-themed shoot showed newborns dressed as Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy and Captain Hook.

The most important part of newborn photography is keeping the tiny models safe. Taylor, who was a labor and delivery nurse before starting her photography business, said that safety is paramount in her studio. At the Peter Pan shoot, Taylor had four assistants on hand to help safeguard the infants.

Shoots also can take hours of preparation. Taylor was up until 11 the night before the shoot printing backdrops and perfecting her props, such as Wendy's four poster bed and Tinkerbell's Pixie Hollow basket. The next morning, staff began arriving at the studio at 6 a.m. to get the room warmed up to a toasty 90 degrees for the newborns at their 9 a.m. call time.

The "Neverland" photo shoot lasted for about five hours, which is standard for a newborn shoot with four babies. In those five hours, Taylor and her four assistants wrangled the newborns as they kept them the right balance of fed, sleepy and comfortable so that they could be dressed and posed for their Disney shots.

Despite the hard work involved in these Disney shoots, Taylor says that the Disney photo shoots are one of the best parts of her job.

"I book 22 appointments a week," Taylor said. "This is my one time to be creative."

All of Taylor's costumes come from Utah costume company Sew Trendy, which hand-makes all of Taylor's maternity gowns, newborn clothes and Disney costumes for her shoots.

The company's CEO, Valerie Best, said the company has created about a dozen Disney costumes for Taylor's newborn girls and a handful for boys.

When Taylor wants to do a Disney shoot, she puts out a call for baby models under two weeks old on the Belly Beautiful Facebook page. These parents bring their newborns in and Taylor takes photos of them for free in exchange for the family's time.

Heidi Hawkins, mother of baby "Ariel" in Taylor's first Disney shoot, said that the Disney photos are very special for the parents whose babies get to participate.

"They're priceless as a mom and somebody who just can't get enough of my baby," Hawkins said.